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Pre-Turkey analysis - Ferrari's big weekend 28 May 2010

Ferrari celebrating their 800th Grand Prix.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Thursday, 27 May 2010 Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 16 April 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Thursday, 27 May 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010

This is an important weekend for Ferrari, not just because of the tough fight for the world championship with Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes but because the Turkish race marks the Scuderia’s milestone 800th Grand Prix.

Ferrari are the only team to have competed in every season at the highest level of the sport and hold all the records: 15 drivers’ world championships; 16 constructors’, 211 victories; 223 second places; 198 thirds; 203 pole positions; and 220 fastest laps.

And on a circuit where, until 2009, Felipe Massa had never been beaten in one of the red cars, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali gave the Brazilian some pre-race encouragement by confirming that he is highly likely to stay with the team in 2011 after recent speculation that he could be replaced.

"Yes, I think so," he said when asked is Massa would stay on. When asked if he was sure of that, he added: "Yes."

Domenicali also insisted the team has been very happy with the performances of Alonso, despite a jump start in China and his accident in practice in Monaco.

"I don't want to speak about mistakes," Domenicali said. "We are a group and the team do the best with the car and the drivers do the best with the performance. I'm very pleased with him. He came into team in a fantastic way and I think that he gave input to the team and I say let's wait until the end of the season. He will be very strong - I have no doubt about that."

Mark Webber, the winner of the last two Grands Prix, confirmed yesterday that Red Bull will use their F-duct for the first time here, which could make the favourites even more formidable.

“Yes, we'll give it a go tomorrow, we’re going to give it a chance,” he said, before suggesting that it might be “very, very hard” to repeat the domination from Barcelona, another track where aerodynamic excellence counts for so much. “As we saw in Monaco, we know it’s a very, very different circuit completely but things tightened up there a lot, so venue to venue, things can move around and even within the race, we saw in Barcelona that things were a little bit different.

"Lewis (Hamilton) was our closest competitor in that Grand Prix, so you can argue that if we had a Turkish Grand Prix after Barcelona, you might say that McLaren might be the guys that might be our challengers here but we’re also mindful of the fact that Ferrari - and also if Mercedes have a clean weekend - there’s lots of guys that can come towards us, so we’re definitely not taking anything for granted. We know we’re working incredibly hard to get the results we have and it’s not easy to get them.”

Meanwhile, some sources are predicting that Pirelli could be announced today as the official tyre supplier for Formula One racing from 2011 onwards, once Bridgestone withdraw at the end of this season.

David Tremayne