Felipe Massa is hoping Ferrari’s engine will give it an advantage at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“It’s the circuit with the lowest aerodynamic downforce of the year and the one where you see the highest top speed,” Massa explains.
“You need a very precise car and you can’t lose too much downforce, as you need that to deal with the slow corners. Therefore you need the car to be very well balanced.”
“The engine counts for a lot here too and so I hope ours will give us a bit of an advantage here, compared to other tracks, where the difference between the various engines is smaller.”
However Massa said the key to a fast qualifying lap at Monza isn’t going quickly – it’s stopping quickly:
“Braking counts for a lot, while you also need to get your lines just right and have good traction, because if you lose a little time at one corner, because you braked too late or didn’t come out of the turn on the correct line, then you can lose a lot of time down the long straight that follows. Getting it just right is not easy.”
This year will be the last race with the current V8 engines which are being replaced with V6 turbos next year. It remains to be seen whether next year’s cars will be as fast.
“Top speeds have actually come down a bit with the changes to the regulations, but you don’t feel the difference very much,” said Massa. “I remember how fast we used to go when we had the V10 engine, but the feeling you have, if you are doing 360kph [223mph] or 340kph [211mph] is not much different.”