Massa expecting strong second half of 2014 for Williams

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Felipe Massa believes that the races in the second half of the 2014 Formula 1 season could suit the strengths of the Williams FW36 car.

The Brazilian driver joined Williams at the beginning of the season, and has helped it to become a front-running outfit once again. After scoring just five points in the entirety of 2013, the team has picked up 135 in the first half of the 2014 season, ranking fourth in the constructors’ championship.

The team struggled in Hungary due to the tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring circuit, but Massa is confident that the high-speed tracks coming up after the summer break will suit the car well.

“I think so,” he said in Hungary, agreeing that the upcoming tracks will suit Williams. “I think Monza, Spa, maybe USA, maybe Brazil. Also on the last race [Abu Dhabi] you have some good straights as well.

“I think the car can be competitive at many tracks, not just Monza and Spa. Definitely it’s also true that Monza and Spa we can be more than the others, but I think we need to concentrate and think that we can have a good car at most of the tracks.”

However, Massa does not believe that Williams will seriously be able to trouble Mercedes at the front of the field, although the team may stand more of a chance if the Silver Arrows hit trouble once again.

“I think it won’t be easy,” Massa admitted. “But it is not impossible as well that maybe a few of these tracks we have more of a chance.”

The straight-line speed of the Williams car should suit tracks such as Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, the Circuit of the Americas and even the Sochi International Street Circuit, which is set to host the first Russian Grand Prix in 100 years this October.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”