Massa insists he has Ferrari support despite poor start to 2012 F1 season
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, May 18th 2012, 16:28 GMT|
Felipe Massa has no doubts that Ferrari remains fully behind him in his quest to find a way out of his current difficulties.
The Brazilian is under pressure to turn around his campaign, after scoring just two points in the first five races of the season.
With Ferrari well aware that it needs both of its drivers to score good points if it is to fight for the constructors' championship, the team said earlier this week that it expected Massa to lift himself up a gear in Monaco next weekend.
Those comments prompted fresh speculation that he could be dropped if the situation does not change - but for now Massa says all he feels is support from his bosses.
"I feel the whole team stands by me," he said in a lengthy interview posted on the official Ferrari website. "Obviously, they are not happy with the results and neither am I: we all want to get out of this and return to normal. It's possible and for sure it's what I want and I know that with the team's help we will manage it."
Massa has not won a race since being injured in a qualifying crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix - which has prompted suggestions that he has never been as good as he was before the accident.
Speaking about that matter himself, Massa insisted that there had been no evidence his performances had suffered – either on track or in terms of mental approach.
When asked if he had any doubts as to whether he was no longer as quick as he was before the crash, Massa said: "I have asked myself that 45,000 times and don't think I haven't, and why wouldn't I?
"Having won so much over three years, 11 races, the question is obvious. And it's not as though I only stuck to asking myself: I went looking for the answer, asking a whole host of questions and undergoing as many medical examinations.
"All the doctors I consulted are prepared to swear hand on heart that there are absolutely no traces of the impact with the spring.
"As for myself, I don't feel in any way different to the way I was before that weekend. For example, if it was true that I no longer had the same will to win as before or the same courage, then how can one explain the fact that, at the race start, I am probably still one of the best drivers and I am not the sort to hold back when it comes to overtaking?"
Massa does admit, however, that he is struggling to get the best out of the F2012 – which explains his performances against team-mate Fernando Alonso.
"It's definitely not a very easy car to drive and it's hard to find a good balance. Many times I have found myself having to fight the car and, in these circumstances, it's easy to lose a tenth here and there: with my driving style maybe I struggle a bit more, because I don't manage to find a smooth way of driving.
"It's well known that we don't yet have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are lacking in traction at the exit to slow corners, which could be the biggest problem.
"In Spain, we made a significant improvement, which could clearly be seen from Fernando's performance in the race, but I too, when I had a clear track ahead of me, had a good pace. We also made a little progress in terms of top speed, another area where we have suffered right from the start of the season."