Circuit Nürburgring
Date 07.07.2013
Laps 60
Distance 308,623 km / 191,810 miles
No Driver Ferrari S/N Team Result
3 Fernando Alonso F138 299 Scuderia Ferrari 4.
4 Felipe Massa F138 298 Scuderia Ferrari retired / driver error


Montezemolo: “I have faith in the team: now it’s time for results”

Posted: 08.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Maranello, 8 July – The Scuderia Ferrari engineers have already got back to work this morning, having returned from the Nürburgring in the middle of the night aboard a charter flight. This marks the end of a double-header that, along with the inevitable stress load, seems to have generated new perspectives. At the usual meeting that follows every grand prix Sunday between President Montezemolo, Team Principal Stefano Domenicali and the team’s engineers, the agenda included the development programme of the F138 and planning for the next two crucial dates in the diary: the Young Driver Test taking place at Britain’s Silverstone circuit from July 17-19 and the Hungarian Grand Prix on the weekend of July 28 at the Hungaroring on the outskirts of Budapest.

Even though the last two weeks have been notable for a huge effort to improve the car and to reduce the gap to the front especially in qualifying, plus the question of tyres, the team wants to respond with even more of a push. That’s only right at a crucial moment of the season because now it is no longer just a question of tyre management or adapting to weather conditions, but also the obligation to define the direction of development of the F138.

Luca di Montezemolo told “Today we looked at the agenda for the coming weeks of work to clarify the priorities along with the engineers. Now I ask of everyone a greater determination and strong concentration on every detail. I have enormous faith in the team and I expect a concrete response from everyone, because only through great will and plenty of work will it be possible to come away with the results that we all want. To sum up: fewer words and more achievements.”

Yesterday Scuderia Ferrari left the Nürburgring clearly disappointed with Fernando Alonso’s fourth place and Felipe Massa’s retirement. Those results didn’t match up to expectations and they were not attributable to external factors. But what can be seen today on the faces of all the Scuderia’s men and women working at Maranello is a great desire to get going again, as illustrated by the words of Team Principal Stefano Domenicali: “Yet again we have had a confirmation of the importance of analysing the data and managing the tyre behaviour. That is the same for everyone but we must try to get even more out of them than the others if we want to win. That also applies to the development of the F138, an area where we must do better than our opponents. Now we have some decisive weeks ahead looking towards Hungary. There is a crucial test which we must exploit to the maximum, in terms of both the performance of the tyres and the technical development of the car. Everything is still to play for because we are only halfway through the champoinship and the goals we had at the start of the year are still within reach.”


German GP – Highs and Lows

Posted: 07.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Stefano Domenicali: “Given the current state of play, I think today’s result is the most we could have achieved and I don’t think the strategy had much of an influence on the outcome of the race. Wanting to see the glass as half full, the points we have picked up at this point in the season are very important. The variable temperatures we saw today produced different performance levels. This turnaround confirms yet again how difficult it is for everyone to interpret as well as possible the true competitiveness of the car-tyre package at every track. Looking ahead, now it is vital that we optimise the performance of our car, just as our rivals have managed to do, because we want to get back to fighting for the top places as soon as possible. In Hungary we will have different tyres and it will be important to understand their behaviour right from the test at Silverstone, in two weeks time. At the same time, we will try to change pace on our development work, an area where we need to push hard”.
Fernando Alonso: “This was a difficult race, we weren’t very quick and at some moments we were not competitive enough. In the first stint, we paid the price for being on used tyres, because by lap twelve they were already finished, which cost us some of the advantage we hoped to gain from our strategic choice. Even if we were hoping to finish on the podium, finishing less than eight seconds off Vettel after starting eighth is an encouraging result. The team is doing its utmost to make the car more competitive and after tackling a few races without being too sure about our updates, today we can claim to have cleared up many of our doubts and to have understood which are the areas we must concentrate on to move the development forward. When we arrived here on Thursday, the Silverstone test did not seem that important, because the race drivers were only meant to be testing the tyres, but having heard what the FIA had to say, it’s been confirmed that we can test updates and this makes it a much more sensible proposition. If I get the call from the team, I’m ready to go”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very disappointed with what happened, especially after the rest of the weekend had gone well. At the start of lap four, when I was on the straight, at the moment when I braked, the rear wheels locked up and I couldn’t stop the car from spinning. When the car came to a stop, it was stuck in fifth gear and I couldn’t stop the engine from stalling. It’s very odd that it got stuck like that, even if so far, the team has not seen anything unusual. The Mediums did not have the pace we expected after Friday’s free practice, but maybe other factors, such as the higher temperatures, came into play and made the difference. Now I want to focus on the next race when I plan to do my utmost to turn things around”.
Pat Fry: “Today’s temperatures and track conditions, different to those we saw over the past days, had a strong influence on the performance of the various teams. In our case, I don’t think the final result would have been different if we had opted for the opposite strategy, because, starting from fifth or sixth on the Softs, our position in the end would have been the same. Our pace on the soft compound was better than expected, when one considers that it’s particularly sensitive to the higher temperatures, while the degradation of the Mediums was higher than expected and caused us a few more problems in balancing the car and that spoilt our first stint. I am sorry for Felipe, who had made another great start, but unfortunately he locked up the rear wheels under braking and spun, possibly because of the lack of grip. Fernando managed to get the most out of the car, always trying to attack when possible. It was a shame to miss out on the podium in the end, especially as the speed of the Red Bulls and Lotuses was not that much higher than ours. Now there are two weeks before the next round in Hungary, during which we will be pushing as hard as possible to close the performance gap which separates us from the leaders”.

Pos. Time Gap Laps FL L
ALONSO 4th 1:41.22.432 + 7.721 60 1.33.468 51
Pit-stop 1st stop Lap 12 New Medium
2nd stop Lap 24 New Medium
3rd stop Lap  49 New Soft
MASSA NC      5.01.075 DFN 37..111 1.38.890 3
Weather: air  25 °C, track 43/44 °C. Sunny


German GP – Clever strategy hit by hot weather

Posted: 07.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 7 July – Fernando Alonso finished the German Grand Prix in fourth place for Scuderia Ferrari, while his team-mate Felipe Massa had to retire on lap 4, when he spun off the track and the engine on his F138 stalled. The race was won by Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, who was flanked on the podium by the Lotus duo of second placed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in third. The result means that, while the Spanish Ferrari man is still second in the Drivers’ classification, the gap to today’s race winner has grown from 21 to 34 points. Felipe is still seventh. In the Constructors’, the Prancing Horse remains third, still just 3 points behind Mercedes, however, Red Bull has extended its lead at the top of the classification.

When the lights went out, the two Red Bulls ambushed pole man Hamilton in the Mercedes so that Vettel immediately led from Webber, with the Mercedes now third ahead of the two Lotuses of Raikkonen and Grosjean. Next was Felipe who jumped Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso to take sixth, while Fernando was up one place to seventh. Everything appeared to be going smoothly, but then Felipe had a spin at the first corner on lap 4, with the car stuck in gear and the F138 stalled, putting an end to the Brazilian’s race. The yellow flags from Massa’s incident appeared to prompt some very early pit stops with Di Resta and Vergne coming in on that lap, while Button and Ricciardo came in on lap 5, with Hamilton stopping on lap 6. Next time round, the leader Vettel pitted.

Lap 9 saw a dramatic incident as Webber pitted and was released, although one wheel had not been secured properly. It bounced dangerously down pit lane and hit a TV cameraman. Webber obviously had to stop in pit lane and was pushed back the garage, after which he was able to rejoin.

Lap 12 saw Fernando come in from second place, a late stop as the two Ferrari men opted to do yesterday’s Q3 on the harder Pirelli compound in order to use them to run a longer first stint today.  However, the hotter weather completely changed the relative performance of the two types of tyre and nullified the strategt advantage the Scuderia had hoped for. He took on another set of Mediums and dropped down to eighth. Grosjean pitted next lap and that eventually moved him up from fifth to second place and lap 14 saw the internal Mercedes battle go in favour of Hamilton as he made a hard move stick on Rosberg. Next it was Raikkonen’s turn to pass the German. Grosjean was flying and catching the leader Vettel, while in eighth place, Fernando was now right behind Rosberg, and he was 4 seconds off Raikkonen, on a similar strategy to the Ferrari man. Gradually, the man from Oviedo was moving towards the front again and by lap 18 he was right behind Hamilton and Raikkonen and on lap 20 he nearly passed the Mercedes at the chicane and had another abortive attempt down the straight. There was more side by side action, until the Englishman pitted on lap 22, putting Fernando fourth behind Raikkonen.

Lap 25 saw the race neutralised, as the Safety Car came out, because Bianchi’s Marussia was parked on the side of the track, on fire. After the driver got out, it also started rolling down the hill, thankfully coming to a halt in a safer place. Lap 29 and the race was on again with the order Vettel, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Alonso in fourth, Button and Hulkenberg – these last two having stopped just once so far – with Hamilton seventh, followed by Maldonado, Perez and Sutil completing the top ten. While the top three were lapping in the 1m 35s, Fernando was doing 1m 36s and dropping to 1.6 behind Raikkonen. The race order remained unchanged for a while, until Grosjean pitted for a third stop on lap 40, so that Raikkonen now led from Fernando by 3.2 seconds, with Button, who had still only changed tyres once, in third ahead of Hamilton, Vettel and Grosjean. Hamilton and Vettel were wheel to wheel on lap 44 until the German got past to take fourth place, the Englishman pitting on the next lap for a third and final time.

Button brought the McLaren in for his second stop on lap 47, which meant that Vettel, who was lapping very quickly at this point was now third behind Fernando, albeit 10 seconds down, however as Fernando had only used the Medium tyre so far, he was committed to make a third and final stop to ensure he legally used both types of slick tyre. Raikkonen had to do the same and both men came in on lap 49, which meant that with ten laps of the 60 remaining, Vettel and Grosjean now occupied the top two places, with Fernando fourth behind Raikkonen. Lapping faster than the Finn, the Spaniard who never gives up sensed third could be in his grasp if the Lotus faltered and he banged in a race fastest lap on lap 51 with the gap between them standing at 3.2 seconds, then 2.7 on lap 53. It was to be the outright fastest lap of the race.

On the quicker Option tyre, Kimi managed to pass team-mate Grosjean to take second place on lap 55, so Fernando was now 1.4 behind the Frenchman, but would he be able to catch and pass him in just five laps? Lap 56 and the gap was under a second, with the Ferrari man running six tenths faster and within the permitted gap to use the DRS to help overtaking. But in the end it was not to be and the battle right at the front was equally exciting with Raikkonen catching Vettel, again to no avail. One last minute change saw the battle of the Brits resolved in favour of Hamilton who managed to pass Button on the 60th and final lap to take fifth.


German GP – Fourth for Alonso, Massa retires

Posted: 07.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 7 July – Scuderia Ferrari came away from the German Grand Prix with a fourth place, courtesy of Fernando Alonso, who ran a three stop race, before taking the chequered flag seven seconds behind the winner, Sebastian Vettel. Felipe Massa was forced to retire on lap 4 when he went off the track at the first corner. The team is currently investigating the cause of this incident that brought the Brazilian’s race to a premature end.

Alonso was on a different strategy to those around him on the grid, starting with the Medium tyres, making his first stop on lap 12. He then made up places after a low key start, managing to catch up to those battling for podium places. After a second stop on lap 24, again to fit Mediums, he finally switched to the Softs on lap 49, then putting in a series of very fast laps that nevertheless were not enough to give him third place, which eluded him by two seconds. Alonso leaves Germany still in second place in the Drivers’ classification, now on 123 points.


German GP – The statistics

Posted: 07.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

1 the number of times Felipe Massa has failed to cross the finish line in the German Grand Prix. The Brazilian has seven top ten finishes, four of them on the podium.

9 the points finishes for Fernando Alonso in eleven starts in the German Grand Prix. Today’s was Fernando’s second fourth place, the first coming in 2003, when the Spaniard also started from eighth on the grid, as he did today, even if that race was in Hockenheim.

20 the number of fastest race laps for Fernando Alonso in 207 Grand Prix starts. Not since Silverstone 2011 had the Spaniard secured the best lap and today’s puts him join eleventh overall in the all time classification, alongside Stirling Moss. Fernando was also the fastest around the Nurburgring in 2005 and 2009, both times at the wheel of a Renault.

229 the number of fastest race laps for Scuderia Ferrari from 860 Grand Prix starts, which is an outright record. The Scuderia hadn’t done this since Budapest 2011, when Felipe Massa was quickest. The Scuderia has 17 fastest race laps in the German Grand Prix of which 16 at the Nurburgring.


German GP – Against the flow

Posted: 06.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: “The strategy we used today was dictated by looking at our average qualifying performance, given that pole is not yet within our grasp and the two scenarios were either starting fifth or sixth on the Soft tyres or start sixth or seventh on the Mediums. We won’t know the true worth of our choice until tomorrow. Maybe here it’s not too important to start from the front because the Soft tyre shows very high degradation and so, from lap 8 onwards the run of pit stops will begin and traffic will build up. At that point we will have to push like if they were all qualifying laps. All weekend we have been off the pace by an average of six tenths, but compared to Silverstone we can say we are back to normal, capable of fighting in the lead group. Of course, we still need to improve a lot, but in the race we think we can be in the hunt, without forgetting that, regardless of the tyres and the starting positions, it’s the fastest who wins”.
Felipe Massa: “In terms of performance, it was a good qualifying, even if we opted for a completely different strategy to the teams who are ahead of us on the grid. The car worked very well and with the Soft tyres, we were very competitive, more so than at Silverstone, where we suffered on both compounds, but even so, we could not have ended up any higher than fourth or fifth. When I saw I was first at the end of Q1 and Q2, I felt like I wanted to fight all the way to the finish, but based on the simulation we carried out during free practice, we felt our choice was the right direction to go in. It’s hard to think we will be able to make up places immediately starting on the Medium tyres, but yesterday we saw that the Softs degrade after just a few laps and this could work out to our advantage. If the car handles well and we manage to have a good race, we could get a really fantastic result”.
Pat Fry: “The comparison carried out yesterday between the Soft and Medium compounds opened the door to various possibilities, both for qualifying and the race and today’s result is fully in line with what we had expected. The decision to tackle qualifying thinking only about our race strategy was actually dictated by the difference we saw in terms of degradation for the two types of tyre. Overall, our car performance was good, even if it was affected by many factors, including the higher temperatures we saw today. Even though Felipe and Fernando were front runners in Q1 and Q2, we stuck to the choice we made at the start. We didn’t feel it was a realistic target to fight for the front rows and we preferred to stick with our pace, trying a different strategy. Clearly, as always, tomorrow everything will depend on how competitive are the two F138s and how good is their pace. From one point of view, we feel that the high degradation of the Soft compound will force our rivals who are ahead of us, to make an early first stop and that traffic might then limit their pace, while we will be going for a longer first stint which should allow us to make up ground”.

ALONSO – Chassis 299 MASSA – Chassis 298
Q1 P3 1:30.709 New Soft – 3 laps P1 1:30.547 New Soft – 5 laps
Q2 P3 1:29.962 Used Soft – 3 lapsNew Soft – 3 laps P1 1:29.825 Used Soft – 3 lapsNew Soft – 3 laps
Q3 P8 1:31.209 Used  Soft – 2 lapsNew  Medium – 3 laps P7 1:31.126 Used  Soft  – 2 lapsNew  Medium – 3 laps
Weather:  air 23/24 °C, track 40°C. Sunny


German GP – A strategic qualifying

Posted: 06.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 6 July – Felipe Massa will start tomorrow’s German Grand Prix from the inside of the fourth row of the grid, not exactly a fantastic starting position, so how come the Brazilian reckons he could have a “fantastic result” tomorrow? It’s all down to the way this afternoon’s qualifying was run, proving yet again that Formula 1 can at times have more in common with a cerebral game of chess than an out and out sporting contest.

In the case of Scuderia Ferrari, the board-game began on Friday, as soon it was clear that tyre degradation on the softer Option tyre was high. Combined with the honest assessment that the F138 is currently not a contender for the top slots on the grid, the Prancing Horse engineers began to feed a few unusual “what ifs” into the equation. The answer that came out was that starting the race on the harder Prime tyre might see our two drivers running at a very fast pace with clear air ahead of them, as those who had started on the Soft tyre would have to pit as early as lap 8 and therefore run into traffic as they emerged from pit lane on their new Mediums. Just to make it clear, the rules state that drivers who take part in the final top-ten shoot-out part of qualifying, must start the race on the tyres with which they finished the Saturday afternoon session.

Therefore even though Felipe and team-mate Fernando Alonso, who qualified one place behind the Brazilian in eighth, were very competitive in the first two parts of the session, the Scuderia strategists stuck to their guns and sent the drivers out on the Medium and therefore slightly slower tyres, for their final attempt in Q3. However, as Fernando said, we won’t know if this unusual strategy will work until it happens.

Of those going for what we will call a “conventional” qualifying, Lewis Hamilton steered his Mercedes around the Nurburgring to record his second consecutive pole position after Silverstone. Alongside him tomorrow will be the Red Bull of series leader Sebastian Vettel, while the second row sees the German’s team-mate Mark Webber in third spot, flanked by Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. On the inside of Row 3, is the Finn’s team-mate Romain Grosjean, with Daniel Ricciardo sixth for Toro Rosso. And then we have our own all-red Row 4…


German GP – A calculated qualifying

Posted: 06.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 6 July – Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were seventh and eighth fastest respectively in this afternoon’s qualifying for the German Grand Prix. Both drivers finished Q3 running the harder Medium tyres, which they will therefore use for the start of the race.

Both men did just a single run in Q1 on the Soft tyre. Alonso set his fastest time on his first lap with a 1.30.709, while Massa’s 1.30.574 came on his second run.

In Q2, the F138 duo set off for two runs, the first on old Softs, before going out with five minutes remaining on new Softs. Felipe was fastest in Q2 with a 1.29.825, with Fernando third on a 1.29.962.

For their first run in the final part of the session, both Ferrari men used the same sets they had used at the end of the previous part, but they didn’t complete a flying lap. The final run on the Mediums saw Massa take seventh spot with a 1.31.126, while Alonso stopped the clocks in 1.31.209 to go eighth. Lewis Hamilton took pole for Mercedes.


German GP – Last test of the weekend

Posted: 06.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 6 July – Sebastian Vettel outpaced the rest of the field in the third and final free practice session,  on a sun-drenched Nurburgring, with more summery temperatures than over the past few days. The Red Bull driver lapped in 1.29.517, with fellow countryman Nico Rosberg second for Mercedes in 1.30.193. Third was the other Red Bull driven by Mark Webber (1.30.211.) Behind the Australian came the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso (1.30.621) and Felipe Massa (1.30.639.) They did two runs, the first on the Medium tyres, the second on the Softs, while working on finding the best set-up for qualifying.


German GP – Return to pre-Silverstone form

Posted: 05.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 5 July – The Formula 1 media can often seem like bloodhounds, as they doggedly follow a story, long after the scent has faded. That’s been the case so far in Germany, where the tyre problems at the British Grand Prix have filled many column inches and taken up several gigabytes of web space. Pirelli has come up with a solution for the weekend and today, no one, including the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers had any specific problems. That’s good news and there was more of that from the Prancing Horse camp, as the F138s certainly seemed more at ease at the Nurburgring, showing a pace that was more like what we had seen in the races prior to last weekend in Silverstone. However, the day was not exactly trouble free, as Fernando Alonso’s car suffered an electrical problem in the opening minutes of the morning practice and effectively took no more part in the rest of the session. Felipe encountered no such difficulties and by the afternoon, the Brazilian was joined on track by his Spanish team-mate, so that by the end of the day, Felipe had done 59 laps – one short of Sunday’s race distance – and Fernando completed 41 on his way to sixth place on the time sheet, one place ahead of Felipe.

Although the tyres worked fine, it’s clear there is quite a difference in the behaviour of the Medium Prime and the Soft Option, so that working out the best strategy for Sunday is going to be an interesting exercise for everyone, while getting the very most out of the tyres for tomorrow’s qualifying will also be one of the topics of tonight’s lengthy engineering meeting.

For a change, a Mercedes did not top the time sheet today, although Silverstone winner Nico Rosberg was second fastest, but the Friday “pole” went to series leader Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull. The German’s team-mate Mark Webber was third, followed by the Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. The weather has been dry all day and warmer, sunnier weather is forecast for Saturday here in the Eifel mountains.


German GP – Something extra

Posted: 05.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: “Today went better than last Friday and even if there is still a long way to go, in general we seem to have made a step forward and returned to the level of competitiveness which we had prior to Silverstone. One of the positives was the behaviour of the tyres which worked well today and did not create any problems. Unfortunately, we lost the morning session because of a programming problem on the electronic control unit, which we then changed. That halved our work programme and this evening we will have to do all we can to make up for it, but we already have an idea of where and how to make changes, because Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus are ahead of us and we want something better than being the third or fourth team in the classification”.

Felipe Massa: “It was a particularly busy day, because we had a lot of things to test and we did as many laps as possible in order to complete the programme. We split the time between assessing the Pirelli tyres and a long run test. There is a big difference between the two compounds, caused by the high degradation of the Softs compared to the Mediums and it will be interesting to see how much influence this will have in the race. As usual, choosing the right strategy will be very important. Qualifying remains our weak point, because usually we are less competitive than in the race and that’s why we will do our utmost to try and start from as far up the grid as possible. Over a long run, the car behaved well and this makes me very confident for Sunday”.

Pat Fry: “After a series of rain affected Fridays, today we hoped for conditions that would allow us to evaluate various solutions and to put together the best possible package for the weekend. Unfortunately, the problems with the electrical system on Fernando’s car affected part of the work which we had planned and the major part of the data that our engineers now have was aquired in the afternoon session. Felipe and Fernando completed the usual tyre comparision and the first impressions are that the new kevlar construction has not affected the balance of the car. Certainly, we will have to do a lot more work to get the tyres working as well as possible: it will be very important to succeed in finding a set-up that allows us to manage the degradation as well as the phenomenon of graining, which is much more accentuated her than at other circuits we have been to so far”.

ALONSO   –   chassis 299 MASSA   –   chassis 298
First Session 2 laps P6 1:33.065 18 laps
                                        Weather:    air 16/18  °C, track 19/23 °C. Covered skyes
Second  Session P6 1:31.056 39 laps P7 1:31.059 41 laps
                                         Weather:  air 19 °C, track 26/27 °C. Cloudy


German GP – A la recherche du temps perdu!

Posted: 05.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nuburgring, 5 July – Scuderia Ferrari took to the track for the second free practice session with the intention of making up for the time lost in the morning with Alonso’s car. With the electrical problem on his F138 solved, the Spaniard was then able to get 39 laps under his belt, setting the sixth fastest time of 1.31.056. He did two runs on Medium tyres, then switching to the Soft, followed by the usual long run test.

Felipe Massa was seventh in 1.31.059, completing 41 laps, running a similar programme to his team-mate, but with more visits to the pits. Felipe also ran the first half of the session on the Mediums, before switching to the Softs before going back onto the Prime again for a long run. Fastest was Sebastian Vettel, with a 1.30.416 in the Red Bull.


German GP – The early bird fails to catch the worm

Posted: 05.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 5 July – This morning, practice for the German Grand Prix, the ninth round of the World Championship, got underway on a dry track and with spring-like temperatures. Felipe Massa was sixth fastest in his Ferrari in a time of 1.33.065, while topping the time sheet were the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, (1.31.754) and Nico Rosberg (1.31.973) ahead of the Red Bull of Mark Webber (1.32.789.) In the other F138, Fernando Alonso did not set a time, as he was hit with electrical problems currently being investigated by the engineers. Both Ferrari men ran the Prime Medium tyre as Felipe evaluated various aero configurations, on a programme that naturally had to be changed while Fernando’s car was out of action.


German GP – A racing film

Posted: 05.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburgring, 5 July – Yesterday evening at the Nurburgring featured a film premiere, as Formula 1 folk got treated to a special showing of the film “Rush,” directed by Ron Howard, which focuses on the championship battle in 1976. Present at the screening was Bernie Ecclestone and the film’s American director, famous for such films as “Cocoon,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Davinci Code.” The script, written by Peter Morgan, is based on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, who was present yesterday and the main roles are played by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. It was shot in the UK and Germany, some of it here at the Nurburgring which hosts this Sunday’s Grand Prix.


German GP – Alonso: “We trust Pirelli to solve the problem”

Posted: 04.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 4 July –  The last Grand Prix in England was still very fresh in the minds of everyone, as you would expect after just four days and when Fernando Alonso met the media in the Nurburgring paddock, there were only two topics of conversation. The first was the strange situation of a Prancing Horse car performing below expectations most of the weekend and yet ending on the podium and indeed in sixth place too. “Mixed feelings,” were the two words the Spaniard used to sum up the mood after the British Grand Prix. “Obviously we said we were happy with closing the points gap to Vettel, but not happy with our performance. It’s something we need to investigate here, to see if Silverstone was a one-off, because we didn’t have the right balance on the car or if it’s because everyone else made more progress and we made a step backwards. Hopefully, this weekend we can return to the form we showed earlier. We went very deep in the analysis of Silverstone, as we were not competitive and we did see some issues with the car in terms of its aerodynamic characteristics and also the set-up. So maybe we can do things better here. In any case, this race and the next one in Hungary will be dominated by the tyres and which cars they suit best. This means we must learn to interpret the new tyres as quickly as possible and get them to work for us and we will be putting a lot of effort into this.”

Which takes us neatly on to topic number 2, the current tyre situation after a handful of cars suffered spectacular and potentially very dangerous blow outs at the high speed Silverstone circuit. “It was a dangerous situation, but I didn’t think anything special about it at the time,” said Fernando referring to following Perez’s McLaren when the Mexican’s rear tyre exploded. “I commited to overtake Sergio on the right, which was lucky, because if I’d gone to the left maybe the tyre debris would have hit my helmet. Bits of steel travelling at 300 kilometres per hour would be like a bullet or a knife. Now, they have made some changes and we trust Pirelli to solve the problem as they know what they are doing. Let’s wait and see and hopefully we won’t have these problems again as they are not good for the sport. We need to wait and see how it will affect our performance: it’s the third or fourth change they’ve made this season: some have hurt us, some were good for us and that is another question mark for this weekend. However, they have only changed the rears and usually they are less problematic in terms of the warm-up that we can suffer from with the fronts. But today, performance is the second priority. What we need to have is a tyre with which you can finish the race and get home at night.”


German GP – Massa: “hope we have a better car here”

Posted: 04.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburg, 4 July – Felipe Massa was one of the stars of the British Grand Prix a few days ago, making a phenomenal start and then, after a tyre failure dropped him to the very back of the field, climbing all the way to sixth at the flag. However, the way the F138 behaved over the three days on track at Silverstone was less noteworthy.  “We were a lot less competitive than Red Bull and Mercedes, especially in qualifying, and in qualifying even other cars were quicker than us,” admitted the Scuderia Ferrari driver, when facing the media at the usual Thursday press meeting. “In the race, the car was a lot more competitive, although even then, Red Bull and Mercedes were better than us, but not by the same margin as in qualifying. We have been working on this for a while now, but it’s true that in Silverstone, the gap was a lot bigger than at other tracks. We worked very hard in the past couple of days, looking at the aerodynamics, the set-up, everywhere to try and see why that happened. Now, I hope we can have a better car here to prove that we have again found the right direction to move in.”

Asked to assess his performance over what is now almost a half season, Felipe’s view was generally positive. “I am happy with my performance, as I had races such as Monaco, where I had a crash, Bahrain where it was the tyres and Canada a crash in qualifying before a very good race, but if you look at the races where I did not have these difficulties, then my performance was very good, being able to fight,” he said. “We need to keep that target from now to the last race, trying not to have problems and unlucky situations. If that happens, then I think I can do even better than I have done so far.”

On a lighter note, Felipe was asked about an interesting dinner he had with some famous people at the table after Silverstone. It was a fun dinner; Bernie Ecclestone was there and so was Eric Clapton who is a great friend of mine and I’m a big fan of his. He’s a great guy and we spoke about everything, even the tyre situation!” That comment inevitably led to some questions about the current hot topic. “I had tyre problems in Bahrain and in Silverstone. In the first case, we had not inverted the tyres, but in Silverstone we did, so I am not sure the problem is linked to this,” concluded Felipe.


A helmet for the victims of Magdeburg

Posted: 04.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Nurburgring, 4 July – At 10 o’clock this morning, an auction got underway organized by helmet manufacturer Schuberth, to raise funds for those affected by the River Elbe bursting its banks and flooding the city of Magdeburg, which saw around 20,000 people have to abandon their homes. Schuberth, an Official Supplier to Scuderia Ferrari, was indirectly affected by the flooding, as the access roads to its factory were impassable and for a few days the electricity supply was cut off. The company, one of the biggest producers of helmets in the world, thus decided to  do something to support those affected. Putting their name to this initiative are the drivers Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi, who all donated a helmet that they have used in the current season. Proceeds from the auction, which is being hosted by “eBayfür charity” ( will go directly to the Mayor of Magdeburg, Dr. LutzTrumper, who will oversee the use of the funds thus raised.


German GP – Safety is the priority

Posted: 03.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Hamburg, 3 July – Fernando Alonso’s German trip has begun in Hamburg, where he visited the Shell Technology Centre, prior to the championship round at the Nurburgring. Just three days on from Silverstone, the Scuderia Ferrari driver has flown to the historic city on the banks of the Elbe, to see the research centre where the Maranello team’s technical partner works on the development of products for use in the most technologically advanced engines. Along with a small group of local media, the Spaniard visited the laboratories and test beds where fuels and lubricants are created and he  also took part in some of the demonstrations put on by the research staff.

“It’s extremely impressive to see at first hand how much work goes into these products. You read and hear a lot about it, but being able to get hands on with it is something else. To get the best results, it helps to have a winning team behind you and I believe that, with Shell, we are in good hands,” said the champion before continuing his journey to the venue for the ninth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. When it came time to talk about the recent British Grand Prix, inevitably the topics of tyres and safety were raised. “After what we saw in Silverstone, we now go to the Nurburgring, confident we can see an improvement,” commented Fernando. “I know that various modifications have been applied and let’s hope that means all of us drivers can race in safe conditions. At the moment, we can’t make any predictions, because no one has tried them and we don’t know what and how many benefits they can bring, apart from trusting in the fact that it won’t be dangerous to race.”


German GP – A step into the unknown

Posted: 02.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

Maranello, 2 July – On Sunday, drivers will line up on the grid at the Nurburgring to take part in the sixtieth edition of the German Grand Prix. But before we get on to the detail of an event that has proved to be, historically, one of the most successful for Scuderia Ferrari, a quick look back to events at Silverstone is called for, especially as the fallout from that race will impact on this weekend.

“The British Grand Prix was certainly exciting, but that aside, we made a step forward in terms of the championship classification by reducing the gap to our main rivals, but honestly, in performance terms we saw the gap grow between ourselves and Red Bull and Mercedes,” is the evaluation of Massimo Rivola, the team’s Sporting Director. “Yes, the race was better but our pace in qualifying and on Friday was definitely not enough for our season targets. Both Fernando and Felipe produced really aggressive and attacking race drives, which is what we like to see! I think that Felipe would have been in the hunt for a much higher finishing position if it had not been for his tyre problem at Turn 5. He staged a great charge up the order when you think he was last on lap 20 and fought his way back to sixth with some really nice overtaking moves. Unfortunately, Fernando did not make the best of starts and came round at the end of the opening lap in ninth place. After that he had some good battles and in the closing stages he made the difference and when he got a whiff of the podium, he really cranked it up a notch! Bringing him in to change tyres just before the Safety Car, even if the neutralisation per se didn’t really do him many favours, was the right decision.”

Thanks to the vagaries of the calendar, there are only a handful of days before the eleven teams meet again in the Eifel mountains for the ninth round of the World Championship. Now that the German Grand Prix alternates between two circuits, this will be the first time since 2011 that the teams will have raced at the Nurburgring. “To be honest, with the various question marks over the performance of the F138 following Silverstone, a bit of a break would have been useful,” admitted Rivola. “We are not talking about minor details, but more significant challenges, so, it would have been nice to get more time to analyse all the data. But this is Formula 1, it’s our job and we know what it entails.”

The Nurburgring can be considered a more technically complex circuit than Silverstone, with a more modern track layout, which is another way of saying it has a mix of corners from slow to fast, with camber changes and sections where car set-up has to be a compromise. A slower track than the English venue, with a less abrasive surface means that Pirelli has nominated its Medium and Soft compound tyres for the weekend. That brings us to the big question hanging over Formula 1 at the moment. “What we saw at Silverstone certainly gives us cause to think about the safety of the drivers,” said Rivola on the topic of the tyre problems last Sunday. The Young Driver Test, which was scheduled to take place actually at Silverstone from 17 to 19 July, has now provided the perfect opportunity to do something about it, which both the FIA and Pirelli have jumped at. It will be very important to have this opportunity to try something new. Obviously, this test will be carried out with the actual race drivers, as there would be no sense in trying something new with youngsters at the wheel, who do not have the necessary experience to provide the required feedback.”

When it comes to the Prancing Horse’s prospects for this weekend’s race, Rivola is understandably unable to give a definite answer one way or the other. “As I said before, in a way, we are coming to Germany too soon, even if we have a good track record there. It’s hard to say if we can be competitive or not, because, with the new updates we usually bring to the races there will be even more unknown factors than the ones we are facing right now. Certainly it should be warmer than at Silverstone, but we’re not talking Malaysia temperatures! Then, some parts of the track will suit our car, but others, like the final corner for example, will not. It definitely won’t be easy to match the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes, but that has to be our aim. Of course, we want to win every race, but we have to be realistic and we will begin by trying to close the gap in qualifying. If we can start from nearer the front, then we can allow ourselves to be optimistic for Sunday.”


Germany, a happy hunting ground for the Reds

Posted: 01.07.2013
Source: Ferrari

A good track record can’t make your car go faster, but a quick look at the statistics seems to indicate that Germany has looked kindly on Ferrari: it has taken no less than 26 wins from the 73 Grands Prix held on German soil, 59 of them in the German Grand Prix, 12 in the European Grand Prix and two in the Luxembourg Grand Prix. Only Italy has proved equally successful for Ferrari with an identical number of wins made up of 18 in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and 8 from the San Marino Grand Prix run at Imola. 14 of the 26 victories in Germany came at the Nurburgring circuit, nine of them as the national race and five when it was deemed to be the Old Continent’s race.The Nurburgring track is indelibly linked to the dramatic accident that befell Niki Lauda on the second lap of the 1976 race, an incident that is etched in the collective memories of Formula 1 fans. The accident marked the end of the Nordschleife, the original version of the circuit, as a Formula 1 venue. The incident is a key scene in the soon to be released “Rush,” the film directed by Ron Howard, which follows that year’s duel between the Austrian driver and Englishman James Hunt. The Grand Prix was absent from the Eifel mountains until 1984 when it first took place on the more modern layout, certainly in terms of its length, given it is under 5 kilometres. However, it was not until 1995 that it became a more permanent fixture, hosting the race until 2007, after which it has alternated with Hockenheim since 2008, as the home to the German Grand Prix, the race that Ferrari has won more times, 21, than any other in its history.Fernando Alonso has been first past the flag here on two occasions: the first in 2005 with Renault, the second in 2007 with McLaren. On the latter occasion, the win involved a spat between the Spaniard and his current team-mate Felipe Massa, just prior to the podium ceremony. The previous year, these two also met in the same room behind the podium, but on that occasion, the man in the spotlight was Michael Schumacher who had just taken his fifth and final win at the Nurburgring. Nevertheless, it was an important day for Felipe, as it was the first ever podium finish of his Formula 1 career. That 2006 victory, was Ferrari’s last at this track: in 2009, Felipe finished third and in 2011 Fernando was second. Things seemed to go much better in Hockenheim: Schumacher won the two races on his home soil in his final year as a Ferrari man, while Alonso has won twice from two starts in 2010 and 2012, since he’s been at the wheel of a Ferrari. In some ways the last win was symbolic, although for reasons not linked to sport: just as the Old Continent was going through a very critical point in the economic crisis, coming out on top in the backyard of the major German motor manufacturers in the country with the most solid economic base was a car built in Italy, designed by a Greek engineer and driven by a Spaniard…