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Massa on a high for Monza after Belgian boon 12 Sep 2008

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 11 September 2008 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008 Formula One Testing, Monza, Italy, Thursday 28 August 2008. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari in the FIA press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 11 September 2008 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008 Formula One Testing, Monza, Italy, Wednesday 27 August 2008.

Felipe Massa loves Monza, and after Ferrari’s recent test here he is expecting to challenge for a win that could take him to the top of the world championship points table.

“I really hope that we can be very competitive,” he said on Thursday. “McLaren showed for sure a very good performance on the test and also last year, so it will be a big competition for sure. But I think we are in the right direction in terms of preparing for this race and see if we can start on Friday and Saturday morning with a reasonable set up.

“We have seen many times this year that in the rain we lost a little bit of performance, so maybe it would be nice not to have the rain here and not have any opportunity to have a consistent race.

“I had great memories in the other categories, in Formula Renault, in Formula 3000, I always had very strong races here. Unfortunately in Formula One...last year it could have been a second place. We were doing a good race but then I had a mechanical problem in the car. I like the track and I am really motivated and optimistic that we can do a good job this weekend.”

He was also unimpressed with the arguments in Lewis Hamilton’s favour after the controversy in the Belgian Grand Prix, of which he was eventually declared the winner subject to appeal.

“To be honest, I've given my ideas on this many times about what happened. What's happened is that he took an advantage by cutting the chicane. You can ask other drivers how many overtaking manoeuvres you see there: no overtaking. Going from the last corner to the first corner is such a small straight, so he took an advantage, that's clear, that's my opinion, so it doesn't change.”

Clearly, the title fight now favours Massa as Hamilton’s main competitor, thanks to his five victories. “I see it as being pretty competitive,” he conceded. “I think when you see that there is a two points' difference and we have five races ahead of us, everything is really completely open.

“We have 50 points (available) in the championship which is quite a big number of points, compared to the difference, so the battle is one hundred per cent open. We saw this year that you have some races where maybe Ferrari were a little bit better. You had other races where perhaps McLaren were a little bit better. It's really difficult to make a clear comment on which track we maybe can have an advantage or not, or maybe if we have an advantage or if they have an advantage. I think it will be very competitive all through the races.”

On Thursday the Formula One teams announced that they have agreed to execute the articles of association of their new body, the so-called ‘Formula One Teams Association’ (FOTA). Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo is expected to be appointed as Chairman and Toyota’s John Howett as Vice-Chairman. Three commissions have also been established: the sporting working group, headed by McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh; the technical working group, headed by Honda’s Ross Brawn; and the commercial working group, headed by Renault’s Flavio Briatore.

David Tremayne