Ferraris Weekend Of Revenge?
June 8, 2007 | 11:00 A.M. EST
That’s the question on the minds of Formula One fans throughout the world as teams and drivers prepare for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix at the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Starting with the opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has had its share of ups-and-downs this year, with the lowest point coming two weeks ago at the Monaco where Felipe Massa finished third – over a minute behind the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes duo of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton – while teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth, one lap adrift of the race winner.
With that effort alone, any positive energy from the three combined team victories in the first five races has been wiped out.
"We knew from the beginning that McLaren are very strong and (in Monaco) they were stronger, so it was no surprise to find that. Let's just say congratulations. We need to fight in the remaining races in the championship," said Team Principal Jean Todt following the Monaco race. "McLaren were quickest and basically there's nothing else to say."
But as Raikkonen commented earlier this week, "The disappointment from Monaco has been stored in my archives. Now my batteries are fully charged for Montreal."
Why the upbeat feeling? Because two of the strongest events for Ferrari are up next: The Canadian Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix.
Unlike shorter courses like Monaco, both the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course offer long straights combined with multiple hard braking zones, both strong areas for the Italian outfit.
Along with having a car that is suited for these style venues, Ferrari also comes into the event with several modifications to their F2007 machine including new front and rear wings along with other minor aerodynamic changes and tweaks to the brake system and cooling ducts.
"We believe we will have a strong package for this event," said Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Sporting Director Stefano Domenicali. "There is no reason why we should not be able to fight for the win in Montreal after a weekend in Monaco where our performance did not accurately reflect our potential."
It is for that reason that both drivers for the "Prancing Horse" are confident of a return to competitiveness this weekend.
"I have never driven a Ferrari in Montreal or at Indy; so I really can't know how it will work on these two tracks, but I know that traditionally the Scuderia is very strong here; that is a real encouragement," said Raikkonen, who despite winning at Australia is now 15 points adrift of the joint championship leaders Alonso and Hamilton. "I'm sure that we will not be a minute behind McLaren, as it was the case in Monaco.
"I am fourth, 15 points behind the leader: that's not an abyss and with some good results, accompanied maybe even by some misstep of the competitors, the situation will change. Just as Todt said, if I was behind like that two races before the end of the season, my chances would be almost nil; but with twelve races to go it is not a gap I can't bridge. True, the races in Barcelona and Monte Carlo did not go very well for me, but I think I can still fight for the title."
Will Ferrari be able to get back into the championship fight and earn their 12th victory in Montreal? Pay attention to the red rollercoaster this weekend for the answer.