Q&A: Massa positive after F60 debut 13 Jan 2009
Ferraris Felipe Massa declared himself satisfied after sampling his new charge, the F60, for the very first time at Mugello on Monday. Massa covered over 100 kilometres of the Italian track in the new Ferrari, as he evaluated the cars engine, gearbox, suspension and newly-fitted KERS system. Here he reviews his first day back in the cockpit after the winter break
Q: What are your first impressions of the new single-seater?
Felipe Massa: This car is completely different from the one we had last year. Many rules have changed and they are all visible, the impact of the rules, such as the introduction of the KERS, the changed aerodynamics; all these things make it very different for us all to drive. For the first day there weren't planned 100 laps or particular lap times, because when the rules change in such an important way, the shakedown becomes more difficult and delicate. We resolved some minor problems today and I'm glad that I went 100 kilometres using the KERS, which was the part that worried us most. We started to use it just a bit in the beginning and then we raised its performance level. In the upcoming tests we'll have the possibility to try out all its different aspects. We used this first day to check the general functioning of the engine, the gearbox, the suspension and the KERS; it was positive, because everything worked just fine. We wanted to do 100 laps, but in reality we tested more than we had actually expected to.
Q: It seems that these cars are much more difficult to drive, because they need to be controlled much more due to KERS, flap and the slick tyres. Can you confirm that?
FM: That's true. It's a car with many changes and driving it will be different. You can feel it much more now, but once you know the car and the new rules it's automatic; we've seen that over the last years.
Q: Ahead of the 2009 season there are insecurities concerning all aspects of Formula One racing. How do you feel it on a personal level and within the team?
FM: The people inside the team share the same motivation and the same work approach; I have to say that they're all quite similar to how they were the years before; obviously when there are major changes from one year to the next, the way we work changes in certain areas. The atmosphere I sense is very good and everybody is pushing hard inside the Team, from the President, to Stefano (Domenicali) and the technical department. I'm happy that I can be part of the team and I hope that we continue to improve every week, just like we did in our good years. It's true, it's the start of a new cycle, a different one for Formula One, but we're convinced that we can fight in a very competitive championship.
Q: The new rules made the car much uglier than in previous years. Do you like it?
FM: When I came over from Brazil I thought: I've seen several things in the wind tunnel, but the complete car is different. Over the last few years, we've always seen a much nicer car year after year. I didn't expect a beautiful car, but I have to say it is very beautiful, despite all the rules, which make the cars uglier. Let's hope it's fast. I'd prefer an ugly car that's fast over a beautiful car that's slow.
Q: Did you have fun today or was it just technical work?
FM: It's much more fun when there are other cars, when you can compare your lap times. So today was less fun in this respect, but we were here to run the car, which was the main goal. I had fun doing that. I hope that next week in Portugal I'll have a car I can drive the whole day.
Q: After last season's disappointment in the championship, have you met up with McLarens Lewis Hamilton?
FM: I met him at the FIA presentation of the prizes at the end of the year. I said hello and congratulated him, because I think that's correct. During the holidays I've been thinking a lot, as usual, about what happened and now I'm more eager to win than ever. We didn't win, it's not because we didn't merit it, but because it had to be like that. I'm eager to fight in this year's championship. I don't want to look back, I want to look forward. There are bad days, but the nice days are worth much more to learn for the future.