Monaco, 22 May – With a crowd of spectators hanging off the fence opposite the Ferrari motorhome, shouting his name, Felipe Massa stepped into the Scuderia’s media unit that is parked alongside the Monte Carlo harbour for his first encounter of the week with the press. The all-important Saturday afternoon performance was the first topic on the agenda. “I hope we can be competitive in qualifying this weekend, the situation where we know our car is not the quickest on track,” began the Brazilian. “But I feel we have improved the car a lot since last year, when qualifying was even worse than now. It is not impossible for us to get onto the front row here, if you can do a perfect lap and everything works at its best. This year, we are more competitive and of course, this is a track where grid position is more important as it is so difficult to overtake. If you start behind a car that does not have your race pace, you can lose any chance of fighting for the win. I believe we can be competitive this weekend anyway in the race. That’s partly because I have always preferred the softer tyres which we race on here, rather than the harder ones in the range.”
Asked to sum up the factors that could give the F138 an edge at this track, the Brazilian listed some of its qualities. “We definitely have a car that is very good under braking, a car that is very good in high speed corners – although there aren’t many of those here – and a car that is good from a tyre wear point of view, maybe not the best, but good all the same and we hope that these qualities could be good enough to see us win here or at least make it to the podium. After a long time without, I really want that victory and I am pushing harder than ever to achieve that win.
There is talk of a return to more relaxed rules regarding testing in the future, something the Ferrari man was in favour of. “I would be happy if there was more testing,” he affirmed. “This year we know the car, even if we need to understand more about the tyres, but for next year, I think it would be very important to have more testing as the changes coming as a result of the new regulations for the engine and the rest of the car, will be very significant. Next year, the way you drive the car will need to be completely different, with much lower downforce levels than this year.”
Still on the subject of tyres, the Ferrari man was asked for his views on the current controversy surrounding the possible changes to the characteristics of this year’s rubber. “Changing tyres on safety grounds is understandable,” said Felipe. “But you know, In my career so far, I have seen championships where we couldn’t change tyres at all, other years where there was a fight between two tyre suppliers, some where a single pit stop was the norm, even if it made racing a bit boring and others like this one, where there are many pit stops, so Formula 1 has not changed specially this year.”