Felipe Massa has been in Abu Dhabi for a couple of days already, but today was the start of the routine part of a race weekend, which as always begins with a press meeting. The Brazilian was reminded he had just two more chances to finish on the podium in 2011 and the Scuderia Ferrari man explained why this situation had arisen. “We have worked a lot on qualifying, after the first part of the championship where we were not where we should have been in terms of grid position,” he began. “Thanks to a lot of effort, we are now much more consistent in this and so we have managed to put in some very strong qualifying performances from August onwards. We improved the pace, but then in the race, for a variety of reasons, I have not been able to exploit that to get the results I should have done but clearly the races did not go as they should have done. However, the positive factor is that we are much more consistent now and that is the important thing.
“We have not had the championship we wanted and if I have not made it to the podium so far, it’s because for 30 to 40% of the races something happened that lost me time during the race. If you look at all the races as a whole, you would have to say that our chances of getting to the podium were not so great, therefore, if on top of that I had problems in those races where I might have got to the podium, then this explains why I have not made it to the top three.”
The subject of Felipe’s front wing changes in India a fortnight ago was still interesting the media, so he explained what had been the situation as clearly as he could: “We had fitted an updated front wing and discovered it touched the ground a lot on Friday when running at high speed. So, we replaced it for the Qualifying on Saturday, but that one broke when I hit the kerb. This meant we had to run the newer wing that touched the ground, on Sunday in the race. It would touch the most when using the DRS and as we don’t use DRS so often in the race itself, we decided it would not be too much of a problem. What we do now know from back to back testing is that the new one is better than the old, offering a performance advantage.”
Despite the many disappointments he has had to endure over this season, Felipe is still motivated for these final two rounds. “Now we must still concentrate hard on these two remaining races to try for a last time to get a podium, while also working intensively towards next year to ensure that this sort of situation does not repeat itself. We have to think we did some things that were not right, things I did not do the way I would have liked and so there is pressure, the pressure you put on yourself.”