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Ferrari shows signs of pen-man envy

29 September 2011

Having been out-gunned by another of his designs in 2011, Ferrari personnel have been quick to pay tribute to Red Bull Racing's Adrian Newey - even as a member of the Scuderia's 'dream team' has been spotted back at Maranello.

Newey has now designed two championship-winning cars for RBR - okay, so Sebastian Vettel still needs a single point to repeat as number one - adding to the impressive record established during spells with both Williams and McLaren, and Ferrari has quite clearly realised that it has missed out by not having secured the services of the Englishman sometime in the last 15 years

"Obviously, there is teamwork, but what is clear is that they are the only team that has this genius that is Adrian Newey, who has done another great project," team principal Stefano Domenicali told Spanish sports newspaper Marca after the Prancing Horse's last championship hope was extinguished in Singapore, "F1 has changed a lot compared to the past, when there were a great many personalities. Now there is only one, and this guy is with Red Bull."

Former Ferrari team chief Cesare Fiorio echoed Domenicali's claim, suggesting that Newey was making Red Bull and its principal Christian Horner look better than they would otherwise be.

"If Domenicali had Adrian Newey, it would be him who is considered the phenomenal team manager," the 72-year old Italian told La Nazione, amid rumours that the current leader's position was in danger after failing to win the title in two years with Fernando Alonso on board.

Even as Maranello was singing its rival's praises, however, rumours abounded that Rory Byrne, who formed a fifth of the famed 'dream team' that delivered five successive championships for Michael Schumacher, was being drafted in to help turn around its fortunes for 2012.

Both El Pais, courtesy of wannabe F1 returnee Joan Villadelprat, and AS have reported that South African Byrne had been lured out of his Far East retirement to link up with Ferrari's new technical director Pat Fry. The team, meanwhile, insists that next year's car has been designed, following the exit of Byrne's replacement Aldo Costa, by Nicholas Tombazis.

Ferrari has already admitted that it is focusing its endeavours on 2012, and Domenicali is optimistic that impending rule changes surrounding the siting of exhausts and effectiveness of diffusers will level the playing field somewhat.

"[Red Bull] are good, but I think this area of the blown diffuser is precisely where we have not been able to get the performance we wanted," he opined, "They have been very good with this, but I think the car for next year will have fewer areas where you can find something else in the rules, so I am quite optimistic because we started [next year's car] very early - some people will say in August - and the first wind tunnel numbers are very encouraging."