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Massa talks about Kimi, Michael, Fernando and his own title hopes

NEWS STORY
10/01/2007

Ferrari kicked off its annual meet the media event at Madonna di Campiglio this morning, and first to take the stage was Felipe Massa, who enjoyed a successful season in 2006, scoring his maiden (F1) wins, pole positions and fastest laps.

This season he will be partnered by Finnish 'hot shot' Kimi Raikkonen, with Jean Todt insisting that there will be no team orders and that the Ferrari duo will be free to race one another.

So, with testing due to begin next week, and the season less than ten weeks away, how does Felipe Feel?

"My feelings are good," he replies. "After one year, I had a good year. I was third in the championship and fought to the end for the World Championship, so it was very positive. I learned a lot, I have grown a lot. I am very motivated."

In 2007 all the teams are to use Bridgestone rubber, so how does he feel about this?

"It's a major change for all of us," says the Brazilian. "The tyres are much harder, there's a big loss of grip, it's a totally different construction. It's not easy to find the ideal set-up. It's a major change for all teams, but it's interesting to have the same tyres. We've lost a couple of seconds."

Looking back on 2006, his best ever season, to date, he recalls: "I had many satisfactions in 2006, my first podium, I won two races, it was very important to win Brazil, it was probably the best moment of my life, and I hope to take further steps forward in 2007, fighting for victories from the start."

It's all change at the Scuderia, with Kimi Raikkonen replacing Michael Schumacher. So how does Felipe view his new teammate?

"He's arrived with his feet on the ground," laughs the Brazilian "he wants to know about the team and the people in the team, so it's positive. It's important to have a good feeling between us."

And what of all the talk of support from Michael Schumacher?

"He is a very intelligent driver with great experience," says Felipe, a masterpiece of understatement, "so Michael could be very useful for both drivers and technicians. He could help a lot of people."

Now that Michael is no long within the team, has Felipe's position changed?

"Personally a lot has changed," he admits. "I came here last year having never driven a competitive car. It's normal for the team to focus their attention on Michael, perfectly normal. I learned a lot and I was treated very well. This year, this is going to improve even more. I've done all the winter tests so now I'm sure I have an important role. There are two young drivers in the team who want to win and no World Champion so we will be treated equally. It will be the same for both drivers.
"It's really interesting for us," he continues. "Formula One without Michael Schumacher loses a lot. Michael beat all the World Championship records. The sport has lost a lot and it's strange not to have Michael, but that's life. After a while the focus changes. Formula One loses without him but there are new drivers. Fernando Alonso is now the man we have to focus on. I hope other drivers will do what Michael has done."

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