Ferrari Ready to Do Battle

by : Lauren Woods

The upcoming European Grand Prix will be a focal point in the battle for supremacy in the ongoing 2007 Formula One season. Although McLaren is leading Ferrari in the constructors' championship standings, Ferrari is staging a comeback of sorts. After bowing down to McLaren in the North American leg of the Formula One season, Ferrari has come back with two consecutive wins - both by former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen.

The Italian Formula One team Scuderia Ferrari recently arrived in Germany to prepare for the battle this weekend. Raikkonen's back-to-back victory at the French and British Grands Prix, Ferrari is now being seen as a strong contender to McLaren's leadership.

Kimi Raikkonen is currently third in the drivers' championship standings behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen is just six points behind the double world champion Alonso and 18 points behind rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton.

Although going into the European Grand Prix after two consecutive wins, Raikkonen has to contend with history as his last three races at the NÃ?rburgring resulted to retirement. The Finn though is looking to stop that string of bad races at 'the Ring' with Ferrari. This is the first year of the Finn in the Italian team and he said that: "never had a perfect race at the NÃ?rburgring with my former team - now it's time to succeed."

Raikkonen is also looking for a hat trick or three wins in a row. "It was great to win two consecutive races but we must continue to work hard to stay ahead of our main rivals. Let's hope we can make a hat trick as we did at Magny-Cours and Silverstone," he said. The Finn will be participating in the Friday test runs, the qualifying sessions on Saturday and on Sunday's race onboard his F2007 which has been performing at a high level. During the last two races, the car performed at its highest level, better than a Ferrari with the .

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa who was overtaken by Raikkonen in the standings is confident going into the weekend event. "I am confident we have a very good package as we have seen from the last two races," the Brazilian Formula One driver said in an interview. "If I have to compare the F2007 with the McLaren, maybe our strong point is that we are better in the race, while maybe they have a slight edge in qualifying."

Thus, the Brazilian maintained that he is looking for a good qualifying session on Saturday. "Qualifying is important here at this track," Massa said. "The whole first sector of the track has a lot of slow corners where you can lose a lot of time if you make a mistake. Also in the final sector, with its chicane, it can be tricky."

The race though is taking a backseat to the spying scandal which involves Ferrari and McLaren. According to preliminary information, a Ferrari employee is secretly divulging secret information to a McLaren employee. Nigel Stepney of Ferrari has already been sacked while McLaren's Mike Coughlan has been suspended. The matter is already being investigated by the sport's ruling body. The FIA has already summoned McLaren to an inquiry which will be held four days after the race.

Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton, and Alonso said that they are not concerned about the issue for one thing or another. "I don't want to discuss it, because for sure it is not a nice thing and I prefer to concentrate on my racing," said Massa. Alonso also said that he is focusing on driving.