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Ferrari wheelbase no disadvantage, says Brawn 24 May 2007

Ferrari F2007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 Ferrari F2007 detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Thursday preview - both McLaren and Ferrari in upbeat mood

Ross Brawn, Ferrari’s former technical director who is now on a fishing sabbatical that is thus far taken him to such faraway spots as Mexico and Russia, says he would be ‘amazed’ if the F2007’s longer wheelbase acts as any kind of disadvantage round the streets of Monaco.

“I know why they went the longer wheelbase route and it was to do with getting the right weight distribution first and then being able to have the longer wheelbase to generate some aerodynamic advantages,” Brawn, who is not in Monte Carlo, said yesterday. “And at Monaco any aerodynamic advantage is still going to be beneficial. I would be amazed if it proves detrimental.”

That should be good news to Kimi Raikkonen, one of the men expected to make the running for the world championship, who has yet to show his full hand through a variety a problems that have struck him since his win in the opener in Melbourne.

“I don’t know if it’s exactly the tyres but for sure I’m not as happy with the car as I could be, but I think it’s getting there,” the Finn said. “It seems to take a bit of time but we’ve sorted out a lot of things and I think we’ve found something in the end, so hopefully it will start to go where we want.

“It’s not really a lack of confidence, but if the car doesn’t work as you like it to, it’s hard to go as fast as you want. I think we just need to get everything together now and start getting better results.”

Raikkonen, like his team mate Felipe Massa and McLaren’s world champion Fernando Alonso, is one of the men who could stand between Lewis Hamilton and his avowed intent to keep up his 100 percent record in the Principality by scoring his first Grand Prix win.

“Over the week, we were looking at previous races and the different strategies you can run here and I think possibly because of the rules and regulations it does tend to make it a little bit more of a lottery than other circuits but still you need to be quick,” Hamilton said. “It’s not necessarily always the fastest driver that wins here. It’s just all about having everything in the right place, so that’s what we need to work for.

“The McLaren is a slightly different car [than the Formula Three and GP2 cars in which he has won here previously], a bit of a different beast, but I think it will definitely help. Experience of a circuit is always a positive for a driver and especially on a circuit like this where there is no room for error and it’s all about knowing your braking zones, knowing where the bumps are, so I’m sure it will help.

Raikkonen said that he isn’t sure whether the McLaren will have the advantage here, after promising tests on a modified ‘street’ track at Paul Ricard last week. “I didn’t do the test there for Monaco, I did the test for Montreal. So I don’t have a good idea how good it will be. But I know that we still seem to be going good and I only know what I know from the past that we always used to go well with McLaren, so probably they will be strong, but I don’t think that we should be any weaker than at any other races.”

Hamilton, however, who is clearly feeling very confident, countered: “I think the chance I have here is as good as ever. We come here having improved the car over the last few test days. We are getting stronger and stronger throughout the season and I think that we are going to be strong here this weekend, but without a doubt, the BMW will be there and so will Ferrari. Yes, the test went well, but we just have to see. It is still a new experience for me, to drive a Formula One car around here is a lot different to a GP2 car or an F3 car. So we have to wait and see how it goes.”

David Tremayne