Massa's Blog

Anything can happen

June 17, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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I got back home from Canada on Monday, which meant I was in plenty of time to watch Brazil’s first game in the World Cup against North Korea. To be honest, I expected something better, as their style of play was not that exciting and not very “Brazil.” Anyway, the important thing is that we won, which is what counts at the end. Probably the fact it was the first game meant the teams are very aware they need to make a good start and so do not play as well as they are able. We are up against two good teams next, Ivory Coast and Portugal so it will be important to do well in this first qualifying stage.

If I expected something better from the football, you could use the same words to describe how I felt about the Canadian Grand Prix. It was a bad weekend, especially when you consider I had a very good car for the race and was expecting to pick up a significant number of points. But then I was caught up in the accident at the first corner, sandwiched between Button and Liuzzi, which removed any chance of a clean race and a strong finish. I had a good start and was making up places on the way to the first corner, but then I had to pit for a new nose and that was it. Even after that setback, I was heading for the points in the closing stages: I was tenth, but Michael (Schumacher) who was ahead of me was much slower, maybe three seconds and Buemi in front of him was also slow, so I was in with a chance of finishing eighth. But then came the problem with Michael. He closed the door on me too much. He braked on the right and moved across to the left where I was. There was nothing I could do, as I was already on the limit of my braking and when he moved across even more, he broke my front wing.

On the positive side, the car was much more competitive in Canada than in Turkey, which is a good basis on which to go to Valencia for the next race. The street circuit there is not so different in terms of its characteristics to the Montreal track and on top of that, we expect to have some more updates for the F10 to make it even more competitive with those ahead of us in the championship. Valencia has not produced very exciting races so far, but I enjoy the track, as the only time I have raced there, in 2008 – it was one of the races I missed last year after my accident – I won. It would be nice to think we could be in with a chance of doing the same again this time.

Before going to Valencia, today I am in Maranello to prepare for the next race on the simulator. I enjoy this preparation, as it is very similar to doing a normal day of testing at a real circuit, as you drive from early in the morning until the end of the afternoon. We see how the car works, starting with a set-up mainly based on the previous year’s race and then we can change just about everything, as you would do in real life at the track. We even use it to test new components that have never been fitted on the car before and I am linked by radio to my race engineer, just as I would be in reality. Then I will return home to spend the weekend in Monaco, probably watching more of the World Cup, after which it will be time to head for Valencia and the chance to make up for the disappointment of Canada. With the unpredictable nature of this year’s championship anything can happen and I am sure we can be in the fight for the top places come Sunday in Spain.

 

Try to fight back immediately

June 8, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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I am back home in Brazil, having taken the long flight from Istanbul on the Sunday night after the Turkish Grand Prix. I have to say, it’s good to be back in Sao Paolo as it’s been a few months since I was last here. I have some promotional work to do in South America and also, at least it’s the right side of the Atlantic for the next race in Canada.

Looking back at the Turkish Grand Prix, I think the only honest way to describe it is as the poorest performance from Scuderia Ferrari so far this season. We were uncompetitive through the whole weekend from Friday through to Sunday, struggling in every session, especially qualifying. So, when it came to the race, I think we did the best we could do, given our pace and our position on the grid. It was a shame, given that the Istanbul track is one of my favourites, where I have won three times in the past at the wheel of a great car. This time, it was not so positive, but no way are we going to give up and we must just keep on working and try to fight back immediately.

We can do it, because we did a fantastic job over the last winter and came out with a great car at the start of the year, which was a massive improvement compared to the car with which we ended the 2009 season. At that point, we had found the right direction to take in working on the car. However, from a certain moment of the season up until now, our development has not seen the car improve as much as we had hoped for or expected. In the same time period, we saw our competitors improve their cars significantly. This is the situation facing us now, so we must start by understanding why the good direction we had up until that moment has not continued. I am sure we can do it, because Ferrari has the capacity in terms of the people working for the team and also because it has come from behind in the past to again be competitive with the very best cars on the grid.

As far as the championships are concerned, the situation is not yet in a critical position for us: given that there are still twelve races to go, it is one hundred percent open, which means we can still fight for both championships. However, at the moment, it’s true that Red Bull has a better performance level, as it has done all season, while McLaren which was behind us a few races ago is now ahead of us in terms of their car performance. We simply have to push hard to try and get ahead again. If the ability to achieve this goal is based on our desire to do so, then I am confident we can improve.

 

Proud of being part of Ferrari’s history

June 8, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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I’ve had a busy time travelling to and from Maranello since the last Grand Prix, last week to work on preparation for Istanbul on the simulator and yesterda, I went back to Italy to take part in a football match for the Telethon charity, of which Luca di Montezemolo is president. Playing with me on the Telethon team were Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella and there were lots of former professional football players, actors, singers and VIPs. Then today, I flew to Turkey for the next round of the world championship and it’s one I am really looking forward to.

Istanbul is a special track for me, as I have won three times in a row out of the five times we have raced there. I enjoy it a lot and I am looking forward to this weekend to try and do it again. Last year, when our car was not so competitive, I still managed to finish sixth, so I am hoping for something better this time, even if we have seen that the opposition is very strong at the moment. I can’t really explain why I have always been strong at Istanbul Park, but there is something about the track characteristics that seems to suit me in a similar way to Bahrain or Sao Paolo: I just click with these places and I feel very comfortable driving there. The most interesting part of the Turkish track is Turn 8, which is basically four left hand turns all taken as one, which puts quite a strain on your neck and upper body as it probably generates the highest lateral G-forces of any corner on the calendar. This year, in the early stages of the race, we will also have to tackle it with a much heavier car because of running on full tanks, which means it will be much slower than usual. But that is something we have experienced at all the races this year and while in qualifying Turn 8 is difficult but you are pretty much flat out, in the race you will have to back off the throttle. This season, in the early laps, we have seen that we can be 6 to 7 seconds slower per lap than in qualifying.

After running very competitively in Monaco on Bridgestone’s softer tyres, in Istanbul we will be back to their Medium and Hard compounds: the engineers have been pushing very hard to get to the F10 to make these tyres work better for us than they did in Barcelona for example, so I expect we will have made some progress. Also, the asphalt in Istanbul is the most abrasive we will have encountered so far this season, resulting in higher tyre degradation and that fact, combined with the higher temperatures we can expect this weekend, should see us work the tyres better.

All rounds of the championship are equally important in terms of the points on offer, but this weekend’s race has a special significance for everyone in the team and back at the factory. It will be the eight hundredth Formula 1 World Championship event in which the Scuderia has taken part, dating back to the first race of 1950 in Monaco. For me, it will be the sixty ninth time I put on the red fire suit and step into the cockpit of a Prancing Horse car and it is fantastic to be part of that history, part of the most famous racing team in the world. This is my job, but I never forget how special it is to drive for Ferrari. Although it will be nice to celebrate this milestone with the team this weekend, in Formula 1 it is the present and the future that matter, so the best way to celebrate the 800 would be to have a perfect weekend, ending with a great result on Sunday afternoon.

 

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