Kimi kept on his toes
The Canadian GP presented a great opportunity for the 2007 World Champion to wrestle back some of the momentum in the teammate battle at Ferrari. Everything looked set to be going for plan until the Finn spun, apparently caused by a glitch with the technology on the car.
Sometimes it would seem that the writing is on the wall in life and this is one such occasion for the Ferrari driver. As was the case before for Felipe Massa, we saw the dreaded vote of confidence in public, then a slightly improved result which the press would jump on to say this will be the springboard required, then once more a slump in form.
Maurizio Arrivabene has again backed Kimi of sorts, insisting that if the results are forthcoming so will a new contract. The fact this is needed to be done publicly speaks volumes for the credibility that there are other drivers the team is considering.
In an interview with Formula1.com Arrivabene stated, “As I said: that’s dependent on the results. If he is achieving the objective that I gave to him – why not?”
The cunning silver fox did well to reverse the question and speak in negatives, but for all intents and purposes the writing is on the wall, or so it seems. The desired objectives were exactly what one would expect to add towards the team.
The Italian continued, “I am working for a team with a strong tradition and Enzo Ferrari dictated this tradition. For Enzo Ferrari the Constructors’ Championship was always of greater value than the drivers’ title. So for us the Constructors’ Championship is very important. To win this title you need both drivers delivering. I talked with Kimi straightforwardly, and he knows very well: the more points he can deliver, the better his chances to stay!”
Ultimately, had Fernando had a stronger partner over the years, he may have won the 2010 and/or 2012 title(s) as a rear gunner would have taken away points from Sebastian Vettel that year. Had Massa performed better in 2013 then Ferrari would have secured 2nd place in the WCC, rather than the 3rd place as they lost out to Mercedes at Interlagos when Felipe Massa crossed the pit lane entry and earned himself a drive through penalty.
Arrivabene finished by saying, “I am concentrating on our two guys right now and I know very well that if needed you can have a driver that is ready to jump in a Ferrari any minute. That is not a problem. The problem is to work with the driver that we have and make sure that he is giving us the best performance.”
Had Jules Bianchi not been involved in the horror crash back in Suzuka then rumours would sure have been circulating about his impending promotion. The message is clear to Kimi, improve or lose. A European season of paramount importance then for the Finn.
Kaltenborn to crack the whip
After a poor showing in the Canadian GP at a circuit that should have favoured the Swiss outfit’s car Monisha Kaltenborn is demanding an improvement in results in Austria.
Of course this is the kind of public bravado one would expect from a team boss as the team looks to capitalise on good straight line speed and high power delivery from the Ferrari powerunit.
Speaking to Chris Medland of F1i.com, Kaltenborn was direct in her statement, “We definitely have to learn and understand why that race pace was missing because Austria is a similar track. We went to Canada and we still believe that kind of track should be suiting our car more than other tracks like Barcelona, so we have to exactly understand what happened.”
The lack of money available for developments becomes more apparent with every passing race, as updates to the C34 are planned for after the Austria race at the test session. Given the mess that the team found itself in last year and at the start of this season with a whole host of pay drivers demanding answers, to still be competing is in many ways a success.
“We will be trying things there. We have a plan to bring a bigger update out in the second half of the season, but we have to see what we can bring forward and does it make sense looking at what happens at the test.”
So that’s Manor, Williams, Force India, Lotus and now Sauber who are all in line to bring “big” updates to the car in the coming races.
Perhaps the reason for perceived failure has nothing to do with Sauber’s performance at all though. The front of the field saw limited overtaking in Montreal, so once more the limiting regulations are prohibiting exciting on track action. Only in Austria will we know just what the Swiss team could and rightfully should be achieving, but it would not surprise this writer if an improved performance is hard to come by.