Ferrari's woes

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    Ferrari's woes

    Post by Ross on 3rd March 2009, 01:02

    It is safe for me to presume that if you are a Ferrari fan, you will not be very at-ease at this moment in time. You won't be as confident as this time last year, or in fact, the the year before, because we all know that 'sand-bagging' is rarely the case at Ferrari.

    Now any Formula 1 fan could tell you that testing isn't an accurate benchmark to go by, but it's reliable enough to bring hope, or in this case - pessimism. I've said all along that Ferrari will be fighting an uphill battle in 2009, one reminiscent of that in '05, and we all know how that turned out...

    The car has proven unreliable, particularly the KERS, and the team, although putting a brave face on things and suggesting that they are 'confident' that the system will be ready for Melbourne, will no doubt be monitoring very closely the progress of the latest FIA-spec contraption, particularly those of McLaren and BMW.

    Ferrari have traditionally broken away from the pack and jetted off to long-haul destinations with sunnier climes during the winter, most notable Bahrain, and their first European test of 2009 outside of their own Mugello circuit has begun this week in Jerez. They are joined there by Toyota, BMW, Williams, Force India, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault, and straight away Felipe Massa was completely destroyed by Red Bull's resurging Sebastian Vettel, who lapped a full 1.3secs quicker.

    To make matters worse for Ferrari, the heavens opened up on Sunday night and they woke to rivers of water for day two of testing. This resulted in the team sitting out the entire day, while all other teams battled on through the downpour. As it stands, Ferrari have a comparatively low winter-testing mileage, and Red Bull have come to the fore, with McLaren, Renault and BMW Sauber all lingering.

    It's also worth noting that if there was to be an air of confidence in the Ferrari garage, it would be surrounding Kimi Raikkonen. Throughout 2009 Ferrari have assessed what is so different between the F2007 and F2008 that made Raikkonen struggle so much, and have slowly pieced it together. The F60 has been built around the 2007 champion.

    This is clear from the Bahrain test alone:

    Day one - Glock takes quickly to Toyota's new car and puts it at the top of the three car leaderboard. Massa is second, 0.1secs behind.

    Day two - Sandstorms disrupt running and cut the day short, Massa tops timesheets by a whole nine tenths of a second from Kubica, suggesting that no meaningful running was made, and tyre and fuel strategies were very different.

    Day four - After sandstorms mean the track is shut the day before, Raikkonen uses his first day to effect - he goes 0.1secs quicker than Trulli.

    Day five - the anomaly, Kimi 0.2secs behind Klien.

    Day six - Raikkonen back on top, 0.1secs quicker than Trulli.

    Day seven - Massa returns to the cockpit, Glock is now over four tenths of a second quicker.

    Day eight - Massa on top.

    Massa lead the timesheets for 2 of the 4 days he completed, yet the outcome of day two's running accounted for nul. Raikkonen meanwhile, led two of his three days, and where Massa described his test as 'good', Kimi found the car 'fantastic' and the test 'excellent'. Long words from such a quiet man.

    Theoretically, Massa should feel safer and be more competitive on the new slick tyres, yet Raikkonen is making the most from their grip, and countering his hate of understeer by making adjustments aerodynamically. Massa is the opposite, as he prefers grip and will make more of an understeering car that is more stable. Something in the new F60 is getting in the way, and Massa seems to be finding it alot more difficult to get the balance of his Ferrari more to his liking. It's a worry.

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