Felipe Massa ended this week’s Barcelona test with a positive message for Ferrari fans around the world, “We have the car we had hoped for.” The only problem is, there’s another car in front of it.
The F60 has suffered a few reliability problems this week, a leak in the cooling system prevented Raikkonen from completing a race distance on Tuesday, while Massa lost some time with a hydraulics problem. However the pace of the car has been class leading, leaving aside the Brawn-Mercedes, and Massa heads for Melbourne feeling that he has a car which is capable of fighting for the world title again.
“The car has grown a lot, ” he told Italian reporters. “To start the season well you need a car which is fast and will make it to the finish line, lots can change during the season, but the points lost at the start can be decisive.”
Massa should know, Melbourne has been a bogey track for him. Since he got a competitive drive in 2006 his best result there has been sixth place. It’s worse than that though; after the first two races in 2006 he was 14 points behind, in 2007 it was 11 points behind and last year 14 behind again.
The start of the season is Massa’s Achilles Heel.
Massa says he is happy with the car,
“We’ve had some little problems, but since Wednesday afternoon I did a race distance and a half without getting out of the car. I’m also happy with the performance of the car relative to the others, apart from Brawn. For sure in terms of consistency and speed they are ahead.”
As for his expected rivals, McLaren, Massa admits to being astonished by their poor showing,
“I’ve never seen McLaren so far behind,” he says. “However they have another test to find out what’s wrong. It’s a team which can improve from one day to the next so we need to give them respect.”
Massa also confirmed that the Ferrari will start the season using the KERS system.
I liked the look of the Ferrari when I watched it in Barcelona this week. It’s very balanced, has good braking stability, changes direction well at high speed and is nimble through the slow chicane and over the kerbs. It looks like a really good, driveable car.