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- Updated: October 19, 2017
Ferrari may be in line for absolute “chaos” if it shakes up its organisation too much in response to the reliability failures that have wrecked its Formula 1 championship ambitions, according to one of its rivals.
The last three races have seen Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton stamp their authority on this year’s Formula One campaign, with Sebastian Vettel falling 59 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings after a crash in Singapore and engine problems in Malaysia and Japan.
While Ferrari has already altered its quality control department, with the Maranello outfit appointing Maria Mendoza, an expert in metals and chemicals, more changes are in the offing.
For Force India’s COO Otmar Szafnauer, who has worked with manufacturers during a previous spell with Honda, Ferrari’s main objective must be to commit to the systems and people it has in place at this point of time.
“The thing that you have got to do is go through the procedures that you have and just follow them,” said Szafnauer.
“If that happens here (at Force India), and we had an issue and didn’t finish, you put it on the fault list, you reveal what happened.
“Then, the engineer responsible will tell you what the root cause was, how we are going to fix it and how we are going to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Then you focus on reliability for example.
“What you cannot do is start changing the processes that have always worked for you, because then it is chaos.
“If the process doesn’t work, then you have to take a half step back, a retrospective view and say: right let’s fix the process and follow that.”
Szafnauer said that continuing to believe in your system, especially when the going gets tough, is even more important when teams are as big as Ferrari – because it is all too easy for the structure to fall apart.
“When the team is big, and their team (Ferrari) is a lot bigger than ours, that is when you need those procedural things in place,” he said.
“So if everyone follows it and finds the root cause, then you can fix it, test it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“If you do that over and over, then you get out at the other end. That is what I would do. Usually the bigger the team the more you need that.”
On how tough it can be for big teams to maintain their sanity at testing times, Szafnauer said, “That is a bit cultural too. It all depends on who you are, and who you aren’t.
“But if you have procedures in place that everyone knows they should be following, and you are happy that they have been established over time and they work, then even with emotion you can get through it.”