asphalt.jpgRemember how last year used to be about waiting nervously for Friday practice not having a clue as to how the weekend was going to turn out, reading up all you can on tyre chemistry in the mean-time? With the new rule on single tyre manufacturer, if you were relieved that you no longer need to look up rubber, carbon, mechanical oil and vulcanization…well, don’t be. Apparently it is all about asphalt now, at least according to our Felipe Massa. “I think in some things the performance is related to the type of asphalt, like in Monaco and Canada, and our car did not work” says Felipe, so it’s on to reading up on crude oil and distillation then, wishing you had paid a bit more attention in your Chem 101 class. And its back to chewing on your fingernails and hoping that whatever type the dashed asphalt is, it is something that would suit the red cars.

The good news thus far is, we have favorable asphalt at Indianapolis (whatever that means) and the Ferraris at least look comparable to their McLaren counterparts.  And BMW is not too far behind. Sebastian Vettel will be replacing Kubica at Indy after BMW got the required permission slip signed by Vettel’s parents allowing him to stay up late during the race weekend. Provided he drinks his glass of milk before going to bed of course, otherwise the contract will be rendered null and void. That said, Vettel did a wonderful job in the practice sessions today, finishing as high up as fourth in session 1.

Michael Schumacher did not make an appearance in Indy today, but it is rumored that he is very displeased with Ralf for generating headlines like “Schumacher warned to improve or lose his job”. For one heart-stopping moment there, Michael apparently thought Jean Todt had been speaking to the press. Incidentally, if you’ve been thinking Michael’s job involves lounging around at the pitwall pretending to be working hard, you couldn’t have been more mistaken. “Michael is part of our team.” says Domenicali, starting out on his well rehearsed routine, “You have seen sometimes that he is at the races but that is not the main role and the main activity that he has. He’s working with us and mainly with us and with our engineers in order to give his advice, his contribution to the way that he knows how to work around the car. This is something connected to F1 but he has also an important role on the other side of the factory on the road cars. His experience is very important in tuning up the cars for our customers”. Whatever you say, Stefano.

The McLaren cars look to be in dominant form judging from the practice sessions today, and Alonso finished on top in both the sessions. Apart from the McLaren, Ferrari and BMW, Williams has been playing the catch-up part to perfection, and Renault is doing decently as well. It’s up to Ferrari now to keep up with McLaren and overtake them if possible. “I’m pretty sure we will see the real Kimi very, very soon” says Stefano. Assuming the ‘real Kimi’ would be a bit more consistent than the existing version, we hope so too. Forza Ferrari.