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Axed Ferrari engine chief says he simply followed orders over design

Aug 15, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Canadian F1 Grand Prix Getty Images

Former Ferrari engine chief Luca Marmorini has said that he simply did as he was told when designing the engine for the 2014 F14 T car, and does not feel that blaming the team’s poor performance on his department was fair.

Speaking to Italian journalist Leo Turrini for the first time since his departure from Maranello, Marmorini said that he had been asked by the management to make a smaller engine that would be made up for with superior aerodynamics.

However, this did not prove to be the case, with the team scoring just two podium finishes so far this season whilst the Renault and Mercedes power units have gone on to win races.

“In short, it was made ​​out that all the woes of the F14T are the fault of the power unit; as if a company with the history of Ferrari had forgotten how to make engines,” Marmorini said. “With my colleagues I packaged a power unit with a certain size, a smaller version of the Mercedes and Renault, because we were asked by the project manager of the car, Mr. Tombazis.”

“[Tombazis] said we want a very compact power unit with small radiators, because the power loss will be compensated with aerodynamic solutions that will guarantee us an advantage over the Mercedes and Renault cars.

“It’s been exactly like that, except that, when we were confronted with the competition, the horsepower was obviously less, but this was not compensated for by aerodynamics.”

Marmorini also revealed that he had spoken just twice to new team principal Marco Mattiacci: once when he arrived, and once when he left.

“In three months, I exchanged just a few words,” he said. “We saw each other twice, the first for the greetings, the second when he gave me a letter that confirmed my farewell to the company.”

Marmorini confirmed that he is not looking to return to Formula 1 at any time soon, but that his stance could yet change.

In the ‘year of the power unit’, Ferrari has clearly been a step behind. The team will be hoping to finish the season inside the top three in the constructors’ championship before focusing on getting back to the very front of the field in 2015.

  1. chad4208 - Aug 15, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    any more prof needed that the prancing horse is a bunch of assholes? and its no wonder they suck bc they are just a bunch of tight asssed arrogant POS?

    • racerxxxx - Sep 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      is your butt sore or what ?

      • chad4208 - Sep 30, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        truth hurts. So much in fact your talking about a guys butt because you just can;t deal with it. Pretty pathetic. Sorry but I hate Ferrari. I hope enzo is enjoying his time in Hell

  2. warren2185 - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    I’m skeptical that someone would have told him “make it small, we’ll make up for it with aerodynamics”. It seems like anyone in racing would more likely say “just give me the most horsepower you can.” That seems like a strange trade-off to be making from the get-go.

    • chad4208 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      well im sure enzo is rolling over in his grave….if anyone cares

    • practicalpossum - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      I doubt it was in exactly those words, but I’m sure that’s how it went. F1 design starts with aero, and has done since the early days of ground effects in the 80s. The aero guys decide what the basic outline is, and they tell the engine guys “this is the space you have to work with”. After that there’s some negotiation, of course (“can we have another 12mm here for the radiator” “can you narrow the intake by 10mm for better air to the wing”), and maybe Marmorini wasn’t very good at that; but basically the engine has to fit where the aero guys want it.

  3. worknman24hours - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    “Build me a powerplant that can’t win a race all season driven by two of the finest drivers in Formula One.”


    Someone at Ferrari told him that.

    Sure,they did.

  4. seabassfan - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Wasn’t it Enzo that said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.”?

    • Luke Smith - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:00 AM

      I believe you’re right! :-)

  5. techmeister1 - Aug 16, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Yes Enzo did make that statement and it came back to haunt him when F1 became so aero dependent.

    practicalpossum has it 100% correct in his comment. The aero team decides how much room they will allow the engine/power unit team to have and precisely where that room will be. I’m completely convinced that Marmorini did exactly what he was told to do as Ferrari was over confident in their aero abilities. I think there are a lot more issues at Ferrari than a possibly weak engine and internal politics always enters into the equation.

    In addition the engine may be just fine but the electrics not so much as Ferrari has never had issue making competitive power. There is speculation and it seems to have some merit, that PETRONAS is supplying fuel to Mercedes and Williams that is delivering better performance be it increased power and/or fuel economy.

  6. hkfan5 - Sep 6, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Why would ANYONE want to work for Ferrari? You’re a scapegoat waiting to happen.

    • racerxxxx - Sep 28, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      they will be back on top….it’s just a matter of time

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