Ferrari determined to maximise Raikkonen's chances 08 Oct 2007
Ferrari will be going all out for a one-two finish in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, in a bid to land Kimi Raikkonen his first Formula One drivers title. The team have already wrapped up the 2007 constructors crown after McLaren were stripped of their points earlier in the season.
Raikkonens victory in Sundays Chinese Grand Prix left him trailing championship leader Lewis Hamilton by seven points, and Fernando Alonso by three. It means the Finn will almost certainly have to win at Interlagos, with team mate Felipe Massa second, if he is to stop a McLaren rival taking the title.
"If we look at the next race, we don't have any other choice than to be aggressive, said Ferrari sporting director Stefano Domenicali. We need to achieve first and second and then that's it. That, for sure, will be our strategy."
With no testing between China and Brazil, there is limited scope for teams to improve their cars. However, all three title contenders will have new engines for the last round - which will have to last just one race as opposed to the normal two - and this is one area where Ferrari could take more risks than their competition.
"Well, this was already planned," said Ferrari's director of track operations, Luca Baldisseri, "and in the last test, we tried something in the engine and normally they have to do two races, whereas in this case we only have the engine for one race, so you can imagine that we are having the extra bit of power that is always a risk.
On the downside for Ferrari, Bridgestone will be bringing their soft and super-soft tyres to Brazil - compounds which the Italian team have not always been able to get the best from this season. Baldisseri believes it could make repeating Ferraris 2006 Interlagos win something of a challenge.
Last year we tuned the tyres, we had Bridgestones, so we basically decided the tyres to have, he said. This year it's different, because we have to stay on what Bridgestone bring and they have decided to bring the soft and super-soft. This, to be honest, is not our preferable choice because historically this year, we were struggling where we had that couple of compounds. And you know the tyres are quite important in a car's performance, and if you are not able to use them at the best of their performance, you can easily lose tenths."
The main issue has been extracting optimum performance from the super-soft over a single qualifying lap. However, after recent testing, Baldisseri said the team now has a handle on things. We've done some work at home after Budapest, I think we understood the problem," he added.
Even if Ferrari do achieve their desired one-two in Brazil, Raikkonen would need Hamilton to finish no higher than sixth if he is to become champion.