Massa was intrigued to get his first taste of a car designed to the new rules
Felipe Massa said he expected Ferrari to be Formula One title contenders again in 2009 after giving the team's new car its first run on Monday.
The Brazilian, second to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in 2008, drove about 60 miles at Mugello in the new F60.
The F60, the first 2009 car to be given a run-out, includes features to meet new rules aimed at aiding overtaking.
Massa said the new systems made it feel "completely different" but that the day had been "very positive".
The 27-year-old said he had been most apprehensive about using the new kinetic energy recovery system (kers), which stores the energy which would have been wasted as heat during braking and reapplies it during acceleration to provide a boost in power.
"It was not the day to do 100 laps and post times when the rules change so greatly from one year to another," Massa said.
"With kers, for example, you have a completely different feeling for driving the car.
The mood inside the team is pretty good and I have to say I feel a very positive atmosphere
"We resolved little problems that arise on the first day, but I am quite happy to do 100km and use kers, which was the most worrying aspect.
"In the end, we used it a little to start with and gradually increased the power and this is very positive.
"At the moment, we are at the start of a different cycle in Formula One and it won't be an easy experience, but I am convinced we can be competitive again."
Massa said he was looking forward to getting down to serious testing at the new Algarve circuit in Portugal next week, where Ferrari will be joined by all the leading teams with the exception of BMW Sauber and Red Bull.
"A day like this is not really all that exciting," Massa said, "but it is important here to get the car running and working so I did still enjoy it. We were able to get an important job done.
"I hope we can do more laps in Portugal next week and start posting some times, even if times are not all that important right now.
"Now is the time when we start to get a feel for the car, but as experience grows at the end of the tests and towards the start of the first race, things should feel more automatic.
"The mood inside the team is pretty good and I have to say I feel a very positive atmosphere in all sectors of the team.
"I am quite happy with the work the team has done and I hope we keep on improving every week, like we have always done in the good years."
Team boss Stefano Domenicali said pre-season testing was even more important than usual following the rule change banning intra-season testing.
That change came amid a raft of cost-cutting measures agreed by teams and governing body the FIA in the last few weeks following the withdrawal of Honda in December.
"I believe a new approach for testing will lead to an interpretation of the weekend which is different to recently," Domenicali said.
"Both Friday and Saturday will be different to what we are used to.
"At the start of the season, there are going to be more unknowns than in the past.
"Therefore, we have got to be cautious with our analysis (of our own car) as we have got to see where our rivals are, then we can evaluate."
Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa said the main testing of the cars would now have to be carried out on the Fridays before each race, meaning heavy traffic on a day traditionally reserved for fine-tuning and personalisation of the cars.