Massa's style perfect for F1 2017 cars - Smedley

Felipe Massa's aggressive driving style is proving to be a perfect fit for Formula 1's new cars, his team saying he has found a level of comfort missing since his title-challenging 2008 campaign.

Massa's style perfect for F1 2017 cars - Smedley
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40, locks-up a wheel
Felipe Massa, Williams with Lawrence Stroll
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40

The Brazilian had a retirement U-turn over the winter after Williams recalled him as replacement for then Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas.

While Massa has not enjoyed the best of forms in recent campaigns, he has shown some strong pace in pre-season testing, and even topped the times earlier this week.

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley believes that one of the explanations for what has happened this week is that the increased downforce and grip of F1's 2017 cars is perfectly in line to what Massa needs from a car.

"I think it suits his driving style perfectly really," explained Smedley. "The cars that we have got now are much more akin to the cars when he had his more successful years.

"So [like] a 2008 car, with a very wide front tyre, very, very good grip all the way from turn-in up to the apex. We've been definitely missing that for the last seven years, and he struggled a little bit with that."

Smedley said that Massa revels when he has full confidence in a car on corner turn-in – something that is being helped by new wider tyres and bigger wings.

He added: "The more front end you can give Felipe, as long as you have a solid rear, then the more he will be able to deliver from his driving style. And from what we have seen at the minute, he's very very comfortable.

"I think with Felipe, you always know if you are on to a winner with the amount of mistakes he makes the first time he gets into a new car.

"I think that over the course of however many thousand kilometres he has done over the past few days, he has perhaps run wide twice and has made hardly any mistakes on new tyres. So he is obviously extremely comfortable with the car.

"When we put a different compound on, when we perhaps increase the engine or reduce the fuel level to a lower level, he delivers exactly what you expect him to do. It show that ultimately he is very, very comfortable."

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