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Massa pins hopes on final pre-season test in Barcelona
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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Feb 2013   |  4:06 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Felipe Massa says this week’s final pre-season test in Barcelona will be pivotal as his Ferrari team look to start the season at the sharp end of the grid.

The Scuderia were well off the pace in testing last year and struggled with the development of their 2012 machine throughout the season.

This year, the team’s early performance has looked more positive with Massa clocking the fastest time in the first test in Jerez and his team-mate Fernando Alonso the second fastest time in Barcelona last week.

The Brazilian said the team are working on a number of updates for the F138 but while some will be ready for this week’s Barcelona test, which starts on Thursday, some components won’t be ready till the first race in Melbourne.

“The car is still ‘green’,” said Massa, 31, who finished runner up to Lewis Hamilton in the 2008 title race. “So we need to make the car in good shape for the first race.

“There’s a lot of work and a lot to do. This is a very important moment for the people who work on the aerodynamics, the engine and the chassis. They have to get everything together in a good direction.

“We should have maybe not everything, but some new parts for the next test, and we should have everything that we should have for the first race.

“It’s important that we have the complete car we expect at the first race, and we need everything that we bring to the car to be working as we expect.”

Massa, who finished the final third of the season in good form, said that he was encouraged with the pace of the car after eight days of testing.

“I think what we did in Jerez was quite positive and so were the changes we did in the car,” he said. “The car was balanced, and I think that’s very important. I feel more comfortable with the car.

“Even in difficult conditions in the rain [at last week's test], the car was quite good to drive and competitive through the run. I feel good in the car.”

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39 Comments
  1. Random 79 says:

    Best of luck to both Massa and Alonso this year :)

  2. Irish con says:

    It would be great for alonso to have the fastest car for the first time in about 6 years. He deserves to not have to have to push 100 per cent every lap of every race this year after his last 2 and a half seasons of greatness.

    1. Simmo says:

      Push 100%, but still get beaten by Vettel by a few points each time…

      1. Irish con says:

        U missed the point. If alonso has the best car or close to the best car vettel won’t be beating him this year.

    2. KGBVD says:

      Agreed, but also because Alonso’s ugly side comes out when he gets stressed or tries to hard for nothing.

      It would be nice to have a season where his didn’t moan about the tyres, or the rules, or Adrian Newey, or yellow flags not being what they appear or whatever.

      I’ll bet even Vettel will give up his 4th title for a season of peace and quite.

  3. goferet says:

    Ha, it seems the final pre-season test might as well be the unofficial first free practice session of the season.

    Yes, this session will be quite pivotal and quite revealing especially on what teams have that one lap pace so it will be a blow for any team that has reliability issues or for any driver that puts it in the wall.

    Right, of the comments I have seen so far from the big boys, it appears Mercedes, Ferrari are the teams that are slightly behind the others as they say they still have lots of work to do.

    Whilst the likes of Mclaren are just having issues fully understanding the car.

    Williams and Sauber are the others teams that seem like they’re ready to go.

    Anyway for some reason it appears to me that it’s Massa that’s more optimistic about the car and the season ahead.

    Apparently the journos that have watched Alonso’s body language after his first run said he wasn’t unhappy about the car and yet again, he wasn’t particularly happy about life.

    1. Joel says:

      Alonso has a habit of downplaying the car so as to maximize the returns – the same concept that Lewis is trying to apply.
      Last year, Ferrari was a superios car on high fuel load and they had amazing starting off the grid. It is agreed that their speed is not good over a 1 lap qual. However, their fast car with heavy fuel load more than compensates – while they again may be slow towards the end of the race with all cars having low fuels, their disadvantage is again minimized with all driving gingerly with worn out tyres.
      So, I won’t be quick to give credit to Alonso alone for their competitiveness last season.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I read somewhere, those journo’s saying they would never play Fernando at poker..

    3. Yak says:

      I saw an interview with Alonso where he didn’t seem particularly happy. But the impression I got wasn’t so much that he wasn’t happy with the car, more just the a) he wasn’t getting too excited about it yet, and b) he was freezing his extremities off.

      Personally, I’m hoping to see Massa carry over his late-2012 form and give Alonso a bit of a challenge.

    4. Kevin L says:

      “Apparently the journos that have watched Alonso’s body language after his first run said he wasn’t unhappy about the car and yet again, he wasn’t particularly happy about life.”

      Whatever his feelings, I’m willing to bet my bank account that Fernando will push 100% every session this year.

      If Ferrari can get the F138 closer to Red Bull/McLaren than the F2012, Alonso will do the rest.

      And given Massa’s upturn in form at the end of the 2012 season, he should hopefully carry that form into 2013, and take points away from the other teams and drivers.

      1. Anne says:

        I think that Ferrari should have a high goal. They can´t just be happy because they are close to RB and McLaren. They should aim at having the best car. I don´t know to what extend is fair to have Alonso always carrying a heavy bag

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        To be fair Anne, Ferrari has stated they won’t be happy until their car is the quickest.
        Pat Fry was brought in to update and get Ferrari back in the 21st century because the implication was that under Costa the team and tools stagnated.
        Even de La Rosa said recently that the simulator is some way behind Mclaren.

        The underlying message from Ferrari over the winter was, if they give Alonso a car that is close, he will do the rest.

  4. Random 79 says:

    Yep agreed. I’m not sure what’s going on with Alonso – you’d think he’d be happy to be starting with a decent car this year.

    1. Simmo says:

      He knows he may be starting with a decent team mate too

  5. JEZ Playense says:

    Massa has every reason to be happy, by any normal measurement he would be out of a job so just being there must be great to him.

    RB & Ferrari will be the teams to watch in the first few races, with Lotus. That said Macca should be there or thereabouts…

  6. fendermeister says:

    Do drivers (apart from Kimi) ever say anything interesting these days?

    I tend to skip any driver quotes in speech marks as the chances of anything not drenched in PR boredom and political correctness is slim.

    I’ll at least get an interesting opinion from the text written by a journalist. All the drivers trot out this PR speak with little in the way of personality or personal opinion.

    At least many of them are heroes when they drive those crazy cars which is what I love but I wish they’d speak a bit more freely. Sign of the times.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Agree with you 100%. The problem is though that when most of the drivers do actually speak their mind they tend to get in trouble for it, so we can’t really blame them for being choosy about what they say, but – as I’ve said before – I think it’s a shame and you’re right; it’s definitely a sign of the times.

      Hopefully in the future people will realise that whatever you say you’re always going to offend someone – so long as it’s unintentional.

      As you said the guys that drive these cars can be heroes – even if these days F1 is much, much safer than it used to be – but it’s hard to call someone a hero when you don’t even have a clue who they are.

  7. Andrew Carter says:

    Massa and every other driver in the field,

  8. j says:

    Happy now AlexD?

    Maybe you should thank the JAF1 team for this Ferrari content.

  9. gudien says:

    More wishful thinking on the part of Massa and his Ferrari mates.
    1. How long before the rumors start on replacing Felipe Massa?
    2. How long before Stefano Domenicali is on his way out?
    3. At what point does Luca di Montezemolo begin his renewed quest for a political career?
    4 Will Fernando Alonso be content to see his rivals, Vettel and Hamilton move forward in their careers while he remains stagnant at Ferrari?

  10. lol says:

    Ferrari needs Vettel, desperately.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I think RBR would miss Newey more than Vettel if either one chose to leave. Make your own assumptions about my meaning..

  11. joshua says:

    This year Massa has to keep Alonso honest, otherwise he has to go this year. If this happens would Alonso be held in such high regard with a team mate putting in similar performances, or would people just accept that Massa is now back to his best?

    I think Alonso missed the chance to become a legend, winning his third title and hammering his team mate. If the prancing horse starts finishing 1-2 its going to feel a lot less special.

    1. MISTER says:

      Alonso is already a legend for some of us. I know history will remember the champion, but I have a feeling history will also remember the performances Alonso has put in the last 3 years in inferior machinery than others.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Much the same as when Senna in 1993 against the man who won his 4th WDC that year.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I see your point, but I don’t think Ferrari will be complaining about their drivers finishing 1-2 any time soon :)

  12. Elie says:

    I really, really , really hope Felipe fights tooth and nail with Fernando. He showed us all late last year that he can go toe to toe with the best once he worked out his car & tyres.
    What a fantastic dilemma for Ferrari to have.. ” Fernando , Felipe is faster than you ..”

    1. krischar says:

      @ Elie

      What a fantastic dilemma for Ferrari to have.. ” Fernando , Felipe is faster than you ..”

      In your dreams ?

      Massa can feel positive and confident, yet the legend Alonso will do his talking on the track

      I feel poor for massa, he is now where near Fernando Alonso

      I do appreciate ferrari’s patience and honesty towards massa

      If F138 is any where near RBR this season from the word go. Then it’s huge relief for us and we will see Alonso winning the WDC this season

      Here’s one hoping F138 can be atleast within couple of tenths of RBR. Rest our Genius Fernando Alonso will take care of

      1. David Ryan says:

        He’s gone wheel to wheel with him in the past, races from 2007 probably being the best example (both in competitive cars that year, McLaren for Alonso and Ferrari for Massa). On form, Massa is capable of taking it to Alonso, as he showed by harrying him at Korea last year. How Alonso will respond to that is in the realm of speculation, but should Massa be in a position to run him close I imagine Ferrari will not mind too much.

    2. Martin says:

      Re your last point, it may happen, but other parts of Felipe’s game would have to step up for it to be Fernando, Felipe is better than you. And I think that will count over a seaon.

      1. Elie says:

        Inspiration is a beautiful thing & if ( big if) Felipe finally challenges for a win, I think the rest of his season will be different… If you mean “team games “- well thats yet for us to know

      2. Martin says:

        No I don’t mean team games. He’s okay to good, but not brilliant in the rain. His awarenes of strategy in a race. The quality of his passes and his choices of moves. Getting the team to do what he wants.

        Personally, I think people who think Massa is contractually obliged to jump out of Alonso’s way are wrong. Just look at the team with Kimi in 2008. In the first half of the year, generally Kimi had the edge on speed, but not results. He was the more highly paid and the world champion. A no point was Felipe prevented from racing. In the last three years Felipe’s results have written him out of the championship well before any favouritism kicked in. If the constructor’s title is out of reach then focussing on the driver’s makes sense.

        It would be great to see Felipe performing at his best. He is to me more the driver Vettel is accused of being – a front runner – and best suited to races where tyre management is what was predicted. He showed in 2007 and 2008 that at his best his one lap pace is similar to Hamilton’s, although he is probably more track sensitive in having some tracks he stars at (a bit like Webber).

    3. Random 79 says:

      …and Fernando’s response?

      1. Elie says:

        “I don’t like Felipe anymore- he wants me to move- tells him he’s dreaming”

      2. Martin says:

        It wasn’t quite that question, but Alonso said he would help Felipe in a championship fight if requested to. I believe Fernando is contractually obliged to as for Ferrari the team is bigger than the driver. I doubt Fernando would do it with quite as much grace as Kimi or Felipe have, but it would happen.

        The scenario could happen through luck and reliability rather than pace, and it would be dependent on relative championship positions. To be on pace consistently would be a big change from the last three years. Massa’s qualifying record in equally-speced cars against Alonso is pretty poor. It is somewhere prior to Suzuka 2011 that he qualified in front with the same general set up.

      3. Anne says:

        You have to be realistic. Massa can´t handle Vettel, Raikkonen and eventually Hamilton. He couldn´t do it with Raikkonen in 2007 in the same team nor with Hamilton in 2008. Now we have Vettel in the mix. However Alonso has shown he can give them a run for their money and take the season to the wire even if he is not driving the best car. Let´s assume Massa wins the pole in Australia and Vettel is in P2. Do you really think he can win over Vettel?

      4. Random 79 says:

        @Anne

        Short answer: Yes
        Long answer: Hell yes

  13. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Felipe is hired as a 2nd driver, that’s a shame and it is not sporty, nobody in Ferrari wants him to win the WDC, so I don’t mind about him, he is there to take points off for Fernando and some good points for the WCC for Ferrari, so that’s his job, only a job.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Was he hired as second driver in ’08?

      Frankly I think that if he did happen to win the WDC this year you might see more than a few tears from the Ferrari team – and just to be clear I mean tears of joy…except maybe for Alonso ;)

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