Two points in it with two to go: It’s Ferrari vs McLaren… for third place

McLaren and Ferrari have rarely featured at the front this year

McLaren and Ferrari have rarely featured at the front this year

It’s the two titans of the sport: Ferrari and McLaren, who between them have won 374 Grands Prix and 24 constructors’ championships.

But not this year. The 2009 constructors’ championship trophy is not destined for Maranello or Woking. The two teams are fighting as hard as ever – but this time it’s for third place.

Although both are clearly having poor years by their lofty standards, the two are have had very different kinds of downfalls.

Ferrari have been generally off the pace, though not drastically so, wherever they’ve been. For McLaren in the first half of the season, aerodynamically critical tracks like Silverstone were a disaster area.

Lewis Hamilton has has brought a mixture of inspiration and desperation to the situation. He ran away with the wins at Hungary and Singapore, and wrung everything there was to get out of the MP4/24 at Suzuka – still the kind of track the car is weak at.

But the same never-say-die attitude cost him a podium finish on the final lap at Monza – and the less said about Melbourne the better.

For Ferrari the season has been more even – with, of course, the notable exception of the disaster that befell Felipe Massa. Happily, as his test yesterday proved, he is well on the way to recovery.

The upshot of this has been the number three F60 hasn’t brought home a point since the Nurburgring. Without Massa’s injury, Ferrari would probably be home and dry in third place already.

Kimi Raikkonen has done a commendable job, racking up a string of podiums in Massa’s absence to single-handedly keep the team in the hunt.

The constructors’ championship may not command the same kind of attention the drivers’ title does, but there is pride at stake here, it’s the fight to be top KERS team, and there’s a considerable difference in prize money. So, which team will prevail?

Ferrari may be ahead but McLaren seem to have form on their side. This weekend’s race should suit their car well and Abu Dhabi looks like it could be much the same.

For Ferrari it is imperative that Giancarlo Fisichella is able to start picking up points as well as Raikkonen. But unless something goes wrong at McLaren it could be too little too late.

Toyota could pip both to third place. But as the Japanese team now faces an injury dilemma of its own and has had to put rookie Kamui Kobayashi in Timo Glock’s car, making their chances that bit slimmer.

Which team do you think will finish ahead? Or is third place in the constructors’ championship just too low to care about?

Constructors' championship third place battle

Constructors' championship third place battle

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115 comments on Two points in it with two to go: It’s Ferrari vs McLaren… for third place

  1. Scribe said on 13th October 2009, 10:58

    I read the article Harv did I think, apparently the cars is going to have a really extreme double/triple diffuser.

    Next year will be all about McLaren and Ferrari but I don’t think Redbull will be as far off the pace as people are suggesting. Newey is still a force to be reckoned with and Redbull has that beverage empire behind it with considerable clout left in its pocket. Brawn won’t be so good next season but I suspect by 2011 they’ll be back in Championship contention. Especially if this Mercededes buy in goes ahead as planned.

    • mp4-19b said on 13th October 2009, 13:32

      Yeah. Brawn will take a year-off. They’ll be busy with negotiations with Mercedes.

      It will be a Mclaren-Red Bull-Williams fight.

      Don’t ask me bout Ferrari :P

      • Martin said on 13th October 2009, 16:18

        I believ4e brawn has already started taking the year off as they are just getting by now. They will win the constructors championship and probably the drivers also. If brawn was smart he will sell theis outfit and get while the money is good and retire to some carribean island.
        Next year will be mclaren, williams, ferrari, then brawn.

      • Paige Michael-Shetley said on 14th October 2009, 9:02

        mp4-19B,

        It’s great to have another fan of the McLaren TEAM on the board! Cheers, mate!

        Ferrari, I think, will have a good car for next year. The aerodynamic regulations won’t change, true. But the ban on refueling is going to have a HUGE effect on the cars. They’ll have to carry bigger fuel tanks, which will change the weight distribution of the cars, for sure.

        On top of it, the weight distribution throughout the race will change as fuel burns, which will certainly have a very significant impact on the behavior of the cars as the race wears on.

        At the same time, tire management is going to be important next year, as tire wear will have more of an impact relative to fuel load (since everyone will presumably have similar levels of fuel on board in each stint) than it has for a long time. In fact, I would argue that Brawn could be positioned to do well next year if the car will be an evolution of the BGP002, as it’s done well at managing the tires this year.

        These are very tricky issues for the engineers to handle. So Ferrari might not be as off the mark in starting their work on them as you might think.

        At the same time, though, McLaren are playing a very good strategy of developing the car for the current aerodynamic regulations and coming to understand them for the purpose of better application in the future. Whitmarsh has already hinted of a possibly “radical” DDD for next year.

  2. Good chart!
    It’s impressive to see the evolution of Ferrari since the Hungarian GP, with just 1 driver who scores points…

  3. steph90 said on 13th October 2009, 12:40

    One fatal flaw to your mclaren dream mp4…ferrari!:-P

    • mp4-19b said on 13th October 2009, 13:06

      Don’t even bring Ferrari into the equation, they’ll keep themselves busy over the season, they have enough on their head without having to think about competing with mclaren. :P

      • GeeMac said on 13th October 2009, 14:07

        If the Ferrari and McLaren are the best in the field next year it’s going to be 1986 all over again.

        Lewis, Alonso and Massa will take points off of each other all season long. Alonso and Massa will become obsessed with beating one another to establish number 1 status at Ferrari (just like Mansell and Piquet did), and Lewis will casually pick up the pieces after they have fallen out an will win the WDC just like Prost did.

        • mp4-19b said on 13th October 2009, 14:14

          Guess who was Prost’s team mate in 86? Keke Rosberg. Would it be purely coincidental if Nico partners Lewis next year & it turns out to be another 1986? So who blows the tyre at the last GP. Alonso or Massa? Has to be Alonso, cuz Piquet-Massa(brazil) didn’t blow it :P

          • Harv's said on 14th October 2009, 9:36

            what happened after the 86′ season? The mp4-3 and mp4-4 came along and mclaren dominated in the most sucessful f1 season ever! After 88′ couldnt love another team

  4. JUGNU said on 13th October 2009, 13:07

    I was hoping for Toyota and also believed strongly that had the accident of Timo didn’t happen, he would have been there near Trulli and Toyota would have looked very good for 3rd Position.

    Now i think most probably Mclaren would take 3rd especially because of Abu Dhabi, Mclaren will be capable of scoring lots of points there.

  5. Melanie said on 13th October 2009, 13:18

    I see a lot of praise and phrases like “wringing’ the car, when it comes to Lewis, for these last couple of races. I certainly dont disagree with those assessments, Lewis has been doing a fantastic job.
    But it should also be noted that Kimi certainly deserves the same if not perhaps more praise, you sometimes have to give credit where it is due.
    It is only because of Kimi that Ferrari is still 3rd in the championship. The Ferrari has been slower then the Mclaren for a while now, Mclaren should really and properly will take 3rd in the championship at Brazil. They also deserve the 3rd place because they have really turned that car around, in a very short time.

    One of the best highlights of the season has certainly been seeing Lewis and Kimi fighting it out for that 3rd place in the constructors, both have been driving exquisitely.

    • It is only because of Kimi that Ferrari is still 3rd in the championship

      Considering about 1/3 of their WCC points are from the efforts of a man who hasn’t driven for six races and scored them when the Ferrari wasn’t as competitive as it is now!

      I knew once Kimi started performing again the fans would be over-hyping every point he got. Isn’t it suspicious that he started doing well when Massa was injured and Ferrari improved their car to fight for podiums regularly? Kimi has been doing very well but when I see comments like “stunning” and “best driver of the second half of the season” it makes me want to vomit.

      To compare Lewis and Kimi, in his two wins Lewis KERSed away at the start and never looked back. Kimi, by contrast, KERSed away but also had to use it to hold off a Force India twice in two races. I think that demonstrates the difference between them in a nutshell.

      • Paige Michael-Shetley said on 14th October 2009, 9:09

        “I knew once Kimi started performing again the fans would be over-hyping every point he got. Isn’t it suspicious that he started doing well when Massa was injured and Ferrari improved their car to fight for podiums regularly? Kimi has been doing very well but when I see comments like “stunning” and “best driver of the second half of the season” it makes me want to vomit.”

        Ferrari stopped developing the car at the Nurb, which is before Massa had his accident.

        Raikkonen was in position to score more points than he did when Massa was around, but had a number of problems hold him back. The team screwed his strategy at Sepang when he was looking good for 4th or 5th. The engine lost power at Shanghai, and again at the Nurb. They blew his race to bits at Barcelona when they failed to send him out late in Q1 to set a competitive time when the track was quick. So in half the races to start the year, Ferrari screwed him over with unreliability or poor strategy. (Just as they screwed him over last year in about half the races.)

      • Hakka said on 14th October 2009, 12:13

        “best driver of the second half of the season” it makes me want to vomit.

        Well, that’s reality for you. He’s got the most points since Silverstone. Here’s the table for you. Points won since Silverstone:

        RAI: 45 – 10 = 35
        HAM: 43 – 9 = 34
        BAR: 71 – 41 = 30
        VET: 69 – 39 = 30
        BUT: 85 – 64 = 21

        The Massa yardstick argument is valid. However, there are plenty of other good drivers on the grid in good cars, so beating all of them is not too shabby. Plus podiums and a win are absolute results.

        Massa’s achievements are what they are, and they need to be able to stand up to scrutiny without comparison to other drivers.

        What entertains me about Massa fans is their faustian relationship with Raikkonen – they need Kimi to be just good enough to be used as a yardstick for Massa in 2008 (“Massa beat Kimi!!”), but they can’t have him be better than their beloved Massa. They have to have Kimi positioned just right, else all their arguments fall apart. Because Massa doesn’t really have any absolute results in the books just yet (WDC or F1 records) – it’s all relative to Kimi.

  6. sputnik said on 13th October 2009, 13:22

    I think McLaren will just do it, but if at rains at Interlagos I’m not sure this year’s car is quite as good as the last.

    For this reason, I’d say Ferrari have a chance, although how motivated Kimi is now could be the decisive factor.

    • mp4-19b said on 13th October 2009, 13:30

      although how motivated Kimi is now could be the decisive factor.

      He would be motivated than ever before. Just to show Ferrari, the grave blunder they’ve committed by dumping him for a less talented driver.

      • Martin said on 13th October 2009, 16:21

        your right there, I believe once kimi is clear of ferrari the nasty side of kimi will appear where the red cars are concerned.

      • Paige Michael-Shetley said on 14th October 2009, 9:21

        Personally, I think something has just been missing from Kimi since he went to Ferrari. He no longer really had the “Iceman” edge to him once he got there.

        With McLaren, he was a perfect fit: cool driver sets devastatingly quick with cold-blooded efficiency at a team known for its trademark mastery of model engineering and calculation. Even the livery fit him: the prominent silver in the car really reinforced the “Iceman” persona, whereas the red at Ferrari just suits the passionate Alonso and Massa more. At McLaren, he can be the Iceman who just shows up, tells the engineers what the car’s doing, they fix it, and he goes out and drives it bloody quickly. At Ferrari, they wanted him to be friends with everyone, which just wasn’t going to work.

  7. I think McLaren have to be the favourites to finish third in the constructors championship as not only did Ferrari stop developing their 2009 car before McLaren did, but Fisichella just doesn’t look likely to score any points.

  8. Nirupam said on 13th October 2009, 15:09

    Sorry for being a bit off the topic, but Have you guys read this???

    • mp4-19b said on 13th October 2009, 15:21

      Noob Indian road officials. As if they care for road safety. Sad part was that a driver of DC’s caliber was forced to apologize to corrupt Indian road officials. And even worse, they’ve fined Red Bull!!

      And they want an Indian GP!

      • Mind ur tounge abt India and Indians. Its Bernie who wants a track in India but u wud not be knowing this because a person whose name is as MP4-19B must be old enough not to know the facts. Change your name to Anthony Raikkonnen

      • Nirupam said on 14th October 2009, 21:51

        @MP4-Whatever,
        Sorry, yesterday cud not get any time to browse F1F. Saw ur comment just now.
        I would like to ask you a question.
        How many times have you been to India? Or it is your inheritance to hate India and Indian people???

        • Awadhesh said on 15th October 2009, 8:12

          Alright! This isn’t a ‘hate’ thread. And there’s no reason to spit fire on any particular country or getting personal here.

          As for DC’s case, I find it ridiculous that he’s been fined that heavily. I don’t think a normal person in India will be fined anything more than Rs. 100, if he does get fined at all. Besides, drivers get a fine of $10K/$20K while speeding in the pitlane in races and here he’s been fined $70K+. And this being a roadshow of a F1 car, the road was closed for traffic, so how do the normal traffic rules apply. What do you expect to see, an F1 car crawl at 50 kph. lol

          Were the Renault drivers fined for overspeeding at Oviedo or Bucharest?

        • mp4-19b said on 15th October 2009, 14:28

          How many times have you been to India?

          16 times. Was almost killed during my last visit in a horrible road accident, but lost my cousin who could have easily been saved, but for the sheer negligence on the part of road safety officials. And I alone know how much “help I received from govt officials, just ask any foreigner what he/she thinks about Indian Roads & the people who manage them . The drunk driver who caused this mishap is out on bail & is getting married shortly.

          Or it is your inheritance to hate India and Indian people???

          No. I don’t hate Indian people. I have the greatest sympathies for them. The roads they drive on is a gateway to hell. My anger was directed at the corrupt Indian road officials, not the Indian public.

          Hope that cleared your doubt. If my statements have hurt you or any Indians in any sense, I profusely apologize.

          • Awadhesh said on 15th October 2009, 14:37

            I’m sorry for your loss and it’s a shame but it’s true that roads and the administration is in a disgusting state in India.

            But the Indian government officials aren’t keen about the Indian GP, the fans are.

          • Nirupam said on 15th October 2009, 15:44

            If my statements have hurt you or any Indians in any sense, I profusely apologize

            Definitely it did hurt me…not only for this one, but also for this:

            You Indians never get it, do you?

            or even this one

            Funniest part was an Indian telling off be rational LOL

            I feel really really sory from my heart for the loss you suffered. But probably you cant single out a particular country where this kind of accident may happen. I have been here in the UK (Leeds, to be particular) for last one year, and I have seen at least 3 horrible accidents, two of them resulting extreme casualties.
            I dont know which country do you belong, but if somebody continiously keep saying some unacceptable comments about your countrymen in general (I have no objection to what you have said about the officials), probably you too will find it hard to digest.

  9. I reckon Ferrari will get 3rd. Ferrari should out-perform McLaren in Brazil.

  10. vitor said on 13th October 2009, 16:52

    “Kimi Raikkonen has done a commendable job”
    what????????
    kimi done a amazing job with this f60!!!!
    lewis goe faster since mclaren update his car…kimi dont’t have updates since hungary…3 months!!!!
    4 podium finishes and 1 victory = commendable job????
    i’m a kimi fan, but i want mclaren finish ahead of ferrari…ferrari was the alonso/santander team!!!

    • You mean the podium earned by only having to beat Heikki Kovalainen after the start, the podium gifted by a Hamilton who would rather have spun off than settle for 3rd, and the victory gained through deliberately going off-line at La Source? Circumstance is important in F1 but hardly makes a good drive amazing. Kimi has been doing a very good job, but don’t over-hype it!

    • Harv's said on 14th October 2009, 9:44

      is that why ferrari gave kimi the boot?,

  11. Rahim said on 13th October 2009, 17:00

    Kimi is srsly gonna smoke them….its just proving himself before turning out from red to white(or may call black)

    GO KIMI

  12. Rugel said on 13th October 2009, 17:10

    mp4-19b you need to leave Ferrari alone…they beaten McLaren enough times in the past and sir you to me is a hater. we’ll see how 2010 will go down…..

  13. Rugel said on 13th October 2009, 19:58

    he answered your question and your still a hater.

  14. No mention of poor Kofailainen in this otherwise excellent post. It has been rather surprising to see him where he is, but he is still the key to the outcome. He has scored consistent points, kind of, which is far more than we can expect of Fisi. KOF’s additional 5-6 points will be what settles the likely rough draw between Hamilton and Raikkonen at the front.

    This season, a lack of testing, and difficult and complex cars have really separated the superstars from the highly-skilled. Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen have shown how to transcend a car and its development, and have left well-regarded teammates in the dust. One does have to leave Vettel out of this. I’ts surprising. But, frankly, he has only excelled when the car was on an ideal track and has not consistently handled Webber.

  15. JF1BV said on 14th October 2009, 9:15

    I have to say Kimi and Lewis are level pegging if not Lewis a bit better, i do rate Kimi as a driver, but he doesn’t try as hard as lewis which is why lewis, will always be slightly better. Kimi is happy to truddle along, while hamilton will push until the checkered flag. Lewis and Mclaren will overtake kimi and ferrari at brazil by at least two clear points. also stop the alonso bashing he’s a great driver, he just likes moving teams and causing controversy

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