Australian GP - Massa: "to be consistent at all races"
Melbourne, 25 March -- The Albert Park paddock was bathed in sunshine as Felipe Massa faced the media on the lawn outside the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro garage on his first day at the circuit.
"I feel relaxed and
calm, as I have always been in fact since before the first race," said the Brazilian. For this year, we adopted a work method that aims at improving the car every race weekend and that is how we are progressing, on the right road. Finishing the first race in second place is a very good result, especially when you consider how the early season went in recent years. Getting a one-two was very important for the team and now the important thing is to be consistent at all races, finishing in the points."
The journalists were keen to quick the Ferrari man about the opening moments of the Bahrain event, where he lost a place to his team-mate shortly after the start. "I did not take the first corner very well and my speed wasn't right, which cost me time, so Fernando managed to pass me," admitted Felipe. "It's also true that it was the first braking point with a very heavy car and I had Hamilton very close to me, so I braked very much over to the right of the track, I did the best I could in the circumstances and, overall it was a very good weekend thanks to a perfect job from the team."
Bahrain did not produce a thrilling Grand Prix and the lack of overtaking was clear to see. "Definitely with a heavier car, in a formula that depends so much on aerodynamics you really need clean air ahead of you to overtake," explained the Brazilian. "On top of that, when the car is heavy you have low grip and if you get close to the car in front you have even less grip, which means that when the cars are very heavy in the early stages, it is very difficult to overtake."
In order to make a better fit with TV viewers in other parts of the globe,since last year's Australian GP, the race starts at 5 in the afternoon on Sunday, which did not prove very popular with the drivers. "We have already said that it would be good to bring the race forward by at least an hour or half an hour, but nothing has changed," said Massa. "Running the race so late means visibility gets worse towards the end and I remember that last year, it was almost impossible to see the white lines on the track as the sun was setting. But the commercial side of the sport is important too and that is why the start time stays the same. I have to say that I love this circuit and I have always performed well here in terms of pace, even if I have never had any luck, always running into technical problems. I hope things will be a bit different this year."
Felipe backs road safety
Today, Felipe Massa backed an important road safety campaign promoted by CAMS, the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. The initiative is aimed at youngsters from the age of 12 to 20 and has already run in some local schools, prior to going national in April. It has chosen the Scuderia Ferrari driver, in Melbourne since Wednesday, to take part in the Australian Grand Prix, the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship, which takes place on Sunday at the Albert Park circuit, as its ambassador to put its message across. Along with CAMS President, Andrew Papadopoulos, the Brazilian driver was keen to stress the importance of the project. "It's really shocking to find out how many people are involved in road accidents every year" commented Felipe. "It really saddens me reading the statistics, especially when you consider there were around 1500 deaths in 2009, given that the population of Australia is not so big. My work as a Formula 1 driver has given me a firm understanding of how to drive safely and I am sure that Australians will benefit greatly from the CAMS Ignition Program. It is vitally important to instil these principles from a very early age in order to make the roads safer and to reduce the number of deaths."