Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Korea International Circuit, 2012

Massa: Paying drivers are “not a great thing for F1”

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Korea International Circuit, 2012Felipe Massa warned that the pressures on young drivers to bring sponsorship is bad for Formula One.

Speaking during a video discussion on the official Ferrari website, Massa said it was “very difficult to speak” about the circumstances of Timo Glock’s departure from Marussia as it was “another driver and another team… which I don’t even know how is the situation in another team.”

“It’s a very small team as well,” he added. “So I think it’s very difficult to comment. But for sure if he decide not to race in Formula One it’s for a reason. And if the team decide it’s for a reason.”

“Maybe it can be on the commercial side. We know that many drivers now to arrive in Formula One they need to have sponsors, they need to have money, especially in the small team. And honestly this is not a great thing for Formula One and maybe it is part of the commercial side.”

Massa, who starts his eighth season with Ferrari this year, says he has no regrets about his F1 career so far: “I don’t think I [would] change anything. I’ve had a fantastic career. For sure I don’t have a championship yet, I hope, but I’ve had a great career.

“I won many championships before Formula One, I won many races in Formula One, [fought] for the championship. Sure I will try everything I can to fight again and win the championship. I think everything I had, everything I did, was an experience. I learned a lot with everything in the good times and the bad times as well. So I don’t think I will change anything.

“I’m not a frustrated guy, you know, I’m a very happy man and I’m very happy with what I make to now. For sure you always want more and I always want more and I will try everything to achieve more than what I have. I don’t really – in fact I can’t change anything and I don’t really need to do that because I’m happy with what I did.”

“You’re in the top of the top… sometimes we forget that”

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Madonna di Campiglio, 2013Asked if he was dissatisfied with his performance compared to team mate Fernando Alonso in the three years they have been together, Massa said: “Always when you are not in front of your team mate or whoever is racing for you, you are not one hundred percent happy.

“You are always one hundred percent happy when you are in front and winning the race, winning the the championship or whatever. When you are in front it makes your the most happy guy in the world.

“But I think having a strong team mate makes you better as well. I think you learn a lot more. I think definitely when you are in a top team for sure you’re going to have a strong team mate.

“When you drive for Ferrari you’re going to have a strong team mate. “This is what happened in all these years I am racing for Ferrari so I have Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Definitely great drivers and are still racing together.”

He added: “I think you are always comparing with some driver. You are in the top level in your work so many people sometimes they think ‘maybe he’s behind his team mate for two-tenths’, sometimes people think it’s negative but you’re in the top of the top for your work. Sometimes we forget that.

“I think when you are behind you need to work to be in front, that’s what I’m doing. I will try everything to be in front of my team mate but also everybody.”

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Images ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

41 comments on “Massa: Paying drivers are “not a great thing for F1””

  1. I certainly hope that in 2013 we see the Massa of the latter part of 2012, not the earlier version.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      22nd January 2013, 10:55


    2. For sure. ;)

    3. I have been critical of him at times but really hope he continues the way he was driving. It would certainly help Alonso and Ferrari reach their goals a bit better.

      I also like how he has become so much more open to the fans and isn’t afraid any more to speak up his mind.

    4. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      22nd January 2013, 15:55

      I see him outlasting even Alonso) Massa has already outlived two great drivers so it is quite possible.

      1. You must be extremely young to only know of two “great drivers” that you imply Massa isn’t as great as.
        On another slant, Massa’s greatest achievement to date is achieving another year with Ferrari and not driving for Marussia.

        1. @iceblue presumably @ibis is referring to the fact that Massa is still at Ferrari, having had Schumacher and Raikkonen as his earlier team mates, and outlasted both of them.

          1. didnt really outclass schumi did he?

          2. @q85 “Outlast” and “outclass” are two different words.

          3. sorry my bad. read it to early in the morning :)

        2. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
          23rd January 2013, 9:52

          Sorry, I must be more specific. But Tyler made it clear, thankfully)

    5. hopefully this will result in an interesting championship

  2. Well at least pay drivers are more talented these days. Even if guys like Gutierrez and Chilton got their seats because of their money more than their talents, they’re definitely not going to be as bad as Deletraz was for example (at least I hope they won’t be).

    1. And what about Alex Yoong? :)) I think that he was worst by far.

      1. @nidzovski Yoong ended his short F1 career 10 years ago but I don’t think he was that bad. He certainly wasn’t enough prepared for F1 but his team mates were Alonso and Webber and he rarely got the same equipment as them. For instance, Minardi could afford only one power steering system so for quite many races Yoong was the only driver on the grid, whose car had no power steering. Given all that, his performances weren’t that disastrous and the final races of 2002 were actually quite encouraging.

        1. Hellyea’. You’d need arms like tree trunks to be able to manhandle a F1 car around a circuit for neigh on 2 hours!

  3. Learn to say No felipe. Although you will lose your seat in 2014, at least, you earned back your dignity.

  4. Learn to say No felipe. Although you will lose your seat in 2014, at least, you earned back your dignity

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    22nd January 2013, 11:08

    This is something I’ve never quite understood and find it kind of annoying.
    Perhaps someone can clarify this for me:

    Theoretically, the best and most talented drivers should be recognised the most, and gain large media attention; which results in increased interest from sponsors and companies that want to get onboard and back them, so that they can get their companies logo on the teams car.

    So why is it, that drivers like Kobayashi, get replaced by less experienced and less talented drivers (I.e. Gutierrez), when Kobayashi is vastly more known and has more potential to bring in sponsorship?
    It baffles me.

    I get that Gutierrez is backed by the worlds richest man, (incredibly lucky) and I can see why Sauber like that, but surely, a driver that delivers better results, will bring larger profits relative to a driver that can’t drive quite as well.

    I understand that money is a MASSIVE part of Formula 1, but still. I think Sauber should have kept Kob simply because he has the immediate talent and speed to deliver results which results in more media coverage for the team which = more money.

    1. If Monisha was not in charge, Koby most likely would have stayed. Also Raikkonen would not have gotten his chance.

      Whole mentality is shifting, Peter Sauber and Frank Williams are the dinosaurs and their uncompromising passion for the sport is no longer the driving factor of the Formula 1 team.

      Sustainable business model is the new trend. People just can’t think outside the box, they just employ management accountant to make things run more efficient or cut back of things. Can’t blame them when you have degenerates running the top echelon politics in leading countries.

    2. @tophercheese21 One of the reasons that comes to my mind is the nationality. For example, Telmex sell their products and services mainly in Mexico and maybe in some other Latin American countries but not so much in the rest of the world so it makes sense to support a driver that is supported by Mexicans or other Latin Americans, too. Unfortunately most people still tend to support their compatriots more than sportsmen from other countries.

    3. “a driver that delivers better results, will bring larger profits” I would wait at least half a season to pass judgement on that. Particularly considering that Esteban’s results in GP2 are vastly better than Kamui’s. Also lets not forget that Esteban replaces Perez and not Kobayashi. His place was taken by the Hulk.

      I no doubt find the need for pay drivers unappealing. However we are forgetting the economic realities of Formula 1. Even without Bernie’s intervention, the nature of the sport demands huge budgets. Not only for development, but also for logistics and other such things. The way I see it, those small (and not so small) teams that need pay drivers will always rely on them. F1 for them is a passion and hobby and if they need to employ someone that might not be as good or let go their team forever. Which one would you chose? Lets just be realistic for a second here.

      1. Particularly considering that Esteban’s results in GP2 are vastly better than Kamui’s. Also lets not forget that Esteban replaces Perez and not Kobayashi. His place was taken by the Hulk.

        The standard of driving in GP2 was at its lowest last year, and Gutierrez didn’t even win the championship when most expected him to. Also just because someone is successful in GP2, that doesn’t mean they’ll be successful in F1.

        Also, to say that Hulkenberg replaced Kobayashi and Gutierrez replaced Perez implies that Kobayashi couldn’t race alongside Hulkenberg. After Hulkenberg was announced as a Sauber for 2013, Kobayashi still had a chance of racing with Sauber in 2013. Considering how long it took Sauber to decide between Kobayashi or Gutierrez, I get the feeling that if Sauber didn’t need money, Kobayashi would still be at Sauber.

  6. Pf. I read Marussia instead of Massa

  7. Fernando Cruz
    22nd January 2013, 12:15

    Probably Felipe Massa would be a pay driver if he was a rookie today, even if I’m not sure he is aware of that. Following the effects of global crisis almost all talented young guys have to become pay drivers if they want to have a chance in F1.

  8. Paying drivers are “not a great thing for F1″

    Unfortunately, they also happen to be necessary for Formula 1. The teams are the ones with the power to make actual, meaningful changes to the sport to stop this trend, so that Formula 1 can have a grid made up of the twenty-two best drivers in the world, as opposed to (say) the fourteen best drivers in the world, and the eight guys who had more money than the eight drivers who should, by rights, be racing.

    Sadly, the teams are unlikely to support those changes. They know that if they can spend $200 million in a season, then they can better-develop their cars than if they were spending $100 million. And so smaller teams will be saddled with paying drivers rather than the truly talented drivers just so that they can make the grid.

  9. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    22nd January 2013, 13:06


    This is an interview for a Braziliam show where Ayrton Senna talks about payed drivers in F1. Everyone needs money.

    1. Spot on Rui as as a GREAT Senna fan loved the link.

      A few quick points (for something different)
      All of us on this site are MASSIVE F1 fans- yet we get told through the year “the best 24 drivers in the world will compete the XYX GP”- but they wont- history shows there could be a change of 8 drivers per year based on financer.

      Money has far too much to do with drives ATM and Timo Glock’s departure is showing how much lower teams are battling ( I saw Timo at Melbourne last year and about 15-20 fans sang him happy b/day for his 30th, and one gave him a present- he was awesome and a guy that you want up the front- not out of F1- few of the F1 Gents I think!) Being a top bloke doesnt mean he should get a drive of course- his talents means that!!!

      Not new- When Honda gave Lotus the engine to keep Senna in the car in 1987 it HAD TO come with the Japanese driver Sautoro Nakijima- not much better than the Scot Johnny Dumphries – but LITTLE in it!! They also ruined the great livery of the JPS Black N Gold Lotus with a yellow helmet. Now the Japanese are loosing their keeness (business wise) for F1 KK is out- and thats a shame. I said after being in Suzuka last year the team said he would be out (I heard this through a journalist- but VERY on the ball) on a cultural basis- meaning your country isnt into F1 at the moment mate!!

      So while I want to see the best 24 on the grid, the astute F1 Fanatic follower will note I am a fan of Bruno Senna, mainly from being a childhood fan (worshiper) of Uncle Ayrton, but I can see something there – people forget that his family banned him from racing for 10 years after 1 May 1994. So if Senna gets the drive at Caterham (take their time to decide already) he would be looked at as a paid driver and really out of the 24………………… Hmmmmmm……… I can see a issue with my premise!! :)

      Dont know the answer to be honest…………………… cant wait for mid March!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  10. People talk about pay drivers nowadays like there something new, However in reality they have been around as long as motor sport, Not even as if there’s any more in F1 now compared to in past years.

    I’d argue that the only difference between pay drivers in the past & today is that the pay drivers of today are in ‘most’ cases good enough for an F1 drive anyway.

    Maldonado for example got hammered by fans on the internet when Williams signed him, He was called a pay driver who only won the gp2 title because he faced poor competition. Well 2 years later he’s an F1 race winner & has shown he’s more than good enough to deserve an F1 seat on merit.

    Esteban Gutierrez is in a similar position, Yes he brings backing from Mexico, However he’s also a very good driver, Let’s not forget that he won the GP3 championship in 2010 & 3rd in the GP2 standings last season with 3 wins.

    Even Max Chilton is way better than people are giving him credit for, He pretty consistent in GP2 last season & did score 2 wins & 2 other podiums. He’s improved a lot the past 3 years while running GP2 & has done a good job in the F1 test’s he’s done.

    1. People talk about pay drivers nowadays like there something new

      Pay drivers might be nothing new, and they may be more talented, however this doesn’t change the fact that some less skilled drivers are getting seats ahead of those who deserve them more. Whilst this happens, pay drivers will never be universally accepted.

  11. “When you drive for Ferrari you’re going to have a strong team mate. “

    Let’s see if Fernando can say the same about Felipe

    1. He’s been saying the same about Massa for ages.

    2. As @slr points out, Alonso has been saying that about Massa for as long as they have been together in the team.

  12. Next time Massa changes teams, it’ll be a choice between him and some pay drivers, like it or not.

    So it’s up to him to make himself indispensable at Ferrari.

  13. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    22nd January 2013, 16:50

    Pay drivers are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are essential for the cash-strapped teams further down the running order, bringing with them vital sponsorship. On the other, their presence on the grid deprives other talented but under-funded drivers of their opportunity to break into the sport.

    Ultimately, it boils down to the essence of Formula One – drivers competing to the best of their ability on track. The quality of the drivers plays an important role in the appeal and success of the sport. Exactly how pay drivers fit into or affect this crucial factor has always divided, and will surely continue to divide, opinion.

  14. At the risk of being slightly snarky, thats rather easy for him to say isn’t it?

  15. ‘Paying driver’s not a great thing for Formula One”

    Felipe, so are under performing very well paid drivers.

  16. Lewis Hamilton was “sponsored” by McLaren way before he entered in F1. And a rival once said it was hard to competed with him because of the enormous financial backing he had on lower categories.

    Is he considered a pay driver?

  17. I don’t agree that all pay drivers are dumb. You can have a heck lot of money but you cannot succeed unless you have the talent & also you have a huge talent but it will go unnoticed if you have no money. But I think its high time now that F1 dig deep into this matter. The drivers who bring this money are they responsible for this situation? I believe its the entire F1 fraternity who are and I also believe it has a lot to do with the front running teams. This teams have all the money to be successful,the mid fielders and the back markers have less so.Then how do you match their performance? Everyone wants to be successful. There so less respect for the small teams. I mean if thats so then why not put only Ferrari,McLaren,Mercedes,RedBull alone play and wipe out the other team. Mr. Rude White Hair is already frustrated of having too many teams. When you put certain survival solution in place the front runners run away. And hell all this so called ‘pay drivers’ they don’t end up in front running teams with there pocket full of money. So its ridiculous in my opinion.
    First of all I believe we should get rid of this Bernie,he has done a lot for F1 but he failed to secure a long term future of many teams and of many talented drivers. Get rid of him.

  18. Great thing Massa still can fool a lot of people with comments like these. The truth is that he has been keeping his seat at the Scuderia for one sole reason: Because Santander needs a Brazilian (or a Mexican) to cater for one of their two most important markets. And as McLaren picked up Perez in a clever move, hence retaining Santander’s sponsorship, Ferrari had to give Massa yet another go. Without Santander he’d be out of a seat in F1 by now. So, in a way, Massa is a pay-driver himself. But being his usual self, he wouldn’t just keep his mouth shut and work harder, trying to get anywhere near Alonso’s level, no, he’s having a stab aat pay drivers. i’d be surprised if he gets a seat in F1 in 2014 with commercial implactions handing him a new cockpit!

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