Massa cautions that F1 was “worse” when Senna was winning

Felipe Massa has cautioned that critics of current F1 have forgotten that the racing was not always close in the past.

While discussing possible future rules changes the Williams driver cited the Ayrton Senna and McLaren Honda era as an example of people looking back with rose-tinted spectacles at a time when one team was dominant.

“When it was 20 years of Ayrton’s crash I remember in Brazil they were showing all the races,” said Massa. “And I was watching most of the races he did, it was a lot worse than how it is now. The difference in the qualifying was maybe 1.5 seconds to the third [place], they were lapping the third every race. So the difference was a lot bigger than it is now. But when you speak to the people everybody says the past is amazing.

“So go back and watch, and then compare to now. So I think this is something that people need to do, not looking in the past without remembering so well, and just saying the past was amazing. The past looks more interesting also, because the tracks were a lot worse, they were a lot more bumpy, so when you see the cars driving with the bumps it looks more difficult. But now everything is more for our world, everything is more safe, the tracks are different.”

Massa is adamant that any rule changes for 2017 should be properly thought through.

“When I see Kimi [Raikkonen] or Niki Lauda say that it needs to be more dangerous, I don’t agree it needs to be more dangerous, I just agree it needs to be better, it needs to be more intelligent. There needs to be a very important study to make things more intelligent, not just to change. I think in F1 we always had a lot of change, but maybe some times change is not changing anything, so I think that’s important.

“I don’t believe the FIA will change the tracks and make [them] more dangerous, because I don’t think it’s correct, I just believe we need to think about the changes, and be more intelligent, to see where we can improve. So maybe this is something we need to understand.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

12 responses to “Massa cautions that F1 was “worse” when Senna was winning


    There are too many rules and regulations that restrict and penalize the drivers and the teams. It would be better if there was one qualifying tire. You start the race on the tires you used in Q3 or Q2 or Q1. There is only one race compound per weekend. There is one rain tire. Engines are back to V8 or V10 or V!2 with an equalizing formula of total weight. Aero and chassis is unlimited. Fuel is unlimited. Mandatory pit-stop of at least one per race. Fuel tank size is the same for each car issued by FIA.
    Teams can do anything at a pit stop. Limit how many peoplle are in the hot pit lane. May the best team and driver win!


      Also, I neglected to say each driver gets five sets of the race compound for the race, so they can actually drive it like they stole it. Driving to win!

      • NIK

        And I imagine you have the money in your bank to fund this. Because nobody else would. And no. “the best team and driver” won’t win.

    • I’m afraid you didn’t think this through. One compound completely removes the strategic element which is wrong. Switching engines again increases costs significantly. The current PUs are great. Equalizing formula is wrong because it’s artificial. Unlimited aero and chassis will also increase costs. Mandatory pit stops also remove the strategic element (unless it’s only one),

  2. LWT

    Senna said kart racing was the purest racing in which he participated. The technology is exciting and what makes F1, but take a lesson from karting. Fill with fuel, use one tire and let the racers sprint to the end. It is still the most exciting and purest racing. Then throttle Bernie’s profit machine and make it fun and affordable to bring the kids to a F1 race again. If we don’t our kids will grow up without the experience and the sport will surely suffer and die in the coming generation.

  3. maxpam44

    In 48 of sennas title winning seasons, only 3 races did they lap 3rd. “Every race” is therefore not correct by Massa

  4. GeorgeK

    Well Felipe, as a person immersed in the sport I would ask how do you think the sport can be “more intelligent”?

    Hardly anyone thinks the sport is okay as is, but with due respect to the comments above, we hardly ever get an “intelligent” approach to fix things. Why? Because I don’t think there is that much wrong with it, other than Bernie and The Pig Four teams attempting to hijack every available dollar out of it. With the consequential knock on effect of high ticket prices and pay TV for us fans.

  5. Dave

    Let’s go back to 1994. Yes the year that….
    At the end of the season, 26 drivers scored points. Only the first 6 received points.
    Yes there was a huge turn over in drivers, a total of 46 drivers participated in the championship.
    It was attractive to watch, because there was a change that everyone who started could get points.

  6. Felipe Massa? Full of shit! That guy needs to retire from the sport…His crying call about the crash of Max Verstappen in Monaco was irritating!

  7. Leone

    I’m a huge Massa fan, but I have to disagree with him on this one.

    Back then the cars were good looking, the tracks were better, there were several different engine configurations allowed, teams were not mandated into making pitstops or using specific tire compounds, and development was not restricted.

    While the racing may have had it’s “dull” moments, at least there was variety on track, and the opportunity for a team to discover something mid-season that could make them much faster/reliable. As well, cars weren’t so aero-dependent (they were of course, but not to the degree they are now) so drivers could at least TRY to have a dice with one another, even if there wasn’t Bugs Bunny-like passing back and forth every lap.

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