x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Massa ready for Marina return after fiasco

Given Felipe Massa's pit-stop drama at the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver will take some comfort that there will be no refuelling during this year's race.

Felipe Massa's hopes of victory in 2008 were wrecked by a bungled pit-stop that left the fuel hose on the car.
Felipe Massa's hopes of victory in 2008 were wrecked by a bungled pit-stop that left the fuel hose on the car.

SINGAPORE // Given Felipe Massa's pit-stop fiasco at the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver will take some comfort that there will be no refuelling during this year's race. Massa qualified in pole position for the city state's night race in 2008, but went from first to last after a nightmare pit-stop left his car trailing a broken fuel hose behind it down the pit lane.

The Brazilian, who missed last year's race while recovering from head injuries sustained in a freak accident in Hungary, says he is looking forward to the unique challenge of racing around the city streets of Singapore. "We need to be ready for everything," said Massa, as thunder rumbled and rain pelted the streets outside a media conference yesterday. "We know that in wet conditions a track like this is much more difficult - but we need to be ready."

Massa is well out of this season's title race in sixth spot, trailing Mark Webber, the Red Bull-Renault leader, by a massive 63 points, but he said he was determined to do well on Sunday. "I like the track, in 2008 I was in pole position here and I had a good pace in the race and then we had many problems after refuelling," he said with a rueful smile. "First of all, repeat qualifying and then we think about the race."

Regulations imposed by the sport's governing body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) this season have eliminated mid-race refuelling, which means cars will be much heavier and more difficult to drive around Singapore's twisty street circuit. "This is a big difference for the driver, qualifying a car that's maybe six seconds quicker than what you're going to have in the race. That makes our lives a little more difficult," he said.

"Overtaking is very difficult because it's in the middle of a town. There's no long straight and it's one corner after another. "That's why qualifying is so, so important." Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld is relishing his return to Formula One this weekend after almost a year on the sidelines. The German begins his third spell with Sauber in Singapore after the team last week opted to dispense with the services of Pedro de la Rosa following an ineffective season.

"I can't wait to get back in the car," said Heidfeld, who drove for Sauber from 2001-2003 and then BMW Sauber from 2006-2009. "I'm not just very much looking forward to going racing again, but I regard it as a special bonus my first race will be the Singapore Grand Prix. "Even for a city circuit it is quite demanding, and the atmosphere at this night race is simply massive." * Agencies