Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has concerns regarding the new teams…don’t we all? I must admit that I am pleased to see the progress made by Lotus F1 Racing and Virgin Racing during testing and I expect them to take a while to gain their composure and competitiveness but Massa brings a very serious concern to the table. If the new teams are 3-4 seconds off the pace, will that present something more than just mobile chicanery? Could there be a real safety issue?
Ferrari released a Q&A with the Brazilian driver and here is what he had to say:
Are you ready? “I’ve seen some good signals. We were the team with the most laps and the lap times were good”.
Did you check out the competition? “Sure! We’re always watching the others, not just the final time, but also race simulation: for example Red Bull went out with tyre x and did this run, the tyre y and did that. The result is the there are many competitive teams: Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, maybe Williams. And we are in there for sure”.
Your friend Schumacher said that he can’t win Bahrein, but then corrects himself. What do you think? “He’s strong he can win. But we too”.
Schumi is one of the few drivers happy with less testing… “If I was 41 years old I would be too, but I’m 28 and I’m happy with testing”.
Is there something on other cars you would like to have on yours? “There are many details, but if I don’t know the data from the wind tunnel I can’t comment. Mercedes has a different nose, looking nice, the McLaren is strange… In the end it’s important that it works “.
The new teams are having problems: also on the track? “I hope they won’t be a danger. There are 6-7 teams one second apart while those teams are 4 seconds behind. It’s not good for the sport and not good for them: it’s like two different series. They’ll suffer. And we’ll suffer too, when we have them in front of us during qualifying”.
The qualifying will be as important as before? Will overtaking be impossible? “No, not much will change. If you’re driving a car with all that petrol on board it will be harder on the tyres and the possibility of making mistakes is higher: and the one behind you will benefit”.
Managing the tyres will be the technical key to the season? “It depends on the circuit: on some the wear is higher and changing the tyres can be important”.
Consumption: what can the driver do? “There are things we can do to consume more or less fuel. If there are for example 15 laps left and you have more petrol on board than you need because there was traffic, there is a way to burn more”.
You are a veteran of the team. “I’ve never heard that before…”
Time goes by: as a veteran how much do you feel the team’s wish to win? You can’t go wrong. “It’s a very important moment for us after a horrible year and difficult due to politics. We really want a good Championship. It was also a difficult moment for me with the accident. I’m concentrated, I’m ready 100%”.
Don’t you think that if one race goes wrong they’ll say that you’re not the old Felipe? “Someone might say that. I’m expecting that and I’m not worried. Not worried at all”.
What has changed with Fernando Alonso? “We’re talking Italian. We also argued in Italian!”.
Everybody remembers that, at the NÃ¼rburgring, in 2007! But you promised it won’t happen anymore… “We’ve got many things in common, the way of life, the mentality. That’s also good for the team, which has the same mentality”.
Did you see all the fans at the tests in Spain? Are they more passionate than in Brazil? “I was wonderful. But I’m sure that of there was a test in Italy, or in Brazil, and the price was right, there would be as many people”.
After three months what does it mean to you being a father? “It’s fantastic. I’m in love with Felipinho, every day my wife sends me photos of him via cell phone, her is today’s! He’s great, he looks at me and he smiles. He’s got a good character and he let’s me know what he wants. He’s determined. And he has more hair than me”.
Did this experience change you? “I have to work more. I have a son to feed now. But when I’m in the car I don’t think: I won’t go slower”.
Sunday in Bahrein: will you be happy only if you win or considering how it went at the last race in 2009 it will be enough if you’re close to the others? “The last race doesn’t count anything. And I wasn’t even there. This is a fresh start for me, for all. We’re starting from scratch. I’ll be happy if I’ll have a good race and even happier if I win”.
I can’t help but wonder just how the new teams will react to the competition if they are 4-5 seconds off the pace. LAst year saw not much more than a second (if that) between the entire grid while this year things could be very different.
Is this s safety issue? No big deal? Is it an element that adds spice to the racing as there are slower back markers? Tell us what you think below: