Massa relishing challenge of Monaco

Leave a comment

Felipe Massa has the unfortunate distinction of being the only driver to have started the Monaco Grand Prix for pole position in the last nine years without winning it.

But that doesn’t sour his view of the uniquely challenging Monte-Carlo street circuit.

“Monaco is a very special track, completely different to all the other venues we race on,” he said.

“Everywhere, you are really close to the edge of the track to the guard rails and you have to drive on the limit but not the slightest bit over it, because the smallest mistake is severely punished in Monaco. It is such a special circuit and I get a great feeling from racing there.

“I don’t think one part of the circuit is particularly more difficult than another. Every corner is difficult and a big challenge, so in order to get a perfect lap here, you must drive every turn at a hundred percent.

“At some tracks, if you make a little mistake at one corner, you can make up for it elsewhere on the lap, but in Monaco, the slightest error at one point and you will lose a lot of lap time and that’s what makes it a fantastic place to drive.”

Massa led the rain-hit 2008 race but went off at Sainte Devote. He lost victory to Lewis Hamilton despite the McLaren driver puncturing a tire when he hit a barrier.

“I had a great car in 2008 and I was also fighting for the win,” said Massa, “but unfortunately the race was run in the rain that year and so many things happened that in the end I was third.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Follow@KyleMLavigne