Massa's Blog

“Budapest, a very special weekend for me”

July 27, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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Going back to Budapest will be a very special weekend for me, for reasons which you can all appreciate as it was there, just over a year ago, that I was seriously injured when a spring from another car hit me on the head during Q2 on Saturday afternoon. My first meeting when I arrive at the Hungaroring circuit will be with all the marshals and medical staff who did such a very good job of carefully getting me out of the cockpit. I want to thank these people, with whom I now feel a special bond. I had to stay in hospital for a week after the accident and I got to know the staff, who all treated me so well and one unusual result of the whole unfortunate episode is that I know I now have a lot more fans in Hungary.

Quite often this year, at press conferences at the track, journalists ask me if I feel I am back to normal and if I am driving as well as before and my answer is always the same: yes, in terms of my work, absolutely nothing has changed. But as a person, the accident did change me: it made me value life much more than before and I appreciate the ordinary things in life ten times more and it has put life and my health in perspective, not taking anything for granted and not just for me, but also for life in general and what it means to everyone. I know what it means now and I feel I am much more mature as a human being. However, on the professional front, nothing has changed, because once you shut the visor and go out on the race track, you just do everything as before, without thinking of the accident.

In Germany, we produced a great team result and if people were asking why Ferrari kept saying for several weeks before that the F10 had improved a lot, they got the answer in Hockenheim. But that does not mean we are sitting on our hands, because there will be even more updates coming this weekend and the result last weekend is motivation for everyone in the team to keep pushing even harder to keep the momentum going, improving race by race. There are other reasons to be optimistic about this weekend, including the fact that Bridgestone is bringing its Super-Soft and Medium tyres that have always suited the F10 very well, so maybe we can have another very competitive race. Throughout the year, we have seen that various teams’ performance has been very much related to the track characteristics, with the exception of Red Bull, who have been competitive everywhere. So let’s wait and see how we go at the Hungaroring. Personally, I have never had a good result at this circuit, but that has simply been down to circumstances, as I do enjoying driving here a lot and, in 2008 for example, the last time I actually raced here, I led for sixty laps until my engine failed. So all in all, there are many reasons why I am really looking forward to going back to Budapest in a couple of days time.

 

“Hoping for a normal race”

July 21, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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Tomorrow I fly to Germany for the start of what will be a very busy period, with two Grands Prix on consecutive Sundays. It might seem an unusual thing for a race driver to wish for, but my greatest hope is that I can have a normal race. If I think back to everything that happened to me in the last three races, sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I had so much bad luck: in Montreal and Silverstone I was involved in collisions on the opening lap and in Valencia, the Safety Car came at just the wrong time for me and ruined my race. In all three of those races, our Friday and Saturday performance had proved we had a competitive car, but I never managed to translate that potential into points on the Sunday. So, my main aim is to have a trouble-free weekend from start to finish: of course I wouldn’t be a racing driver if I did not have thoughts of winning the race, even if we know that, at the moment, Ferrari is up against some very strong opposition, but really, if there are no unusual incidents on Sunday and we can race to our full potential, then I will be satisfied, because if we manage to do that, then I am sure a good result is waiting for us.

It’s true you cannot do much about luck, good or bad, but in terms of being as well prepared as possible for this weekend, everyone at the factory has been working very hard since the last race and I have been to Maranello twice to have meetings with our engineers, to fully understand the new developments and then last Monday, I spent the day driving the Hockenheim track on our simulator, as well as taking part in more meetings. I have always enjoyed driving at this circuit and this year we will have the novelty of using slick tyres here for the first time, as last year’s race was held at the Nurburgring. The last time we came here, in 2008, I finished third and in 2006, I was second behind Michael (Schumacher) and in fact, I have always finished in the points here since I have been driving for Ferrari. In a way, I regret that I never got the chance to drive on the famous old Hockenheim layout, with its long straights through the forests, so this new version is the only one I know. I think the track characteristics should suit our car quite well and I hope we will be competitive there. We are pressing forward with the car development, even if it seemed much improved in the last few races and here we will have a new diffuser, which we will evaluate during Friday’s free practice. I am sure other teams will also be moving forward on the technical front, but we must just concentrate on our own job and not concern ourselves with that.

I have not done much else since the last race, because with two trips to Maranello and my usual physical training work, there has been plenty to keep me busy. To drive from my home in Monaco to the factory can take around four hours, sometimes more if there is traffic and although it can occasionally be a pleasant drive, especially in a Ferrari, I sometimes prefer to fly, in order to save time. Here in Monaco, it is very hot at the moment, which means it is perfect for endurance training outdoors and also for spending time relaxing with the family. There won’t be much time for that now until after the Hungarian Grand Prix, as we prepare to tackle two races that will be very important in terms of the final outcome of the championship.

 

“Safety is the most important factor”

July 5, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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The positive and negative aspects of last weekend in Valencia are all based on the same incident, which was the Webber – Kovalainen crash. I am very glad that Mark was practically unhurt in what was a huge crash, which shows once again just how important is the constant push to improve safety in motor sport. Thanks to the efforts of the FIA, the cars are now extremely strongly built, as was seen again on this occasion, with the Red Bull chassis standing up to a significant impact. The tracks are also ever safer: where Mark had his accident there was a large run-off area and he had a lot of space to fly and land without hitting anything – apart from an advertising hoarding – before ending up in the barrier. Of course, you always need an element of luck in these situations, but above all, work on this front must never let up.

Unfortunately, this incident affected, in a negative fashion, our race. By the time the track was completely under the Yellow Flags, we were already at the last corner of the lap and by the time I saw the “SC” board, I was out of the final corner and going onto the main straight. At the same time, looking in my mirrors, I saw most of the field going into the pits as they had seen the board before the last corner. It was a matter of moments and we were very unlucky in that we had to spend a very long time behind the Safety Car, whereas Vettel was already ahead of the Safety Car before it came on track and Hamilton chose to pass it, thus breaking the rules. I don’t particularly want to go over what happened after that, because it changes nothing in that our race was ruined. However, what happened needs to be looked into because it is not normal than someone commits a serious infraction like overtaking the safety car, when there is a dangerous situation on track and is not really penalised in practical terms. We must talk about this together and do something to ensure a situation like this does not happen again. The team has told me that, next week there will be a meeting of the Sporting Working Group: that’s good and it’s an obvious indication that the FIA is paying close attention to the matter.

After a lap behind the Safety Car, Fernando and I pitted together for a double pit stop, which cost me a bit more time. I dropped to eighteenth place and spent the whole race in traffic, all the way to the chequered flag. Looking at the actual performance of the car over the weekend, I have to say the updates to the aero package and revised exhaust system resulted in the F10 making a good step forward, allowing us to fight for the front places. Now it is important to keep pushing on the development front all the way to the end of the season. Last night, I enjoyed watching the Brazil win over Chile in the World Cup. The team played very well, but I think we shouldn’t really talk about them being favourites to win the competition. From this point onwards it is hard to talk about favourites and every match is important, every game is like a final.
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