ISTANBUL: The Turkish Grand Prix offers Ferrari a chance to prove it is ready to challenge Brawn GP and put the brakes on Jenson Button’s drive for the Formula One championship.
Ferrari is well-positioned to fight for the podium following a 3-4 finish at Monaco and Felipe Massa’s dominance in Turkey. The Brazilian driver can become the fifth driver to win at the same track for four years running with a victory in Sunday’s 58-lap race.
Kimi Raikkonen was feeling bullish on Wednesday about the Italians’ continued rebound from their worst start ever with his podium at Monaco.
“This year Brawn GP ... are the favourites but we are going to reach them,” Raikkonen wrote on his Web site. “If we continue giving 100 percent and pressing we will be closer, if not ahead of them.”
The Formula One circuit would welcome a Ferrari revival since it would mean another challenger for Brawn GP, which was formed from the remnants of the Honda team after the Japanese manufacturer pulled out after the 2008 season. The new team has dominated the series and leads the Constructors standings by 43.5 points from Red Bull.
Teams will arrive at the circuit that sits on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait with a variety of upgrades, notably aerodynamics and front and rear suspension to deal with the track’s mix of speeds and tricky corners.
Button, who has won five times in six races, leads teammate Rubens Barrichello by 16 points after six races, with the next closest challenger Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who trails Button by 28 points.
“I think we are looking very strong for the next few races,” said Button, who is going for his fourth straight victory.
Barrichello is looking for his first win since the Chinese GP in 2004. Renault’s Fernando Alonso said Brawn GP was the “best car there is no doubt.”
“It will be difficult for Ferrari really to fight for the win because I think Brawn is not pushing 100 percent all the race, they control the race good,” Alonso said on Thursday. “I think Brawn has something on hand always to do something more.”
This season’s new aerodynamic regulations have shaken up the starting grid and left the perennial favourites littered at the back of the pack. — AP