Judging by the tanned faces on the staff of the Gestione Sportiva, the experiment to have an official F1 summer break seems to have been a success, at least from the human point of view! This enforced holiday came at just the right point in the ...
Judging by the tanned faces on the staff of the Gestione Sportiva, the experiment to have an official F1 summer break seems to have been a success, at least from the human point of view! This enforced holiday came at just the right point in the season, given the calendar now presents us with two Grands Prix in ten days and also, it is that point of the year when work on the 2010 car is really moving forward, which means a very heavy workload for everyone concerned. However, the days following the Hungarian Grand Prix were busier than planned for the Press Office and senior management who had to deal with the repercussions of Felipe Massa's accident in qualifying. The process of finding a replacement for the Brazilian was the main topic in the media, eventually leading to the appointment of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's longstanding official test driver, Luca Badoer. This last weekend, team principal Stefano Domenicali made a lightning visit to Brazil, where he spent several hours with Felipe, whose recovery is going very well. He is very keen to get behind the wheel as soon as possible, while being fully aware, he has to be patient and let his recovery run its course. He and Domenicali recorded a special video message for everyone at the Gestione Sportiva, which was shown in the factory today (Tuesday.) On top of this, Kimi Raikkonen was still in the news, running at a very competitive pace in the World Championship Rally of Finland at the end of July and beginning of August. He enjoyed the experience.
With Badoer now part of the race line-up, he took part in two days of promotional filming on Monday and Tuesday at Fiorano, to provide footage of him in a racing environment. As permitted in the team testing agreement, the Italian completed no more than 100 kilometres per day at the wheel of the F60, fitted with demonstration tyres. The filming provided Luca with the chance to reacquaint himself with the car in which he had only completed a handful of kilometres so far this year. The factory shut-down meant that Badoer had not even been able to meet with the race engineers and that was another issue addressed over these past two days. He also spent time in the static simulator, to give him a general impression of the Valencia street circuit. "I am very motivated to make the most of this opportunity, even if I know I am facing a tough challenge, especially during the first couple of days in Valencia," said Luca. "It will effectively be a test session for me, but I will be trying my best to secure a good result. I have to say, my first thoughts when I take to the track will be for Felipe, because I got a real fright when I saw his accident. I am delighted that he is making a good recovery and I hope he will be back racing as soon as possible. I have to add that I am also thinking of Michael, because having trained with him over the last few weeks, I know how much he wanted to make this comeback and how much effort he was putting into his preparation. Even though his decision has provided me with this great opportunity to race for the Scuderia, I feel sorry for him, because not only are we friends, but I am also an admirer of his. And finally, I repeat how grateful I am to Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali for giving me the chance to make my childhood dream come true."
All the teams have only a limited amount of data relating to the Valencia circuit, having raced there just once before and it is clearly unusual for a street circuit, because cars reach a higher speed and there are more run-off areas than venues such as Monaco and Singapore. Although the factory has been closed, the F60 will have some new parts, compared to its configuration when last seen in Budapest. As a result of aero work and testing carried out prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, the car will roll out with modifications to the front and rear wings and the diffuser. Although any sort of technical work was banned during the break, it is not illegal for engineers and technicians to spend idle moments on their holiday thinking about the car and how to improve it. Indeed given their racing DNA, it's hard to think of them doing otherwise! It is hoped that the aerodynamic updates and the result of this brainwork will see the momentum that resulted in Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro finishing on the podium in the last two races continue to produce results in the next few races. It is a tough task for the team, as there is only a limited amount of time to prepare for the European Grand Prix and then there is a very long drive and only four days to be ready to race again at Spa-Francorchamps. In fact, logistically, back-to-back races in Europe are actually harder to deal with than when races follow one another at the "flyaways" because of the extra work in setting up the transporters and motorhomes. However, it is the opposition on the track which provides the biggest challenge, as the two teams currently heading the classification are bound to be strong, while other teams have been showing signs of a renaissance in recent races. As established a few races ago, the Scuderia will be doing its all to hit its current target of finishing third in this year's Constructors' Championship.