||306,198 km / 190,303 miles
British GP – A thrilling Silverstone
Marco Mattiacci: “The most important news right now is that Kimi is alright, even though the impact with the barriers was a heavy one. He has some bruising and will now be resting to be in shape for the next race. Given the outcome of qualifying, we knew we faced an uphill struggle in the race, but we could count on having a race pace that would allow us to try and get back in the points. On this front, Fernando lived up to our expectations, pulling off some memorable overtaking moves. I think that, with fewer problems and without the penalty for his start position, he could have got better than sixth. His great climb up the order was yet more proof of his extremely aggressive mentality, which is exactly what we must demonstrate for the rest of the season.”
Fernando Alonso: “I think today’s race was very spectacular, certainly for us it was extremely hectic, first with Kimi’s retirement and then with the penalty for being out of position at the start. Then there were also my duels with Button and Vettel. When Sebastian came up behind me I was saving fuel and battery power and had a problem with the rear wing so I knew that sooner or later he would have overtaken me. I think both Red Bulls deserved to finish ahead of us, because they were quicker. Now we must analyse our performance and try to improve for the next round in Germany: if we want to make up ground in the Constructors’ Championship, we must try and do our utmost at the track, working on strategy, set-up and especially we must try and be more astute than the others, when it comes to grabbing any opportunity to score points.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Unfortunately, my race today ended on the first lap, after I had managed to get away well, making up enough ground to be fighting for eleventh place. At turn 5, I went off the track and while trying to get back on, I must have hit a kerb. I then lost control of the car and ended in the barriers. It’s a real shame because yesterday, the feeling I had on track had improved and I was determined to do my utmost to bring home some points. I am really very disappointed with how things went today, but now I want to put this incident behind me and just concentrate on the next race in Germany.”
Pat Fry: “As we were starting from sixteenth and eighteenth places, we opted to start on the Hard compound and go for a more aggressive strategy. The aim was to have a short first stint before switching to the softer and faster tyre for the rest of the race. Kimi got a great start, making up several places in just a few corners but unfortunately his accident put an end to it all. Fortunately, he is okay, with no serious injuries and that’s the most important thing. After the race was stopped, we discussed things with Fernando and decided to fit the Mediums to the end of the race, with a one-stop strategy. Despite the difficulties he had to deal with, Fernando once again displayed his great talent, both on the offensive and the defensive. At some points in the race, there was clearly some frustration, which is completely understandable, because the entire team wants to give him and Kimi a more competitive car and for that reason, we will continue trying our hardest.”
|Weather: air 20/22 °C, track 30/33 °C. Sunny
British GP – Kimi’s lucky escape, Fernando puts on a show
Silverstone, 6 July – Today’s race will be remembered as a real F1 classic, in which much of the excitement was provided by Scuderia Ferrari. Unfortunately, not all of it was positive, as Kimi Raikkonen was involved in a very scary accident on the opening lap: the Finn limped away to be checked in the medical centre. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. As for Fernando Alonso, he produced a scintillating drive in a ‘battle of the champions’ as he and Sebastian Vettel fought wheel to wheel for the final third of the race. In the end, the Red Bull driver just got ahead, as the Ferrari man’s tyres were older, to claim fifth place. The British crowd got what it wanted, in the shape of a home win for Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas was heroic in taking his Williams from 14th on the grid to second place, and joining them on the podium in third spot was the ever-consistent Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.
Having qualified 19th and 20th yesterday, various penalties saw Fernando promoted to sixteenth on the grid, one row ahead of Kimi in eighteenth. The Scuderia duo were the only drivers to start on the Hard tyre. There was a crash on the opening lap, as Kimi ran wide onto the Wellington Straight using the run off area on the outside of the corner. As he rejoined the track, a rut between the grass and the tarmac spun his F14 T around, so that it hit the right hand barrier very hard, bounced the car back across the track and into the path of Felipe Massa in the Williams. The Brazilian’s 200th Grand Prix was over and Ferrari’s Finn can be grateful for Felipe’s lightning fast reactions avoiding a far worse impact. Kimi was helped out of the car and was clearly limping and in pain. The race was red flagged and by this stage, Fernando had moved up two places to fourteenth and he switched to the Medium tyre during the wait.
Almost an hour after the original start, the race was on again, with Fernando in 13th place. At the front, Magnussen came under pressure from Hamilton, ran wide, promoting the Mercedes man to third. Fernando passed Gutierrez and was now 12th. The Spaniard then charged past Sutil at Brooklands, followed by Chilton to get into the top ten.
On lap 6, Alonso passed Kvyat to take ninth. Ricciardo tried to pass Hulkenberg at Stowe, which allowed Fernando to get ahead of the Red Bull at Vale and then set off in pursuit of Hulkenberg. He duly got ahead of the Force India, just as the stewards announced he was under investigation for allegedly being in the wrong place on the grid at the first start. It seemed not the entire car was within the grid slot.
Fernando came in on lap 25, with the crew waiting the compulsory 5 seconds to take the penalty, prior to changing tyres, fitting a new set of Mediums, after which he rejoined ninth. The Spaniard then dispensed with Hulkenberg to go back to eighth and he moved up a further spot next time round after Magnussen pitted the McLaren.
On lap 28, Rosberg slowed dramatically and stopped, so that Hamilton now led, with Bottas second and yet to change tyres. Vettel and Ricciardo were third and fourth, with Button fifth ahead of Fernando. Vettel pitted from second on lap 33, coming out in fourth place on fresher rubber than Fernando, who was right behind him. The man from Oviedo pulled off a very brave move to go past into Copse, to take fifth, but Vettel closed the gap and got past at Brooklands, before Fernando immediately muscled his way back ahead again. The Fernando-Vettel battle continued to thrill the crowd, especially on lap 48 as they were wheel to wheel for several corners, before the Spaniard had to give best to the German. From then on their positions remained unchanged to the chequered flag.
The championship now moves to Hockenheim, Germany in two weeks time, when Kimi is expected to be fully fit and ready to race alongside Fernando.
British GP – Mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari
Silverstone, 6 July–There were mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari today, with Kimi Raikkonen going out on the opening lap but Fernando Alonso fighting his way up from 16th on the grid to sixth at the flag.
Fernando lined up on the grid with his car too far forward and that would later cost him a 5 second penalty. Coming onto the Wellington Straight for the first time, Kimi ran wide while fighting Gutierrez and as he tried to rejoin the track a bump spun him round into the barriers. The car came back across the track and he was hit by Felipe Massa before ending in the tyres on the other side. The man from Espoo took a hard knock on the ankle and also has pain in a knee. He will now have to rest but he will be back in time for the next round in Germany.
At the restart, Alonso put on a show flying up from eleventh to fifth, before being chased down by Vettel who had just come back on track after his tyre change. In the end, the German made the most of his fresher rubber to pass the Ferrari man whose Mediums were worn.
Lewis Hamilton won after initial leader and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg retired and is just four points behind the German in the classification. Second was Valtteri Bottas for Williams, with Daniel Ricciardo third for Red Bull.
British GP – Rain on our parade
Fernando Alonso: “When it rains in qualifying it’s always a lottery, it can go well or it can go badly. Most of all, it’s easy to make mistakes. At complicated moments like this, you need to fit the right tyres at the right time, but luck definitely plays a part. I think if we had fitted the Mediums thirty seconds earlier or later, with a dry track, things could have gone differently. In the race tomorrow, we will try and make up as much ground as possible.
Yesterday, in the dry, we had a strong pace and even in the wet, as we saw on the first lap in Q1, it seems quite good. Mixed conditions might help us, but here it’s impossible to know now what the weather will do tomorrow. One thing for sure, is that starting so far back, we will see a lot of action”.
Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew the changeable weather would make this qualifying very unpredictable, but I definitely didn’t expect this sort of result. On my first run, I did four laps on Intermediate tyres because the track was still wet, but then when it stopped raining we decided to switch to slicks.
On the first part of the track, the conditions were acceptable, but in the second sector, it began raining again and this prevented us from setting a good enough time to get into Q2. Tomorrow, it won’t be easy moving up the order, but we will do our best to make up ground, also because today I had a better feeling than yesterday and I see no reason why I shouldn’t try and have a good race.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s qualifying result is bitterly disappointing and it means we will have an uphill struggle tomorrow, with a plan to attack right from the first to the last lap. In the opening minutes of Q1 the track conditions were mixed, which is the worst thing possible, because at some points there was a lot of water while other parts of the circuit were drying and some were even completely dry.
It was impossible to improve on the Intermediates because of graining and the switch to slicks definitely complicated matters for the drivers as there was so little grip. When the lap times fell as the track began to dry, we fitted the Mediums, as in fact did everyone else, but the rain returned and that meant we were unable to make it through to the next part of qualifying. Now, our aim in tomorrow’s race is to finish in the points, trying to make the most of the new sets of tyres we have.”
British GP – Come rain or shine
Silverstone, 5 July: Malaysia 2010 – that was the last time neither Ferrari made it past Q1. A gap of four years doesn’t make today’s result any less disappointing, nor does the fact that Williams, another of the longest serving teams in F1, made the same mistake with its two drivers, who will line up just ahead of the Scuderia duo tomorrow afternoon.
So tomorrow, on a track that has featured many of the Scuderia’s greatest moments, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, having qualified 19th and 20th, will have to put their heads down, keep out of trouble and try and work their way back to the front. That will be no easy task on a high speed track with limited opportunities for overtaking. But there are 52 laps and with an unusual grid, there is always a chance of something unusual happening.
While the rain proved fatal for Ferrari’s chances, it did make for entertaining viewing for the impartial spectator, as there were several noteworthy or unusual performances. Jules Bianchi for example, on the books at the Ferrari Driver Academy, took his Marussia to twelfth in Q2, the very best performance ever in his F1 career. There was disappointment for the British fans when Lewis Hamilton made the wrong call right at the end of Q3, when he aborted his lap, only to watch Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, achieve an incredible improvement in the final dry sector of the track, to snatch his fourth pole position of the year. Alongside the German tomorrow will be Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who also put in a last ditch effort to haul himself up from tenth to second. If Hamilton’s misfortune saw the large crowd go silent, they got something to cheer about as Jenson Button took an unlikely third for McLaren.
With a dry track forecast for tomorrow, what can the Prancing Horse aspire to tomorrow? One could suggest a points finish, but to be more specific would be difficult.
British GP – Scuderia Ferrari caught out by the rain
Silverstone, 5 July–The English rain delivered a bitter blow to Ferrari’s qualifying aspirations, with both drivers going out at the end of the first session, because the rain intensified just as Alonso and Raikkonen were hoping to improve their times.
At the start of qualifying the track was damp but drying. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers took to the track using Intermediates, as did everyone, and set reasonable times. Five minutes from the end, after a quick lap from Jenson Button in the McLaren, it was clear that it was now time for slicks. Both Fernando and Kimi duly fitted them, but as they started their flying laps, the rain intensified and there was no way of going quicker. Fernando might have made the cut to Q2 but he spun off the track, destroying his chances. Fernando and Kimi therefore qualified 19th and 20th respectively.
Q3 was also affected by rain and pole went to Nico Rosberg for Mercedes in 1.35.766 ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) Jenson Button (McLaren) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India.) The Ferrari duo will face an uphill struggle in tomorrow’s race which starts at 13h00 local time.
British GP – Rain the key player
Silverstone, 5 July–It rained for most of the third free practice session. It wasn’t actually raining at the start of the final 60 minutes of track action prior to qualifying, but the track was wet and then during the session, the downpour intensified.
Scuderia Ferrari thus decided to save the tyres for qualifying, not running in the early part of the session and avoided taking any risks when the weather worsened. Fernando Alonso thus completed only four laps without setting a time, while Kimi Raikkonen did five setting a time of 1.54.558, which was good enough for tenth place. For the record, Sebastian Vettel was fastest in 1.52.522, with his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo second, followed by the Lotuses of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean. Qualifying starts at 13h00 local time.
British GP – Kimi e Fernando… play the game at Silverstone
Maranello, 5 July – Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were a step ahead of the opposition for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It all happened thanks to an initiative from licensee Carrera, a leader in the latest generation of electric car racing tracks. In the Maranello Logistica building, it recreated the historic British track, originally built on the perimeter road of a second world war airfield. The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers had fun taking each other on in an eight lap race. The battle was close and some of the moves were borderline legal when taking FIA rules into consideration…
British GP – Two sides to Friday
Fernando Alonso: “This Friday was much like any other and we followed our programme, testing some components and working on set-up in the morning, while evaluating both tyre compounds in the afternoon, looking at the Medium with both qualifying and the race in mind. There were no problems with wear or graining on the softer compound, while in order to correctly evaluate the Hard, we will have to wait for a long run test. For now, I can say it’s hard to get them up to temperature. Now, as usual, we must analyse everything to understand which components to use tomorrow, although if as predicted, it rains tomorrow, then in reality the data we got today will be more useful for the race. Here, there’s always a strong wind and in some corners it’s a help, while in others it’s a hindrance, but it’s the same for everyone. Now, all we can do is wait and see how things turn out.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This morning in the first session things went reasonably well. We followed the standard programme, including analysing car behaviour on the Hard tyres and we just had a few problems with traction at some points on the track and a bit of understeer in the high speed corners. In the second session, we made some small changes which did not work and the handling of the car was not the same. Putting a good lap together was really difficult and so we went back to the morning settings, but unfortunately we had the same problems. Now we must find out what happened between the two sessions, even if I think it’s partly down to the track conditions and the gusts of wind, which were very strong today. I’m sure that studying the data will give us the information we need to prepare as well as possible for tomorrow.”
Pat Fry: “At Silverstone, the weather is often unsettled and that can have a strong influence on the outcome of practice and the race. Therefore, it’s vital for the drivers to do a lot of laps to get as confident as possible with the car. Today, despite a strong and inconsistent wind, we were able to work through our programme without encountering any particular problems. On both cars, we tried some new aerodynamic components and various electronic settings, while on the power unit front we continued to acquire data useful for our development programme. At the same time, we went through the usual set-up tests to find the most suitable one for this track, as well as paying attention to tyre behaviour over short and long runs. It wasn’t easy to find the ideal balance as well as managing the degradation and while Fernando managed to complete a long run, with Kimi, we continued working on set-up to try and resolve some problems that cropped up on his car. Now we must find the best compromise to help both drivers to get the right stability for the rest of the weekend, taking into account that the weather is meant to get worse for tomorrow with a chance of rain.”
||ALONSO – chassis 302
|| RAIKKONEN – chassis 303
| Weather: air 19/21 °C, track 25/31 °C. Sunny
| Weather: air 23°C, track 32/34 °C. Sunny
British GP – The usual picture
Silverstone, 4 July – There were no great surprises come the end of the first three hours of free practice for Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The Mercedes team, based very close to the Silverstone track, in the town of Brackley, were the dominant force, with Lewis Hamilton topping the time sheet ahead of Nico Rosberg. As we have seen already this season, Fernando Alonso is often the best of the rest and the Ferrari man was third again today, while in the other F14 T, Kimi Raikkonen ended up ninth on the final timesheet of the day, once again finding life a bit tougher than his team-mate.
After running nothing but Soft and Supersoft tyres at the last three Grands Prix, Silverstone marks the return of the Medium and Hard Pirellis, so while the buzzwords from those past races, graining and wear, were not appropriate today, the usual difficulties with getting the Hards up to temperature have returned.
Following the anomalies of Austria, the more aero-dependent curves of this airfield track seem to mark a return to form for Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel fourth and fifth respectively, while Valtteri Bottas was sixth for Williams, suggesting the team’s form in Austria was genuine. Actually the Finn only drove in the afternoon, because in the morning session lots of press attention was focussed on the appearance of Susie Wolff in the Williams cockpit, the first woman to be part of an F1 race weekend for 22 years.
Track conditions are key here and naturally, they improved as more rubber went down, so that FP2 times were around a second faster than in the morning. However, if the threat of overnight rain materialises, then the extra grip could literally be washed away, while there’s a strong chance it could still be raining when qualifying gets underway at 13h00 local time; always an exciting prospect at this high speed track.
British GP – Scuderia Ferrari third and ninth
Silverstone, 4 July –Fernando Alonso was third in 1.35.244 while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for ninth with a 1.36.554. The Spaniard completed 32 laps this afternoon, while the Finn did 29.
Both Ferrari men fitted the Medium tyre, the softer of the two brought to the English track by Pirelli. Fernando immediately seemed comfortable with this compound and made the most of the track rubbering-in more than in the morning. The Spaniard ended the session doing good times on a long run. Kimi didn’t manage to get the right feel for the car and will have to work on finding the right balance so that he can push to the maximum. Once again Mercedes was fastest, with Lewis Hamilton posting a 1.34.508 ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. Behind Alonso came the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.
British GP – Fernando third and Kimi fifth
Silverstone, 4 July – A hard to read first free practice session for the British Grand Prix, with track conditions featuring a strong and gusty wind, as well as a red flag about half an hour into the 90 minute session after Massa went off, thankfully without injury. There was also a long yellow flag period when Ericsson parked his car with 30 minutes to go. For Scuderia Ferrari, Fernando Alonso was third quickest in 1.36.263, completing 23 laps, as did Kimi Raikkonen with a best time of 1.36.703.
This morning, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers tested some new components and then carried out the usual set-up work, as well as evaluating the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres.
Fastest overall was Nico Rosberg, the only driver to break the 1m 36 seconds barrier with a 1.35.424. Second was his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with a 1.36.155. Splitting the two Ferrari men was Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.
British GP – De La Rosa: “Silverstone is a great track but tricky”
The weather is always a popular topic of conversation, but in England, it’s almost compulsory. If one extends it to a Formula 1 race at Silverstone, when the slightest detail can make the difference, then the likelihood of a sudden downpour carries serious consequences.
“At Silverstone, if it rains, it can happen that the track never really rubbers in,” Scuderia Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa told www.ferrari.com. “And that normally involves problems with grip. But it can also be the case that there’s no rain all weekend long and then we can count on the racing line being rubbered in for Sunday, causing less graining on the front tyres, a factor which can influence strategy. That means all the teams have to keep their eyes open and make the most of the in-depth knowledge of the track which everyone has: the amount of rubber put down on the track surface changes the handling of the car considerably. Then there’s the wind which, especially at Copse and Becketts corners, can have a significant influence on the car’s aerodynamics. I like the change to the circuit layout, because it has increased the number of passing opportunities. However, I also like the sections that haven’t changed, such as Copse, Becketts and Stowe, which are very fast and technical.” Silverstone has a lot of high speed corners which are not particularly tough on brakes. The only factor one has to keep in mind is keeping up to temperature. “In practical terms, you are accelerating hard on the exit to Luffield and from then on you don’t touch the brakes until Stowe corner” adds Pedro. “To stop them going cold, you need to have exactly the right materials.”
British GP – Raikkonen: “Carry on trying different things”
Silverstone, 3 July – It’s been well documented that Kimi Raikkonen has had some issues getting the F14 T to handle to his liking and this was the first topic on the agenda at his usual Thursday media session on a warm and windy day at the English track. “I am sure we are learning a lot and at least we now know where the issues are,” confirmed the Ferrari man. “The team will definitely do some things differently for next year and some of those changes we can also try this year. But it’s not a quick fix and once we get some more new parts to try, then hopefully it will go in the direction that we want.”
Therefore when it came to assessing his chances around the high speed corners of this weekend’s high speed track, the Finn felt there would be few surprises. “I think we are probably going to be in the same situation as at many of the races so far this year,” he maintained. “At the last race, we tried some new things that might not have worked well, but I wanted to try them anyway to see what effect they had. This weekend, we will carry on trying different things and gaining experience from that.”
Last weekend, Raikkonen was also in England, but in the very different surroundings of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he drove his title winning 2007 Ferrari, spending time in company with the legendary John Surtees. What did he know of racing in those bygone days? “I’ve seen films on TV and the internet, it looked like a different sport back then, certainly much more dangerous and in a way, more fun and more open,” he said. From the past, to the future, with a question about how long he might stay with Scuderia Ferrari. The answer was typical Kimi, short and to the point: “Until my contract is finished and then I will probably stop.”
As a Ferrari driver, the press wanted Kimi’s views on suggestions that the Italian GP at Monza might not be on the calendar much longer. “I can’t see how they would stop Monza,” he replied. “It would be very stupid in my view for everyone and for Formula 1. Hopefully it will never happen but we are not the guys who decide. Obviously for Ferrari, it’s an amazing place. I’ve never won there, but hopefully in the future it will happen.”
British GP – Alonso: “Three things we must do”
Silverstone, 3 July – Two weeks ago we were in the spiritual home of the Red Bull team and now the weekend begins in the UK, the actual home for all but three of the F1 teams. But the first question asked of Fernando Alonso in his press meeting today, regarded Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that the Monza round might disappear from the calendar. “I think we need to wait and see what happens officially,” cautioned the Ferrari man. “I think Bernie just answered a question but it’s not official. As drivers, we don’t have an input on where we race, we just try and put on a good show. Of course, it’s nice to go to circuits where the grandstands are full, and full of passion and atmosphere, like Monza, like Austria, like Spa and Barcelona. Let’s hope the best for Monza.”
As usual with Alonso, he always looks at the bigger picture and clearly, Scuderia Ferrari’s position in this year’s Constructors’ Championship has been exercising his mind. “Here at Silverstone, I expect Red Bull to return to form as this is a circuit where aerodynamics is important and they show potential in high speed corners. Williams will also be strong, as I don’t think it was just Austria that suited them so we need to keep improving to get a margin on our closest rivals”.
As to his own future after his current contract with the Scuderia expires, the man from Oviedo claimed to have considered it. “I am not thinking too much about the longer term, because there are bigger priorities at the moment, I want to help the team and score as many points as possible this weekend and this year, because the interesting mix in the Constructors’ means you could finish second or sixth by the smallest of margins,” he said. “We need to improve for next year and there are three things we must do: one is we must score points this year, because if we finish sixth or seventh that will hurt the team for next year, for example on the economical side, second is to test this year, especially on Fridays, some parts we can learn about for next year and and third is to spend time with the team: on Sunday night I will go back to Maranello and spend all week in the simulator. There is no time to relax. This is a time to work, the team expect things from me and I need to deliver.”
New sponsorship for Scuderia Ferrari
Maranello, 3 July – It has been announced today that Haas Automation, the world’s largest producer of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines in the United States, is to sponsor Scuderia Ferrari until the end of the 2015 season. The agreement comes into force immediately and, as from tomorrow’s free practice for the British Grand Prix, the F14 Ts driven by Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will carry the company’s logo on the side pods. The partnership marks Haas Automation’s entry to the world of Formula 1, prior to it becoming title sponsor of Gene Haas’ team when it enters the sport in 2016.
“We are pleased to welcome Haas Automation as our newest Official Supplier,” said Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Marco Mattiacci. “This agreement strengthens our existing connections with the USA, an important market not only for our company, but also for Scuderia Ferrari, as it is one where the team already benefits from several important partnerships.
“Over the past few months, we have been exploring with Haas a number of potential areas of collaboration, and this agreement is an immediate opportunity that we are pursuing, which proves Haas’ interest in Formula One. This collaboration will enable Haas Automation to reinforce its brand awareness and promote its products and services around the world, thanks to the appeal of Scuderia Ferrari and the global reach of Formula One. We are therefore delighted to make this announcement, which sees another premium brand join our portfolio of partners. In parallel, but as a separate project, Haas is committed to entering Formula One with its own team, a testimony to the growing appeal of our sport in the USA and on this front, technical discussions are ongoing between us.”
Kimi at Maranello for the day
Maranello, 2 July –After the excitement of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, today was a working day for Kimi Raikkonen, in Maranello for some engineering meetings, working with the team on the development of the F14 T, not just for the upcoming races, but also to help make the team ever more united in its working methods. This morning, the Finn spoke with President Luca di Montezemolo and Team Principal Marco Mattiacci before having meetings with his race engineer Antonio Spagnolo and Technical Director James Allison.
There were many items on the agenda, including a look at the development programme to be continued race by race for the rest of the season and Raikkonen was able to supply additional information of use to the engineers, while there was also time for Kimi to acquaint himself with the 2015 car. Work on this project goes on in parallel, while also learning from this year’s programme, given that the stability of the technical regulations for next year means that any technical shortcomings can be spotted in time, from looking at this year’s car data.
Before heading off for Silverstone, Kimi spoke of his expectations for the coming weekend to www.ferrari.com. “It’s been useful coming here to Maranello to talk with my engineers. We know how much we need to improve and now we are looking ahead to the next race. Silverstone is a track with a great tradition and on top of that, the fans are very knowledgeable and they are happy to support you whatever team you drive for,” reckoned the Finn. “The track has changed a bit in recent years, but I like it a lot, as all the very fast corners make it very challenging. It often rains, which means it can all become a lottery, but it’s the same for everyone. All I can say is that, as usual, we will be trying our best.”
British GP – Half season but no half measures at Ferrari
Maranello, 1 July – The ninth round of the Formula 1 World Championship reaches Silverstone this weekend, with the British Grand Prix marking the end of the first half of the season. It’s a first half in which one team has been almost totally dominant and already, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers and team personnel have been asked if they are giving up on the 2014 season to concentrate on next year’s project. To take a footballing analogy while the World Cup is on, this is like asking a team if it is not going to try for the rest of the year, because it cannot win the League.
There are a whole raft of reasons why, as the championship reaches the track where the Prancing Horse recorded its first victory back in 1951, the team is working flat out to improve the performance level of the F14 T to be more competitive in the second half of the year. Putting aside the sentimental arguments about doing well at one of the two oldest races on the calendar there are more prosaic points, starting with exactly that, winning as many points as possible for the Constructors’ championship in which the current standings are quite close among those chasing the leaders.
Clearly, the Scuderia has not given up on this year. For this reason, technical development of the F14 T continues apace. Cars built to the current technical regulations are still very much in their infancy, which means the learning curve for all the teams is very steep. Therefore, while the eleven remaining races represent eleven more chances to get good results and points, they also represent 33 more days of learning valuable lessons on track from Friday through Sunday, that can be applied in the future. Backing off now on the development front would be counter-productive, not forgetting the team’s obligation to provide its two drivers with the best car possible.
This weekend is one Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are looking forward to, both men having won here in the past. “I like coming to this track, even if I preferred the old layout,” reckons the Finn. “I especially enjoy what used to be the first corner, Copse.” Indeed, the flat-out Copse and the massive changes of direction, particularly at the “Super-G slalom” that is the Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel complex are part of what make this high speed venue so special. “I think Silverstone is a very challenging circuit, very demanding with its high speed corners and the whole track is tough on the car and for the driver too,” says Alonso. “There’s a great sense of tradition here, so all the drivers want to do well at this event in front of the English fans. Not only are they very passionate about the sport, they also know their Formula 1.” Aerodynamics will once again be the key factor in determining performance after a trio of races where it was less important, so it will be interesting to see how the hierarchy plays out behind the current top team.
A date with history
Maranello, 30 June – This Sunday’s race is the 65th British Grand Prix. It and the Italian event are the only two races never to have dropped off the Formula 1 calendar. Silverstone was originally an old wartime airfield and the track used the perimeter roads. On 13th May 1950 it hosted the first ever race in the new world championship, with Alfa Romeo taking the top three places, watched by King George VI, with the legendary “three Fs,” Farina, Fangio and Fagioli.
Ferrari was not at this race, showing up for the next round in Monaco, but Silverstone still played an important part in the Prancing Horse’s history. It was in 1951 here that it took its first Formula 1 victory on 14th July, courtesy of the Argentinian Jose Froilan Gonzalez in the 375 F1. Apart from Silverstone, which this weekends hosts the race for the 48th time, the British GP has also been held at Aintree (5 times), and on the Kent track of Brands Hatch. Ferrari has won in the UK 16 times, almost a one in four hit rate, with 15 poles and 51 podiums overall.
The ’51 win signaled the start of a dominant run for Ferrari at Silverstone, with Alberto Ascari winning in 1952 and 1953 in the 500, Gonzalez again in 1954 in the 625 F1, the race was run at Aintree in ’55 and ’57, then Fangio, in 1956, was victorious in the D50, while ’58 produced a home win for Peter Collins in the 246 F1, who led home his compatriot and team-mate Mike Hawthorn. In 1961, Ferrari broke its Aintree taboo dominating, taking the top three places with the 156 F1 in the order, Germany’s Wolfgang Von Trips and the Americans Phil Hill and Richie Ginther.
The next 15 years were barren and the Italian anthem would not be heard again in England until 1976 when Niki Lauda won at Brands in the 312 T2, having also taken pole and set the race fastest lap. Two years later, Argentina’s Carlos Reutemann won in the 312 T3. 1990 was the final year that Silverstone’s ultra-fast layout was used, before it was modified to reduce speeds, with Ferrari winning. Nigel Mansell took pole at an average speed of 255 km/h, but it was Prost who took the win in the other F1-90.
The first Ferrari driver to win on the new layout was Michael Schumacher, who took first place in the 1998 race, coming in on the very last lap for a 10 second stop-go penalty. The following year, the German had his worst racing accident when he went off at Stowe corner and broke his right leg, thus missing a large part of the season. Ferrari won again from 2002 to 2004, with Schumacher then Barrichello and then Schumacher again, while in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen was first past the flag. The last victory on British soil dates back to 2011, when Fernando Alonso made Ferrari fans happy. The Spaniard did a great job in the early wet stages, when yet another new 5.891 kilometre layout was used for the first time, and then left his opponents trailing.