Ferrari’s Smedley on Silverstone, Mansellmania and their chances

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In perhaps Ferrari’s biggest show of support to Felipe Massa in a while, the team has dedicated an entire website post / press piece to his engineer, Rob Smedley.

Yes, yes, there’s a definite tie-in with the British Grand Prix, but we have to throw Felipe a bone when we can. (Mainly so he can thank us next year when we visit him at an IndyCar race.)

Rob waxes poetic, in the best style of Keats or Shelley:

“I love Silverstone, I have great memories and it’s like going home, my one trip per year. I first went there in 1988 with my dad. I was not even one hundred percent sure if I wanted to go. I was thirteen and I had never seen Formula 1 or knew anything about it. I was mad keen on football at the time, but I went and I was immediately hooked. It blew me away and I was mainly interested in the technical side. I remember we leapt over the fence into the paddock – something you couldn’t do today! – and some of the mechanics from the March team took us in to their garage and showed us around. So now, if kids with their dads stop me at the circuit, I’m always happy to have a chat with them, because I will always remember when someone was kind enough to do that for me when I was a lad.”

He also recalls the days of Nigel Mansell:

“My father was a big Nigel Mansell supporter at the time. He was driving for Williams and I think the whole country was supporting him as he was a fantastic driver. When I arrived at Silverstone for that first time on the Friday, I was not supporting anyone, but by the Friday night I was a Nigel Mansell fan too and I remained that way, even when he came here to Ferrari in the early 90s. After he stopped racing, I became less partisan and just enjoyed watching the racing and unbelievable drivers like Ayrton Senna. It was a magical time when you think of those great drivers and also how quick the cars were, given what people had to work with and the technology of those days, 20 years ago. It was quite incredible.”

Smedley suggests the race this weekend could be incredible, too:

“I think our chances are good at Silverstone this weekend, even if it’s no secret we still need to develop and have a quicker car. In Valencia we didn’t have the quickest car, but compared to the start of the year, we had a much improved car, which is down to a great job from the whole team. However, our car has always been particularly suited to high speed corners and Silverstone is dominated by high speed turns for almost two thirds of the track. I hope therefore that we can go and make the most of it; not only all the recent development work we have done on the F2012, but also the fact that our car is fundamentally good in high speed corners. That is why I feel we are in with a very good chance this weekend.”

Plus, we’ll be knee-capping Sebastian, so that should help, he added.

He also puts a number to how many drivers could win this weekend.

10.

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