Formula 1 Insight

Friday Practice in Istanbul
The three-week break is over and it is back to business as usual for the teams in Istanbul. The first session of practice gave no big surprises, with the Ferraris in front and the McLarens just behind them. Kovalainen and Rosberg put on their usual performance of getting in amongst the top ten, and BMW did their normal Friday thing of appearing to be a little off the pace - they'll be back later!

Kimi Raikkonen

In a disrupted afternoon session, the order was shaken up a bit, Hamilton coming out on top with Raikkonen second, but the Toyotas getting in between these two and their team mates. That meant that the Kovalainen/Rosberg show was pushed down a couple of places but they can expect better in the race.

So it looks as though everything is going to plan, the Ferraris quick as expected and the McLarens close but not quite on the same pace. Although Hamilton was quickest in the second session, his time was not as good as Kimi's morning best and the Ferraris were almost certainly going to go faster had the session proceeded without red flags.

The Hondas still struggle, complaining of oversteer, understeer and everything in between, and the Super Aguri boys continue to embarrass them, Davidson getting as high as twelfth in the first session. Right at the back, the Spykers hang on grimly with their A-spec cars but have an unexpected glimmer of hope in that Yamamoto is getting much closer to Sutil's times.

And the Toro Rossos continue to keep the Spykers company. Vettel is finding out quickly what life is like in the team; the loss of much of his sessions through mechanical problems will be forgotten very quickly and the score sheet will show only that he was beaten by Liuzzi again. Scott Speed could have told him, of course, and I wonder if the team managers will ever remember that it was Scott who used to occasionally haul their dog of a car up amongst the big boys in practice.

While practice was running true to form, the rumor market picked up steam with a suggestion that Ferrari has access to inside information from the FIA. Two journalists alleged that Massa had told them the result of the stewards enquiry an hour before it was issued, apparently. In a season of the great espionage scandal, it is hardly surprising that guesses turned immediately to the existence of a mole in the FIA camp.

And Ross Brawn has been talking to Ferrari, surprise, surprise. Far from his return to the team being a done deal, we are now told that "the fact that talks have taken place is positive." No doubt they will continue to take place for some time yet...


Dan M
To think, we waited three weeks for this!
Date Added: 24/08/2007

I know, Dan - sometimes I think we're crazy too! Maybe the race itself will make it all worthwhile...
Date Added: 24/08/2007

What is it with Honda? I seem to recall they pulled out of racing a while ago because they could not compete and were not prepared to continue.. They re-entered on the premise that they could now go with the best... Oh well, another ideal that failed.
I have a model car from a few years ago ( I got into making the damn things from the kits that became available: What can I say, the nights were long and dark...), It sits on a shelf and gathers dust. Is this a portent of Honda in general or just my imagination going wild?

Date Added: 25/08/2007

Well, now they're saying that Barrichello was right all along - Honda's wind tunnel was wrongly calibrated and the car was designed to incorrect parameters therefore. Honda have won pretty consistently as engine designers but seem to stumble when trying to build the whole car. We could say that they should let an experienced racing team build the car for them but that is essentially what they did when they bought BAR a couple of seasons ago.

The general consensus seems to be that the company structure is wrong for F1 in the same way that Toyota's is - decisions are made at board room level, particularly in the choice of personnel, and F1 really requires that the guys who are doing the racing make the decisions.

But they seem determined to stay until they win this time so perhaps it will happen eventually. They strike me as more likely to bend to reality than are Toyota and so might get it right in the end. And hopefully your model car will not be a grim portent for the future, Fractal!

But don't knock model making - I used to do it myself... ;)
Date Added: 25/08/2007

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