Giancarlo Fisichella, the last Italian driver to see the podium of an F1 race back in 2009 in a spectacular Belgian Grand Prix with saw him finish second for Force India. The race will be remembered not only for a questionable move Kimi Räikkönen pulled on Fisichella to take the win, but also as a race in which Giancarlo was all but announced as a Ferrari driver for the following event before the race had even finished!
It must be the dream of every Italian in motorsport to get the call from the Scuderia. With Ferrari suffering a torrid 2009, struggling with regulation changes and working with reserve drivers following the terrifying accident for Felipe Massa in Hungary. The prospect of an Italian podium finisher making his début for the team at the Italian Grand Prix was exactly the good news story the team needed. Giancarlo leapt at the chance to join the team despite being fully aware his 2009 prospects would be minimal. His mind has possibly already moved on from Formula One. After 14 years in the sport he was ready for a new challenge. Joining the Ferrari family was exactly that.
In this film from Mobil One The Grid we catch up with Giancarlo Fisichella and his life after Formula One.
For a real-time view of Giancarlo Fisichella’s life with Ferrari, he is currently in 2nd position in the GTE-Pro class in his Ferrari 488 at the Le Mans 24hrs.
If like me part of your enjoyment from an F1 weekend comes from looking out for livery team livery updates, you may have noticed that since the Spanish Grand Prix Scuderia Ferrari have been sporting some additional branding.
The branding comes in the form of the group Option Rally.
Option Rally are a trading platform specialising in lightning-fast Binary Option trading, offering clients the opportunity to trade on stocks, indices and commodities at various speeds, ranging from just 60 seconds. Commenting on the partnership a representative from Option Rally commented:
” We are delighted to be partnering with such a passionate, historic and competitive Formula One team. It made perfect sense as the leading binary brokerage to join forces with the most successful and trusted team in the world, Scuderia Ferrari”
Option rally branding can be found at the base of the sidepods of the SF16-H. Details on agreement length and value have not been disclosed at this time.
For more information on Option Rally follow them on Twitter here
Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, second round of the Formula One world championship, Scuderia Ferrari’s driver Kimi Raikkonen and Race Team Manager Diego Ioverno describe the main features of a track that’s quite unique.
For Kimi, last year bring some bittersweet memories: “I enjoy Bahrain, obviously it’s good itself, not the most difficult corners but still hard to make a good lap there and obviously conditions can change a lot because of the wind, it’s hot at midday and cold enough in the evening, but it’s a good place. Maybe I could have won last year, but it’s pointless to start guessing things, we were second and that’s it. It was not too bad, but I guess it could have been better.”
Such a hard-braking circuit puts a premium on the brake-by-wire system: “In an ideal word when all works it’s fine although obviously sometimes you can have issues, but we have a good system so far- This circuit is quite hard for practice, so some cars might run into problems with their brakes, but it really depends how much you are willing to push on the brake cooling if you have issues or not.”
Diego Ioverno: “First time for Bahrain GP was in 2004. Since then the circuit has been a challenging environment for all the Formula1 team, including 15 corners and a long combination of straights, kinks and hairpins. The Bahrain circuit layout normally suits quite well to medium-to-low downforce car configuration. The circuit is very challenging also for Power Units and for brakes because of the heavy braking points. So, it is really important to look after the cooling of the car, as it is important also to give particular attention to the mechanical setup for the kerb driving”.
Sand and darkness also make this venue quite unique: “The circuit of Bahrain is in the middle of the desert. The sand in the past was a fact and we have been experiencing sessions heavily affected by the sand. More than this, in the last few years, Bahrain race was in night time, while free practice session were in the day. This has given another variable to the race weekend format, forcing teams to face cooling level changing during the whole weekend. So, this is another factor that makes the Bahrain race really challenging”.
Scuderia Ferrari have posted a film of Kimi Räikkönen completing his seat fitting for the team’s 2016 challenger ahead of the official launch of the car on the February 19th.
Team Principle Maurizio Arrivabene, and performance engineer Jock Clear are seen at the fitting, further serving to highlight the importance the Scuderia are placing of their 2016 assault on the championship.
Kimi’s race suit, seen here for the first time, is prominently white from around the drivers shoulder upwards, supporting rumours of an increased use of white on the 2016 livery, and features new sponsors to the team as mentioned here.
As the Scuderia come together to celebrate the start of the Christmas period and reflect on the achievements of the 2015 season, Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne thanked all the staff “and especially all the families, who supported them throughout a year of hard work. However, you know that the real battle starts in 2016, but we can count on two drivers who have already been world champions and engineers who can take us back to the top. This year, we’d have been happy with two wins, but we managed three, as well as a whole host of podium finishes. The most important thing is that, above all, we made the most of our in-house resources, without taking on too many outsiders.”
This sentiment was underlined by Scuderia Ferrari team principal, Maurizio Arrivabene. “Our aim for next year is to work with even more determination, to deserve this badge that we must wear with honour. A special thanks goes to our President, who has always supported us, putting himself in the front line. ‘We race’ is in our DNA.”
However, Christmas is also the time for gifts and those for Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Gutierrez were definitely made to measure, in the shape of armchairs made out of their respective driving seats.
Sebastian had prepared a long speech in perfect Italian. “This, my first year with Ferrari, has been fantastic, with plenty of successes. Hearing the German and Italian national anthems on the podium was an indescribable feeling. Thanks to all you men and women at Ferrari who, every year, put together this red miracle. Thanks for the affection you have shown me.”
Kimi’s message was more concise, but just as effective: This year did not get off to a very good start for me, but it ended on an upbeat. We must continue working together and then I’m sure the results will come. Because now, we are really a team and actually, I’m sure we will be a great team.” For the drivers, it’s now time for a holiday, but at Maranello, the work goes on…
With the 2015 Formula One Season having concluded under the spot lights of the Yas Marina Circuit, Scuderia Ferrari alongside technical partner Shell, offered a few insights into how an aggressive approach to developments powered the team to 14 podiums, three victories and second in the 2015 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship
Guy Lovett, Innovation Manager, Shell Motorsport commented:
“It was always our plan to adopt a more aggressive strategy in 2015 with the development of our Shell V-Power race fuel in comparison to previous years. We really applied our learnings from 2014, a year of new and innovative hybrid technology, to our 2015 race fuel, of which we introduced five new powerful blends. We worked closer than ever with our colleagues in Maranello where we fully integrated our development plans to optimise the fuel-engine package and it was great to see that our hard work paid off, helping to power the team back to winning ways. Now the hard work continues ahead of 2016.”
This approach translated into performance gains of up to half a second a lap, equating to a 30 second improvement in the overall race time. The partnership with Shell in both fuel and lubricants has delivered 25% of the performance gains the team have seen over the course of 2015. This gain exceeds all previous achievements of the partnership and serve as the key performance indicator behind the recently extended a partnership spanning over 50 years.
James Allison, Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari commented:
“2015 was a really positive year for Scuderia Ferrari and we made great strides in performance, particularly with the power unit, compared to last year. The considerable improvements Shell made with its Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell Helix Ultra with PurePlus Technology lubricant really did contribute to our own improvements on the race track, not only helping to deliver greater horsepower but reliability as well. Our Technical Partnership with Shell has never been stronger and we look forward to continuing our work with them for at least the next five years with the aim of winning more races and championships.”
The partnership can now fully shift focus to the 2016 season and work to ensure the Scuderia with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are in a position to battle for championship glory.