Felipe Massa admits he is happy and relieved that his decision to join the newly rebranded Williams Martini Racing team over the winter appears to be paying dividends following his strong turn in pre-season testing.
After eight seasons and 11 GP wins with Ferrari, Massa makes the switch to Williams for the 2014 season, the Brazilian coming on board after a season that saw the historic, multiple title winning team suffer its worst-ever F1 campaign in 2013.
Despite this, Massa maintains there was method behind his 'risky' decision to choose Williams over other teams, pointing out that the British operation had announced a switch to Mercedes engines for 2014 and was making staff acquisitions as a time when other teams were struggling to pay theirs.
“I'm really happy with my choice,” he said, speaking to a selection of reporters during the presentation that confirmed Martini Racing as Williams' title sponsor for 2014. “When I was looking for a team to race with, I used my brain to understand so many things. Many people said Mercedes was in front and doing great things with the engine, so this was also in my mind.
“Many teams I was talking to were losing so many people from the inside. You hear so many stories about people not getting their salary, then when I spoke to Williams for the first time I saw a different atmosphere and different thinking. This is a team that wants to grow and get back to where they were in the past.”
A fitting moment to accept a 'new challenge' at a time of upheaval in the regulations, Massa says he feels somewhat vindicated by the decision to join Williams following pre-season testing, where both he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas have been identified as front runners ahead of next week's Australian Grand Prix.
“When I drove the car for the first time, it gave me a lot of happiness and relief that the team I chose, compared to the others, was the right one.
“I feel good. I feel it was the right time to change. Everything is new for everybody and we all start from zero, so that is the right time to change. I needed this change and I think it gives you a new challenge. New people, a different way to work - this is a new challenge that gives you some extra motivation.”
Massa set the fastest time overall during the final Bahrain test, with team-mate Bottas fourth quickest.