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)

  1. I’m hoping we see a Toyota on the podium. The only real reason for my hope is that I want the company to have some results for all their investments. I don’t want another manufacturer to leave the sport.

    But if Fuji really is on the way out it doesn’t look good.

  2. Nirupam said on 1st June 2009, 14:06

    Well, I would prefer Massa, Kimi and vettel occupying the podium. Button has already won 5 out of six, and law of average goes against him!
    Massa gets my first preference as he has completed all 174 laps in last 3 years in 4:22:22.694, at an average speed of 212.48KPH, which gives average lap time of 1:30.475. That is some sort of consistency!
    And you cannot write of Kimi as he was not far behind Massa in last two years, 2.2 in 2007 and 4.8 in 2008. Also FLs against his name both in 2007 and 2008(And in 2008 he had done it in lap 20, not in closing stages!)

    And it is the kind of track that suits Ferrari most.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys said on 1st June 2009, 14:37

    Massa for the win?

    Doubt it.

    The F60’s aero package might be a swing in the right direction, but Istanbul is radically different to Catalunya and Monaco, and those are the only circuits that Ferrari has any solid data on the performance of the aero package. I know they have computer models and simulations,but nothing beats on-the-ground feedback.

    • persempre said on 3rd June 2009, 21:07

      There are aero updates (floor, diffuser & others) so, hopefully, the Ferraris will maintain its’ progress. Other than Brawn they have their eye on RBR.
      Hopefully the tyre compounds will be OK, the softer probably being the prime.

  4. 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.

    Poor Lewis…

    Sometime ago he could be the drive “to watch” because of some his skills — skills that Istanbul Park suits very well. [GP2/2006 at Istanbul]

    Thank God he had no tires problems on that race.

  5. Nirupam said on 1st June 2009, 14:54

    Well I am not a fan of Ferrari, but simply I got bored seeing Brawns sweeping all the races! ;)
    And among the others, Ferrari should be the best bet to give Brawn a run for their money!

  6. mohammed said on 1st June 2009, 15:11


  7. Chaz said on 1st June 2009, 15:19

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

  8. Bigbadderboom said on 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.

  9. Rahzam said on 1st June 2009, 17:52

    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.

  10. Ben Goldberg said on 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.

  11. Adam Tate said on 1st June 2009, 18:48

    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!

    • Senor Paz said on 2nd June 2009, 2:42

      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!

  12. Leaf said on 1st June 2009, 19:17

    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.

  13. Dorian said on 1st June 2009, 20:06

    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.

  14. HounslowBusGarage said on 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.

  15. Wesley said on 1st June 2009, 23:06

    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)

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