Massa aims for fourth Istanbul win in improving F60 (Turkish GP preview)

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Felipe Massa could score his fourth consecutive Turkish Grand Prix victory

Ferrari were the closest team to Brawn at Monaco – but can they repeat their form at Turkey this weekend?

Felipe Massa has won the last three Turkish Grands Prix. If his F60 is on the pace he looks a strong bet to become the second driver to beat Jenson Button to victory this year.

Jenson Button is playing down his chances of winning the world championship. But the reality of the situation heading into round seven of the 2009 world championship is that anyone who reckons they can beat him to the title needs to start taking serious points off him:

1. Jenson Button 51
2. Rubens Barrichello 35 (-16)
3. Sebastian Vettel 23 (-28)
4. Mark Webber 19.5 (-31.5)
5. Jarno Trulli 14.5 (-36.5)

Full championship standings after Monaco

The Brawn-Mercedes BGP001 doesn’t have any serious flaws. It’s only significant performance deficit is in the wet, or when going wheel-to-wheel with a KERS-equipped rival.

This weekend its closest challengers are likely to be the Red Bull RB5 and Ferrari F60.

Red Bull’s car struggled for performance at Monte-Carlo: they couldn’t get the super-soft tyre to work, and it’s possible that their problems were aggravated by their efforts to get their new double diffuser working.

But the RB5 showed excellent pace at Catalunya which, like Istanbul, rewards aerodynamics efficiency. Expect them to be up with the Brawns this weekend.

Another team that impressed at Catalunya were Ferrari. Massa took fourth on the grid despite being at least three kilos heavier than all the cars in front of him.

If there’s any track where Massa can get the most out of the F60, it’s Istanbul – he’s won the last three races from pole position and led 151 of 174 laps.

Should Ferrari find themselves between the Brawns and Red Bulls, they could play a decisive role in the championship. At Spain, Massa kept Vettel behind almost all race, allowing Button to stretch his lead in the race and the championship.

But if Vettel gets away in the lead and Button finds himself bottled up behind a KERS-powered F60, it could be the result we need to inject some life into the championship battle.

Drivers to watch at Istanbul

Felipe Massa – Ferrari’s form is on an upward trajectory, KERS could be especially useful here, and Massa has always been strong at Istanbul. Could it add up to the Scuderia’s first win of 2009?

Rubens Barrichello – Can he do anything to stop his team mate riot once again?

Lewis Hamilton – Has had tyre woes at both the Turkish Grands Prix he’s contested. He’ll be looking at those warm track temperatures and the soft Bridgestone tyre with concern.

Mark Webber – Has beaten Vettel in the last two races, can he keep it up?

Author information

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 “Massa aims for fourth Istanbul win in improving F60 (Turkish GP preview)”

  1. I believe Massa will b on d podium,& Brawn Winning in with another Red Bull

  2. Barrichello, Raikkonen, and Webber on the podium is my prediction.

  3. I predict Webber to again finish ahead of Vettel even though, without a doubt, the team will favour Vettel when it comes to strategy.

    (Come on Red Bull, give Webber a chance!!!!!!)

  4. As Monaco is a poor circuit to judge performance by, the Turkish Tilke should give a more relevant indicator of the performance gains by Ferrari, and the other teams, I would expect Red Bull to have taken a large step forward as Neweys re-deveopement of the rear of the car is given the opportunity to work.

  5. Agree with WasiF1. Massa will be on the podium but not the top step. The brawns are too competative and easy on their tyres to not be favourites!

  6. In Q2 in Monaco Ferrari were 0.2sec off the Brawns. Considering they are bringing an update to their DD diffuser i can see Massa or Kimi on the top step

    1. i agree, they’re also bringing a new floor which even raikkonen seems really pleased about

  7. Drivers besides Lewis might have trouble with the soft tire also. Since the spec Bridgestones came in 2007, we’ve never seen a driver have more trouble with a tire/track combo than Lewis on mediums at Istanbul. It wasn’t just graining, but a full blowout.

    This year, on the softs, Lewis could have real trouble. Other drivers (Rubens, Massa) are known to be hard on tires too, as are some cars (I think Ed Gorman mentioned the Williams as being hard on tires). We might see serious tire problems on other cars during the race, and there could be a surprise during qualifying if someone can manage the soft tire better (like Anthony Davidson did in 2007 by doing a very slow out-lap and almost getting the Super Aguri into Q3).

  8. Bigbadderboom
    1st June 2009, 8:59

    I think we will see the performance gap start to close this weekend, and we will see a real battle for the front row in qualifying. Hopefully the podium will have 3 manufacturers on, I don’t think Massa will win but he will be up there, probably Vettel for the win.

  9. Barrichello ,Button and Kimi to podium………….

  10. If the Red Bulls can sort out their diffuser, then I think they will be more of a threat to the Brawns than Ferrari, but thats not to say Massa and Kimi won’t be fighting at the front.
    I also think that the McLarens and the Renaults might stand a better chance on a faster track, and they might be as much a challenge to the Ferraris as the Ferraris are to the Brawns……

  11. Massa has always been strong but taking F60 into consideration, i’d say Kimi Raikkonen to be a driver to watch,the car suits him and even in quali in catalunya, kimi edged massa until that mistake…this is sure that kimi was always in form…..i dont believe that he wasn’t determined before…the car suits him more than massa….but massa being really strong over here and kimi loving his car i’d say it will be a tough call

    my prediction for the 1st ferrari
    Kimi Raikkonen

  12. As already mentioned, due to the tyre wear issues at this circuit I can’t see it being anything but another Jenson win. Rubens will again be mixing it with the competition which this race will comprise the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

    I can see Massa making the podium but either Vettel or Webber will beat him to the second step… Barrichello will be there somewhere, but I have this suspicion that Rubens has a disaster race looming.

  13. i’d love not to see another jenson’s victory. one word : BOOOOORRIING

    1. You may prefer this site then:

      I think you’ll find a series that gives you all of the artificial racing you can handle with plenty of different “winners”.

      To say that Jenson winning again would be boring is a bit premature, for F1Fanatics the quality of the racing is more important than the result.

      I wouldn’t care if Jenson won every race for the rest of the season as long as the races were interesting and I’m not a Brawn or Button fan.

      If Jenson made a mistake in qualifying and had to fight his way from the back of the grid to be able to win would it still be boring for you ?

      If all you care about is who wins then you may as well not watch the race and just check out the result in Monday’s newspapers.

      1. hey relax beneboy.. take it easy.

        i just don’t want this season gets similar to 2004 season when Schumacher dominated all rounds thus made us even no need to check out monday’s newspapers right?

        i didn’t mean plenty winners, just DIFFERENT winners. that’s all.

  14. Yawn GP will still be first and second but I think Massa could get 3rd ahead of the Red Bulls

  15. While I think it is only a matter of time before Ferrari get a win this season, I think the Turkish GP will probably be too early for them if it is an incident free race.

  16. I’m hoping we see a Toyota on the podium. The only real reason for my hope is that I want the company to have some results for all their investments. I don’t want another manufacturer to leave the sport.

    But if Fuji really is on the way out it doesn’t look good.

  17. Well, I would prefer Massa, Kimi and vettel occupying the podium. Button has already won 5 out of six, and law of average goes against him!
    Massa gets my first preference as he has completed all 174 laps in last 3 years in 4:22:22.694, at an average speed of 212.48KPH, which gives average lap time of 1:30.475. That is some sort of consistency!
    And you cannot write of Kimi as he was not far behind Massa in last two years, 2.2 in 2007 and 4.8 in 2008. Also FLs against his name both in 2007 and 2008(And in 2008 he had done it in lap 20, not in closing stages!)

    And it is the kind of track that suits Ferrari most.

  18. Prisoner Monkeys
    1st June 2009, 14:37

    Massa for the win?

    Doubt it.

    The F60’s aero package might be a swing in the right direction, but Istanbul is radically different to Catalunya and Monaco, and those are the only circuits that Ferrari has any solid data on the performance of the aero package. I know they have computer models and simulations,but nothing beats on-the-ground feedback.

    1. There are aero updates (floor, diffuser & others) so, hopefully, the Ferraris will maintain its’ progress. Other than Brawn they have their eye on RBR.
      Hopefully the tyre compounds will be OK, the softer probably being the prime.

  19. Lewis Hamilton – Has had tyre woes at both the Turkish Grands Prix he’s contested. He’ll be looking at those warm track temperatures and the soft Bridgestone tyre with concern.

    Poor Lewis…

    Sometime ago he could be the drive “to watch” because of some his skills — skills that Istanbul Park suits very well. [GP2/2006 at Istanbul]

    Thank God he had no tires problems on that race.

  20. Well I am not a fan of Ferrari, but simply I got bored seeing Brawns sweeping all the races! ;)
    And among the others, Ferrari should be the best bet to give Brawn a run for their money!

  21. 1_massa

  22. Fingers crossed the teams who have had bad luck of late will be able to turn that around…

  23. Bigbadderboom
    1st June 2009, 15:25

    The championship needs RB and Ferrari to get their act together, if it’s another Brawn lock-out this weekend the sport is going to suffer, I think they deserve the DC and the CC, but I would like them to be made to work a bit harder.

  24. I don’t even bother to watch Lewis in this season. Adding him in watch list means whole grid in watch list because every driver has some reason to be watched.
    Kimi stronger in F60 so I will add him in the watch list and of course Vettel.

  25. Ben Goldberg
    1st June 2009, 17:58

    The only way the championship is close at the end of the season is if Brawn falls off to third fastest team starting this weekend or maybe next race. Otherwise, it won’t be close.

  26. I would love to see Massa or Webber win! Massa is the only driver since Shuey’s departure to win the same gp 3 times in a row and I hope he makes it 4. If not, I do hope Webber get’s his much deserved 1st win!

    1. I’m with you there, Adam. These are two pilots that deserve way more than they currently have…

      It’d be fantastic to see Webber’s first victory this season!

  27. Ferrari not there quite yet. Getting there though.
    Brawn will dominate.
    Red Bull….maybe. Ferrari will get in their way.
    Massa will outpace Kimi though.

  28. Whilst I’ll be hoping that the new improvements Ferrari will bring to Istanbul will bring them even closer to Brawn, I’m not overly confident that they’ll be fast enough to beat them. I still feel Brawn will have the edge over the competition and as others have said there might be a Red Bull or two in the mix.

    I predict a Brawn on the top step and a Ferrari on the podium.

  29. HounslowBusGarage
    1st June 2009, 21:30

    This is a medium downforce, high tyre-wear circuit, which will require good tyre management and expert strategy – as well as an outstanding car.
    I suspect – and hope – that Red Bull can provide two of these qualities (I’m still not sure they have good race strategy). Ferrari are going to try so hard, they might just trip over themselves in their eagerness.
    Maybe Toyota will bounce back, and maybe BMW will find the ‘On’ switch again. Otherwise, it’s the white cars again.

  30. Until the other teams learn to manage the tires as well as Brawn I don’t think we will see any more wins by other teams short of technical difficulties, or bad pit stops.(but,I hope I’m wrong)

  31. Ferrari (in the form of Felipe-baby) are coming on… plan on antipasto and Chianti for your race refreshments. No Red Bull or bitters.

    1. Rob did one better: “Who is the daddy of Brazil?” :)

  32. There is no way in hell Massa can win in Turkey. Kimi is in better form, the Brawn car is still superior overall, and the Red Bull will be very, very strong on this track as well. If RBR don’t mess up the strategy during Q and in the race, yet again, Sebastian V. will win it.

    1. I agree that Massa probably won’t win in Turkey this year, the Brawns are just too competitive to not be favourites.

      But to say that Kimi is in better form is ludicrous; even though the F60 is clearly more suited to Kimi’s style (last year was the opposite), Massa is still outpacing him consistently. The fact that he’s got one point less than Kimi is deceiving. He should have got two 3rd places already – in Melbourne and Barcelona, not to mention Shanghai quite possibly – and clocked the fastest lap in Monaco. Massa only finished behind Kimi because Jenson was brought in a couple of laps early precisely to halt his awesome pace (he was also threatening Rubens’ second place at that stage).

      1. really i agree with u.Senor Paz.but i have the confidence that massa will win this year too.may the brawns would stop him,but the redbulls and kimi cant stop him.understood Mr.f1 fan.

      2. I agree with Senor Paz. Massa is truly awesome. He will start from 20th on the grid and win the race while driving one handed, just to show people how it’s done.

        1. And with the free hand he could help you pick your nose.

  33. I hope Webber wins at Turkey.

  34. We need to wait till practice to see which team is better equipped to match brawn. Till now Ferrari and Red bull posed a threat to one of the Brawn’s beast (Only to Rubens,Button is untouchable at the moment). I think Kimi will have slight advantage over Massa. If Ferrari doesn’t make mistakes then they can challenge for 2nd. We cannot write off Red Bull though,they are the only team which posed serious threat to Brawn GP right from the start of season. It’s going to be a exciting race. May the Best team/driver win.

  35. The only guy to lose me more money in F1 pools than Kimi is Webber. lol

  36. Aquatic Mammal
    2nd June 2009, 14:29

    “Massa took fourth on the grid despite being at least three kilos heavier than all the cars in front of him.”

    Que? So he was slower than the lighter cars…

  37. Rayan & Senor Paz,

    you will on Sunday that I have it right. Kimi will finish ahead of Massa on merit. Monaco shows who the best drivers are, and Kimi, albeit essentially indifferent this year due to his pending exit from F1, walked all over Massa there.

    And when was the last time Massa won in Monaco ? The answer is never. The 4 best drivers of this decade, Michael, Fernando, Lewis and Kimi, have all won in Monaco.

    Massa has done very well in Turkey, there is no denying this, but right now he is not in great form. I think next to Vettel, Kimi has a real shot at winning this race, which, by the way, he won too in 2006.

    1. Kimi ‘walked all over Massa’ in Monaco?

      You kidding? That’s probably not what was going through Kimi’s head during the second stint, where he was losing an average of 0.2 seconds per lap with less fuel on board. The gap between them before Jenson slotted his Brawn in between them was just over 1 sec. Did you watch the same race I did, or you find it hard reading the times in F1?

      I know arguing with someone like you is probably a waste of space, but I can’t resist. I’ve said this already on this website after the race, but Monaco 2008 was the luckiest race I’ve seen in years, with Lewis clinching victory not despite of his early mistake, but precisely BECAUSE of it! You probably don’t remember, but Massa snatched pole that race. You know what that means in Monaco, don’t you? Had that been a dry race he would’ve had it in the bag.

      But that’s F1, and that’s why I love it.

    2. ‘You will see on Sunday that I have it right.’

      Sunday is gone. Eat your words.

  38. All interesting points, but here’s the definitive form guide for Turkey by F1 Badger: Who’s going to taste the Turkish Delight…

  39. Adam,

    all of what the Badger says are well known. As much as Ferrari has developed, they are still not the fastest car. On this circuit, the race will be between Brawn and RBR. Vettel should be really fast here, and RBR won’t make the same mistakes in Q, I mean w/ fuel loads for the race. I think Vettel nneds to get pole to win the race, and I think he will do both. If a Ferrari gets on the podium, that will be Kimi, not Massa.

  40. kimi is a strong contendor to win the turkish gp he has showed some signs of improvement in the monaco gp earlier gainig the first row, if his F60 delivers his pace then kimi is unstoppable.

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