Which F1 team has improved the most in 2010? Ferrari says, ‘Ferrari’

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Talk about breaking news. Ferrari has a little post at its site in which it claims that the Scuderia are clearly the most improved team in 2010.

The post doesn’t quite point out that McLaren is pretty close behind, by Ferrari’s own simple measurements. It does point out which team has taken the biggest step back. (We’ll let you think that one through for a moment, if it takes that long.)

Here’s the basic set-up:

If one applies last season’s scoring system to 2010, allowing for a correction for the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix, where only half points were awarded as the event did not reach the 75% distance rule for full points, one can see that the team which has made the most progress is Ferrari, gaining 41 points, followed by McLaren (+33,) Renault (+11) and Red Bull (+4) while the newly born Mercedes team has spiralled down 47 points compared to its former incarnation, Brawn GP.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, and by no means should it be, here’s a little extra juice from Maranello:

The Scuderia’s progress is also visible from the fact that, with the old points system, Fernando Alonso would today be leading the Championship, albeit by just one point ahead of Button (28 to 27) and the team would be joint leader with McLaren on 47.

I think I can translate that second quote: “Hope you’re enjoying rallying, Kimi!”

I do find this crunching of numbers strange. What’s the motivation for Ferrari? I think any F1 fan, even a casual one, recognizes that Ferrari is back in the mix of things. Alonso is solidly in second place in the drivers championship, after his “thank you very much Lewis” second-place finish in Valencia. And the constructor’s championship is, frankly, about as close as you could want. If you haven’t checked after the Spanish GP, your leader is still McLaren at 119 points, followed by Ferrari at 116 and Red Bull at 113. With the podium finishes earning the points they do this season, those are negligible differences. Even Mercedes, at 72 points, isn’t out of the running if one of its drivers could sneak to the top of the podium in the next race or two.

[Mercedes CEO Nick Fry says as much in an Autosport story today:

“I think talking about where this is going to end up at the end of the year is massively premature,” said Fry. “I think Christian [Horner] will say the same thing, with 25 points for a first place there is a lot of races and a lot of points to be won before now and then.

“The performance of McLaren last year from a miserable performance to a great performances at the end shows what can be done if you have the resources to do it.

“I think either for those of us who are a bit slower than Red Bull to admit defeat or for them to declare success would be premature in the extreme.”

Especially with the “anything can happen, especially given the crowded qualifying field” race at Monaco approaching this weekend, the championships could look pretty different come Sunday.]

But, again, with Ferrari. Why when the team is “back” would it go out of its way to shout, “We’re back!” Is it because the team expects Felipe Massa to continue dropping down the grid? Is it continued looming engine problems, even with the FIA-approved fixes? Is it a result of Michael Schumacher showing some form?

The statement reads to me, at least, as if it comes from a team that thinks it might be at its best moment right now. So, I say, watch Ferrari’s form over the next race or two and we’ll see if post-Spain was a high point for the team in 2010.


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