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.”