As a Monaco resident, Felipe Massa did not have to travel far from home for his first official engagement of the weekend, attending the FIA press conference in the building overlooking one of the most famous harbours in the world.
"It is dangerous everywhere!" was the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver's opening remark when asked to pick out which parts of this street circuit present the greatest challenge. A challenge that could be trickier than usual in the light of two factors - the high chance of rain over the weekend and the fact that for the first time in many years, drivers can no longer benefit from driver aids such as traction control. "This track was difficult to drive when we did have traction control so it will be even harder now. This year, if it rains, we will slowly learn how each corner feels without it and then the difficulty begins when you start to push harder to find the limits of the car. One little mistake and you will be in the wall."
Although Massa finished on the podium in third place last year, this has not been the most successful track for the Scuderia and the Brazilian confirmed that the team is looking at ways to overturn this trend. "We are looking at different strategies regarding the set up of the car," he explained. "We will be looking at improving our mechanical grip because, although aerodynamic downforce is still important here, mechanical grip and a good set up are very important at this track. But of course, if it rains, it will be a lottery for everyone."
Maybe it was not what the local media wanted to hear, but the ever-truthful Brazilian also admitted he is not that keen on this weekend's venue. "Even if I have had good results here, it is not my favourite track. I much prefer fast tracks and real circuits like Spa or even some of the modern ones like Turkey and China. But even if I don't enjoy driving here, that does not mean I cannot be competitive."
Like it or not, what did the Ferrari man hope to get out of this weekend. "The last few races have been fantastic for me and the team and we have to keep that momentum and the same focus. Of course, I will be trying to win, but if that is not possible then the aim is to bring home as many points as possible which, as we have seen in the past, could be very important come the end of the season."