Sunday, 30 October 2011

F1: Massa Frustrated By Qualifying Crash

Felipe Massa was fastest in FP2 in India on Friday, but today the Brazilian found himself down in sixth place after a suspension failure saw him crash out on his second run.

Massa had been running noticeably wide and on his hot lap caught his right front wheel behind a curb. The unusual forces involved – in effect the wheel was being pulled away from the car – broke the suspension.

“I am disappointed,” said Massa when asked by about his session. “We had a big chance to start both cars in the top four. It was not possible because of this crash. I’m sure I would have improved on this lap, and the position was supposed to be much better than it is now, and I lost one set of soft tires as well, when I crashed, so we need to see how it’s going to be tomorrow, the strategy.”

Massa felt that the curb he hit was too high, although the FIA looked at it later and decreed that it met the usual standards.

“It’s a high speed corner, you have a very low curb, and then you have this high ‘sausage’ curb. I think when you have a high speed like that, the car has a lot of downforce, a lot of power to the ground. When you hit some concrete, some sausage like that, you can have a failure in the suspension.

“It’s exactly what happened with me. I didn’t take the curb so strongly, I took a little bit of curb, and my suspension didn’t survive. It can be a problem for the race. I think in a high speed like that it’s better to do a real curb, a bit higher and normal curbs. That’s the only thing that I think should change for the future.”

Meanwhile Massa attracted a lot of attention over the weekend when his front wing ‘fluttered’ at the end of the straight and both sides touched the ground, sending up sparks.

Ferrari is known to be pushing the limits on flexibility while staying within the FIA load tests.

“For sure it’s quite aggressive, but we are on it, we are analyzing everything. If we decide to use it, it’s because it’s safe. There’s not much to say.”

Massa actually used a different wing in qualifying, and while it was outwardly identical, it did not appear to flutter as much. However he destroyed that in his crash, and now has to go back to the original – the only spare of the same design that Ferrari has at the track.

If he uses an older spec wing he would have to start from the pitlane as broken parts have to be replaced with ‘similar’ ones under the FIA rules.

The intriguing thing is that while the two wings he used today were outwardly identical, their apparently different behavior on track could suggest that they are different structurally – and if the FIA deemed that was in the case in theory the parts would not be similar, and he would have to start from the pitlane.

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