|Distance||306,458 km / 190,465 miles|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||F14 T||308||Scuderia Ferrari||11.|
|14||Fernando Alonso||F14 T||307||Scuderia Ferrari||5.|
Marco Mattiacci: “This was a very hard fought race for both the drivers and the team, which confirms the great effort put in by everyone on a weekend that never had a moment’s breathing space and in which we did our utmost. Fernando produced another fantastic performance, while we saw encouraging signs from Kimi, which unfortunately did not translate into concrete results. We know the weak points of our car and at every race we are looking for improvements that can also be useful for the new project which is beginning to take shape. Now attention turns to the next round in Hungary. It will be another demanding race, but at the same time another opportunity to improve.”
Fernando Alonso: “We did what we could today and even if as always, we were aiming for a podium finish, the cars ahead of us were just too quick. It was a good race, even if it was very complex, as we decided to change from a two to a three-stop strategy. It was not easy fighting while also keeping an eye on consumption and in the end, with the help of newer tyres, getting ahead of Ricciardo meant we finished in the highest position that we were capable of. Here in Hockenheim, we made a small step forward and even if that didn’t translate into lap time, it encourages us to keep trying to improve. The aim is still to score points to help the team in the Constructors’ Championship. So now our thoughts turn to Budapest. We will only find out how things will go once we are there, because every circuit is a story in itself.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It’s a real shame the way my race went, because this weekend, I felt more comfortable and today, on fresh tyres, I was going well. Unfortunately, twice I found myself squeezed between two cars and on both occasions my front wing got damaged and that compromised my race. Tyre performance dropped more than expected and I had graining on the front left and was losing aerodynamic downforce. On the positive side, I was able to drive the way I like today. I am sure that, but for these problems, things would have worked out differently and I would have been able to finish in the points.”
Pat Fry: “It was a very tight race and with both cars, we pushed to the limit trying to make up places. Because of the accident at the start, we made up three places and both Fernando and Kimi drove very aggressively with a lot of spectacular overtaking moves. Behind the scenes, managing all the parameters of the two cars gave us a lot to do, from monitoring traffic, to the choices relating to the pit stops and fuel consumption. Unfortunately, with Kimi it was all more complicated, partly affected by a couple of collisions that damaged his front wing and affected tyre behaviour. In his second stint, we lost a few seconds because of graining, seconds which unfortunately, cost us a points finish. Fernando managed his race very well and thanks to his final move on Ricciardo, he brought home points that are important for the Constructors’ Championship. In a few days, we will be back on track in Hungary, a circuit where aerodynamic downforce plays a significant role and where we will try and get the most out of our package.”
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 12||New Soft|
|2nd stop||Lap 33||New Soft|
|3rd stop||Lap 55||Old Supersoft|
|RAIKKONEN||11th||1:34:01.664||+ 1 lap||677..111||1.21.338||55|
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 20||New Supersoft|
|2nd stop||Lap 34||Old Soft|
|3rd stop||Lap 53||Old Supersoft|
|Weather: air 25/27 °C, track 30/32 °C. Cloudy|
Hockenheim, 20 July – The rain that might have helped the Scuderia Ferrari drivers exceed the current performance level of their car, cruelly arrived shortly after the end of the German Grand Prix, in which Fernando Alonso finished in fifth place, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen brought his F14 T home just outside the points in eleventh. Not an exhilarating result, but Fernando yet again was a key player in making this an absolutely thrilling race. Two weeks ago he went wheel to wheel with Sebastian Vettel in the British GP and here, after a brief re-match, which the German won, it was the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who duelled with the Ferrari man for several laps, thrilling the crowd in the grandstands and the viewers at home. Alonso finally made a passing move stick with a handful of laps to go. Kimi had a less pleasant day, even though he pulled off some aggressive overtaking moves. But he struggled after the opening stint, partly due to front wing damage.
There were other similarities with the last round at Silverstone: a Mercedes won of course, Nico Rosberg this time and the Safety Car was also required immediately after Felipe Massa’s car was rolled over at the first corner. Consolation for his Williams team came from Valtteri Bottas who came second, fending off Lewis Hamilton, who fought his way from the back of the grid to complete the podium trio in the other Mercedes.
At the start, the track temperature was over 20 degrees cooler than Saturday. The Safety Car was immediately deployed for just a couple of laps, after Massa and Magnussen tangled after the start, the Williams tipping over in the run-off at Turn 1. By that point, Fernando had moved up three places from seven to fourth and Kimi had gone from twelfth to ninth. Rosberg led from pole, with Bottas second while Vettel had jumped from six to third. Between Fernando and Kimi were Hulkenberg, Button, Kvyat, and Perez.
Kimi was powerless to stop Ricciardo getting by on lap 11 and then fought wheel to wheel with Hamilton to keep ahead of the Mercedes. Lap 12 and Fernando was the first of the front runners to pit, taking on a new set of the Soft Pirellis. Lap 12 and Hamilton passed first Kimi and then Ricciardo all in the same move with a small part of the F14 T flying in the air.
Around lap 15, there was an incredible battle for fourth with both Ferraris going to wheel to wheel, Kimi, yet to pit, having started on the harder compound, caught in the middle between Fernando and Vettel, all three cars bouncing off one another. This meant more damage to Kimi’s front wing and as a consequence it would affect his tyre performance from then on. The Spaniard came out ahead of the Finn but behind the German.
Lap 25 and Kimi passed Vergne to go into the points in tenth and not longer after he made that ninth with an aggressive passing move on Magnussen. Kimi moved to eighth on lap 31 when Button pitted. At his second stop, Fernando came in early in an attempt to jump Vettel and later in the race, Vettel would try the same tactic, which inevitably worked, as he came out of pit lane just ahead of the Spanish Ferrari driver, but the German’s tyres were still not up to temperature and, with a puff of wheel smoke, Fernando got ahead of the Red Bull on the curved back section. Kimi came in slightly earlier than planned for more Softs, unhappy with his last set.
With 11 laps to go, Fernando came in for another set of Supersofts to run to the flag, rejoining seventh, while Kimi was down in twelfth. The Spaniard was up to sixth, passing Button and he set off in pursuit of Ricciardo, whom he caught on lap 60 with the two men putting on a great show, with wheel to wheel action for several laps. Eventually, Fernando got the upper hand five laps from the flag.
Hockenheim, 20 July –Mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari in the German Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso fought tooth and nail all race long, to finish a strong fifth. Kimi Raikkonen went well in the first stint, but then slipped down the order in the second to finish outside the points. The Safety Car came out immediately after the start after Magnussen and Massa collided, with the Brazilian’s car tipping over. Alonso therefore moved up to fourth on the opening lap, while Kimi also got away well to go eighth.
The first pit stops mixed up the order: while the top ten had to start on Supersofts, Kimi was on the Soft and thus running longer, so when Fernando and Vettel found themselves behind the Finn and, as they went either side of him, they bounced off one another, Kimi sustaining front wing damage. Alonso and Vettel kept close company up to two thirds distance. Vettel then made an early final stop to get the edge over the Ferrari man, who then had a thrilling 3 lap duel with Ricciardo in the other Red Bull, the Australian twice passing the Spaniard, but Fernando eventually made it stick. After a difficult middle stint, Kimi was unable to climb back into the points. Championship leader Nico Rosberg won for the fourth time this year for Mercedes. Second was Valtteri Bottas in the Williams ahead of Lewis Hamilton who went from 20th to third. Next Sunday it’s time for the Hungarian GP on the outskirts of Budapest.
Hockenheim, 19 July –Ten members of the Scuderia Ferrari Member club had their dream come true when they were invited to this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Having watched qualifying from the grandstands, the ten lucky guests, chosen from among the members of the Prancing Horse community, were taken on a guided tour of the Scuderia motorhome and garage. They met Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, with whom they had a brief chat before having their photos taken and getting autographs signed. It was an unforgettable day for Sandro, Vishal, Sergio, Giovanni, Cristoph, Maria Antonietta, Dustin, Daniel, Sven and Stefan, who tomorrow will be able to cheer on their favourite drivers from the Hockenheim grandstands.
Fernando Alonso: “We can’t be happy with seventh, but it reflects the fact this weekend has been one of ups and downs. Apart from the actual numbers in today’s qualifying, I did find I was more at ease in my F14 T and I think I got the most out of it. I reckon in the race we will suffer more because of tyre degradation. With such high temperatures, the rear tyres slide a lot and it will be really important to choose the right number of stops to make. The forecast is unclear as to whether the rain will arrive during or after the race and so we have to be clever at being ready to anticipate it if we want to be in the game. Here, as in Austria, Mercedes and Williams seem out of reach, but we will do all we can to be at the front of the following group. I hope to see a bunched up race, with a lot of overtaking, even though I’m not expecting too many surprises because the absence of FRIC hasn’t produced any significant changes, nor closed the gaps much.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This weekend, a few technical problems meant I spent more time in the garage than usual, but already, as from yesterday afternoon, my feeling with the car had improved. Today, in Q1 things went reasonably well, but then in Q2, when I fitted the second set of new Supersofts, my car was sliding all over the place and I lost the back end in turn 2. After that, it was impossible to put a good lap together. I’m not happy with my grid position, but I hope things can go better in tomorrow’s race. It’s likely the weather could be different tomorrow and the temperatures will be lower. We will try and make the most of any opportunity because we want to have a nice race and bring home a good number of points.”
Pat Fry: “The result of qualifying is far from satisfying, even if it’s more or less what we were expecting, given the current performance level of our car. The race looks like being very difficult and the weather, with an uncertain forecast for tomorrow, could be the key factor. Temperatures were very high again today and in these conditions, it’s never easy for the drivers. This track requires maximum concentration as it is a relatively short lap and it only takes very little to lose a few tenths and find yourself down the back. Indeed, Kimi unfortunately lost a few in turn 2 in the second part of qualifying and didn’t make it to Q3. As for Fernando, he managed to improve in the final part, compared to his times in Q1 and Q2 and as usual, he pushed his car to the limit. He could not have done more. Tomorrow, rain could appear and throw up some surprises and we must be ready to exploit the slightest opportunity. However, if it doesn’t rain and it stays hot, I think tyre management and reliability of the cars will be the key factors, putting aside outright individual performance levels.”
|ALONSO – Chassis 307||RAIKKONEN – Chassis 308|
|Q1||P7||1:18.389||New Soft – 5 laps
New Supersoft – 3 laps
|P11||1:18.534||New Soft – 4 laps
New Supersoft – 3 laps
|Q2||P7||1:17.866||New Supersoft – 3 laps
New Supersoft – 2 laps
|P12||1:18.273||New Supersoft – 3 laps
New Supersoft – 3 laps
|Q3||P7||1:17.649||Old Supersoft – 3 laps
New Supersoft – 3 laps
|Weather: 36/37°C, track 52/55 °C. Sunny|
Hockenheim, 19 July – The extensive experience of Scuderia Ferrari’s world champion drivers could be a great asset in what looks like being a very tough race, the hottest of the year, tomorrow at the Hockenheimring. >From seventh on the grid, Fernando Alonso will be aiming to make up as many places as possible, as will Kimi Raikkonen, who faces more of an uphill struggle, as he will watch the lights go out from the sixth row of the grid in twelfth place.
Like all the other drivers with the exception of Bottas and the unfortunate Hamilton, who crashed his Mercedes at the Sachskurve, because of a brake problem, Fernando and Kimi used both the Soft and Supersoft to be sure of making the cut from Q1 into Q2. The Spaniard did it by setting the seventh fastest time and the Finn the eleventh.
Q2 proved much tougher and would mark the end of Raikkonen’s participation in qualifying, as he failed to make the cut into Q3, setting the twelfth fastest time. He was unable to improve on his first run after losing a few tenths at Turn 2. Fernando however was through in seventh place. And indeed, that’s where he would stay come the end of the final part of qualifying, to secure a place on row 4, which he shares with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. As usual, the Spaniard had rung every last drop of performance out of his F14 T.
With Hamilton out of the way, Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg ensured the home crowd were able to cheer a pole position set by a German driver on a German track in a German-entered car. It was the fifth time this season he has topped the Q3 timing sheet. Next up were the Williams duo, Valtteri Bottas on the front row, with Felipe Massa sharing row 2 with the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen. Kimi has the Dane’s team-mate Jenson Button on the inside of him on row 6.
Pirelli went for the very aggressive choice of running Soft and Supersoft tyres here and they will face a stern test tomorrow, on the assumption the forecast is correct and we have another very hot race day. However, even the softest tyre in the range looked consistent enough on Friday, hotter than today, to do a run of 12 laps or so, therefore a reasonably conventional two stop race, running Supersoft, Soft, Soft, is the most likely scenario. The forecast for rain? Pundits reckon it’s becoming less likely, with the possibility of a nice cool shower once the chequered flag has been waved.
Hockenheim, 19 July – Qualifying for the German Grand Prix was disappointing for Scuderia Ferrari. When the race starts at 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso will start from seventh on row 4, while Kimi Raikkonen will be in twelfth place on row 6. There was drama in Q1, with the session being red flagged, after a technical problem resulted in Lewis Hamilton crashing heavily into the barriers. The session resumed for a seven minute mini-session in which both Scuderia men made it to the next part.
Alonso dealt with Q2 quite comfortably, but Kimi, after a good first timed lap, was unable to follow the majority in improving on his second, so he failed to make the cut to Q3 by a tenth. In the final part, Nico Rosberg took pole for Mercedes in 1.16.540, followed by the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren. The third row is an all Red Bull affair, with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Sebastian Vettel, whose lap was just 72 thousandths faster than Fernando’s.
Hockenheim, 19 July –Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen finished the final free practice session for the German Grand Prix in third and eighth places respectively. It was already very hot this morning during the hour in which the Spaniard completed eleven laps and the Finn did eight.
They began the session in race trim on Soft tyres, the harder of the two Pirelli compounds available. In the second half the focus shifted to qualifying, with all drivers running the Supersoft.
Fernando’s best laps was a 1.18.384, while Kimi stopped the clocks in 1.18.842. The Finn’s session came to a premature end when a problem was identified with the fuel pump on his F14 T and so the part has been changed for qualifying. Nico Rosberg was fastest with a 1.17.779, just 601 thousandths faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. In between Alonso and Raikkonen, we find Massa, Bottas, Magnussen and Ricciardo. Qualifying begins at 14h00.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Technical Director James Allison met the press this afternoon and the Englishman was quizzed by journalists on a wide range of topics, starting with today’s hot topic – apart from the heat itself – the lack of FRIC, the suspension system no longer being used by any teams in case it is deemed illegal.
“I think not having it probably tends to make everyone understeer a bit more because everyone’s front ride height will be a bit higher than it otherwise might have been,” began the Englishman. “It is too early to say whether it shakes things up or not – but if it does, it will only be fairly short lived because people because people will get used it and figure out a way how to get their car set-up without FRIC.”
With the same job title often meaning different things in different F1 teams, Allison was asked to spell out exactly what his responsibilities are within the Scuderia. “I am the technical director of the chassis and I have an additional overall responsibility for the project of the vehicle, the whole thing, trying to make sure we have the right balance of risk and trying to make sure that we are ambitious enough with it. In terms of design changes, I sincerely hope that we will be able to make a decisive step forward with the car next year.”
When it comes to the engine side, Allison admitted this was not his area of expertise and he simply had to ensure there was a correlation between the engine and chassis sides. “I have to ensure that chassis and engine sides are taking the same sort of approach to the deadlines we are setting and the objectives that we have. It is especially important in a company where everything is under one roof and the opportunity for having that well coordinated is substantial.”
Since the arrival of Marco Mattiacci there’s been a great deal of interest in how the team structure is and will change as Ferrari tries to get back to the front of the grid. Allison tried to put it in some perspective: “you need to make big changes and small changes at the same time, because for any F1 team it is much easier to make a team worse than it is to make it better. So in an absolute sense, the changes that need to be made are quite small, but there are lots of them. They’ve been happening for some months and Marco’s (Mattiaci) arrival has helped galvanise more of them. Across the board in Ferrari there have been changes that are extremely helpful to moving us in the right direction. The totality of the small changes adds up to something significant.”
Finally, it’s the summer, so the driver market had to be a topic. “Both our drivers were in Maranello recently, both of them discussing plans for next year, both of them having our programme set out in front of them and having their opportunity to give us feedback about the weaknesses and strengths of our current car,” explained Allison. “It’s a great thing when a driver buys in to what we are doing. We are making a great effort to ensure they can see the plans we have in place. Kimi is quite new to our team, Fernando has had some years with Ferrari but has not yet achieved the goals he wanted. I hope the presentation I put his way impressed him, but you should ask him that!”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s nice to be back racing at Hockenheim. I’ve got fantastic memories of the last race here and I like the track a lot. Today, we concentrated on set-up to try and adapt to the temperatures, which are going to be extremely high all weekend. I had no problems with either the Soft or Supersoft compounds and we just need to understand how they will behave in the race and what the weather could be like on Sunday. I don’t think going away with FRIC changed much in terms of driving style and in order to have a clear picture you’d have to do a comparison with and without it, but running without it, we just have to adapt and be as well prepared as possible with what we have.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Like every Friday, our programme covered set-up work in the first session, then evaluating the tyres and doing a race simulation in the afternoon. Unfortunately in the morning, because of a technical problem, I had to come back to the garage and was unable to do an additional run on the Soft tyres, but thanks to a great job from the team, I managed to quickly get back out on track. In the afternoon, we made up for lost time and managed to improve on all fronts. Overall, it’s been a reasonably positive day, but it’s still to early to make any predictions. We will have to wait until tomorrow to know more.”
Pat Fry: “This was a very busy day of testing, affected by the particularly high temperatures and the new element of FRIC being banned. The absence of this system did not change our programmes, only requiring a bit of time for our drivers to adapt. Fernando had a trouble free morning, while on Kimi’s car there was a problem with the water pump, which cost him a run. However, the team sorted the problem quickly, so that Kimi was back on track in a short space of time. In the afternoon, we continued to work on set-up, also trying the Supersofts. As emerged on the long runs also, if the air and track temperatures stay this high, managing the tyre degradation, on the two softest compounds in the range, will become of even greater importance for the race.”
|ALONSO – chassis 307||RAIKKONEN – chassis 308|
|First Session||P3||1:19.423||21 laps||P8||1:20.210||21 laps|
|Weather: air 26/31 °C, track 36/45 °C. Sunny|
|Second Session||P9||1:19.329||32 laps||P4||1:18.887||38 laps|
|Weather: air 34/35°C, track 51/55 °C. Sunny|
Hockenheim, 18 July – The track temperature at Hockenheim hit an amazing 58 degrees at one point this afternoon, a figure so high that any newcomer to Formula 1 might have assumed the temperatures are posted in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius! The heat was the dominant force in today’s free practice and it’s meant to get even warmer tomorrow, so that tyre management will be the absolute key factor for the rest of the German Grand Prix weekend. To put it in perspective, the track temperature on race day this year in Malaysia, usually regarded as one of the very hottest venues, was a mere 51.
Over the course of today’s three hours of track time, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso racked up a total of 112 laps of this 4.574 km track. Apart from paying close attention to the tyres in the heat – the Supersoft appears to lose performance quite quickly, but then “come back” again after a few laps – the team worked as usual on car set-up, concentrating mainly on race preparation. The fact that all the teams agreed not to run the FRIC suspension systems had little impact on the show, with the pecking order much the same as usual.
With a relatively short lap, the times are always close here, so that Kimi in fourth place this afternoon was only half a second off the quickest time, while even Fernando in ninth was within a second of the fastest driver. It goes without saying the fastest man was driving a Mercedes: today it was British GP winner Lewis Hamilton who set the best time ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull was third and actually looked as though he could give the Anglo-German team a hard time this weekend. In between Kimi and Fernando, we find Magnussen, Massa, Button and Vettel.
Hockenheim, 18 July –The second free practice session for the German Grand Prix saw Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso post the fourth and ninth fastest times respectively. Raikkonen seems to have found a better feeling for the car when compared to this morning, doing a respectable 1.18.887, completing 38 laps. Fernando Alonso did 32, the best in 1.19.329.
This afternoon, the Scuderia concentrated on set-up work and on evaluating the Pirelli tyres, especially the Supersofts as track temperatures almost reached the 60 degree mark.
In the final half hour, both drivers worked on race simulation, trying both compounds. Once again, Mercedes were quickest, but unlike the morning, this time it was Lewis Hamilton who was fastest in 1.18.341, 24 thousandths quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg (1.18.365.) Third was Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull (1.18.443.) The cars are back on track tomorrow morning at 11, for the third and final free practice session.
Hockenheim, 18 July –Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen ended the first free practice session for the German Grand Prix in third and eighth places respectively. Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers covered 21 laps, although their sessions worked out quite differently.
Fernando set a best time of 1.19.423 during a trouble free session with no special problems. However, Kimi, who stopped the clocks in 1.20.210, had to contend with a water pump problem after just four laps. However, the Ferrari mechanics did a fantastic job to fix the problem and send the Finn on his way in double quick time.
It’s very hot today with track temperatures running at over 40 degrees, while there was little grip on what was a still dirty track, so quite a few cars went off. Quickest was Nico Rosberg in 1.19.131, which was just a whisker, 65 thousandths, faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Splitting the two Ferrari men, we find Ricciardo, Button, Vettel and Magnussen. The second session starts at 14h00 local time.
Hockenheim, 17 July – Scuderia Ferrari’s sponsor for the past five seasons, Santander Bank, organised a karting event tonight at a track in Walldorf, a few kilometres from the Hockenheimring, home to this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Winners of the event were Scuderia test driver Marc Gene and Catalan journalist from TV3, Albert Fabrega. Competitors were split into groups of four of different nationalities, with one team principal for each group. The best drivers from each country then took on a team of Scuderia Ferrari drivers, featuring Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Jules Bianchi, a Scuderia test driver, on loan for the night from the Marussia F1 team, Marc Gene and Raffaele Marciello, a Ferrari Driver Academy student, in Hockenheim for round 6 of the GP2 series. The winner was decided by adding the points scored by the journalist to those of that nation’s allocated race driver, decided by a draw before the start of a race where the victory went to Fabrega.
Hockenheim, 17 July – With the temperature at the track already hitting 30 degrees today, the air-conditioned Ferrari Media Unit provided a welcome cooling off period when Fernando Alonso tackled his usual Thursday press meeting.
Asked to look back at his passing move on Vettel at Silverstone, the Spaniard admitted it was a bit special. “That move at turn 9 was a bit risky,” he said. “It was a one-off. I’d hope not to repeat it, as there’s too much risk of not finishing the race. If you are fighting for the championship, you need to step back a bit and think of scoring points every weekend. So hopefully, we won’t see it again, as it will mean I am fighting for the championship!”
As for the German GP, the Ferrari man felt the weather would play an important role. “Being realistic, this will be another tough weekend, with hot temperatures and running the Soft and Supersoft tyres automatically means tyre management will be necessary in these temperatures,” he explained. “In past races where it was hot, we were not so competitive. Here we have some new parts and hopefully they will bring us some performance. Our target is to beat some of our main competitors from second to fifth in the Constructors’ championship, where it is very tight and will be to the very end of the season. We need to reduce the gap to Red Bull and increase it if we can to Williams and McLaren, that are becoming very strong. I think it will be interesting. I have won three times at Hockenheim, twice at the Nurburging [European GPs] every time we come to Germany we seem to have a good weekend, so let’s hope we continue that trend this weekend.”
Asked if he was talking to any other teams regarding his future, even though he has a Ferrari contract, Fernando smiled before replying. “Every year now I get asked this question in July, maybe since I started in 2003. I haven’t talked with any other team and it’s not my priority. We have to score some good points this weekend and get some good results this year.”
Hockenheim, 17 July – It was a predominantly German version of the FIA press conference today, with all four “home” drivers joined on the panel by the Dane, Kevin Magnussen and the Finn, Kimi Raikkonen. With this being the Ferrari man’s first official appearance since the frightening crash on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, the journalists were keen to hear how he was feeling now. “I had some pain afterwards, not so much in my leg, but more in my ribs,” he revealed. “That was why I did not drive in the (Silverstone) test, but it’s all fine now.” Raikkonen was asked if that was the heaviest crash of his career. “Probably! And hopefully there won’t be too many more,” he replied. “It hurt, but sometimes it’s the really slow accidents when you can get badly hurt. The Silverstone crash was just unfortunate, it was nothing serious and just part of this sport.”
Raikkonen remained positive when asked about the more general difficulties he is experiencing on track this season. “I believe the situation will turn around at some point, as it can’t go on much longer like this,” he maintained. “It’s true it’s no fun, but we have been in this situation before and always managed to turn it around. I strongly believe we can fix the issues and be back where we should be. How soon? I hope quickly but I am not worried about my future.”
The opening round of the season in Melbourne doesn’t seem that long ago and yet this weekend in Germany, the Formula 1 circus is about to rush pell-mell into a pair of back-to-back races that takes it over the halfway point of the year and into the summer break.
The first of this pair of races takes place at the Hockenheimring, a biennial venue, as the race shares its place on the calendar with the Nurburgring. After the last round in Silverstone, Scuderia Ferrari and the other ten teams stayed on at the English circuit and, following Kimi Raikkonen’s accident, from which the Finn is now fully recovered, test driver Pedro de la Rosa was installed in the cockpit of the F14 T for one day. Part of the team since January 2013, the Spaniard spends most of his working life with the Scuderia in the simulator, so a day on track was a rare treat. “It was fantastic to be back in the car, it was such a rush,” admits Pedro. “It was an important opportunity to actually drive the real car from the point of view of correlating the results from the simulator and the track to see that all the work we are doing in the simulator is correct. Car handling, power delivery, so many things are different from when I used to race. That’s why it’s so important to have these test days for the F1 test drivers like me that do a lot of simulator work. We learned a lot in Silverstone, carrying out a steady development programme. Race by race we are improving and we are not giving up on this year, even if we are also thinking already about 2015.”
Hockenheim in mid-July is usually one of the hottest venues on the calendar and will provide a stern test of car reliability. In addition, Pirelli’s aggressive choice of running the Soft and Supersoft tyres will make for exciting racing, while requiring the teams to pay close attention to tyre management. “Hockenheim is a very complete track where you require everything from the car,” is De la Rosa’s assessment. “You need power, the right car balance front to rear and you need good downforce, because although it’s not a particularly long track, it has all types of corner. For example, in the first sector, you will need a very strong front end for Turn 1, otherwise if you have a bit of understeer there, you cannot put the power down and you lose a lot of exit speed. Good traction is essential for Turns 2 and 5, because after these corners come the two longest straights on the track, while the hairpin at Turn 6 is the perfect overtaking opportunity For the last sector, you just need a lot of downforce. That’s the part of the track with the most corners and it’s where a good car aerodynamically and mechanically shows up.”
Maranello, 14 July –Sunday’s race will be the 61st German Grand Prix as a world championship event. It’s been run at three tracks, Avus, Nurburgring and Hockenheim, although it’s more like five as the last two venues have changed considerably. Scuderia Ferrari has won this race 21 times, a 35% success rate.
The 50s: The first F1 race was held in 1951 on the old 22.8 kilometre Nurbugring known as the “Green Hell,” a truly difficult test for the greatest drivers. That year it was won by Alberto Ascari driving for Scuderia Ferrari. The Italian driver did it again the following year, while the Maranello marque made it three in a row in ’53 courtesy of Giuseppe Farina in a Ferrari 500. The next win came in 1956 with Juan Manuel Fangio. The race was only held once at Avus and Ferrari won that too, with the track made up of two long straights joined by completely parabolic curves at each end which destroyed tyres. The race therefore had to be held in two legs, both of them won by Tony Brooks in a 246.
The 60s and 70s: Four years later in 1963, John Surtees won in the 156 and he did it again the following year in a 158, a victory that would be key to his taking the title come the end of the season. These two wins earned the Englishman the soubriquet of Ringmeister. Ferrari won again at the Nurburgring in 1972, courtesy of Jacky Ickx and in 1974 with Switzerland’s Clay Regazzoni. It was here too that, on 1 August 1976, Niki Lauda had the terrible accident which left him with the scars he bears to this day. Lauda nearly died as a result, but came back to be the first winner at the new venue, the original Hockenheim with its six kilometres of straights through the Black Forest, the lap ending in the tricky Motodrom section, a serious of testing corners which required a lot of aero downforce.
The 80s and 90s: In 1982, Patrick Tambay won in a 126 C2, but there were no celebrations. In qualifying the day before, the Scuderia’s Didier Pironi, in the running for the title, had a terrible crash, which put an end to his racing career. It came just months after the tragic death of Gilles Villeneuve. The following year, Rene Arnoux won in the 126 C3. In 1985, the race was held at the brand new modern Nurburgring, which lacked the fascination of the older venue. Michele Alboreto won in a Ferrari 156-85 and took the lead in the championship. Nine years would pass before a Ferrari driver stood on the top of the podium again: it was Gerhard Berger, who in the 412 T1, thus ended a 59 race drought.
The Noughties: Five years later, Eddie Irvine won while in 2000, Rubens Barrichello got the benefit of the Safety Car, but also drove very well to stay on track in the closing stages on dry tyres, while half the track was hit by a rain storm. Michael Schumacher won in 2002, the debut of the new Hockenheim, with a completely different layout, as the long straights in the forests had gone, while the first and last sections of track were now joined by a long linking corner the Parabolika. The historic Motodrom was kept, but since the track now required a higher level of aerodynamic downforce all round, it was a less taxing challenge than in the past. The German won again in 2004 and 2006, while the last two victories for the Scuderia came courtesy of Fernando Alonso, who starred on German soil in 2010 and 2012.
Maranello, 14 July –This weekend, Kimi Raikkonen will be at the wheel of his F14 T in the German Grand Prix, but in the meantime, here’s a film of the Finn taking part in a rather unusual race. It took place in the countryside around Silverstone and was organised and broadcast on TV by Sky Sports UK.
Kimi took on three former Formula 1 drivers, now commentators for the TV company on some grassy slopes, at the wheel of ride-on mowers. Despite having no practice, the Ferrari man used his past rally experience to come home ahead of Johnny Herbert, Anthony Davidson and Martin Brundle. After the “race” Brundle then interviewed Kimi and here you can see how much fun they all had and what the Finn had to say.