Massa aims for fourth Istanbul win in improving F60 (Turkish GP preview)

Felipe Massa could score his fourth consecutive Turkish Grand Prix victory

Felipe Massa could score his fourth consecutive Turkish Grand Prix victory

Ferrari were the closest team to Brawn at Monaco – but can they repeat their form at Turkey this weekend?

Felipe Massa has won the last three Turkish Grands Prix. If his F60 is on the pace he looks a strong bet to become the second driver to beat Jenson Button to victory this year.

Jenson Button is playing down his chances of winning the world championship. But the reality of the situation heading into round seven of the 2009 world championship is that anyone who reckons they can beat him to the title needs to start taking serious points off him:

1. Jenson Button 51
2. Rubens Barrichello 35 (-16)
3. Sebastian Vettel 23 (-28)
4. Mark Webber 19.5 (-31.5)
5. Jarno Trulli 14.5 (-36.5)

Full championship standings after Monaco

The Brawn-Mercedes BGP001 doesn’t have any serious flaws. It’s only significant performance deficit is in the wet, or when going wheel-to-wheel with a KERS-equipped rival.

This weekend its closest challengers are likely to be the Red Bull RB5 and Ferrari F60.

Red Bull’s car struggled for performance at Monte-Carlo: they couldn’t get the super-soft tyre to work, and it’s possible that their problems were aggravated by their efforts to get their new double diffuser working.

But the RB5 showed excellent pace at Catalunya which, like Istanbul, rewards aerodynamics efficiency. Expect them to be up with the Brawns this weekend.

Another team that impressed at Catalunya were Ferrari. Massa took fourth on the grid despite being at least three kilos heavier than all the cars in front of him.

If there’s any track where Massa can get the most out of the F60, it’s Istanbul – he’s won the last three races from pole position and led 151 of 174 laps.

Should Ferrari find themselves between the Brawns and Red Bulls, they could play a decisive role in the championship. At Spain, Massa kept Vettel behind almost all race, allowing Button to stretch his lead in the race and the championship.

But if Vettel gets away in the lead and Button finds himself bottled up behind a KERS-powered F60, it could be the result we need to inject some life into the championship battle.

Drivers to watch at Istanbul

Felipe Massa – Ferrari’s form is on an upward trajectory, KERS could be especially useful here, and Massa has always been strong at Istanbul. Could it add up to the Scuderia’s first win of 2009?

Rubens Barrichello - Can he do anything to stop his team mate riot once again?

Lewis Hamilton – Has had tyre woes at both the Turkish Grands Prix he’s contested. He’ll be looking at those warm track temperatures and the soft Bridgestone tyre with concern.

Mark Webber – Has beaten Vettel in the last two races, can he keep it up?

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52 comments on Massa aims for fourth Istanbul win in improving F60 (Turkish GP preview)

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  1. wasiF1 said on 1st June 2009, 7:16

    I believe Massa will b on d podium,& Brawn Winning in with another Red Bull

  2. Kovy said on 1st June 2009, 7:22

    Barrichello, Raikkonen, and Webber on the podium is my prediction.

  3. Macca said on 1st June 2009, 7:27

    I predict Webber to again finish ahead of Vettel even though, without a doubt, the team will favour Vettel when it comes to strategy.

    (Come on Red Bull, give Webber a chance!!!!!!)

  4. Achilles said on 1st June 2009, 7:31

    As Monaco is a poor circuit to judge performance by, the Turkish Tilke should give a more relevant indicator of the performance gains by Ferrari, and the other teams, I would expect Red Bull to have taken a large step forward as Neweys re-deveopement of the rear of the car is given the opportunity to work.

  5. SamS said on 1st June 2009, 7:36

    Agree with WasiF1. Massa will be on the podium but not the top step. The brawns are too competative and easy on their tyres to not be favourites!

  6. Giuseppe said on 1st June 2009, 7:50

    In Q2 in Monaco Ferrari were 0.2sec off the Brawns. Considering they are bringing an update to their DD diffuser i can see Massa or Kimi on the top step

    • dill said on 1st June 2009, 16:59

      i agree, they’re also bringing a new floor which even raikkonen seems really pleased about

  7. Brendan said on 1st June 2009, 7:51

    Drivers besides Lewis might have trouble with the soft tire also. Since the spec Bridgestones came in 2007, we’ve never seen a driver have more trouble with a tire/track combo than Lewis on mediums at Istanbul. It wasn’t just graining, but a full blowout.

    This year, on the softs, Lewis could have real trouble. Other drivers (Rubens, Massa) are known to be hard on tires too, as are some cars (I think Ed Gorman mentioned the Williams as being hard on tires). We might see serious tire problems on other cars during the race, and there could be a surprise during qualifying if someone can manage the soft tire better (like Anthony Davidson did in 2007 by doing a very slow out-lap and almost getting the Super Aguri into Q3).

  8. Bigbadderboom said on 1st June 2009, 8:59

    I think we will see the performance gap start to close this weekend, and we will see a real battle for the front row in qualifying. Hopefully the podium will have 3 manufacturers on, I don’t think Massa will win but he will be up there, probably Vettel for the win.

  9. Barrichello ,Button and Kimi to podium………….

  10. DGR-F1 said on 1st June 2009, 9:49

    If the Red Bulls can sort out their diffuser, then I think they will be more of a threat to the Brawns than Ferrari, but thats not to say Massa and Kimi won’t be fighting at the front.
    I also think that the McLarens and the Renaults might stand a better chance on a faster track, and they might be as much a challenge to the Ferraris as the Ferraris are to the Brawns……

  11. Rahim said on 1st June 2009, 12:06

    Massa has always been strong but taking F60 into consideration, i’d say Kimi Raikkonen to be a driver to watch,the car suits him and even in quali in catalunya, kimi edged massa until that mistake…this is sure that kimi was always in form…..i dont believe that he wasn’t determined before…the car suits him more than massa….but massa being really strong over here and kimi loving his car i’d say it will be a tough call

    my prediction for the 1st ferrari
    Kimi Raikkonen

  12. Dougie said on 1st June 2009, 12:49

    As already mentioned, due to the tyre wear issues at this circuit I can’t see it being anything but another Jenson win. Rubens will again be mixing it with the competition which this race will comprise the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

    I can see Massa making the podium but either Vettel or Webber will beat him to the second step… Barrichello will be there somewhere, but I have this suspicion that Rubens has a disaster race looming.

  13. win248F1 said on 1st June 2009, 12:54

    i’d love not to see another jenson’s victory. one word : BOOOOORRIING

    • beneboy said on 1st June 2009, 20:39

      You may prefer this site then:
      http://nascarfans.wetpaint.com/

      I think you’ll find a series that gives you all of the artificial racing you can handle with plenty of different “winners”.

      To say that Jenson winning again would be boring is a bit premature, for F1Fanatics the quality of the racing is more important than the result.

      I wouldn’t care if Jenson won every race for the rest of the season as long as the races were interesting and I’m not a Brawn or Button fan.

      If Jenson made a mistake in qualifying and had to fight his way from the back of the grid to be able to win would it still be boring for you ?

      If all you care about is who wins then you may as well not watch the race and just check out the result in Monday’s newspapers.

      • win248F1 said on 2nd June 2009, 0:22

        hey relax beneboy.. take it easy.

        i just don’t want this season gets similar to 2004 season when Schumacher dominated all rounds thus made us even no need to check out monday’s newspapers right?

        i didn’t mean plenty winners, just DIFFERENT winners. that’s all.

  14. TommyB said on 1st June 2009, 12:55

    Yawn GP will still be first and second but I think Massa could get 3rd ahead of the Red Bulls

  15. PJA said on 1st June 2009, 13:11

    While I think it is only a matter of time before Ferrari get a win this season, I think the Turkish GP will probably be too early for them if it is an incident free race.

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