Posts Tagged ‘ferrari’

Schumacher considering a return to F1

July 28th, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, 2006It has been more than two years since Michael Schumacher last raced an F1 car but comments from his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm suggest we might see him back on the track in Valencia.

On Sunday, Felipe Massa was hit in the head by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello’s car at the Hungarian Grand Prix.  The 160mph impact fractured Massa’s skull and injured his left eye.  The Brazilian seems to be making a steady recovery but doctors say it is still to early to know if he will compete again this year or even at all.

So that leaves Ferrari with a decision to make some time in the next four weeks; who will drive Felipe’s car while he is recuperating? They could decide to run only one car but that seems unlikely as it would almost halve the number of constructors points available to them at each race.

While a number of possible replacement drivers have been suggested let’s not forget that Ferrari actually have two reserve drivers, Marc Gene and Luca Badoer, who they employ presumably for this very possibility.  But, despite being Scuderia test drivers, their recent F1 experience is limited. Badoer’s last race was for Minardi in the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix where he finished last and Marc Gene hasn’t raced in Formula One since the 2004 British Grand Prix where he filled in for the other Schumacher brother at Williams.

There are mixed messages about Schumacher’s possible return.  His spokeswoman told the BBC:

The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari. If they approach Michael, then he will consider it. Usually, I would say he’s not interested because he’s fine with his life and he doesn’t miss anything but now the situation is so different.

While his manager, Willi Weber, seems pretty sure that Michael won’t want the job:

Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher. I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure. The pressure on him would be huge. He would be expected to win, but he has not driven this car.

When Michael was racing he would get as close to perfection as possible. In this case, it would not be perfection; it would be a gamble – and that’s not Michael’s style.

I think it is pretty unlikely Schumacher will make a comeback.  While I would love to see him race against drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian ‘Baby Schumi’ Vettel, I don’t think it would suit his perfectionist style.  The expectations on him would be huge and Ferrari isn’t the same team it was when he was winning Championships.

Who would you like to see take Massa’s seat?  Bourdais?  Senna?  Rossi? Alonso?

Image: Ferrari

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Brawn GP’s kill count

July 3rd, 2009 No comments

Brawn GP welcome sign, Brackley factory Like the nose of a WWII bomber, the welcome sign at the Brawn GP factory in Brackley has a tally of victories the team has notched up so far this season.

They’re not being overconfident, though — there are nine races left this year but only space on the board for another six wins, at least not without adding a second row.

But Brawn GP are not the only Formula One team with a connection to airplane nose art.

In World War I, Francesco Baracca was Italy’s top fighter ace scoring 34 kills. In recognition of his former cavalry regiment, Baracca adopted the embem of a prancing stallion — the Cavallino Rampante — and he became known as ‘The Cavalier of the Skies’.

After the war, Enzo Ferrari won a race in Ravenna where he met Baracca’s mother, the Countess Paolina.  Legend has it that the Countess asked Ferrari to use the prancing horse on his cars saying it would bring him good luck, as Enzo himself explains:

The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane flown by Francesco Baracca, a heroic Italian pilot who died on Mount Montello: the Italian ace of aces of the First World War. In 1923 … I met Count Enrico Baracca, the pilot’s father, and subsequently his mother, Countess Paolina. One day she said to me, “Ferrari, why don’t you put my son’s prancing horse on your cars; it would bring you luck.” … The horse was black and has remained so; I added the canary yellow background because it is the colour of Modena.

Ever since then the Cavallino Rampante has been the symbol of the Scuderia.

Francesco Baracca posing by his SPAD S.XIII.

Categories: Teams Tags: , ,

Ferrari hints at a return to Le Mans

June 13th, 2009 No comments

Ferrari F430, Le Mans, 200960 years after the first Ferrari won Le Mans, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo waved the French tricolour to start the 77th Grand Prix of Endurance at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

In 1949, Luigi Chinetti practically single handedly won the race behind the wheel of a Ferrari 166 MM, Spider/Barchetta Touring, driving for 22 out of the 24 hours.

It is a race Ferrari won 9 times between 1949 and 1965 and this year there are 10 Ferrari F430 GTs competing in the GT2 category (the biggest number of cars of the same make) – but no works Ferraris.

Naturally, with such a historic connection to Le Mans and all the talk of Ferrari withdrawing from Formula One, people are wondering about a return to the 24 Heuers Du Mans for Ferrari.

Di Montezemolo spoke to the press after a lap of the circuit in a Ferrari California with Jean Alesi behind the wheel:

A Ferrari at Le Mans? Why not?  If we should not race in Formula 1 anymore this would be an option: obviously not with a car with a Diesel engine, but maybe with a hybrid, who knows.

In this race you can really see the values of competition in the areas of sports and technology, but I have to say again that the life, the heart and the soul of Ferrari are with Formula 1.  This year, also because of the rules we can call “grey”, it doesn’t go too well, but we will never give up.

Where we will be in 2011? For sure this situation will be resolved somehow: we will race in a Formula 1 with characteristics we want to keep or there will be some sort of alternative.

It’s true that many years have passed since the last overall win of a Ferrari in this race and I have a dream, which is also a wish, to see sooner or later an official car starting in the race.

Image: Ferrari

Categories: Teams Tags: ,

What the drivers think

May 21st, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, Monaco, 2003On Wednesday, a French court dismissed Ferrari’s attempt to prevent the introduction of new rules for the 2010 Formula One season.

Ferrari had objected to the introduction of a voluntary £40m budget cap that could produce a two-tier championship, where those teams opting for the cap would receive greater technical freedom.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris found that the FIA did not have to get the Scuderia’s permission to change the rules and that “there is no risk of any imminent damage which should be prevented or obviously illegal trouble which should be stopped”.

So in the lead up to the most prestigious race on the Formula One calendar, once again the exciting on-track action is overshadowed by the off-track politics.  But what do the drivers think?

Fernando Alonso:

If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave F1 then I don’t want to race with the small teams, because it is not F1 any more, and there are many other categories.

For me, it is strange no one sat down and thought how much we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the last two months.  To have those three or four new teams and to lose seven of the big manufacturers, I cannot understand, and not just losing the seven manufacturers, but losing the 10 best drivers in the world.  F1 would not be interesting.

Kimi Raikkonen:

I am pretty sure that we [Ferrari] are not going to disappear from F1, but I cannot be 100 per cent sure.  I will still have a contract with them and they are racing in many different categories, so I think they will find something for me.

If Ferrari is not in F1 nor any other big team like BMW or McLaren, it is not good for F1.  They are the teams that make F1 and if you change the teams for other teams, new teams that come from GP2 or somewhere else, then it is not the same any more.

Felipe Massa:

We have a lot of fights on the political side, and in many areas.  For sure that doesn’t help the sport, because many of these fights made many people a little bit upset.  All I hope for is more sport and less politics.  We are here for racing, and to fight each other on the track, not outside.

People can say whatever they want, but if you lose Ferrari, F1 won’t be the same.

Mark Webber:

At the end of the day I’m very passionate about the sport, and the more they do to destabilise it and make it more difficult for teams or people that try to enjoy it and stick up for it at the bar every week, it’s difficult to keep talking positive about it when we wash our clothes in public so often.

I hope the sport is in reasonable shape next year in terms of teams competing.  There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet and some serious egos involved, so we’ll see.

They [Ferrari] are F1.  The red car has to be on the Formula 1 grid.

Sebastian Vettel:

We drivers are all here because we love cars and we love racing, because motor sport and F1 is our life. Formula 1 is the best platform to race on and we want the sport to continue, but it’s always difficult when it comes to making new rules.

Robert Kubica is trying to stay detached:

It’s true that lately I think around Formula 1 there are a lot of things happening that are not involved in the sport.  So I’m not directly involved in it as a driver, so I don’t really have the information to judge it.  I’m a racing driver, all I’m trying to do is to make our car faster and to prepare for each race.  What is going on, I cannot judge.

As you might expect, it’s hard to curb Jenson Button’s enthusiasm for Formula One these days.  He thinks the racing will make up for the politics:

I think the racing is a good message for the fans.  When the fans turn on the TV on Saturdays and Sundays, I think they get a great show.

What do you think?  Is there too much politics in Formula One?  Can Formula One survive without Ferrari?

Image: Ferrari

Categories: News Tags: ,

Ferrari 250 TR sells for $12 million

May 19th, 2009 No comments

1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa

As predicted, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has broken the record for the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction at the Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event in Maranello.

One of only 34 ever built, it went for $12,156,252 (€9,020,000).  That’s more than $2m more than the previous record set at the same sale last year.

With a Scaglietti designed body and striking black and red paintwork, chassis number 0714 was the fourth Ferrari 250 Testarossa built and was raced in the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix where Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Cuban rebels.

The unique pontoon shaped fender design was said to be one of Scaglietti’s favourites, as the designer explains:

Formula 1 was the inspiration for the shape, there were pods on the sides of the F1 cars, (Ferrari Lancia D50) and while I wouldn’t call them aerodynamic, they went well. We used a similar idea by designing the body to bring air in towards the brakes to cool them. In many ways the Ferrari 250 Testarossa was a Formula 1 car with fenders.

I once saw a yellow one of these in San Francisco at the California Mille.  It is quite possibly the world’s most beautiful car.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,