Felipe Massa is confident he can rediscover the race-winning form in 2012 that he believes will help secure his future at Ferrari.
Ahead of what has been openly called by team members as a crucial season for the Brazilian, Massa believes an improved car will help him get back on to the top step of the podium. Speaking at the Ferrari Wrooom media event at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy on Thursday, Massa said that he was not feeling under any extra pressure to deliver.
"Of course, it is going to be an extremely important year – I see this for myself, but it is true for everyone here," said Massa. "This is a season during which we want to do more, and as far as I am concerned it is going to be extremely important because surely I want to do more than what I did last year and in 2010.
"I want to be competitive. I want a season which hopefully will not see me with the odds against me – as happened throughout the last season, when very often I started the race and at the end I had much less points than I deserved.
"I have plenty of motivation, plenty of drive. I am positive about myself and this is what I want. Sure I am always under pressure, this is true and driving for a team such as Ferrari you are always going to be under pressure, but it is better to have the pressure to fight for the championship than the pressure of having to fight to get to first place on the grid.
"I want to be as competitive as possible, to win as many races as possible and fight for the championship as I have done many times in the past."
Massa believes that the development path of Ferrari's new car should suit his driving style better, and if that happens then he sees no reason why he cannot take the fight to Fernando Alonso throughout 2012.
"Yes, absolutely yes," he said when asked about his views on if he can challenge Alonso. "I am convinced that I can do it.
"On the racetracks where there was not a marked degradation of tires, the difference was shown mostly with my driving style. So, returning to having a car, as the one we had for many years, having a car that is competitive, this difference does not exist.
"I am sure that I can fight against Fernando not just to have the same time, but to make a better time than him, so to be even faster than him."
Massa says that the focus for him in 2012 is not on doing enough to secure a fresh contract at Ferrari, but in producing the form from the first race that will allow him to fight for the title.
"I am thinking about the championship so, of course, you must have a competitive car from the start. If you have five or six races where you don't get the results you wanted, then it is difficult to recover.
"Talking about myself, the start of the season, the first part of the championship is surely going to be more important for my future as opposed to the second part. But that is not anything new."
When asked if he had ever considered leaving Ferrari amid doubts about his future, Massa said: "No. First I want to get back to winning races; this is what is most important for me.
"I want to be winning races and be as competitive as I have ever been. If you are happy in the team, then the team is happy with you. I do not see why you would change, but surely should something not happen that I mentioned previously, then it will be important that you should work where you are happy. This is what is most important so we will see what is going to happen."