Felipe Massa’s first encounter with the new F138 ended at the Jerez circuit on Thursday, at the first of three winter test sessions taking place on Spanish soil, when the Ferrari driver got through a packed programme centred mainly on aerodynamic testing, analysing exhaust configurations and on a comparison of the various tyre types brought here by Pirelli and topped the timing sheets in the process.
“These were three very important days,” said Massa. “They were especially useful in the sense of finding the right direction for the team to focus on when it come to the development work between now and the opening round in Australia. We had a lot of items to test and the car went well, it was not difficult to drive and it seemed to me to be quite stable and balanced.”
His best time of 1.17.879 was way faster than his rivals. Massa explained, “We fitted the soft compound tyres for the first time and I went faster than I had expected.”
The Brazilian remained cautious, “The quick lap? It means nothing and while I’m pleased to have done a good time, that was not the priority: we must still concentrate on the car set-up and we will definitely be doing this during the next test in Barcelona. Several teams have very quick and well balanced cars and so I am one hundred percent keeping my feet on the ground.”
For Friday’s final day of testing, the F138 will be entrusted to Pedro de la Rosa, who, as from this year, is a test driver for Ferrari. Given his role of development work in the simulator at Maranello, Friday’s session will be very important for the Catalan driver and for the whole team, giving both parties the chance to work on the correlation between the virtual and the real world. (Ferrai)