2008 Monaco GP preview: Ferrari

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Monte-Carlo, 2001, 470150

Ferrari have won 13 championships in the last nine years but haven’t tasted victory at Monte-Carlo since 2001:

Year Best finish Driver
2002 2 Michael Schumacher
2003 3 Michael Schumacher
2004 3 Rubens Barrichello
2005 7 Michael Schumacher
2006 5 Michael Schumacher
2007 3 Felipe Massa

How has F1’s form team of the 21st century gone six years without a win in Formula 1’s most prestigious race? And can they turn the tables this time?

Before 2007 Monace was Ferrari’s Achilles Heel for one simple reason: Bridgestone. The tyres that allowed them to dominate at most circuits on the F1 calendar could not weave the same magic on the unique high-downforce, low-grip Monte-Carlo track.

From 2002-6 Monaco was Michelin’s stomping ground: David Coulthard, Juan-Pablo Montoya, Jarno Trulli, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso all triumphed on the French rubber.

Last year saw all the teams on Bridgestones for the first time since 2007 but McLaren’s short wheelbase MP4/22 proved vastly more suited to Monaco than the F2007. Kimi Raikkonen clouted a barrier in qualifying and eliminated himself from contention for a victory.

But 2008 may finally be the year Ferrari reverses that trend and, if it is, it will prove they can win on anything on the F1 calendar this year.

Ferrari reduced the wheelbase of their car over the winter, just as McLaren lengthened theirs. But though the MP4/23’s tendency to chew its tyres, particularly in Lewis Hamilton’s hands, may work to their advantage at Monaco. It has one of the least grippy surfaces on the calendar, and Bridgestone are bringing the softest tyres compounds they have.

Can Ferrari break their losing streak at Monte-Carlo this year? If so, will it be Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Massa who wins?