A Big Weekend for Ferrari in Bahrain
Topics: Ferrari, Bahrain Grand Prix
April 28, 2009
Formula One wraps up its early season eastern swing this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix. To say that it is a big weekend for Ferrari in Bahrain is a minor understatement.
Ferrari has never started a season without scoring points in the first four races. Bahrain is the fourth race on the schedule this year. Guess what? Ferrari has nary a point. The team really hasn’t even come close. Between horrifically bad strategic decisions and a serious lack of reliability, the team appears to be a mere shadow of the Schumacher team.
Ferrari points to the double diffuser issue as a major reason for its struggles. This isn’t really true. First, only three teams have run the diffuser which creates additional down force in the rear of the car. Of those teams, only the four drivers at Toyota and Brawn GP have been a force. Points are awarded through the first eight positions, not the first four. Put more directly, Ferrari should have some points if the diffuser is the only issue.
The biggest concern for Ferrari has to be the pace of the car versus other teams not running the trick diffuser. The Red Bull team has been the class of this group. McLaren is starting to look racy again and you can bet Fernando Alonso is going to have Renault moving forward even if he has to drag Nelson Piquet around the track. Simply put, the diffuser issue is a smokescreen. Ferrari isn’t beating anyone.
Ferrari points to the Spanish Grand Prix as the real measure of the team. By then, the car will have the new diffuser and additional improvements. This will apparently make everything rosy and all will be right in the world. This sounds really nice, but Bahrain is the real measuring stick.
Why Bahrain? This is the unofficial track of Ferrari. The team tests here nearly every offseason. The testing has showed up in the results. Felipe Massa and Ferrari have dominated the proceedings the last two years. Frankly, it hasn’t been a close race. With such an advantage, this weekend will provide us with a clear indication of how competitive the team can be against the other non-diffuser teams.
What does Ferrari need in Bahrain? A win is unrealistic. The team instead needs to look like Ferrari. No strange strategies. No reliability problems. No uninspired drives by Kimi. The team needs a solid race and scoring a few points wouldn’t be too bad either.
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