Massa: Circuit of the Americas has more or less everything

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari drives the track. Formula One World Championship, Rd19, United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Austin, Texas, Wednesday 14 November 2012.

Felipe Massa drives a road car on Circuit of the Americas

Nov.16 (Ferrari) Felipe Massa met the press ahead of the United States GP weekend, outside the Scuderia’s hospitality unit in this brand new, but “old fashioned” feeling paddock at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari Circuit of the Americas United States Grand Prix

The first question he had to face concerned a theoretical gamble: “If I had to bet on Fernando or Vettel for the title? Well, I’d bet on Fernando…maybe the odds are longer and I’d win more money!” joked the Brazilian. “But I wouldn’t consider betting more than a hundred Euro.”

On to the more serious matter of how he will tackle this event, the Ferrari man is well aware that there is more at stake than just the result of the United States Grand Prix. “I have always to be careful not to create any problems for my team, for example if we come up to Turn 1 and Fernando and I are alongside one another then of course I won’t do anything to compromise him,” he stated.

“It’s not just because he is fighting for the title, but also because we are looking to the constructors’ championship, which is important for us, even if we are more likely to stay second as first would be difficult for us now. That’s our team situation. But for me, of course I want to be in the middle of the fight at the front, trying to score as many points as possible. Even if I am up there with them, I won’t be in the battle for the title, but it is important to score good points. I will have new parts on the car but we have to wait and see which of them work well enough to use for the rest of the weekend.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 overtakes Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012 at the first corner. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.Felipe knows better than most how tricky  a championship fight at Interlagos can be and he agreed with a journalist who suggested that a title duel that goes down to the wire at the Brazilian track can be a much more open battle than if it took place elsewhere. “However, it’s also the case that sometimes, the guy who started from the front in Interlagos went on to win,” noted the Ferrari man.

“But other races can be more complicated, like the year I fought for the title with Hamilton: it rained at the start, then in the middle and again towards the end and this can create some chaos. The end of the championship at Interlagos has often produced interesting races, like when Kimi won after being quite a long way back in terms of points. So it’s important to have a good race here to give us a better chance when we get to Brazil.”

Having seen the Austin track for the first time after only getting to know it on the simulator, Felipe certainly sounds impressed with F1’s newest facility. “I think it is pretty interesting and this track has more or less everything: you have crazy corners like Turn 1, which goes uphill with blind apex and then suddenly you are going down into a high speed sector with big changes of direction. The first sector can remind you of Suzuka or Silverstone and then you get to corners which seem to copy turns in India and Korea. There’s very long straight and then some more interesting turns with double apex, which are not easy. Another corner is like Turkey’s Turn 8, although with three apex[es] instead of four. It is not an easy track to learn, so it will be vital to have a good car, because at a new track, a difficult track, a good car helps a lot. Let’s see what we find out [in practice].”

Subbed by AJN.