Felipe Massa is confident Ferrari can challenge for wins and the title in 2013
Pat Fry, meanwhile, targeting further qualifying improvements
By William Esler. Last Updated: 10/04/13 6:59am
Felipe Massa is confident Ferrari can challenge for the Championship in 2013 having been impressed by the car's pace during the opening two rounds of the season.
The Brazilian sits fifth in the drivers' standings heading to China this weekend, one spot ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso, after finishing fourth in Australia and fifth in Malaysia.
Unlike Alonso, however, Massa is yet to finish on the podium in 2013 but the 31-year-old is confident he can go one better and challenge for his first win since Brazil 2008 in the forthcoming races.
"I know we have only done two races, but I have a good feeling so far this season," Massa said.
"Of course, I always want to be fighting for the win, although that did not work out in the first two races, but the signs were good with an excellent race pace and now we have to keep moving forward race by race.
"There are definitely more than two teams that are capable of fighting for the wins and the championship. Our team is one of them, with the car moving forward in the right way and it is delivering results on track that we expected when looking at data in the wind tunnel and the factory. In Melbourne we had a car that was capable of winning and in Malaysia the car was again competitive, even if conditions made the race something of a lottery."
Massa revealed Ferrari will bring a host of upgrades with them to Shanghai, which he hopes will see the Scuderia move further up the grid.
"We will have all the updates we hoped to bring with us in Shanghai, after work in the factory and the simulator last week," he added.
"I hope this translates into a further performance improvement on track. The aim is to fight for a lot more points, for a podium, for a win even, because you have to set yourself high targets."
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An Achilles' heel for Ferrari in recent seasons has been a lack of single-lap pace meaning the drivers have to fight their way through the field rather than being able to control the race from the front. Alonso took advantage of wet conditions to take pole at Silverstone and Hockenheim last year, but prior to that the last time a Ferrari was fastest in qualifying was at the 2010 Singapore GP.
That is something Technical Director Pat Fry says the team are working hard to correct in 2013.
"We've shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well, however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment," Fry said.
"I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it. We need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying."