Felipe Massa's withered confidence has been boosted by his first points of the season after finishing ninth in the Bahrain Grand Prix, as the Brazilian admitted he is looking forward to the major upgrades Ferrari intends to put on the F12012 before the beginning of the European season.
The team has been disappointed with the overall pace of the 2012 machine, in spite of Fernando Alonso's unlikely victory in Malaysia last month, and is expected to bring significant changes to the car for the Mugello test at the beginning of May.
Massa, whose own poor performances have been under the spotlight, is hoping that his first points finish and an improved car will help him draw a line under a difficult start to the year.
"It's a nice result at this time, but we are well aware that it is not Ferrari's style to be happy with a ninth place," said Massa. "Having said that, it is a performance that gives me confidence for the rest of the season. Clearly, we have to improve the performance of the car as soon as possible to be able to fight for worthwhile positions. In Barcelona, everyone will bring major updates and we will have had to do have done a better job than the others because we have to make up the ground lost at the start of this championship."
Team principal Stefano Domenicali added that he believed Ferrari had limited the damage to its championship challenges in the first four races before the upgrades arrive.
"What I can say is that what has been a very tough first run of races for us has now come to an end, although this is just what we had expected," said the Italian. "We managed to limit the damage, at least as far as the drivers' championship is concerned.
"Now we must look to the future and make a step up in terms of quality which should allow us to fight for the podium and not just a points finish. That's what I have been asking our engineers for several weeks and by Barcelona, I expect to already see the results of the effort we are expending in every area."
Domenicali also paid tribute to a Ferrari engineer, Matteo Vignali, who died over the weekend: "Honestly, what happened on the track today is only of secondary importance for us. We are very sad to learn of the death of Matteo Vignali, a young man who worked in the gearbox department, who suffered a heart attack," he said. "He lost his life at just 32 years of age, something that leaves us in a state of dismay."