The Red Baron rides again as
The 2005 campaign didn’t quite go as planned for Ferrari, with the only win coming from the now legendary US Grand Prix. The red cars won simply because there was no competition, the other runners being Jordan and Minardi. Michael managed to put in some stellar performances though, and was often ringing every ounce of speed from the car. Unfortuantely though, it wasn’t up to the task of beating the Renault or the McLaren. Before the season closed, Rubens Barrichello announced his departure to the Honda team for this year, and Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and the team settled on fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa to take the second seat.
Ferrari will be very motivated to regain the titles this year. After basking in so much success previously, the Scuderia will have been testing all they possibly can to ensure they build a decent car for this season, and give Schumacher as much chance of taking the title as possible. And testing so far has shown that Ferrari have indeed progressed, with the team often performing well. Although it does have to said that Renault are also looking very mighty, and McLaren have been working hard. Whilst Ferrari may have clawed back some of the performance deficite, I do feel that the other big two teams have moved forward as well. I guess there is no real judge other than actually racing, so we’ll have to wait a few days to find out just where Ferrari are. Needless to say though, Schumacher should be a little closer this year and maybe even make it a three-way fight.
And Michael’s rear-gunner this year? None other than the young Brazilian, Felipe Massa. Felipe has driven his way up to this echelon of motorsport, but many feel he shouldn’t be in such a well-budgeted team. Many people are questioning the Scuderia’s choice, and feel that the team should have chosen a driver with a little more talent. Well, these people may be correct, and Felipe has certainly had a bumpy ride thus far, spending more time spinning and crashing. But when he does keep all four wheels pointing the right way, Felipe can demonstrate some pretty awesome speed. He may be a heavily criticised driver, but I cannot believe the experience of Ferrari would make such a mistake. My guess is that Felipe has done a lot of growing up recently, and he may even surprise a few people this year with some good, solid performances. He isn’t going to worry Michael, Fernando or Kimi, but he should be able to provide a good safety net for numero uno, er, eins.
Will Ferrari take back the title? If I were a betting man (which I’m not), I would put a fiver on no, but a fiver would be my maximum – it is a little too close for my liking.