Williams driver Felipe Massa says he is "pretty optimistic" heading to Australia for the F1 2016 season opener and is hopeful he can start the new season like he did twelve months ago.

Massa finished fourth in Melbourne in 2015, eventually going on to take 13 top-ten finishes in total during the year, including podiums in Austria and Italy.

The Brazilian finished sixth on the combined times after the two pre-season tests in Barcelona, just 0.170s off Mercedes man Nico Rosberg in third, and is eager to do well at Albert Park.

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"Australia is always a nice place to start the season because it's a fantastic country and everybody likes to go there, it is also a race where anything can happen," said the 34-year-old, who is going into his third season with Williams and his 14th in F1 as a race driver.

"I'm really looking forward to starting the new season, and I hope we can start well like we did last year. Hopefully our car is competitive straight away, that's the most important thing. I am pretty optimistic that we can have a good first race and a good season."

Meanwhile, Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds also believes the team will be able to do well this year.

"It's always great to get back to Melbourne. It's a real test for the teams and drivers as they move from winter testing mode into competitive racing," he added.

"We feel we have a good platform to work from this year and hope we can manage these challenges to achieve a competitive outcome."