Tag Archives: Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen to rejoin Ferrari in 2014

After months of speculation, it has finally been announced that Kimi Raikkonen is to rejoin the Ferrari team for the 2014 season.

The Finn has reportedly signed a 2-year contract, and will partner Fernando Alonso in the 2014 and 2015 campaigns. He replaces Felipe Massa, who served an 8-year stint with the team.

Despite being uncerimoniously booted out of the Scuderia 4 years ago, this move appeared to be inevitable over the last few days. With Massa’s departure yesterday, the stage was set for two world champions to be driving for Ferrari at the same time since Alberto Ascari and Nino Farina in 1953.

It is also understood that the Finn holds a 12-month “break” option in his contract, which may be used if his return to Ferrari doesn’t go as well as expected…

Felipe Massa confirms his departure from Ferrari

Felipe Massa has announced that he will not be driving for Ferrari after this season.

The Brazilian made his statement on his Twitter page this evening, all but confirming that Kimi Raikkonen is set to join the Scuderia, after departing in awkward circumstances back in 2009.

Massa has spent 8 years with the squad, serving as a supporting driver to Michael Schumacher in 2006, before partnering Raikkonen from 2007 onwards. In 2008 he mounted an impressive title challenge, but several unforced errors throughout the year saw him  pipped to the post at the very last race by Lewis Hamilton.

2009 saw his infamous accident at the Hungaroring, and he has never been the same since. A harsh team order at the Hockenheimring a year later crushed his morale further.

It is unknown what Massa will do now that he has left a top team. If he wishes to stay in F1, he may make a drop to a midfield team, like Sauber, who he made his debut with back in 2002.

Vettel takes dominant Canadian Grand Prix win

Sebastian Vettel has taken a crushingly dominant victory today, winning the Canadian Grand Prix and extending his championship points lead.

Fernando Alonso recovered from 6th on the grid to take 2nd by the chequered flag, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Further behind, Valtteri Bottas couldn’t hold his position in the race, while Paul di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne had exceptional afternoons.

At the start, Vettel made a good getaway, while Valtteri Bottas was surrounded by the first corner. Mark Webber pounced on the Williams first, then Fernando Alonso sliced his way past soon after.

The top 5 – Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso – were in a class of their own, immidiately pulling away from the rest of the field, and effectively setting up a separate Grand Prix. Jean-Eric Vergne led the rest of the pack, after putting a move on Bottas on Lap 6.

Adrian Sutil then tried to make a move on the young Finn, but promptly spun in the middle of Turn 3, forcing several drivers to take evasive action.

Kimi Raikkonen’s race pace failed to materialise. After failing to make considerable progress at the start, he got sandwiched in between Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa in the opening stint.

Up front, Mercedes decided to split strategies between their two drivers, with Hamilton taking the medium compounds for his second stint, while Nico Rosberg took on the super-softs. Hamilton was aiming for a 1-stop race, as proved when he stayed out 6 laps longer than Vettel in the first stint.

Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil did battle for 12th place. Their duel lasted for nearly 10 laps, with the Ferrari making every possible attempt to get past. Eventually, Felipe put a move on the Force India, and entered the battle for a points-scoring position.

Mark Webber was embroiled in a similar battle with Nico Rosberg, but the Red Bull’s high downforce setup was crippling him on the straights. Alonso soon caught up behind, and both drivers put a move on the Mercedes on Lap 32. Nico was instructed to conserve his tyres until the end of the race, and slipped back from the Red Bull and Ferrari.

Webber’s race was dealt a swift blow soon after though, as he clashed with backmarker Giedo van der Garde. The Caterham driver ignored blue flags entering the hairpin, and turned into Mark at the apex, damaging Webber’s front wing and putting the Dutchman back to front.

Despite doing his best to catch Hamilton instead, he was instead caught by Alonso behind, and was powerless to prevent the Ferrari diving down the inside of Turn 1 to take 3rd place.

Paul di Resta had made the option to start on the harder tyres at the start, and it paid off – he was as high as 7th during the race, and managed to drag 57 laps out of the prime tyre before he made his only stop.

It took until Lap 48 for the first retirement of the day, with Nico Hulkenberg clashing with Giedo van der Garde. The safety car was almost deployed due to the Caterham stopping out on track, but luckily for Vettel only double-waved yellows were shown. Sebastian made a rare mistake late in the race, slipping wide at Turn 1 and losing a few seconds, but had such a massive lead it didn’t even matter.

Felipe Massa continued his recovery after a dismal qualifying, and after an eventful battle with Adrian Sutil, dispatched of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen in the final few laps to take 8th place.

Hamilton’s second place came under threat in the final stint, with the ever-threatening Alonso hunting down the Mercedes. Adrian Sutil didn’t help proceedings, ignoring blue flags and holding up the Mercedes, costing Lewis precious seconds. With 5 laps to go, Alonso put a pass on Hamilton to snatch 2nd place.

Up front, Vettel was totally unchallenged, leading by 20 seconds until the chequered flag. Alonso and Hamilton completed the podium, with Webber and Rosberg falling back in the last stint. Jean-Eric Vergne was anonymous all race, but held on for an excellent 6th place, ahead of Paul di Resta. Massa and the two Lotuses completed the top 10.

Alonso has taken 2nd place in the championship off Kimi Raikkonen, but now lies 36 points off leader Vettel.

Canadian Grand Prix Friday practice: Alonso, Mercedes and Red Bull all looking strong

Fernando Alonso has set the fastest time in Friday practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard battled it out with the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers for top spot, and it is still unclear if any team is a clear favourite for this weekend.

First practice

Extreme rain last night meant that the track was soaked come Friday morning. Plans to run Pirelli’s experimental harder tyres were put on hold, as drivers ventured out on the wet tyres.

Over the session, more switched to the intermediates, and eventually slicks with 20 minutes to go.

The main incident of the session was Pastor Maldonado crashing his Williams with 5 minutes to go. He got his entry wrong into Turn 3, spun and slammed head-first into the barriers, putting out the yellow flags for several minutes. Mark Webber is under investigation for potentially speeding at this yellow flag zone.

Jules Bianchi also spun at the same point, but he didn’t hit the barrier. However, an overheating engine quickly put an end to his day.

Paul di Resta ended up on top, after setting an impressive time on his final attempt. Alexander Rossi made his first appearance in a Formula 1 car, and was reportedly delighted after his experience.

Times from FP1:

Pos Driver                Team                      Time      Gap     Laps
 1. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes      1:21.020          10
 2. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes          1:21.108  +0.088  20
 3. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault             1:21.258  +0.238  21
 4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                   1:21.308  +0.288  16
 5. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault             1:21.608  +0.588  22
 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1:22.068  +1.048  18
 7. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                  1:22.402  +1.382  22
 8. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes          1:22.587  +1.567  17
 9. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault          1:23.047  +2.027  26
10. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault          1:23.131  +2.111  16
11. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                   1:23.341  +2.321  13
12. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault          1:23.352  +2.332  17
13. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1:23.386  +2.366  19
14. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes      1:23.417  +2.397  19
15. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari            1:23.957  +2.937  33
16. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                  1:25.054  +4.034  21
17. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari            1:25.354  +4.334  22
18. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault          1:25.753  +4.733  21
19. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth         1:25.821  +4.801  19
20. Alexander Rossi       Caterham-Renault          1:27.143  +6.123  20
21. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault          1:27.522  +6.502  11
22. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth         1:29.306  +8.286   8

Second practice

The second session saw a topsy-turvy battle between Alonso, Webber, Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Hamilton, with all of the aforementioned drivers taking top spot at different times.

After initial runs on the Pirelli development tyre, most drivers took a stint each on the medium and super-soft tyres. Alonso’s best time of 1:14.818 was slightly faster than Lewis Hamilton behind.

Brief rainfall saw a quiet end to the session, with most teams opting to finish FP2 on heavy fuel loads. Jenson Button’s session was ended prematurely, as his gearbox continually selected neutral, and eventually failed.

Times from FP2:

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time      Gap     Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1:14.818          48
 2.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1:14.830  +0.012  45
 3.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1:15.083  +0.265  40
 4.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1:15.212  +0.394  46
 5.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1:15.249  +0.431  46
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1:15.254  +0.436  43
 7.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1:15.280  +0.462  41
 8.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1:15.396  +0.578  43
 9.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1:15.422  +0.604  29
10.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:15.566  +0.748  38
11.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1:15.599  +0.781  35
12.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1:15.661  +0.843  39
13.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1:15.855  +1.037  22
14.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1:16.319  +1.501  46
15.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:16.351  +1.533  38
16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1:16.374  +1.556  40
17.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:16.475  +1.657  45
18.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1:16.929  +2.111  35
19.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1:17.070  +2.252  41
20.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1:17.236  +2.418  35
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1:17.888  +3.070  45
22.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1:18.392  +3.574  39

Ferrari also to be investigated over tyre testing debacle

The FIA is to include Ferrari in its investigation of in-season testing performed by Pirelli this season.

The only form of in-season testing as of now is straight-line aero tests, up to 4 promotional runs, and any young driver sessions that take place during the year. However, Pirelli and Mercedes have recently come under fire for undertaking 1,000km of testing after the Spanish Grand Prix.

However, Ferrari have now been included in this ever-heatening debate, after it emerged that they also performed a test session with Pirelli after the Bahrain Grand Prix. Both teams will now be forced to report to the FIA on the matter. It must be noted, though, that Ferrari were using their 2011 car instead of Mercedes’ 2013 model.

In a press conference today, Pirelli claimed that they had notified the teams of potential testing in 2013, but few of them had taken note. They also stated that they were not using their 2013 compounds, and Mercedes were not aware what type of tyre they were running on their car.

Whatever the result, it is clear that this saga will only generate more controversy and surprise as the season goes on.

Fernando Alonso dominates Spanish Grand Prix, while Mercedes crumble

Fernando Alonso has taken a commanding victory at the Circuit de Catalunya, taking an emphatic win in front of his home crowd. The Spaniard picked off Sebastian Vettel at the first set of stops, then quickly dealt with Nico Rosberg to assume control at the front, and never looked back.

The Mercedes drivers had an utterly torrid afternoon, only going backwards after the race began. Rosberg somehow held off 5 different drivers for the first stint, but was then swarmed by Alonso, Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in a series of corners. After that, he slid further down the order, and never challenged the frontrunners again.

Lewis Hamilton suffered even more, losing positions as early as lap 1. He finished the race in a miserable 12th place, getting lapped just before the end to inflict even more pain. He angrily exclaimed “I just got passed by a Williams” and “I can’t drive any slower” during the race, demonstrating how poor Mercedes’ race pace still is.

Vettel and Raikkonen proved to be Alonso’s only challengers this afternoon. Vettel held off the Ferrari in the opening stint, but could do no more as his Red Bull suffered adversely from heavy tyre wear. Raikkonen showed potential, briefly taking the lead on a different strategy, but couldn’t extract the raw pace to catch Fernando. He finished 2nd, ahead of Felipe Massa, leaping up from 9th at the start, and taking advantage of an early pit stop on lap 9 to obtain his first podium of the year.

Mark Webber had another atrocious start, falling all the way down to 12th by the first lap, but like Massa he took advantage of an early first stop to move up the field. Nevertheless, he never looked remotely on the pace, and 5th place was quite lucky in retrospect.

Paul di Resta took an impressive 7th-placed finish, and even put Rosberg under considerable pressure in the final laps. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were 8th and 9th, but Perez was left fuming after he was instructed not to pass Jenson in the final laps. Daniel Ricciardo took the final point, after a brief scare where he was being caught by Esteban Gutierrez.

Nico Hulkenberg had a race to forget. He pitted 4 times for tyres, once for front wing damage after a clash in the pit lane, and a stop-go penalty for said incident. 

With this result, Alonso moves to within 17 points of Vettel, but Kimi Raikkonen is only 4 points off the lead. Felipe Massa overtakes Mark Webber for 5th, and it has become crystal clear that Lewis Hamilton has effectively dropped out of the title race.

Fernando Alonso takes dominant win in Chinese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso is the third driver to win a race in the 2013 season so far, crushing his opposition to secure the win at today’s Chinese Grand Prix. He took the lead from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton in the opening laps, and utilised the Ferrari’s excellent race pace to build a gap to his rivals.

Sebastian Vettel drove a fine race, using a vastly different strategy to leap up to 4th by the chequered flag, after starting 9th. In the closing laps, he put Hamilton under extreme pressure, but was unable to steal the podium spot.

At the start, Hamilton held the lead into the first corner, while the Ferraris slotted into 2nd and 3rd easily, with Kimi Raikkonen going backwards after his front row start. However, the Mercedes clearly lacked raceday pace, and was easy prey for Alonso and Massa by lap 5.

Fernando got to work on building an unassailable lead, while disappointment was to befall Massa, who pitted one lap too late to ditch his option tyres, and fell down the order, which he never recovered from.

Nico Hulkenberg put on a fine display in the first half of the race, leading proceedings after the frontrunners had pitted. Still on the medium tyres he started on, the Sauber driver managed to hold off Vettel – who also hadn’t stopped – for an entire stint.

Mark Webber pitted on the first lap to ditch the volatile softer compound tyre, but a miserable weekend only got worse on race day. Attempting to pass Jean-Eric Vergne at turn 4, the two clashed, with Vergne’s race ruined and Webber under investigation by the stewards. A broken front wing, botched pit stop, and subsequent wheel falling off sealed his fate.

There was almost a safety car early on, as Esteban Gutierrez ploughed into the back of Adrian Sutil at the end of the back straight. Gutierrez, who misjudged his braking point with DRS engaged, put both cars out of the race, and is also to be inquired by the stewards.

While the majority of drivers opted for a 3-stop strategy, Jenson Button pulled off a clean and consistent 2-stopper en route to a commendable 5th place. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez continued to disappoint in the sister McLaren, clashing with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen early on, and finishing only 11th overall.

Raikkonen and Hamilton had no answer to Alonso’s dominative drive, and began to squabble amongst themselves for the final two podium places. After several changes of position early on, Raikkonen held off the Mercedes until the chequered flag. Lewis came under massive pressure from Vettel in the final laps – being caught at over 3 seconds per lap – but a small mistake at turn 11 ruined Sebastian’s chances of gaining 3rd on the last lap.

Nico Rosberg had lost out in qualifying, and a failure of the anti-roll bar on lap 22 ended any chances of a good finish for the 2nd Mercedes driver.

Daniel Ricciardo earned significant praise for his performances, taking a career-best 7th position. Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg finished off the top 10.

Alonso’s pace was completely unmatched until Vettel’s option tyre rampage in the dying laps, and he crossed the finish line with a comfortable 10 second gap to Raikkonen behind. While it’s early days yet, it seems like today’s top 4 finishers will be battling away all season long for the drivers’ championship.

Legendary engineer Rory Byrne to return to Ferrari for 2014 car

Rory Byrne, the mastermind behind Ferrari’s dominative cars between 2000 and 2004, as well as Benneton’s efforts in the 1990s, is to return to the Ferrari squad for the 2014 season.

Between himself and Adrian Newey, the two engineers have designed every single championship-winning F1 car since 1993. Byrne has designed every car that Michael Schumacher has won races in, and has been spotted around the Ferrari factory in recent weeks. The team confirmed yesterday that the 69-year-old will return to design their 2014 car.

Because of the huge rule changes coming for the 2014 season, Ferrari have split their design team in two – Fabio Montecchi leading the 2014 team, and Simone Resta currently working on this year’s F138. It is unsure what role Byrne will play in the design team, but we can only expect that his arrival will have a huge impact on the squad.

Ferrari launch F138 in Maranello

Ferrari revealed their 2013 challenger, called the F138, in team headquarters in Maranello today.

Visually, the most noticeable addition is the FIA-approved modesty panel to the front nosecone, overall improving the look of the car. Otherwise, it’s a case of evolution over revolution, as Ferrari attempt to start the year more consistently than they did 2012.

The name F138 is a reference to both the current year, and the final use of the V8 engines in Formula 1.

Technical

Ferrari have taken the risky option of splitting their development team into two – one half working on the F138, and the other half already getting started on the 2014 machine.

Pullrod suspension has been retained at both ends of the car, a move that has been copied by other teams this year.

The air intakes and sidepods have been adjusted to allow for modifications at the rear, most likely in the form of revised exhausts.

Testing schedule

Felipe Massa will debut the F138 at Jerez on the 5th-8th February, with Alonso missing the first test entirely.

The Spaniard will then return on the 19th at the Circuit de Catalunya to complete aerodynamic checks at the second test.

Ferrari intentionally give Massa gearbox penalty to hand Alonso 7th, on clean side of Austin grid

A late gearbox penalty for Felipe Massa has dropped him down to 11th on the grid for the Grand Prix of America.  Crucially, this means that Fernando Alonso has been elevated to 7th on the grid – the clean side of the track.

Rival teams have reacted with fury, as Ferrari attempt to give Alonso every advantage possible, after a disastrous weekend so far for the Italian squad.

Ferrari didn’t even need to actually change the gearbox on Massa’s car – they simply broke the seal on top of it.

It remains to be seen will Red Bull attempt a similar situation with Mark Webber, but it is highly doubtful, knowing the Aussie.

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