Massa: "keep working and push forward"
Montmelo, 7 May 2009 -- After four races of impromptu press conferences, held outside offices or sitting on garden furniture, the return to Europe means that today Felipe Massa faced the media in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media hospitality unit. Some journalists took a moment to find it, given that two impressive and identical units now sit in the "motorhome" space allocated to the Scuderia. Paid for by team partners and sponsors, the brand new Team and Partner unit made its debut here today. It was actually completed before the end of the 2008 season, but only now has it been brought into service, replacing the two older units that served the team for several years.
While the unit was brand new, the questions asked were much the same as before, focussing on the Scuderia's chances of returning to winning ways. "I hope we can have a better weekend here in Spain than at the opening four races," began Felipe. "I am motivated to improve our situation, to have a good race and restart Ferrari's fight in the championship."
The Brazilian went on to explain what changes can be expected this weekend. "In terms of the car, we have made a good improvement since the last race, but you have to remember that the other teams are not sleeping and they have also been working a lot to improve their own position," he said. "I hope we have made a bigger step than they have. The numbers we have seen in the wind tunnel indicate the car is a significant step forward. In terms of parts, we have a new diffuser, similar in some ways to the ideas used by the teams that had this advantage already since the start of the year. In addition there are other improvements on the aero side. I am not sure how much improvement these changes will actually make on the stopwatch, but we are reasonably optimistic. In the past, when we have seen good numbers in the wind tunnel, that has been translated into good performance on the track. The key will be if other teams have managed to improve and stay ahead of us. But all the same, I am hopeful we can reduce the gap."
Felipe was keen to highlight how much work has gone into this development effort. "It has been a tough time at the factory back in Maranello these past weeks," he claimed. "People have been working day and night to get the car ready with all the modifications in time for this weekend. It has been a difficult task and getting a good result this weekend would be a way of showing them that all their huge efforts have been worth it. The fact I have no points has in no way affected the way I approach a race weekend. Each race is a new opportunity to do my best and try and score some good points. I don't feel any pressure being in a rather difficult situation at the moment. At this stage, it is difficult to say if we still have a chance in the championships, but the important thing is simply to keep working and push forward."
Asked to comment on all the recent discussions about the future of the sport, Felipe wisely chose to avoid the issue. "As a driver, all I will say is that I would always prefer less politics and more sport." There's been plenty of talk about drivers trying hard to lose weight to help accommodate the weight of the KERS systems, but as far as Felipe is concerned, he has no problem with this: "At the end of the last race, my weight was down to 62 kilos and I think I am one of the lightest drivers on the grid."