New cars suit Felipe Massa's style 'perfectly' - Rob Smedley

Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley thinks 2017's revamped cars "perfectly" suit the driving style of the returning Felipe Massa.

Massa reversed his decision to retire from Formula One when Valtteri Bottas left Williams for Mercedes, returning to the Grove team for a fourth season. After a frustrating opening week of pre-season the Grove outfit recovered with an impressive mileage haul in the final four days and look to be best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull going into this year's Melbourne opener.

Smedley thinks the wider, faster cars could help Massa recapture his form from the 2008 season, where he narrowly missed out on the world championship.

"I think it suits his driving style perfectly really," Smedley said. "The cars that we have got now are much more akin to the cars when he had his more successful years.

"So [like] a 2008 car, with a very wide front tyre, very, very good grip all the way from turn-in up to the apex. We've been definitely missing that for the last seven years, and he struggled a little bit with that."

Smedley thinks the way Massa adapted to the FW30 during the winter tests in Barcelona proved he is well-placed for a strong season this year.

"The more front end you can give Felipe, as long as you have a solid rear, then the more he will be able to deliver from his driving style. And from what we have seen at the minute, he's very very comfortable.

"I think with Felipe, you always know if you are on to a winner with the amount of mistakes he makes the first time he gets into a new car. I think that over the course of however many thousand kilometres he has done over the past few days, he has perhaps run wide twice and has made hardly any mistakes on new tyres. So he is obviously extremely comfortable with the car.

"When we put a different compound on, when we perhaps increase the engine or reduce the fuel level to a lower level, he delivers exactly what you expect him to do. It show that ultimately he is very, very comfortable."