Massa's Blog

Singapore, one of the toughest races on the calendar

September 21, 2011 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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Looking back briefly to the last Grand Prix at Monza, I must say there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the weekend, especially so if you are a Ferrari driver, but unfortunately in a season where the lucky breaks do not seem to have come our way, that trend continued in Italy. It was a shame not to be able to give the tifosi the result they wanted, even if it’s been clear this year that we need more than just a bit of luck in order to win. My Italian Grand Prix was more or less over when Webber pushed me into a spin: I fought my way back up the field to sixth at the end. The car was producing a good enough pace to fight with the guys in front, but once you lose 20 seconds with an incident, your race is over. Monza is always a busy weekend if you wear the red race suit, but it was enjoyable racing in front of the home crowd. I went to the factory in Maranello on the Monday after the Grand Prix and spent Tuesday in the simulator, followed by a PR event on the Wednesday. Since then, I’ve been back home in Monaco apart from the weekend, when we went to a very special event, the wedding of our Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali, which was a very happy occasion.

Not so long ago, once the Monza weekend was finished, it meant the end of the championship was in sight. This year, that might well be the case mathematically it terms of who will take the titles, but there is still a lot of racing to go, as we are about to set off for the final part. It will be a very busy time, with no less than six races in ten weeks, including one brand new venue in the shape of India. For Scuderia Ferrari, our aim between now and the finale at my home event in Sao Paolo is to win some races. The next round in Singapore has some similarities to Monaco, so that might well suit us and our package quite well, with the cars running in maximum downforce configuration. After that, it’s the back-to-back races in Japan and Korea where even if the tracks are very different, the downforce levels are very similar, followed by India which will be a step into the dark for everyone in the paddock. The last two are in Abu Dhabi, followed by the finale at my home race at Interlagos. There is plenty of variety in these six weekends and hopefully we can good results in all of them. We have to remember however, that at this point in the season, the team’s main focus has to be on the 2012 car, so in terms of new developments, apart from components already planned to be introduced for these races, the pace of development on the 150 Italia will now be reduced.

For Singapore, Pirelli is supplying the Soft and Supersoft compounds, which definitely suit the characteristics of our car better than the harder tyres and if we had a free choice, these would definitely be the ones we would go for. But tyre choice is only one element of the car package and we will have to work hard if we are going to make the most of any advantage we might have at this race. It’s true our car was okay at the Monaco street circuit, so we can go to Singapore in reasonably optimistic frame of mind. We have been to Singapore three times now, so we know what to expect and the fact the race takes place at night is no longer a concern. The track is very well lit and visibility is not a problem. Rather than the light, it is the heat that makes this a tough event, one of the toughest races on the calendar. It is very hot and humid, even with the race beginning at 8 in the evening and the Singapore race is the longest of the season: I think last year it lasted a couple of minutes less than the full two hours, which is not so easy to deal with physically. I have taken that into consideration and have been training hard for this weekend.

With six races a long way from Europe, all the flying we have to do can be a bit much, but I accept as part of the job. It gives you some time to think about work and life in general. It’s also a good opportunity to catch up with films you want to see, because with our busy schedule it’s hard to find time to go to the movies or watch them at home. I plan to relax, think about many things and catch up with sleep which I have no problem doing on a plane. The best thing is that no one can telephone you on a flight! In the world we live in today, it’s impossible to be without your mobile phone but in the plane, it’s just you on your own, with your thoughts.

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