Overcast skies greeted Felipe Massa when he arrived at the Shanghai circuit mid-morning today, a few hours before facing the media in the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality area, which like all the team offices here is mounted on stilts above a small lake at the back of the paddock.
“I have spent many days in Maranello, working with engineers, analysing and understanding what happened in the last two races,” said Felipe Massa when asked how he had spent the time since the last round in Malaysia. He also confirmed he had received some good advice from former F1 driver, former Ferrarista and fellow Paulista, Rubens Barrichello. “I spoke to Rubens after Malaysia and in fact it was after a race for him also, in the Indycar series. We spoke about that, as for him it involves learning a new category. And I spoke about what was happening to me. I think he’s right: I need to relax in order to do the job in the best way possible. I need to enjoy what I do, because after all, racing is what I love, so I hope I have a good weekend here and in Bahrain and have what is effectively a new start to my season. I feel better and the few days of relaxation I had definitely helped me, even if I have been in this sort of situation before and know how to deal with it.”
Asked about changes to the F2012, the Brazilian gave a realistic assessment of where the Scuderia is now. “We have worked hard to bring some new parts for this race and we are still not yet going completely where we want, even with these updates, but we are working very hard to move in the right direction as soon as possible to deliver a good improvement in car performance,” said Felipe. “It’s what we want and need. We have to remember that even if we have some updates here, so too have the other teams, so the most important thing is for us to have confidence in being able to do a better job on the track and that confidence can come from having a better car.”
Then the questioning turned to the specifics of the Chinese circuit. “The track here in Shanghai is tough on tyres and with the Soft and Medium being used here, degradation is something we will have to consider when we start working on car set-up, especially in terms of the race. The weather can also be a factor here which we need to be prepared for. From my personal point of view, I just want to have a normal race and finish where I ought to with this package. Normal or not, it’s important to have a good weekend. I need to put everything together in the right way. This season so far, the cars all seem to be very close and that is good for the racing, good for the competition and the fighting on track is a positive for the championship and now I just want to be able to fight with the cars in front of us.”