Ferrari: 2008 Canadian GP preview 

Written by David on June 03rd, 2008 at 5:11 pmLast Update: March 17th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

FerrariIt is a cruel aspect of all sport that, after the event weekend, all that is left are the statistics and,in the case of the last round of the F1 World Championship in Monaco, those statistics show that Scuderia Ferrari finished on third with Felipe Massa and on ninth with Kimi Raikkonen. However, what those statistics can’t show is that the race started with an all-Ferrari front row and that during the race, especially with Felipe Massa at the wheel, the F2008 showed good pace and, in generally, the Team was far more competitive around the streets of the Principality than it had been in recent years. Despite that, the team did a less than perfect job and made a couple of errors in terms of strategy, which is all part of the game in Formula One.

Also on the positive side, the new methodology and approach the team applied to the race weekend as a whole paid dividends and this will be continued over the coming three days of running at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal, Canada. The result of last year’s Canadian Grand Prix was poor, chiefly because of problems in the qualifying session, even if the race pace was acceptable, although compromised by the inevitable Montreal Safety Car period.

Prior to the race in Monte Carlo, all the teams had one day’s testing on the “Canada-spec” layout at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, however the day was pretty much washed out by rain and so there are no real indicators of who has done the best preparation work for what is the first low downforce configuration circuit on the calendar.

So far this year, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has been competitive in all types of tracks and the team has enjoyed great success on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in the past, even if it has not won here for the past three years: there have been eleven wins here for the Maranello team and Kimi Raikkonen won with another team in 2005.

This race has always been one of the most popular on the calendar, particularly so for the Ferrari team, who can always count on extensive and very vocal support from the large Italian community in Montreal and we can be sure of at least one Ferrari victory this weekend, as the F430 car has its own one-make series, the North American Ferrari Challenge running as a support race to the main event!

The circuit itself is unusual, offering all the usual challenges of a high speed road circuit, but with little in the way of run-off at the side of the track on the cramped confines of the island. This also means facilities have not been the best, with cramped working conditions for the teams, although this year there have been modifications to the track itself, with the unforgiving kerbs smoothed out and team areas also improved. Logistically, there is a change this year as the usual additional workload of dealing with an overseas race is further complicated by the fact that everything has to be packed up and flown back to Europe for the French Grand Prix, which is now the next round, rather than going on to the traditional appointment in the USA.

As for the F2008, they are basically the same as used on the streets of Monaco, barring small modifications to suit the low downforce nature of the track. This will be the second race for both engines and gearboxes: engines did not get a very hard time a fortnight ago on the lowest mileage track of the year and the Monegasque rain also means the power plants did not get put under any undue strain, even if the street circuit is quite tough on transmissions.

Braking is an issue in Montreal, with tight corners following high speed straights and evaluating brake cooling and the effect on the brakes of running with heavy fuel loads will be a key area to watch during Friday’s free practice sessions. Two factors mean one can predict an exciting Sunday afternoon: the fact the track layout is conducive to overtaking and its location, in an exposed area near the ocean also makes for changeable weather with the chance of a sudden downpour at any time. Speaking of rain, current weather forecasts predict a good chance of rain on Sunday.

In terms of both Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, Ferrari still heads the Constructors’ classification, while four drivers are all very close at the top of the Drivers’ points table. The fact that Raikkonen has now slipped off the top position shows just how closely contested is this year’s fight and just how costly a “zero points” finish like the one in Monaco can be. Everyone in the team at the track and the Gestione Sportiva back in Maranello is keen to ensure Montreal reaps more points than Monaco.

source: FerrariĀ 

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