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GP Week : Issue 57
shocked the F1 community and put Felipe Massa in hospital with a fractured skull, he was in good spirits, reflecting on a great performance at the German Grand Prix which had seen him arrive in Hungary high on confidence that his season was finally about to take a turn for the better. GPWeek Editor Will Buxton had been granted an interview with the Brazilian that F Thursday afternoon, and the pair sat on the first floor of the Ferrari motorhome on that sweltering day discussing everything from the FIA to Ferrari to fatherhood. Neither could have foreseen the events that were to unfold over the weekend, and so this interview remains as a snapshot in time. As such, we print it here, in full. From all of us at GPWeek: Get well soon Felipe. Schuey may be filling in for the next few races – but it’s your seat and we can’t wait to see you back. GPWEEK: A podium in Germany. It must feel good to get back up there. FELIPE MASSA: Yes, it’s always good [laughs]. For sure a podium is what we’re aiming for, especially in a difficult season a podium is always more difficult to achieve, you know? If you’d asked me about podiums last year it was something that at the end of the day it was not incredibly difficult to achieve. Victory, yes, but podiums were a bit easier. This time podiums are so difficult to achieve and sometimes even more difficult than a victory last year, so that’s why it felt good. Do you see this as a turning point in the season for you guys? I hope. We’re working for that, but it’s difficult to answer. Have you had to change your outlook on the season? As you said, last season podiums were almost a matter of course, so have you had to change your style to suit driving for every point? To be honest, every year we can often change a little bit to adapt to the new rules, so that’s something which is more or less 3 normal. From 2007 to 2008 we didn’t have traction control so we changed a little bit. From last year to this year we changed again because many things changed in the regulations. From this year to next year we won’t have refuelling anymore so we’ll need to adapt to the new rules so every year it’s like this in Formula 1. That’s not the main issue in my opinion. Brawn seems to be struggling in the cold, but Red Bull are flourishing in those conditions. Are you seeing much difference yourself at Ferrari? For us it doesn’t make much difference. We’re struggling in the heat and we’re struggling in the cold sometimes so it’s something that doesn’t change massively to be honest. I’m also not sure that Brawn really have a problem in the cold conditions. Maybe after Turkey Red Bull made a big step forward and can be good even in the hot conditions. We’ll see in this race and we’ll see if what Brawn is saying is true or if they just lost a little bit compared to Red Bull. When did you realise that this season wasn’t going to be quite like last season? I realised at the end of the winter test that our car was not as competitive as last year, especially when we saw Brawn in Barcelona I was sure that this season would have been a little bit different than we’d expected. How do you find using KERS? Are you set on using it all season long? We’re going to use KERS always. When the KERS was allowed everybody was working to have the KERS except for the small ones including Brawn and maybe Red Bull because they didn’t have reliable KERS, not because they didn’t want to use it. Now we’ve worked on it a lot. At the beginning our KERS was working well in winter tests and we never had a problem and we built the car around the KERS. So now if we take away the KERS we lose three tenths. Next year it’s different. We’re going to build a completely different project. Now, you can’t change the project. I mean, you can, but it doesn’t make sense. So we’re going to use KERS until the last race. If you see, even McLaren took it away and afterwards they came back. How difficult does it make it not having any in-season testing, essentially using Friday as a testing day? For sure it’s a little bit more difficult. Now we have a lot of good information from the wind tunnel and sometimes when it works in the wind tunnel it works on the track most of the time. It is true that it’s better to have some tests. Even on the safety issue, you know? Even for the drivers’ fitness which is important. So I think in many areas we need to have some tests. It is something that we, in my opinion, it would be nice to discuss for the future because it’s something that is important for everybody not just for development, but for every area. And also for the show, I guess... to provide closer racing. Yeah it’s true. It’s true. In these difficult times, how important is it to have such a close relationship with Rob [Smedley, Massa’s race engineer.]? I think the drivers and their engineers work together so their relationship is so important so I’m very happy that I have a orty eight hours before the freak accident which