Massa's Blog

“I can’t think of a better place to start again than at Spa”

August 24, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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I am preparing to leave Sao Paolo to return to Europe for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, having spent all my free time since the Hungarian Grand Prix at home here in Brazil. Usually, when you go on holiday it involves some sort of journey, but with all the travelling involved in my job, for me the ideal holiday is being at home and not having to see an airport, sit on a plane or stay in a hotel. Therefore, staying at home with my family was the ideal break for me, catching up with everything going on here and meeting up with old friends. During the year, when I get the chance to stay in Brazil for a while, I admit that I miss my home country for a while after I leave, but knowing that I am returning to racing again is all the incentive I need to get on the plane back to Monaco.

It’s winter time now in Brazil, but to put that in perspective, the daytime temperature is still around 23 or 24 degrees, so nothing to complain about! Apart from keeping up my fitness training, I really managed to switch off for a while doing very little, although last weekend, I was at the Interlagos circuit that hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix later this year: my family organises a racing event so it was good to hear the sound of racing engines again. We run three different race categories here, in conjunction with FIAT. One is an open-wheeler category, similar to Formula 2, called Formula Future, which as the name suggests is aimed at finding young racing talent from the next generation. It is an important step for racing here, as for many years there was no “school” class with single-seater cars, which is why we wanted to do something for motor sport in Brazil. There is a category for Touring Cars also, using the FIAT Linea and finally there is a 600cc motorcycle class. It was the third round of the season and it was fun to be at a racetrack without all the pressure of racing myself.

Although it was a very quiet holiday, I am fully prepared for this weekend in Spa, as I kept in touch with the engineers, even though they were not working in the factory. We look in good shape, with some new parts coming as part of our constant development programme on the F10. The last time I raced here was in 2008 and it’s not just because I won the race that I love this track. I think all the drivers look forward to racing on this fabulous circuit. It is high speed, requiring less downforce than at many of the other tracks and fortunately, in the last few races, we showed that we have returned to being very competitive, even better than we had expected. But it is very hard to predict what could happen, as the small differences between the top teams means that performance has been very much track specific in terms of who had the slight advantage over the rest. As usual we need to wait and see how free practice goes before knowing what to expect.

There are only seven races left to go and I think that for the spectators and viewers at least, it should be a really exciting final part of the year, even if it might be a bit more tense for those of competing. But myself and Ferrari have been in this sort of situation before and we know how to deal with the pressure, by concentrating on the job in hand. Now we must build on the way we ended up just before the break, being competitive and putting ourselves back in the fight. I am definitely really motivated to get back in the cockpit because, even if I enjoyed the short holiday, I have to say I missed driving my race car and I can’t think of a better place to start again than at Spa. Even if it rains – and when didn’t we see water at Spa? – this is still a very enjoyable track to drive and actually it can be good fun in the wet. We just have to make sure we are ready to make the most of whatever the weekend throws at us.

 

“Ferrari, returning to the form we expect”

August 4, 2010 · Posted by Felipe Massa
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I am back home in Brazil now for the summer break, having flown out of Budapest on Sunday night. It is good to be home after what was one of the busiest months I can remember in my time in Formula 1 and thankfully, it ended with a couple of good results that suggest Ferrari is returning to the form that we expect.

I think the Hungarian race result was about the best we could have hoped for, for several reasons; the pace of the Red Bulls, the fact the track is well known for not providing any overtaking opportunities and finally the fact I had a bit of bad luck in losing a place to Lewis (Hamilton) at the pit stop, when the Safety Car came out. But the luck swung back my way later on, when Lewis had an issue with his car and had to retire, which put me back to what you could call the “normal” position of fourth, which is where I had started from on the grid.

At the time, we opted for a double pit stop, with me coming in after Fernando, so why did we do this, instead of do what the winner Mark Webber did and just keep going on the soft tyres for longer? What Webber did was right, but only because of the pace he had in his car which allowed him to build up enough of a lead to pit without losing first place. This was the only reason and it would not have worked for us. Our double pit stop worked perfectly, because when I arrived at the garage, Fernando had already left and I only lost the place to Lewis because that can sometimes happen in the pits. Even with the double pit stop, I had the chance to fight for my position. To be honest, it was the right strategic decision.

In Germany, we seemed to have the fastest car and just a few days later, Red Bull were in a different league to all the other teams. They have nearly always been fastest, apart maybe from Bahrain and then Hockenheim. It is mainly related to the nature of the track. In Germany we and they qualified in much the same time and then we were quicker in the race, but in Hungary they were 1.2 seconds faster, which suggests to me that in Hockenheim they underperformed. Budapest was an important weekend for me on a personal level. Going back there after what happened a year ago and meeting the people in the circuit medical centre, who did such a fantastic job of getting me out of the car, in the ambulance and then into the helicopter was a great feeling. On Thursday I had dinner with the surgeon who operated on me and did an excellent job and all of this was something really special in my life. On track, I never thought about it when I was going through that corner, although I appreciated seeing the banners that some of the fans had in the grandstands with messages like “Welcome Back Felipe.” That was a nice gesture.

Now we have a long break, which means three weekends without racing and even though the momentum has picked up for Ferrari in the last couple of weeks, I am happy to have this pause. It is important for us drivers to have a rest after such a busy schedule in recent weeks and it is especially important for everyone in the team, who have worked so hard. I will be spending it at home with my family here in Brazil, relaxing and spending time with my son, which actually is quite a full time job!

 

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