Massa: We have to push hard every day

Felipe Massa leads the Championship race going into China

Apr.15 (YF1) Wrapped up in a winter jacket that usually only gets used at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian GP, Felipe Massa made a quick dash through the cold paddock to meet the media in the Ferrari hospitality area as usual on a Thursday.

Felipe faces the media in Shanghai

The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man might be leading the championship, but he is certainly not complacent about the job in hand. “We need to work as hard as possible, which in fact we have been doing since planning started for the F10 last year, because there are many strong teams with good drivers around us, the two main rivals at the moment being Red Bull and McLaren,” he said. “We have to push hard every day, not just to improve, but to improve more than the others, if we are to fight for the championship race by race. Leading after three races is better than not leading, but it does not mean much at the moment.”

Felipe leads team mate Fernando Alonso in Malaysia

The Brazilian was then asked if the title was already a three-way race or if the former Brawn team, could join the fight. “Everybody says that Mercedes might have almost half the car that is new for the next round in Barcelona and we must take this team seriously, because although it had a different name then, it won the championships last year,” commented the Brazilian. “So they could still be in the fight for the title and they have to be considered along with the other two teams I mentioned.”

Drivers are often expected to see the future, but Felipe was unwilling to pick a China race winner so early in the weekend. “It’s impossible to say on Thursday,” he insisted. “We will have a better idea after tomorrow’s practice, but the clearest picture only comes after qualifying. We saw a strong McLaren and Red Bull in Malaysia, but if you analyse the details of that race, you can see we had a great car. Let’s see how it goes on this track, but there is no reason why we cannot do a good job this weekend.”

Incredibly, after only three races, there is already talk of driver line-ups for 2011. “There is no rush for the moment on this front, from my point of view,” said Felipe. “I’m very happy with the way we are working together as a team. Even before my accident last year, we had preliminary talks about renewing my contract and I can say that those talks are starting again. But at the moment, my main priority is concentrating on this championship and doing the best I can. The contract is not at the front of my mind right now.”