Felipe Massa’s first season at Williams has not gone all that well, but his long-time engineer, Rob Smedley, believes that the recent test in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix will help the Brazilian veteran catch up with teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas sits seventh in the Driver’s Championship as one of a handful of drivers that have scored points in all five Grand Prix so far.
But Massa is a middling 12th on the strength of two seventh-place finishes, and will try to avoid a third straight finish outside of the points in this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
However, Smedley, now Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, thinks that improvements borne from the Barcelona test are set to work in their favor.
“My approach is to always go through and look at every single detail even if that wastes a little bit of time going down certain avenues,” Smedley said to British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports.
“So we have come up with some very, very good analysis in a very short space of time. Luckily, there was the test after the race in Barcelona so we were able to test some things could there, which worked.
“That just gives us all a great deal of confidence in our analysis methods and then going to test those methods in the track, it gives Felipe confidence that ‘I had a problem in the last two races, the guys have got stuck in and they’ve come out with a bunch of things, we’ve tested that all in Spain and it’s all worked’.”
Massa’s Monaco weekend last year for Ferrari was a disaster, as he crashed in Saturday practice at the Sainte-Devote corner and then wrecked there again during the race. Surely, he’s hoping for much better in his first run at Monte Carlo for Williams.