Massa's Blog

"Zero pressure"

October 25, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari
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“Over the past few years, I’ve got used to the idea of preparing for the final race of the season at home here in Sao Paolo and I’m making the most of it, as next year there will still be one more grand prix to go after the round at Interlagos. I came home immediately after the race in Shanghai, which was good from a team point of view as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro picked up fourteen points and extended its lead in the Constructors’, but from my perspective, the title race got even tougher, as Lewis won and so I have lost an additional two points. “In Shanghai, it was obvious right from Friday practice that McLaren were going to be very hard to beat. We saw they were very competitive, but you can never be completely sure what programme they are running, so it’s best to concentrate on your own work, sorting out your own car and not start worrying about the opposition. Then on Saturday, we saw the trend continue and so we knew qualifying and the race would be tough. It’s fair to say that our car, the F2008 has been inconsistent in terms of its performance: in some circumstances we are extremely competitive and at others a little bit less so. This is due to a variety of factors which you have to take into consideration, such as the track layout, the track surface and how the tyres are working.“I know there have been comments about my overtaking Kimi in the final stages of the Shanghai race, but they have come from people who don’t really understand how the sport works. It is a team sport and both me and Kimi know we have to do what is best for the team. For sure, psychologically a racing driver always wants to finish in front, always wants to win: it doesn’t matter if you are playing a friend on a computer game or driving a Formula 1 car. But all drivers have a contract with their team and so you are not racing as an individual. When you are fighting for the championship, with only one driver with a mathematical chance of winning, then all the teams in the pit lane would do the same, which is to put that one driver in a position where he has the best chance of winning. That is part of this sport.“The only thing I am thinking about is winning. After that, the matter is not in my hands and we will have to wait and see exactly what and how much we have won. “Another plus for me is that I will have a huge following here in my home town. Brazilian people love Formula 1, love motor racing and it is really big passion for them. I really like to race at home and I think I race better at home. Do I need to say I’m very motivated?!  I love this track, I grew up here and I know all its little tricks and secrets. I first raced here when I was eight years old in a go-kart, as the karting track is inside the circuit complex. The first time I actually raced on the proper circuit was in 1998 in a Formula Opel race, although I can’t remember what position I finished.  The track is not bumpy anymore as they did a great job on the surface last year. It’s great to drive and over the weekend the atmosphere will be really special. The whole event is one of the best on the calendar in my opinion. “It is impossible to predict what will happen in the Brazilian Grand Prix, but I think our car has always been very good at this circuit, even if I cannot explain exactly why. We have always gone well here and I expect that to be the case at the weekend, whatever the conditions, in the dry or in the rain and in qualifying and in the race. For sure, Lewis will try and put pressure on me, but I have zero pressure, because I have nothing to lose. I have my people behind me and all the pressure will be on him, especially when you think about what happened at this race last year. I can’t wait for the final Sunday of the season.”

 

I like the Shanghai circuit

October 15, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari
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The Japanese Grand Prix last Sunday, was certainly interesting! It’s always important to score more points than our closest rivals at this point in the championship, with just two races to go, so we can be pleased that we managed to do that. It was definitely not the race we had expected to have, but in the end, it was a reasonable result, with the team moving back into the lead in the Constructors’ championship and for me, reducing my gap to Lewis in the Drivers’ from 7 to 5. But there are still those five points, so we need to recover even more, but I think, the Japanese result was better than nothing.“After the bad weather last year, it was enjoyable to have more time running at Fuji in the dry. I like the circuit and I think the race was pretty interesting, with plenty of overtaking and battles, which meant it was an enjoyable experience for the drivers, but also the fans who came to watch. We had some fun and on what is quite a difficult track, our car was quite competitive, which means I think we can expect to be equally competitive for the final two rounds of the championship. “I left Fuji on Sunday night a few hours after the race and came to Tokyo. I usually try and spend some time in Tokyo which I think is a fascinating city. I love it. It’s a nice place to be and although it is similar in some ways to other large cities like New York or maybe even Sao Paolo, it is also very unique and different; certainly less chaotic than my home city! There are plenty of places to visit, the hotels are good and the choice of restaurants is amazing. I have my wife and some of my family with me, so shopping has also been on the agenda and I think my credit cards must be on fire at the moment! “I fly to Shanghai on Wednesday and then, the following day I will be attending the Chinese launch of the new Ferrari California road car: it will be the third race in succession that I’ve done this. And then it will be time to get down to work again. Last year, in Shanghai, I finished third in a race that began in the wet. The track itself is quite interesting and everything there is on a very big scale, although the journey to and from the circuit can be a bit painful at times with the heavy traffic. I had quite a good race last year and hope to do even better this time. I like the circuit and I think it will suit the F2008, so of course we will be aiming to get a one-two finish.”

 

"Think positive"

October 3, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari
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“After the Singapore Grand Prix, the motto for the rest of the season has to be look ahead and don’t give up. As our Team Principal Stefano Domenicali said after the race, we really need to try and finish first and second in all the remaining rounds. It’s a tough call, but everyone in the Scuderia will be trying their best.“So, now we come to that refuelling incident: as I pulled away from the pit stop after getting the green light on our traffic light system, I didn’t feel anything strange at all and there was no sensation that I was pulling something behind me. Then Rob, my engineer, came on the radio and told me to stop because the fuel line was still attached to the car. Only then did I look in my mirror and see it, but by then it was much too late of course. We don’t use this light system just to be clever, because when it works correctly it makes for a faster release from the pit stop than a man operating a lollipop. The system can work automatically, linked to the refuelling nozzle coming off the car or it can be overridden and used manually. At this point, we were using it manually because, as you may have seen, I ran over some debris on the track and the team was checking if it was still stuck under the car. And unfortunately, the guy operating the system pressed the wrong button. Add in the drive through penalty and the puncture and it was a day to forget and move on.“Looking at a positive aspect of the weekend, our car seemed to have made a step forward as a result of our recent work and we had a great car throughout the three days, with a good enough performance level to have finished first and second, but for all the reasons you know, we failed to score a single point. The whole night racing experience was a nice idea, interesting and very different. However, this specific race did highlight the fact that the Safety Car rules still need to be looked at very carefully, because the idea of Formula 1 is that the race should be won by the best driver and car combination on the day. I know we made mistakes, but the current system, as you can see from the final result of Sunday’s race, means that the Safety Car can promote someone from the middle of the grid to the lead, not because of a clever strategy but simply by luck. I think the system needs to be changed and this problem was highlighted by the difficult nature of the Singapore track. The bumps in the track surface is another area that should be looked at before we go back next year, but the track itself was nice and different, with more similarities to Monaco than Valencia. There are just a few little details need changing.“As for the championship, like I said on Sunday, it depends how you look at it: a seven point gap can be a lot or it can be a little. If you look at what happened to me in Singapore where my gap went from one point to seven so suddenly, then you have to consider it could easily go the other way as well. The most important element to consider is that we have a very good car. Without that, my chances would be much smaller. We have two good cars and we can try and get both of us to finish ahead of our rivals. It can be done and we need to think positive and we need to keep fighting to the last race.”

 

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