Felipe Massa believes Ferrari could enjoy its best start to a season for several years given its performance in winter testing.
The Italian squad was quickest throughout the first test at Valencia and remained among the front pack throughout the month, while also having very few reliability issues. Massa reckons his team will therefore not only put its 2009 misery behind it, but could get off to an even stronger start than it did when battling for titles in the previous three seasons.
"I am very happy and very motivated that we can start the championship in a better way not just than last year, which was not a very good year, but also than the other championships," he said on Ferrari's website. "It looks like we are in good condition to start the championship with a good car and a reliable car, which is good for the start of the season. It's good to think about the points straight away."
While not being certain Ferrari will win in Bahrain this weekend, Massa is confident it will leave Sakhir with a strong points haul.
"My expectation is definitely to score many points," he said. "Even if maybe we don't know if it will be possible to win, it will be important to start the championship in the right direction. That's our expectation and that's what we're looking for."
But, he added, he was not underestimating the strength of the competition, despite his encouraging testing results.
"The feeling is good, but for sure feet on the ground, because we know we are going to have a very difficult championship," Massa said. "There are a lot of good cars, good teams and good drivers. But I can say that the feeling is really, really good. What we did in the winter tests was always very positive. Our car and our team were very competitive.
"I think it shows that we have a car ready to start the season. We have to work every day to improve the situation and improve the car race by race to be at the top, but I'm very motivated."