Warmer temperatures and lots of laps for Massa. Alonso takes over tomorrow
Circuit: Circuit de Catalunya – 4.655 km
Driver: Felipe Massa
Car: Ferrari 150° Italia
Weather: air temperature 9/18°C, track temperature 10/27 °C. Sunny.
Second day of testing for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Catalunya Circuit, again with Felipe Massa at the wheel of the 150° Italia.
On his final day of testing prior to the start of the World Championship, the Brazilian tackled a busy work programme, focussing mainly on a comparison of various aerodynamic elements, before moving on to a simulation of a race weekend. Felipe covered a total of 132 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.22.092.
The Scuderia continues testing at this circuit tomorrow, when Fernando Alonso will be on track.
Felipe Massa, the workaholic of Montmelo
Another two days like this and Felipe Massa could have driven every single centimetre of the Catalunya Circuit with his eyes closed. The Brazilian brought his winter testing to an end, putting together 233 laps, which equates to 1086.945 kilometres. Today, Felipe also did a race weekend simulation, which was concluded in positive fashion.
“These two days of testing were very important and the outcome is good,” commented the Brazilian. “We introduced a lot of new components on the 150° Italia and their effect was clear to see: there’s more downforce and therefore, even the tyres were working better, even if their level of degradation is still significant. Today, we did a race simulation and the car also worked well in this situation. I don’t know where we are compared to the others because we just concentrated on ourselves.”
After seven days of testing, Felipe tried to predict what sort of scenario might begin to emerge in Melbourne: “I think that qualifying will still be important, but the race will be very different to last year. I expect a lot of pit stops, as can be seen from the fact that today I did four and it will be important to manage the tyres very carefully, even in qualifying. Strategy will become even more important, that’s for sure. I myself feel more confident, because to have more grip on the first flying lap is vital for me and I think that my style of driving is well suited to these tyres, whereas last year I struggled a lot because the tyres, especially the fronts, were very hard.”
Indeed the Pirellis were one of the topics discussed in a meeting between the GPDA (the drivers’ association,) the FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting and technical directors from some teams, including our own Aldo Costa. “We spoke about the tyres and other new rules for this year, such as the moveable rear wing,” revealed Felipe. “More or less all of us drivers are agreed that there is a need to improve the rain tyres so that they give more grip: if we were to have another race like the one last year in Korea, it would be tough to get to the finish.”
Finally, Felipe was asked for a comment on Mark Webber’s view that Ferrari were favourites for this season. “I would say they are the favourites: they are the reigning world champions, they have a very quick car and they appear to have done a very good job during these tests. Having said that, I really hope that he is the one who is right!”