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.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.