Massa: "Slick tires - like going to Disneyland!" For the first time this year, Felipe Massa met the media in the more spacious and organized surroundings of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media unit in the paddock, as this and all the other team vehicles are now back in action for the European races.
The championship is looking very close this year and the Brazilian was first asked about which teams he regarded as the strongest opposition. "As usual, our rivals will be the same as we have seen throughout the start of this championship, which means McLaren and BMW. As for the other teams it is difficult to say what progress they have made. It is never easy to understand exactly what goes on at test sessions, but the test here at this circuit last week was particularly difficult to evaluate, given that sometimes the weather played a part and at other times, people were running slick tires. So the lap times meant very little, but I believe those other two teams will be the main threat as usual." Asked about his first drive on F1 tires without grooves, Felipe seemed very enthusiastic. "Driving the car in 2008 configuration, with much more downforce than we will have next year, on slick tires, was like going to Disneyland! It was incredible. I have to say it is much nicer to drive the car on slicks."
As for his win in Bahrain, Felipe attached less significance to it than people might think. "Of course it was great to get the win, but it was not a case of what I know some people said, that before I had not been concentrating fully or that something had changed. Before Bahrain, I had a couple of bad days that's all, so the win did not come because of some change of attitude on my part, nor does it change my attitude now. I was always competitive this season and simply, until Bahrain the results had not come. My work method has not changed and together with the good team we have, I will continue to work in the same way."
The FIA has launched a campaign against racism in motor sport this weekend, following on from an incident when McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was the subject of abuse at this circuit during winter testing. The Ferrari man had this to say on the subject: "Racism is a bad thing in every walk of life, not just in sport. As for the incident here several months ago, I think this was more of a war between the Spanish and English media, but whatever that particular situation, racism has no part in life, as everyone is equal, no matter what race they are, what country they come from or whatever the color of their skin."
Back to the racing this weekend and Massa feels he has good reason to look forward to the next three days. "I think it will be a very tough weekend as usual and the fact I won here last year does not mean I will win on Sunday. However, I know I can be very competitive, as last week's test was very good for us, with quick and consistent lap times and a reliable car. We found a good set-up on the car, we did a high mileage and we managed to fix a few small details that were not perfect at the start of the championship. I am looking forward to a very good weekend: if I win fantastic, but otherwise, we need to think about getting as many points as possible. BMW currently leads the Constructors' championship and this weekend we need to try and get ahead of them."