Felipe Massa said he was happy with the progress made by Ferrari on the final day of testing in Barcelona, with the F2012 managing more than 100 laps for the first time.
Despite being forced to take a break during the middle of the day to alter the set-up on the car, Massa was able to complete more than 470km of running with the new car en-route to the fifth best time as Ferrari continues to learn about the new machine.
Declaring himself happy with the progress made, Massa said Ferrari was now in a position where it can use next week's test to conduct more 'meaningful' running.
“I am happy: not only because we finally did so much mileage without problems but above all because we managed to improve the car in a significant way,” he said. “The situation has changed above all compared to the morning, especially from the point of view of consistency of the lap times. The important thing is that, after having evaluated so many solutions, both on the exhausts and at the front, we are now taking a direction in which we can work to get the best set-up. There's still a lot to do, for example on the exits of corners, but I'm satisfied and from the next Barcelona test we will be able to really start true and meaningful testing.
“Today we could certainly have done a better lap time but that wasn't our target. We had so many things to test over the course of these few days and our priority was to identify what is worth working on for the early races. We managed that and now we can concentrate on those areas with a large margin for improvement, like set-up and how to use the tyres. In the afternoon we were able to do some long series of laps with pretty consistent times, which I didn't manage in the morning. The warm-up, that had been a particular problem for me in recent years, is also much improved – so much that I can consistently put together a time on the first lap. The car doesn't have anything new on it but it's definitely improved since Jerez.”
Massa was quick to point however that it was difficult to tell where Ferrari stands in the pecking order until the teams head to Melbourne for the season opener.
“We are ready to fight but it's impossible to say how we really compare to the others,” he said. “We will discover that only when we all run with low fuel and soft tyres at the same time on the track, which will be during qualifying for Melbourne. Today people can say whatever they want but until we are all in the same conditions words count little. It's true that I've seen some strong teams: Red Bull above all but also others like Sauber, Force India and Williams if you look at this week's times.”