It was the turn of the drivers to address the press today at the Wrooom Ferrari and Ducati press ski meeting at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy. Both drivers will be taking to the snow during the week, and racing against Michael Schumacher tomorrow, but for the moment, Felipe Massa covered subjects from married life to his future racing prospects.
"Well the year was very good, it ended with a very nice celebration for the championship and my wedding, a really special day for me, so I was really happy."Felipe, as a top driver at the peak of his career, how can you still improve, year after year, race after race?
"Well, a driver always learns, especially as in Formula One the regulations change by year, maybe tyres change, and the electronics change, so there is always something to learn, so every year there is something new, so this means that we start again from scratch every year.
This is because of the regulations. We also will have to focus on what we did wrong the previous years and what we did right, and draw experience from that for the new season, improving on what one didn't do right the previous years."What do you feel about the arrival of Stefano Domenicali and his new role?
"I've known Stefano for a long time already, I've known him since the first day I went to Ferrari. Jean Todt is still there and will be part of the team this year. Stefano will operate to different rules, just as Jean has done until now. But Stefano has great potential. In the past, Ferrari has changed people but the mentality has always been there, it's the same mentality as a group."Felipe, what worries you most in this car, traction control, the starts? What? Is there something in the car that you fear most?
"Well, surely the starts are going to more human, let's say, because you don't have the electronic control so you have to do the electronic control for the car at the start, so surely, at the start, the driver is going to count more. Up to last year, the technicians did the starts for us, in a way, now, all of us are going to have the cars on an equal basis, it is going to more fun for us.
Traction control, let's say we have to take over what the electronics did in the past. That doesn't mean that it's going to be something from another planet, no, we simply have to learn and be a softer on the pedal and I see that the laptimes are more or less the same as against lap times with tract ion control at the end of the season. So it hasn't been that difficult to come to grips with the new regulations.
These regulations are going to lead to so me changes in how we are going to have to tackle the car, for a start, for traction control, but also how we are going to have to drive the car during the race, because if you one is too aggressive, you may destroy the tyres more quickly so I think that during the races. We are going to be a bit more careful so without traction, we are going to have to drive a bit differently so as not to wear out the tyres. Of course we have to learn this, we have to learn to optimise this."You are going to drive the car in Jerez next week, what do you expect from the car in terms of performance in comparison to last year? And also, you mentioned Monza, but how can one avoid problems that happened; it seems that some components were not tested enough at the time. Is it possible to plan things better so as to improve on reliability?
"Well, the problem in Monza was solved right after the race. Now, OK, we have the new car and we're going to have see its reliability. Last year we lost many points due to problems with reliability which ended many races, so this year, this season, we're working a lot on the car to understand see if problems exist so that we can start the championship with a car that we hope is going to be 100 percent reliable.
As for extracting performance, OK, the car is new, there are many new things in it. Personally I think the car is going to be ready just before the start of the championship, so we have to develop the car, even if in Jerez should the laptimes not be that far from the laptimes of the last season.
The numbers we have seen, the data in the wind tunnel are positive but of course we have to see what the others are going to do because even if our data is incredible, if others go faster than perhaps they have improved more than us, they have worked more on their new car, so we are going to have too see this on the race track and we are going to have some conclusive data with the first race of the championship."Are you tackling this season under greater pressure, from a personal and psychological point of view, and secondly, seeing it from the inside, why is Hamilton special?
"I don't feel any pressure. It's going to be more or less the same, but we were under pressure to win because we had not been winning for two years and we won. We continue to have the pressure to be in front because we won last year, so the pressure is going to be the same.
When you race for a team such as Ferrari, you are always under pressure but one thing is to do your job and even if what people say, it's what counts when you drive. What counts is the mentality of the team.
As for Hamilton, considering it was his debut in Formula One, his first year in Formula One and he went really fast, also in comparison to his teammatem who was an important reference, he did a consistent season.
He won races but apart from that he was consistent throughout the season. For a newcomer, this impressed everyone. Having said that, considering based on what he has learned, I don't know what happened in the last two races. He should have scored maximum points and he wasn't able to do so.
I think that perhaps it was not good to do such an incredible season and to finish it as he finished it. Having said that, we have to have respect for Hamilton, we have to look on him well, both for this next season as well as for the future."