Felipe Massa has charged up his batteries ahead of his departure for Australia. The Brazilian driver featured in a press conference yesterday in Sao Paulo for the launch of a partnership between the Scuderia and the Petropolis group. Through the brand of its energy drink TNT, it became an Official Supplier last week and a personal sponsor of Felipe himself.
“We drivers need so much energy for the job we do because it is very tiring to do a race for two hours, often with very high temperatures in the cockpit,” said Felipe. “And you need plenty of energy to face up to a long championship as we have in 2012. I’m delighted that the Scuderia has a Brazilian partner: it’s a good sign for our country. As for our hopes for 2012? Plenty and very high as usual: I am an optimist and I think positively. Everything is starting again from zero, with different cars. My intention is to come out of the car at the end of every race happy with having done everything within my power.”
With reference to the expiry of his contract with the Maranello team, the Brazilian added: “This year is no different to many that I have had in the past. It will be at least the fifth time that I am starting a season without renewing my contract but that makes no difference to me. I am working with the aim of extending the relationship with Ferrari that has now lasted for so many years. This is my seventh year as an official driver but I won’t give a second’s thought to this while I’m in the car. For me Ferrari is something special. For example, it’s true that the first time that I saw the office of Enzo Ferrari reproduced in the Maranello Museum this year I felt a particular emotion, even though I’ve now been a part of this family for more than 10 years.”
Many questions obviously concerned how the tests had gone and the Scuderia’s prospects for the beginning of the season. “It’s true that every year we do less testing so it gets more difficult to understand how the situation stands between the various teams,” said Felipe. “Last year we went very well in the tests then we arrived in Melbourne and we found ourselves a second away from pole position. I won’t hide the fact that we are not 100 percent satisfied with what we have done in these three test sessions in Spain and I would have preferred to be a bit quicker. We have a totally new car and we must still learn about it and get all its potential out of it. I have a very strong team and I have lots of faith in their capacity to be able to develop the chassis during the season. The truth is we will only discover the situation in Australia when we are all in the same conditions: little fuel in the tank and the softest tyres on the car. Certainly there are some teams that seem very strong like Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes and Lotus seems very quick to me. Then there’s a group that has got closer and will fight within the space of a few tenths with Sauber, Toro Rosso and Force India. Still, I still believe that we can fight for the podium: it’s the only thought I have in my head. But we only have to wait a few more days to have the answer.”Felipe will leave on Sunday for Melbourne, where he will begin a new Formula 1 season, his tenth as an official driver but the first without his friend Rubens Barrichello in the paddock: “I am very happy that Rubens has decided to take on a new adventure in Indycars. I heard he was sad about how things went with his previous team and I’m sure that he will do very well in his new career: I will cheer for him and I’m sure that he will also cheer for me in Formula 1.”