In the wake of the quality control issues that effectively killed off Sebastian Vettel’s and Ferrari’s 2017 title hopes, Ferrari has recruited Maria Mendoza from within the Fiat Chrysler Group, the Spaniard having been Head of the Supplier Quality Powertrain EMEA.
A graduate of the University of Zaragoza, where she gained a degree in Physics, Mendoza first joined Fiat Chrysler in 2008 from Avio Aero, first as Supplier Quality Specialist and Chrysler SQ Coordinator and then Supplier Quality Team Leader Powertrain Casting, Machining and Functional, finally promoted to the role of Supplier Quality Manager Powertrain Passenger in 2013.
In the wake of the cracked manifold issues that blighted the Italian team’s efforts in Malaysia and the subsequent spark plug problem that eliminated Sebastian Vettel from the Japanese Grand Prix, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne warned that changes would be made, while at Suzuka technical boss Mattia Binotto (right) said that even before the latest issues the team had been looking into its quality control processes.
In the aftermath of Suzuka, Marchionne, who was almost apoplectic after Malaysia, seemed far more philosophical about the latest set-back, which, according to him was the failure of a spark plug that cost around £52 (59 euros).
“It was a technical nonsense that had an impact on a car that costs millions of euros,” he told Italy’s Class CNBC. “It’s a problem we’ve probably ignored over time because it was never of much importance. But now we’ve had at least three occasions where we’ve really seen the devastating impact on performance. We’ll fix it.”
In Suzuka, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari broke down and denied Hamilton a straight fight for the win. To this extent, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff admitted that Mercedes sympathise with Vettel’s situation.
“In this sport you take no prisoners,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “It is about having the fastest car, the best driver and the most solid performance.
“We’ve been there,” he continued. “We’ve had difficult moments for each of the drivers in the past in terms of reliability.
“When you’re pushing the boundaries you will eventually reach your limits.Ferrari’s development from 2016 to 2017 was exceptional and probably this is a ‘development’ phase.”
“I can relate to how it feels,” he admits, “that feeling of having had three races where you’ve lost a lot of points. It doesn’t feel nice.
“We’ve benefited from Ferraris’ misfortune and reliability woes in the last three races. But that doesn’t mean that we’re patting ourselves on the back. On the contrary, I think we need to continue to push.”