Felipe Massa expects the new Silverstone layout to require an extra amount of set-up and figuring out and hope to “make another good step forward” at the British Grand Prix this weekend.
He lays out his thoughts in his latest diary piece.
And, for once, I think he offers a bit more than the usual inane comments (although there are some related to the World Cup):
In any case, my main focus for the next few days is all on Silverstone. I watched the MotoGP race there on television a few weeks ago and my impression is that the new track layout is very different to the old one with some of the new â€˜slowâ€™ corners even slower than before. We will have to learn the handful of new corners on Friday, to judge if we need to make significant changes to the type of set-up we have run here in other years, although much of the data we have from the past will still be relevant as several sections are much the same as before. It means that when I walk the track on Thursday with my engineers, as we do at every race, it will be a bit more important than usual. When you approach a new section of track on foot, you are looking for a variety of things: what the asphalt surface is like, whether there are any bumps on the racing line, where you think the correct braking points will be and the best way to approach the corner. You have to assess whether the braking point and entry to the corner is a priority, or if it is more a case of looking for good traction out of the corner, if there is a straight immediately after the turn for example. So there are many points that can be important to keep in mind once you are actually driving the car and you can find that the assumptions you made when on foot need to be modified once you are in the car and so you might decide to change your racing line. It only takes a few laps to find your way round, although with every lap you improve, especially on a new section of track, but I would say that after five to ten laps, you should be completely on top of the situation.
Now, sure it is all relatively basic, but still, it isn’t all that often we read or hear anything even remotely insightful from these scripted type of remarks. Weighing the braking and entry points against the traction is interesting stuff, says I, at least. It’s those details that are so interesting about Formula 1 — and I realize that declaration will shock the folks at FOM. And it gives us something to watch, especially during those early practice laps.
Massa also goes on to talk about his hopes for the weekend. And once again, I think he provides an unusual amount of information for fans to digest:
I hope we make another good step forward this weekend, with the new updates we are bringing to England, because we saw in Valencia and even in Canada, that the F10 is progressing in terms of competitiveness, even if for various reasons, that did not translate into good race results. In fact, this weekend should provide a very clear test of how much we have improved, both in pure performance and in terms of where we stand against the teams currently ahead of us. Of the tracks we have raced at so far this year, Silverstone is most similar to Istanbul, where we had an uncompetitive weekend, so if the F10 works well here, we will know we are on the right road.
That right there tells me that I can expect to have a good sense of the Ferrari, and both Felipe and Fernando Alonso’s chances for the rest of 2010, after this weekend. That’s, you know, helpful.
It also makes me think if the team doesn’t have it sorted out, there are going to be some serious discussions about looking ahead to 2011.