Should Ferrari Now Back Massa For The Title?

Should Ferrari Now Back Massa For The Title?

Kimi Raikkonen hasn’t performed well in recent races, and following the last post about the Scuderia and their tactics for the remainder of the year, it seems there are many possible reasons for the Finn’s slump. However, after today’s Belgian Grand Prix, Raikkonen is looking less and less like a Formula One world champion. The question is should Ferrari still maintain their faith in Kimi, or should they now focus on Felipe for the final five races?

Currently, the top of the driver’s championship table looks relatively close, and Kimi Raikkonen can still mathematically win it. However, if his pace doesn’t improve next weekend at Monza – Ferrari’s home turf – there could be trouble at Maranello.

2008 Drivers Title

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 80pts
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 72pts
3. Robert Kubica BMW 58pts
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 57pts
5. Nick Heidfeld BMW 47pts
6. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 43pts

23 points separate Raikkonen and Hamilton, and with 50 still to play for, the Finn does have a shot. But realistically, the second crown is slipping from Kimi and Hamilton moves closer and closer to clinching it for himself. However, Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari is fairing much better and the Brazilian is only 8 points shy of Lewis at the top of the tables. Although Massa has his critics, and deservedly so after some of his performances this year, he has had a better mid-season run. Up until the start of the race this afternoon, Felipe looked good in second, and it is him who has taken the fight to McLaren more and more recently.

Raikkonen did come back today though, and his run up until the rain should not be ignored. Hamilton caught the Ferrari in the closing stages, but catching is one thing and passing is another. We’ll never know if Kimi would have been able to fend of Lewis at Spa in normal conditions as the rain fell and wreaked havoc. At the end of the day, Kimi lost out, perhaps more to do with the weather than anything, and then binned it, throwing away vital points.

2008 Constructors Title

1. Ferrari 129pts
2. McLaren 123pts
3. BMW 105pts

McLaren are now only six points behind Ferrari in the constructors race and although Heikki Kovalainen isn’t exactly hauling in the points in the second McLaren, the same could be said for Raikkonen at the moment. If Ferrari aren’t careful, they could very easily let both titles slip away. So, should they continue as they until one driver definitely cannot win the title, or should they now back Massa in the hope that they can bag at least one of the crowns? Has your view changed since my last post about this? Please share in the comments below.

Edit: Since this post was written the result of the Belgian Grand Prix has changed. Please do not presume the figures in this article to be accurate, because they no longer are. The 2008 Championship Standings page has been updated accordingly.

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7 comments

  • With the amended race results showing Massa 2 points behind Hamilton, I would think that it’s a no brainer to back Massa now. Having said that I don’t think that Massa really needs Raikkonen’s help. He seems to be doing just fine competing against him and winning.

  • Thanks for your thoughts Chris. Although Massa is now closer to Hamilton in the title race, so is Raikkonen – they’re both 4 points closer now than they were 30 minutes ago. Off the top of my head, I think that makes Raikkonen just 19 behind, and that’s not a great deal to haul back in, is it?

  • 19 pts might look like not a great deal of points, but this is not the point πŸ˜‰

    At each race you only reduce the gap by the points difference you can manage to have, so if Lewis just follows Kimi in each race Kimi would only get 2 pts per race and as a consequence will never make it…

    I think the only threat to Lewis now is Felipe. Felipe is not on Lewis’s class -I believe only Alonso is- but he proved to be quite a consistent driver this year and he improved his game in 2008. He even would be in the lead without his engine breakdown in Hungary… So let’s see what is going to happen next πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks Ago, good to see you around again. πŸ™‚ Or maybe it’s the other way around, who knows!?

    At each race you only reduce the gap by the points difference you can manage to have

    I agree, it’s how Alonso won his 2005 title – it’s all about the positions. And before you have a go (a-go, geddit) I’m well aware that Alonso drove some stunners that year, and the next, and the next… But, it was a points gained/lost championship in 2005 rather than an all-out Senna or Schumacher charge. I think it was better though, ‘cos it made Suzuka what it was that year.

    I’m looking forward to Ferrari-territory as well. I get the feeling it’s gonna be mega.

  • I don’t think Ferrari will gain any benefit from supporting Massa alone because Raikkonen’s not much good at No. 2-ing by how his competitive nature works. However, Kimi’s crash today has taken the decision out of his hands. Felipe has the momentum and will naturally end up with the support.

  • I’m a big Kimi Fan. Best case scenario for Kimi is he wins all remaining races with Mass second and Hamilton third. Even then he will need both Massa and Hamilton to have a DNF each. Can’t see this happening, especially with his qualifying problems.

    In the end if Massa keeps his head Kimi will have to yield. But think this will only happen for the last two races. Since Massa only helped Kimi in the last race and can only see Kimi helping him if it’s a 1-2.

    Based on last years results the remaining races are 50% Mclaren circuits and 50% Ferrari, with Singapore being the dark horse. But as far as Kimi goes if there is no rain and the weather is hot he may have a shot but i’m not betting on it.

    Best bet, wait until After Fugi, if Kimi is too far it’s massa all the way.

  • Hello, as a Brazilian I would say that Ferrari must invest more in Massa than Kimi, but, as a F1 fan I have to say that Kimi is a more experienced driver than Massa, but after the race FIA changed the results, now Massa is even more closer to Hamilton.

    So, if Ferrari want to win this seasson, I thought that they have to invest more in Massa than in Kimi. After all Massa can lead the championship at the end of the next race, in Monza.

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