Cautious Felipe Massa says Ferrari still have "a lot to do" ahead of a testing week
Work still to be done to improve the F138
By James Galloway in Barcelona. Last Updated: 22/02/13 6:27pm
Felipe Massa says the period between now and the end of next week's final winter test at Barcelona is "the important time" for Ferrari as it strives to bring as many new development parts to the F138 as possible.
On Friday, the Brazilian returned to the team's 2013 challenger for the first time since the third day of testing at Jerez two weeks ago after team-mate Fernando Alonso had conducted the opening three days of running at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Massa admitted the F138 hadn't boasted any new parts since the last time he drove it, even if Ferrari's understanding of the car had improved since the opening test, but added that next week's second and final test prior to the first race was really the crucial time in their preparations for the new season.
"From Jerez, the car is exactly the same," he said.
"We didn't change anything really, no new pieces or anything, so the car is exactly the same as we finished Jerez. For sure we understood maybe the little details around the car that maybe we change again for here. It's like an evolution but not with new pieces or anything.
"Anyhow it's really the important time that we can bring new pieces to the car. The car is still 'green' so we need to make the car in a good shape for the first race. There is a lot to work on, there is a lot to do, and maybe it's a very important moment as well for people working on the aerodynamics, on the engine, on the chassis to put everything together in a good direction for the first race."
Although Massa had initially described the F138 as "on a different planet" to the 2012 car at the same stage of pre-season testing at Jerez, team-mate Fernando Alonso admitted this week that the car didn't feel that different to the one he drove at the Brazilian GP in November.
F1 on Sky Sports in 2013
Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every grand prix live in 2013.
Our dedicated F1 channel will broadcast every race, qualifying and practice session live, along with highlights shows, analysis and even more coverage via the Red Button.
Find out more at sky.com
Massa himself said he felt even more comfortable in the 2013 challenger already and that while Day Four may have been rain-affected, it was encouraging to find the car also handled well in the wet.
"I feel much more comfortable in the car and with the balance as well. I what we did in Jerez was quite positive, the feelings, but also the changes we did in the car as well. The car was balanced and I think that's very important," the Brazilian explained.
"Here not so much because we had a very difficult day but anyway in the rain the car was quite good to drive, competitive as well through the run.
"I feel okay and I feel good in the car but I didn't drive for a long time in the car so it's important we use the next week very well, and the two days I have and the two days Fernando has [in the car] just to be fully ready for the first race."