Ferrari – a team that’s bigger than Formula One itself… or so they’d have you believe. The team has been around since ever and is largely loved by everyone for their relentless passion, style and heritage. It would be impossible to sum up their history in a single preview, so instead here’s a list of driver names: Wolfgang von Trips, Alberto Ascari, Phil Hill, Mike Hawthorn, John Surtees, Jacky Ickx, Ernesto Brambilla, Niki Lauda, Gilles Villeneuve, Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Carlos Reutemann… as well as Barrichello, Irvine, Schumacher, Raikkonen – these are all names that are synonymous with the sport of Grand Prix and they are also all Ferrari drivers, by all all means not all of them, but as you can see their history books are packed with the names of F1’s elite.
This year they have Felipe Massa, back from injury and hungry to make up for losing the championship in 2008 and he’s alongside Fernando Alonso – the man often referred to as the most complete F1 driver on the current grid. He’s also the only driver on the 2010 grid to have beaten Michael Schumacher in the world championship in the past. We can only expect 2010 to be a far cry from the embarrassing 2009 performance slump.
Throughout the pre-season testing they have been quite arrogant, agreeing that they are the fastest and the general consensus is that the red car is the car to beat. That said, Ferrari are never the sort of team to play things down – they where their heart on their sleeve, if they are not happy we all know about it and likewise when things are going well. Therefore the recent self-promotion can’t be taken too seriously, but at the same time don’t expect a repeat of the 2009 Bahrain performance in a weeks time.
Felipe will want the title this year – he proved many wrong in 2008 with him looking to have made it to number 1 until the very last corner of the last lap in Brazil where Hamilton crucially took Glock’s 6th place and Massa’s chances of the championship crown. He didn’t stand a chance to make amends in 2009 with the Ferrari being rightly described as a prancing pony rather than a horse and then of course he was lucky to escape his high-speed crash in Hungary. Crucially after all these years in Ferrari he has good team around him and a very good (and public) relationship with Rob Smedley, because in 2010 he’s going to need every bit of help he can get to stamp any authority on Fernando Alonso.
Minimum target: regular podiums and a couple of wins
Ambitious target: drivers and constructors world championship
Adam Milleneuve’s prediction: multiple wins, Fernando to shine, but titles to be far from a walk in the park
image credit : Alex Comerford