Ferrari F2007 - 2007 Brazilian GP - Raikkonen
The car that powered Kimi Räikkönen and Scuderia Ferrari to double 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship glory, the F2007 was a contender in one of the most exciting seasons in Formula 1 history. An evolution of the 248 F1, a car that itself came perilously close to both titles after a season-long battle with Renault, the F2007 took the Drivers’ Championship contest to the final race of the season against the equally competitive McLaren team.
The 2007 season was a significant year for the Scuderia; the main figures of Ferrari’s ‘golden era’ departed: seven team world champion Michael Schumacher retired, team principal Jean Todt switched to a less forward-facing role and chief engineer Ross Brawn took a sabbatical. The trio were replaced by Räikkönen (who would partner Brazilian Felipe Massa in his second season at Ferrari), Stefano Domenicali and Aldo Costa respectively, and faced a tough task to improve on the previous season’s results. The 248 F1 had secured nine victories from eighteen races but narrowly lost out to Fernando Alonso and Renault in the Championships standings.
Much of the work over the winter break focused on a revised front suspension, which saw Ferrari move from a single- to twin-keel arrangements for the lower wishbones. The rear suspension remained like that on the 248 F1, but Ferrari planned a significant development programme that was to be based on their learnings of the 2007 tyres. The F2007’s wheelbase was lengthened in the section between the cockpit and front suspension and featured re-sculpted side-pods and all-new front and rear wings to further maximise the aerodynamic potential and engine cooling. The rear of the car was much narrower, allowing for a more sculpted and compact gearbox housing. The gearbox itself was fitted with an innovative quick-shift system. The Tipo 056 engine received some revisions in order to comply with the 19,000 rpm rev limit imposed for the 2007 season.
Räikkönen immediately exhibited why Ferrari signed him to replace Schumacher, taking pole position and taking the victory, setting the fastest lap in the process. He became the fourth Ferrari driver in history to win on his debut. His teammate Massa would only manage sixth in the season opener but would go on to take pole in the next race in Malaysia. Unable to recover from a poor start, the Brazilian finished fifth, but his Finnish teammate claimed the final podium spot as McLaren established their title credentials with a 1-2 victory of their own, Fernando Alonso leading home rookie Lewis Hamilton. Massa led the entire field to victory from pole in the subsequent races in Bahrain and Spain, though Räikkönen retired from the latter with electrical issues after claiming another podium in Bahrain. The next three rounds were difficult for the Italian team as McLaren dominated, though Massa claimed three podium positions and Räikkönen continued to consistently finish in the points. Heading into July, Ferrari were trailing by 35 points in the standings.
Räikkönen and Massa bounced back in style at the French Grand Prix, taking a 1–2 victory after Massa set the fastest time in qualifying. The Finn continued this momentum into the British Grand Prix, winning from second on the grid, whilst Massa came home in fifth. Raikkonen claimed a strong pole position in the next race at the European Grand Prix but retired on lap 34 after hydraulics problems. Massa secured second position after a chaotic race. Räikkönen continued his fine form, earning successive second place finishes at the Hungarian and Turkish Grand Prix, the latter as part of a second 1-2, Massa this time leading the Ferrari pair across the line. With five races to go, Ferrari and its driver duo had closed the gap in both Championships, but it would require a strong finish to contend with McLaren.
That said, round thirteen was a disaster for the Italian marque, beaten by a dominant McLaren in their own backyard, leaving their drivers and Constructors’ hopes increasingly unlikely, though still a mathematical possibility. However, whilst Massa fell out of the title chase despite three podiums in the final few races, Räikkönen was galvanised, hitting his best form of the season. A victory in Belgium, leading Massa to Ferrari’s third 1-2 of the season, closed the gap, and a third place in Japan kept him in contention. Another victory ahead of Alonso at the penultimate race in China took advantage of a huge error by Hamilton that saw him retire after beaching his car in the gravel at the pit entrance.
The finale in Brazil marked the first time since 1986 that three drivers had a chance of becoming World Champion in the final race of the season. Räikkönen trailed Alonso by three points in the standings, who himself was a further four points behind the leader Hamilton. The Finn would proceed to win the race from third, overtaking his teammate, who started on pole, for the victory. Alonso could manage no better than fourth whilst Hamilton, who would have secured the title with a fifth position, only finished seventh after suffering gearbox issues at the start of the race. For the first time since Giuseppe Farina in the inaugural Formula 1 season in 1950, the man who stood in third before the final race went on to win the Championship. Raikkonen was crowned World Champion, just a single point ahead Hamilton and Alonso. With a combined nine wins, the F2007 also secured the Constructors' trophy for Ferrari.
Overall, the Ferrari F2007 earned nine wins, thirteen further podiums, nine pole positions and twelve fastest laps in just seventeen races, scoring 204 points and securing Ferrari both the World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships. Ferrari’s points haul would have just seen them take the Constructors’ title, even with McLaren’s disqualification after the Spygate scandal.
This fine 1:8 scale model of the Ferrari F2007 is as raced to World Drivers’ Championship victory by Kimi Räikkönen during the Formula 1 Grande Prêmio do Brasil on the 21st of October 2007 at Autódromo José Carlos Pace. It was an epic conclusion to a fascinating season which saw Kimi Räikkönen winning not only the Brazilian Grand Prix but sealing the 2007 World Championship as well. Felipe Massa qualified on pole at his home Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso, the three drivers battling for Championship glory. Hamilton held a four-point advantage to Alonso and seven to the Räikkönen prior to a race where only ten points were available for the winning driver. The Ferrari duo started brilliantly, surging into the lead whilst Hamilton locked his brakes and went off track after trying to retake his position from Alonso. After recovering to sixth position, Hamilton suffered a gearbox problem, necessitating a reset of the systems on his car. This dropped him down to eighteenth position. A fifth position would have guaranteed the Championship for the British rookie. However, he could only recover to seventh place. Alonso drove a clean race but was unable to keep up with the Ferraris dictating the pace, eventually claiming the final podium position. Räikkönen drove a fast, clean race of his own, overtaking his Brazilian teammate in the final pit stop phases, setting record lap times in the process. At the chequered flag, Räikkönen was first, winning the race and the World Championship by a single point. He performed the seemingly impossible task of overturning Hamilton's 17-point advantage in just two races. Ferrari also sealed the Constructors’ Championship.