Massa Upbeat on Sauber's Chances

Felipe Massa remained upbeat about Sauber's potential in this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix despite what appeared to have been a fairly disappointing first day of practice at Sakhir

Massa Upbeat on Sauber's Chances

The Brazilian and teammate Jacques Villeneuve could manage no better than the 17th and 20th fastest times respectively as the team once again took the position as the slowest of the Michelin runners.

But Massa believed that the times did not indicate the true potential of the car, with the Swiss team hoping to score their first points of 2005 in their 200th Grand Prix in Bahrain this weekend.

"We worked purely on setting the car up today, and considering our strategy in relation to others, I am encouraged," explained Massa. "We are closer than it looks from the lap times, and much stronger than we were in Sepang."

Villeneuve, who is in need of a good result this weekend to shake off continued speculation about his future at the team, was also much happier than his position on the timesheets indicated.

"The car feels much better than it did in Malaysia and I did a lot more laps with it working properly than I was able to there. I know that we can work further on it to keep improving throughout the weekend."

Technical director Willy Rampf made it clear that the team had focused on race preparation work rather than simply angling for quick times with low fuel.

"Today we concerned ourselves wholly with race preparation and tyre evaluation, and did not therefore do low-fuel runs. We have amassed a lot of data for analysis before we make our tyre choice for the remainder of the weekend, and so far we are satisfied with our programme."

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