F1 2016 Team Preview: Scuderia Ferrari

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After getting back on its feet in 2015 and returning to the top step of the podium after two years away, Ferrari enters the new Formula 1 season with a great deal of expectation resting upon its shoulders.

Sebastian Vettel is widey regarded as being the only driver who can end Mercedes’ dominance and break up the Hamilton-Rosberg stranglehold at the front of the pack, and after an impressive showing in pre-season testing, hopes are high for the onlooking crowd – including Bernie Ecclestone.

TEAM: Scuderia Ferrari
ENGINE: Ferrari
CAR: Ferrari SF16-H

2015 STATS

Races: 19
Wins: 3
Podiums: 16
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 3
Points: 428
Laps Led: 186
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 3rd (Sebastian Vettel); 4th (Kimi Raikkonen)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 2nd

2016 LINE-UP

5. Sebastian Vettel (GER)
7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN)


Ferrari made a noisy return to the top table of F1 last year as the new regime of Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrivabene got to work. With the power unit struggles that blighted its efforts in 2014 now resolved, Ferrari made an early impact in 2015 as Vettel won just his second race for the Italian marque. Two more victories would follow, and although the German could not mount a serious title challenge, he once again emerged as a threat to the leading drivers in F1. Kimi Raikkonen had a quiet season en route to fourth in the drivers’ championship, showing flashes of his old self that convinced Ferrari to keep him for another year.


Given the dominance that Ferrari enjoyed in the early 2000s, it seems odd to think that a little over 10 years later, the neutral is now willing the Prancing Horse on. Realistically, Ferrari is the only team that can rival Mercedes for the championship this year. Testing was encouraging as both Vettel and Raikkonen led on multiple days, yet with Mercedes failing to truly unleash the pace of the W07, quite how close Ferrari is at the from remains unclear. Nevertheless, with Vettel at the wheel, beating last year’s haul of three victories will be the minimum goal for Ferrari.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.