Κι ενώ ο πλανήτης Formula 1 στριφογυρίζει γύρω απ’την επικείμενη μεταγραφική περίοδο, ο Felipe Massa (ως άμεσα επηρεαζόμενος) δείχνει να μην επηρεάζεται και τόσο. Τουλάχιστον έτσι αφήνει να νοηθεί από τα λεγόμενα του. Το μόνο που επιδιώκει είναι τα καλά αποτελέσματα μέχρι το τέλος της σεζόν και μία καλή τελική θέση στην Παγκόσμια κατάταξη. Μπορεί τα καλά αποτελέσματα να είναι ο άμεσος του στόχος αλλά η τελευταία του νίκη φαντάζει μακρινή. Έχει να κερδίσει από το μακρινό 2008 στον αγώνα της πατρίδας του κι αυτό σίγουρα επηρεάζει την υπάρχουσα κατάσταση. Ο ίδιος δηλώνει προσηλωμένος και τονίζει:
Δεν υπάρχουν νεότερα για το μέλλον μου, αναμφίβολα τα καλά αποτελέσματα θα βοηθήσουν. Πρέπει να συνεχίσω να δουλεύω σκληρά και να φέρω καλά αποτελέσματα, με την ελπίδα ότι σύντομα θ’ακούσω τα καλά νέα. Βέβαια, είναι πάντοτε καλό να γνωρίζεις πως ακριβώς έχει η κατάσταση και σίγουρα θέλω να μάθω τι θα κάνω την επόμενη χρονιά. Αναμφίβολα, όταν βρίσκομαι μέσα στο μονοθέσιο δεν με απασχολεί οτιδήποτε έχει να κάνει με την επόμενη χρονιά. Γνωρίζω ότι αυτό που μετράει είναι τα αποτελέσματα κι έτσι αν σκεφτείς να ρισκάρεις πρέπει να το σκεφτείς δύο φορές γιατί αυτό που προέχει είναι ο τερματισμός.
Σίγουρα ο Felipinho, εμφανίζεται προσηλωμένος για τους επόμενους αγώνες αλλά τα λεγόμενα του δείχνουν ένα βαθύ προβληματισμό. Είμαι σίγουρος ότι θέλει να παραμείνει στη Ferrari για πολλούς και διάφορους λόγους. Έχει στηριχθεί πάμπολλες φορές αλλά το αποτέλεσμα δεν είναι το προσδοκώμενο. Η Ferrari δεν έχει τοποθετηθεί επίσημα και ούτε πρόκειται να το πράξει σύντομα. Ο Βραζιλιάνος δείχνει ότι θα το παλέψει, θα παραμείνει στη Ferrari ή θα πει αντίο;
Massa: “Good results will help my future”
If you are planning to follow the current Formula 1 season to the very end, then take a deep breath, because from now until the 25 November in Brazil, there are seven Grands Prix all crammed into the space of two months. The schedule is relentless and this weekend’s event is one of the toughest on the calendar, as the Singapore Grand Prix takes place on a very demanding street circuit, in very hot and sticky conditions, with the distance of just under 310 kilometres always running to within a couple of minutes of the two hour time limit imposed by the regulations.
There have only been four Singapore Grands Prix in the modern era and Scuderia Ferrari’s Felipe Massa started the first of those in 2008 from pole position, but circumstances meant he was unable to convert it to a win. “I like the Singapore track and I feel the circuit suits me, even if I’ve never had much luck there,” said the Brazilian, “so I’m definitely looking for another good result and I hope I can do even better than in the last two races. Touch wood we can continue the same way, after what were definitely good races in Spa and Monza. I picked up a good number of points, which was especially important if you look at the state of play in the championship right now and then compare it to how things were at the beginning of the year.” With the current points situation, when Massa refers to the championship, he does so in terms of what he can do for the Scuderia in the Constructors’ classification and how he can help his team-mate Fernando Alonso, by taking points off their rivals in the Drivers’ Championship. The Spaniard still leads the title race and is a double winner in Singapore, the last victory dating back to 2010, when he put his Ferrari on pole. He also visited the podium in 2009, when he finished third.
The Marina Bay circuit presents many of the challenges one expects from a street circuit, in that it has a lot of corners, twenty three in total, most of them slow to medium speed and run anti-clockwise. The track surface, as in any street environment, is variable and bumpy, which affects car set-up and the brakes, which get plenty of use, do not get too much time to cool down on a lap. “As a street circuit, Singapore has some similarities with Monaco in terms of the settings and also with Hungary, because there the circuit also calls for a lot of downforce,” explained Felipe. “If we look back, we seemed to go better in Monaco than in Hungary, so let’s hope this track has more in common with the one in Monte Carlo! Last year, the race was very tough from a tyre point of view and even though our car is quite different this year, I still expect a difficult race this weekend in terms of the tyres, when we will have the same compounds as last year, namely the Soft and Supersoft. Because this track is hard on tyres, I expect we will see more pits stops than in the past couple of races.”
While Marina Bay therefore shares some characteristics with Monaco, where the Singapore race is unique is in its timing, as the first and only night race on the F1 calendar. “For me, I don’t find it any problem racing under the artificial lights, as the floodlights are so good that visibility is the same as normal, more or less,” reckons the Brazilian. “Physically, there’s no problem adapting to working at night time, because I simply don’t change time zone, staying on the time from Europe, going to bed at five in the morning local time and getting up eight hours later at one in the afternoon. The race starts at 8pm, which is like a 2pm start in Europe, so it doesn’t change anything for me. Of course, it’s strange to go to bed at 5 in the morning local time, but it works and we can stick to this timetable throughout the weekend.”
If one wants a good night’s sleep, it’s best not to have too many worries on one’s mind and although Massa currently does not know what the future holds for him after the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Ferrari man appears to be facing the situation calmly. “There is no news on my future at the moment, but there’s no doubt that good results will help,” he confirmed. “I just need to keep pushing hard and getting good results, in the hope of hearing some good news soon. It’s always better to know what the situation is, as of course I want to know what I’m doing next year. But I can tell you that it’s never happened that I’m in the car in the middle of the race and I start thinking about what I’ll do next year! However, I know that results are what matter, so if the situation arises where you have to take a risk in the race, then you have to think carefully about it, as you know your priority is to finish the race.”
This weekend sees Ferrari cars line up on the grid for the 845th time: it’s not a particularly significant number, but for one long term Scuderia partner, this will be a memorable race, as Shell celebrates its role as a fuel and lubricant supplier to the Prancing Horse for 500 Grands Prix. “I remember celebrating their four hundredth race with Ferrari as I have driven more than a hundred Grands Prix with the Scuderia,” recalled Felipe. “Not only is this a very special landmark, it’s also a very important one, because Shell is not just a partner and a fuel and lubricant supplier, it actually works with us to improve the car. We are always talking about bringing improvements to the car at every race and some of these actually concern the oil and if the car is currently doing well and picking up lots of points, part of the credit for that has to go to Shell.”