Kimi Raikkonen shows Ferrari speed at Bahrain

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain, 2008 | Ferrari S.p.A.Shortly before the start of the 2004 season, Michael Schumacher and Ferrari tested the new Bridgestone tyres at Imola and suddenly found they were whole seconds quicker than the opposition.

Kimi Raikkonen’s highly competitive lap times at Bahrain today may have reminded Ferrari’s rivals of that moment. But with only Toyota testing alongside them it’s hard to judge how quick they are.

But let’s try anyway…

Let’s take a look at the quickest times from the two tests at 2008 Grand Prix venues so far:

Circuit de Catalunya

2007 race fastest lap: 1’22.680 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2007 Q3 fastest lap: 1’21.421 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2007 Q2 fastest lap: 1’20.597 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari

Fastest lap in 2008 testing so far: 1’21.679 – Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 2/2/08

Bahrain International Circuit

2007 race fastest lap: 1’34.067 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2007 Q3 fastest lap: 1’32.652 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2007 Q2 fastest lap: 1’31.359 – Felipe Massa, Ferrari

Fastest lap in 2008 testing so far: 1’30.595 – Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 5/2/08

On the face of it, Kimi Raikkonen’s lap time today seems to indicate that Ferrari have a substantial performance advantage. Behind Vettel in the 2007 hybrid Toro Rosso the fastest ’08 specification car was Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren with a 1’22.135 – more good news for the Scuderia.

Of course these times don’t show us the whole picture. For example, the Bahrain Grand Prix was one month earlier than the Spanish race last year, so the drivers at the Catalunya test were aiming at a more recent and therefore quicker benchmark.

Ferrari’s extended advantage over Toyota, the only other team testing at Bahrain, suggests the Italian team have found a step forward in performance since their previous test at Valencia:

Valencia, 24/1/08

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’11.189
Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’12.109 (+0.920s)

Bahrain International Circuit, 5/2/08

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’30.595
Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’32.889 (+2.314s)

Again, it’s worth pointing out that Toyota were focused on component testing rather than laptime-chasing today, but a deficit of almost two and a half seconds is not to be taken lightly.

And there are always variations in weather and the state of the tracks that make these kinds of comparisons difficult.

But the early signs are Ferrari have picked up from where they left off at the end of 2007, with a car that is markedly quicker than the oppositions. It’s still too soon to say that 2008 will be a one (prancing) horse race, but unless McLaren

More 2008 F1 testing reports

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen shows Ferrari speed at Bahrain”

  1. And here I thought it was going to be a really competitive season…

  2. I pre-season testing last year, the Ferraris seemed to have a considerable advantage; this was confirmed in Melbourne but, thereafter, McLaren caught up (perhaps because of the movable floor thing but who knows?) and the rest of the season was a seesaw between them. I still think we are in for a competitive season with more than just two teams slogging it out.

  3. “perhaps because of the movable floor thing but who knows?”

    or the windtunnel lunching itself.

  4. Hi!!! What a blog! I love it! I think Ferrari will be stronger than 2007. Maybe Kimi will do it easily!

    From Spain, best whises from my blog, mates!!

  5. If that last post wasn’t advertising I don’t know what was…

  6. Interesting. I guess the loss of engine braking and TC hasn’t really affected the lap times at all. I thought maybe it would.

  7. Another way of looking at this is that Raikkonen has adapted to the loss of TC much better than the competition…

  8. It seems that not only Kimi enjoys the loss of TC but he is also faster…

  9. To get an impression of that I think it would be more useful to look at when all the drivers were testing together at Jerez and Valencia. And even then I’m not sure individual lap times would tell us very much.

    With traction control banned (and electronically managed engine braking lost as a consequence) the difficulty for the drivers will be not just nailing a single quick lap, but doing it consistently, and not destroying the tyres while they do it. Single lap times won’t show this, we need data on stints, and that’s hard to come by until they start doing Grands Prix.

  10. Mark Hughes seemed to think Kimi had adapted much better than Massa.

    Comparing team mates is quite an indicator I suppose.

  11. You’re all gonna’ laugh at me, grin … but, speaking to the ECU issues …

    Honestly — I think Raikkonen has what it takes to race better than the majority in the F1 field without traction control. If you take a look at what/how he races when not inside an F1-ride, you might see where I’m coming from — it’s an “it” thing. (Take snowmobiles for example, grin … for the love of it alone.)

    In every form of racing (and life), there is an “it” factor. Since I’m also a NASCAR and an Off-Road and a Le Mans, etc. fan — it’s been wonderful for me to fall in love with all of these series, because the best drivers of any series … are the ones who can race multi-series. Not for “form” or for “fame” … but because they’re RACERS. It’s what they DO.

    I honestly believe that KR is a RACER of the first order, and as lovely as Ferrari sets him up … I believe that he would be able to adapt to the lack of traction control, etc. at any other team, taking that program further than electronics might be able to “assist” other drivers, simply because he has that “it”.

    I’d make more comparisons, but, grin … I’m afraid that if I show my NASCAR colors here, I’ll be booed right outa’ the discussion, lol … (Just kidding.)

    There was a statement attributed to NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt (Sr., please, grin) — “They can’t put it in you, and they can’t take it out.”)

    That’s what I mean when I talk about “it”.

  12. as was said above already, Ferrari did have big advantage last year too, until after Melbourne. Movable floor ban and the windtunnel damage set them back for a while…

    but … the big difference between 2007 and 2008 is Kimi. Last year it took him a while to get comfortable in the new car. He seems to be very well settled down in that red beast now …

    Toyota though seems to have set Honda as their benchmark :-)

  13. 1st things 1st, Toyotya r useless, always have been and always will be!
    on a budget/results ratio they r the worst performed team atm bar none!
    i think it’s obvious that Ferrari are going to be quick this year! i read on another page that kimi’s time was during a qualifying simulation and was around 1.7 sec faster than the other ferrari driven by badoer! who was doing development work
    we shall learn more by massa’s time tomorrow
    if they both do a similar time then they r going to b very hard to beat!
    we shall find out more tho at the next group test next week!

  14. The main speed advantage of the Ferrari comes from the tighter packaging of the car, and its components. Toyota are only just learning about that. I very much doubt, Kimi can be even that fast if he was driving the older car.

  15. Mark Hughes on Mark Webber and Felipe Massa after watching the Jerez test:

    Watching how great a job [Webber] was doing in an unsorted car and seeing Massa struggle in the Ferrari, it was difficult not to ponder how they might each get on if they swapped cockpits. I read an opinion somewhere recently to the effect that ‘Webber would be as good as Massa, given the car’. On the evidence of Jerez, I’d say Mark’s in a different league now that the toys have been turned off. Felipe has a lot of adapting to do before Melbourne.

  16. Do you have a link for the Hughes article?

  17. Yes, ordinarily I do post links but I think you need to a subscription to read this:

  18. AmericanTifosi
    6th February 2008, 13:22

    It’s too early to start making predictions, but even if McLaren isn’t doing as well, Williams, Renault, and BWM are on the rise. That should be interesting.

  19. Are the Ferrari’s stripped of all ballast, just to play mind games with the competition? Mislead them into thinking they need more radical steps just to catch up and possibly commit design mistakes? it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Testing times are always misleading, sometimes intentionally.

  20. Mind games by Ferrari which would just motivate the other teams more? I really don’t think so. Testing time is so limited already that nobody will have the resources to start stripping ballast in order to try and fool anyone. Nope, that will never happen, each team is just going through their program, the only people who have the opportunity to send messages are the drivers. Kimi doesn’t really get involved in all those things as you can see from his time at McLaren where he was many times slower than his teammate during testing only to come out and beat him in the real races. If anything the fast teams would try and not show their real speed (which they rarely do in testing anyway), so that the competitors don’t get too worried. George, the new Ferrari is bloody quick, how much faster than the competition we will all see when the season begins. I think it will be quite significant…

  21. History is going to repeat itself.We are about to see another 2004 Ferrari season.
    Reply to Keith Collantine comment:
    Even though we cannot come to a conclusion with these testing results but we cannot undermine the pace of ferraris.If the gap between Ferrari(in short KIMI)and others is around 4 tenths or so,we can say its close to call.But its not the case,they (other teams) are 8 tenths to 1 sec slower than Ferrari.

  22. Yeah, Michael K, I tend to agree with you, and Ferrari have announced a huge Aero update coming. As a fan of McLaren I suppose I’m following the practices of Ron Dennis and just deluding myself!

    Let’s hope some team has something for Ferrari to keep it interesting. And who knows, maybe Kimi will be the fastest thing on four wheels without TC the sports ever seen. Even I wouldn’t mind that.

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