Pre-Istanbul analysis - weather to favour Ferrari? 06 May 2011
The weather may throw Ferrari a lifeline this weekend if, as some forecasts suggest, there is rain all through. Felipe Massa, the most successful man around the Istanbul track with three victories, each from pole position, certainly hopes so after team mate Fernando Alonso said that the teams update for the weekend was nothing major.
It depends on the rain. It can be good, it can be bad. It is always a little bit of a lottery. We will have to see how its going to be this weekend. But its true I had great races here, winning three times in a row and starting from pole position all three times was a great feeling. I hope we can carry on in the same direction. The last two years were not great, but anyway its a circuit I enjoy. I like to drive here. I had great times here and I hope everything is going in a similar direction.
We have been working so hard, especially during this break, which was slightly longer than normal, to understand everything and I hope we understand things a little bit more compared to the last race and compared to the first and second races. I hope we have an interesting step that we can feel in the car, especially in qualifying as qualifying we were struggling so much in the first races.
Both Massa and Alonso believe the 150°Italia is quite strong in race trim, but that their inability to get it further up the grid hampers them too much.
In the race we always get a good pace compared to the qualifying, the Brazilian continued, and I hope we get better in the qualifying and we keep good pace in the race so we can fight with Red Bull which was very strong. Well see. Everybody is working very hard to improve the car. It is always difficult to say how the new parts will be, but I hope we understand so many important things that make the car stronger and we will see here, especially with this weather, as we dont know how it is going to be as well.
Massas old Turkish sparring partner Lewis Hamilton said that he believes both Mercedes and Renault, as well as Red Bull and Ferrari, could be strong here depending on the efficiency of their upgrades. The other guys seem to be closing the gap gradually. Look at Mercedes, they were very competitive in the last race. You see Ferrari, they are always there or thereabouts and it doesnt seem like it is going to take too much for them to make the quick switch and be right up there with us and also the Renaults are doing fantastic and Petrov is driving fantastically well. I think it is going to be quite close at some point. I just hope that we are able to continue to move forward as I am sure the Red Bulls will do that too.
Regarding the weather, he added: I dont think I have been here when it is wet. I didnt even know it rained here. This is the first time I have seen it rain, so it is going to be interesting. Turn Eight is going to be an interesting one if it is wet, but fingers crossed it will dry out.
The big factor if its wet, of course, is the durability of Pirellis wet tyres, which is generally an unknown factor despite some rain during pre-season testing.
Nobody from us knows how the (wet) tyres will be working here, Petrov said. I think we did just a few laps in the Barcelona test so to be honest I dont know really what to say. We need just to wait until free practice and we will see how it is.
We need to run, to have a clear idea, Massa said. I did some laps in the rain in the winter and also when we did a filming day it was raining a lot in Fiorano as well. We ran and it was almost snowing. The grip was very low but it is better to wait to see how it is going to be here in normal conditions and we will see how these tyres work. But it is not very clear to everybody. Everybody needs to learn how it is.
Massa, the man who once joked after his third win here that he felt almost Turkish, admitted that he will miss Istanbul Park if this proves to be the final race here.
It is a very special place for me. I won three times, especially the first time it was a big fight with Fernando and Michael (Schumacher) in 2006. In 2007, it was a little bit more free the race and in 2008 I had a big fight with Lewis. Its true that its a track you always like to come to. You always have a good result, a good feeling and we will miss it if we are not coming here next year. I would miss it definitely as it is a place that you have some better results than you expected. Its a good place, but well see how its going to be.
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