2007 Review: Ferrari

November 6, 2007 at 5:47 am 1 comment

This is the second in F1-Pitlane’s multi-part season review of each constructor. After a look at the shenanigans over at McLaren yesterday we turn our attention to Ferrari, who cantered off with the constructor’s and driver’s championship

The twilight years of the Michael Schumacher era was barren for Ferrari as a resurgent Renault and a certain young Spaniard conquered all before them. After the departure of Ross Brawn, 2007 was expected to be another difficult year as the Scuderia regrouped around Kimi Rainkonnen and Felipe Massa.

The car

The omens were bright after the first race of the season in Australia where Raikonnen set a marker for the rest of the campaign convincingly outpacing the two McLarens. However, the advantage was to be short lived as McLaren hit pack in the next two grand prix.

The design philosophies between the two teams were vastly different. Ferrari opted to run a longer, heavier car ostensibly to generate better floor effect aerodynamics and generate more mechanical grip. This was evident at Melbourne as the team were accused of running a flexible floor. In their never ending wisdom the FIA put in place more stringent requirements on floor testing (effectively ruling Ferrari’s design illegal) but elected not to punish the Maranello outfit.

Where as the MP4-22 excelled in the slow turn, where the F2007 had more pace was in the high-speed corners, so circuits like Silverstone quickly became Ferrari tracks. One area where the team let themselves down in 2007 was the reliability stakes. At the turn of the century Ferrari were more than bullet-proof but the gremlins struck more than once in 2007. Coupled with a couple of basic strategic errors (failing to fuel Massa’s car properly in one quali session) and the impression was that was missing Brawn.

At the end of the season it was clear that McLaren and Ferrari were on a par with each other, which made for some phenomenal motor racing.

The organisation

With the departure of Ross Brawn there was always likely to be some afters organisationally. No-one would dare dream that it would involve the leaking of state secrets to arch-rivals McLaren by Nigel Stepney after he failed to secure a post-Brawn promotion.

Many feel that Ferrari were a little fortunate to escape punishment from the sordid saga as allegations were made that they were in possession of classified McLaren information. The FIA oddly choose not to investigate.

Another dynamic at work was the loosening of Jean Todt’s grip on the team. Rumours abounded the paddock most of the season that Ross Brawn would step into top-job at the season’s end. That Todt pulled two championships out of his hat may have saved his job but expect the grumblings to continue into 2008 if he stays in position.

The Drivers

Compared to McLaren, Ferrari’s lineup of Massa and Raikonnen were a paragon of absolute harmony. Raikonnen must take most of the credit. He struggled early on to adapt to what was essentially Schumacher’s car and was regularly outpaced by his team mate. Rather than grumble at his misfortune he decided to stick his head down and do his job (take note Fernando) and was duly rewarded with an astonishing championship and six race wins.

Felipe Massa was the perfect foil and also won his fare share of races. He knows he is batting slightly above his weight driving for the Scuderia although as the victories rolled in his confidence leapt. He was rewarded with a new contract at the end of the season but that was partly to ward off speculation that Alonso would join the team. Massa is managed by Jean Todt’s son, Nicolas, so nepotism was also reported to be at work.

The outlook

The future for the Scuderia is very bright. Raikonnen will enter 2008 as clear favorite for the title and if the McLaren design is hamstrung by the FIA for copyright infringement it could be one way traffic.

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Entry filed under: Ferrari, Teams.

2007 Review: McLaren 2007 Review: BMW

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Spyware Killer  |  November 8, 2007 at 1:03 am

    Nice review for ferrari, worth reading. I’d def. like to see the scuderia in real life.

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