There was once a time where Ferrari was widely acknowledged as a symbol of success. The raw passion and loyalty flaunted by each and every member of the team helps to create an atmosphere like no other. Many would argue that Ferrari have only lost their way, not their traditional victorious ways. However, with the saying, “You are only as good as your last race,” constantly floating around the paddock, critics have jumped at the chance of dubbing this period as the fall of Ferrari. It leaves you with the thought: has Ferrari’s current form tarnished their previous success?
Whether they are able to learn from it or not, every competitive team is forced to experience the positive and negative aspects of the sport. With Ferrari’s sixty two years of competitive running inFormula 1, they have accomplished more than many teams can only imagine of coming within reaching distance of.
Seconds mean a lot in Formula 1, and split seconds mean even more. Dare to blink and you may miss something vital. Over the years, the patriotic Italian team has tumbled a few times, but if they have proven anything since 1950 it is that they will always rise once more.
The Schumacher era is what the majority of the younger generation immediately remember when the name Ferrari is uttered. Of course it is. A double World Champion arrives at a team that was far from a winning state and then goes on to take them to the top of the world within four years. The ultimate Formula 1 fairy tale, with the hero dressed in red.
Time moves on, and the hero has to move on with it. Dozens of drivers will join and then leave again within a team’s lifetime. It is vital how quickly a team are able to pick themselves up again and optimise every tool they are left with.
Michael Schumacher’s Brazilian team mate remained with the Scuderia after his departure. Alongside Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe fell to 4th in the Championship, compared to his final standing of 3rd the year before. 2008 finished with an epic two-way battle for the title between himself and Lewis Hamilton. We all know what happened during that emotional final lap.
Up until this point, Felipe was a consistent and hardworking driver who was no stranger to the podium. The 2009 season kicked off to a feeble start, with two retirements. A quarter of the way through the year, it appeared that he was quickly improving, edging ever closer to being a regular on the podium once more.
The events of the Hungarian Grand Prix drastically changed Felipe’s career. Fortunately, his physical injuries were healable. It seems as if the mental block, which the accident created, has appeared to have impacted Felipe much more than any bruised limb.
The thirty year old has only scored five podiums out of the forty races since his return. All of these were during the 2010 season.
It is fair to say that no one can dare to criticise Felipe’s strength to return to the sport that almost killed him. To finish in second place first time out after such a horrific accident was phenomenal. Nonetheless, the underlying effects are more than obvious and cannot be brushed aside.
If his current forlorn pace fails to improve rapidly, then his days will, sadly, be numbered. Ferrari cannot afford to take risks in their drivers by this point. The Tifosi want results, and they want them as soon as possible. No ifs or buts about it.
A common past time for fans and journalists alike is the pondering of whom will replace Felipe at Ferrari if such a situation occurs. Ferrari’s Driver Academy has a tremendously talented line up as of present. With both Sergio Pérez and Jules Bianchi already known faces in the paddock, they are the obvious front runners in with the chance of the number 2 status at Scuderia Ferrari.
However, with such a temperamental car, would a young driver truly be the efficient way to go? That is most likely not the correct solution. Fernando Alonso already brings masses of knowledge to the team – along with his unbelievable level of skill – but even more experience is vital in the urge to bring the World Title home to Maranello.
But which driver is experienced enough, yet would be prepared to let Fernando continue to take the leading role? Realistically, there is only one man on the grid who would be more than suitable to do so: Timo Glock.
The German had his first taste of Formula 1 in 2004 with Jordan Grand Prix. He proceeded to leave F1 to try out the GP2 Series, and in his second year finished 1st in the Championship with iSport. 2007 saw him undertake the role as BMW Sauber F1 Team’s reserve driver, before he officially returned to the sport with Toyota, a year later. During Timo’s two years with the midfield team, he appeared on the podium on three different occasions.
He is currently with Marussia, on a contract that has secured his presence in the sport until the end of the 2014 season. The German talent is noticeably proud of how his backmarker team is progressing and would never complain of his position, even though he easily deserves a seat closer to the front of the grid. Timo’s career to this point has made evident that he doesn’t just have the raw speed needed to make it at a prestigious team; he also has the determination and reliability required.
In the world of Formula 1, the fans are often left in the dark about the business behind closed garage doors. Nothing is ever certain, and certainly nothing is ever guaranteed. One thing for sure is that Fernando Alonso and Timo Glock would make an outstanding team with stacks of experience and speed under their racing gear. 16 Constructors’ Championships, 217 race victories and 205 pole positions… The Prancing Horse may be lame for now, but don’t be fooled, it’ll heal before too long.