• Williams

Big points available in Melbourne - Massa

ESPN Staff
January 31, 2014 « The driving style is not that different - Alonso | Mercedes ahead of the game on final morning »
Massa's first experience of the Williams was a positive one © Getty Images

Felipe Massa believes reliability issues could be so common come Melbourne that Williams can aim for a strong finish, or even a podium, if they can fix all their problems in the remaining two tests.

This week's Jerez test has been Massa's first experience of driving a Formula One car without a Ferrari engine, after previous stints with Sauber and Ferrari. The Brazilian is happy with how his time behind the wheel has gone so far, finishing second on Thursday with a 1.23.700 after a 47-lap stint.

With teams like Red Bull struggling over the opening three days and Lotus not even able to get a car to Jerez in time, Massa believes the most consistent rather than the fastest cars will have a chance of scoring big in the season opener on March 16.

"Everybody has a problem to solve," he said. "Even the cars that were able to run more than others. We have, and it's something we need to fix as quickly as possible. At the first it will be very important to finish.

"If you finish the first race the chance to score a good amount of points or even get on the podium will be very big. We need to look for reliability and all the little issues that will make you stop in the race.

"Two weeks is important to fix little issues. It is important to follow the good direction that we can do everything we need to do. We need to do some race simulations in Bahrain and get to the first race 100% confident."

Massa also disagreed with former team-mate Fernando Alonso's assessment that driving style would not change for 2014.

"It's a big change, definitely. It's not just the engine, it's the rules," Massa said. "The car has a lot less downforce and this makes the driveability different. Plus, the engine is different, the torque map is different, everything is different.

"You need to understand how to drive. Sometimes you just go sideways, sometimes you do a short shift and you gain lap time, so the understanding about driving the car is very important."

Following Thursday's news that doctors are working on bringing Michael Schumacher out of his coma, Massa admits the experience from his own life-threatening accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix is keeping him positive about his former Ferrari team-mate.

"He's a very athletic man, he's still in very good shape, which helps for recovery," he said. "With my accident I came back a lot quicker than I was supposed to because of being fit so I hope the same can be the same for Michael.

"I am praying for him every day. I am very sorry for him, he's a big friend and a big brother, and I hope he can be here this season to listen and to watch this year's cars."

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