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Does Massa’s Ferrari test matter?
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Jan 2010   |  12:15 pm GMT  |  158 comments

Felipe Massa is set to test a 2008 Ferrari at Barcelona on Friday. He will take the car over from Valentino Rossi, who has been enjoying another taste of F1 power this week.

Picture 19
Ferrari are able to do this because the car is now two years old, which is the embargo set by the testing committee to protect against new technology. The car is now part of the stable of cars managed by Ferrari’s F1 Clienti department, which looks after old F1 cars for its wealthy customers. No other team does this and it’s quite an undertaking to maintain all the different engines and hydraulic systems and so on.

The F2008 car has more or less the same engine as this years 2010 car, due to the engine freeze in F1. The question many people will be asking is whether they are able to get any technical benefit from running this test, for example to test something out in the engine.

The answer I’ve gleaned from talking to F1 engineers from other teams is that there is little benefit that can be derived from this test which they could not derive from testing on the dyno in the factory.

Ferrari’s big issue this season is fuel consumption, with suggestions that at 2009 rates of fuel use, they may have to carry as much as 10 kilos of fuel more at the start of the race than cars powered by Renault or Mercedes. On average this will mean a deficit of 3/10ths of a second per lap to their rivals and more on some tracks. I think it that the actual figure is likely to be less than this, because it is something that they have been working hard on this winter.

With the first track test of the new Ferrari due in ten days time, there is little they would learn on this from Barcelona in a car with a different weight, different front tyres and configuration.

As far as Massa is concerned, it makes sense for him to get some extra mileage in to refamiliarise himself with an F1 car, particularly as he will have very limited time in the three pre season tests, in which he will have to share the car with his new team mate Fernando Alonso. I spoke with Massa’s manager Nicolas Todt this morning as he and Felipe were arriving in Barcelona and he said that the test will help with his confidence and give him some valuable extra time in the car, which is such a precious commodity in F1 these days.

Weather permitting, he should be able to do around 80 to 100 laps on Friday which will give him a good understanding of how his body reacts to being in a car over a long distance again, much as Michael Schumacher did last summer and again with the recent GP2 test.

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158 Comments
  1. guy says:

    James, surely the 3/10ths is a moving target?

  2. Surely, if the engine modifications made between 2008 and now genuinely improve reliability (as required by the regulation) then this Clienti car would have the latest engine to reduce running costs.

    Or do the testing regulations force them to use an older, less reliable, and therefore more costly engine?

  3. yer says:

    no need for him to do that, he will never become a world champion just like his friend rubens, accept the fact that no one can follow the footstep of senna{u know what i mean}

    1. James W says:

      There will be another Brazilian champ one day, just not for a while yet.

    2. JEEEPp says:

      and you will never drive in F1. But there we go..

    3. Laurence H says:

      So you’re saying that no Brazilian will ever be World Champion in the future?

      That’s a pretty daft view…

    4. Adam T says:

      This viewpoint is folly. There will be another Brazilian champ soon. Massa deserved the 08 championship even more than Hamilton, to say he will never be champ is awfully presumptuous.

      Now just go listen to Why Can’t We Be Friends and feel better.

      1. Lilia says:

        I don’t exactly see how Massa deserved it more than Hamilton. Actually on mere drive performance, Hamilton was certainly more impressive in 2008 than Massa was.

      2. Lee Gilbert says:

        Lilia – you are clearly a little misted eyed. I am a massive Hamilton fan but the best driver was in the best car in 08 – Massa in a Ferrari. In fact Massa only lost that WDC because of team errors.

        Hamilton was the best driver in the best car in 07 – Kimi lucked in that title with a strong finish to the season combined with a poor team and driver performance over the final 4 races

        You see the driver that deserves it (usually the best driver) is not always the driver that wins the WDC

      3. jose says:

        Massa must deliever this year, because as soon as senna does anything good on any race, be sure that santander will try to bring him to ferrari. They want him badly, if he is any good.

      4. tom says:

        seriously guys, runner up in ’08, 11th in ’09 with the caveat that HE ALMOST DIED!!!

        i think he’ll out do Alonso at Ferrari, i just hope he can tow the line cos i’d like to see him there for a couple of years.

        and regarding confidence, i think all the driver’s would like a bash in an ’08 car before the season starts. it’ll be the first time any of them have driven a new spec of car (weight and wheel-base, big difference) so it’ll be a steap learning curve for everyone. you could talk about Button’s confidence all during last season, peaks and troughs, and a WDC title.

        don’t read too much in to this, would Ferrari let a driver who is not capable of winning the championship drive for them out of pity? i tihnk you should credit these guys with a little more intellegence.

        i’m putting a tenner on Massa tomorrow.

      5. andyb says:

        “Would Ferrari let a driver who is not capable of winning the championship drive for them out of pity?”

        Would they make that kind of decision based on loyalty or emotion rather than business?

        Hmmmmm……

        LUCA BADOER
        LUCA BADOER
        LUCA BADOER

      6. Tom says:

        I put a fiver on him on Thursday,

        Forza Massa.

      7. adam says:

        If you believe Massa will be champ rundown to the bookies quick, you can get 14/1 on him !

        I remember Massa spinning six times at a wet Silverstone 2008 and being lapped twice despite having a fully functioning car.
        He also benefited from Hamilton having the Spa victory taken away. At the time Massa was running a very distant third behind kimi and Hamilton in the wet.If there a more than the average number of wet races in 2010 it’s a certainty Massa will struggle.

      8. ginello says:

        He is a quick learner.
        Few months later he won in Brazil on the wet.

      9. Martin says:

        You should also remember China last year where Massa got a poor Ferrari up to third while Lewis spun several times. I think Lewis is the better wet track driver, but Felipe is hardly liability if the car has a chassis design that allows the tyres to get heat into them in wet conditions. He managed Brazil’s wet conditions as well as anyone, although he had a clear lead at time. This was Kimi’s problem in Spa in 2008. Massa compounded the problem by taking wing off prior to qualifying. It got him ahead of Kimi on the grid, but probably wasn’t a good race call.

        Between the spin from second in Malaysia (nine points lost to Hamilton), Hungary engine failure (11 points) and Singapore refueling bungle (approximately eight points), there were enough opportunities to win the title and cover the points Hamilton lost in Spa.

        2010 will go a long way to defining the public’s perception on Massa and whether he would have been judged a worthy winner in 2008 or tainted Button-style as having the ‘best car’. Button has the chance to justify his championship by beating Lewis.

      10. tom says:

        massa’s got as good a chance as anyone, otherwise they may as well not bother with the championship, yeah?

        i think he’ll outscore schumi and alonso, i’m more than willing to conceed that hamilton is more LIKELY to win, however 14/1 are much better odds and it would be so much better for the sport if massa did win cos it would be another great story in F1 history.

        re luca badoer – c’mon, it’s not like he started the season for them, and had schumi been fit/willing yadda yadda, he was 2nd pick, a fezza test driver n frankly by that stage of the season the chance of anyone taking massa’s car and making a meaningful contribution was slim, especially since they were looking towards 2010 anyway. AND they were already paying him as a test driver so it would have been a lot easier just to chuck him in and get some test data. i do however accept the point.

  4. Mac says:

    Massa is quoted as saying:

    “As the car and the track were available I thought it would be helpful to go onto the track for a day to continue gaining confidence,” Massa said.

    Wonder what that implies: gaining confidence? A suggestion that after his accident he doesn’t feel fully comfortable yet when he’s back behind the wheel of an F1 car. A small chink of vulnerability in the Massa’s head . . . not the frame of mind to start a season with.

    Maybe I am reading too much into the comment and being too harsh?

    He’s bound to feel shaken up by the accident . . . but maybe his full confidence will never return?

    Hope he is okay.

    1. Vinicius Antunes says:

      Maybe we will only be 100% sure when the season begins… but I trust his ability (well, I’m a fan so my opinion might be a bit skewed…) :-)

      1. Hang On! says:

        I think you are reading far too much into his comments and how they apply to himself – if he was not confident of his own abilities then he strikes me as sensible enough not to be putting himself through this.

        F1 cars continue to be impossible to drive fast, even at 5/10ths, for the vast majority of the worlds population. That’s why F1 drivers are considered such a rare breed, are paid accordingly, and dissapear very quickly if they don’t cut it.

        Ferrari, Massa himself and the F1 loving fanbase in general will be expecting to hit the first race at 10/10ths pace.

        Any driver suffering such a long lay off is bound to be VERY rusty. Compound the issue with injury and you can see why he is chomping at the bit to get his basic racecraft warmed up again. Classic F1 motivational ego if you ask me!

      2. Hang On! says:

        my comment meant for Mac!

    2. Andy says:

      I think you are reading far to much into the comment. The reality is he had a huge accident last season, he has been medically cleared to return to racing but has spent no time in an F1 car since the accident so it makes perfect sense to grab an F1 car as soon as possible and take it for a spin.

      Personally I think F1 needs to change the rules/find a solution that allows drivers returning from accidents that mean they miss race weekends, new drivers and older drivers who haven’t raced in years to do some race ‘testing’ that allows them to familiarize themselves with current (or near current) F1 cars before they go racing.

  5. Andy says:

    I find it very interesting that Felipe and his manager openly admit that his confidence needs a boost. This doesn’t speak well for his chances for the next season. Luca and Stefano have recently only been talking, how with Alonso on board they can challenge for the title again. This must be hard for Felipe to hear.

    I hope he is mentally strong enough to honestly challenge Alonso, he certainly is fast enough for that. However, with statements like this, one can’t help but wonder if that is so.

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      Is there another driver on the grid that has had to work as hard as Massa to overcome his early driving problems and done as well as he has? Give the guy a break, no one that crashed and burned as often as Massa did in the early years has ever recovered to do as well. He has always been very fast, but was trying too hard in the first few years, but has matured really well into a very good driver. At the very least he will push Alonso to the max and I for one think he may undo the head of the ex-champ. Massa is extremely strong in the head department.

      1. James Allen says:

        Great point. I agree with you. I can’t think of another driver who has changed my opinion of him as much as Massa has in the last three years

      2. F1-FAN says:

        Yes it changed your mind because of Kimi’s Ferrari. I certainly expect Alonso to beat Massa (not blowing).
        Anyway, 3/10ths for Ferrari is nothing.
        Alonso with his 6/10ths will clean the mess :).

      3. Martin P says:

        You mean Kimi’s World Championship winning Ferrari?

        Massa is a fantastic presence on the grid and I’m looking forward to seeing him back. He’s been a key protagonist in some of the best races and championship battles we’ve seen over the last few years. Always in the chase and often leading from the front. Yes his chin drops when he’s coming from the back, but all drivers have weak spots (even MS has been known to make the odd erratic move when things aren’t quite right).

        As for needing confidence…. the guy hasn’t raced a car for months, far longer than all his peers. I for one don’t blame him for getting back into the swing of it.

        He deserves the admiration of all real F1 fans for his bravery and determination. Good luck Felipe and welcome back.

      4. Andy says:

        Mika Hakkinen? In his early career I remember him driving his car like it was launched out of a cannon, with little regard for who might hit. There was even talk about removing his racing license I seem to remember after an accident in Oz (I think), but he went on to be a double world champion and the person who MS rated as his toughest competition…

      5. RON says:

        Kimi was a disaster at Ferrari… he made Massa look better then Michael ever did…

        I don’t see drivers changing too radically over the years… natural talent is always there from the beginning…

        All we are witnessing are the failing of Kimi… Kimi has only been about hype and has never delivered anywhere near it…

      6. Andy says:

        I’m not trying to put him down, I like him and I think many people still underestimate him. However, it is somewhat puzzling to hear him say he needs to work on his self-confidence. It can be a sign of very high self-esteem (“I can be open about my approach, I have nothing to prove to anyone”), or it may reveal that he has serious doubts about how well he will be able to do.

        You are right, Massa certainly is the most improved driver of the lot, and has always come back stronger after he has been criticized. Still, Ferrari doesn’t appear to trust that he can deliver in the big way, and I hope he will prove them wrong. It’s just statements like this that makes one wonder if he truly believes in himself anymore either.

  6. Spark says:

    Of course this is prohibited by Ferrari, but wouldn’t it be fun if say for instance Hamilton, Button or Vettel would rent the Ferrari F2008 for a day. After all it is for wealthy clients.

    On a more serious note, I think it is great for Felipe just to get back behind the weel and get something of driving an F1 car feeling back in his system.

    1. Howard Hughes says:

      Never mind that lot, it’s Schumacher who should be availing of a loophole like this! I’m amazed given the circumstances, and his wealth, that either he or Mercedes aren’t procuring some, any, 2008 F1 for him to thrash every day…

      Surely that would be an invaluable stepping stone given that he quit as far back as 2006, ie two full seasons of development before the cars that he’s now allowed to ‘test’…

      Why he’s not flying round a private track like the Ascari one in Spain in a purchased or leased ’08 anything I’ve no idea…

      1. Lilia says:

        Mercedes don’t have a 2008 car. That’s why.

      2. Howard Hughes says:

        Did you actually read my post? I referred twice to ‘any’ car at all. And I implied that I couldn’t understand why Schumacher himself, in a private capacity, wasn’t doing this. He should acquire the use of a 2008 anything, a Force India, a Toro Rossa, anything at all, to get as many F1 miles under his belt as possible… After all, the number of miles he’s driven in an F1 car since he retired in 2006 could probably be counted in 3 figures…

      3. KNF says:

        And the 2008 car the team in it’s Honda guise was such a dog, that it even set fire to itself in Brazil before the team mechanics could do it!!!

      4. Lee Gilbert says:

        Well they technically should have an Honda ’08 – unless the back catalogue was not included in the sale to Brawn.

        It was a dog though!

    2. Adrian says:

      I’m not sure Ferrari would block it, but you bet that McLaren, Red Bull et al would…

  7. Fausto Cunha says:

    This test for Felipe is very good, he needs time on the car and this test will help him to get back to speed more quickly.

    For Ferrari there´s nothing to lose and they have the cars from the Clienti department.

    1. KNF says:

      Who exactly rent F1 cars from the Clienti? The cars are so hardcore and unforgiving one would expect the number to probably consist of ex-racing drivers or current drivers affiliated with Ferrari/FIAT (or Italian racing gods like Rossi). Even if you include the FXX owners, that still doesn’t amount to more than 40 at most…

      Not portly bankers with wallets stuffed with government bailout funds for sure!!! :D

      1. Fausto Cunha says:

        I could drive one i just don´t have the money,lol

  8. Quillan Rogers says:

    Hey James

    I know this test will tell us more, but how do you rate Felipe’s chances going into the new season. Surely a title contender?

  9. F1 Kitteh says:

    Put on a sticker that says Prius and see if it saves gas..

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      Very very funny :D. Made my day

    2. rpaco says:

      No it should be spelled “pious”
      Making one of those, releases more carbon than the whole driving life of a normal old car.

  10. ginello says:

    It matters only to Felipe.

    But I can see the usual sour grapes anti-ferrari crowd, coming out en force.

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      Ginello, with Jean Todt in FIA and Michael in Mercedes. Mercedes will be the “New Ferrari”. So rest assured, Ferrari’s moves will not be watched with all the suspision as in the Schumi-Todt-Brawn era.

      As a Williams Fan I for one warmed up to Ferrari after the Trinity left the Italian Team.

      1. jose says:

        but not the sacred, the evil.

  11. Ian says:

    They will find out how good Rossi is in comparison to a ‘known’ driver…..

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      They already know that Rossi has done similar tests for Ferrari before, and he was very respectable(with few tenths) as compared to regular Ferrari drivers, and everytime there were speculations of Rossi switching to F1. Valentino has always clarified, “he drives F1 cars for fun, F1 racing is more about Engineers than about drivers and hence he is not interested in F1 career”.

      I would rather have Rossi in Rally or LeMans/Sportscar series, where drivers can exhibit their skills better than they can in F1.

      I was dissappointed that Michael didn’t do LeMans and Indy500 during retirement to complete his resume and to prove that he is up to it in all forms of racing.

      1. jose says:

        too dangerous when you have 1000 mill in your bank account. f1 is safe, and is where the real money is. No brainer for him.

      2. Rudy Pyatt says:

        Thanks on that last point. I read once that Schumi was standing in line to take some laps (on a fan day, where anyone could do it) at Texas Motor Speedway, when he got tired of waiting around and left. None of the staff knew who he was until it was too late. I understand that the general manager there found out and raised hell for that mistake.

        It’s a bit ironic that Monty, and not Schumi, has already gotten the Graham Hill/Jim Clark Monaco/Indy double. If he wins Daytona this year, that’ll be a heck of a triple.

      3. jose says:

        montoya’s exit still hurts. What a waste of talent, driving around in circles in his early thirties. You could do that later on in your careear.
        But you cannot tell people how to run their business.

      4. Martin says:

        Jim Clark as Clark never won the Monaco GP, in part because Indy was at the same time and a bigger prize then.

  12. Vic says:

    Could the ’08 car be running the same engine or a very similar engine to the ’10 car? is it possible they stuck a ’10 spec engine in and they could they be testing fuel economy?

    1. No, because the 2008 car has a fuel tank that’s about half the size the one they will have in 2010. Also, 2010 cars will be 15 kgs heavier than 2008-09 which also slow the cars and make them burn more fuel.

      Ballast can be added, but there’s no way they will be able to put 150 kgs of ballast into a tightly packed car so that they can emulate 2010 fuel consumption.

      1. Vic says:

        Fair point, i didnt even think about the impact of weight on fuel consumption, i was thinking more along the lines of experimenting with the ’10 engines and fuel mixtures with respect to a simple measure of any impact towards fuel consumption at the time. I didn’t mean simulate actual ’10 conditions. Just seems a bit convenient that Rossi gets a test aswell.

        Don’t get me wrong i am kind of a Ferrai fan, but i’m not too keen on Alonso.

      2. Paul Kirk says:

        I agree with you Vic, I also am a Ferrari fan but I’m not keen on Alonso either! I really hope Phillipe gets the better of him. But then we’ll probably have to put up with Lony behaving like a spoiled child!!!!
        PK.

      3. Ross Dixon says:

        The thing is, these fuel mixtures could all be tested on a dyno. Thats why the teams are not that bothered.

      4. rpaco says:

        Depleted uranium might do it :-) If that sounds dangerous, you may like to know that jumbo jets had depleted uranium as ballast in the tail.

      5. Topless Porridge says:

        Does that make it safer, then?

      6. rpaco says:

        Do you think Mr Boeing would endanger you? American big business has always had the welfare of the public foremost in it’s corporate mind, right? (or was it money?)

        Just keep it in mind when you use the toilet on a jumbo. Does your luminous watch glow bright?

        No seriously, it should be safe, probably!

  13. F1 Outsider says:

    Regardless of whether they get any technical advantage from such a test, it is a smart move on Massa’s part as he will be one of the only drivers who’s had any in-car activity within the past 3 or 4 months. It’ll allow him to get back up to speed a bit faster than the rest of the pack.

  14. Dave Bird says:

    James,

    With the F2008 car having the same engine as Ferrari’s 2010 challenger, surely this does provide some opportunity for Ferrari to gather some useful data. I wonder if Shell could produce some variation on the fuel to make the engine more efficient, maybe this is the real reason for the test?

  15. BA says:

    doing something for nothing is more like nonsense for F1 teams…

  16. Andy S says:

    James, do you think more F1 teams will think about doing this, for say testing new drivers or giving existing drivers track time in the off season?

  17. PaulL says:

    Seriously, why can’t we have F1 cars that look like that today?

    1. Malcolm46 says:

      Was thinking the same, they look like proper F1 cars the ones in 2008, last seasons looked like an F3 car in comparison……

      1. Paul Kirk says:

        Sorry, Paul & Malcolm, I dont agree! The 08 cars were unsightly with all the silly bit hanging off them!!
        Actually, I reckon F1 cars looked way better decades ago, and they could also follow and pass each other and provide a much better spectacle for us, the fans.
        But then again I’m probably a lot older than you guys because I saw Stirling Moss, Archi Scot-Brown, Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham and all their mates racing here at Wigram in Christchurch, NZ. Those were the days!!
        PK.

      2. PaulL says:

        I just can’t fathom the F1 09 cars though as representing the highest motorsport category in the world. We’ve gone from the wonderful aero standards of 2008 (even if you think they look ponderous) to now where the cars are basic looking AND ponderous.

        Again it comes back to trying to build a sport or trying to build a “show” and I think F1′s geared towards the “show” nowdays, which I as a fan hate!

    2. Martin says:

      What caught my eye was a TV special on the Goodwood festival of speed. Damon Hill had his 1996 car. The wider track was a key thing with the look along with the lower rear wing height.

  18. James, could the test be a base ferrari is using to judge whether massa’s speed has not been affected by the accident?

  19. Michael Nichol says:

    A great story, James. Ferrari with a collection of F-1 cars from years past, and current driver Massa ‘testing’ one! And to what purpose is Felipe still needing time behind the wheel of a race car, especially at this late date, and with Rossi recently ‘testing’ as well? Will the English Ferrari team of McLaren begin their own clienti branch of operations for their fantastic collection of cars? Will Jenson be ‘testing’ Fernando Alonso’s McLaren Mercedes from 2007 perhaps? If I owned a Ferrari F-1 car of several years vintage I certainly would like the Scuderia maintaining it for me. How much would that maintenance cost?

    1. jose says:

      You buy the car from ferrari for a price that goes from 300000 euro up to 1.5 mill, even more if the car is a winning car from schumacher, and you have the chance to race it a certain events around the world. There is a video in youtube, made by speed tv, the us network that explains very well how it works.

    2. Chris Bird says:

      If you have to ask…

  20. I really hope Massa is up to this. I’m sure he is, but he is such a nice character in F1… To loose him would be awful for us and I would be devasted for him.

    James,

    received your book it’s really good reading, I’m thoroughly enjoying it :-)

    chris.

  21. Roger says:

    James,

    Do you know if spectators are allowed in for the Valencia testing – or is it a “long-lens” job??

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes they are allowed. I’d go to Barcelona though – everyone will be there and up to speed. 22-24 Feb I’ll be there!

      1. Roger says:

        James,

        Thanks – I might join you !!

      2. James Allen says:

        You should – it’s great!

      3. monktonnik says:

        Could you post a link to where we cqn buy tickets?

        I would definately come to thwt.

      4. Martin P says:

        Wow I didn’t realise we could go to the tests.

        Actually this has been going through my mind for a while now… have you considered linking up with one of the agents to offer travel/tickets for grand prix/tests through your site?

        I’d love to go but the array of sites out there offering packages (and horror stories!) are mind boggling. I’d take the risk on one endorsed with a link on your site though – especially if I knew they were helping make sure your site keeps running!

    2. jose says:

      and it is very cheap, 5 euros a day. At barcelona it’s even free, if you show the race tickets, for the gp.

  22. Pawel says:

    It seems to me that Hamilton will take advantage of being in the same experienced and successful team in the season beginning in contrast to his competitors. Let see: Schumacher after long pause, Alonso moved to the new team as well as Button and Barrichello and Kubica, Massa after injury may need more time… Definitely Vettel and Webber are the only competitors for Hamilton for the very first races indeed.

    1. Amritraj says:

      It’s not as much about joining new teams as it is about having more testing to understand the car. Kimi shifted to Ferrari in 2007 and won the opening GP in Melbourne.

      1. Pawel says:

        Right… However McLaren were in the ascendant in the second half of the last season, so they may keep continue good pace + more and more experienced driver – Hamilton. OK – we will see:)

      2. Martin says:

        In a car with KERS to cover up the high speed aero problems. McLaren may make a great car, but don’t hold onto an Abu Dhabi pole as a sign of hope. The weight distribution change required by the tyres also points to a significant change in the aerodynamic centre of pressure, leading to things like a new undertray concept.

  23. Paul Mc says:

    Sad day when GP2 cars start to look better than the current F1 cars, anyways this test would be beneficial to Massa regardless of car specification. When you were involved in a freak accident like Felipe was it can leave phycological scaring as well as physical. Let’s not forget a few inches either way and he could have been killed. The more he drives an F1 car the more comfortable he will feel.

    1. jose says:

      not only better looking, but just 50 bhp short of the f1 cars. And now with the f1 on full tanks, who nows if they are, may be even faster. We are in an era, that is not going to be remembered as very exciting on the history books.

      1. Ross Dixon says:

        I think you mean the cars won’t be remembered as exciting. I’m pretty certain everyone who watches F1 can’t wait for the new season

      2. jose says:

        you are right. I meant the cars. Just imagine what this would be with the driver we had after senna died.
        This era is more like the early sixties. When clark was happy to go to indy, to be able to drive real cars with lots of power.

  24. rpaco says:

    Well it’s a good bit of practice for Massa and no doubt several bits can be tested on the car to see if they make a difference or not.
    But he is taking the car over from Rossi who is driving it yet again. There can be no possibility of Rossi driving in F1, he is too old now to enter as a rookie so it’s just a day out and a “jolly”.

    Presumably this is limited, because the engines are designed with an operating life (Like replicants) which is being used up with each outing.

  25. Andy C says:

    I think this is completely wrong and against the spirit of the testing ban.

    At least Schumacher tested a gp2 car. Let felipe do the same if he needs track time, no argument with track time.

    I appreciate why he is doing so, but what next. A mcclaren stable of oldcarIa so they can do the same. I know he had an accident, but Ferrari should not be allowed to do this.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Sorry Andy, I don’t agree! Having raced cars myself (much slower than F1 cars), I know that time away from racing leaves you “rusty”, and it seems stupid to me that FIA don’t encourage all drivers and rookys especially, to get out there and test before the beginning of the season, otherwise there’ll be caos in the first race.
      PK.

      1. jose says:

        And they will. Just give them a little time. They paniced with the crisis, and tried without much sucess, cutting the costs. But when everything calms down, they would realice that cutting all the tests is nonsense.

      2. Andy C says:

        Paul,
        my comments probably came across badly in text form. I would like to see proper testing allowed for all pre season.

        What I was trying to get across was that it is not in my opinion fair for Ferrari to use their clienti team to test an f1 driver.

        I wish felipe the best of luck for the season ahead.

        I would like to see more pre season testing for all, and I think that drivers drafted in should be allowed some proper testing as you said.

        Give them a decent chance at getting up to speed with f1 which is a huge step up. If they then don’t make it fine.

        What did you race by the way? Someone I know raced jenson in one of the junior formulas but didn’t have any real backing or by his own admission enough good results.

  26. Andy C says:

    I am not being critical of felippe on my post by the way.

    I am a big fan of his. I just don’t believe that ferrari should be able to test their current f1 driver in a so called client testing team.

    It is in the same spirit as having them pounding round fiorano thousands of times a year.

    Anyway good luck felipe on your return. I hope you beat fernando !

    1. James W says:

      It’s legal and within the regulation to which all the teams agree on. Personally, I can’t see the issue…

      1. Martin P says:

        And if I understand it right, any team or driver could go and hire the same Ferrari car for a day if they wanted to.

        I agree mate, there’s no issue here. Especially as the poor guy has been off the track for far longer than his peers. Who’d begrudge him a few runs to get himself back up to speed again?

    2. Freespeech says:

      I agree, the spirit of the rules are being broken.
      I’d bet things would be said if McLaren were doing likewise :!:

      1. Martin says:

        The testing ban was about containing costs. This isn’t developing the car, it is helping the driver. You still need someone to pay for the testing activity. Ferrari used private fans, while Mercedes used the GP2 organisation.

  27. john g says:

    i wouldn’t get too hung up on the fact that ferrari was the least efficient engine last year. it simply wasn’t a priority then. they will have worked closely with their partners at shell to develop a fuel and engine maps to significantly improve efficiency over the winter.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      You’re probably right about the fuel developement and engine mapping, but don’t forget that fuel efficiency has been extremely important in F1 for many seasons now, since even 5 kgs extra costs time.
      But cam events and combustion chamber shapes, compression ratios, internal friction etc all effect fuel efficiency, and with the engine freeze I dunno if those sorts of things can be changed, so that’ll make it difficult for the likes of Farrari. (Although they might have electronically controled variable valve timing).
      But then again, aren’t they all using a common McLaren Electronics ECU? I dunno!
      PK.

    2. Adrian says:

      But then again, won’t everyone else too??

  28. Ash says:

    At a guess I’d say they were evaluating Massa’s pace, fitness and endurance over a long run, with a view to trying to determine if they need to hedge their bets in testing by giving Fisichella a good number of days in the car rather than one or two mornings before the track dries out.

    Same situation as with the 2007-car tests last fall — however much Massa might have tried to characterise it as a “Christmas present”!

    My question is who pays for all this, and does it fall under the resource restriction agreement? Presumably Scuderia Ferrari are claiming that these tests are being conducted by F1 Clienti, another division, and that it has nothing to do with the expenditure for the actual 2010 season.

  29. Bryan R says:

    Hi James,

    Really enjoy the site, your content and commentary are unmatched. Just wanted to get your thoughts on what could turn out to be an interesting dynamic between Ferrari, their drivers and the FIA in 2010.

    Should relations become strained between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at any point this year – particularily if the two of them are in for the championship – most people expect Alonso to be the one to start political games within the team, and this may be true. However, I think the political games Massa could play reach much higher. Most people overlook the link between Massa, his manager Nicolas Todt, and the recentley elected FIA president Jean Todt. Massa holds a political card much more influential than any within Ferrari.

    It’s no secret that Jean Todt was left unimpressed with Alonso after he backed out of a testing deal early in his career, even saying that Alonso would never drive for the Scuderia as long as he was in power. In the mean time, Massa came in to Ferrari under the managment of Todt’s son Nicolas and became the chosen one.

    Should Jean Todt have even the slightest grudge against Alonso, it will be very easy for Nicolas Todt and Massa to have him on their side should any nasty incedents need to be sorted out – or created (Monza 2006, anyone?).

    On the other hand, I suspect Jean Todt is a very professional individual and will not want to be seen or suspected of any favoritism towards his sons driver.

    Should be interesting!

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that. Todt Sr has a very different role now. I don’t see him getting involved. As for Massa vs Alonso, I think that the situation needs to be very skillfully managed

      1. Tim Lamkin says:

        “think that the situation needs to be very skillfully managed”….the same as Button vs Hamy

      2. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

        Hi james, haven’t been able to check your blog regularly being that i’m on holiday in the sub continent. So I just finished reading everything that i missed over the last week. What’s the chance of having a grand prix in India & when? These are great countries to visit, but i’m not convinced local ppl will get into F1 much.

      3. James Allen says:

        It’s one of those things that Bernie wants but needs to be sure the people can deliver. It’s not far away though

      4. Freespeech says:

        Madness to have a Grand Prix in India when the country has so much poverty, it’s almost criminal.
        We live is real crazy world, the UK gives millions to India whilst they run both a nuclear weapons program of their as as a space program whilst at the same 10′s of millions live in slums and we are talking about having a Grand Prix there :?: Madness….

      5. We F1 fans should be gratefull for the services rendered by James. FREESPEECH please don’t pollute this site. Every one is eager to see F1 in India. The cause for the delay is Bernies money and the Politicians are very much answerable about this expenditure to the citizens of India. Please change your perspective to see things. India is not like you think. Your UK companies like Corrus, Jaguar, etc., are owned by Indians.

    2. Spyros says:

      Are you seriously suggesting that someone holding a position as important as ‘FIA President’ could allow himself to be infuenced by past rivalries and personal grudges?? Whatever made you think of that? ;)

      1. Freespeech says:

        Sadly I concur with your thoughts ;)

      2. Brace says:

        Both Balestre and Mosley stayed well away from F1.
        Right? :)

  30. N. Weingart says:

    If schumacher gets to do test drives off-season then all F1 drivers should too! The test driving ban is idiotic.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Agreed

    2. andyb says:

      Nothing to stop the other drivers getting out their euros and buying themselves a test drive.

      In New Zealand our highest level of single seater racing is the Toyota Racing Series. It runs over our summer (which is pretty much the F1 off season). I always used to say when Toyota were still in F1 that they should make their F1 guys come and do a couple of race meetings. It wouldve been so good for the young up and coming guys to measure themselves against a current F1 star. It mightve helped the drivers to keep their hand in and their fitness up.

      And maybe someone would’ve shown Ralf S how to drive…

  31. David Smith says:

    It will probably give him chance to familiarise himself with working with Rob Smedley again for the day. Look at all the track time he lost by not racing last year? This is why F1 does need some testing days but not to the extremes of the last few years. I used to love going to the F1 testing at silverstone and getting some autographs in the paddock…

  32. Teto says:

    Rossi´s today best time 1:21:9
    Raikkonen 2008 Pole Position 1:21:8

    Awesome!!!!!, let see Massa tomorrow.

    1. F1-FAN says:

      What is awesome? Rossi drove on slicks which is much better than grooved tyres.
      And he had driven with low fuel, while Kimi’s pole wasn’t low fuel.

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      Remember that Kimi would have had around 15 laps of fuel on board. Rossi was more than likely on low fuel. Still good though

  33. Freespeech says:

    I think this testing by both Ferrari and Mercedes (Schumacher in the Ferrari) is not in the spirit of the current F1 rules.

    Either let’s have testing or not have it and do away with this on the sly testing.

    I’d bet if McLaren started doing this then the FIA would soon put a stop to it :!:

  34. foolishyouth says:

    Why is Fernando Alonso allowed to drive an 09 Ferrari? I know its for ‘publicity purposes’ but surely its against the regulations and a benefit can be gained from it??

    1. Spenny says:

      What can be done for publicity purposes is limited – different tyres and all sorts of things.

      In terms of learning the cars controls, they have the simulator.

      …and of course, it is open to all the teams to do demos, so I can’t really see that there is anything unfair. It would become unfair at the point it happened on a real track with real tyres, and then it would not be a demo.

    2. Freespeech says:

      Not if it involves Ferrari :!:

      1. ginello says:

        Alonso probably did few runs at lower speed trough trajectories that are dictated by an advertising story board, following a movie crew on a truck, going what? 90km per hours maximum?
        At such speed the tires are all wobbling and the car shaking, what kind of test would that be?

        Some of you guys need to chill up a little.

  35. Kent Paul says:

    Alonso brings 0.6

    HA HA HA HA HA

    1. Freespeech says:

      At least :lol:

    2. RON says:

      LOL

      Yes – a shame he could never take it back from McLaren to Renault…

      He must have left the six tenths in his McLaren overalls…

  36. i can understand the need for restricting testing pre season, but surley the testing during the season is needed to make up ground, is the lack of testing affecting the championship ?

  37. danish Hanif says:

    james,
    i have read
    Renault made a fuel tank of 165kg.
    Mercedes made a fuel tank of 175 kg.
    Cosworth made a fuel tank of 185 kg.

    Is that correct? do you the size of tank?

    secondly, if current f1 car is heavier from the rear with the slim front tyres. aero must be different then 09, dont you think that will effect RB Mclearn and mercedes (brawn GP) as they developed their cars until last gp? surely they have less wind tunnel testing time for the new areo parts.

    and how ferrari can improve their fuel consumption on engine freeze pharse?

    thanks keep up the great work james

    1. James Allen says:

      Tank size is speculation at this stage. But it will be a big point of discussion in the tests and the early races.

      1. Freespeech says:

        It’ll be great should Renault find their tank is too small and they run out of fuel as this would completely cock up their car and season :)

      2. Brace says:

        It’ll be great if your Hamilton love wasn’t manifesting it self in such a sad way. :)

  38. arvi says:

    James,

    If the engine development is frozen. how can any team work on better fuel economy?

    especially stephen (ferrari boss) said they are working with shell to improve the fuel economy.

    please advise.

  39. alex m says:

    Is the car Massa will drive tomorrow of the same spec as Rossi’s today and yesterday ? It is hard to gague his time today, but it has to be highly respectable to say the very least.

    It will be interesting to see if he manages to get close to Rossi … lol… or how much faster he is, abeit on different days.

  40. Buck says:

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind the narrower front tires this year. Just last year they added those huge, ugly front wings (they look like the “cow-catchers” on old steam locomotives)in order to improve grip while close behind another car to make passing easier, and now they are taking front grip away again by narrowing the tires? Someone enlighten me please.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Yeah, that dose seem pretty stupid, Buck, personally I reckon the front wing should be much smaller, and the rear wing too, so the car would be less relient on downforce, and would create less “wake” therefore allowing cars to follow more closely and even gain a slipstream to assist passing.
      PK.

    2. 2009 cars with fat front tyres (same size as grooved tyres but removing the grooves added proportionately more rubber to the front)were very badly balanced. They needed a lot of ballast in the front to balance the car, including some in the front wing to get the weight as far forward as possible.

      Cars which could not get enough ballast in the front of the car within the minimum weight (because of a heavy driver or a KERS system)ended up with an badly balanced car which trashed its rear tyres easily.

      The 2010 narrower front tyres should considerably reduce the need for ballast in the front of the car.

      1. Buck says:

        Thanks (to both of you) for that.

    3. Ross Dixon says:

      When the cars went back to slick tyres from grooved (4 on the front and 4 on the back) The front tyres got a higher % of rubber back when the grooves were filled in. The rear tyres are wider than the fronts howeve the grooves were the same thickness. The meant that the cars naturally had more grip at the front and were oversteery. By reducing front thickness the natural tendency should be more neutral.

    4. Adrian says:

      It has to do with the balance of the car.

      When they got rid of the grooves in the tyres, the front tyres got proportionally more contact area than the rear. This meant that it was very hard for the teams to find a good balance on the tyres and led to the need to move the centre of gravity forwards (I think) – which in turn hurt the KERS teams as that was extra weight at the rear of the car.

      By making the front tyres slightly narrower, they have returned the grip balance (from the tyres) to the ratio it was with the grooved tyres.

      At least, that’s how I’ve understood it. If I’m wrong then I’m sure James or someone else will correct me.

  41. Arya says:

    I just wonder if this test has anything to do with tyre management on full tank. Although Massa is not as much a menace Lewis is for tyres, but can’t call him a master of the art.

    1. ginello says:

      Well, they are using GP2 tires on a 3 years old car, with a completely different chassis.
      How that could be a valuable test for tires or anything else?

  42. Spyros says:

    Remember people, he’ll be driving the same Clienti F2008 Ferrari that Rossi just got out of. It seems that Rossi was very happy with his performance, and he really got very close to actual 2008 qualifying pace (but with GP2 slicks, not 2008 grooved F1 rubber).

    Let’s see if Massa can gain some confidence, by lapping on a different league from Rossi.

    Or not.

    1. Beev says:

      He was almost 3 seconds faster.

      I think thats all the confidence he needs.

      Forza Massa

  43. Érico says:

    McLaren should look into such a thing as well. Not for the possible testing benefits, but for estabilishing their image outside F1. I mean, if they want to steal marketshare from guys like Ferrari, they better be able to provide a lot, and it wouldn’t hurt to give some rich and bored mid-aged men ten laps or so in an F1.

    On the other hand, we wouldn’t even bother with these small issues if the testing regulations weren’t so restricted. Imagine the buzz and potential revenue that could have been generated by now had there already been a normal 3 day test session. We just came off one of the most intense off-seasons ever with lots of driver moves, and there still is nothing tangible to show off.

  44. Mirage says:

    Im amazed at how many people have been fooled into thinking Massa will strongly challenge Alonso. It should be quite clear to anyone with any understanding of the sport that Massa is not in Alonso’s class in any way. Speed wise and consistency. A retiring Michael dominated him more than he did Rubens, and the only reason Massa is rated so high these days is because Kimi was overrated and hes been driving the best and fastest car on the grid for 3 years.

    Alonso will show his class. There will be no need for special managment because it wont be much of a contest.

    1. danish Hanif says:

      nice one, cant wait this happening, ALO will bring the title this year. in my eyes VET is a threat

  45. N. Weingart says:

    As to the narrower front tires this coming season, here is a quote from Jun Matsuzaki, Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport: A narrower front tire will also be introduced to adjust the basic balance of the cars.
    This is from a Bridgestone news release.

  46. Ahmed Al Mutawa says:

    The test is all about Massa & how is he going to cope in f1 car. Personally, i think he will be far from being fit.

  47. James, I think you know my interest in MotoGP and I know you watch it, too. Did you see that Valentino Rossi tested this week in the 2008 car? Lapped at 1.21.9; Kimi, in the same car in 2008, secured pole in 1.21.813. Not bad, eh?

      1. Spyros says:

        …and no times were issued of Massa, in the same car.

    1. Andy says:

      Though Rossi had the benefit of slicks, while F1 in 2008 had still grooved tires + race fuel load in Q3. Impressive, nevertheless.

  48. Silverstoned says:

    Not looking great for Massa..

  49. Irish conor says:

    Me think ur a biased Brit but the facts are massa won more races more fastest laps more car and team failures same pole positions and Hamilton beat him by a point. Now add the 2 points in Malaysia, and take away the 2 points massa got in France threw kimi’s problems and take away the extra point massa got in japan and that’s a 5 point swing. Now add the 10 points in Hungary and Singapore plus the safety car period problems felipe suffered in Canada when rig failed and had to pit the next lap again, in Germany when piquet jumped him when massas breakswere shot U would have a different view when the luck is evened out. And lewis cut the chicane there’s no two ways abt it and deserved what he got. Also remember brazil 08 and china 09 felipe was great in rain whereas lewis struggled. As rafa benitez says “fact”

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