Felipe Massa appeared impatient at the launch of the new Ferrari
F2008, aware that the Scuderia will come under renewed pressure from its rivals from the first race of the season in Australia.
Although the Prancing Horse took both titles in 2007, the Brazilian knows that it cannot afford to rest on its laurels for long, with the likes of McLaren, BMW-Sauber and, if Fernando Alonso
has anything to do with it, Renault
all likely to be snapping at its heels from the opening day in Melbourne.
"Seeing the car for the first time is like welcoming a boy into a family," Massa said as the covers came off the F2008 during a low-key ceremony in Maranello, "but now it is important to work to make him grow in the best way.
"The first impression of the car is that it is really beautiful, just like every other Ferrari, but that is not enough. The looks are important, but the performance and the reliability are even more important. The team has to work to make the car immediately fast and reliable. We have to do some more work on it before the first race and we want to check its performance before we make any further comments."
The Brazilian, who finished fourth overall after falling away late in the 2007 championship race, will carry the #2 on his F2008, but says that that has little significance to his chances of succeeding team-mate Kimi Raikkonen
"The number doesn't change anything," he insisted, "The most important thing is what we reach by the end of the year. 2007 was really great. I won races, but I also had some problems, which cost me some precious points. We have to learn from that and try to win again."
Massa pointed to several reasons why he would be more of a force in 2008, including one that may not come immediately to mind.
"I am really motivated, and the team is absolutely fantastic," he smiled, "Also, I'm married now and I turned into a man, so I am more serious now. I am ready to fight - more than ever!"
Closely linked to the Todt family thanks to Nicolas managing his career over the past few years, Massa insisted that the Frenchman's father leaving his post at the head of the race team will not affect its chances of defending both titles.
"Jean Todt is still there and he will participate in many important events," he pointed out, "There's Stefano [Domenicali] now, who has a very important role after many years he has been working here. I am happy for him and I hope that the team will be as it always was. After all, it is the mentality that is important and that it remains as it is."