Massa happy not to relive Ferrari nightmare

JEREZ, Spain Wed Feb 6, 2013 1:24am IST

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil looks on during a news conference at the Wrooom, F1 and MotoGP Press Ski Meeting, Ducati and Ferrari's annual media gathering, in Madonna di Campiglio January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil looks on during a news conference at the Wrooom, F1 and MotoGP Press Ski Meeting, Ducati and Ferrari's annual media gathering, in Madonna di Campiglio January 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi/Files

JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - Felipe Massa delivered his eagerly-awaited verdict on Ferrari's new Formula One car after the first day of testing on Tuesday, with sighs of relief likely to be heard around Maranello.

If the Brazilian did not appear overly thrilled after setting the sixth fastest time, he was happy at least not to be the bearer of bad news.

A year ago, Massa had rung Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo from the first day of testing in Jerez to inform him that the car was a "disaster" - a call that the patrician Italian described last week as one he would not wish on his worst enemy.

Montezemolo could answer his mobile without trepidation this time.

Massa said he would tell his boss that "there are so many things to understand with the car and to work on and do but the first, basic feeling is nothing like last year.

"I think if you compare to last year, it's a completely different planet," added the Brazilian.

"Last year I remember I was struggling a lot to drive the car, it was difficult to keep the car on the track. This year the base on the car is different.

"For sure there is relief because maybe this is an indication that we are not going to lose time," said Massa. "Last year when we drove the car for the first time we lost a lot of time, maybe more than a month of development to fix the issues."

Ferrari made up some of the gap but still arrived in Australia last year with a car that was off the pace but that double world champion Fernando Alonso managed to keep in contention against the odds.

By the halfway point in the season, the Spaniard had a commanding lead that was then whittled away by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who captured his third title at the Brazilian finale.

Ferrari, overall runners-up in 2012, are determined this year will be different and Massa's first impressions will have given them reason to be hopeful in a year without major regulation changes.

"The car is much more balanced. I felt a good direction in the middle of the car as well, it didn't lose traction...I would say the difference compared to last year is huge," said Massa, who will shoulder most of the early testing burden.

Alonso is missing the first test and will not drive the car until the second test in Barcelona on February 19.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Reuters Showcase

Markets Weekahead

Markets Weekahead

Column - Caution advised in a trader’s market  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

RBI seen holding rates steady on Tuesday, minority of analysts expect cut  Full Article 

GDP Revised

GDP Revised

Economic growth revised up by almost 50 percent  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Hingis wins Australian Open mixed doubles title with Paes   Full Article 

Houston's Daughter

Houston's Daughter

Bobbi Kristina Brown revived after found unresponsive in tub  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

Review: Hawaizaada

Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage