New Ferrari excites Massa
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the new F60 again after putting it through its paces around the Mugello race track yesterday.
New regulations ensured that Ferrari's 2009 Formula One car is "completely different" to its predecessors, both visually and technically, but Massa gave it his seal of approval after sitting in the cockpit of Ferrari's latest innovation for almost 100 kilometres yesterday.
"I had been thinking about it on the long flight from Brazil," he said.
"I had already seen some parts in the wind tunnel last time I was here, but the car is always different when it's ready.
"We have always had gorgeous, exciting Ferraris so I was a bit worried. Then I saw it and it is beautiful.
"Of course I would prefer an ugly but fast car rather than a gorgeous but slow one, but if this as fast as it is gorgeous, then we have cracked it."
Massa admitted it "took a bit of getting used to", particularly with the new kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) which is being introduced for the first time this year.
Kers is just one of several modifications and enhancements, both to the cars and the rule book, designed to make the sport more appealing and increase the amount of overtaking manoeuvres.
However, the main issue the sport's governing body FIA and Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) have addressed this winter is how to make Formula One more cost-efficient and, as Ferrari director Stefano Domenicali recalled, more accessible.
"We have to remember that Formula One has a duty towards standard cars," he said.
"We have lost sight of this in recent years, having gone to extremes. But for Ferrari, this is especially important."
"It is time to cut the excesses of recent years and mould Formula One for the future."
Ferrari were the first team to launch their new car yesterday and Massa the first to drive it on the track.
The Italian manufacturer's rivals will follow over the next few weeks with Toyota the next to reveal its cards on Thursday. Renault, Williams and BMW Sauber follow next week, when the F60 will be given a more serious test on the track of Portimao in Portugal.
"A day like this is not really all that exciting, but it is important here to get the car running and working so I did still enjoy it. We were able to get an important job done," said Massa.
"I hope we can do more laps in Portugal next week and start posting some times, even if times are not all that important right now.
"Now is the time when we start to get a feel for the car, but as experience grows at the end of the tests and towards the start of the first race, things should feel more automatic.
"The mood inside the team is pretty good and I have to say I feel a very positive atmosphere in all sectors of the team.
"I am quite happy with the work the team has done and I hope we keep on improving every week, like we have always done in the good years."
Ferrari will begin the defence of their constructor's title on March 29 with the first Grand Prix of the 2009 motor racing calendar in Melbourne.
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