Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Double Ferrari failure “completely unacceptable” – Symonds

2017 F1 season

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Former F1 technical chief Pat Symonds says it was “completely unacceptable” for Ferrari to allow Kimi Raikkonen to suffer the same reliability failure Sebastian Vettel had in Malaysia.

Ferrari confirmed their drivers’ car failures in Malaysia were caused by the same problem. Symonds said the team should have made sure Raikkonen’s car did not suffer the same problem after Vettel’s braekdown in qualifying.

“When Vettel had the problem with the inlet manifold in qualifying in Malaysia you have to look at the other car and you have to say: ‘We’ve got to see if we’ve got that problem on the other car'”, said Symonds. “I might be wrong but it didn’t appear that happened and I do think Kimi’s problem was the same thing. If so, that’s completely unacceptable.”

“I can imagine it to be true because I can imagine someone saying: ‘Oh, it can’t happen again, let’s not shout and scream.’ But what they should have said is: ‘I don’t care whose fault it is, let’s check and make sure everything is alright.'”

Symonds, who helped mastermind Benetton and Renault’s championship successes in the nineties and noughties, said Ferrari must not allow a culture of blame to develop following their recent spate of reliability problems. Eight days after his car failure in Malaysia Vettel’s title hopes were dealt another blow when he retired from the Japanese Grand Prix.

Ferrari mustn’t “go looking for someone to shoot”, Symonds urged. “You win together, you lose together and the only way to improve is to not have a culture of blame.”

He encouraged the team to follow the lead set by the aircraft industry. “They don’t look for blame. They look at how to improve and people are very happy to report what they perceive to be a problem without any fear of being castigated for it. Reliability in a racing car must be treated in the same way; you need that kind of ‘black box’ thinking.”

“You’ve got to be able to say: ‘I think there is a problem and I think we should do something about it.’ Even if you feel it is your fault, you should be able to react to it. You must be thorough.”

Ferrari’s problems may have come about because of the desire to keep delivering performance gains in the pressure of the championship fight, according to Symonds.

“It can be true and we have seen it. We saw it with Mercedes and their gearbox problems, where they admitted that they were trying to speed up the gearshift a little more and they ran into problems.”

“With the problems that Ferrari have had with the inlet tract and the spark plug, it is possible too. It’s not that they are necessarily correlated but it might be that you are just pushing the boost a little bit high, pushing the cylinder pressure a little bit too high, running the higher modes a little bit longer and that might bring unreliability in.”

“If you are trying to work at the edge of the envelope all the time reliability is harder and harder to achieve. But the most important thing is to achieve it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Double Ferrari failure “completely unacceptable” – Symonds”

    1. Ferrari mustn’t “go looking for someone to shoot”, Symonds urged. “You win together, you lose together and the only way to improve is to not have a culture of blame.”

      It seems the team has really tried to implement this culture of late, and Vettel has been great in this regard, even defusing the decimation talk of old-school ‘strong leader’ Marchionne.

      1. Towards the media but I wonder if it is the same towards their customers…

    2. Didn’t know Andrew Symonds is now involved in F1!

    3. Ferrari seem to be going back to there unreliable phase…sadly for us..When Nigel Mansell joined the team, he won first time out in a car that was never supposed to be able to get to the end of the race.
      It took Schumacher a while to make the team reliable…and since. then its been better.
      Personally since the engine rule on oil burning was brought in. it looks as though after they turn up the boost, it has a detrimental effect on the engine after its been stressed……but I have to agree with Pat S summing up the team

      1. I guess it is part of the development… Mercedes has had the same. Except that they had enough advantage in hand so that it costs them less than Ferrari now (Hamilton could argue).

        I guess that when developing the car they focus on the safest parts first this gaining rapidly with low impact on reliability then they have to take more risks to continue gaining which will always lead to going out of the reliability envelope (if not you could argue that they have not extracted everything out of it).

      2. Schumacher did not make ferrari reliable. Ross brawn, rory byrne and jead todt made it reliable.

    4. The journalist reports on Ferrari this season have all spoken about the team as a whole having an aggressive, under siege mentality, combined with displays of arrogance, from mechanics to management. Given that’s coming from multiple sources, and given Vettel’s petulant arrogance with Hamilton in Baku, it would seem true. Also suggests they really rather deserve for everything to implode under their own fumes – and should really be blaming their own collective attitude.

      1. I remember the launch, with them all lined up all serious with Kimi there treating it like the comedy show it actually was. I’m guessing they’re all under pressure from up high, just as it always is with Ferrari. We await the sackings…

        1. I agree with both of you, @david-br and @john-h lots of arrogance and aggressiveness from the team this year – I personally think this is Vettel’s and Arrivabene’s attitude and MO rubbing off on the team. And as is common with Ferrari: pressure from the top-down to succeed or be fired.

          Ferrari are making themselves to be a farce: they get boat-loads of money from sponsorships and the manufacturer, even a sweetheart deal with F1 for a prize money bonus, on top of that they have two championship winning drivers but they fail to function efficiently as an organization. And so be it, regarding the sackings, they need to change their team culture from the top down in order to attract and retain those key people like Shumacher, Brawn, and Allison. Odds are good they will lose their prize money bonus with the next Concorde Agreement so they better change their act sooner than later or we could see Ferrari out of Formula 1.

          1. yea I mean exactly, never mind the fact that they were the only team this year even that could even remotely challenge mercedes.

          2. What a collective load of hogwash….Ferrari have said nothing and just worked on their car all season…. you want hot air search red bull and the nonsense they spew before every GP…. dont let your fanboy bias cloud what the truth really is.
            let me sum up the last 4 years of F1 for you..Mercedes has been burning oil from day 1 and the other manufacturers have only recently gotten a handle on it only to see it now being regulated….thats it in a nutshell..

      2. Journalists who? I see no arrogance, nor aggressivness. They just can’t stand ridicolously biased british media (including this blog) and I fully agree with them, hence they only talk with a reduced amount of people (not british obviously). That’s why Buxton got mad in Japan. He can ceep sucking lewis c..k for what they care, after all these years he’s a master in doing it.

    5. Symonds, who helped mastermind Benetton and Renault’s championship successes in the nineties and noughties

      Symonds, who helped mastermind Benetton and Renault’s championship successes in the nineties and noughties, and the biggest scandal in the history of the sport

      There, fixed that for you. Because I’m sure if you were writing about some other people, their indiscretions would’ve been included.

      1. Not mentioned here because it’s not relevant here.

        I’m sure if you were writing about some other people, their indiscretions would’ve been included.

        If they’re relevant, not if they’re not. For example:

        https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2016/12/09/alonso-wont-join-mercedes-2017-briatore/

      2. I love the way Piquet crashing into tyre barriers to bring out a safety car to help Alonso’s unlucky qualifying on a day when there was always multiple safety cars, is deemed more scandalous than Schumacher crashing into his fellow competitors to stop them scoring the points needed to beat him.

        Briatore and Symonds were the cheats behind Schumacher’s early success. It irked Senna so badly they were cheating he even turned to Prost for comfort.

    6. Funny how when Ferrari got those good results earlier so-called fans of this sport including some journalists started pointing fingers at a certain McLaren driver, claiming it must have been him who was upsetting the team. Meanwhile the biggest partnership in F1 were doing everything they could to keep Alonso on-board, seeing an 18% increase in their performance bonus money.
      Meanwhile Marchionne has his hands full finding staff to replace his next sack list, whilst dismissing the Electric car industry.
      Ferarri have been on a downward curve (back to where they belong) ever since Brawn left. Perhaps they can buy out half of Mercedes with Hamilton like they did to Benetton?

      1. If I rimember well, Mercedes bought the whole Brown team, world champion.
        After buy it and after Shumacher driving, Mercedes didn’t be able to win F1 races.
        They must organize illegal tests for tyres to be performant….. then the only burning!!!

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