F1 Winter Break
Massa gives Ferrari a cautious thumbs up
Massa gives Ferrari a cautious thumbs up
Posted By:   |  12 Feb 2009   |  6:30 pm GMT  |  9 comments

Felipe Massa, like all the drivers at Sakhir, has had a frustrating time with testing interrupted by sandstorms. He got some miles in on Tuesday but did not run the KERS system in the Ferrari car. The plan was to run it on Wednesday, but the sandstorm intervened.

Ferrari are not making too many noises at the moment about how well things are going. The car has been faster so far than the BMW and the Toyota and apparently it’s looking quite consistent, which has been the hallmark of Ferraris in recent years. But is it fast enough? Because there is no doubt that the McLaren looks like a strong car.

I saw this quote from Massa this morning, which I found interesting,
“The F60 is behaving itself better here (Bahrain) than it did in Mugello, where it was harder to drive, less stable. Now the car makes me feel more at ease. It’s very important because now without the aerodynamic downforce it’s all much more difficult, especially when the tyres go off. However we have found the right track for improving the set-up.”

It’s a cautious thumbs up. There is a long way to go to understand all the bells and whistles on these new cars and to get them sorted out and precious little time to do it. Track testing is very limited this year, with only one car per team allowed at a test and a limited number of tests at that. Ferrari and McLaren will come together at the Barcelona test in March (I expect) and then we will get a truer picture. I’m sure there are new parts aplenty to come to both cars, as there will be to BMW and others.

The KERS system could turn out to be important if one team has it and the other hasn’t, or one team has it working better than the other, especially at the race starts, where it is worth 70 metres or so in acceleration off the line compared to a non KERS car.

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70m would be a huge advantage for any team running KERS. By qualifying on the third row a driver would be almost guaranteed of being in P1 by the first corner if the cars in front are not fitted with KERS.

It will be very interesting to see which teams have done their homework and will carry that advantage into the first race.

So far I would have to say that Mclaren seem to be one of the more confident teams when it comes to the KERS issue...


I wouldn't say the McLaren is looking all that strong myself, I mean they still are running with a 2008 rear wing (way more downforce) and are getting pantsed (sorry made up verb) by the Red Bull Rocket.

Personally, I hope to heck that Vettel has a WDC challenger under him. I would love to see a ding dong battle between England and Germany between two young, quite different personalities.

I think that would be utterly fantastic for the sport, much like, despite the drama, the Hill->Schumacher fights were.


I agree with both of the previous posts.
McLaren seem much more confident of their challenger during testing, but i am a bit worried about the fact they are using the 2008-spec rear wing way too often.

Although I am a HUGE HUGE McLaren fan (not so much a Hamilton fan though), I get the feeling that RBR are looking to have a very quick car. But as usual with RBR and Newey designs, question marks over reliability.

Still too early to say. But I hope Vettel ends up in a McMerc in the future. Although I am sure Lewis would not like that.


Picking up on the previsou post, can you shed any light on why McLaren are running their 2008 wing so much in testing? Surely it suggests that they are not as well prepared as people say?

If you're not testing the full package, how reliable is the data you're collecting from that track time?


I agree with Aaron James... Looks like Newey has nailed this one ....



Surely the KERS must be fully discharged before the race start. Does anyone know or do I have to read the rules?

OR it won't be charged up enough on the warm up lap to make much difference. How long does the Williams flywheel keep running if the car is stationary?

I agree that we have not seen the Macca form yet, just as the STR figures are meaningless, so are those from the McLaren with the wrong rear wing assy.


Aaron James: I like the thought of Vettel / Hamilton battle, except this time, Hamilton will be the Schumacher and neither of them will be the Hill. Also, I think in that situation I might just be rooting for Vettel.


I wouldn't consider Mclaren using the 2008 rear wing a negative thing. They are probably gathering data because Mclaren could knock up loads of 2009 spec rear wings in their mighty factory.

If ferrari are strugling with KERS then that must mean Renualt and Red Bull will be too; are they not all using a Magneti Marelli system?


Regarding the McLaren 2008 hybrid wing, the Team website states: "The team carried out the majority of its running using a hybrid-spec 2008 rear wing in order to more effectively simulate expected downforce loads and will bring a raft of new components to next month’s test, back in Jerez."

I would expect the next test session to debut a host of new aero revisions for all teams.

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