Shanghai, 11 April – After ten years of coming to the Shanghai circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix, the veteran F1 media know they have a busy time on Thursday as they negotiate the labyrinth of paths that lead to the team hospitality areas, perched on stilts above an artificial lake in the paddock. But they all found their way to the Scuderia Ferrari unit for the regular pre-weekend chat with Felipe Massa.
The Brazilian was first faced with the statistic that, if he is quicker than Alonso on Saturday afternoon, he will be the first of the Spaniard’s F1 team-mates to out-qualify him five times in a row. “Honestly I never thought about it,” admitted a surprised Felipe. “All I can say is that I’m pleased with my start to the season and want to continue in this fashion. That statistic isn’t what gives me pleasure. What I like is to go well and to feel confident in the car. These sorts of figures only give you problems. I just want to get on with doing a good job.”
Wisely, the Ferrari man would not set himself any clear cut target for the third round of the world championship. “Our aim for this weekend is the same as always, which is to work to keep improving the car, especially in qualifying. If we manage to do that and at a rate a little bit quicker than the others, then we can be more competitive in qualifying and even in the race too. The key is to work in the right direction throughout all the championship.”
Finally, the inevitable question in the wake of the Malaysian team-orders story involving Mercedes and especially Red Bull. “I approve of the intelligent use of team orders and by that I mean those that come at key moments of the championship, not in the second race of the season,” explained Felipe. “They must be taken with the good of the team in mind. I have helped many drivers, for example with Kimi when he won the championship with Ferrari and again last year with Fernando, when he was fighting for the title. I have no problem with team orders that fit these criteria.”