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GP Week : Issue 42
> F1CHINA> Ferrari still pointless ... A THIRD race with nil return for Ferrari has seen the team face its worst start to an F1 season since 1981. With an electrical problem curtailing a great race from Felipe Massa in the Chinese Grand Prix, and with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen again failing to score, the team is well aware of the fight that lies ahead for the rest of the season. “Today, we are very annoyed about what happened to Felipe,” Team Principal Stefano Domenicali admitted after the race. “He was driving an amazing race, when an electrical problem saw the engine die. He was third at the time and even though he had a heavy fuel load, he was lapping in the same time as the fastest and he would have almost certainly finished the race on the podium. Kimi switched his strategy, going from a two to a one stop, but he could not get higher than tenth. “The great shame is that at a time when technically we are not at our best, once again we failed to capitalise on circumstances. Now we look towards next weekend’s race in Bahrain in a realistic frame of mind: the car will be the same as here, even though we will look at running the KERS again. In the meantime, we have to work intensively on getting the new aerodynamic components to the for Force India race track, when the European part of the season gets underway in Barcelona.” Domenicali’s admission that Ferrari will think about running KERS in Bahrain comes on the back of Felipe Massa’s demands on the team to reintroduce the technology for the next race. Although reliability issues caused Ferrari to remove KERS in China, the team’s apparent lack of pace without the system was more marked than anyone within the team had allowed themselves to imagine as Massa claimed that the lack of KERS had cost FORCE India was left heartbroken after a potential sixth place finish for Adrian Sutil ended in the wall with just a smattering of laps left until the chequered flag. Sutil had raced well in the difficult conditions to take the fight to the fellow Mercedes-engined McLaren cars, but just it looked as though the German was set to record the team’s first F1 points he aquaplaned as he hit the crest at Turn 5 and skidded into a big crash into the barriers with just four laps of the race remaining. “I had prepared myself for a hard race and that’s exactly what it was,” Sutil said after the race. “We took a risk with the strategy with a very early stop and it was a long way to go with one set of tyres. Then it started to rain again and it was very hard to keep the car on the circuit. him at least half a second in qualifying trim. Following Kimi Raikkonen’s admission earlier in the weekend that he had already given up any hope of fighting for the title in 2009, the latest from China is that Ferrari may take the unprecedented decision of sacrificing the remainder of this season by following the BrawnGP example of stopping all development of this season’s car as early as the start of the European season to concentrate fully on 2010. “Sometimes even in a straight line in fourth or fifth gear I was struggling with aquaplaning and I was very lucky to keep the car on the circuit for so long. It’s a shame - you focus so much and think you can do it, but the car was just out of control at the end.” Sutil admitted that his feelings were similar to missing out on a sure points finish in Monaco last season, when Kimi Raikkonen had collided with him under braking for Nouvelle Chicane with just a few laps of the race left. “It’s hard to believe when you are in the car and then suddenly you lose it and it’s all over from such a great position. But you have to get over it .We had a great performance today. It’s good for the team and I think we deserved the points, I just feel bad for everyone here.” 27