The air of optimism and rejuvenation which has so far abounded at Williams took a little knock on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain, when a fuel cell issue with the FW36 seriously curtailed Felipe Massa’s time in the car, but the Brazilian is not fazed.
Speaking to media at the end of the first day at Sakhir, Massa was asked if the team is ‘on top of’ the problem, “I think so, but not 100%. Every time that we had this problem we needed to dismount the car, mount again. Every time you dismount and mount you lose three hours. Then we had the problem again. We had to pass through so many things and I hope that tomorrow will be okay.”
“I don’t think it should be a big problem to be honest. We saw that most of the Mercedes teams could run today. We ran in Jerez so it’s something that I’m not so worried [about] because we run already.”
“It’s not the first time that we put the car on the track and we could not drive. We did many laps [in Jerez] and I think it’s important to understand quickly the problem that we had today.”
Massa, in his twelfth season in Formula 1, and his first with Williams is confident that the problems will be ironed out.
He explained, “The car is new, sometimes things happen and you don’t understand why, but I think it’s important to pass through this problem and understand everything about the car,” he insisted.”
“We know that when we arrive in Australia maybe the reliability is more important than anything so I think it’s important to pass through all the issues. Maybe what we had today was not nice because we lost one day but it’s important to understand.”
“To be honest there’s still some understanding for us [to achieve]. The mileage is very important for the so few days we have for testing. You have so many things that we need to understand and learn about the fuel saving, how to drive the car in the race,” he explained.
“You need to understand about the tyres, that are a little harder [in compound] than last year. You need to understand if it’s too hard or not. The way of driving the car is something that is coming naturally. But mileage is important – it is important for all of us.
“Not just for the drivers but for the team as well, to get to the first race and be prepared, be ready. Maybe most of the teams they are not 100% ready now. Maybe the team that did more mileage was Mercedes, so maybe they are a little bit in front. But maybe they are still not 100% ready yet.
“We can have many surprises in the first races and we need to be ready to, if you have a surprise, we need to be inside that. For the moment it’s similar [to Jerez]. We have some little changes and we should have some new parts more next week. At the end of next week the car should be more or less not far away from how it’s going to be in Australia.”
Massa makes way for Valterri Bottas on day two of testing in Bahrain, and will take over the cockpit again on Friday. (GP247)
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