Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2013

Ferrari pledge support for struggling Massa

2013 F1 season

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2013Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo gave his backing to driver Felipe Massa after another disappointing performance in Germany.

Massa spun out of the race on lap four after losing control of his F138 at turn one.

“Felipe is fully aware he can count on our total confidence in him,” Montezemolo told the Ferrari website.

“I hope he will soon secure the results that will show his talent to the full, such as the great starts he pulled off at the last two grands prix.”

The German round was the fourth race weekend in a row in which Massa has spun or crashed.

He had two substantial impacts during the Monaco race weekend at Sainte Devote. The Ferrari driver crashed out during qualifying in Canada and also spun into a wall during practice at Silverstone.

Massa is in his eighth season with the team and came close to losing his seat last season. Montezemolo said the team are not yet ready to decided who will partner Fernando Alonso next year: “We will talk about that further down the line as there?s no hurry.”

Massa lies seventh in the drivers’ standings on 57 points, 66 behind Alonso.

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Image ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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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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81 comments on “Ferrari pledge support for struggling Massa”

  1. I know Montezemolo has a soft spot for Massa (as do I), but there comes a point where you need to start cracking the whip, and hard. Massa showed what he’s capable of in 2008 – when are we going to see that form return?

    1. SPOILER: We’re not. Ever.

      1. Sadly, right. Massa is the kind of driver who needs his confidence fully intact to be competitive and each time he shunts the car, he loses another chunk of belief in himself. I can’t blame the guy, he had such a nasty accident that I don’t think anyone would really be the same, no matter how tough you are, if you experienced that. That said, there’s very little room for pity in F1. Let the guy go.

        1. Let the guy go.

          @themaninblack – never! Felipe should drive for as long as he wants to, and can find someone to foot the bill!

    2. @raceprouk montezemolo has strong reasons to he happy. Looks at this statistics.

      Compared to same stage (9th race ) the driver who has made biggest gain is Vettel who has 57 points more compared to same time last year. The second best is Massa who has scored 34 points more compare to same time last year. So by comparing Massa 2013 vs Massa 2012 big Luca is quite happy and expects more improvements in Massa 2014.

      My honest opinion Massa is not the problem here . I guess the problem is Ferrari. The no 2 status, the pressure and all the stuff is not suiting him. If he goes to a Mclaren, Lotus or some similar teams he might be performing much much better.

      1. An interesting read for sure :-)
        Still doesn’t change the fact that he needs to knuckle down and improve, mainly his consistency.

  2. Massa hasn’t won a race in 5 years, if Ferrari want to win a Constructors’ Championship anytime soon they need someone who can score well consistently. Alonso can’t do it on his own.

    1. Massa has scored 441 points since the start of the 2010 season, to Alsonso’s 910. That’s 0,48% of Alonso’s tally, which means he’s almost half as good in equal machinery.

      Forget it. Massa used to be good, was in a terrible accident, and hasn’t recovered since. I know his role is playing second fiddle to Alonso but he doesn’t seem to be able to live up to that anymore. Please plonk the guy in a DTM Masters car or something and leave the second Ferrari to somebody able to work it.

      1. The catch is, who would do better?

        1. Hulkenberg

        2. Bianchi, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Sutil.

          1. Kobayashi?

        3. @mike to add a bit to your question: “The catch is, who would do better AND agree to play 2nd fiddle in every single race when hired?”

          1. I guess Bianchi and Bottas would, just because they are rookies and would be in a front runner team next year

          2. @austus they might yes, to skyrocket to top team after 1st year in F1. But Hulkenberg, Di Resta etc wouldn’t since they have already proven they’re fast. They are aiming to get a seat at top team that handles both drivers as equals, such as McLaren, Lotus and RBR when Vettel leaves.

          3. I wouldn’t be so sure about Bottas @austus, remember when Williams ordered him to let Maldonado past earlier this year, and he never looked like doing anything the like earlier this year?

        4. Vitaly Petrov!

        5. Any of the field except Chilton, Van Der Garde, Pic, Guttierez

      2. I think you wanted to say 48% mate :)

  3. LDM Please transfer Massa to AF Corse and test Kobayashi now!

    1. Not Kobayashi, Bianchi was under the FERRARI Young development program, so it’s best if he gets the seat from Felipe. Plus, Bianchi seems outperforming that Marussia at the moment

      1. you are right, let them fight for that place in coming test!

    2. Not sure if Kobayashi is the best choice, plus he’s doing fairly well in the WEC. I’d personally prefer to see Hulkenberg given a chance.

    3. Better yet, one year at AF Corse, then bring back the Ferrari factory team, build an LPM1 car for 2015 and let Massa spearhead the fight with Webber and Porsche. Now THAT i want to see.

      1. hmmm, very good idea! i like it a lot, Massa needs change of atmosphere ASAP

      2. Bring it on! With Alonso and the no.2 F1 driver joining the team at Le Mans.
        It would be a great way to try engine developments too (and sneak them into F1 legally as “cost-saving” or “reliability” tweaks…)

  4. Last year Massa seemed to come out of his slump exactly when the team got publicly behind him. I suspect his anxiety both years contributed to his struggles, so once he feels he has the team’s support, he can focus, and be that driver with flashes of real quality. I hope he improves as the season goes on.

  5. Enough is enough and i think its about the right time to part ways with Felipe Massa…The guy has been given chance after chance and we get the same if not worse performance every year as is currently happening right now. I am Sick of seeing Ferrari out of the construction championship because of this guy.

  6. Chiz (@a-flying-toilet)
    10th July 2013, 17:01

    Hasn’t beaten Alonso in a race since China 2011 (not counting retirements)…………………..
    Hasn’t won since 2008
    8 podiums since 2010 when Alonso joined compared to 38 by Fernando. I do realise Alonso is the greatest driver of this generation and probably top 5 all time but Massa just has to do better. Get Hulkenberg next to Alonso please

    1. There were a few times towards the end of last year where he could have done, but had to make way/play second fiddle

    2. Ian (@valkyrassassin)
      10th July 2013, 22:33

      He would have won a race in 2010 but was told not to….. I wonder how much better he’d be doing if he wasn’t kicked down so much. I think that was the real point he lost any fight, not the accident.

  7. They need a good car, with a good car Alonso will win the championship and Massa will do OK.

    1. They had a good car all those years

    2. I have only one answer for Ferrari’s problem : bring The Hulk :)
      From next race onwards

      1. Hulk wont flush his career down the toilet signing in as 2nd driver when his career is still hot. I bet he’d rather go to Lotus and actually compete with his teammate. Plus, Alonso might think Hulk is too big threat and don’t want him in to mess with his own plans.

        1. I think Hulk will beat Alonso. What will Ferrari do if Hulk arrives and is faster than Alonso?
          I don’t think they will not allow him to race if he may seem the better or a close equal bet for the title.
          Ferrari, as any other team in F1, will support the driver they think is most likely to bring them succes. They even forced Schumacher into retirement so they won’t blink for Alonso.
          Anyway, the Alonso as a sole driver for the team has not achieved the results that were expected; they sacrificed any chance at the constructor’s title by keeping only one driver with a real ability to compete and didn’t win the drivers championship.
          I feel sorry for Massa, but when his teammate fights for the championship not only he doesn’t win races, he finds it difficult to keep the car from crashing.
          Formula 1 is full with talented drivers, why keep a place at Ferrari occupied by a driver who should have reitred years ago? Plus a younger driver might be cheaper too!

  8. It does seem as though Massa is approaching his F1 sell-by-date. But towards the end of last season, when he had appeared to have the same problems, he suddenly showed good form again. Was he re-motivated by the vote of confidence from the team as Chad suggests? Or were thare any late season amendments to the car that suited Massa’s driving style?
    Alonso has a special talent for wringing the best possible results from less than optimal cars and situations. And it just seems that Massa doesn’t. I think Alonso’s skill has flattered some recent Ferrari cars, and maybe Massa has shown them as they really are. Would Bianchi or Hulkenberg be able to do better?

    1. I think the end of last season, he just had enough time without any accidents and his confidence built up to where it used to be. You can see it… every time he’s in an accident (or spin), it affects him for a long time. He needs a shorter memory.

  9. Sounds like a football managers “kiss of death” to me. Massa will be swapped out for 2014 if he doesn’t secure any podiums and Ferrari don’t come atleast 2nd in the constructors.

  10. Since there is no on track development during the season, I think Massa is doing the research and development during all the week-end which can cause incidents

  11. Thank God none of the crashes he has had so far this year have caused him serious injuries. I hope he bids farewell on a high, as I feel he would be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for next season.

    Btw, oh come on Keith! We are not living in the last year V9s, are we?

  12. Have the causes that lead to Massa’s retirement been fully explained?

    He may not be the best racer, but he is a damn fast driver, and when he said that the engine seized on the downshift, I believe him. But it might not be the full explanation, all in all it was very odd spin.

    Anyway, the way I red Montezemolo’s comment, is “we’re in debt to you”… it’s been rumoured that Ferrari used Massa’s races in the first half of last year as extended test sessions. Felipe’s taken a good share of hits in his Ferrari days.

    1. +1 During the broadcast the spin was barely shown and even less time was spent finding out the reason why. After the race, still not a lot of info forthcoming.

      It does seem likely that Massa has been used as the tester quite a bit for Ferrari. It is also worth noting that we don’t hear a lot of complaining from Massa about the team or his role. Maybe someday after his F1 racing days he will tell all about what really went on during his time there, but I doubt it. He seems to be grateful for the chance to do his job and Ferrari seems grateful to Massa.

      Too bad many people are not willing to learn the facts about why things happen with drivers or even admit that we don’t have all the facts about why performance goes wrong sometimes. It’s easy to say cruel things and bash drivers, as if they could do better.

      1. Just belatedly read your comments and couldn’t agree more. It’s a shame that other posts don’t recognise that an organisation like Ferrari is not going to employ a driver purely on sentiment. The decision will be hard nosed and based on facts most of which we don’t know. Massa has demonstrated huge ability at times and courageous driving since his accident, so I don’t believe that is still having an effect. Given how quiet everyone is on the subject (other than fans) there could well be a car / development related reason. It’s a shame someone can’t get an analysis from Rob Smedley.

      2. BBC feed said it was a gear box sticking.

  13. I do think they should look at other options for 2014 (Bianchi or Hulkenberg). Massa’s form did improve at the end of last season until this year’s Spanish GP, but having so many incidents lately must be testing the team’s patience. Even if his form improves and he consistently gets decent points, I think it is the right time to release him. New regulations, new young driver for the long-term.

  14. Ben (@scuderia29)
    10th July 2013, 17:59

    my opinion on massa is so torn, on one side of the coin i think he’s a proper nice guy, i supported him so much and was heartbroken when he lost out in 2008, i even liked him when he drove for sauber and was delighted when he joined ferrari. On the other side of the coin its clear something is missing since his accident in 2009, he’s shown flashes of old form but he needs to perform every weekend! not just at the end of the year to save his job. I dont know who i’d want to replace him, i always wanted kubica to join ferrari before he had his accident. Im not sure how great hulkenberg is. Bianchi is doing a brilliant job in the marussia, either that or chilton is doing a terrible job. Ferrari thought perez was too inexperienced to join so i dont see bianchi joining anytime soon. I like kobayashi but i really can’t see him taking that seat some how.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. none of us really want to see a driver fall on hard times or look like they are washed up. But again, comparing to Alonso, its not even a close match. The numbers speak for themselves, he doesn’t seem to measure up to Fred which, again, is a shame as he seems like a good enough lad. But he is first and foremost an F1 driver, and a driver for Ferrari. Does his performance meet those expectations?

      1. Ben (@scuderia29)
        10th July 2013, 20:20

        @hendrix666 i think theres no doubt he isnt performing at the level ferrari would hope, but ferrari obviously have their faith in him and he is a strong team player in terms of helping out alonso when he gets the chance. We all know ferrari like to have a distinct #1 and #2 driver and right now thats what they have, but massa is further behind alonso than they would like no doubt. Honestly..i dont think theres anyone really catching ferrari’s eye, if there was i think they would have replaced massa already

    2. I also wanted Kubica to join them. I’m not a Ferrari fan in the slightest, but Alonso and Kubica would have been a brilliant driver line-up and they get along well. I agree that Kobayashi is unlikely. Hulkenberg would be my pick.

      1. Ben (@scuderia29)
        10th July 2013, 20:16

        @deej92 yeah the idea of Kubica & Alonso together is/was amazing, if it happened and kubica had never had his accident it would be arguably the best line-up in f1. Kubica is a huge loss to f1. Im not sure about Hulkenberg, its not like he’s really impressed, at the same time he’s never had a great car, finished with less than half of barrichellos points in 2010, scored 18 more than diresta in 2012…is he really that great? or is there just no one else

  15. I was not surprised when Ferrari signed Massa for another year last season, but I will be absolutely floored if they keep him on for 2014. In 2008 he was as good as anyone, and his performance showed, however I don’t believe we will ever see Felipe return to that form. Occasionally he shows a glimpse of brilliance, like his killer starts of late, I still think it is time Ferrari moved on. Ferrari are a top team, and at the very least should be fighting for podiums; unfortunately Massa is usually found fighting in the lower half of the points positions. I just think it’s time someone else got a shot.

    As to Massa’s replacement, I can only speculate. I always liked Kobayashi, and he does have several ties to Ferrari; he tested their 2010 car earlier this year, he will apparently run it again in Russia later this month, spent 3 seasons in a Ferrari engined Sauber and is currently driving for AF Corse. It’s doubtful Hulkenberg will be returning to Sauber, and there’s always Bianchi.

    1. Blaming the accident, Germany 2010 or evil Alonso all are very convenient explanations. i have a better one (not a very popular one i guess): He was never so good. If you think about it even at his best year (2008) he made a poor start of the championship. I recall him spinning in Australia, Malasia, Silverstone (five times!!)… A lot of non forced errors. He is not in the same league as Alonso. Ferrari AND Alonso need a strong second driver.

  16. Massa seems to need the team’s reassurance to perform well. He upped his game last season once his contract extension had been signed, and in my opinion his drive in Brazil was one of the best performances of any driver throughout the year.

    However, when you’re working at the highest level (whatever the industry) the expectation should be that you deliver, regardless of whether you feel a bit insecure or not. I work to targets, if I don’t hit my targets on a consistent basis then I lose my job. It’s that simple. Ferrari aren’t even asking for a huge amount from Massa. They don’t seem to care whether he wins races, they don’t seem to want him to push Alonso, they just want him to be a half-decent second driver.

    I’m afraid that if Ferrari sign Massa for another year they’re signing on for more of the same. A couple of months when his confidence is sky high, a short run of good form, and then silly mistakes aplenty while he waits for Ferrari to tell him how much they love him.

    It’s frustrating. While some may doubt whether the likes of Hulkenberg and Di Resta could win the Drivers Championship, I think most would agree that they could at least equal what Massa is doing at the moment. The difference is that they’re still young enough to get better.

  17. I think I can hear Di Montezemolo answering questions about Bianchi : “He is too young and inexperienced to drive for Ferrari” That’s his moto and he may as well say that Hulkenberg or Kobayashi don’tt have the experience to drive a Ferrari…
    Drive it where? In to the barriers, tyre walls or spin it around the circuit like Massa does…
    Hey why don’t you

  18. I think I can hear Di Montezemolo answering questions about Bianchi : “He is too young and inexperienced to drive for Ferrari”, and he may as well say that Hulkenberg or Kobayashi don’t have the experience to drive a Ferrari too…
    Drive it where? In to the barriers, tyre walls or spin it around the circuit like Massa does…?
    Personally, I think Kovalainen is a very good choice too!!

  19. Maybe Luca had a few more glasses of wine before giving this statement as he is playing the rewind button!

  20. They have always backed Massa, and they feel like they’d be the “bad” ones if they let go of him now. So either he does something worth a race ban, does not score for half of the season or he himself decides to leave. I guess Ferrari are hoping the latter becomes true, so they’d get rid of the underperforming guy and it’d be only his choice. I think Massa though is planning to retire after leaving Ferrari rather than change teams (unless Ferrari drop him – either they put him in another seat or he, upset by the circumstances, decides he hasn’t had enough and changes team) and he thinks he could still wait a few years for that (which is true, but Ferrari can’t keep him for so long unless he improves). Ferrari is Massa’s family, and if he left now it would feel more like Alonso’s won the team over and Massa had to leave, whereas he wants to decide his own future.
    It’d be all so much easier if he just repeated the performances he’s hinted at recently (out-qualifying Alonso in Germany, jumping ahead of him in Britain) but that he’s never fulfilled.

  21. The only support Massa needs is travel arrangements back to Brazil.

    Massa is just there because Alonso wants to be the lead driver and doesn’t want intra team competition. They should knock that nonsense down too. Ferrari is a team and it’s been proven that Alonso cannot pull the team forward alone. They need a second driver who can actually contribute something to the team rather than just driving his obligatory laps slippng down the order every race.

    Unless you have a dominant car like Red Bull, a team needs two good drivers moving the team forward.

    1. yuya (@john-locke)
      11th July 2013, 0:21

      Like Lotus Grosjean. Grousjean has been ordered a lot of team orders by the team to let Raikkonen go through. But Raikkonen only got 2 wins so far. Alonso can not pull the team forward alone?
      In last 4 years Red bull is the only “Winning Team”.
      So, Not only Alonso but also, Hamilton,Button,Raikkonen,Schumacher(3 years in mercedes),Rosberg, etc. All drivers without Redbull drivers can not pull the team foward.

      Like Raikkonen said, drivers is not the main factor,but technical team is the biggest factor.

  22. I think massa is a good driver, he has just not been at his best recently. But after all Alonso is an incredibly quick driver maybe one of the fastest in f1. If someone had to replace him i think it should be Bianchi

  23. yuya (@john-locke)
    11th July 2013, 0:10

    If Ferrari had been as fast as Redbull in last 4 years…..

    Massa would have got a lot of podiums and wins….

    1. @john-locke – I doubt it. Massa has underperformed the car much more than Webber has, and Webber “only” has 9 wins, and just 3 since 2010.

      1. yuya (@john-locke)
        11th July 2013, 6:33

        Lool at Webber.

        He has been having a lot of minor trouble (Start trouble Kers trouble and so on)
        and he is not good at completing race or being race craft.

        But that Webber could get 9 wins that means Massa can get more wins at least.

        1. @john-locke – “Being race craft”? Massa in his current state has only looked like winning 1 race in 3 and a half years. He’s been even worse than Webber in terms of race craft or getting to the end of races. The driver we are seeing in 2010-2013 wouldn’t suddenly get double figure wins in any car.

    2. They were in 2010.

      2012 the Ferrari was fast from Barcelona onwards. Not only that but the Ferrari had far superior reliability to the Red Bull.

      1. yuya (@john-locke)
        12th July 2013, 3:06

        How can you say that?
        Alonso and Massa were in third row all the time. Race pace was not bad ferrari, but nothing to compare the way to RB8…..

  24. Some of his problems this year have been odd, like somehow stalling the car in the middle of the track in Germany. Or the near identical lock-ups/crashes in Monaco. Those are rookie (or even sub-rookie) errors, and leave me wondering if there is not something to the rumors of Ferrari using his car as a test bed. I don’t believe he’s suddenly forgotten how to drive an F1 car. It would also explain why Ferrari are so firmly supportive of him when his results would seem to suggest they should looking to get rid of him.

  25. Mark McDonald
    11th July 2013, 4:10

    Massa has had a good run in F1. Ferrari have acted honourably in keeping him. It is time for Felipe himself to call time on his career.

  26. The reason he has stayed after being uncompetitive for so long is because Alonso likes the situation.

    1. Do you realize that it makes zero sense, right?, Alonso want someone that can help him and get points from his rivals all the time, imagine 2010 and 2012 with a stronger Felipe, just a little stronger, Alonso will be now WDC x4.

  27. MG421982 (@)
    11th July 2013, 8:29

    I’m a Ferrari fan, so I support every Ferrari driver… but Massa looks pretty much finished as an F1 driver if he doesn’t improve his game significantly.
    Also, lets’ cut the NO.1 and NO.2 STATUS ******** ! As long as Alonso is fighting for a podium place like every race while Massa DNFs or battles for lower points… where’s the NO.1 and NO.2 order ?!??! Nowhere, because it’s not needed ! Team orders surface when the drivers are following each other on the track.

  28. Things like Felipe being a helluva nice chap, the good a job as he did pre-Hungary 2009 and his close relationship with the powers that be at Ferrari and seemingly every member of the team don’t matter from a pure sporting perspective. He is being well and truly thumped by Alonso and the longer he stays in the team the more he will tarnish his reputation (and unfortunately for him, swell Alonso’s). we all know how good he can be, but it has to be his time to go. What Ferrari need is some fresh, hungry, young blood in the team to come into the team and shake things up…much like Massa did when he replaced Barrichello.

    It is time to move on Felipe, for your own sake and for the sake of the Scuderia.

  29. The reason for making public statements is just to keep the situation cool. Just like their colour, Ferrari are going red about Felipe’s performance which are significantly rocky to say the least.

    If Ferrari indeed had so much confidence and faith in Felipe then they wouldn’t have approached Mark Webber for 2013. In fact, they never even talked about it. Since Mark is an honest guy, he made it public about Ferrari’s offer otherwise we would have never known. Also they signed Felipe only for 1 year and not on a multiple year basis if they truly had the confidence.

    It’s a public secret that Fernando has a say in his team mate’s selection and Felipe is like a puppet who would only make some weird faces when told to give Fernando the preference and that’s all. Hence he finds no better driver than Felipe.

    I think this time though, Ferrari will run out of patience and will start hunting for other drivers and in my opinion it is about time they do so irrespective of Felipe’s performances

  30. Massa will drive for Ferrari in 2014. It will be his last chance saloon.

  31. He cant have that many last chance saloons. I like Felipe a lot and its great to see him racing after the accident but he isn’t cutting it right now and Ferrari have to look to the future. Felipe isn’t the future. My guess is Alonso is gone after 2016, why not ready a driver in the next 2 years so that when Alonso is done they have a driver that is ready to lead the team and win consistently. My pick would be Nico Hulkenberg. Send Felipe to Sauber with Jules with a bit of Ferrari money behind them. It should work, and if Alonso wins his 3rd title he may opt to leave earlier. Hulkenberg can be a race winner.

  32. think ferrari would need to pledge support for themselves, never mind massa, this is rapidly becoming another season to forget, yet again
    I am mighty cheesed off at the moment due to ferrari not getting their act together, again
    Will be in monza in sept and fully expect a ferrari victory, in fact i,d put me mortage on it, plus massa might even get second

    what a waste

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