Pre-Turkey analysis - Ferrari's big weekend 28 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 Scuderias 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, were 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 its 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 were also mindful of the fact that Ferrari - and also if Mercedes have a clean weekend - theres lots of guys that can come towards us, so were definitely not taking anything for granted. We know were working incredibly hard to get the results we have and its 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.