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Defiant Massa bets on new chassis

2012-03-23 08:45

POOR FORM TO CONTINUE: Felipe Masa says he will bounce back especially with his new car at the Malaysian Grand Prix, though he is still trailing during the first practice session setting the 13th quickest time in Sepang.

John O'Brien

SEPANG, Malaysia - A defiant Felipe Massa played down criticism of his prolonged slump in form and was optimistic that a new Ferrari chassis would pay dividends at the 2012 Malaysian Formula 1 GP.

Massa has failed to finish on the podium since the inaugural Korean GP in October 2010 and after a dismal season-opening performance in Australia 2012 is under increasing pressure.

He said: "I really don't care, I never drive thinking about what others are saying about me. I wouldn't do my job thinking like that. I think about the best I can do in the race, which was not the case in Australia."


The Ferrari driver's contract will finish at the end of 2012.

Massa and team mate Fernando Alonso both struggled in Melbourne and while Alonso was able to climb from 12th on the grid to fifth at the finish, Massa started 16th and retired after 46 laps after a tangle with William's Bruno Senna.

"I'm not happy with what happened there," Mass said. "When I arrived here in 2008 people said I was out of Ferrari after I didn't finish in Australia then.

"I didn't finish in Malaysia as well but it turned out to be my best season, so I really don't know. Things change very quickly from one day to another."

The performance of the car throughout the 2012 opening race weekend was a major concern for Massa but he now has a new chassis: "We really think it is the right thing to do. Every time I drove this car, I never had the same problems as I had in Australia. I couldn't drive it from the first day.


"If we go back to testing in Barcelona and Jerez, I drove the same car the day after Fernando and there was nothing different in terms of lap times or race pace or tyre degradation. Then we arrived in Australia and see that everything is different, so the chassis change is the right thing to do."

Admitting that Ferrari's situation was far from ideal, Massa said the team was striving to make the car competitive as quickly as possible. "As a team, we talk all the time. This week it was about how to improve the performance and I am sure we will find a solution to our problems.

"Everybody knows we are not where we expected to be in terms of performance compared to other teams, so I hope the car can work better on this track."

Stay with Wheels24 for the Formula 1 weekend.

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