Following his championship challenge of 2008, Felipe Massa has confirmed that his "role" within the Ferrari team has changed.

Following his championship challenge of 2008, Felipe Massa has confirmed that his "role" within the Ferrari team has changed.

Initially seen as a 'number two' driver for first Michael Schumacher and then Kimi Raikkonen, the 27-year-old Brazilian has steadily found his feet and last year only failed to beat Lewis Hamilton to the title by a single point.

"For sure my role has changed," he said in an interview with Italy's Corriere dello Sport.

Massa said he has felt his influence at the Maranello based team grow steadily since 2007, when he compared strongly with the highly-rated and paid Raikkonen.

"You become more of a point of reference," he explained. "Today, that is what I am; a point of reference for the development, for the daily tasks. And that appeals to me: to motivate; to be at the heart of things."

In the interview, Massa was also asked what he expects this season of F1's new world champion, his 2008 rival Hamilton.

"The same as always: competitive," he answered. "He is a phenomenon for sure, but he is not the only one."

 

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