Brazilian GP: Ferrari confident it can win constructors title
Once again, the two categories in the Formula 1 World Championship, the Constructors' and Drivers' titles will be decided at the final round, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will be fighting to secure both those titles, boasting the remarkable achievement of having been in this situation, or in a position where it has already clinched one or both of the crowns prior to the last race, in eleven out of the last twelve seasons. The team can therefore take pride in its achievements, whatever the outcome this time. In fact, the Scuderia has won a total of 30 world titles: 15 Drivers' and 15 Constructors'.
This year, the team prize is the one currently closest to our grasp, given that Ferrari has to protect an eleven point lead. This puts the team in a relatively comfortable position. The Constructors' championship is very important to the Maranello marque for two reasons: firstly, as a car constructor, it is prestigious to win a constructors' award and secondly, Formula 1 is a team sport and victory in this category is therefore a reflection on the entire team: the Scuderia has lifted this trophy in eight of the last ten years, a record without parallel, not just in motor sport, but in most other international sporting events.
In the Drivers' championship, the task that lies ahead is a tougher one, although pinpointing the target for this weekend is simplicity itself: in order to give Felipe Massa the best possible chance of taking the title, he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen must finish first and second, before waiting to see what Felipe's only remaining rival can do, an element that is out of Ferrari's hands. Therefore, while making every effort to take home both titles, realistically one of the two is more likely than the other. Although a win on Sunday is not enough on its own to bring him the title, it is worth noting that if Felipe is victorious, he will have won more races than any other driver this year.
On the technical front, the two F2008s will be the same as those used in the last two Asian races. At this circuit and at this time of year, which signals the start of the Brazilian summer, the weather, or more specifically rain, has often been a significant factor and currently the weather is quite changeable, with predictions for it to stay that way over the weekend. However, the temperatures are still relatively high and this, combined with the fact that Bridgestone are bringer softer tires to Interlagos than were used in China, should better suit the characteristics of the F2008, even if the team will have to carry out all the usual work to best adapt the car to the unique characteristics of this anti-clockwise, medium downforce track. One key part of the circuit has always been the very long high speed run through the final corner, uphill past the pits and then the downward charge into the heavy braking area for Turn 1, which is one of the most exciting overtaking points of the season and has often produced some thrilling action.
Both Kimi and Felipe have fond memories of Interlagos as the scene of significant moments in their career: last year, Raikkonen came from behind to clinch the Drivers' title and in 2006, Felipe took his second F1 victory here, becoming the first Brazilian since the late Ayrton Senna to win his home race.
There is no doubting that this weekend is special and although the team is totally focused on the job that lies ahead, it is approaching the weekend in a relaxed and calm fashion, in the knowledge that anything is possible. Last year, Kimi came to Sao Paolo with two drivers ahead of him in the race for the title and a seven point deficit, which is the same number of points by which Felipe trails the leader this time. Until the checkered flag has fallen, the fight is not over. Our Brazilian driver can count on huge support from his local crowd and expectations are high. However, this mood is a positive one as far as Felipe is concerned and he has compared it to the advantage a football team can have when playing at home. Massa will benefit from a team that is totally united behind him, with everyone doing their best to help him get the title.
Whatever the outcome at Interlagos, Felipe, Kimi and the entire team will be on track again just a few days after the Brazilian Grand Prix, when the Mugello Circuit in Italy hosts the Ferrari World Finals. This event has traditionally marked the end of the Prancing Horse racing season, celebrating not just the achievements of the Scuderia but also all the factory-backed and privateer teams competing in the national and FIA GT Championships, competitors in the one-make Ferrari Challenge, the Ferrari Historic Challenge, historic F1 cars and the FXX laboratory car program. Ferrari