Ferrari press release
THE FINAL FRIDAY
The 1954 Formula 1 World Championship ran from 17th January in Argentina through to the Spanish Grand Prix on 24 October, but it only featured a total of nine races and in '67 cars were on the South African grid on the second day of the year, running through to the eleventh round on 22 October in Mexico.
But this year's nineteen race series is the longest by far and while Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix is the main focus for everyone in the Interlagos paddock, thoughts are already turning to the 2012 season. In practical terms for Scuderia Ferrari that meant spending this final Friday of the season evaluating solutions for next year during the three hours of free practice on offer, as well as working on preparation for qualifying and the race.
While this followed the pattern of recent races for the men and women from Maranello, it had a special flavour as the weekend represents one final chance to end a difficult season with a strong showing. Then, on top of that comes the fact this is Felipe Massa's home race and his one hundredth appearance for the Prancing Horse in his 152nd Grand Prix.
The Brazilian ended the day in sixth place on the time sheet, with his team-mate Fernando Alonso in fourth in the other 150º Italia. The Spaniard's car is having an engine change prior to qualifying, after the unit in the car developed a problem in the first session. Between them on the time sheet is former Ferrarista Michael Schumacher, looking quick today in the Mercedes. Up at the front, it was the usual suspects, with Lewis Hamilton quickest for McLaren, followed by the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
The late spring weather has again been fantastic today, with high temperatures and sunny blue skies, but the rain that has turned so many Brazilian Grands Prix on their head is due to put in an appearance. Given the current performance of the Ferrari car compared to the quickest in the pack, both our drivers would not be averse to sheltering under an umbrella from a storm rather than the sun on the grid on Sunday afternoon. But before then comes tomorrow's qualifying and the forecast for that time of day is far from certain either.