Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Massa positive ahead of new F1 season

Formula One runner-up Felipe Massa vowed to learn from his past mistakes after taking the new 2009 F60 Ferrari for it’s first test spin.

Brazilian Massa lost the 2008 world title on the final bend of the final race, his home Grand Prix in São Paulo, to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.

Massa won that race and as he crossed the line he was the de facto world champion, but McLaren’s Hamilton passed a slowing Timo Glock on the final bend to snatch the point he needed to overhaul his Brazilian rival.

That is in the past, though, and having tasted his first experience of the changes made to the Ferrari car following a spate of new International Automobile Federation (FIA) regulations, Massa is feeling positive ahead of the new season.

”Next week in Portugal we’ll work on the little problems we had,” he said after his first run out at the famous Mugello circuit just outside Florence.

Most of the design changes imposed by the FIA have been aimed at increasing overtaking in a sport often lacking in excitement due to the difficulties in passing the car in front.

A shorter front wing, a thinner but higher and more compact rear wing and standardised central chassis are all modifications introduced by the FIA’s Overtaking Working Group (OWG).

Other changes include an improvement to the suspension to make handling in difficult conditions easier, while slick tyres will be re-introduced this year.

The Kers system to recuperate kinetic energy has also been installed on the engine while the transmission has been redesigned to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

The new Kers system was one that provoked some concern before testing, but Massa revealed that it was in full working order.

”It was a test to see if everything was working and it went well. Everything went well, the engine, the changes, aerodynamics, suspension,” he said.

”Even the Kers, there wasn’t even a single little problem with it and that’s important.

”The Kers works. We started off carefully, picking things up as we went along and everything worked.”

Massa also looked back on his agonising defeat to Hamilton.

”The worst days help you learn. It was a great day because winning at home in Brazil was important because I think certain things happen for a reason.

”And that has motivated me to work harder to fight and to improve. I always look to the future and I don’t want to look behind me.

”I believe that with myself and Ferrari we’ll be fighting for the title again this season.”

The 2007 world champion, Finn Kimi Raikkonen, did not take part in the testing but he too is looking forward to the new season after a disastrous 2008.

He won only two races and took only two poles in 17 races before finishing the season 23 points behind Hamilton.

”The F60 is different to previous cars due to the new rules, but it’s a beautiful car,” he said.

”Last year didn’t go as I wanted it to but that’s in the past now. Right now there’s lots of questions surrounding the new rules.

”We’ve a lot of confidence in the new car and our aim is to win both titles [drivers’ and constructors’].

”The races are the most important things. Trying out the car will be electrifying but racing at Melbourne [in the first race of the season] will be something altogether different.

”I can’t wait for the start of the new season.” — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Kenya’s beach boys fall into sex tourism, trafficking

In the face of their families’ poverty, young men, persuaded by the prospect of wealth or education, travel to Europe with their older female sponsors only to be trafficked for sex

High court reinstates Umgeni Water board

The high court has ruled that the dissolution of the water entity’s board by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was unfair and unprocedural

Mkhize throws the book at the Special Investigating Unit

It’s a long shot at political redemption for the former health minister and, more pressingly, a bid to avert criminal charges

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…