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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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?

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

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  1. 1_massa

  2. Fingers crossed the teams who have had bad luck of late will be able to turn that around…

  3. Bigbadderboom
    1st June 2009, 15:25

    The championship needs RB and Ferrari to get their act together, if it’s another Brawn lock-out this weekend the sport is going to suffer, I think they deserve the DC and the CC, but I would like them to be made to work a bit harder.

  4. I don’t even bother to watch Lewis in this season. Adding him in watch list means whole grid in watch list because every driver has some reason to be watched.
    Kimi stronger in F60 so I will add him in the watch list and of course Vettel.

  5. Ben Goldberg
    1st June 2009, 17:58

    The only way the championship is close at the end of the season is if Brawn falls off to third fastest team starting this weekend or maybe next race. Otherwise, it won’t be close.

  6. I would love to see Massa or Webber win! Massa is the only driver since Shuey’s departure to win the same gp 3 times in a row and I hope he makes it 4. If not, I do hope Webber get’s his much deserved 1st win!

    1. I’m with you there, Adam. These are two pilots that deserve way more than they currently have…

      It’d be fantastic to see Webber’s first victory this season!

  7. Ferrari not there quite yet. Getting there though.
    Brawn will dominate.
    Red Bull….maybe. Ferrari will get in their way.
    Massa will outpace Kimi though.

  8. Whilst I’ll be hoping that the new improvements Ferrari will bring to Istanbul will bring them even closer to Brawn, I’m not overly confident that they’ll be fast enough to beat them. I still feel Brawn will have the edge over the competition and as others have said there might be a Red Bull or two in the mix.

    I predict a Brawn on the top step and a Ferrari on the podium.

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    1st June 2009, 21:30

    This is a medium downforce, high tyre-wear circuit, which will require good tyre management and expert strategy – as well as an outstanding car.
    I suspect – and hope – that Red Bull can provide two of these qualities (I’m still not sure they have good race strategy). Ferrari are going to try so hard, they might just trip over themselves in their eagerness.
    Maybe Toyota will bounce back, and maybe BMW will find the ‘On’ switch again. Otherwise, it’s the white cars again.

  10. Until the other teams learn to manage the tires as well as Brawn I don’t think we will see any more wins by other teams short of technical difficulties, or bad pit stops.(but,I hope I’m wrong)

  11. Ferrari (in the form of Felipe-baby) are coming on… plan on antipasto and Chianti for your race refreshments. No Red Bull or bitters.

    1. Rob did one better: “Who is the daddy of Brazil?” :)

  12. There is no way in hell Massa can win in Turkey. Kimi is in better form, the Brawn car is still superior overall, and the Red Bull will be very, very strong on this track as well. If RBR don’t mess up the strategy during Q and in the race, yet again, Sebastian V. will win it.

    1. I agree that Massa probably won’t win in Turkey this year, the Brawns are just too competitive to not be favourites.

      But to say that Kimi is in better form is ludicrous; even though the F60 is clearly more suited to Kimi’s style (last year was the opposite), Massa is still outpacing him consistently. The fact that he’s got one point less than Kimi is deceiving. He should have got two 3rd places already – in Melbourne and Barcelona, not to mention Shanghai quite possibly – and clocked the fastest lap in Monaco. Massa only finished behind Kimi because Jenson was brought in a couple of laps early precisely to halt his awesome pace (he was also threatening Rubens’ second place at that stage).

      1. really i agree with u.Senor Paz.but i have the confidence that massa will win this year too.may the brawns would stop him,but the redbulls and kimi cant stop him.understood Mr.f1 fan.

      2. I agree with Senor Paz. Massa is truly awesome. He will start from 20th on the grid and win the race while driving one handed, just to show people how it’s done.

        1. And with the free hand he could help you pick your nose.

  13. I hope Webber wins at Turkey.

  14. We need to wait till practice to see which team is better equipped to match brawn. Till now Ferrari and Red bull posed a threat to one of the Brawn’s beast (Only to Rubens,Button is untouchable at the moment). I think Kimi will have slight advantage over Massa. If Ferrari doesn’t make mistakes then they can challenge for 2nd. We cannot write off Red Bull though,they are the only team which posed serious threat to Brawn GP right from the start of season. It’s going to be a exciting race. May the Best team/driver win.

  15. Raceaddict
    2nd June 2009, 5:15

    The only guy to lose me more money in F1 pools than Kimi is Webber. lol

  16. Aquatic Mammal
    2nd June 2009, 14:29

    “Massa took fourth on the grid despite being at least three kilos heavier than all the cars in front of him.”

    Que? So he was slower than the lighter cars…

  17. Rayan & Senor Paz,

    you will on Sunday that I have it right. Kimi will finish ahead of Massa on merit. Monaco shows who the best drivers are, and Kimi, albeit essentially indifferent this year due to his pending exit from F1, walked all over Massa there.

    And when was the last time Massa won in Monaco ? The answer is never. The 4 best drivers of this decade, Michael, Fernando, Lewis and Kimi, have all won in Monaco.

    Massa has done very well in Turkey, there is no denying this, but right now he is not in great form. I think next to Vettel, Kimi has a real shot at winning this race, which, by the way, he won too in 2006.

    1. Kimi ‘walked all over Massa’ in Monaco?

      You kidding? That’s probably not what was going through Kimi’s head during the second stint, where he was losing an average of 0.2 seconds per lap with less fuel on board. The gap between them before Jenson slotted his Brawn in between them was just over 1 sec. Did you watch the same race I did, or you find it hard reading the times in F1?

      I know arguing with someone like you is probably a waste of space, but I can’t resist. I’ve said this already on this website after the race, but Monaco 2008 was the luckiest race I’ve seen in years, with Lewis clinching victory not despite of his early mistake, but precisely BECAUSE of it! You probably don’t remember, but Massa snatched pole that race. You know what that means in Monaco, don’t you? Had that been a dry race he would’ve had it in the bag.

      But that’s F1, and that’s why I love it.

    2. ‘You will see on Sunday that I have it right.’

      Sunday is gone. Eat your words.

  18. All interesting points, but here’s the definitive form guide for Turkey by F1 Badger: Who’s going to taste the Turkish Delight…

  19. Adam,

    all of what the Badger says are well known. As much as Ferrari has developed, they are still not the fastest car. On this circuit, the race will be between Brawn and RBR. Vettel should be really fast here, and RBR won’t make the same mistakes in Q, I mean w/ fuel loads for the race. I think Vettel nneds to get pole to win the race, and I think he will do both. If a Ferrari gets on the podium, that will be Kimi, not Massa.

  20. kimi is a strong contendor to win the turkish gp he has showed some signs of improvement in the monaco gp earlier gainig the first row, if his F60 delivers his pace then kimi is unstoppable.

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