Felipe Massa insists he's carrying no baggage from his heart-breaking 2008 title defeat into the new F1 season, which starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver came within one corner of being crowned the first Brazilian world champion since Ayrton Senna during last year's thrilling Sao Paulo title decider, which went in Lewis Hamilton's favour after a last-gasp place gain.

Nevertheless, Massa denied that he has 'unfinished business' and instead views the 2009 campaign as a fresh start - with reliable and competitive machinery currently his main focus.

"We finished the business last year one point behind, but we finished. Now we need to start another one from zero," he said. "I hope [it will be] with a very competitive car like we had last year, but maybe slightly more reliable - and a very efficient team. That was what we were doing in the winter, trying to work 100 per cent on every detail, not to miss any point, I hope.

"What happened in last year's championship is finished. Everybody starts from zero now. We have 20 drivers fighting, so until the point that you see maybe you have two, three, five or more fighting for the championship, everybody is in the same position.

"For sure, some people are a bit more competitive; some people are not, it depends - but everybody starts from zero. We need to take everything we learned in the past, but we need to work very hard because we know the championship is long and everybody is in the same boat now."

Regarding the heavily revised technical regulations introduced for 2009, Massa feels that it is the return of slicks - rather than KERS or the moveable front wing - which have had the biggest driving impact.

"For sure it is a big change compared to last year. We have so many things to work on the car," said Felipe. "The KERS and the front wing which it is not necessary to change, just when you are following somebody, so you can change whenever you like once a lap [which means] you can use it for set-up as well.

"For sure the tyres were a big difference, [and] aerodynamically we lost a lot of downforce compared to last year. At least we lost [downforce] at Ferrari, I don't know about the other teams. My car is like that. I feel a big difference to drive especially with the old tyres.

"With the new tyres you have grip, so you can be aggressive, you can brake strong and try to bring the car, as we were doing last year. In terms of turning you can be aggressive, but with the old tyres the car is sliding much more. It is a little bit different to drive and you need to be smoother than last year, at least in my car," he explained.

When asked for his prediction for this weekend's event, Massa added his voice to the growing chorus backing a shock performance from Brawn GP, but was cautious about writing off McLaren.

"The picture from the winter, at least, is that Brawn is better than anybody, so maybe we need to fight each other [BMW and Ferrari] for third place. I hope not," he said.

"For sure, it is strange to see McLaren at the back," admitted Massa. "The only thing I can think for myself is that they are a respected team, so we need to respect them for what they did in the past. That's the only idea I have, so I have no idea where they are going to be."

Despite the end result last season, Massa grew enormously as a driver - comprehensively outperforming reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen in the same car - and is willing to take on anyone as a future team-mate...including Hamilton.

"Well, I drove alongside Michael [Schumacher]. I drive alongside Kimi, I heard for many years already that Fernando [Alonso] will come. He's [Lewis Hamilton] just another one, so I don't care," said Massa of rumours that Hamilton might one day leave McLaren. "Valentino Rossi as well. Maybe my father will drive for Ferrari next year. We don't know."



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