Felipe Massa simply out to lunch
Felipe Massa said that Pirelli's new hard tire compound caused him 'lots of problems' during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Massa was twice seen to lose the rear end of his car under braking, on one occasion running off through the gravel and almost in to the tire wall. With all of the teams trying to evaluate new upgrades during the two practice sessions, Massa said the issues with the tires had prevented him finding out the full potential of Ferrari's new parts.
"That wasn't an easy day for me. I had lots of problems getting the tires to work, especially the hard compound, and I didn't manage to put together a good time. That's a pity because the new parts that we've brought here have improved our performance, even though the other teams remain very strong: there's still a crucial gap to our main rivals. Now we must make the right choices to prepare as best we can for qualifying and the race."
Massa also said that his excursion through the gravel in the afternoon session was down to his troubles with the tires.
"As for the tires, I prefer not to go into details. Let's say that there's a lot of work to do in this area. When I went off the track I lost the rear and I ended up in the gravel: I passed very close to the barriers but fortunately I didn't touch them so I managed to make it back onto the track without damage."
Assistant technical director Pat Fry was less pessimistic about Friday's running, saying that a number of upgrades had given Ferrari a step forward in performance.
"A lot on the menu today this Friday in Montmelo and an initial reaction would be that first impressions are positive. We had a lot of new components to test: as always happens in these situations, some worked well, others less so and now it's a case of putting together the jigsaw puzzle with the best pieces available. We also tried new aerodynamic concepts to assess how useful they might be. All in all, I think we have made progress in terms of performance, even if it is difficult to specify exactly if and by how much we have closed the gap to the quickest."
Fry did agree that the tires were going to play a key role, expecting the number of pit stops to be high once again.
"The aim is to improve our performance in qualifying and also make progress in terms of our race pace, working down the same route we have taken for the past few races. It will not be easy to succeed but we are confident. Compared to what we saw in winter testing, even taking into account the fact temperatures are much higher now, tire degradation seems very high: in fact I reckon the pit stop crew will have a lot of work to do on Sunday afternoon…" ESPN F1