Felipe Massa arrived in Magny-Cours this afternoon and his first job was the usual chat with the media, held inside the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media motorhome in the paddock. The Brazilian has had a busy time since Indianapolis, with a day's ...
Felipe Massa arrived in Magny-Cours this afternoon and his first job was the usual chat with the media, held inside the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media motorhome in the paddock. The Brazilian has had a busy time since Indianapolis, with a day's testing in Silverstone and then attending the celebrations at Maranello.
"Driving Ascari's car and doing a great burn-out in it were the highlights of the festivities at Maranello last weekend to celebrate Ferrari's sixtieth anniversary," said Massa. "It was a fantastic experience and I have never seen such a beautiful car park containing literally thousands of Ferrari cars all parked together at Fiorano. On top of that seeing all the fans and the Ferrari family made up of people from all over the world who love Ferrari so much was a moving experience."
While the party was a celebration of a glorious past, the test at the English circuit was aimed squarely at ensuring more glories in the future. "At the Silverstone test, our car was very well balanced and we immediately found a good level of grip, along with a consistent performance," commented Felipe.
"The car was really good there and I hope we will find the same at all tracks from now on. I am happy with the package we have got. I think we really improved the car and it was working well on new tyres, which was something we had found difficult to achieve in the last few races. I hope this progress is not just related to the Silverstone track."
In terms of what to expect this weekend, the Brazilian did not want to base any predictions on the Scuderia's excellent record at the French circuit. "There is no point in saying Ferrari has won here a lot, Ferrari won here last year, because you could have said that about Indy two weeks ago. We must think of trying to win every race, no matter which circuit we are on."
"In the championship, we are not in a comfortable enough position to say, 'we will be alright here if we pick up this number of points.' No, we must think about winning and about always being ahead of our closest rivals. We can still do it, but we have to work hard to turn things around."
Asked if he was surprised that so far, he is having a better season than his team-mate, the Ferrari man explained he felt things were closer than they seemed. "Last year I had a team-mate who was the most complete driver ever, who had won more than any other driver and at the end of the year, I was competitive with him after growing as a driver throughout the year," he said.
"Now, we are two young drivers pretty much at the same level, both trying to be in front. I feel comfortable within the team and although I haven't always had the results I wanted in the races this year, in some of them I have had excellent results and I hope it continues like that. When you have two closely matched and competitive drivers in the same team, it is obvious that they want to be ahead of one another."
Over in the McLaren camp, the battle between its two drivers is also close and Massa was asked if the chances of their two rivals fighting one another was good for the Scuderia. "I don't think we are going to see team-mates fighting and crashing, because you have to do the job for yourself but also for the team. So, the fact they are fighting one another will not affect us."
And finally, with the gap to the championship leaders having grown over the past three races, was the mood at Ferrari still relaxed? "Even if you are leading the championship, the mood in the team is never relaxed, as you are always working to have a competitive car," reckoned Massa. "In the early part of the season we already knew it would not be easy to win the titles, so the mood in the team is the same as it was at the start of the season."