Massa tries Trofeo Linea touring car at Interlagos

2011 F1 season

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Felipe Massa, Fiat Linea, Interlagos, 2011

Felipe Massa hinted at a future in touring cars after his F1 career following an appearance in the Trofeo Linea championship yesterday.

Massa drove a Fiat Linea in two practice sessions at Interlagos, improving his time from 1’54.929 in the morning to 1’53.888 in the afternoon. That left him sixth-fastest, 0.8s slower than current championship leader Caca Bueno.

Massa said: “I had a lot of fun today. It’s been ten years since I last drove a Touring car, dating back to 2001 when I raced an Alfa Romeo 155, so I thought I might struggle a bit, so sixth best time in the second session is not that bad.

Felipe Massa, Fiat Linea, Interlagos, 2011

“I could have been quicker but I hit the chicane when I went out on new tyres, which damaged the front suspension, so the steering felt very heavy.

“I have to say the Trofeo Linea is very interesting to drive: it’s stable and the sequential change works very well.

“This sort of racing could definitely be an option when the day comes that I decide to leave Formula 1.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Massa tries Trofeo Linea touring car at Interlagos”

  1. “This sort of racing could definitely be an option when the day comes that I decide to leave Formula 1.”

    A lot of drivers say this, but how many of them actually go on to do it?

    1. Well some do, just look at the DTM for example.

    2. Too many, in my opinion. In DTM alone, we’ve seen DC, Ralf, Hakkinen, Alesi, and Frentzen all make it a post-retirement home.

      1. Whats worse is that none of them have been very good!

        1. Your forgetting Hakkinen….

        2. Sorry I meant in DTM

          1. Wasn’t Michael Schumacher also rubbish back in DTM? I could be wrong

      2. Not very good? All of them are F1 race winners.

        1. Yeah, but next to none of them have had much success in touring cars. Many ex-F1 drivers headed over to Japan in the mid-late 90’s to have a go at the JGTC and later the Super GT, which are similar spec to the DTM.

          Is Massa competing in the race or was he just trying out qualifying? Never heard of that Fiat either. Wasn’t aware they made anything larger than a Brava. They’re not known for their bigger cars, not in the UK at least.

          1. to be fair, Ralph Firman was actually quite good in Super GT until he left this year!

          2. The Linea is a sedan for emerging markets. It’s based on the Grande Punto.

        2. “All of them are F1 race winners.”
          But they couldn’t beat anybody else in any other series. Which has to mean something.

          1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
            13th August 2011, 19:17

            F1 is all about the car.

          2. Driving big open single seaters is not the same as driving cars with a roof. Also these drivers all retired, because they weren’t good enough anymore for F1, lost their drive, or both. I think it’s more like a hobby for them (the real dedication is missing).

          3. Usain Bolt may be an epic sprinter, but he wouldn’t win the London marathon. They’re both running at the heart of it but require completely different skill sets.

            It’s the same with Formula 1, touring cars, NASCAR or lawnmower racing. All different disciplines with a core similarity, but which require totally different approaches.

            It makes the achievements of the likes of Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Mario Andretti all the more impressive – winners across a huge variety of motor racing.

          4. Nonsense, Dan.
            Such technologically simple cars as these touring cars require the most basic, fundamental driving abilities.
            It’s ridiculously silly to say “He’s been a F1 champion but driving the Fiat requires a skillset he doesn’t have”.
            Get out of here, man.

            This argument would be partly (yet still only part) right when comparing F1 to MotoGP, but not here.

          5. FWIW, Dan, I completely agree with you.

            It’s about specialization. I’ve watched many, many cases of the incumbent specialists (Spenglers and Paffetts in DTM, Gordon in NASCAR, Whincup in V8S etc.) being unapproachable by top-level drivers from other top-level series when they come in. There’s much more to it than “these are drivers who lost interest at the end of their F1 careers”.

            It’s curious to me that DiResta can outperform after moving from DTM to F1, but nobody has done it the other way round. And people like Montoya and Hornish were good in single seaters but have gone nowhere in NASCAR.

            There’s no grand unified theory for me beyond the fact that success over the long haul in any series involves lining up a lot of ducks. Some are technical, some are cultural or personal, and they involve different types of preparation and maybe even different types of talent.

            It shows me that there’s a heckuva lot more to being a driver, even in less esteemed pro series (how would Coulthard stack up against Plato and Neil?) than knowing where to pick up the throttle or how much toe-in to dial in at a given circuit.

          6. So we should not expect F1 drivers to outclass everybody else on Top Gears lap times?

          7. Ha! Great point, JCost!

          8. Damon, thats ridiculous. Of course its a different skillset. Are you telling me that Premiership footballers would also be the best in beach football, no. Or snooker players would be better at pool than professional pool payers, no.

            And to J cost – of course F1 drivers will be faster than the people that go on top gear – they are actors and musicians for Christ’s sake!

  2. He was racing an Alfa 155 in 2001? Seems a bit outdated! I’d love to know what series that was in, or if it was just a mistake…

    If I could pick one discipline to race in, I think Touring Cars or any kind of tin tops would be it. It always looks like such fun.

    1. According to wikipedia, he raced in the European Supertouring Championship.

      1. It was the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC), the predecessor to the current WTCC, and it was an Alfa 156 not a 155.

        1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
          13th August 2011, 16:09

          That bang on the head must’ve done something to his memory!

        2. I thought that didn’t sound right! Good knowledge.

        3. It did sound curious, thanks for clearing this point TimG!

  3. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    13th August 2011, 12:20

    “This sort of racing could definitely be an option when the day comes that I decide to leave Formula 1.”

    Next year! LOL!

      1. didn’t stop Kimi

        1. He had nothing left to win ;)

    1. It would certainly seem to be so, after all the first line being

      Felipe Massa hinted at a future in touring cars after his F1 season

      seems to hint strongly at quitting after the season (for sure, that might have been a mistake from Keith/Massa and probably should have read F1 career :-D )

  4. Caca Bueno? Seriously?

    1. Cacarella Bueno
      13th August 2011, 18:30

      What’s wrong with it?

      1. I didn’t remember the last part of your username ;)

  5. I Love the Pope
    13th August 2011, 16:25

    He could always come and do NASCAR – Juan Pablo has, and it looks like Raikkonen will make the leap eventually.

    1. I think Massa basically said no to NASCAR in an interview on the Ferrari website a few months ago.

      1. I would think Ferrari (or rather FIAT) would like to hold on to Massa as brand ambassador and possible touring car driver in Brazil for quite some years.

        1. Well that depends what happens his career. Who knows if he’ll still be on good terms with FIAT after 2012.

          If he does stay in the FIAT family, I’d love to see him have a go at Le Mans one year, like Fisichella’s done.

    2. Believe me…..many NASCAR fans now, feel that their are too many damn foreigners driving in the series now.

      1. I Love the Pope
        13th August 2011, 22:42

        Well, not me, though I am an F1 fan too.

  6. Well he can race in this series when kobayashi replaces him

  7. That wouldn’t be a surprising move. Most F1 drivers race in other series after their F1 career is finished. A lot of them race sportscars, just look at the Le Mans entry list each year. Others choose touring cars or other formula racing.

    However, I don’t think that that day will come soon for Massa. I believe we will see him in F1 for many more years. Even if Massa can’t match Alonso in a Ferrari, he is capable of doing a ‘Kovalainen’ and restarting his career in some midfield team. I think he just needs a change. The man who fought with Lewis Hamilton for the title until the last corner of 2008 season, simply cannot be a weak F1 driver.

    1. Correction: The guy who fought with Massa for the title until the last corner of the 2008 season, simply cannot be great driver.

      1. oh fk.

        Here we go again!!!!! da dun dun dadi da da dun da da daahhh! (yakety sax music)

        Is Massa better than Kimi, did kimi lose the motivatin afte rbeing so close to the title then finally getting it and not having that big thing to achieve? Did his mech problems in the middle of the year cause him to lose it mentally? Was the Ferrari 2008 really awesome and Hamilton so much better than everyone else? Is Hamilton actually quite bad? Why is Hekki destroying Trulli was similiar in a Toyota to Glock when Hamilton smashed him? Does that make Hamilton awesome or is there a conspiracy? HOw can it not be a conspiracy if Hamilton smashed Heikki ubt can’t smash Button who barely beat Barichello who was slightly slower than a prefered Schumacher who beat Hill to the 94 title in perhaps an illigal car?

        Is that what your saying infy? Because if it isn’t then I think you have a lot of explaining to do!!!

        1. Which question exactly?

  8. Massa should come down to australia and race in the v8 supercar championship!! They now race in many overseas circuits and bathurst is one of the greatest circuits in the world! Just ask button about it, he was offered a seat in the 888 vodaphone car after his f1 career.

    1. The Mountain is a fantatic circuit, in a fantastic series the Australian V8 Supercars, which IMHO is only surpassed by the best motoracing series in the world….F1.

    2. Well now that Liuzzi is coming to the Gold Coast this year, maybe he can spread the word next year and get more current F1 drivers?

      I can’t see FIAT allowing Massa in a Ford or Holden (GM) though…

  9. Massa promotes this series in Brazil. Actually his family runs it since he spends most of the time away from Brazil. They launched it last year, as part of the Racing Festival, which also has a open-wheeled series (called Formula Future) and a motorcycle one. They all race in the same weekends. The whole festival is sponsored by Fiat, and even the engines of the open-wheel cars are manufactured by them. If I’m not mistaken, the winner of last year’s F-Future got a sponsorship from Ferrari to race in Europe.

    When it was launched, Massa said that the idea was to have guest drivers every now and then and that he would do an odd-race whenever he had a chance. That didn’t happen last year (maybe because of the team-order drama) so this is the first time he got to drive it AFAIK.

    1. Interesting lopes, thanks for the additional background information.

      I would guess Massa might stay in touch with Ferrari and FIAT after 2012 and race here or do some GT racing with them.

    2. It is somewhat how Massa own’s category. It is an iniciative to help drivers who are getting out of karting. In Brazil, we are lacking a basic and acessible formula category (like FFord or FBMW) for our young drivers, and is in this slot that the Racing Festival does it’s work. The Trofeo Linea (the Linea is a GrandePunto based sedan for 3rd world markets) is a professional series, with some ex-F1 and ex-Indy/Cart drivers on the line-up. And the Formula Future uses a french chassis with a Fiat engine (not clear wich one).

      I’m looking foward to go one of this days. This weekend it was at Interlagos, but i couldn’t go. Let´s see next time. 4 races with 1 ticket? I’m in!!

  10. I thought there was a ban on testing. This is clearly the Scuderia’s car for next year, getting in some early miles under Massa.

  11. 6th? He’s getting used to that position (also his car number) ;)

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