Felipe Massa is optimistic that Ferrari will be among the frontrunners at this weekend's British Grand Prix, confident that the F138 will be well-suited to the flowing Silverstone circuit.
Although, amazingly, a podium has so far eluded the Brazilian in England, he is relishing the coming weekend, and is aiming to break his duck as Ferrari attempts to hold on to the coat-tails of Red Bull in both championships.
“Silverstone is a fantastic track, first of all because of its incredible layout with high speed corners and changes of direction, which is what we drivers enjoy most,” Massa, who has twice finished fourth at the 'home of British motorsport', commented.
“I believe our car can work well at this race, as that seemed to be the case in China and Barcelona, and Silverstone follows that same direction in terms of circuit characteristics. It's an old-style track with high speed corners, which should suit the F138, so I expect to have a good weekend. Naturally, I'm looking to score points and hoping to finish on the podium.”
Following the 'flyaway' race in Canada, the F1 circus has had a three-week period gap to prepare for the return to competition in Europe and, while some of that time has been well spent escaping the incessant pressure of the 19-race schedule, it certainly hasn't been a holiday for any members of the Ferrari squad, including the drivers.
“In the past, we used to test on track in the weeks between most races but, with the testing ban, it has become even more important to keep up our fitness training to stay in condition,” Massa revealed, “I came to Maranello for a couple of days on the simulator and to have meetings with the engineers but, even while I was at the factory, I made time to do some training every day. It's all part of my preparation from one race to the next so I feel 100 per cent ready for the British GP.”
Ferrari, like most of its rivals, will have further developments to try out at Silverstone.
“We have spent a lot of time analysing data from the last few races, from the aero side to looking at tyre performance, trying to put together the best possible package for Silverstone,” technical chief Pat Fry confirmed, “We've got a few upgrades coming through for this weekend and we have to ensure we are well prepared to run them. We have been studying data from the wind tunnel to assess what is the best set-up for the car for this circuit using the new parts that are coming through the system now.”
Although the data gathered at the last two races is of use to the engineers, the circuit characteristics are contrasting enough for a different approach to be called for in Britain.
“The last two races in Monaco and Montreal took place on tracks that are quite different to normal circuits,” Fry confirmed, “While Monaco is unique and Montreal is similar to Bahrain with a premium placed on traction, Silverstone is more about high speed corners that flow together, so if we want to make a comparison it has more in common with Barcelona.”
Barcelona, of course, was the scene of Ferrari's most recent victory, as Fernando Alonso led Massa in a 1-3 result, sandwiching Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen on the podium...