Felipe Massa is confident that his Ferrari team has understood the performance of the new-for-2011 Pirelli rubber after he topped the first day of tire testing in Abu Dhabi.
The Brazilian outpaced world champion Sebastian Vettel by 0.330sec and completed 94 laps of the Yas Marina circuit. He believes that the team now has a greater understanding of how the Pirelli rubber will change the characteristics of the 2011 cars.
Understanding both the aerodynamic and the grip characteristics of the 2011 tires is the priority for teams during the two-day test, as they must finalize the specification of next year's car before their next opportunity to run on the rubber in preseason testing next February.
"It was a positive day to understand the way to go next year with a tire that is quite different to the one we had in 2010," said Massa. "We were able to see that direction quite quickly and we understood quite easily what the tire required from the car and driver. But it's also clear there are quite a lot of things to change for next year. Next year's car will be quite different, of course, but today was positive and I'm pleased after working with Pirelli for the first time."
Massa added that there was a limit to what could be achieved running the new tires using a 2010-specification machine, but that the team was able to make some setup tweaks to improve performance.
"It will be different when we start working with the new car, which will be very different from the current one," said Massa. "But after just one day of working with Pirelli, I'm very pleased with the way things went.
"In terms of setup, we just had to make a few adjustments, changing the weight distribution a bit. But there was only so much that we could do with this car to simulate next year's handling, so we didn't focus on that."