• Massa Crash in Monaco Practice Hampers Quali Effort

    Ferrari’s Felipe Massa crashed heavily in an accident-strewn final Monaco Grand Prix practice session today, with Nico Rosberg completing a sweep of fastest times for Mercedes.
    The Brazilian wrestled with a seemingly unresponsive steering wheel, before locking up on the brakes and smashing into the steel guardrail on the pit straight.
    The Ferrari then plunged nose-first into the energy-absorbing plastic safety barrier at the Ste. Devote corner, bringing out red flags with 23 minutes remaining and leaving Massa’s mechanics with a major repair job before later qualifying.
    They were not the only ones handed an increased workload, with Force India’s Adrian Sutil hitting the barriers at Massenet on the rise to Casino Square with 15 minutes remaining and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean also coming to grief at Ste. Devote. after crashing there yesterday.
  • Fry Fit for Monaco

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    Ferrari technical director Pat Fry will return to duty at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend after recovering from appendicitis.
    Pat Fry
    The Briton was forced to miss the last Formula 1 race at Barcelona after he wasstruck down with the illness on the morning of qualifying and taken to hospital.
    Following a successful operation in Spain, Fry was able to return home to Italy and Ferrari has done all it can to help him in his recovery.
    Fry will skip the opening day of practice in Monaco for further recuperation, but will fly in on Friday to help Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa’s efforts for the crucial qualifying and race days.
  • Alonso Storms to Home Spanish Victory

    Fernando AlonsoFerrari’s Fernando Alonso sent his home crowd into raptures by beating Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
    He took his second victory of the year and moved into third place in the championship with a four-stop strategy while Raikkonen did three.
    Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was third and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel fourth.
    Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton faded to sixth and 12th after starting from the front row.
    The Mercedes cars struggled with high tyre usage, their bugbear for several years, and were unable to hold onto their positions at the head of the field.
    Spanish fansRosberg, who did three stops, managed his tyres better than Hamilton, who made four but was unable to sustain a competitive pace.
    Alonso laid the foundations for his victory by moving up from his fifth place on the grid to third on the first lap with a superlative passing move on the first lap, overtaking both Raikkonen and Hamilton around the outside of the fast Turn Three.
    Alonso trailed Rosberg and Vettel until the first pit stops, during which he leapfrogged Vettel, and took the lead from Rosberg into Turn One at the start of lap 13.
    From then on, the question was whether Alonso could build enough of a lead to enable him to make an extra pit stop and still beat Raikkonen.
    He did so comfortably, rejoining from his third stop on lap 36 just five seconds behind Raikkonen, both with one stop remaining and Alonso on much fresher tyres.
    It took Alonso only two laps to catch and pass Raikkonen, from where the Spaniard cruised to the 32nd victory of his career, moving him ahead of Nigel Mansell into fourth place in the all-time winners’ list behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
    It also significantly boosted his championship hopes, closing his deficit to leader Vettel from 30 to 17 points. Raikkonen stays second, just four points behind the German.
    Hamilton slipped from third to fourth place in the championship but is 22 points behind Alonso and only five ahead of Massa.
    After losing the lead to Alonso, Raikkonen was left comfortably ahead of Massa, who made a bid to close in on the Finn before Raikkonen responded with six laps to go to show he was in control.
    Vettel appeared for a while to be trying the same three-stop strategy as Raikkonen, stopping at similar times to the Finn in the early part of the race.
    But without the race pace to challenge for the lead, he made a fourth stop only three laps after Alonso’s and had to settle for fourth.
  • Allison set to Leave Lotus

    James AllisonLotus technical director James Allison, one of the most highly regarded design engineers in F1, is to leave the team.
    Lotus are expected to imminently announce Allison’s departure, and his replacement by Nick Chester.
    It is not known which team Allison is joining, but Ferrari are strong favourites.
    Allison has had an offer from McLaren, which he is understood to have turned down, and has also been approached by Williams and Mercedes.
    His departure is a blow to Lotus, whose driver Kimi Raikkonen is second in the world championship to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, ahead of the fifth race of the season in Spain this weekend.
    Allison’s future has been the subject of fevered speculation in F1 for some weeks.
    He has been linked to all the top teams – Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes – as well as Williams.
    But a Red Bull source dismissed the notion that Allison would be joining them and BBC Sport understands Allison has rejected an offer from McLaren.
    Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff told BBC Sport that Allison had been approached by the team’s non-executive director during the winter but that it was “historical” and appeared to rule out his appointment.
    Mercedes have already signed former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe, who will join the team in 2014 in a senior technical role overseeing the team’s current structure.
    If Allison does move to Ferrari, it is unclear what role he would take – the team’s technical director Pat Fry has been in his role for less than two years.
    Fry and Allison have previously been colleagues, at the Benetton team in the 1990s.
    Allison worked at Ferrari for five years from 2000, the period during which they dominated F1 with Michael Schumacher, before moving back to Renault – which was renamed Lotus in 2012 – in 2005 as deputy technical director.
    He was in that role as Fernando Alonso won his two titles for the team in 2005-6 and was promoted to technical director in 2009.

  • Marussia Set for Ferrari Engines in 2014

    Marussia is closing in on an engine deal for 2014 with Jules Bianchi’s arrival earlier this season bringing the team closer to Ferrari.
    Marussia currently runs Cosworth engines but the British supplier is not expected to stay in the sport when the new 1.6-litre turbo engines replace the current V8s next season. Only Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault have confirmed they will stay in Formula One under the new regulations, but with Renault already supplying four teams and in talks with Toro Rosso for 2014, Marussia has approached Ferrari and Mercedes.
    “Renault have made it clear they’ve got enough on their plate,” Marussia technical director Pat Symonds told Sky Sports. “Both Ferrari and Mercedes have been very positive with us. I say it’s near, because if it’s not then we’re not going to have a car. My original target for getting a 2014 engine deal was the end of May … but it was the end of May 2012. So we are behind where we want to be.”