Tag Archives: Ferrari

Massa retained by Ferrari until end of 2013

After an impressive performance last weekend that saw him take his first podium in 2 years, Felipe Massa has signed on with Ferrari for one additional year.

An extremely brief team announcement read as follows:

Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its contract with the driver Felipe 
Massa to the end of the 2013 race season. The Scuderia’s driver line-up for next year 
is therefore made up of Fernando Alonso and the aforementioned Felipe Massa."

Rumours have continued to circulate that Sebastian Vettel is poised to join the team in 2014, but president Luca di Montezemelo has recently rubbished those claims.

2013 will be Massa’s 8th year at the team, having joined at the start of the 2006 season alongside Michael Schumacher.

Alonso problem revealed as broken rear anti-roll bar

Fernando Alonso struggled to make an impression in today’s qualifying session.

Later, the Ferrari team revealed on Twitter that the problem had been caused by a broken rear anti-roll bar:

It looks like there was a mechanical failure on the rear of Fernando's car, possibly 
the rear anti-roll bar.

Later, team principal Stefano Domenicali noted that the fault occurred during Fernando’s first lap in Q3.

Alonso will start 10th on the grid, with teammate Felipe Massa up in 3rd.

Alonso takes dominative victory at Hockenheim

Fernando Alonso has taken his 3rd victory of 2012, as he continues to assert his authority over the rest of the field. The Ferrari driver crushed the opposition, dominating the race from start to finish. Sebastian Vettel pipped Jenson Button to 2nd on the second-last lap, but is under imvestigation for an illegal pass.

The Saubers took 5th and 6th places, taking an alternate strategy, while Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton all suffered disastrous races. Here is what happened:Fernan

At the start, Alonso held his lead against Vettel, while Nico Hulkenberg defended against Michael Schumacher. First-lap carnage resulted in Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean all pitting for repairs.

Lewis Hamilton had slipped down to 10th, and it soon became clear why – his rear left tyre was flat, and the McLaren crawled back to the pits.

The Saubers were 10th and 11th, and Kamui Kobayashi made a brave move on Perez. However, he appeared to hand the place back several laps later. Once clear, he moved past Paul di Resta for 9th. Meanwhile, Hamilton continued to complain of a damaged car, but still set times comparable to the frontrunners.

Teammate Button was making progress, taking Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher in a matter of laps. By the first set of stops, he was comfortably 3rd, and being told that he could win the race.

Further back, champions Raikkonen and Schumacher went wheel-to-wheel, the Mercedes driver making a daring move, passing the Lotus for 5th. However, he failed the pace to stay ahead, and was re-passes several laps later.

After pitting, Mark Webber was released into 11th position. He struggled on the prime tyres, taking his time passing Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta, both of which were off the pace. He tried a move on Kamui Kobayashi, but the Sauber driver defended his position well.

The battle for the lead began to materialise, with Vettel closing in on Alonso, and Button keeping a wary eye on the two, 5 seconds down the road. Interestingly, the lapped Lewis Hamilton began to come into play.

Going faster than the Ferrari or Red Bull, Hamilton passed Vettel on the straight, to the annoyance of Sebastian. Soon after, he was all over the back of Alonso, who didn’t feel the need to let him past. This allowed the top 3 to bunch up before the second round of pit stops.

Button was the first of the trio, taking on the primes once again. Both Alonso and Vettel pitted in response to the McLaren, but Jenson’s move had already placed him in 2nd place.

While Hamilton had passed the leaders, and assisted Button in his battle, he had run out of steam himself. Pushing for so long had ruined his 1-stop strategy, and was forced to pit from 16th place. With 10 laps to go, he gave up, and pulled into the garage to reture. Meanwhile, Webber was having a similarly torrid afternoon, stuck in 10th place and not going anywhere.

The Caterhams duelled for 20th place at the hairpin, with Heikki Kovalainen eventually winning out.

Up front, Fernando held firm against the McLaren’s charge, and soon Vettel began to hassle Button for 2nd place. With heavily worn tyres, he couldn’t stop Vettel’s assault, although the Red Bull took to the run-off area to take the position – something that may be investigated by the stewards.

While this battle was going on, Alonso had pushed out a sizeable lead, and comfortably took the chequered flag, having dominated the whole race. Vettel led home Button by 3 seconds, while Kimi Raikkonen’s 3-stop strategy failed to pay off.

Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez impressed with 5th and 6th for Sauber, taking different tyre strategies to the rest of the field. Michael Schumacher, running a 3-stopper, chased them down at the end, but was forced to settle for 7th. Webber was a disappointing 8th, while Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg concluded the top 10.

Alonso now leads the driver’s championship by 34 points to Webber, with Vettel only 2 points behind his teammate. Kimi Raikkonen, with 95 points, is now ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Alonso takes commanding pole position in soaked qualifying

Fernando Alonso will start from pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver mastered the wet conditions, beating his rivals by nearly half a second.

The Red Bulls were 2nd and 3rd, but Mark Webber has incurred a gearbox penalty, and will drop to 8th place. Michael Schumacher impressed for most of the session, eventually taking 4th. The McLarens struggled in Q3, while Felipe Massa languished back in 14th. Here is what happened:

Q1

With the threat of rain imminent, most drivers went straight out onto the track as the session began.

Fernando Aonso was first fastest with a 1:16.7, but the two McLarens went faster by several tenths, with Hamilton leading the charge.

Both Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean were informed that their laps were negated, as they took advantage of the run-off area at turn 1. It didn’t faze Vettel though, as the Red Bull moved up from 15th to 5th.

As Hamilton improved on his time by 0.1 seconds, and was joined by Kamui Kobayashi, the imminent rain clouds convinced most drivers to conclude their runs early. Kimi Raikkonen was one of the few to stay out, slashing over half a second off Lewis’ time, still on the medium tyre.

Several off-track excursions left Grosjean in the drop zone, but the Lotus driver moved into 12th place with 2 minutes to go.

Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg went 2nd and 3rd, pushing Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber near the drop zone. Incredibly, both them and Vettel struggled massively trying to improve – the Red Bulls only 10th and 13th, and Schumacher jumping up to 17th in a last-gasp lap.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:16.741

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:17.620

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:18.531

21) Charles Pic – 1:19.220

22) Timo Glock – 1:19.291

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:19.912

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:20.230

Q2

As expected, the rain fell for Q2, and intermediates were the way to go.

The conditons caught out most of the drivers, particularly Romain Grosjean, who slipped and slided across the track lap after lap. The rain got worse as the session continued, so those who set their laps early were at an advantage. This left Hamilton and Schumacher comfortably on top.

However, the worsening conditions caught out several top names, particularly Grosjean and Felipe Massa.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.789

12) Sergio Perez – 1:39.933

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:39.985

14) Felipe Massa – 1:40.215

15) Romain Grosjean – 1:40.574

16) Bruno Senna – 1:40.752

17) Nico Rosberg – 1:41.551

Q3

The rain eased slightly for Q3, but the two McLaren cars exited the pits still on full wets. A spot of standing water caught out Nico Hulkenberg on the back straight, the Force India spinning into the gravel trap, but managing to keep going.

Fernando Alonso’s 1:44.7 put him on top, until Vettel pipped that time by a single tenth. Hamilton was set to challenge for top spot, but nearly lost the McLaren at turn 8.

On his next lap, Lewis improved on Sebastian’s time by half a second. Schumacher then took an astonishing 1.7 seconds off that, but Vettel swiftly retook the top spot.

Mark Webber then took another half second off that time, then Alonso slashed another 0.7 seconds off the fastest time. Entering the final lap, Vettel and Webber moved within several tenths of the Ferrari, while Schumacher remained 4th. As the McLarens timed their last laps poorly, they were unable to challenge the frontrunners, leaving Alonso to improve again on his time, and take a commanding pole position.

Nico Hulkenberg took a career-best position of 5th place, with Pastor Maldonado just behind. Button and Hamilton were 7th and 8th, with Di Resta and Raikkonen finishing up the top 10.

Since Mark Webber has incurred a gearbox penalty, he will drop 5 places to 8th place.

Webber to stay with Red Bull through 2013

Webber has turned down a switch to Ferrari

Webber has turned down a switch to Ferrari

After his recent victory at the British Grand Prix, Mark Webber has announced that he will stay on at Red Bull until at least 2013.

Webber admitted that he had held discussions over moving to Ferrari, but felt that staying with the Milton Keynes squad was the right choice.

Since joinin Red Bull in 2007, Mark has achieved 10 pole positions, 9 wins and 31 podium finishes. He currently lies second in the driver’s championship, 16 points off Fernando Alonso, and 13 ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

In an announcement today, Webber stated:

"I’ve been with Red Bull Racing since 2007 and have achieved nine Grand Prix wins 
during that time. I’m high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders. 
I know the team well and I’m very comfortable here; we have grown together over 
the years and it feels like absolutely the right thing to stay with Red Bull for 
another season.

The team is constantly working hard to improve in all areas and we’ve shown that 
together we can win races. It’s great to be able to make this announcement off 
the back of the win in Silverstone at the weekend and I’m looking forward to 
competing on the edge and pushing myself in every race again next season.

There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here.

Obviously with Seb [Vettel], we’ve worked very, very close together for a long 
period of time now. I think no-one would really have envisaged how long we have 
worked together, so that’s probably been a bit of a surprise.

There are not many team-mates staying together for that long in Formula One, but 
it’s proved to be a successful partnership with both of us working very hard with 
the key technical members of the team. It’s been a potent operation.

We’re still competitive when we hit the track, no question about it, especially 
in 2010 and this year. Last year there wasn’t much racing between Sebastian and 
I, but in 2009, 2010 and this year, there have been some great battles.

That’s been enjoyable for the team, sometimes stressful too as it’s not easy for 
both of us to be at the front and I can understand that, as both of us are 
thinking about ourselves sometimes, but ultimately we know that we need to get 
the cars home and get the best results for us and the team."

 

Unstoppable Alonso takes emotional Valencia victory

Fernando Alonso has taken the victory in a dramatic European Grand Prix.

Despite starting 11th, the Ferrari driver blitzed his way up the field, and took full advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s woes to dominate to the flag. The Lotuses were in contention all race long, but Romain Grosjean retired with a mechanical issue, although Kimi Raikkonen inherited 2nd after a safety car period.

Michael Schumacher took his first podium since his F1 return, while Mark Webber sliced up the field from 19th to 4th. Lewis Hamilton was set for a podium finish, but clashed with Pastor Maldonado with only 2 laps to go. Here is what happened:

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

At the start, Vettel held his lead comfortably, while Kamui Kobayashi and Romain Grosjean made good progress. The Ferraris made good progress from the midfield, with both Massa and Alonso moving into the top 10.

While Grosjean harassed Hamilton for 2nd place, Vettel began to pull out an astonishing lead, at over 2 seconds per lap. Jenson Button lost 3 places at the start, but passed Michael Schumacher on lap 3 for 12th place.

It quickly became clear that the Mercedes drivers were struggling to keep their tyres cool. Both Rosberg and Schumacher began to slide down the order.

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

By lap 10, Grosjean had had enough of staring at the McLaren’s diffuser. He pulled an incredible move on Lewis at turns 12 and 13, to take 2nd place.

Both the leader and Romain pitted on lap 17, the gap having been extended to over 15 seconds. Further back, Schumacher decided to stay out, and formed an enormous queue of cars behind him – at one point, there were 9 cars all battling for position.

This type of action was always going to end in tears. Kamui Kobayashi attempted to squeeze past Bruno Senna, but tipped the Williams into a spin. Senna suffered a puncture and broken front wing, while Kobayashi sustained minor damage. The stewards decided that Bruno was to blame for turning in on the Sauber, and handed him a drive-through penalty.

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Vettel’s lead had extended to over 20 seconds, when the first of several incidents unravelled his race. A clash between Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo brought out the safety car, and reduced the Red Bull’s lead to dust.

On the restart, an unknown car failure caused Sebastian to coast to a halt, throwing away what was an almost certain victory.

This left Grosjean in the lead, albeit briefly. Fernando made a sensational move on the Lotus into turn 1, and inherited the lead after the Red Bull’s retirement.

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

To make matters worse, Romain was next to fall prey to mechanical issues, suffering a driveshaft failure.

Amidst all the drama, Vitaly Petrov had made progress up to 10th place in the Caterham. However, he was quickly swamped by Schumacher and Webber, and later clashed with the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo. He slipped to 13th, ahead of his teammate.

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

As the race entered its final few laps, Kimi Raikkonen closed right up behind Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren’s tyres were swiftly falling apart, and an extremely slow pit stop during the safety car period had ruined his chances of the race win. With this, Kimi pushed his way past, and moved into 2nd place.

With his tyres fading fast, Hamilton was now a prime target for Pastor Maldonado. He took to the run-off area to make a move, but smashed into the side of Lewis’ car with only 2 laps to go. Hamilton was out on the spot, and was absolutely furious. Maldonado continued on with no front wing, but slipped to 10th position.

But, the drama still wasn’t over. Only a few laps after passing Petrov for 10th, Michael Schumacher had sliced 10 seconds out of the leaders’ gap, and blasted his way into 3rd place. Mark Webber had recovered brilliantly from his 19th grid spot to take 4th position.

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

Despite this, there was no stopping Fernando Alonso. After crossing the line, he pulled over in one of the most emotional and memorable celebrations in recent history. He stopped on track, celebrated with the fans and stewards, and laid a Spanish flag across the track.

He delayed the podium celebrations considerably, but nobody was complaining. With this win, Alonso has now streaked into the lead of the driver’s championship, and has considerable momentum going into the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Canadian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren nearly cost Hamilton dearly

Formula 1 has set another record – this time it’s 7 different race winners in a row from the start of the season. If this goes on for another two races, then it will be an all-time record for consecutive winners.

But, we were very close to not seeing this new record at all. As viewers noticed on Sunday, McLaren very nearly ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race win…

Another close shave for McLaren

McLaren’s strategy call of a 2-stopper was always going to be risky, considering how well others could conserve their tyres. However, the team appeared to massively underestimate their opponents.

On the pit radio, they stated that they believed that Vettel and Alonso could not one-stop. This risky call grew more and more doubtful, as the duo continued to stay out.

By the time they had realised their mistake, Lewis had a lot of time to make up. Luckily, he was up to the task, and snatched victory in the dying laps. But, even after the Red Bull and Ferrari, Hamilton was lucky Grosjean didn’t win the race.

By falling behind Paul di Resta at the start, the Frenchman lost about 10 seconds, and a (mathemeatically) probable victory. Fortunately for McLaren, his start-line mistake spared their blushes.

Radical Ferrari back on track

A risky strategy left Fernando Alonso in control of the race – and he nearly held it to the end.

The F2012 is already a far cry from the dangerous beast that thrashed its way through the corners in Melbourne. The deficit to the frontrunners was slashed in half a few races ago, and thanks to Fernando’s pace, the Maranello squad are back in contention for race wins.

Unfortunately, this is only the case for one of their drivers. Felipe Massa qualified and started close to his teammate, but ultimately fell prey to the track’s challenging Turn 1.

Still, it has become clear that Ferrari are back in the title hunt. When Alonso led the championship after Malaysia, it was called a miracle. For that to still happen only 5 races later is simply incredible.

HRT’s dash for glory falls short

As the midfield and frontrunners become increasingly assimilated, the trailing three teams lead exceptionally lonely races.

Last weekend, it appeared as if HRT were aiming to change that – albeit briefly. Pedro de la Rosa ran well all throughout Friday practice, qualifying and the start of the race. So much so, in fact, that he was leading the Marussias, Caterhams, and even Bruno Senna.

Clearly, there was more to it than it first appeared. Rumours from the paddock have been circulating that HRT deliberately underfuelled their cars, knowing that their brakes wouldn’t last the distance.

Their suspicions were correct, as De la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan retired within two laps of each other with brake failures.

Still, their possible plan to get some attention appears to have worked. While this strategy won’t be confirmed by the team, it is more than likely it occurred, since De la Rosa was only 2 seconds a lap slower than the leaders before he retired.

Points standings after Monaco Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Fernando Alonso 76
2 Sebastian Vettel 73
3 Mark Webber 73
4 Lewis Hamilton  63
5 Nico Rosberg 59
6 Kimi Raikkonen 51
7 Jenson Button  45
8 Romain Grosjean  35
9 Pastor Maldonado 29
10 Sergio Perez  22
11 Paul di Resta  21
12 Kamui Kobayashi 19
13 Bruno Senna  15
14 Felipe Massa  10
15 Nico Hulkenberg  7
16 Jean-Eric Vergne  4
17 Daniel Ricciardo  2
18 Michael Schumacher  2
19 Timo Glock  0
20 Charles Pic  0
21 Vitaly Petrov  0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 146
2 McLaren-Mercedes 108
3 Ferrari 86
4 Lotus-Renault 86
5 Mercedes AMG 61
6 Williams-Renault 44
7 Sauber-Ferrari 41
8 Force India-Mercedes 28
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10 Caterham-Renault 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0


Alonso tops shortened Monaco first practice

Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari on top in Thursday practice 1 today.

The session was red flagged with 10 minutes to go, after Heikki Kovalainen’s engine blew. With the racing line covered in oil, no more running was completed.

Michael Schumacher’s session was cut short, after damaging his car at the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane. He suffered front wing and wheel cap damage.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen didn’t set a fast lap at all, the Lotus team opting to adjust the steering on his car.

Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean initially traded fastest laps, but it was a 1:16.265 for Alonso that put him on top.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:16.265            22
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:16.630  +0.365   17
 3.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:16.711  +0.446   19
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:16.747  +0.482   12
 5.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:16.760  +0.495   20
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:16.843  +0.578   19
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:17.038  +0.773   21
 8.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:17.190  +0.925   13
 9.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:17.222  +0.957   14
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:17.261  +0.996   18
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:17.413  +1.148   14
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:17.631  +1.366   18
13.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:18.106  +1.841   14
14.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.209  +1.944   25
15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.252  +1.987   28
16.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:18.302  +2.037   16
17.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:18.617  +2.352   20
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:19.039  +2.774   20
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:19.341  +3.076   16
20.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:20.838  +4.573   26
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:20.895  +4.630   18
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:21.638  +5.373    9
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:22.423  +6.158   15
24.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         N/A       N/A       1

Alonso leads Spanish first practice for first time in 2012

Alonso put Ferrari on top

Alonso put Ferrari on top

Fernando Alonso gave Ferrari their first top spot in an official F1 session this year.

The Spaniard pleased the home crowd with a 1:24.430. Sebastian Vettel briefly went fastest after the first half hour, but settled for 2nd, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.

McLaren ran a new higher nose on their MP4-27, with Jenson Button 4th and Lewis Hamilton 8th, the latter complaining of understeer on his car. Button lamented that it was difficult to turn the tyres up to temperature.

Valtteri Bottas was 5th, over a second ahead of Pastor Maldonado back in 17th. Force India ran a batch of new updates, with Nico Hulkenberg entering the top 10. Jules Bianchi took over the second car, ending the session in 18th place.

Alexander Rossi tested for Caterham, his first F1 practice session, and ended up 21st, a second behind Vitaly Petrov. Dani Clos drove for HRT, and was 2.5 seconds off Pedro de la Rosa.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:24.430           20
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:24.808  +0.378   18
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:24.912  +0.482   28
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:24.996  +0.566   24
 5.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1:25.120  +0.690   24
 6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:25.187  +0.757   15
 7.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:25.217  +0.787   16
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:25.252  +0.822   20
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:25.285  +0.855   29
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:25.339  +0.909   24
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:25.367  +0.937   22
12.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:25.433  +1.003   21
13.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:25.539  +1.109   23
14.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:25.607  +1.177   20
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:25.918  +1.488   19
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:26.226  +1.796   24
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:26.297  +1.867   18
18.  Jules Bianchi         Force India-Mercedes   1:26.630  +2.200   21
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:27.475  +3.045   20
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:28.267  +3.837   21
21.  Alexander Rossi       Caterham-Renault       1:28.448  +4.018   25
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:28.633  +4.203   22
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1:29.107  +4.677   19
24.  Dani Clos             HRT-Cosworth           1:31.618  +7.188   19
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