• Williams

Best podium chance might be gone - Massa

ESPN Staff
April 17, 2014 « New Ferrari boss Mattiacci will need time - Alonso | Ricciardo was not banking on successful appeal »
Felipe Massa believes Rob Smedley can help Williams realise its pre-season potential © Sutton Images

Felipe Massa believes Williams is no longer in the position it was at the start of the season and admits two podium chances have slipped through his fingers so far this season.

Massa was punted out at the first corner in Australia by Kamui Kobayashi, while the safety car period jeopardised his chances of challenging for the top three in Bahrain. Williams' pre-season advantage over the teams chasing Mercedes seemed to have vanished in Bahrain and Massa admits the team has not made the most of its position so far.

"Australia [was the best chance], maybe more so than Bahrain," Massa said. "In Australia I did not race so I lost my big chance to be on the podium. I hope we are going to have another chance.

"The safety car [cost us in Bahrain]. I was fighting for third place the whole race and then we had the safety car and I went from third to eighth. Without the safety car we were able to finish in front of both Red Bulls and maybe one Force India. I'm not sure about both because they were doing two stops anyway. Strategy was something where Perez was better than us, but there was definitely a chance for the top five."

Despite this, Massa is convinced upgrades Williams is bringing to Shanghai can help get the team get back to where it wants to be.

"I think they problem we've been having since the first test is that by putting more stability on the rear of the car, it's normal that we use a bit more tyres. We have some new pieces for this race, which I hope everything works, and if it does I think we will see an improvement on the car.

"We didn't have so many new pieces in the last race and other teams did so we saw more improvement in the last race. I think we will see a similar improvement on our side if we can use everything we are trying."

Massa was joined by his former race engineer Rob Smedley in Bahrain, as he joins up with Williams as head of vehicle performance. The pair are a popular partnership in F1 and Massa is convinced Smedley's arrival is a huge boost to Williams.

"I'm sure he gave his comments but he was looking more than working in Bahrain. At this race he will be a lot more inside and trying to pass all his experience and ideas on. He has so many qualities and ideas [to bring], the same I have tried to bring. Rob arriving is another push in that direction, there's so many little changes. We have great professional people in so many areas and I think that's important."

After eight seasons at Ferrari, six of which were with Stefano Domenicali, Massa admits he was not surprised to see his friend resign from his position this week.

"Ferrari has made big changes in the last months. There was myself and some on the technical side [who left] as well so it's not big news that Stefano is also changing his position. I have a great relationship with Stefano and I hope he has a great future, even if it is not in Formula One. He's a big professional and he can be very important for many companies.

"I hope the best for him, for Ferrari, and Marco Mattiacci as well who I know from my time at Ferrari when he was on road cars."

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