Tag Archives: Massa

Felipe Massa: “It’s impossible to be so happy when you finish third”

Felipe Massa admits that Williams still has to make a big leap if the Grove team is to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016.

The team finished third in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and again last year, but Massa acknowledges that the next step is even harder, and that downforce is the key.

“Both seasons were really, really good, but we want more,” Massa said at the Autosport International show. “We know that to fight with these teams in front, Mercedes and Ferrari, you need to do amazing improvements from one year to the other. That’s the way it is. Especially when you look at those teams, they have a lot more opportunities, a lot more money, a lot more budget to put in the car, which we know makes an effect at the end.”

Massa is proud of the progress that the team had made since he joined in 2014.

“I could feel that I was important as well for this improvement, the job we all made together. The work that everybody put together I feel really that I was inside this improvement, and I feel really proud.

“Actually, we want more. It’s impossible to be so happy when you finish third in the championship. We’re fighting teams that are much bigger than us, and we know it’s not easy to be in front of them. We were in front of many big teams, and that’s great, but we want more.

“McLaren, they had a really big problem [last] year, they were struggling a lot. But I think Red Bull showed that we really beat a team that’s much bigger, a team that won many championships in the very near past. We were not far away compared to Ferrari as well, but they were better. But we’re pushing hard for 2016. I hope we can do better than what we did until now.”

Massa made it clear where the biggest gains could be found: “The most important think we need to improve is the aerodynamics of the car. We need to give the car more downforce, so we need to improve this area compared with the teams we are fighting with.

“I would say the engine we are using is a similar engine to [the works] Mercedes, which is the best engine in F1, but Ferrari caught up really a lot. I don’t know how much better is the Mercedes compared to Ferrari, but Ferrari is very, very close, that’s why they improved massively as well.

“But I would say maybe where we need to improve more is on the aerodynamics, which is what we’re working on, maybe already from the middle of last year until now. I hope we can see some improvements in this area.”

Felipe praised team mate Valtteri Bottas, stressing that the fact that they like the same things from a car is a big plus.

“We respect each other in a good way. I think we work together with the team in a proper way, which definitely helps for the position at the end. It’s also thanks to the work that both of us are doing for the team, going to the factory, the simulator, but also pushing the team for not so different ideas.

“I think we feel more or less similar things on the car. I think Valtteri is getting more experience since we started until now, so he grows a lot in terms of experience, which is great. I’m really happy to work with him.”


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Felipe Massa: “The lap was really an amazing lap…”

Felipe Massa will start the Chinese GP from fourth on the grid after the Brazilian outqualified both Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Massa was pleased with the way the session went, and is adamant that Williams can still take on Ferrari.

“The lap was really an amazing lap,” he said. “I managed to take the best out of the car at the right time, so it was really a good lap. I’m happy for the performance today. We showed that we are still in the fight, we showed that even if Ferrari are very competitive – and they will be tomorrow anyway – we are there, and we will try everything tomorrow to achieve the maximum points our car can achieve.

“I think it will be tricky for everybody. We saw many, many cars and a small difference between them, not the first two, but the others, yes. So the race will be tight, but let’s try everything we can.”

Massa said that the last race at Sepang was compromised by qualifying: “In Malaysia the qualifying was in the wet, and we were struggling massively. For sure we could have been better in the qualifying, maybe in the race we achieved the best. The most important thing is to achieve the best we can for the team, that’s all we need to fight for tomorrow as well.”

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Felipe Massa: “I will not trust him anymore…”

Felipe Massa has made it clear that he is still upset with Sergio Perez after their controversial last lap crash in Montreal.

Massa insists that Perez was totally at fault for the clash, which will be examined by the stewards tomorrow, at the request of Force India (see separate story).

“The rules says when somebody moves the car behind and put the front wing on the side of your rear tyres you cannot move any more,” said Massa. “So he didn’t follow that. I will not change my opinion. What I just said, this is the rule. And it’s coming from the FIA. And if you know the history, most of the time it’s always the young drivers, especially him, who cause these problems, cause these accidents, which is dangerous.

“If I made a mistake I will be the first one to say I made a mistake, I’m sorry, like I always did when I made a mistake. But people don’t think in the same way. So I’m sorry for him, and I hope he learns, otherwise he will pay more penalties in the future.”

Asked what he would do next time he tries to pass Perez Massa said: “I will think twice. I [have to] believe that he will not move his car. And you cannot believe, when somebody is paying so many penalties, and causing so many problems, you cannot believe. I will not trust him any more, definitely, in the car.”

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Hockenheim 2010 my toughest Ferrari moment, says Massa

Felipe Massa is heading into his final race for Ferrari on home ground at Interlagos, and the weekend is bound to be full of emotion for the Brazilian.

Intriguingly when reviewing his Ferrari career he cited Hockenheim 2010 – the day of the infamous ‘Fernando is faster than you’ incident – as the low point, along of course with his accident in Hungary the previous year.

“It’s a fantastic place to race and to finish an incredible time with Ferrari,” he said. “It’s a very long time. It’s our eighth championship but I’ve been inside Ferrari even before Formula One, so it’s a long time and I need to say thank you to all of them – everyone who worked together in Ferrari. Stefano as well. You know that he is a big friend and he did a lot for me as well, Domenicali. Everybody, everybody I worked with together. I hope we can enjoy the last race here in Ferrari and having a lot of fun and having a good result as well to have even more emotion at the end.

“I think Ferrari is a dream for all the drivers. I remember, one of the first go-karts I had was red. My first overall was red, so I was always supporting Ferrari as a kid. So racing eight years for Ferrari is definitely a dream come true. So, getting old as well! But also it’s another re-start for my career. I’m really happy and looking forward to my future in Williams, a different team. So really, a lot to do still in Formula One.”

Massa said the highlight of his Ferrari career was his win home win seven years ago.

“I would say the happiest moment was, I think, the first time I won in Brazil, 2006, with the green and yellow overalls. I think that was definitely the best moment for me. You know how important it is for a Brazilian to win at home. If you remember well, Senna was more happy to win in Brazil than to win a championship so you can see how important it is for a Brazilian to win here.

“It was a very special moment, not just that time but even 2008 was a special moment. I won the race here, it was Sao Paulo, quickest lap. It was other championships, not here in Brazil, you know, before. I think the toughest moment was… definitely the accident was not a great moment, and maybe the race in Hockenheim, 2010.”

Looking ahead to next year he said: “First of all, I really believe I can do a lot with Williams. Everything is changing, brand new rules for the championship so I think it’s also a good time that we start something new, different. You never know, you’re doing a good job in a team that has also all the infrastructure to do – like Williams has – everything inside the company to do a good car. So everything is possible. They believe in me so I’m really happy and motivated to drive for them, to work and to do everything I can to help the team to be competitive again, which I’m sure everything is possible.”

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Massa frustrated by Ferrari’s tyre strategy “mistake”

Felipe Massa was left frustrated at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP after Ferrari put him onto medium rather than soft tyres, costing him pace and the chance to beat team mate Fernando Alonso to fifth place.

Massa had run 18 laps from the start on soft tyres, and Ferrari made the call to put him on mediums for the final stint despite the fact that there were only 17 laps left to run, the car was lighter, and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Massa eventually finished eighth while Alonso, who stopped 11 laps from  home for softs, was fifth.

“We made a mistake,” he said. “I didn’t expect to use the medium in the last stint as well, I expected to use the soft. I did 19 laps [sic] at the beginning, and I was the best car on the soft, and then we decide to stop in the last moment the second time, and I expected to see the soft tyres on the car, and I saw the other ones, so it was a problem.

“That was the mistake of my race. Without this problem I would have finished easily in the top five, I would have got completely behind [Vergne], passed him in two corners. We were behind Hamilton, I would have passed him easily on different tyres, maybe one second quicker, and we’d have a free track in front. That was a mistake.”

Massa said he hadn’t asked for softs because he thought the choice was obvious.

“I didn’t discuss because for me it was clear that it was going to be the soft, and also they called me at the end of the lap and said stopping now is better, and then there was no time to speak about the tyres. For me it was clear.

“I think it was a little bit too conservative. For if my first stint was 12 laps or 13 laps it’s pretty acceptable, 17 laps at the end with a quick pace, maybe you’re not going to have tyres any more. But I did 19 laps, in the sun. It was still hot, it was colder at the end with more grip, for sure. That was the problem.

“Definitely, I’m not happy, because today I was doing a great race, all the time fighting and overtaking cars, a very good race all the time, a good pace, and then suddenly I didn’t finish in the position I was supposed to finish, so this is a bit frustrating. Anyway I think I showed a good pace, and this is important, to show a good pace, a good race.”

However he denied that there had been any attempt by the team to hamper him and favour Alonso.

“For sure not. The team needs points, the team needs to score as many points as possible, the team will never do that to me. It’s not really even close to my mind that the team is doing something. I believe in the team and I will believe until the last moment. But today as I said it was a mistake. We could have scored more points today.”

Meanwhile Massa said he had no view on the  Vergne/Alonso incident: “I don’t know. I didn’t see it so well.”


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Alonso “crossed the line” says Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali made has made some interesting observations in a specially arranged interview with two Italian fans noted for their criticism of the Scuderia on social networks.

Ferrari invited the pair to ask the boss anything they wanted.

“I have something to say to him, as would be the case with my engineers, I would do it behind closed doors and in a harsh manner,” said Domenicali when asked about Fernando Alonso and Luca di Montezemolo’s ‘ear tweaking’. “But externally, I will always defend the team. When he crossed the line, president Montezemolo intervened and in private, so did I.”

Domenicali conceded that Ferrari has not given the Spaniard a good enough car.

“If in the past four years we have come close to the title twice, it is partly down to him. Unfortunately, we have not been capable of giving him a car that matches his talent. You compare him to Vettel, but when you have a better car, everything is more straightforward.”

Asked what Red Bull had and Ferrari didn’t, he said: “Everyone is trying to work that out. But it’s pointless make accusations if there is no proof. The FIA can check the control unit, and if they find nothing than Red Bull is obviously doing a good job.”

Domenicali was also asked why Felipe Massa has stayed with the team for so long, the questioner implying that the Brazilian has not been the same since his 2009 accident.

“There are two reasons. From a medical point of view, there is no proof that the accident left any permanent damage, such as problems with his sight or reflexes. And then there’s the gentility which would demand that we give a driver who hasn’t had much luck, the chance to show he deserves to stay with us.

“If Felipe was unable to deliver the performance we hoped for, it was mainly down to a hyper-sensitivity to a car that was too nervous at the rear, but in 2008, he almost took the title and I consider him as a world champion. We took Raikkonen because we wanted more. When we replaced him with Alonso, he was not happy and so he returns with a great desire to do well.”

More from the discussion can be found on the Ferrari website.


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Alonso, Domenicali pay tribute to Massa

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali have both paid tribute to Felipe Massa, whose departure from the team was revealed yesterday.

“I want to thank Felipe for all the support he has given me and the team during this journey we have made together over all these years,” Alonso told the Ferrari website. “Come the end of the season, it will not be easy to say goodbye to a team-mate like him. He has always been truly professional and loyal to the team, and I am sure that right to the end, he will do his utmost for the Scuderia that he loves so much.”

Domenicali was equally positive: “I wish to thank Felipe with all my heart and also on behalf of all our fans around the world, for the extraordinary job he has done for the team over so many years. Felipe has always behaved like a real team player.

“Together we have lived through some great times and also a few dramatic moments, which have helped to cement a truly unique relationship on both a professional and personal level. He will always be part of our family and we wish him all the very best for the future.

“Now we must concentrate all our efforts on the remaining seven races of the season and we know that, as always, we can count on Felipe’s contribution, while we work together to reach our goals. Our determination will not waver one iota right to the very end.”


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Ferrari confirms Raikkonen’s return to Maranello

Kimi keeps his hands warm on the grid at Monza last weekend. Photo: AC

Kimi keeps his hands warm on the grid at Monza last weekend. Photo: AC

Ferrari has finally officially confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will partner Fernando Alonso in 2014.

The team said simply: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn will join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons.”

It’s believed that it is a ‘one plus one’ deal, with the second being an option.

It became apparent over the Italian GP weekend that a return to Maranello was becoming increasingly likely for the Finn, and by Sunday night team sources confirmed to this writer that the deal was indeed happening.

Last night Ferrari allowed Felipe Massa to break the news that he was leaving after he’d been told that his tenure with the team had finally come to an end.

The news means that Ferrari has an awesome line-up of two World Champions as the team prepares for what will be a difficult first season with the new breed of turbo powertrains, when experience will clearly count for a lot.

As noted here yesterday Nico Hulkenberg had long been the preferred choice, and a contract was apparently ready to be signed, but after the Hungarian GP the team switched its focus to Raikkonen. During August Red Bull in turn lost interest in Kimi, leaving Ferrari as his only realistic alternative to Lotus.

Ferrari was in contact with Kimi last year about replacing Massa for 2013. Given that Lotus was behind with his payments, he could have walked away from his contract, but he chose to stay loyal.

This time around his decision to move on has been swayed by the ongoing financial squeeze at Lotus, and presumably the team has not been able to give him any guarantees that the situation will improve. His faith in his current team was also dented by the departure of James Allison to  Ferrari.

Allison meanwhile would have been able to give the Italian team a good insight into Raikkonen’s current form, and what he brought to Lotus.

He’s also being reunited with Pat Fry, with whom he worked  during his McLaren career.


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Massa confirms he’s leaving Ferrari

Felipe Massa has used Twitter to tell the world that he is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season – paving the way for a Kimi Raikkonen announcement.

The Brazilian was expected to have a meeting with Luca di Montezemolo at Maranello tomorrow, but he appears to have pre-empted that or been given permission by the team to do so.

He wrote: “From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari. I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together. Thank you also to my wife and all of my family, to my fans and all my Sponsors.

“From each one of you I have always received a great support! Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races. For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective!”

As noted earlier today, Massa could in effect do a swap with Raikkonen and end up at Lotus, perhaps helped by the presence of sponsor Richard Mille, a company close to his manager Nicolas Todt.


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Fernando Alonso: “I will be able to see the Red Bull rear wings on the grid…”

Fernando Alonso insists that he’s happy with how qualifying unfolded in Monza, despite being beaten by team mate Felipe Massa.

The two Ferraris tried to co-ordinate a tow to help the Spaniard, and while he complained initially on the radio that the Brazilian was too far ahead, he said that in the end it had worked out. Alonso will start fifth, right behind Massa.

Fernando was clearly annoyed that a negative message that showed him criticising the team, when the plan for a tow appeared to be unravelling, had been played on TV.

“In Q3 we had Vergne in the middle out of Turn 4,” he said. “And then I was ready to take the slipstream of Vergne, because he seemed to want to follow Felipe at that stage. So I prepared the tyres a little bit, and then he let me by, and I had no one in front.

“So I said on the radio Felipe is too far away now if we want to do this, so they slowed down him and he was waiting a little bit in Parabolica, so we started the last attempt more or less the same distance as always.

“I just have to say thank you to the team and thank you to Felipe again for this tenth that helped me to do the last attempt in Q3. They didn’t put the last radio message when I said thank you to the team, thank you to Felipe, it was perfect at the end.

“It’s the first time in many, many races that I will be able to see the Red Bull rear wings on the grid, and on the first lap I can attack. It’s been an extremely, extremely good qualifying for us.”

Alonso believes that he can at least keep in touch with the Red Bulls.

“I think so. Normally in a race the worst point for us is the Saturdays, there are always three or four cars between us and the Red Bulls, so we start, we pass those cars, and we see the Red Bulls 10s ahead of us, and more or less we keep that distance or that gap throughout the race.

“We are very happy today because hopefully tomorrow after the start and the first corner we don’t have these three or four cars in the middle of us, we don’t have Hamilton, we don’t have Kimi, we don’t have Grosjean, we don’t have all these people who slow us a little bit in the first part of the races, because we have a great pace normally on Sundays. If tomorrow we have this great pace that normally we show on Sundays I don’t see any reason why not to follow the Red Bulls.”

However he concedes that Vettel will be hard to beat.

“He was fast all weekend, in all practices, in qualifying, in the race pace. It’s going to be tough. I think we need some changeable conditions tomorrow, maybe the rain, a mixed race, if not we know that it’s going to be tough, because they are very, very strong this weekend.”

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