British GP - Ferrari - Preview
Ferrari head to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone following a straight-line test at Fiorano on Monday conducted by Felipe Massa. The Brazilian tried some new aerodynamic components, including a new front wing and other parts on the front
end of the F60.
The aero test also saw the F60 run with new front suspension geometry, aimed at allowing a change in the car’s weight distribution, bringing it further forward. The car therefore had to complete another front end crash test, which it duly passed.
The new suspension geometry is aimed at promoting more front end grip, which should help overcome one of the car’s Achilles heels, namely the fact it has struggled to get tyres up to operating temperature over one timed lap - an essential requirement in qualifying. In addition, the Italian team has a revised, lighter, KERS package for Silverstone
“I had an unusual experience on Monday – driving a Formula One car away from a race weekend,” said Massa. “With the ban on in-season testing, the time between races will usually involve quite a lot of talk with the engineers in Maranello about what is planned for the car for the following races, but no actual driving. This time however, with our test driver Marc Gene having just finished competing in and winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, I was given the job of sitting behind the wheel for an aerodynamic test at Fiorano.”
“I say ‘sitting behind the wheel’ rather than driving, because to be honest, it’s not the most interesting thing for a driver and you are a more like a robot, simply driving the car up and down in straight lines,” the Brazilian continued. “But, it’s very important for the team and the development of the car, so I was more than happy to do it. Just driving up and down a straight means you cannot give the engineers much feedback as to how the car feels, but by changing front wings for example and looking at the telemetry data, you can compare it to data gathered in the wind tunnel and see if the numbers match, which means you are on the right track.”
At the mid-point of the season, Massa is eighth in the championship standings with 11 points, tied with double world champion Fernando Alonso
. At Silverstone this weekend, Massa will finally run the new lighter chassis first introduced for team-mate Kimi Raikkonen
at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“On paper, this weekend’s British Grand Prix takes place at a track with some similarities to the last race in Istanbul, where we were not so competitive,” Massa continued.
“This weekend’s track also features fast corners, flowing sections and a final slow sector and we will have the same two types of tyre from Bridgestone, but that doesn’t mean I think we will struggle as much as we did a fortnight ago. For a start, the new components we have on the car this weekend, including a front wing and a lighter chassis, should make us more competitive.”
“Whatever happens on the race track this weekend, the current political situation in the sport is bound to be making the headlines again,” Massa admitted with reference to the Friday deadline for the FOTA members to agree terms with the FIA. “When I am driving the car, I never think about it and simply concentrate on my job of driving as quickly as possible, but outside the cockpit, I think about these problems, as they do affect me, as the relate to my future and the future of Formula One.” Kimi Raikkonen
finished outside of the points in Turkey after a poor first lap and then a general lack of pace in his Ferrari. With nine points on the board and tenth position in the championship, Raikkonen is confident that Ferrari can close the gap on the front-runners, starting this weekend at Silverstone.
“For the first time we’re racing at Silverstone without any prior test sessions,” The Finn stated. “The team prepared some new solutions, which we will test on Friday morning. As I’ve said several times before we need to be patient: we’re improving thanks to the hard development work, but we’re still not able to fight for a win against the Brawns. I’m extremely confident and I’m convinced that after another couple of races we’ll have closed the gap between the leaders and us. I know that this is what our fans want from us and we’re giving it our all to succeed.”
In what is the final scheduled British Grand Prix, Raikkonen is targeting a podium position. “This was almost the starting point of my international career in the minor Formula series and I always loved to race here,” he said. “That’s why it’s a bit sad that this should be the last edition of the race, but I have to admit that I also really like Donington: I’ve won there too already….”