Having completed the latest group test in Spain, Felipe Massa has admitted that it felt good to be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time since being pipped to the 2008 world championship by Lewis Hamilton, but wasn't sure about the looks and performance of what he found at Jerez.

After Wednesday's opportunity to shake off the rust that might have accumulated over several weeks of rest and relaxation, Massa joined regular Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen on the third and final day of the test, as both attempted to find the best possible set-up for the slick tyres that will be reintroduced by Bridgestone in 2009.

The change of rubber was just one of the talking points when the Brazilian spent time with the media during the final day, however, with the disappointment of Interlagos still a topic of interest despite Massa attempting to move on.

"I live through the images of the race, especially the last laps, [and] I think that it was difficult for my family and my friends to go from absolute joy to this great disappointment in just a couple of seconds," he admitted, "I was in the car and concentrated on driving and knew that, with the rain, everything could happen.

"However, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it [during the break]. I don't like to life in the past. I prefer looking ahead, learning from what is happening to me. We did our best, we won the race. When you lose because of a single point, there's hardly anything to regret. There were many things we could have done in a different way or even better or which could have gone a different way."

Having time to himself in the weeks since the Brazilian denouement might have been a welcome break for Massa but, like any F1 driver, he soon began to itch for a return to the cockpit.

"I'm glad to be back on the track," he confessed, "My holidays went well but, after a while, you simply get annoyed, and I wanted to see how the cars run with the new tyres. I have to say that there's quite a difference, especially when you're running on used tyres. The car is definitely different to drive, and I think we will all have to change our style of driving.

"They are quite difficult to handle, especially with oversteer and with the lower downforce we have. But it has to be said that these cars are still hybrids, so they're not set up in the perfect way. I'm sure that with next year's car the situation will be completely different, [and] it's really fun driving with slicks."

The handling of the interim machines wasn't the only thing to catch Massa's attention at Jerez, however, as, as his rivals had before him, he attempted to come to terms with the early styling cues of 2009.

"The cars will be uglier? Well, I think that's true," he smiled, "It seems that we're going back ten years - but, in the end, it's not beauty that counts, is it?"


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