The first of the drivers of the drivers to take the microphone was the latest to join the team, Felipe Massa. Naturally, he declared that he was enthusiastic at making his debut with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro during such a prestigious occasion...
The first of the drivers of the drivers to take the microphone was the latest to join the team, Felipe Massa. Naturally, he declared that he was enthusiastic at making his debut with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro during such a prestigious occasion as the presentation of the new single seater.
In response to questions about his first impressions of the 248 F1, Felipe revealed that: "the freezing temperatures over the past few days have made it impossible to effect real and proper tests. I have to say though, that the car is well balanced. The new engine has already proved to be particularly reliable and is surprisingly high performing."
As to the aims for the upcoming season, Massa wants to claim his first podium place and maybe even a victory. He is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, however, and has not forgotten that the main objective is to collect as many points as possible for the team.
The sensation of heading in the right direction, for the Brazilian, is testimony to the fact that, despite the pressure of his status as the newcomer, Felipe is extremely calm. He is also motivated and confident of doing well in a team that he knows well having been a test driver since 2001. The driver himself has underlined how this experience has been fundamental in his profession growth.
Talking of test drivers, the observations of Luca Badoer could not be missed. Badoer stated that all his work over the last year would bear fruit in the coming season. "This is also because the new V8 will surely change as the season nears so the races will be approached from the driver's point of view. More emphasis will be placed on the human element, rendering the new Formula 1 single seater more similar to a kart", declared the driver from Veneto.
Badoer went on to assure the gathered press that he would be continuing in his role as an official Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro test driver, thus ending speculation that he wanted to leave and take up a place as an official driver in another team.
Closing the contribution of the drivers in the best of ways was the eagerly awaited Michael Schumacher. He intervened immediately after the declarations of President Luca di Montezemolo. After opening by stating that he did not feel like a driver close to retirement, the German then reflected on the new car and stated that "it has already given positive results in the little testing that it has been possible to carry out here. Despite the fact that only a few laps were run, the car seemed well balanced and enjoyable to drive even though it is less powerful."
"Certainly, we will have to wait until the race to see how the strategies are modified," he replied to an English journalist querying the effect of the new set up and the new regulations. "Sticking to talking of the rules," continued Schumacher, "I believe that Bridgestone have worked very well on the tyres. This is not only due to the fact that tyre changes have returned (and from a certain point of view this is a benefit) but that the structure of the mixtures have changed from the problematic ones of last year, especially in qualifying."
"As to the engine, many have asked me how it will change the style of driving with a V8. It is a question to which I always answer in the same way: that there will not be such a big difference. It is like going back to the levels of power we had ten years ago. What I think will alter radically is the race strategy and not the style of driving."
To conclude, he spoke of his relationship with his new partner and the fact that Valentino Rossi could test at Valencia shortly. Michael revealed that he had a good feeling with Massa, a driver he feels is one of the most talented youngsters on the circuit. However, he did not appear too interested in the cause of the Moto GP world champion as he was exclusively focused on the season to come.