Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ferrari announce new Massa contract - Remaining with Ferrari until the end of 2010

In a short statement this morning, the Ferrari squad announced that Felipe Massa will remain with the team until the end of the 2010 season. His existing deal was set to expire at the end of the 2008 season.

The news puts an end to rumours that the Brazilian could move to Toyota next season as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher.

Massa is heading to the season finale and his home event in Brazil this weekend fourth in the championship and aiming to repeat his 2006 Interlagos success.

Kimi Raikkonen is under contract until the end of the 2009 season, as announced last year at Monza.

The following is a statement from Ferrari.

"Ferrari announces that it has extended its agreement with the driver Felipe Massa through to the end of the 2010 racing season.

"Massa has been contracted to the Scuderia since 2001. To date, he has taken part in 34 Grand Prix for the team. He has won five times, had sixteen podium places and finished 25 times in the points. He has secured eight pole positions and the same number of race fastest laps, with a total of 166 points scored."

Source Ferrari

Brazilian GP preview: Williams F1

Williams F1
Brazil takes centre stage this weekend for the much anticipated 2007 FIA World Championship showdown. As three drivers fight for the Drivers’ crown, this weekend’s race promises to be the most compelling of the season. São Paulo’s Interlagos track is the venue, with the Carlos Pace Autodromo celebrating its 25th anniversary in Formula One, having welcomed the sport for the first time in 1973. With the battle for the other Championship positions still on-going, AT&T Williams will be drawing on a wealth of experience attained in Brazil. The team has won one in five of all Brazilian Grand Prix entered, set 34% of all fastest laps and secured one in three pole positions.

Nico Rosberg
Interlagos is a great circuit and I am looking forward to it. It’s a cool track, with a variety of corners and surface undulations. The past two races have been difficult, so I hope to finish the season well and to hold on to my present position in the Drivers’ Championship. São Paulo is also a place where you can have some fun in the evenings, so I would imagine it’s going to be a good weekend. I am going to Rio de Janeiro first for a PR day with Petrobras, so I’ll get to São Paulo early on in the week. It’s fantastic for Formula One to have a three-way battle for the Championship going into the last race of the season, which is not a situation that happens very often. Personally, I hope Lewis manages to win because he deserves it.

Kazuki Nakajima
I’m obviously feeling really excited about my first Formula One race. I’ve never driven at Interlagos before, so I’ve been doing lots of preparation work in the team’s simulator at Grove. I’ve also ramped up my training in the gym to help me cope with the pressures on my neck because it’s an anti-clockwise track. It looks like it’s going to rain over the weekend, so the weather is going to make the whole process quite tricky. I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself though. I’m going to take it at my own pace, work through each session step by and step and, above all, just enjoy it.

Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
Interlagos is a well laid out track. It has a lot of gradient changes over the lap and two long straights which are crucial for overtaking. The performance of the car in the corners that precede the straights is the most important consideration when it comes to car setup. Lying 750 metres above sea level, São Paulo has the lowest ambient pressures of any circuit that we race at. With pressures around 930mbar, we lose around 8% of our normal downforce. Drag is also reduced by around 8%, but so is engine power, so top speeds remain the same. The grid line up is traditionally tight due to the low fuel penalty and short lap time. Coupled with a long pit lane, the strategy is a close call between a one and a two stop strategy so we will see a mix of both on race day. Bridgestone are bringing the Soft and Super Soft tyres to the race, but we may not get to use them as the forecast is currently predicting rain all weekend. As this is the last race of the 2007 season, we will be pushing hard to claim points in the Constructors’ Championship. We have had two races in a row where we haven’t scored points due to various circumstances, but we are aiming to change that in Brazil.

Alex Wurz has retired and we thank him again for all his hard work in developing the FW29 and contributing to the Constructors’ points for AT&T Williams this year. He is a great guy to work with and we wish him well for the future. As a result of Alex’s retirement, Kazuki will be in the car in Brazil making his Formula One debut. It’s a big weekend for him as part of his next stage of development.

Interlagos Circuit, São Paulo, Brazil
The 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix will be a true test of durability, heightened by the fact that the race is run in an anti-clockwise direction. The 4.3km circuit consists of 13 medium and slow speed corners, nine left and four right, and has a blend of long, fast straights and gradient changes. With such a varied layout, set-up
compromises are inevitable, and the challenge lies in achieving optimal aerodynamic efficiency around the lap. Interlagos is a notoriously bumpy circuit, so not only is it draining on the drivers, but the cars must have a good mechanical balance for driveability. Combined with the bumps, the track is also particularly abrasive, so harder compound tyres must be selected to ensure their survival. Engines are also under intense pressure in Brazil, with the long straights demanding extensive periods at full throttle and high revs, while the high altitude and thinning air saps approximately 8% of overall power around the lap. Plenty of overtaking opportunities, combined with the area’s unpredictable weather conditions, will only enhance what is always an entertaining spectacle in Brazil.

Massa doubts he'll need to help Kimi in Brazil

Felipe Massa said on Wednesday that his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen is unlikely to emerge with the world championship from next weekend's season finale in Brazil.

He became the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna to win at home a year ago, but Massa promised to defer to the 27-year-old Finn next Sunday if it will help Ferrari secure the other 2007 title.

Raikkonen winning the title would require both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to strike major trouble at Interlagos, and Massa told a news conference in Sao Paulo on Wednesday: "I don't think that will happen.

"But if the miracle happens I'll be glad to help the team.

"I work for Ferrari, so I'll do what I can to help Kimi, but I'll drive to win the race.

"It would be great to win it for the fans again," he said.

Kazuki Nakajima replaces Wurz in Brazil

The AT&T Williams team today confirmed that Kazuki Nakajima will race for the team in the final Grand Prix of the 2007 season at Interlagos in Brazil in a fortnight’s time.

The 22-year old Japanese driver, this year’s GP2 series Rookie of the Year, is the team’s official test and reserve driver. He has covered over 7,000km in the FW29 in testing and has represented the team at five Grands Prix as a Friday driver. The intention behind Kazuki’s nomination is to build and develop his experience and is not an evaluation exercise for a race seat in 2008. AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams, said, “You cannot assess a driver’s capability on the basis of one race but this is an ideal opportunity to develop Kazuki’s experience. I am confident he will approach the race in a very workmanlike and focused way.”

For his part, Kazuki Nakajima said, “I am very grateful to the team who have given me this opportunity. I hope I now know the car very well and thankfully have done some Friday driving as recently as Shanghai. This is a chance I intend to grab with both hands and repay the faith the team are showing in me with a strong

Chinese GP race: Hamilton out, Raikkonen wins

The Chinese GP ensures the battle to be continued in Brazil. Hamilton did not finish and Raikkonen wins before Alonso and Massa. Sebastian Vettel finishes fourth, a great finish for Toro Rosso, with also Liuzzi in the points.

2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - Race Result

Pos Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pit Points

1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 56 Winner 2 2 10
2 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 56 +9.8 secs 4 2 8
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +12.8 secs 3 2 6
4 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 56 +53.5 secs 17 1 5
5 Jenson Button Honda 56 +68.6 secs 10 2 4
6 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 56 +73.6 secs 11 2 3
7 Nick Heidfeld BMW 56 +74.2 secs 8 2 2
8 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 56 +80.7 secs 5 2 1
9 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 56 +81.1 secs 13 1
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56 +84.6 secs 7 3
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 56 +86.6 secs 18 2
12 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 55 +1 Lap 19 2
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota 55 +1 Lap 12 1
14 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 55 +1 Lap 20 1
15 Rubens Barrichello Honda 55 +1 Lap 16 3
16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 54 +2 Laps 15 3
17 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 53 +3 Laps 22 4
DNF Robert Kubica BMW 33 +23 Laps 9 1
DNF Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 30 +26 Laps 1 1
DNF Ralf Schumacher Toyota 25 +31 Laps 6 1
DNF Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 24 +32 Laps 21 2
DNF Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 11 +45 Laps 14 1

Fastest lap: Felipe Massa 1:37.454

Chinese GP qualifying: Hamilton pole, followed by Raikkonen

Lewis Hamilton once again in pole. Raikkonen follows closely with Massa and Alonso behind him on P3 and P4. Hamilton has the bests position possible to become the youngest F1 worldchampion ever tomorrow. But will the race be dry and the setup good enough? Or will it a wet race tomorrow?

2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying
Pos Driver Team QTime
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.908
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:36.044
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.221
4 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.576
5 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:37.619
6 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:38.013
7 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.153
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:38.455
9 Robert Kubica BMW 1:38.472
10 Jenson Button Honda 1:39.285
Q2 disqualified
11 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 1:36.862
12 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:36.891
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:36.959
14 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:36.991
15 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.247
16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:37.483
Q1 disqualified
17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:37.251
18 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:37.290
19 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:37.456
20 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:38.218
21 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:38.668
22 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 1:39.336

Monday, October 15, 2007

Japanese GP - Not a good race for Ferrari

Todt: "Our choice would probably have been very different"
Ferrari - Ferrari's team principal Jean Todt and sporting director Stefano Domenicali were at pains to point out that there was little that they could do after an e-mail message went astray prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, necessitating both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa to make an early supplementary pit stop in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix. The extra pit stop seriously comprised the team's chances, resulting in third (Kimi Raikkonen) and sixth (Felipe Massa) places.
The e-mail contained vital information asking all teams to use Bridgestone's extreme wet weather tyre, but Ferrari started both drivers on the normal wet weather tyre, and had to pit to change tyres.

Kimi blames FIA for wrong tyres gaffe
Sep.30 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday blamed the FIA for not informing Ferrari of a last minute rule change.
The Maranello based team had to pull into the pits early in the Japanese grand prix after trying to start the race behind the safety car on intermediate tyres.

Third placed Raikkonen, now a distant 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the world championship with two races to go, later told reporters at Fuji Speedway that Charlie Whiting and FIA race control failed to tell Ferrari that it had to start on extreme wet tyres.

"They forgot to tell our team," the Finn claimed. "That forced us to pit behind the safety car."

Although no other team wrongly started the race on intermediates, Renault's Pat Symonds confirmed that Whiting only publicised the rule change just over an hour before the race.

"It's a little bit surprising, I guess," he told the British broadcaster ITV.

Raikkonen's teammate Felipe Massa finished sixth at Fuji, meaning that he can no longer become world champion.

Late email cost Ferrari dear - spokesman

After Kimi Raikkonen's comments following the race, Luca Colajanni confirmed that the Maranello based team was not aware until 1.37pm - seven minutes after the race began behind the safety car - that it had not been allowed to fit intermediate tyres.

"Now there's nothing we can do," he said, after the damaging pit stops had to be organised to change to extreme wet tyres.

Raikkonen's race engineer Chris Dyer reportedly used even harsher language in a post-race television interview.

Apparently, the Australian said FIA race control "f-cked our race" before he was stopped by a Ferrari PR representative.

Japanese GP: Hamilton wins rain dance, Alonso crashes

It was a hectic day today at the Fuji Motor Speedway. After 45 minutes behind the safety car the field was cleared to race. With heavy rains it was a brilliant race to watch. Eventually rookie Lewis Hamilton was strongest while teammate Alonso crashed into the barriers. Raikkonen virtually started with Massa behind the field, but the strong Ferrari's managed to finish in the points, with Massa wheelbanging Kubica in the last corners before the finish.

2007 Japanese Grand Prix - Race Result

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pit Points

1 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 67 2:00:34.579 1 1 10
2 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 67 +8.3 secs 11 1 8
3 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 67 +9.4 secs 3 3 6
4 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 67 +20.2 secs 12 1 5
5 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 67 +38.8 secs 10 1 4
6 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 67 +49.0 secs 4 4 3
7 10 Robert Kubica BMW 67 +49.2 secs 9 2 2
8 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 67 +60.1 secs 19 1 1
9 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi * STR-Ferrari 67 +80.6 secs 22 2
10 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 67 +88.3 secs 16 2
11 7 Jenson Button Honda 67 Suspension 6 1
12 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 66 +1 Lap 21 2
13 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 66 +1 Lap 13 2
14 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 65 Technical 5 1
15 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 65 Collision 20 4
DNF 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 55 Puncture 14 4
DNF 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 54 Throttle sensor 18 1
DNF 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 49 Electronics 15 2
DNF 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 46 Collision 8 2
DNF 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 45 Collision 7 1
DNF 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 41 Accident 2 1
DNF 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 19 Collision 17 1

Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton 1:28.193 (Lap 27)

*Note - Liuzzi finished eighth, but had 25 seconds added to his race time for passing under yellow flags.

Japanese GP: Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton take the pole. Followed by teammate Fernando Alonso and the two Ferrari's of Raikkonen and Massa.

Qualifying goes ahead at murky Mt. Fuji Sep.29 (GMM)
A murky Fuji Speedway hosted qualifying on Saturday, but only after plenty of uncertainty about whether the conditions would allow it.

Morning practice had been called off because the medical helicopter could not fly in the low cloud, and the weather had not substantially improved at 2pm.

The cars did exit the pits as scheduled, but only after stewards had busily devised contingency plans -- including the possibility of Sunday morning qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton narrowly captured pole from his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, and said he wouldn't mind if Japan stays wet for the race.

"I hope it is, but I'm not bothered either way," said the Briton.

2007 FORMULA 1™ Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix

Pos Driver Team QTime
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.368
2 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.438
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:25.516
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:25.765
5 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:26.505
6 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.728
7 Jenson Button Honda 1:26.913
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.914
9 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:26.973
10 Robert Kubica BMW 1:27.225
Q2 disqualified
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:26.033
12 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:26.232
13 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:26.247
14 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:26.253
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 1:26.948
16 Ralf Schumacher Toyota No time
Q1 disqualified
17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:27.323
18 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:27.454
19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.564
20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:28.628
21 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.792
22 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.668