Tag Archives: Felipe Massa

Massa expects new F1 qualifying system to create “chaos”

Felipe Massa said today that the new F1 qualifying rules are likely to cause “chaos” as frontrunners get it wrong and find themselves bumped out of the session.

The Williams driver also said it was too early for him to decide if he prefers the new arrangement.

“I don’t know if it I like it or not,” said Massa tonight. “I think I need to have a little bit of time to sit down and understand the rules, understand the change. The only thing I understand is that they want to create some chaos around, and this will happen for sure.

“I’m sure it will happen, some chaos, cars that should maybe qualify more in the front have problems and they need to start in the back. So this is something that can be interesting for you [the media], but if it’s better or not, I don’t know yet.”

Asked if qualifying was the area that the sport needed to address he added: “I think the most important thing is that fans want to see fights, they want to see cars overtaking, cars close by. Fans don’t want to see only one car winning the race. Whenever you can make a championship better, the fans will be happy. I think that’s the main issue.

“Which is not something easy to fix. Maybe the noise of the car, but apart from this I think the fans want to see different cars winning the race, that’s the main target, which is the most difficult thing for F1 to make happen.”


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Williams won’t appeal against Massa exclusion

Williams F1 had decided not to appeal against the FIA’s decision to exclude Felipe Massa from his eighth place in the Brazilian GP for a tyre temperature and pressure irregularity.

The team served notice to appeal on Sunday in Brazil and then had 96 hours to decide whether to go ahead. Although the team is convinced that it had not committed an offence and that it has the evidence to prove that, it has decided that it wasn’t worth formally pursuing the matter given that the lost points make no difference to the constructors’ championship situation, and that there would be legal costs involved.

The FIA deemed that the team was in breach of Article 12.5.1 of the FIA Formula One Technical regulations, Article 3.2. of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 12.1.1.i of the FIA International Sporting Code after the right rear tyre was reported to be at 137C, or 27C above the maximum tread temperature of 110C.

However, the team had data that indicated that the temperature had not gone above 107C.

Williams said today: “Following detailed consideration the team has concluded that despite not agreeing with the exclusion and believing it has sufficient evidence with which to successfully contest the ruling, it will not formally appeal the decision as a hearing date is unlikely to be available until after the end of the season impacting a time when the team wishes to turn its attention to its 2016 campaign.

Given the financial climate of the sport, and the fact that the decision does not impact the team’s Constructors’ Championship position, it has been decided that this would be an unnecessary cost to endure.”

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Rob Smedley: Monza had to be clean weekend for Williams

Rob Smedley says that it was important for the Williams F1 team to enjoy a troublefree weekend in Italy, where Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished third and fourth.

Smedley adds that the key was to bring home the maximum available points given the pace of the car, and not make any mistakes by being too ambitious.

The Grove outfit has had a lot of frustration in recent months, most notably in Spa, where Bottas was fitted with set of mismatched tyres.

“The message to the team at the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend,” Smedley told this writer. “And if the car was the third quickest car, then we had to finish fifth and sixth. Other people dropped off for different reasons, reliability or starts, which is the two cars we got ahead of.

“But we didn’t drop the ball, and we just went through trying to have the most calm and easy weekend that we could, and getting the most out of the car rather than reaching for the moon and falling way behind. We’re reasonably pleased with it.”

At Monza Nico Rosberg got ahead of both Williams drivers by pitting early, and Smedley admits that Massa did not have a perfect pit stop.

“We reacted immediately with Felipe, and the pit stop was slow. We took a long time to gun the wheels off. Without that there’s a fair chance that we could have come out in front, we lost more than a second in the pit stop compared with what we do in practice.

“Whether that was enough to hold Nico off for the rest of the race I’m not sure, barring what happened with his engine, obviously. With Valtteri it was then a case that we’d sit it out for a little bit and make sure that he was rock solid at the end. That’s where we went with that one.”

Smedley says that there were no team orders in the closing laps, when the cars ran close together: “They were absolutely free to race. The only message that they got from the pit wall, and Pat [Symonds] and I discussed it up on the pit wall, was you need to give a little bit more room as it’s your team mate. But apart from that, get on and race.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams agreed that the weekend could not have turned out any better.

“I’m really pleased with that,” she told this writer. “They made really good starts to get around Raikkonen’s car at the beginning, and just drove a really solid race. The pit stop guys did what they needed to do. We obviously benefited from Rosberg, it was unfortunate for him to retire so late, but Felipe got a lovely podium.

“That’s what we wanted, just a straightforward, easy race with with no issues, and we got that, and we got some great points, which we needed to do. It was about points for us, to try and close the gap to Ferrari, but more importantly extend the gap to Red Bull.”

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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.”


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Felipe Massa: “I like the idea of refuelling…”

Felipe Massa says he supports the move towards the return of refuelling in 2017, as well as the general push to have faster cars.

The Brazilian is also keen on the plan for teams being able to choose which tyre compounds to use, a change set to be introduved for next season.

“I like the idea of refuelling because the race is quicker, the car is quicker,” said Massa when asked by this writer. “We race with a very heavy car and the race is very technical today. It used to be a lot nicer for the driving point of view, and that’s why I like the idea of the refuelling.

“Plus for the teams to choose the tyres, we can see a change because of of that. For sure in most of the races I don’t think Pirelli choose the wrong tyres. Some of the races they are a little bit too conservative, some of the races, not. If you take 85-90% of the races, it’s more or less correct. But you will see things… Especially the teams that don’t have a good car they will choose, and they will risk. Maybe it can change a little bit especially the qualifying, because the team has quicker tyres for the qualifying, and maybe they can go back in the race. We need to understand, but I think it’s OK to have it.

“Maybe some changes for the fans or the people are OK to have, so we’ll wait and see. The cars should be quicker as well. I think they will put more downforce on the car, more power in the engine, plus maybe wider tyres. I think it’s difficult to say before, before you drive the car, it’s a little bit difficult.”

Asked about the Strategy Group’s target of quicker lap times he said: “Maybe 5-6 seconds is a little bit too much, but for sure we want to go as fast as we can, for sure we want competition as well. I remember before when we had a lot of downforce maybe you didn’t even see overtaking in the race, and now the DRS helps.

“This is the only doubt that we need to understand, that they still keep the challenge in a good way. We have already good power from the engine, so maybe we’re going to have a little bit more, which will be more interesting, it’s fine to have. I think more important than the power is the noise for the people.”

Meanwhile when reminded that fuel stops can go wrong – as happened to Felipe in Singapore in 2008 – the Brazilian made it clear that he remembers that race more for the ‘Crashgate’ scandal.

“In Singapore the refuelling was not a problem, the problem was the mechanic that pressed the button at the wrong time. Even if it was not the refuelling and the tyres were not there I was going out with a problem anyway. Especially in Singapore the biggest problem was a fake race as well. So many things happened in that race, it wasn’t just the refuelling that was a problem. It was a race that was supposed to be cancelled, and it was not, unfortunately…”


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Felipe Massa: “A driver cannot do everything alone…”

Williams head of performance Rob Smedley paid his old pal Felipe Massa a big compliment in China last week when he said that the Brazilian was driving better than ever in 2015.

Today Massa was a little reticent when asked if he thought that was true.

“What I can say is I’m pretty happy with the way we’re working with the team, with my engineer, with everybody,” he said in Bahrain today. “If you go back to last year the first half of the season I was unlucky and so many things were happening in a different way, and not a consistent way. But the second part was very good.

“How I did the last four races of the season and how I did these three races is no different, it’s in a similar way. I think the consistency with how I finished the season until now I can bring everything I can to the car and use the car in the best way I can, with very good laps in the qualifying but also a good way of managing the tyres and using the car in the race.”

However, Massa did then agree he was driving at least as well as in 2008, when he fought for the title until the last corner of the last race.

“I think so. The only thing you cannot say is that we were fighting for the championship in 2008, and now not! For sure we had maybe the top car in 2008, and now we are maybe the third team in the championship, but I feel really good, I feel that I am driving really well, and can use the car in the best way I believe I can.

“It’s nice to have that feeling, it gives you extra confidence, the team are working for you, to understand everything you say, to take everything you say, to try to develop everything you say but also what they believe is correct together, and I think really that’s fantastic. A driver cannot do everything alone. You need to have the whole group working for the best of the driver, and I think that really counts a lot for me. Also many of you wrote my accident changed completely my driving, and maybe it’s not correct…”

Asked about his sometimes disappointing form in his later years at Maranello he said: “I had some reasons, but I don’t want to put the reasons on the table. But I have some reasons for not being so strong in the last seasons with Ferrari. The past is the past, we work for the present, which is better.”

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Felipe Massa: “I know how to be competitive…”

Felipe Massa says he’s been a lot more relaxed since it was confirmed that he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season.

Massa has outqualified Fernando Alonso five times in the past six races, although to be fair the Spaniard chose the prime tyre in India.

“I feel very relaxed, very relaxed to be honest,” he said when asked by this writer how it had affected his approach. “And I think that’s the best for me as well. You know, I can get inside the car to enjoy myself, to take the best out of the car, but enjoying and relaxing.”

Despite his good recent form relative to Alonso Massa says that 2013 hasn’t been a great season.

“For sure it’s not the best season for me, I can do much better than what I did this year, the last years. I think what is important to know is that I have the speed. I have the speed, I know how to win, I know how to be competitive, and we just need to try to put things together, and that’s what I’m trying. This season we had some very good races, but we had some very difficult races. Anyway, I’m looking pretty optimistic for the last races.”


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Felipe Massa: “We have nothing to lose…”

Felipe Massa admits that having his final race for Ferrari in his home country in Brazil next month will make for an emotional weekend.

He also says he has nothing to lose as he tries to finish his stint with the team with a victory.

“I think the Brazilian GP is always very emotional,” he said when asked by this writer if he’d thought about Interlagos yet. “And especially when you see that you are there and in your last race for Ferrari, after such a long story. For sure it will be emotional, and I hope I can have a great race there, a great result, because the result makes things even more emotional. I hope we can have a fantastic last race – not just the last race but all these races, and especially the last race for Ferrari, for my history in Ferrari, and in Brazil.

“I’ll keep having an aggressive approach. We have nothing to lose, to be honest. So I’ll try the best I can. I spun not to hit Rosberg [in Korea], so it happens. Sometimes you need to risk a little bit, but I mean the drive there in the last race was good, the pace was good, unfortunately this cost me some points at the end of the race.

“We can never give up, and I will try the best definitely to finish with at least one more victory with Ferrari, it will be fantastic. I will try everything I can. And I hope he helps me as well, Fernando!”

Massa also stressed that his best calling card for next season was his experience, rather than a good result in the last few races of 2013.

“I think the experience is a lot more important than anything. Definitely the result is always good to have, whatever circumstance. People always remember the last race than the ones before. But I think everybody knows what I can bring to a team, everybody knows how important I can be to a team as well. We start from zero, new rules, so I think I have a lot to give to a team, and this makes more sense than just one result.”


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Mallya in no hurry to decide 2014 Force India line-up

Dr Vijay Mallya insists that he’s in no hurry to confirm Force India’s driver line-up for 2014.

Along with Lotus the team is among the most attractive with seats potentially available, and the likes of Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg have been linked with a drive.

“People have come to me, but I’m notorious for making the decision at the very last minute.” Mallya told this writer. “The reason is because I think that if one was to announce a change now – if I intend to make a change – I tend to believe it will demotivate a driver who’s leaving, which I don’t think is very fair. Be that as it may, I have been approached, and I’ll consider all our options.

“There are people who believe that we have an excellent driver line-up today. Both are very talented youngsters. We’ve always tried to have a solid driver line-up, and we’ll continue that going forward.”

Asked if he was interested in Massa – who potentially has some backing – Mallya said that money was not the key issue.

“The decision will be made on the driver’s competence and potential contribution to the team. None of our race seats has ever been for sale, and I’m totally against that concept, because I will not compromise the hard work of the design team and the engineers by putting in a driver whose sole criteria is whether he brings in money or not.

“I have to admit that Massa is not just a Grand Prix winner but a damn good driver. I think even this season he’s outqualified Alonso a few times, so there’s no question about his competence. But we’ll see as it goes along.”

He also didn’t rule out bringing back Hulkenberg, even if it meant having two German drivers should Adrian Sutil stay.

“Why not? For me if nationality were to ever matter all other things being equal it would probably tilt the scales in favour of an Indian, but there are no Indians around. Beyond that, as long as there is no Indian on the horizon, I don’t care.

“To me the focus is on a driver who’s talented, can get the most out of the car, can give proper feedback, can help the engineers develop the car, and make us as a team more competitive.”

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