Posted on March 14, 2009
Massa has the Ferrari he was hoping for | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Felipe Massa ended this week’s Barcelona test with a positive message for Ferrari fans around the world, “We have the car we had hoped for.” The only problem is, there’s another car in front of it.

The F60 has suffered a few reliability problems this week, a leak in the cooling system prevented Raikkonen from completing a race distance on Tuesday, while Massa lost some time with a hydraulics problem. However the pace of the car has been class leading, leaving aside the Brawn-Mercedes, and Massa heads for Melbourne feeling that he has a car which is capable of fighting for the world title again.

“The car has grown a lot, ” he told Italian reporters. “To start the season well you need a car which is fast and will make it to the finish line, lots can change during the season, but the points lost at the start can be decisive.”

Massa should know, Melbourne has been a bogey track for him. Since he got a competitive drive in 2006 his best result there has been sixth place. It’s worse than that though; after the first two races in 2006 he was 14 points behind, in 2007 it was 11 points behind and last year 14 behind again.

The start of the season is Massa’s Achilles Heel.

Massa says he is happy with the car,
“We’ve had some little problems, but since Wednesday afternoon I did a race distance and a half without getting out of the car. I’m also happy with the performance of the car relative to the others, apart from Brawn. For sure in terms of consistency and speed they are ahead.”

As for his expected rivals, McLaren, Massa admits to being astonished by their poor showing,
“I’ve never seen McLaren so far behind,” he says. “However they have another test to find out what’s wrong. It’s a team which can improve from one day to the next so we need to give them respect.”

Massa also confirmed that the Ferrari will start the season using the KERS system.

I liked the look of the Ferrari when I watched it in Barcelona this week. It’s very balanced, has good braking stability, changes direction well at high speed and is nimble through the slow chicane and over the kerbs. It looks like a really good, driveable car.

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Massa has the Ferrari he was hoping for
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  1.   1. Posted By: Eric
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 7:26 am 

    I presume Ferrari, and most other teams, will come out with a rear crash structure diffuser similar to Williams, Toyota, and Brawn in time for Melbourne. This will probably tighten the pack up.

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  2.   2. Posted By: Dom Leste
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 7:32 am 

    I just hope the FIA dont screw up another year with the diffuser issue. Either say the Brawn, Williams, Toyota diffusers are legal now or face fan backlash if they change the rules or theirs protests from other teams.

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  3.   3. Posted By: Martin
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 10:20 am 

    I agree we don’t want it banned in the middle of the season like Renaults mass damper or the Michelin tyres from a few years back.

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  4.   4. Posted By: Beflox
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 10:36 am 

    I thought the FIA had given the diffusers the all-clear???? [ link ]

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  5.   5. Posted By: Peter
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 11:31 am 

    Can anyone get a calculation pls how much exactly Brawn is ahead of Ferrari? 0,7s-0,5s?

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  6.   6. Posted By: Hannah
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 11:45 am 

    The teams only asked for a clarification, they can still protest. And it’s not like the FIA has never changed its mind about these things in the past…

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  7.   7. Posted By: Aaron James
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 12:24 pm 

    I said this on Autosport, the Brawn reminds me so much of the Ligier JS-11 from 1979, explosively quick out of the gates, after a massive change in car design philosophy (ground effects).

    To me the Brawn is going to walk the flyaways, but when we get back to Europe the mighty development machines of Ferrari and McLaren are going to start making some headway.

    I always find the seasons where a massively quick car out of the gates is chased down by another team (say McLaren chasing Renault in 05, or Ferrari chasing Renault in 06) really enjoyable.

    Honda wont make strides with KERS and they have a very mature design. Ferrari will continue to take big steps with KERS, continue to refine their aero and will only get quicker.

    Honda have had way more time to hone their car, I’m not sure with their budget constraints how effective they will be in the development war. But it seems they have a half second cushion to work with, it will be fascinating to see if Ferrari can claw them back.

    McLaren – frankly are simply too far behind. This will be another 2006 for them I think.

    Either way this is going to be a fantastic year for F1. Cars that can overtake, unexpected front running teams, and a Ferrari that’s quick and getting quicker every race.

    Cannot wait, haven’t been this excited for a season since 2006.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Peter
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 4:04 pm 

    I don’t think Ferrari will be dominant like Liverpool against Man Utd!!! Ha! So what about you James? Liverpool or Man Utd??!

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  9.   9. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 5:08 pm 

    JA writes: Liverpool born and bred.

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  10.   10. Posted By: Phil
        Date: March 14th, 2009 @ 7:00 pm 

    Apparently BrawnGP has around $150,000,000 to play with (give or take) and with staffing cuts and/or wage cuts that should be plenty to help them along.

    They also have world class facilities (wind tunnel, cfd supercomputer) as well.

    As I’ve said before, they are a privateer team in name only.

    The real test will be 2010 and if Brawn can get enough sponsors or make enough cost cuts to stay in the game.

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  11.   11. Posted By: kaushal
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 1:43 am 

    Ferrari looks good,but the problem is only with reliability.

    I am looking for a close race in Australia, with red bull, toyota, Brawn racing fighting with ferrari for the podium finish

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  12.   12. Posted By: Frenchie
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 1:51 am 

    As much as I’d love to see Button being the next world champion, I doubt Brawn will be putting all their money in developing the car.

    Until sponsors are found (on top of the £15m Senna may bring next year), they’ll be focusing on looking ‘respectable’ as RB puts it himself. This in my mind definitely puts them in the privateer lot.

    Going back to the main article, Massa and Ferrari should only discount the BMW threat to their peril. They were sandbagging last year (I remember the Autosport season preview where the Renault should have been quicker than the Bimmer :-) ). They had no problems with long runs either and I recall James mentioning earlier on this week it looked more stable under breaking than the F60.
    My money on Kubica for the title (9/1 here in Australia).

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  13.   13. Posted By: Tony
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 3:19 am 

    If Brawn wins the first race, you’re going to see sponsors lining up, so a development budget won’t be much of a problem. Frankly, winning a race early on may save some jobs there, so let’s hope it happens.

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  14.   14. Posted By: Raz
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 5:48 am 

    Ross Brawn is a UNITED fan, like myself hee hee

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  15.   15. Posted By: myurr
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 12:40 pm 

    I can’t see the FIA allowing a non-KERS car to win the championship as its such an integral part of what Max has been pushing for the sport (and we all know what a vain character he is). So if it looks like Brawn are going to stake a claim to the championship, expect there to be a ruling that will hinder them.

    I really wish it weren’t the case, but sadly this is the way the ‘sport’ seems to operate.

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  16.   16. Posted By: patrick
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 1:48 pm 

    It’s looking like it’s going to be a very interesting season with potentially rather more cars in the running for victory than in recent years.

    If I’m honest, I’m not sure I’ll really believe pace of the Brawn is real until it appears at the top of the time sheets in Melbourne, but hey, it’s possible it’s *that* quick. If so, it looks like Honda pulled the plug at exactly the wrong time!

    Really liking the blog, by the way.

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  17.   17. Posted By: Sparhawk
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm 

    I hope that the FIA stays out of these championship…

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  18.   18. Posted By: Uzair
        Date: March 15th, 2009 @ 10:36 pm 

    Im a United fan too And so too is Rob Smedley (Massa’s race engineer). :D . Ferrari will dominate the season like the Red Devils are dominating this one. :D Brawn GP is a real threat. As Domenicalli said they have to be watched. Its just the Ross Brawn effect. He is a legend.

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