Felipe Massa at Ferrari's annual Wrooom media event
Felipe Massa is now the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro veteran. Since the departure of Luca Badoer, the Brazilian driver is the man with the longest service for the Maranello team. Under contract with Maranello since 2001, Felipe is now in his sixth season as an official Ferrari driver. He spoke to the media at the Wrooom event.
“My target for this season is simple: to win races and to fight for the title,” said Massa. “I know that things didn’t go well last year but that is the past. I believe I can return to fight for the crown and I have nothing else in my mind. I am happy to start the year here at Wrooom: it’s a very enjoyable week. As I’ve now been coming here for so long, I’ve also learnt to appreciate snow, something that we Brazilians don’t see very often. I’ve always enjoyed skiing because I did in on water when I was young. Here I’ve also learned how to do it on snow.”
On the causes of his difficulties last season, the Brazilian driver explained, “I was never comfortable with the tires, in particular the front ones. I didn’t manage to adapt my driving style to those tires, which were very different to the ones from 2009. That took its toll, especially in qualifying and when the available compounds were the hardest ones.”
He admitted, “There were never problems with motivation, not even after a difficult weekend like Hockenheim. Fernando was better than me but I know my potential and I know that the team believes in me. In the past I’ve always had very strong team-mates, like Michael and Kimi, but I’d never found myself in a situation of not being comfortable with the car, as I had in 2010. The critics? They haven’t hurt me, what troubled me was not having the results I wanted.”
Massa said of the return of KERS, “Compared to 2009 the situation is different because the minimum weight of the car has gone up. Two years ago every ounce could have an influence while today there’s a bit more margin. Anyway, I believe I’m one of the lightest drivers, if not the lightest: let’s say I will always pay attention to avoid gaining weight – but without going over the top.”
2011 will offer innovations other than the return of KERS, from Pirelli tires to the new adjustable rear wing. “I think that these changes are going in the right direction,” said Massa. “We will certainly have more buttons on the steering wheel and we will have to pay a lot of attention – for example with the buttons to activate KERS, which you don’t use all in one go but at different parts of the circuit according to the track and the moment. As for the rear wing, we won’t be able to make a judgment until the first races.”
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