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Prancing Horses are Ginger in the Damp

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Prancing Horses are Ginger in the Damp
Sep 5, 2008, 5:58 PM

Actually it was a lot less damp than the forecasts said it would be, which casts serious doubt over the forecast for the rest of the weekend.

Actually it was a lot less damp than the forecasts said it would be, which casts serious doubt over the forecast for the rest of the weekend. Currently it says that it will be nice on Sunday and cloudy but dry for qualifying. If that turns out to be the case, then it’s looking pretty good for Ferrari. Their car works very well on tracks with long straights and fast corners and this weekend looks like being no exception. The interesting bit will be whether Raikkonen, who has won here three times, can use his undoubted ability around this place to relaunch his season and his career, or whether Massa will out him in the shade again.

Actually it was a lot less damp than the forecasts said it would be, which casts serious doubt over the forecast for the rest of the weekend. Currently it says that it will be nice on Sunday and cloudy but dry for qualifying. If that turns out to be the case, then it’s looking pretty good for Ferrari. Their car works very well on tracks with long straights and fast corners and this weekend looks like being no exception. The interesting bit will be whether Raikkonen, who has won here three times, can use his undoubted ability around this place to relaunch his season and his career, or whether Massa will out him in the shade again.

He didn’t start brilliantly, spinning off the track this afternoon and taking off the rear wing. He hasn’t won for 8 races now and it is vital for Kimi that he wins here, because I think Ferrari will be inclined to back Massa for the championship if he beats Kimi on Sunday. On today’s evidence Massa is the man in form and his confidence is surging. He has definitely improved as a driver this season and bucked a lot of perceived trends. Whether he can keep it going will be interesting. He’s also still haunted by his poor drive in the racin at Silverstone and keeps getting asked questios about it whenever there is rain in the air. As Singapore, Fuji, Shanghai and Interlagos all have the potential to be wet it could be a real tough one mentally for him to overcome. He will be desperate to prove that he’s as good in the wet as the dry. He showed good form in the wet at Monaco, but Silverstone was just unbelievable.

Anyway Ferrari is up on McLaren here although not by as much as last season and I expect the situation to be switched in Monza with McLaren ahead there, but again not by as much as last year.

Everyone was struggling with low tyre temperatures this morning. Some more than others. Honda was really having a bad time to get any heat into its front tyres, which meant the drivers had a tough time with understeer in the corners. The temperature in the tyres was draining out on the long straights. Teams feel that the two tyre compounds from Bridgestone are harder than they need to be and that may hand a small advantage back to McLaren if it is born out again in qualifying and the race.

The Toro Rosso’s had a positive start to the weekend again. Vettel could really do something here, especially if it rains. Alonso went well again, although he was the first to admit that he wasn’t carrying the same fuel load as the two top teams, His target is to score more points in the remaining races than Toyota to give Renault P4 in the championship and he’s certainly pushing every time he gets in the car. This means of course that he is more likely to make mistakes because he’s wringing the car’s neck, but it’s great to see his spirit, despite the fact that he has no chance of winning races.

The Italians are all busy analysing comments from Luca di Montezemolo regarding Alonso where he said that the Spaniard can ‘set his mind at rest’ about joining Ferrari – a deliberately ambiguous line. Honda has pushed the boat out and signed off whatever it takes to lure Alonso there, but Aloso knows that Ferrari is keeping a close eye on Kimi and that whole situation is far from clear cut now. Kubica appears to have renewed at BMW for 2009 but it’s not clear yet for how long. He has many admirers high up in FIAT/Ferrari.

It was interesting in the afternoon that the track was clearly very slippery and yet the lap times were only 4 seconds off the dry pace, which is unusual on a long lap like this. We had a lot of cars off the track this afternoon. Fisi damaged the front and back of his car, but Force India look like they are making steady progress.

Webber went off early on, Piquet also dinged his car. It looks very tricky on these dry tyres when it starts to rain and if that happens on Sunday you will have some spectacle. That’s when the driver can make a real difference.

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