Double disaster for Ferrari

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It was a tough day at the office for Felipe Massa

Ferrari got their 2009 season off to a terrible start in Melbourne.

Felipe Massa retired late in the race and Kimi Raikkonen lost a points finish after spinning into the barriers.

The race began brightly for the team as Massa shot through from sixth on the grid to third. Raikkonen also started strongly, running fifth.

The Ferraris opted to run on the super-soft tyres from the start of the race, and when they hit their graining phase after a few laps they found their rivals coming back at them.

A mid-race safety car period allowed them to regain lost ground on the leaders but also compromised their strategy. Massa dropped out of the points after his second pit stop and struggled to make progress. He may already have been suffering with the mechanical problem that put him out of the race 13 laps before the finish.

Raikkonen’s race was ruined by a crash on lap 43. He managed to keep going after an extra pit stop but pulled up three laps short of the chequered flag.

Ferrari made a similarly poor start last year, and ended up winning the constructors’ championship, so you’d be a fool to write them off yet. But it seems the errors that blighted their 2008 campaign haven’t been banished.

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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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52 comments on “Double disaster for Ferrari”

  1. Pedro Andrade
    29th March 2009, 9:04

    Did Raikkonen pit for the third time and then crash, or the other way around? To me it seemed like the latter.

    1. I thought the latter too. They showed Raikkonen pitting, then after a replay of him hitting the wall. I presumed the pit stop was because of the crash not before it but it wasn’t picked up on the commentary.

    2. I’m sure I counted three pit stops before his crash – on the live blog I was asking why he’d made a third stop when I saw him in the wall.

    3. OK I’ve just checked the timing data and my original notes and you’re definitely right about Raikkonen – he crashed and then had his third pit stop. I’ve updated the article above.

      You can get the timing sheets on the F1 Fanatic

  2. Disappointing to see that Channel 10 here in Australia decided to take an ad break while Raikkonen crashes.

    1. star sports in asia missed it too.

    2. Same with SPEED here in the U.S.

    3. the BBC didnt…..

  3. Ferrari were off-pace today.

    Except for exceptional starts thanks to KERS, there was nothing worthwhile.

    To me, Ferrari still seem a bit rusty in their preparations. They still don’t know the optimum running window of the slicks when KERS is disturbing the balance of the car.

    Good job by both the drivers in handling a tough car. The lack of testing is going to hurt them.

    1. I think the starts were more down to the super soft tyres than KERS.

  4. kimi just a rubbish. how he can lost control of his car???did the tire didn’t warm up to the temp??? sorry for massa…f60 has a bad omen in aussie.

    1. Raikkonen had a differential failure.
      That was the reason for his spin!

    2. Attaim – that’s not how he tells it:

      When I ended up in the wall it was my mistake.

  5. The Ferraris had reasonably good pace. They probably gambled on having an early safety car which could have helped to extend the lifespan of the option tyres, but it didn’t pay off. I don’t see Kimi’s accident any different from Nakajima’s, however Kimi is the driver with vastly more experience.

  6. they got some strategies wrong, nd some luck !

  7. the cars are rusty, no one will know the true reason behind the 3rd pit.
    if they didnt test the cars enought in the break before the season what shall we say about the Brown team!!!
    i noticed of the last 2 seasons that the ferrari drivers tend to collapes the cars if they not winning speciall kimi.
    they will not ever never recover

  8. Not sure why Kimi crashed (talk of drivetrain failure, see above), but if he’s gonna be retiring this season, I imagine he’s going to drive flat out and have fun in his shiny red car. He won’t be the one to play a percentage game.

  9. Incidentally, Ferrari are last in the WCC standings.

  10. Yeah, so much for Ferrari huh. After all the build up how did they do worse than even McLaren?

  11. yeah bad start for ferrari but it seems that’s the standard for ferrari, maybe they’ll pick up their game in the next few races.

  12. How good is Alonso’s Italian?

  13. hes fluent i think

    1. So’s Kubica…

  14. After winning the WDC Kimi went dumb,i think.He is ruining his reputation as mistake free driver.Anyway,let see whether he is truly motivated this season and show us the devastating speed he showed in his Mclaren days.

  15. Eduardo Colombi
    29th March 2009, 14:34

    Maybe kimi’s pace was detrimented by a early crash when Rubens crashed into his right rear wheel in the biggining of the race. Both Ferraris were doing a good race until the supersofts hitted the graining phase like Keith said in the article. After that, it was all going down for Ferrari.

    Hope they improve for malaysia’s race.

    1. I guess that’s a good test, Ferrari used to do well at Malaysia. I hope they’re a competitive package by then as well.

  16. I think Ferrari got it right with the tyres.
    Look at Kubica in the end, when he could run the harder tyres in the last stint!

  17. Eduardo Colombi
    29th March 2009, 14:59

    Really think that way too SoLiD.

  18. Thing is, Kimi won his WDC by the skin of his teeth and also the failure of others to capitalise on what they had at the time.
    Other than that he has been very similar to his McLaren years. Wickedly fast when he was/is on it but somehow plagued by more reliability issues and/or incidents than appears ‘normal’.
    I really like Kimi as a character but remain unconvinced by his overal quality as an F1 driver.

  19. Ferrari are just too good a team to be written off just yet, but they, like McLaren, have issues they need to address and quickly. The truth is, they just were not fast enough to challenge Brawn Gp for the spoils, and that will rankle them. Seeing McLaren struggling is no consulation if their own cars are not up to pace.

  20. well, looking what brawn gp can do, ferrari should be extremely aware to get the constructor champion again..

  21. @pSynrg

    I agree. If there was one person the new (now scrapped) point system would have helped, it was RAI. Volatile pilots have an advantage in that system.

    Kimi never really delivered on the potential that others saw in him; but from his perspective, that would be the others’ problem, not his. He’s just having a good time going fast. For some reason I respect that attitude, there is something unsightly (if that’s the word) about seeing a overly hungry and dedicated driver (at least to me :)). For Kimi, the WDC was almost a side-effect of him simply enjoying racing.

  22. idk, I seem to remember Michael & Mika crashing a few times. Kimi is still the best driver on the grid by far. Kubica’s botched pass on Vettal was terrible, Heidfeld passes a lot better than him…Alonso, ***? he did nothing. Hamilton? collected points? Rubens? in two crashes, thank god for the fastest car mate and dnfs. Jenson? would have lost the race most likely if Kubica, once again didn’t botch the pass.

  23. DOH !!!!!!

  24. @ Nick, to add to your list:

    ….and Kimi made an unforced error and spun out.

    If all drivers had the same car, I think Kimi would set the fastest lap. But that’s about it. I’m not convinced he’s particularly world-class at racecraft, nursing the car, passing moves, defensive driving, or any of the other things that are required when, you know, there are other drivers on the track.

    1. of course, I was adding to everyones list that only had Kimi making mistakes….if you don’t think Kimi has racecraft then I’m not sure what you’ve been watching the past few years?!?

      also, some said Kimi won 2007 by the skin of his teeth?!? with his 6 wins over everyone else? how about Hamilton only winning by the skin of his teeth last year?

    2. I agree Nick, Lewis DID only just win by the skin of his teeth also. But it was only his second season in F1!
      2007 was Kimi’s 7th season!

      In this context, Lewis’s errors were simply those of a rookie learning his craft. What are Kimi’s reasons?

  25. It just shows Raikkonen is still inconsistent, and Massa, on the other hand, is getting better and better, and his retirement wasn’t his fault. He was skilful enough to hold Rosberg and Kubica just before his first pit stop. It’s a shame he didn’t finish.

  26. @ Nick: Sure, I was just pointing out that his error was unforced, unlike your examples which tended to happen on passing moves.

    He does have racecraft, but certainly not the best on the circuit. Of course, no driver has it all. He’s fast, no doubt.

    Good point about him racking up 6 wins over the others’ 4 each in 2007.

  27. Sorry, just wanted to add:

    If you want to gauge the difference in racecraft between RAI and the rest of the top runners (ALO, HAM, Montoya, Schum, etc.) just look at the number of instances you can find of RAI making a passing maneuver on YouTube. Then do a search with Montoya, Alonso, and Hamilton. The latter group have made significantly higher number of good moves.

    1. I don’t agree with that, Hamilton has made moves maybe when coming from the back…but Kimi did that quite a lot in 2005. I’ve never seen him make a decent pass for the lead like Kimi. Alonso, other than on Massa in the ring…can’t recall anythings special, Kimi made lots of passes in 2006 in the midfield so not sure what you’re talking about. Also, Kimi in singapore last year? made his way up to 5th while Massa stayed at the back….

  28. i’m just happy both ferraris DNFs..:O

  29. i think even with this let down today for ferrari i think that ferrari will get up to speed. it is good to see that the cars with out the large diffuser had desent race pace once the mods come in the will be quite close.

  30. Chris Dyer of Ferrari (Kimi’s engineer last year) said that the diff was probably the reason Kimi spun into the wall. Kimi accepted the blame, though he did say the back end suddenly let go without warning. Kimi seldom makes excuses and usually takes the blame for whatever goes wrong. He’s fast and does not whine like some others.

  31. Bad Day for Ferrari is a Good Day for me. I want the underdogs to win. Brilliant RACE..

  32. Bad day for Ferrari, but they are much closer to the pace than McLaren. That gives them a better base to build from, and I would expect to see them rebound sooner than the boys from Woking.

  33. @Fastlap: Do you have a source for that quote by Dyer? The diffuser is a static device and should not contribute to a sudden spin unless it was damaged in some way on the previous lap.

    @Nick: Most of Kimi’s good finishes after starting at the back of the grid have been due to fueling heavy and putting in very fast laps before pitting. Though I’m sure he has passed the likes of a Force India or two in his day. I’ll grant that he made a few good moves in 2005 in a much faster car compared to the rest of the field, but we haven’t really seen much of that since then, have we?

    Can you give me an instance of a good Kimi overtake in the last two years?

    1. Diff as in differential not diffuser. Which makes sense if that was the case.
      However this does not for me detract from the high percentage of ‘bad luck’ that Kimi seems to attract.

  34. Ah, yes, that makes more sense. The official DNF was supposed to be due to differential failure, but we don’t know if that was caused by the spin itself or the other way around. I saw the Chris Dyer quote in a few other sites too.

  35. How many saw Schumi looking on and absolutely wishing he had a drive….?

  36. I read from finnish newspapers and from other sites as well that ferrari is now thinkin that it was not Kimis fault that he did spin. There was something wrong in his car (differential problem)and that was reason for his spin. Thats why Kimi said that he drove to turn in same way than in other lap and back of car just left without warning.

    JJ Lehto (ex 1 driver) conformed that diffurial problem can easily cause spin like Kimis.

  37. Tough luck 4 kimi & massa but I believe Ferrari will fight back

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