Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Fernando Alonso has finished on the podium of four of the last five races.
Fernando Alonso has finished on the podium of four of the last five races.

Ferrari expect to be on pace at German Grand Prix

Championship leader Fernando Alonso has been on the podium in four of the last five races.

More than one-fifth of the drivers in Sunday's German Grand Prix will be competing in their home race, yet the majority of the subplots that are expected to play out this weekend offer a more international flavour.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari's Spanish driver, leads the drivers' standings, despite the Italian manufacturers being slow out of the blocks. The 30 year old's first four races this year saw him finish fifth, first, ninth and seventh, but he has now finished on the podium at four of the last five grands prix, including victory in Valencia.

Andrea Stella, Alonso's race engineer, said expectations have risen since the start of the season and he expects Ferrari to be fighting at the front once again in Hockenheim.

"The car was good in Valencia, it was also good in Silverstone," Stella said. "And as Hockenheim is a mix of the slow speed of Valencia and high speed of Silverstone, I would expect Ferrari to be competitive in Germany.

"At the start of the season it would have required one to be extremely optimistic to imagine such a situation. But in this sport, things can change very quickly and we have always maintained a positive attitude. The current situation is the result of this attitude combined with a lot of hard work."

One topic that is sure to garner interest in the paddock at the Hockenheimring is the future of Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa.

The Brazilian was widely expected to be replaced come December, but following a resurgence in performance coupled with the news that Mark Webber rejected Ferrari's approaches in favour of renewing his deal at Red Bull Racing, the 31-year-old Massa is now feeling more confident.

"I think if we keep working like that and keep improving the car and working, I don't see a reason why I cannot be here," said Massa, who finished fourth at the British Grand Prix last week to mark his best result in two years. "I feel much more comfortable, and driving in the direction that I like.

"I feel there is a lot more to come. This is the direction we need to keep working; to improve the situation and to make a different championship for myself from now until the end of the season."

Massa's compatriot Bruno Senna has also seen his performances this season result in rumours he may lose his seat with some suggesting the Williams driver might not last until the end of the season.

Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish reserve driver for Sir Frank Williams's storied marque, completed a successful two-day young driver test last week and said he feels ready to make the step up.

The F1 calendar includes a month-long break next month that has traditionally been viewed as an opportunity for teams to make personnel changes.

"I would like a race seat in F1, I think that is my next goal," Bottas said. "I think next season I would be ready, or even now if someone asked me to race, for sure I would do it. I would feel happy to step in to the car.

"But every time I am in the car, I am learning all the time and getting better all the time. But for sure at some point you have to have your first race."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE & Gary Meenaghan @GMeenaghan

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Faisal Al Ketbi, standing, has been the poster boy for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Courtesy of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Faisal Al Ketbi is in spotlight for world jiu-jitsu championships at Abu Dhabi

Faisal Al Ketbi is the poster boy for UAE jiu-jitsu, with his picture prominent in the billboards and advertisements for this week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

 Broadcast crews have been working to adjust UAE's cricket stadiums, such as Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, for the IPL, such as installing the cables for cameras. The opening match between Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders is April 16, 2014 at at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

IPL turns UAE into cricket’s world stage

The Indian Premier League’s UAE schedule will be a television production emanating in the Middle East, choreographed from Singapore and involving a Belgian who happily admits to being a cricket novice.

 Lalit Modi during the 2010 Indian Premier League T20 Final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings played at DY Patil Stadium on April 25, 2010 in Navi Mumbai, India. Ritam Banerjee / Getty Images

IPL’s best moments: April 25, 2010 - Modi’s final farewell

Lalit Modi, the league’s first commissioner, knew his days were numbered when he made a closing speech ahead of the 2010 tournament finale.

 Abdelaziz Haikal, left, avoids getting tackled, but his Al Ahli side were forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli miss huge opportunity to progress in ACL

Dubai side forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

 Godolphin is hoping to get a clear picture of  Ihtimal at Newmarket. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Godolphin to get a good look at Ihtimal’s form at Newmarket

The true abilities of Godolphin’s Ihtimal will be brought more into focus on Wednesday after a trio of fillies turn out at the headquarters of British racing for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National