Massa expects closely fought season

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Formula One driver Felipe Massa has revealed that he is struggling to compare his pace to that of his rivals, acknowledging that “a lot of teams will be competitive.”

Massa, who is entering his eighth season with Ferrari in 2013, finished the first day of the final test in Barcelona down in eighth place following a stoppage late on in the session. Despite this setback, he expressed his happiness with his running to the official Ferrari website.

“The car worked well at all times, even in the very different track conditions and I’m happy because, despite the tire degradation being high, it was interesting to understand their behavior.”

He also spoke about how close the field is in 2013.

“It’s hard to know what is the real pecking order in the field. It’s still too early to say where the others are and where we are, but what is easy to say is that a lot of teams will be competitive.”

2012 was a difficult year for Massa and Ferrari, with the F2012 car proving to be an unwelcome challenge for the Brazilian driver and his teammate, Fernando Alonso. The new car has been welcomed by both drivers, and Massa seems optimistic of his chances for the opening race in Melbourne.

“We know the car is improving: our aim is to arrive in Melbourne with a good base on which to build our season.”

Following a resurgence of form towards the end of 2012, Massa will be hoping to carry his pace into the new season. All of the signs so far suggest he will be able to compete once again, having posted the quickest time at the first test in Jerez.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”