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F1 US GP: Ferrari staff ‘frightened, no longer a team’ - Baldisserri

"In there is a climate of fear, the boys do not take risks for fear of being fired in disgrace..."
Ex-Ferrari chief engineer Luca Baldisserri has offered a scathing assessment of his former team's current set up, describing it as 'no longer a team, but a group of scared people in a climate of fear'.

Having bounced back from a win-less season in 2014 with a strong showing in 2015 under the stewardship of Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari is yet to win a race in 2016 and has seen its form dip relative to main rivals Mercedes and Red Bull.

With Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne understood to be becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress having expected a title challenge in 2016, there are predictions the axe could well swing in prominent positions during the upcoming off-season.

It is this 'climate of fear' that Baldisserri has criticised, saying it is borne out of Marchionne's misguided belief that Ferrari should be 'winning straight away' and that by threatening dismissal it will improve results.

"Unfortunately, neither [Sergio] Marchionne nor [Maurizio] Arrivabene have experience of racing, a culture that today the Scuderia has lost," Baldisserri told Italian publication Corriere dello Sport. "They are no longer a team, but a group of frightened people. In there is a climate of fear, the boys do not take risks for fear of being fired in disgrace."

"The money is there, with the political authority we have, but you win with stability. It should not be rushed. I understand that Marchionne wants to win right away, but in Formula 1 that does not work. It's difficult to make it in less than three years. "

Ferrari's fortunes were dealt a blow earlier this season after James Allison quit his role as technical director with immediate effect just as the team began work on its 2017 car built to revised technical regulations.

With Allison replaced by Mattia Binotto in a more over-arching technical department managerial role, while Baldisserri suggests he would make an effective team principal, he says Binotto does not have the knowledge to design a car.

"Mattia knows motivate people, he has great experience but he is not a technical director. He knows he cannot design a car and he does not have deep knowledge on the chassis, aerodynamic or mechanical. I would see him very well as a team principal instead.”

With Arrivabene himself going on the offensive during the Japanese Grand Prix by saying Sebastian Vettel must 'earn' his place in the Ferrari beyond his current contract, Baldisserri says he should be more committed to the four-time world champion.

"Raikkonen is better than 2015, Vettel much worse. For Ferrari, it is important that he recoveries and should hold him tight, at least in the short term. The problem is not them [the drivers]."

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