• Turkish Grand Prix

Ferrari must close gap - Massa

ESPNF1 Staff
May 5, 2011 « Pirelli plans 'super hard' tyres for Spain | »
Felipe Massa takes questions in the press conference © Sutton Images

Felipe Massa says it is imperative Ferrari close the gap to Red Bull and McLaren at this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix.

The season is only three races old, but Massa is already 44 points adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and has not yet qualified within a second of the lead Red Bull. The Ferrari has new front and rear wings as well as modified brake ducts for this weekend's race and Massa said the upgrades had to produce results.

"Clearly, in qualifying Red Bull has had the quickest car and McLaren has also been strong," Massa said. "If you consider that Sebastian's worst result so far is a second place, it means he already has a big points advantage. So we need to make a significant step here and in Barcelona, because even though of course we never give up, the points gap is quite big now. We must start to get closer to them."

Ferrari's chief designer Nikolas Tombazis recently revealed that his team is changing tack and will take a much more radical approach to the F150 Italia's development over the coming weeks. The updates for Turkey are still based on the more conservative approach the team pursued at the start of the season, but Massa is hoping they will deliver an improvement in one-lap qualifying pace.

"Everyone has been working so hard during the break, trying to understand more about the car," he said. "I hope the new step we have here will be interesting for us, especially for qualifying, given that our race pace is much better than on Saturday afternoon. However, all the teams have been trying to make progress, so until we are actually on track, it is difficult to know what our new parts will deliver and then, the weather could actually make that even harder to assess."

Recent reports in the Italian press have linked Nico Rosberg to Massa's Ferrari seat next year while others predict Mark Webber will move to the Italian team. But Massa, who has a contract until the end of 2012, brushed the speculation aside.

"What, is it that time already?" he joked. "Every year since I have been with Ferrari, there are these rumours and always around this time of year. And like every year, I have nothing to say!"