Experience counts and Felipe Massa is well aware of that, especially when it comes to the debut of a new Formula 1 car, when it’s that initial feeling that matters. Today, in the hands of the Brazilian, the Ferrari F138 got its first kilometres under its belt – 284 to be precise – during the opening day of a month of testing spent on Spanish soil. Felipe seemed calm and relaxed at the end of the day and that’s the impression he gave the journalists here in Jerez, as he told them he was pleased with the work the team had done. “The first impression is definitely a positive one,” maintained the Ferrari man. “We did not run as much as I had expected, but that’s normal when you are testing a new car. On a track like this where traction counts for a lot and the tyres feel it, I got a positive feeling as far as the balance of the car is concerned and I think that, especially at the rear, we are going in the right direction and it feels more solid. It’s definitely a different situation to last year, because the basis for this year is in much better shape. There is still a way to go before we understand the true behaviour of the car, but we are on the right road. There is still a great deal to do, as far as testing and development are concerned, but I am confident that this year, we will not lose time in understanding, as happened in 2012, what was the problem and how to solve it. Now we have a little more than a month to concentrate on the job, to be as well prepared as possible for the first race.”
Scuderia Ferrari was sixth on the time sheet, but it’s always difficult to evaluate what that means during testing, because of the usual unknowns linked to fuel load and in this case, the fact it’s the very first day, when the work schedule can vary a lot from team to team. Tomorrow, Felipe will be back at the wheel for another busy session.