2008 French Grand Prix preview: Business as usual for Ferrari in France?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Magny-Cours, 2006, 470150

The Circuit de Nevers in Magny-Cours has been very kind to Ferrari – they’ve won here five times in the last seven events.

With Lewis Hamilton taken out of the equation by a ten-place grid penalty, the only question about who will win this weekend is whether it will be Felipe Massa or Kimi Raikkonen.

Do Ferrari?s rivals stand a chance in France?

Last year Magny-Cours fast corners plus its smooth surface added up to a perfect weekend for Ferrari. Raikkonen and Massa stormed to a one-two and even a strategic battle between the two, won by Raikkonen, couldn?t stop them winning by half a minute.

So far this year the signs are that Ferrari will enjoy a similar advantage. They won at Istanbul and Catalunya ?ǣ both medium-high downforce tracks that can be taken as strong indicators for what we can expect at Magny-Cours this weekend.

So which of the Ferrari drivers will it be?

The momentum seems to be with Massa at the moment, as Raikkonen hasn?t scored in the last two races. But that is deceptive. Raikkonen was clearly quicker at Montreal and was poised to attack for the lead when Hamilton took a bite out of the back of his car.

Massa was definitely miffed at being pipped by Raikkonen here last year and there wasn?t a lot in it between the two of them. As they are similarly close in the championship we could well be in for a repeat this year.

What can their opposition do about it? Hamilton, as we discussed yesterday, is already out of the reckoning.

Robert Kubica is on a high after his Montreal win but it?s unlikely that BMW can challenge for a win yet on a ??normal? track on a ??normal? day.

That leaves Heikki Kovalainen. If you’re looking for an outside bet for a win, Kovalainen is probably worth a punt. He’s had pretty much relentless misfortune this year and it has to end sooner or later (I’ve said that before though).

McLaren, however, appear to have improved their performance on high speed corners where last year they lagged badly compared to Ferrari. With a vital chance to cut his deficit in the championship to team mate Hamilton, Kovalainen must at least be aiming to split the Ferraris.

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