A strange prelude for Massa: at the Montmelo circuit but not at the wheel
Montmelo, 8 March – It was a rather different day to usual for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. While eight cars and no less than eleven drivers were driving at the Catalunya Circuit on the first day of the final winter test session, the Maranello team personnel were busy preparing the 150° Italia for its four days of testing that get underway tomorrow. The mechanics and a lot of the engineers have been in Montmelo since Sunday afternoon already, because yesterday the Maranello-built car and its drivers were working on a series of promotional films for the Scuderia’s partners. This means they have had plenty of time to prepare both the car and the work schedule for tomorrow, when Felipe Massa takes to the track. In fact, the Brazilian opted to stay here rather than returning home to Monaco and was an interested observer at today’s testing, which saw Australia’s Mark Webber set the fastest time in 1.22.544.
Chassis 287, fresh from its test at Vairano, will turn out fitted with various technical updates, especially in the area of the aerodynamic evolution of the car. Apart from evaluating the new elements, the central theme of the test will be the analysis of the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres. With the Bahrain test cancelled, there will be no reference point in terms of the tyres’ performance and durability when running in high temperatures. Therefore, when the World Championship gets underway this aspect will be something of a mystery, but it will be the same for everyone. The other element missing so far is a real day of wet weather testing, but it seems that the next few days in Catalunya might tick this box and this morning there was already an inkling of that, with the odd shower falling on the track.