Massa: I feel confident and hope this positive trend can continue
6 June, 2012
Jun.6 (Apex) Monaco provided a major confidence boost for under pressure Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who showed on the streets of the principality the kind of form which he displayed as a title contender just a few years ago. He will be hoping that this will be the turning point of a downward spiral which started around about the time that Fernando Alonso joined the team – anything less could well mean the end of his tenure with the world’s most famous F1 team.
Speaking ahead of the weekend in Montreal, Massa said, “Monaco was a good race weekend for me, as I was competitive right from the start of free practice. Throughout the weekend, I was able to be consistent, in practice, qualifying and the race and the car felt comfortable for me to drive. I really liked the car there and it was working in the right direction to suit my style and I hope this positive trend can continue, starting with the race in Canada and then through to the end of the championship.”
The change of form was pretty sudden, perhaps even due to the particular nuances of the Monte Carlo street circuit that is low speed compared to other venues on the calendar – a fact which the Brazilian fully acknowledges, “The set-up required for Monaco is very different to that at other tracks and, even if the street circuit is unique, we can at least follow the direction we took there and make it work at other tracks.”
“It might not be a normal situation, but maybe it is the best direction to go in to make the F2012 work for me. It’s true that there are fewer places that exert high lateral forces on the car at Monaco and dealing with those forces was a weak point with our car. We have even tried this approach in the simulator, but sometimes, it’s not easy to get a clear answer there, which is why we keep experimenting at the race tracks,” explained Massa.
In Italy the pressure from the powerful media has been intense, but a credit to the Maranello squad, they have remained loyal to the driver who nearly lost his life in one of their cars during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009.
Of late the reports, particularly out of Italy, have verged on agression towards Massa. Thus the strong showing in Monaco helped release some of the pressure.
Massa admitted, “I definitely feel more confident now. I feel stronger as well and it’s also true that if Monaco was a good race, I was not that happy because, after the work I had done right from first practice, I had expected to be fighting for a podium finish. We had a chance of doing that, we had a good enough pace, but a better qualifying performance would have improved our chances on Sunday. It was very good compared to the start of the season, but we cannot be satisfied and now I want us to work hard to get something more. If we find the right direction, I know what I can do.”
As for this weekend in Montreal, Massa is hopeful of a good showing on another track that is out of the ordinary, “You have a lot of chicanes, so you need a car that is good over the kerbs and actually, some aspects are similar to Monaco, the biggest difference in Montreal being that you need good speed on the long straight. You also need traction coming out of the chicanes and you have to find the right compromise, because you can’t just put more downforce on the car, as you then get too much drag for the fast straight sections. In Monaco the tyres never really degraded, even in the first practice session, which was surprising and we have the same Soft and Supersoft this weekend, so it will be vital to understand the tyres’ performance on Friday to start planning our race strategy.”
Subbed by AJN.