According to the Italian media, Scuderia Ferrari signed several engineers from its main two rivals, both Red Bull and Mercedes, as the Italian side hopes to strengthen its team ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 season and be able to challenge its competitors for race wins and titles.
The 2021 Formula 1 championship was never going to be easy for Scuderia Ferrari, but the Maranello team managed to improve significantly after the very disappointing outcome of the previous campaign, when they had to settle only for a midfield position, far from any chance of reaching the podium. However, ending the 2021 season with a ‘best of the rest’ status thanks to the P3 secured in the Constructors’ Championship, the prospects for this year are much more encouraging as Ferrari now plans to get back on top by regularly fighting for race victories and eventually titles after having taken two pole positions (with Charles Leclerc in Monaco and Baku) and five podium finishes during the 2021 campaign.
The big opportunity is represented by the major changes regarding the rules and regulations for 2022, alongside the switch to 18-inch Pirelli tyres, giving everyone the chance to work their way up the pecking order in Formula 1 after several years in which Mercedes and Red Bull were untouchable.
And according to Italian daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Scuderia Ferrari have moved to get a jump on the established top two of Mercedes and Red Bull by recruiting engineers from both rivals. They will work alongside the established design and aero team, with the Italian side adopting “the same innovative approach that underpinned the design of the SF70H and its successor, both of which were capable of challenging Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for much of the season. he backbone of the department dedicated to design and aerodynamics has remained the same as in that famous 2017 (the last major shift of regulations), with David Sanchez leading the division and answering in turn to Enrico Cardile, in charge of the single-seater project,” their report informs.
“The stability was desired by [Mattia] Binotto (team principal) in the belief the same men could still do well. But there was no shortage of reinforcements – engineers from Red Bull and even Mercedes, so that they have an insight into the work being done in other teams and understand their strengths and weaknesses.”
The most important aspect regarding the 2022 Formula 1 cars is a switch to ground-effect aerodynamics, that has not been seen in Formula 1 since the early 1980s, which means that many engineers at Ferrari are nore familiar with the concept. The Italian media therefore reports that Ferrari are calling on a familiar face from the past to offer some guidance. The person in question is Rory Byrne, the chief designer who was with the Maranello during their successful period from the early 2000s, when they won six Constructors’ titles and five Drivers’ Championships (between 1999 and 2004). Rory Byrne’s Formula 1 car-designing career started in the early 1980s with Toleman.
“At Ferrari, super-consultant Rory Byrne brings the experience of the 1980s to the table,” the report adds, but notes that “the boundaries that can be reached with today’s development are unexplored”.
Indeed, the strict limitation in development of the new generation of cars was introduced with the goal of ensuring loopholes are not found by teams. The new cars should allow for much closer racing and more passing possibilities for the drivers.
“The devil will be in the detail, and we (Ferrari) will have to be good at finding it,” the report states.