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Massa waiting for proof of Mugello test

Felipe Massa knows what he would like to see in terms of potential gains for Ferrari in Barcelona, but admits the Scuderia needs to wait and see what its rivals have produced.
Even as senior F1 figures were throwing new names into the ring as potential future occupants of his seat alongside Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa managed to focus on the sport's return to Europe and Ferrari's bid to close the gap on its rivals.

The Scuderia's struggle to keep pace with the likes of Lotus and Mercedes, let alone the likes of Red Bull and McLaren, has mirrored Massa's own battle to justify his place in the line-up alongside Alonso, who still seems able to pry better-than-expected results from the F2012 as he did with the 2011 car.

Although the Spaniard managed to top the times during the recent Mugello group test, Massa admitted that the results were inconclusive and work to develop the F2012 could not really be judged until the cars hit the track in Barcelona for the this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

“The key in terms of how much progress we have made will not just depend on the work we have done ourselves, but on how much the other teams have done,” the Brazilian explained to journalists on the eve of the race weekend, “We are going to use here some of the parts we tried in Mugello, but not all of them - and we will also try some other updates tomorrow in free practice that we did not test in Mugello.

"Until we have evaluated everything, it is hard to know how much of an improvement we can expect in terms of lap time, but it would be nice to think we can gain half a second. We must continue working flat-out, trying to bring new parts that give us a greater step forward than the other teams. I hope we will be happier this Sunday than we have been at the last few races.”

Massa only racked up his first points of the season with ninth place in Bahrain last time out, and already trails his team-mate, who took an unexpected victory in Malaysia, by 41. However, he is hoping that the return to Europe, however brief, can kick-start both his and the Scuderia's season.

“We only have two races in Europe, before heading off for Canada, but it does feel as though the championship will be getting more intense from now on,” he said, “The three-week break since Bahrain was very important for us, for everyone at Ferrari to work hard on improving our car, [and] I hope we will therefore benefit from having a better car from now on, starting here in Spain."

Ferrari's 45-point haul leaves the Scuderia 47 behind second-placed McLaren and 56 adrift of Red Bull, both of whom have also won races in 2012. With Lotus and Mercedes also showing signs of becoming regular frontrunners - the Three-Pointed Star won in China with Nico Rosberg - Massa and Alonso find themselves in the midst of a five-way battle at the front of the field.

While the Circuit de Catalunya rarely produces exciting racing because of its familiarity to both teams and drivers, Massa is hopeful that Ferrari can exhibit that step forward that will put it into contention for the rest of the year.

"This is a nice track to race on, even if we all know it very well from having driven more kilometres here than anywhere else. But it is demanding track, where you need to have a good car if you want to perform well. And, apart from that, if a car is effective here, it usually means it will work well nearly everywhere.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari  02.05.2012. Formula 1 World Championship, Testing, Mugello, Italy
Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari  02.05.2012. Formula 1 World Championship, Testing, Mugello, Italy
21.04.2012- Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team  02.05.2012. Formula 1 World Championship, Testing, Mugello, Italy
Fernando Alonso arrives in style to officially open the museum complex devoted to his racing career
Karts on display at the new Fernando Alonso museum in Oviedo, Spain
One of Fernando Alonso`s karts, bearing the now familiar #14
Fernando Alonso`s first karting licence as displayed at the museum celebrating his career in Oviedo
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
daniel ricciardo (aus), red bull, F1 Austria test [Credit: XPB]
Marco Wittmann (GER), Toro Rosso, F1 Austria test [Credit: XPB]
Fernando Alonso - McLaren-Honda MP4-30
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
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Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
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May 11, 2012 9:28 AM

What I like about this story is that Massa is still very focused on the job at hand and shows no sign of looking like a man reconciled to a certain fate. Rather than being glum and throwing in the towell (and who would blame him if he did), he has decided he'll go down fighting. Maybe he might just resurrect his prospects in the process.

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