|Distance||306,198 km / 190,303 miles|
|3||Fernando Alonso||F138||299||Scuderia Ferrari||3.|
|4||Felipe Massa||F138||298||Scuderia Ferrari||6.|
Stefano Domenicali: “We came to Silverstone with considerably different expectations in terms of performance to those we demonstrated this weekend and now our main objective is to immediately get an understanding of why we are in this situation. If we want to continue to fight for the championship, it is vital that we improve the car, because in performance terms, our rivals have made a further step forward. Today, the points table matches the target we had set ourselves, which was to reduce the gap before the summer break. Both Fernando and Felipe drove amazing races and the team was able to manage the tyre problems in the best way possible. Now, there is little time to react and we can expect a busy few days in the run up to the German Grand Prix and we must use these days to look ahead, working calmly and steadily to find the answers to the questions that have been thrown up by this weekend”.
Fernando Alonso: “If I’d been told this morning that I would have ended up on the podium, I would not have believed it possible. Yesterday in qualifying, we finished a long way down and our expectations for this race were to aim for a fifth or sixth place, hoping to score as many points as possible. After some negative experiences, today we can say we were lucky on a few occasions, beginning with Perez and then at the first stop with a completely worn out tyre – fortunately at the last corner – and then with Vettel’s retirement. At the end of a difficult weekend, it was unimaginable that we could make up so much ground, but now we must try and improve, starting with the very next race in Germany. Only there will we understand if we have indeed slipped backwards or if this weekend was a one-off. Up until the Canadian Grand Prix we saw a Ferrari capable of fighting for the podium, but one that struggled a bit in qualifying, before then having a great race pace, so now the aim is to get back to that situation. It’s impossible to say what happened to the tyres and that’s something the experts will have to clear up”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very pleased with my race which this time was truly impeccable. After a fantastic start and a perfect first lap, maybe one of the best of my career, I managed to drive an attacking first stint. On lap 10, when I was right in the middle of the corner at Turn 5, my left rear tyre failed and I had to pit. After this forced stop, I found myself last and from then on, I began a great charge up the order, thanks to a lot of very nice passing moves. Without that tyre problem I could have made it to the podium, because today I had a good feeling with the car and both myself and Fernando had shown we could fight with those at the front. Now, our greatest concern revolves around safety, because even if I can’t really tell what happened today, it’s unacceptable having to drive knowing you are not safe. Even if, luckily, nothing serious happened, what we saw is very dangerous. I already had this problem twice before in Bahrain and if something isn’t done about it as soon as possible, I am sure it will happen again. In a few days we will be at the Nürburgring, a track I like a lot and where I hope to have a car that is more competitive in qualifying, so that I can start further forward, which would allow me to have another strong race”.
Pat Fry: “It was a spectacular race, but not an easy one to manage, because the two Safety Car periods and the problems concerning the tyres made the job on the pit wall very complicated. In order to try and prevent any possible tyre failure we made a few changes, aimed mainly at managing the pressures and we tried to give the drivers advice on how to deal with the difficult situation. With Fernando, we were a bit lucky, whereas with Felipe we were not, but we can still take satisfaction from how we read the race, because the performance of both F138s improved compared to what we saw on Friday and Saturday. In the short time we have before the next race in Germany, we will try and work methodically on all aspects that could help us improve our performance, trying to find the right compromise between qualifying and the race, because, as we saw today, the points are only given out on Sunday”.
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 10||New Hard|
|2nd stop||Lap 30||Old Hard|
|3rd stop||Lap 41||Old Medium|
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 10||New Hard|
|2ndstop||Lap 16||New Hard|
|3rdstop||Lap 36||Old Medium|
|4th stop||Lap 42||Old Medium|
|Weather: air 22/23 °C, track 32/33 °C. Sunny|
Silverstone, 30 June – Fernando Alonso, second in the Drivers’ standings started the eighth round of the World Championship from ninth on the grid, while the man who leads the series, Sebastian Vettel, was on the third spot. So how on earth could the gap between the two men plummet from 36 to 21 points in the course of the 90 minutes of the British Grand Prix? Firstly, Vettel posted a retirement while leading and secondly, Fernando Alonso produced a simply storming drive to work his way up to the third step of the podium by the end of the 52 laps. It was yet another bravura performance from the Spaniard. As for his team-mate, Felipe Massa started from eleventh, dropped to last after a tyre failure and then, in the mad closing stages of the race after a second Safety Car period, the Brazilian made those ahead of him look as though they were going backwards as he passed car after car to take a great sixth place at the flag. Ahead of the Ferrari man on the podium were winner Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes and Mark Webber second in the Red Bull.
From 9th and 11th on the grid respectively, Fernando and Felipe were planning a good start: Felipe got a brilliant drive off the line to be 5th on the opening lap, while Fernando dropped one to tenth. But on lap 2 the Spaniard was eighth on the tail of Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. At the front Hamilton maintained his pole position while Vettel in the Red Bull had got past Rosberg in the second Mercedes to be second, while Sutil was fourth ahead of Felipe who had simply driven down the side of everyone off the grid. Fernando had been delayed, boxed in off the line behind Grosjean in the Lotus.
By lap 5, Fernando was glued to Ricciardo’s gearbox but could not find a way past, so that ninth placed Grosjean in the Lotus was 0.7 off the Ferrari. In fifth spot, Felipe was almost a second behind Sutil’s Force India and had 0.7 in hand over sixth placed Raikkonen in the Lotus. Webber in the Red Bull had been the big loser off the line, dropping from fourth to eleventh. On lap 8, the leader’s left rear tyre failed and Hamilton had to cruise slowly round to the pits. It would be the start of a series of serious tyre incidents that would change the shape of the race. This promoted everyone up a place, so that Vettel was the new race leader, followed by Rosberg, Sutil, Felipe now fourth, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Fernando, as ahead of these two Grosjean had pitted. Lap 10 and Fernando pitted for the Prime tyre, because his right rear tyre was disintegrating, fortunately at the very last corner, while Felipe had a big spin which undid all his earlier efforts, again caused by a rear tyre failure, dropping him back to sixteenth. He then pitted, rejoining at the back of the field, as Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Button all pitted on lap 11. Next lap, Rosberg and Sutil pitted from second and third, followed by Hulkenberg in the Sauber. Lap 12 and Fernando passed Vergne in the Toro Rosso to be sixth. Race leader Vettel came in on lap 13, followed by Perez in the McLaren.
Another worrying puncture, this time for Vergne came on lap 14 and one lap later the Safety Car came out because of all the debris. At this point, with everyone having made one tyre change, the order was Vettel, Rosberg, Sutil, Fernando in fourth, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Perez, Webber and Button completing the top ten. Lap 16 and Felipe pitted again profiting from the Safety Car, which eventually came in at the end of lap 21, after the track had been cleared of debris. Fernando immediately started attacking third placed Sutil, while Felipe had managed to haul himself up to eighteenth. The Brazilian was catching Bottas in the Williams and the two men got past Vergne and then the Ferrari man got ahead of the Finn so that he was now 15th with Maldonado in the second Williams his next target. The only change in the top order at this point saw Ricciardo get ahead of Grosjean to take sixth, before the Australian set off in pursuit of Raikkonen, who was trailing Fernando by 8 tenths.
On lap 29 Raikkonen pitted the Lotus for new rubber followed by Fernando and Webber next time round. The Ferrari man headed away from the garage but had to slow to avoid another car cutting across him in pit lane, costing him fractions of a second and he dropped to eleventh place. Then he was tenth on lap 32, setting the fastest race lap so far, as he closed to half a second of Raikkonen, now ninth. Fernando was on a charge and dispensed with Hamilton as Sutil, Perez and Di Resta all pitted together on lap 33. The second stops were coming thick and fast now, with Rosberg stopping on lap 34, followed by Vettel on lap 35. Fernando’s pace dropped off for a while and Webber managed to pass him, but by lap 41, the Australian and the Spaniard were close together as they caught Raikkonen. The character of the race changed once more on lap 42, as the leader Vettel coasted to a halt on the pit straight, which brought out the Safety Car for a second time. This was the time to dive into the pits for fresh rubber but not Fernando who had just changed tyres and that would play to his advantage. The remaining laps, once the Safety Car released the field again on lap 45, were incredibly exciting and not just if you were a Ferrari fan. Rosberg finally appeared to be in a bit of trouble with his tyres and behind the German, a hard charging Webber dispensed with Raikkonen and then set about chasing the Mercedes. Fernando was flying now and took seventh place off Button on lap 46, then sixth off Ricciardo on 48. Two laps later and he was all over Raikkonen and on lap 51, he passed the Finn at Stowe to get on the podium in third place. With two laps to go, Felipe had moved up to seventh spot and on the very last of the 52 laps, the Brazilian also dealt with Sutil to take the valuable 8 points that go with sixth place.
In just five days, the two F138s and the twenty other cars will all be back in action at the Nurburgring for Friday practice for the German Grand Prix. It goes without saying that the Scuderia’s priority in the short time available will be to look at how to improve the pace of its cars in qualifying on Saturday.
6 the number of podium finishes for Fernando Alonso in twelve editions of the British Grand Prix. After two wins and three second places, today he got a third. He failed to score in his first Silverstone appearance for Ferrari in 2010, but since then he has picked up 58 points from the next three, always finishing on the podium.
13 the number of places Felipe Massa made up from the grid to the flag. After going from sixteenth to eighth in Montreal, in Silverstone, the Brazilian took sixth place having started down in eleventh. It all makes this race’s climb the most impressive, even more so as he dropped to last at one point!
15 the points Fernando Alonso has made up on Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ classification, which is the majority of the 19 he lost in the two previous races. In the three races since the Spanish Grand Prix, the Scuderia has picked up 51 points, while Red Bull has collected 88 and Mercedes 99.
52 the number of podium finishes for Scuderia Ferrari in the British Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso took a Prancing Horse car to the third step of the podium for a sixteenth time, the same number of times as Ferrari has been on the top step. That leaves 20 second places.
Silverstone, 30 June – Scuderia Ferrari finished the British Grand Prix in third and sixth places with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively. There was plenty of drama linked to the tyres before a thrilling climax, when both Ferrari men made up several places with some aggressive passing moves.
The Safety Car came out two times to allow tyre debris to be cleared away and Massa was one of the unfortunate victims of a tyre failure.When the lights went out, Felipe made a brilliant start going from eleventh to fifth but his race took a turn for the worse on lap 10 when, coming out of turn 5 his left rear tyre let go, sending him into a spin. He returned to the pits, rejoining last, before stating a thrilling climb up the order to come home sixth.
Alonso lost a place off the line, dropping to tenth but the Spaniard soon made up ground, to go sixth before his first tyre change. In the final stages, he rejoined after his third and final stop in eighth place, before reeling in and passing five cars to finish on the podium in a brilliant third place. After this race, Alonso is now on 111 points in the championship, second at 21 points off the leader Vettel. Massa remains seventh on 57. Nico Rosberg won the race for Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso: “This weekend has been complicated for us by problems that we haven’t managed to get on top of, concerning various aspects such as the balance of the car, its driveability and performance. We can consider this the worst Saturday of the season so far, having never finished so far down, but now we must react immediately to try and return to the form we showed at the start of the year. We definitely expected a lot more here, because this is a track that suits our car’s characteristics better than others. In Q3, we hesitated a bit over tyre choice: we went out on the Hards because they had worked well in free practice this morning and in Q1. Then we switched to Medium with the idea of just coming back to the pits if it did not go well but then we decided to finish the lap and nevertheless our rivals were quicker. Now, we must try to do the same, starting from tomorrow: even if the race will be an uphill struggle we are well aware how things can change during a race. We hope we can stage a good climb up the order and bring home as many points as possible”.
Felipe Massa: “It was an extremely difficult day as we did not have the car we were expecting and we had no grip whatsoever with new tyres. Compared to other cars, we struggled to put together a good lap. The time lost when I went off the track yesterday and the interruption this morning to change the engine definitely cost me valuable kilometres and in qualifying I lacked the few tenths necessary to make it through to Q3. Now we must think about tomorrow, as the race is an altogether different matter and I hope that, with a full fuel load and higher temperatures, things can change in our favour. If the car is more competitive, I’m sure I can pull off a few passing moves and fight for a good result”.
Pat Fry: “Today, the much awaited sunshine didn’t manage to push the temperatures up as much as we had hoped, especially on the track. The surface stayed rather cold and already in the final free practice this morning had created some problems with grip, with several drivers going off the track. Things only improved slightly in qualifying, but not enough to improve the grip levels. Looking at our start positions, it’s obvious that our cars suffered more than others, even if the gaps in the small group of cars ahead of Fernando are very close. While trying to improve the balance on the car, we tested various solutions, trying to increase driveability in both the high and low speed corners, always keeping in mind what will be the key factors in tomorrow’s race. We can be more confident when it comes to the race and we will be counting on the performance we have seen over a long run, which is encouraging. During the opening laps it will be important to try and make up a few places. Then, our strategy will be aimed at helping the drivers as much as possible in their efforts to close up to our direct rivals”.
|ALONSO – Chassis 299||MASSA – Chassis 298|
|Q1||P15||1:32.266||New Hard – 4 laps||P14||1:32.241||New Hard – 6 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps|
|Q2||P8||1:31.387||New Medium – 3 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps||P12||1:31.779||Old Medium – 3 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps|
|Q3||P10||1:30.979||New Hard – 3 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps||–||–||–|
|Weather: air 18 °C, track 29 °C. Sunny|
Silverstone, 29 June – No matter how you dress it up, having one car on the fifth row and the other on the sixth, is not going to help Scuderia Ferrari’s championship aspirations. Those are the hard facts at the end of this afternoon’s closely contested qualifying for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix. The reasons and it should be stressed that these are reasons not excuses, for this disappointing prelude to the eighth round of the World Championship can be attributed in part to the temperatures, which even by English summer standards, are very low and in Felipe’s case to a lack of track time after a crash on Friday and having to miss out on the end of FP3 because the engine needed changing on his F138.
A cold track that has seen plenty of rain in the past 48 hours is not an ideal scenario when it comes to providing grip, especially when the abrasive nature of the Silverstone track surface requires Pirelli to supply its Hard and Medium compound tyres. Clearly, of the front running teams, the Prancing Horse seemed to suffer most from this problem, despite the best efforts of the engineers and drivers who tried everything to resolve it, even going against perceived wisdom to see if the harder of the two tyres performed better. Unfortunately, the puzzle remained unsolved, which is why Fernando made it to Q3, but was only able to set the tenth fastest time. As for Felipe, his afternoon ended in Q2 and he will start directly behind his team-mate in twelfth place.
However, as the old adage goes, there are no points for qualifying and tomorrow it will be time for the Scuderia duo to play on their strengths, which means making a good start and hopefully dispensing with a few rivals on the opening lap, then making the most of the F138s excellent pace on a heavy fuel load, before finally counting on a well executed strategy and good pit stops. Realistically, tomorrow should be about damage limitation and bringing home as many points as possible with both cars.
The roar of the British crowd told you all you needed to know about pole position, as Lewis Hamilton secured the number one grid slot for his home race, with Nico Rosberg posting the second fastest time to ensure a Mercedes front row lock out. The second row is also shared among team mates, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber third and fourth for Red Bull. Another Brit is fifth in the shape of Paul di Resta and his Force India, with Daniel Ricciardo bringing his Toro Rosso across the line in sixth place. Fernando shares his row with Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus, while Felipe has Jenson Button for company alongside him in eleventh.
Silverstone, 29 June – Ferrari will face an uphill battle in tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, after Fernando Alonso finished an exciting qualifying session in tenth place, while Felipe Massa was twelfth. The track was dry throughout, with air temperature of 19 and track temperature of 28.In Q1, Fernando made just one run on the Hard tyres, setting a time of 1.32.266, which got him fifteenth place. Massa did two runs, with a best time of 1.32.241, set on the Mediums, to go fourteenth. In Q2, both drivers made two runs on the Medium, with the Spaniard setting a time of 1.31.387 on his final lap to go eighth. Unfortunately, Massa’s lap of 1.31.779 was not enough to make it through to Q3.
In the final session, Fernando did a first run on the Hards, before switching to the quicker Mediums. On these he did a 1.30.979 to take tenth place. Pole position went to Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes in a time of 1.29.607.
Fernando Alonso: “This morning, we lost the first session because of the rain and had to squeeze all the work we had been unable to do into the afternoon session. Our programme for today was no different to usual and as normal, it was important to gather data relating to tyre behaviour, which here too will be the key factor. At Silverstone, you need an aerodynamic package that is suited to the combination of fast corners that are the main feature at this track. The strategy will have to be impeccable and in order to make the right choice for the race, we will have to take into account the fact that on Sunday we can expect very different conditions to those we saw today, because the track will definitely be drier and the temperatures higher”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very disappointed about what happened today as the accident cost me valuable time, especially in terms of getting an understanding of the tyre behaviour here at Silverstone. At the exit of the corner, I found myself on a piece of track that was still very damp and I lost control of the car: at that time, the prototype Hard Pirellis that we could use today, were not yet up to temperature and I couldn’t avoid the impact. Luckily, the car only suffered slight front end damage and tomorrow we will comfortably be able to pick up where we left off with the work. On a long run, Fernando’s car went well and even if the low temperatures probably didn’t help, the improved weather expected tomorrow gives us reason to be optimistic. I am certain that together we will try our best to improve so that we can take the fight to our main rivals”.
Pat Fry: “I’m sorry for the fans who packed the circuit today, who did not get to see the show they were expecting, because of the rain. In the morning, track conditions were extremely difficult and with the few sets of tyres available, we preferred to stay in the pits, as did almost all the other teams. In the afternoon, we tried to catch up the time we had lost. Alongside the usual task of finding the best set up to suit the tyres, we also worked on the development and mapping of the aerodynamics. After Felipe’s accident which came after just a few laps, a large part of the team concentrated on Fernando’s car, paying particular attention to the behaviour of the Medium tyre. Tomorrow, we can expect different temperatures and therefore conditions that will be more favourable to carrying out a proper evaluation of the car set-up and of all the details which can influence its behaviour over both a short and long run”.
|ALONSO – chassis 299||MASSA – chassis 298|
|First Session||–||–||4 laps||P11||2:06.534||6 laps|
|Weather: air 15/16 °C, track 17/18 °C. Rain.|
|Second Session||P10||1:33.494||32 laps||P22||1:43.466||7 laps|
|Weather: air 18 °C, track 18/21 °C. Cloudy.|
Silverstone, 28 June – Fernando Alonso completed 32 laps in the second free practice session this afternoon, setting the tenth fastest time of 1.33.494. The session was more of a struggle than anticipated for Scuderia Ferrari as Felipe Massa went off the track in the early part and so was unable to get through his planned programme, meaning all the race simulation and set-up work fell to Alonso only.
The morning rain had gone by the afternoon, leaving cloudy skies at Silverstone, so the teams were able to run the slick tyres, after using Intermediates for their first run while the track was still damp in the first 15 minutes.
Massa began with five laps on the Intermediates and then fitted the Prototype dry tyres. However, after two laps, the Brazilian spun at Stowe corner and hit the barrier, damaging the front end of the car, which signalled the end of his session. His best time was 1.43.466 and he did just seven laps in total.
Silverstone, 28 June – Almost inevitably, rain was right on cue for the start of track action for the eighth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone circuit. Nothing much happened in the first free practice session, with the majority of the field spending a long time in the pits, following the installation lap, in the hope of an improvement in the weather. Both Ferrari men did just a handful of laps on the Extreme Wet tyres, in the final minutes of the session to familiarise themselves with the track. Fernando Alonso didn’t even set a time, while in the other F138, Felipe Massa was eleventh with a 2.06.534 on a short classification sheet that featured an unexpected Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso in the number one slot with a time of 1.54.249, ahead of the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg (1.55.033) and Pastor Maldonado (1.55.354) in the Williams.
Maranello, 28 June – While rain was the main feature of the first day of the British Grand Prix meeting, practically washing out the first free practice session, Kamui Kobayashi was pounding out the laps in Maranello. He had no wet track to contend with – even if the skies above Maranello were a similar hue to those in Silverstone – as he was hard at work in the Ferrari simulator. The Japanese driver is racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the AF Corse 458 GT and this was the first time he has sat in the cockpit of the so-called ‘spider’. So this first day was mainly a question of him getting used to the kit, helped by the group of engineers who usually work with the Scuderia drivers.
“It has been an interesting and demanding day,” Kamui told www.ferrari.com. “It was the first time that I’ve worked in a simulator of this type and it was helpful to get used to it in case the team needs me for its development programme in the near future. I was happy to get back into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, even if it was just in front of a screen: I can’t wait to drive another one for real in Moscow in a few weeks!”
Kobayashi’s next racing engagement may only be on September 1 in Brazil’s Sao Paulo, where the fourth round of his championship will take place. But Kamui will indeed have the chance to have a bit of fun with a Maranello car, this time for real, on July 21 at Moscow’s Red Square. He will be taking to the wheel of an F60 at the fifth edition of Moscow City Racing, the event that brings Formula 1 and other global motor sport disciplines to the heart of the Russian capital. The Scuderia is taking part for the fourth time – again with the support of Kaspersky Lab, one of its principal partners, which has its general headquarters in Russia.
“Le Mans was a nice experience but it was a pity not to have been able to compete on equal terms with our main rivals,” said Kamui about his participation in the classic endurance race, where he took fifth place in the GTE-Pro class. “The balance of performance was too unfavourable to us and our 458 GT was not competitive. We did everything we could but it was clear that we would have needed a miracle to fight for the podium. The championship is still very open, though: we are still not halfway through the season so anything is still possible.”
After a weekend on track with the 458 GT and a day in the Formula 1 simulator, Kamui will keep up his tour of the world of the Prancing Horse tomorrow at the circuit of Mugello, where he will act as a special tutor for the client collectors who are taking part in the Ferrari Cavalcade.
Silverstone, 27 June – Not only is Fernando Alonso a quick driver, he is also an eloquent speaker, so he has many questions to deal with whenever he is in an FIA conference. However, this afternoon at Silverstone, most of the attention centred on Mark Webber, who announced he would retire from Formula 1, to join Porsche in the World Endurance Championship at the end of this season. On that topic, the Ferrari driver paid this tribute to the Australian who began his career moving into the Minardi seat that the man from Oviedo vacated in 2002. “Mark has picked the right time,” said Fernando. “This is a good opportunity for him, moving to drive for a very prestigious car brand to compete in the most famous motor race in the world (Le Mans) along with Formula 1. He will still enjoy being in the cockpit, but maybe he will have less stress to deal with out of it.”
On to the more pressing matter of this weekend’s race, the Ferrari man began by assessing the current championship situation. “All the races are important for us given the position we are in now,” he admitted. “We are 36 points behind the leaders, so there is not much room to lose more points. However, we must remain calm and try to win, or finish in front of Sebastian, or at least lose as few points as possible. Last year in Monza, I had a 42 point lead over Sebastian at Monza (actually, Fernando’s memory is playing tricks on him, as his lead was 39!) So to be 36 points down at this earlier point of the season is not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world.” Regarding his chances of repeating his famous 2011 win at this track, Alonso was in an optimistic frame of mind. “This has been a good circuit for us in the past and we have been competitive for the last three or four years. After China and Bahrain, this is the best track so far for us, so I have high hopes for the weekend. However, Red Bull has been the dominant force here since ’09 and I expect Mercedes to be very close as well.”
As to what might be the key to the weekend, there was nothing surprising about Fernando’s answer. “This year has been dominated by tyre behaviour, with some tracks suiting some cars and some suiting others. If you make the tyres work well and last properly, you have a better chance to win. Certainly, in the next couple of races, we need to up our game in terms of tyre preparation for Saturday and Sunday.”
The aforementioned 2011 victory came 60 years after Froilan Gonzalez gave the Prancing Horse its first ever Formula 1 World Championship win, right here in Silverstone and a few days ago came the sad news that the great Argentinian driver had passed away at the age of 90. “Sad news for Ferrari and the motorsport family,” commented the Spaniard. “I remember after winning the race I spoke to him on the telephone after the podium ceremony. At the time we dedicated the win to him so this weekend it would be nice to dedicate it again to his family, so it will be great to do a good job for him and all Ferrari fans.”
Silverstone, 27 June – Coming into the British Grand Prix weekend, there has been talk about this fast and flowing track suiting the F138 well and it appears that Felipe Massa agrees with that verdict, according to what he had to say when he met the media in the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality unit this afternoon. “Looking at Barcelona and China, we were competitive there and this track here is similar in terms of having fast corners and an abrasive track surface which dictates the tyre choice,” he began. “So I think it could suit our car, but as usual on a Thursday, we must wait and see. Looking at the points situation, it is important to have a good race here and in fact from now to the end of the year is very important for us to do so, so I hope we have a great weekend.”The Brazilian has not had much luck in this event, never finding a way to the podium, but that hasn’t dulled his enjoyment of the English circuit. “I’ve finished fourth twice, but this is a circuit where I really enjoy to race and in general, I prefer these old types of track, along with Spa and Suzuka,” said the Brazilian. I am really optimistic that we can have a good race and aim for my first podium at this track.”It’s no secret that one element of the package that would really improve Felipe’s and Alonso’s chances would be to start from higher up the grid and he admitted that more work was needed on this front. “I think everything is still possible in terms of the championship, because in the end, the races count for more than qualifying, but then qualifying is very important in order to have a good race, starting from the front to finish at the front. We are working very hard to make the car more competitive in qualifying, without losing the attributes we have in the race. That’s not easy, finding the complete package in a car.”
Mark Webber’s announcement that he will quit Formula 1 at the end of the season was the big news of the day and Felipe had this to say about the Australian’s decision. “A driver should do what he feels he must do and I completely respect his decision, as he feels this is the time to do something a bit different. I always think that in our job, you have two lives, the first in Formula 1 and then after that a new life begins with a new career. Mark has chosen his moment and each and everyone one of us will have to face that moment at some time.” The response naturally led to a question about his own future and when a decision regarding 2014 might come. “I don’t think it will take too much time, maybe around the time the first part of this season comes to an end,” replied the Ferrari man. “I think I have a good chance of staying here. We must work and get good results, because in the end your results in the races are what count the most. I am completely confident about the races from now until the end of the season. I don’t know what I will do when I stop Formula 1, but I will want to race. I’m not sure about the series that includes Le Mans, because of racing different types of car where there might be a time difference of 20 seconds per lap. Maybe I’d prefer shorter races where you fight from beginning to end, like DTM maybe. But I have no idea when I will decide to stop so I hope I still have some more years here to fight for more victories and championships.”
Egham (UK,) 27 June – Felipe Massa’s trip to England for the eighth round of the Formula 1 World Championship began in Egham in Surrey. The Scuderia Ferrari man was there for the re-launching of the showroom which first became home to Ferrari back in 1967 at the famous Tower Garage. The revamp of the facility has naturally preserved the original Art Deco features of this 1935 building, with an ambitious rebuilding project which has returned it to its former glory. “It is a great honour for me to be here in Egham,” said Felipe to a packed audience of Ferrari owners invited to attend, during an amusing interview with the popular BBC Radio 2 DJ and TV presenter, Chris Evans. “This location is part of Ferrari’s history, thanks to Colonel Ronnie Hoare (the Prancing Horse importer and founder of Maranello Concessionaires Racing Team, famous for its Ferraris with a blue stripe) and the great passion for cars which he shared with Enzo Ferrari. It’s marvellous to evoke memories of both of them here in Egham.”
When the plot line of John Frankenheimer’s epic 1966 film “Grand Prix” reaches the British Grand Prix, the footage shows a military band playing on the grid, a flying display from the Red Arrows aerobatic display team, some members of the Royal Family, a huge crowd and Jackie Stewart! Over four decades later and nothing much has changed, as the British round is all about tradition. Indeed, along with Scuderia Ferrari’s home race in Italy, the British event is the longest running Grand Prix on the calendar.
Following a “flyaway” race in Canada, the sport has had a longer period off-track with a three week gap instead of the more usual two. For everyone involved in the sport, some of that time has been well spent escaping the incessant pressure of the 19 race series, but it certainly hasn’t been a holiday for any members of Scuderia Ferrari and that includes the drivers, as Felipe Massa explained. “In the past, we used to test on track in the weeks between most races, but with the testing ban, it has become even more important to keep up our fitness training to stay in condition,” said the Brazilian, now back in Europe after a brief pause at home in Sao Paolo after Montreal. Keeping in good shape doesn’t even stop when the technical work begins. “I came to Maranello for a couple of days on the simulator and to have meetings with the engineers, but even while I was at the factory I made time to do some training every day,” said the Brazilian. “It’s all part of my preparation from one race to the next so I feel 100% ready for the British GP. I believe our car can work well at this race, as that seemed to be the case in China and Barcelona and Silverstone follows that same direction in terms of circuit characteristics. It’s an old-style track with high speed corners, which should suit the F138, so I expect to have a good weekend. Naturally, I’m looking to score points and hoping to finish on the podium again.” In fact, a podium has so far eluded the Brazilian in England, but he clearly relishes every aspect of this coming weekend. “Silverstone is a fantastic track, first of all because of its incredible layout with high speed corners and changes of direction, which is what we drivers enjoy most, although there are also some slow corners. The atmosphere is great too because the English love Formula 1. The majority of the teams are still based in England and the fans are crazy for Formula 1, with a very big crowd every day and so it’s enjoyable to race in that situation.”
Strange to say, the Scuderia’s Brazilian driver sounds more excited by this coming weekend than it’s English technical director! “Every race is equally important, so I don’t see Silverstone as being any more special,” said Pat Fry. “To be quite honest, all the races are the same for me. We try and win and do our best at every race, whether that’s at Silverstone, or Barcelona or Montreal. The goal is the same we have to do the best we can with what we have.” Fry and his team of engineers has been working hard ever since Montreal on the twin tasks of moving forward with the development of the F138 and on working out how best to adapt it to the characteristics of the fast and flowing ribbon of tarmac that makes up Silverstone’s 5.891 kilometres. “We have spent a lot of time analysing data from the last few races, from the aero side to looking at tyre performance, trying to put together the best possible package for Silverstone,” continued Fry. “We’ve got a few upgrades coming through for this weekend and so we have to ensure we are well prepared to run them. We have been studying data from the wind tunnel to assess what is the best set up for the car for this circuit using the new parts that are coming through the system now.”
Although the data gathered at the last two races is of use to the engineers, the circuit characteristics are contrasting enough for a different approach to be called for in England. “The last two races in Monaco and Montreal took place on tracks that are quite different to normal circuits,” confirmed Fry. “While Monaco is unique and Montreal is similar to Bahrain with a premium placed on traction, Silverstone is more about high speed corners that flow together, so if we want to make a comparison it has more in common with Barcelona. It therefore presents its own set of challenges, and with very few low speed corners, it’s all about trying to get the car working well in the high speed turns. This involves optimising the ride height and selecting the correct aerodynamic characteristics to get the best aero performance out of the car.”
With its very fast corners and short straights, the Silverstone layout, which in parts is still true to its origins as an airfield, is definitely a true challenge of man and machine. The surface is bumpy in parts and the combination of an abrasive track surface and all those high speed turns means that the Medium and Hard compound tyres are the ones chosen by Pirelli for this weekend. The layout makes it hard to overtake, so for this year, the FIA has introduced a second DRS zone down the Hangar straight which should ease that problem. One thing even the sport’s governing body can do nothing about is the weather: one can expect any temperature from 8 to 28 Celsius and the threat of rain always hangs over this event, sometimes falling on one part of the track and not another. This means the communications between team members must be clear and precise during the race and that is down to the men who sit in front of the monitors, across pit lane from the garages. “On the pit wall, there are the two race engineers, who effectively control all communication to and from the drivers,” explained Fry. “There’s another person in charge of organising the mechanics and ensuring everything is ready for the pit stops. We are also in contact with the “remote garage,” our engineers who are following everything from back in Maranello and with them we constantly discuss race strategy. The pit wall is also linked to the engineers in the back of the garage who monitor all aspects of reliability on the two cars during the race, although on the pit wall, we are only really aware of these guys if there is a problem we have to deal with, because for most of the time, our focus is on car performance.”
And for the pedants among you, yes we know that in the film “Grand Prix” the British race was staged at Brands Hatch!