‘Small changes make a big difference’

Date published: June 22 2012

Felipe Massa admits that after making slight tweaks to his F2012, he is upbeat about the remainder of the season…

Felipe Massa admits that after making slight tweaks to his F2012, he was much more comfortable in Canada and is upbeat about the remainder of the season.
The Brazilian has endured a poor start to the year, registering just 11 points in the first seven races. However, the last two grand prix have been much more productive for Massa.
After finishing sixth in Monaco, Massa qualified in the same position in Canada and if it were not for a frustrating mistake early in the race he would have come home further up the field than the tenth spot he achieved.
Despite being frustrated with not putting in a better showing in Montreal, Massa showed moments of marked improvement, moments which he is hopeful of extending through an entire race.
“It’s true, I’m much happier, because I can drive the F2012 much more in the way I like now,” Massa told Ferrari’s official website.
“This means I am much more pleased with my driving, and with the balance of the car and the pace I can run at. When that happens, of course, you feel good and for sure, all the modifications and updates introduced on the car helped in this process, but also important was the way we worked on the set-up with my engineers. We changed many things in terms of the balance and found a good direction that suits me.”
Some of these changes have differed to those made by his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, and Massa reveals that the complex nature of the sport means that the smallest detail can be crucial and that what works for one driver may not be quite right for another.
“Every driver has his own style, the way he turns the steering wheel, or uses the throttle pedal and if you don’t feel comfortable with something then it definitely doesn’t help,” he explained.
“You know how it is with Formula 1 and in fact, not just Formula 1 but all sports at the top level, it involves working on the very small details. When something is not working for you, you move away from the right direction and lose performance, as you are not operating at 100% yourself.”
Ferrari’s chief designer Nikolas Tombazis indicated earlier in the week that he was satisfied with the strides that the team had taken and revealed that further improvements would be implemented in Valencia. Massa has echoed Tombazis sentiments, insisting he is happy with the F2012’s rate of development.
“For sure, we have many new parts, compared to the beginning of the season when we were far from how happy with our development,” he said.
“In the last three races, things have started to move much more in the right direction, with the right level of development producing a good level of performance. We have seen that in Barcelona, Monaco and Canada and from now on, I know there are many more updates coming and I expect that improving trend to continue.”
The Valencia circuit is a favourite of Massa’s as he won the inaugural race at the track in 2008. The 31-year-old is hopeful of adding another victory to his tally this weekend and knows that qualifying high up the grid will be key to achieving this.
“I like the track and even if people say it’s a street circuit, it’s not, because the major part of it is more like a permanent circuit, quite wide and not too tight. It always puts you in a positive frame of mind coming to a place where you have won before,” he said.
“So, I hope we can have another good weekend this time, especially given the fact our car is now more competitive in the races and also in qualifying, because we know how important your Saturday afternoon performance can be for the Sunday.
“You can overtake at Valencia, especially with the DRS, but starting from the front, being able to run at your own pace immediately right from the beginning, changes everything. It means you don’t get stuck behind cars that are quick in qualifying but slower in the race, which can carry a high price.”