F1weekly podcast # 380

Rain and Tyres wash out Suzuka Friday practice running.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:47.261            5
 2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:47.923  + 0.662   6
 3.  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:47.931  + 0.670   4
 4.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:47.983  + 0.722   5
 5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:48.058  + 0.797   8
 6.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:48.691  + 1.430   9
 7.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:48.693  + 1.432   5
 8.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:48.737  + 1.476   6
 9.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:48.802  + 1.541  11
10.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:48.861  + 1.600   6
11.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:48.886  + 1.625   4
12.  Kobayashi    Toyota                (B)  1:49.054  + 1.793   7
13.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:49.382  + 2.121   7
14.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:49.405  + 2.144   6
15.  Fisichella   Ferrari               (B)  1:49.553  + 2.292   5
16.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:49.872  + 2.611   7
17.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:50.179  + 2.918   9
18.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  No time
19.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  No time
20.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  No time


Can you hear the drums, Fernando? Ferrari confirmed on Wednesday what everybody knew already, Fernando Alonso will be at Maranello for the next three seasons. Their $50m man, Kimi Raikkonen, is being moved to make room for the double world champion from Oviedo in northern Spain.

While they may be celebrating in the land of bull fighting, only time will tell how Alonso will handle the charge from new teammate Felipe Massa, who is well loved at Ferrari. That bond never matured between the team and the enigma from Espoo, despite the Finn winning on his debut with Ferrari and the world championship in 2007.

Scuderia Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said upon confirming the Spanish driver, “We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two world championships in his career to date”.

Ironically, that’s how Alonso was welcomed by his new team the first time he left Renault for greener pastures after securing back to back championships with the French team. The grazing and bruising he endured at McLaren forced him back to Renault after completing his initial season with the British outfit, narrowly missing his third title in a row to the man he is now replacing.

Moment with Massa. The likeable Brazilian is a feisty competitor on the track as Lewis Hamilton found out last season till the very last lap. Man who won races against Michael Schumacher as teammate and totally dominated the high priced Raikkonen in ’08, Massa will be hungry for success after missing all the races since the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he suffered head injuries during qualifying.

Alonso will be in for a rude awakening, for the second time around when changing teams, if Massa turns out to be like the “rookie” who ruined his reign in Surrey.

Paddock pundits are predicting Alonso will dominate Massa. These are the same people who, like Alonso himself, did not see the threat from within Woking distance.


Back to the future? Most likely scenario is McLaren-Mercedes will get their star back. Kimi Raikkonen scored his first Formula 1 victory in a silver car at Sepang in 2003. Twice he lost the championship because his machinery let him down, only to find the championship glory in his first year at Ferrari.

Immensely talented with brute speed, Raikkonen is capable of giving Hamilton a taste of his own medicine, aka “cage rattling syrup”. With what Raikkonen regarded as “control freak” removed from the McLaren Formula 1 team, he may find a different atmosphere the second time around which will suit him to be his own man – the race car driver with very little to say.

Welcome, Kimi Raikkonen, what else is new?

— Nasir Hameed