Felipe Massa says he is '100 per cent' that Ferrari's F138 will be a contender
Brazilian talks up new car at launch
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 01/02/13 3:43pm
The 31-year-old Brazilian is embarking upon his eighth season at the Scuderia and clearly reckons he has a knack for divining first impressions and whether they might translate into success on the race track.
"It's always a good feeling - the first feeling - to see the car. I've had many presentations already in my career from Ferrari," Massa said at the launch.
"I've some feelings that were not very positive in a few years, to see the car for the first time. Other years, it was very positive.
"I have to say that this is a very positive feeling. Maybe it's just my personal feeling but I think it was nice to see the car."
Like all the cars to be debuted this season, the F138 will be an evolution of its predecessor as F1's technical regulations have changed little since 2012.
Ferrari have, however, redesigned both the front and rear suspension and revised the sidepod design of their latest car.
A new layout for the exhaust system also features while the car also sports a 'modesty panel' to cover its stepped nose.
With Fernando Alonso skipping next week's Jerez test in order to prepare for the subsequent shakedowns at Barcelona, Massa will debut the F138.
"The car is much more prepared. You have some interesting details around the car that can work, that can be nice on the track," he said.
"Let's wait and see how everything's going to be on the track but the feeling is really 100 per cent in the right direction."
Technical Director Pat Fry confirmed on Ferrari's official website: "This year's car is more of an evolution than a revolution, based on similar concepts to the F2012 and in all the little areas of performance where we think we can gain something, we have looked for those gains.
"The car has changed in subtle ways, some areas more than others, but in general, the F138 is a development of last year's car."
Chief Designer Nikolas Tombazis refused to predict how the F138 might perform but did at least claim it should out-perform its predecessor.
He also said that the car's first upgrade package will be in place for the third and final pre-season test in Barcelona.
"Recent years have taught me not to say too much too early, so let's wait and see what answer we get from the track," Tombazis said. "I think we have done a reasonable job and we certainly had to make a step up from where we had been in the past few years.
"The launch specification car, that will run at the first test, has had a relatively small amount of wind tunnel development because it was fixed straight after the end of the season, when we pushed so late on the F2012. However, I believe we will have a strong package for the third test and first race."