Felipe Massa has predicted that the Drag Reduction System will ensure that the European Grand Prix in Valencia this weekend will provide more overtaking than has been seen in recent years.
The street circuit, which made its debut on the calendar in 2008, has been regarded as one of the most difficult for overtaking, and has suffered plenty of criticism as a result.
However, Massa – winner of the first Valencia race – said that DRS, and the fact it can be used twice in Spain this weekend, would have a positive impact on the race.
“One of the criticisms of this street circuit was that it turned out to be very difficult to overtake other cars, but this year we have the Downforce Reduction System and, like in Canada, we have two DRS zones where we can operate it,” he said. “For sure, this will change the characteristics of the race, making it much easier to overtake. However, you have to do everything you can to ensure your car is competitive throughout the whole race, because this is the direction we have seen things go this year, in that if you are not competitive then it is very easy to lose places to other cars.
“In the past, before DRS, even if your car was slower than the one behind, you could defend your position more easily, keeping the car behind and not getting passed.”
F1 teams will also run a new compound of tyre this weekend as Pirelli's medium tyre makes its race debut, and Massa said it was interesting to see how the tyre would perform in a racing enviroment.
“For the first time this season we will be running Pirelli's Medium compound tyre as the Prime, with the Soft, that we know well by now, as the Option,” he said. “I drove with the Medium in winter testing, but it was much colder then, which means it behaved very differently and a couple of weeks ago, in Montreal, we were given the opportunity to evaluate it quickly during free practice, but the Canadian track surface is very different to the one in Valencia.
“If I had to sum up the new tyre, I would say it is very much like the original Hard tyre we had from Pirelli earlier this season. After a few races, they changed it, making it harder still and this Medium feels like the original Hard. The Ferrari
engineers have been working intensely on adapting the car to suit the tyres, as we have struggled more with the harder end of the compound range and we will test again a modified suspension to try and make it more suited to them.”