Massa ‘would be happy to continue’ into 2018

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In the round-up: Felipe Massa says that he would be happy to keep racing in Formula One next year if he remains competitive.

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Twenty years after the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix that saw a serious crash for Olivier Panis, @alesici offers a fascinating personal insight.

A few months after the Panis crash I started a work placement with Jordan, and sat next to a finite element stress engineer analysing the chassis on his computer. He had joined them from the Ligier team, who had recently been bought out by Prost. He had been frustrated at Ligier by a lack of design freedom, having been told to basically copy the Benetton chassis designs, as Flavio Briatore had previously owned the Ligier team.

In particular, the stress engineer was unhappy with crashworthiness of the Benetton/Ligier chassis due to the method of manufacturing it. The conventional approach in F1 design is to lay up and bake the composite chassis in two separate parts – the lower half, and the upper half. They are then glued together with the glue lines running longitudinally from the car’s front to rear.

However, the Benetton/Ligier team had taken a more unconventional approach of instead making the chassis from a front half and a rear half, with the glue line between them running transversely. This glue line formed a ring… around the driver’s legs. Sure enough, when Panis gave it a severe crash test, the chassis failed about this glue line, breaking both his legs. Nasty.

Incidentally, nobody spotted quite a scary moment in this weekend’s GP when Vettel had a nasty surprise in Panis’s corner on the first restart, as it was only then he properly appreciated how much downforce he’d lost from his wing failure. Thankfully at that point there weren’t many marbles, so he managed to heavily back off and hold it together after he started badly understeering. I saw it on the on-board camera channel.

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On this day in F1

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Will Wood
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71 comments on “Massa ‘would be happy to continue’ into 2018”

  1. Massa has been doing very well, but because we’re comparing him to Stroll, who’s just struggling despite the points he collected last time out. The car is a clear contender for good points at every race…

    Given Felipe’s deficit to Bottas last year, I wonder what the gap would be between Bottas and Stroll had Rosberg not retired… Lance should feel lucky that Nico said goodbye.

    On the other hand, I do believe Massa has still got something left there. He’s a good team player for a team like Williams.

    1. Are we really comparing FM to Stroll? I think Stroll is being compared to FM which is natural as the other driver, but at that Stroll is still learning how to be in F1 while learning the car and the team at the same time. So I doubt that Lance should feel lucky VB isn’t his teammate. Lance was always going to lag behind and he can only worry about his own performance ie. Lance wouldn’t be looking at this year as a competition between himself and his teammate. Not this year.

      But I too have no problem with FM or with him wanting to stay, but I’m still envisioning VB back to Williams with Stroll and FA to take VB’s current seat.

      1. Gavin Campbell
        16th June 2017, 8:37

        I think this year we are seeing the cars sort the men from the boys so to speak. I think it may be sometime before we see another straight in and on the pace from a rookie. Worryingly for Stroll however he’s done a heck of a lot of private testing in older cars. It does make Ocon’s performance all the more remarkable.

        But I for one predicted doom and gloom this season (and there has been a few proper dire ones) but on good tracks these cars can race as they do test the drivers. Certain drivers are vastly out performing rookie and lesser pilots. Ironically these cars could solve a problem they wern’t really trying to solve – rediculous pay drivers. Looking at this season are teams really going to take a driver a bit off the pace for cash when you look at the points difference?

    2. Mustavo Gaia
      16th June 2017, 0:55

      Well, if qualifying says something, the average MAS qual. pos. is 8,2 (7,1 discounting 15th in monaco). It seems on par with was expected from Williams, especially considering Force India performance. It is hard to see what BOT (or else) would be doing better. And today going to Williams do not seems to be a promotion to Sainz, Wehrlein or Hulkenberg

      1. Going from Sauber to Williams is a promotion.

        1. Mustavo Gaia
          16th June 2017, 11:50

          It would be a step above, but probably not the step Sainz is looking for. It would be almost lateral.

      2. With Bottas and Massa, I recon Massa would be the 2nd best Williams performer instead.

        I think Williams would be right up there with Force India around 60/70 points instead of being barely ahead of Haas and Renault and behind Toro Rosso. They might finish 3 spots lower in the constructor standings than they could have been. That’s around $80m difference in prize money is it not? The Stroll money is around $50m…..

        1. Massa has shown the pace to be with the FI, he has been extremely unlucky.

          With that said, I think he should retire

        2. Neil (@neilosjames)
          16th June 2017, 10:12

          Three spots in the midfield section of the payouts is ‘only’ around $12m, $14m, something like that. The difference between first and last is only $50m-ish.

          1. @neilosjames If that’s the case, Stroll is paying off handsomely for Williams!

    3. @fer-no65 I do believe that Bottas would still be in front of Massa, but with the regulation change to higher downforce, I don’t know whether the gap would be as big. These cars are closer in downforce to the pre-2009 cars, when Massa was a title contender. Perhaps his style of driving favours cars with higher downforce. Whereas being thrown into higher downforce cars without as much testing is always going to be harder to adapt. Stroll looked more composed the last race so hopefully for him he’s starting to show some talent as he gets used to the cars.

      I may be wrong in assuming Massa prefers high downforce, I suppose we’d need Massa vs Bottas in 2017 cars to confirm it, but I think it’s feasible. That’s why I still rate Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso so highly right now, because regardless of the regulations (pre-2009, 2009-2013, 2014-2016, 2017) they’ve adapted and performed at the top. In fact I used to question Vettel’s talent in the red bull days, but he has convinced me with his 2015 and 2017 performances.

  2. Please Renault, bring Robert Kubica back! Just to save us the trouble of a bemused Joloyn Palmer at the end of every race weekend trying to figure why he is rubbish.

    1. I am going to go silly season. Kubica to Ferrari, Alonso to Renault, Carlos to McLaren. Kimi retired.

      1. I just can’t see Kubica jumping into a Ferrari I’m afraid… I think they’d rather keep Kimi (at worst a reasonably solid number two when the car is good) than gamble on a 6-year rusty Kubica. Renault meanwhile might be more inclined to take on Kubica, though I’ve heard they’re still interested in Perez.

        I’d suggest the silly season will be a lot less silly than people are hoping (particularly at the front).

        1. Silly season is never that stupid. So what the hell let’s have some fun. So Kimi acknowledges he won’t win a title with Ferrari, retires. Renault wants a better driver so want to take a chance on Kubica. Alonso is fed up with McLaren so jumps to Renault, his go to team after being in McLaren. Ferrari take Kubica because as I recall they were going to take him the season after he had his accident, if he didn’t have his accident, to replace Massa. Sainz is kicked out of Torro Rosso because of time. McLaren take him because he is not that bad.

          None of that will happen. But how fun would it be if it did.

          1. Didn’t Toro Rosso say they will keep both drivers for the next season?

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    16th June 2017, 3:14

    I wonder, how good is Massa really? Compared to Stroll, it’s like he’s doing Alonso-style performances in that car.

    1. Stroll is definitely making Massa look good, but Massa is also good by definition, not one of the best of the best, but definitely good. He gave Bottas competition when he was on his game and Bottas is within arms reach of Hamilton, he was slower than Alonso, but even then on his game he could stay within distance. He’s just a bit less consistent and slightly not as fast as the tier 1 drivers basically.

      1. I love Massa but it seems like its a financial decision. Williams has no chance of a title of any kind. It’s a very tough spot of Williams bit the team since of late is so boring to watch. The colors are so boring to see. Drop the white Martini look and go for something more cool. Maybe it’s just the drivers but the brand seems so bland and bring on some new exciting drivers. Lance is just OK at the moment!

        1. Can’t believe people don’t like the White Martini look. I think its an absolute classic.

          1. The largely unchanged Williams livery was a clear first in 2014 with almost half the votes, a shared second the year after, and reduced to almost last this year. @todfod
            It seems F1Fanatics get bored easily; bodes poorly for our marriages ;)

  4. On cotd we spotted Vettel’s moment too on the world feed, I think not only he showed great skill he showed how hard t is to overtake in modern day f1.
    Massa keeps braking the illusion of his original retirement. At least JB pretends he isn’t up for more f1 whilst deciding to keep up with his contractual obligations such as being the reserve driver.

    1. @peartree I believe Massa never wanted to retire (a bit like Rubens who finally had to be pushed out) and was in a similar case to Rubens. He effectively had no seat left for him at Williams with Bottas and Stroll confirmed but was offered a gracious way to exit by announcing retirement however; that never seemed the case.

      Massa would prefer to end his career with Williams since he doesn’t want to go from team to team looking for a drive if ever got pushed out. He might only switch if offered a better team (which I think will not happen anyway).

      I think it might happen again when he might be pushed out after 1-2 years if Williams find a better driver (either in terms of skill or money).

    2. On Vettel, and COTD, yeah agreed we spotted it, and something else really everybody ignored especially Sky commentators, is that when he pitted and changed front wing, he said on the radio to his team to check data, he tought he losted another part of new wing, but there were pictures on forums he had massive damage on his barge boards or sidepods (not sure by now, but can check for source) and floor, so yeah that was really impressive comeback with no safetycars, and so close even to a podium.

        1. God dammit why can’t post links here…

  5. Horner’s analysis that Force India and Ferrari’s performance level was similar seems off the mark. Force India seemed close to Red Bull’s performance only because the slower Red Bull driver was put on the slower tyre. In Max’s hands, the car was good enough to finish 5th comfortably (if Ferraris had normal races) and fight for 3rd had he not retired.

    This is Horner again trying to point all shortcomings to the engine.

    1. Raveendhana
      16th June 2017, 12:12

      What horner implies is force india are better than them at power circuits, specially the next race at baku, force india did well last year, with perez finishing third.

  6. I love Massa but it seems like its a financial decision. Williams has no chance of a title of any kind. It’s a very tough spot of Williams bit the team since of late is so boring to watch. The colors are so boring to see. Drop the white Martini look and go for something more cool. Maybe it’s just the drivers but the brand seems so bland and bring on some new exciting drivers. Lance is just OK at the moment!

  7. RE COTD: Is that still the method they use today? That seems mad, can’t they bake an entire chassis out of one piece, glue to me seems like a rather weak link in a massive crash.

    1. Shaun Robinson (@)
      16th June 2017, 11:24

      Adhesives work fine if properly engineered and use good bonding procedures. These days they are often laminated in separate halves, then cured, or ‘baked’ separately, and then the moulds are joined together and a ‘joining strip’ is laminated in (which will typically be 50mm wide). Both work fine. Adhesives are easier but heavier so joining strip is preferred and widely used these days.

      I’m a composite FEA engineer so if you have any more questions feel free to ask.

      1. Thanks Sean. Do you know whether these days anyone still makes racing car chassis with the two halves split front to rear (like Panis’s car), rather than the more conventional top and bottom split?

        Apart from the Ligier/Benetton approach’s compromised crashworthiness I referred to in my original comment, I also understand that laying up the composite layers inside the nose half was not a very nice task, as it was really cramped with limited ventilation. To make the entire chassis in a single piece, without splitting the job and using a join strip or glue, would be a bit of a nightmare to do.

        BTW, thanks for my first COTD! I’ve tried so hard in the past when I’ve occasionally posted, so it’s nice to get there in the end.

        1. Really great inside info…thanks!

  8. All this praise of Ocon from Force India and Mercedes must definitely be getting under Sergio’s skin.

    Ocon finished behind Sergio once again, yet everyone is only talking about how he’ll be a star of the future. I’m looking forward to an epic battle between the Force India teammates for the rest of the season. Sergio will be trying hard to prove that he deserves a top drive, and Ocon will be out to validate everyone’s claims that he is a future star.

    1. Antoon van Gemert
      16th June 2017, 8:03

      There’s absolutely no doubt about it that Esteban Ocon is a star of the future. I’m looking forward to that future because F1 is gonna see some fierce fighting between Ocon and Max Verstappen, the two stars of the 2014 European F3 Championship! I remember already then that Max driving style was compared to Senna’s and Ocon’s to Prost his style. That means a promising future for F1 with great battles for the championships! They where absolutely no friends back than, but very fierce rivals with as a result some of the best racing ever in the European F3-championship.

      Max still has a score to settle with Ocon, because Esteban won the F3-title that year, due to some strikes of bad luck to Max (one race his car broke down on the way to the grid, where he was on pole, and at an other one while leading the race very strong a couple of laps before the finnish his car again broke down) and the in-experience of his Dutch team (Van Amersfoort Racing), who had their best year than in F3. Max won 10 races (6 wins in a row!) and Esteban 9.

      Great stuff for the future and who knows, mayby we see a first glimpse of it in the coming Grand Prix, where I expect Force India to be very strong again, because of that, as Max discribed it, ridiculous long straight.

    2. Ocon is arguably still in his first season (less than 10 races last year), and compared to Stroll and Vandoorne doing really well.

      IMO in Canada he was the better of the FI drivers. The worst ‘driver’ was the one driving the team and issued the half baked requests to change position ;)

      1. Stoffel is the most unlucky driver on the grid. Esteban Ocon has a chance to drive for Manor last year while Stoffel has the least mileage for a half season f1 rookie. It’s quite unfair to compare him with Ocon because of a lot of factors such as pairing up with a talented and experience driver, and driving the most terrible/unreliable car on the grid. Alonso has sharpened his skills over the years and he is even better than he was back in 2000.
        Stoffel Vandoorne will improve as soon as the car works and finish the race.

        Jolyon Palmer is a special case. Paired with a 2nd year rookie, fail to impress. Pair with an underrated driver, still fail to impress. Lance Stroll can improve overtime just that his cockiness is just terrible which reminds me of Maldonando.

        If we paired Micheal Schumacher with Fernando Alonso in the slowest/unreliable car in 2000, we will say the same about Fernando Alonso.

    3. @todfod Thing is, he didn’t finish behind Perez on pace, but rather because overtaking a car is really difficult, especially if it’s the same as yours.

  9. Funny they should say that, regarding Kubica pace. Clearly one Renault driver has a noticable lack of pace.

    If I was Renault, I’d stick Kubica in Palmer seat at half season, if he is on similar level to Palmer. It would be epic positive publicity similar to Alonso at Indy500.

    Renault could do with that. Naturally, he must be on pace for real, not just PR pace.

    Considering they simulated one race weekend in a day, they should have data to compare. And mere fact they did speaks for itself, they are considering.

    1. @jureo I wonder if it would be possible for Renault to put him in Palmer’s car for a FP1 session to see how he goes. That way, they can get a direct comparison against both Palmer and Hulkenburg.

    2. Fukobayashi (@)
      16th June 2017, 19:48

      This. Positive reports from Kubica’s test and within the same week, rumours of an ultimatum having been given to Palmer. Could be the F1 story of the year brewing here.

      1. It is brewing allright. Keep in mind Renault is here to win titles not like Williams who need their pay driver for survival.

        Renault needs two top drivers and Palmer is second Tier.

        Granted Kubica might not be that top anymore. But only one way to find out. I would slot them in a few FP1s.

  10. Seems like there’s a possibility for Kubica to be in F1. Plus, Abiteboul’s recent quotes about Palmer having to score soon indicates his time is surely up.

    Now, would Renault take some risk & bring Kubica in? They already have one of the best drivers in Nico. They surely can take a chance with Kubica.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      16th June 2017, 10:39

      In all fairness, what is the risk? That he’ll score less points than Palmer!?

    2. I agree with you completely, just be great to see Kubica back, he can’t really do much worse than Palmer. Incidentally I don’t think Joylon is terrible, just not good enough for that seat, in a 26 car grid he’d be in the Simtek.

      1. Arad (@just-an-fan)
        16th June 2017, 22:37

        What sad state of affair F1 is in!! People are wrestling over Kubica can’t do worse than Palmer, yet we have good drivers stay behind the closed doors. Stroll, Palmer, Kvyat…etc…etc what sad sad story it is.

        1. I think F1 has always been like that no?

          1. Not sure Renault ever had pay drivers ….?

    3. I think Kubica in that Renault can do nothing but good. It’s a massive feel good story for F1 if he actually returns and starts competing. Renault can gain nothing but good publicity from this. Even if Kubica isn’t competitive, he can’t do any worse than Palmer… so I think it’s a win-win situation for Renault.

      1. It can’t go wrong really can it? Parachute him in and the worse that can happen is he’s off the pace and scores no points. If he really struggles ALA Luca Badoer slow then maybe pass the torch too Sirotkin, but In my mind if he’s good enough to come back then he’s good enough to compete. A really tantilising prospect, that can only be good for f1.

    4. One thing is for certain, from the good showing by the Hulk, that seat at Renault is being wasted. Needs to put to better use. With someone like Perez in there they’d likely be in 5th in the championship instead of 7th. Taking a chance on Kubica isn’t a risk when he can’t do any worse than Palmer and the publicity would be great.

    5. Arad (@just-an-fan)
      16th June 2017, 22:40

      What this abiteboul sort is not telling you is that they took Palmer’s money. Now they are blackmailing him. Renault deserve to be where they are now..

  11. What could, and should have been for Olivier Panis.

    These retrospective race reviews from 96-97 really highlight what a talent this guy was. He was clearly punching above his weight in the Ligier/Prost and could have gone on to become a potential world beater, in my opinion.

    But, much alike Johnny Herbert, he never got to realise his full potential due to a serious leg injury.

    What a shame.

    1. @ecwdanselby I totally agree – I was totally gutted at the time, and remain so to this day. A lot of people don’t realise that Panis was third in the championship at the time of the accident, with lots of potential there for better results than he’d had up to that point.

  12. A lot of people don’t realise that, Experiences is important for success. A company would prefer to hire an experience worker than a fresh graduates.
    Robert Kubica can get up to speed is because of his past experience. A rookie drivers need proper mileage in F1 car for them to get up to speed. Stoffel Vandoorne has the lowest F1 mileage for a half year f1 rookie. The limited testing and unreliable car contribute to his problem of not impressing.
    Esteban Ocon has a working car and a fast car. He has a half year experience in an F1 car last year (no reliability issues). It like apple(pink) to orange comparison. Two different scenarios.

    1. Esteban sure is showing some Talent.

  13. Kubica is the back up if Renault cannot get Alonso for 2018.

    1. While I am happy for Kubica, I do feel sorry for Alonso. The Renault may be one of Alonso’s best options for next year (and ‘the’ best option considering manufacturer teams alone*) and that door is getting closed. His current form is at par with the best twilight forms F1 has ever seen – Mansell in 1992, Schumacher in 2006 and its a pity that we aren’t getting to see it at the front of the grid.

      *Merc and Ferrari seats won’t be available. I think Merc will extend Bottas’ contact by another year (unless he has a massive nosedive in form). Ferrari will try to go after Perez (Plan A). If they can’t get him by October, they will get Grosjean from Haas on a one-year contract (Plan B/ Plan C) or give Kimi a one-year extension (Plan B/Plan C).

      1. Arad (@just-an-fan)
        16th June 2017, 12:27

        Ferrari will never hire a moaning and complaining driver like Grosjean! I think Ferrari will either give the seat to Giovinazzi, or go for either Perez or Sainz!

        1. @just-an-fan, correct me if I am wrong but hasn’t Ferrari already hired a moaning and complaining little girl, who during the 2016 season was almost crying about every little and single thing?

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            16th June 2017, 13:45

            No that driver you are describing is the favoured driver at Merc

          2. Arad (@just-an-fan)
            16th June 2017, 22:30

            Bwoahaha…. I think you missed the tiny difference between Seb and the moaning Grosjean. Vettel is 4 time world champion(Yes more titles than your hammy). Also, never did Seb complain about the car, he never complained about his Ferrari since he joined Ferrari.

            I guess you are talking about Mexico. how typical….

          3. See when Vet or Ham whine, those are proper WDC grade whines… Besides Kimi can whine aswell, but just does not sound that femine…

            Meanwhile Grosjean lacks titles to whine like a spoiled champion.

      2. Perez and Grosjean and not upgrades compared to Kimi! Ferrari better try with Sainz or Giovinazzi. Young guns who could become future stars. Perez and Grosjean made mistake (in my opinion) waiting for that Ferrari seat.
        I like the gamble Hulk did by becoming the franchise face of Renault.

        1. A S (@aminsarur)
          20th June 2017, 6:09

          Perez would be a much better choice than Sainz, by a longshot

      3. Sumedh, regarding Ferrari’s Plan A, I am gonna repeat what I had posted almost a year ago.
        Last year, If you remember, both contracts were running down. Raikkonen’s with Ferrari and Perez’s with Force India. Then, almost simultaneously, it was announced that both Kimi and Sergio will stay put for another year. I think that there was definately an approach and some negotiations between Ferrari and Perez but Sergio turned it down most likely because he was offered a n.2 status, which he didn’t not accept.
        Under these circumstances, I really don’t see Perez ever going to Ferrari.
        And to tell you the truth, I am glad that drivers like Verstappen and Perez, who have proved to be real racers and fighters reminding of the old era, are not willing to yield.

        1. I’m old enough to remember when ignoring team orders was officially the Worst Thing In The World. But strangely enough, it always depends on who is ignoring them. The way it seems to work is that any driver not named Vettel can ignore team orders and get congratulated for it.

  14. Drivers’ choice of music…

    The Verstappen rule is over guys. You don’t need to position yourself bang in the middle of the road anymore without veering to either side.

    1. Arad (@just-an-fan)
      16th June 2017, 22:30

      only once!

  15. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
    16th June 2017, 20:01

    I would be delighted if Massa stays another year, doing a great job this season, miles ahead of Stroll, leading the team.

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