While the rumors are still swirling around Fernando Alonso and who he’ll be driving for next year, most likely Ferrari, he still has the task at hand this weekend. That of course is driving in front of the Ferrari home crowd in Italy. Even Alonso has practically taken himself out of the running for the win in Monza saying “Something unusual would have to happen” on the Ferrari website this week but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
While a win might be a pipe dream a podium finish isn’t out of reach. It’s going to take a big push to make it there, as well as some bad luck from the top of the field from Mercedes front runners Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as well as Red Bull’s work horse for 2014, Daniel Ricciardo. But Ferrari has been showing signs of life as of late.
Alonso picked up the team’s second podium of the year just before the summer break finishing second in Hungary and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen picked up right where Alonso left off just missing the podium with a fourth place at Spa in the first race back from break. It is an especially welcoming finish for the Finn as it is the first time he’s been able to best Alonso this season. It also makes back to back finishes in the points for the pair for the first time since Canada and Austria.
While it is a good thing to have momentum and a race in your constructors’ home country, the type of track that they will be racing on in Monza doesn’t benefit the Ferrari team very much. A high speed track with really only a couple of turns has the Ferraris worried. Neither straight line speed, nor aerodynamic downforce but that shouldn’t be as much of an issue here, has been Ferrari’s strong suit this season. As usual on the surface it would appear the stage is set for more Mercedes domination. The only bit of good news is the Red Bull teams have also been struggling for straight line speed. But that doesn’t mean Red Bull and Ferrari will be in a dogfight for a spot on the podium. There are plenty other Mercedes power plants in the field that will gladly fill any empty spots on the podium if Red Bull and Ferrari can’t keep up.
So at a place where top speeds will see the top spot on the podium Ferrari is at a disadvantage as a whole. But the hard driving Alonso has yet to be thwarted out of the points yet this season and will be waiting should faster cars make mistakes entering the chicanes after running speeds over 330km/h. Stay tuned Sunday to see how it all unravels.
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