Felipe Massa appears to be a rejuvenated man as his career as a Williams F1 driver is set to begin. The Brazilian has spent time with his new team at its headquarters in Grove. He spoke about his off-season and forthcoming challenges that await him and the team.
How was your Christmas?
Christmas was great, it was nice to be with the family – I spent it at home in Brazil. I then went to Miami for New Year which was a lot of fun. I was then back in Brazil for the start of the new year, and most recently had my annual Desafio das Estrelas charity karting event there. It is always a lot of fun and attracts a lot of other F1 drivers, so it’s certainly got me in the competitive mood.
What training have you done over the winter and when did the 2014 focus start?
Even in the holidays I was training, it never really stops. I was in Miami for 11 days and did something every day. I like sport so I am always active, whether it’s tennis or going for a run. Now the work turns to testing which means more time in the gym. I prefer playing sports to work in the gym, but the time in the gym needs to be done. I have a dedicated trainer who goes to each race with me and he will be coming over to Williams this year. We have been working together since 2007 so we have a very good working relationship. I also have another trainer for when I am back in Brazil.
With the new regulations coming into effect, which of them excites you and how will it make the racing more exciting?
There are so many changes for this year but everyone is in the same boat. Until we are in the car we don’t know what we need to learn and what we don’t, things like how to feather the throttle with the big increase in torque, and how the new stronger ERS will affect driving. Aerodynamically the cars will have less downforce than 2013, especially in the first half the season. These are big changes which we need to understand as quickly as possible when we start testing.
What are your first impressions of the team?
Williams have a great factory here with good resources so I know that we have everything we need to be competitive. It’s a big team with a great history, so the focus is on getting all the pieces working well together and moving in the right direction. I have been steadily trying to meet as many people across the factory as possible and everyone has been very nice and I’m enjoying working with my engineering team.
You are at the factory for two days, what will you be doing in that time?
First of all is the seat fitting and getting the right position in the car. I don’t normally require too many seat fits throughout the year, but obviously going to a new team means we need to start from the beginning to make sure I am comfortable which can take a bit of time. Then I have a lot of meetings across different departments to get us ready for the first test in Jerez and start providing my input.
Williams have always had good support from Brazil, what has the reaction been amongst your fans?
My fans are very happy that I have moved to Williams, especially with the history the team has in Brazil with past drivers such as Nelson [Piquet] and Ayrton [Senna]. This has made the team very famous in Brazil, so I am very happy to be here and I hope I can help the team get back to where they were before and fighting for wins.
How is your relationship with Frank Williams?
Frank is one of the most famous people in the paddock and someone that is admired by everyone for what he has achieved in the sport. He is part of the history of F1. I didn’t know him too well before I joined the team but from spending time with him he is a really nice guy and I’m looking forward to racing for him. (Williams Press Office)
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