Massa’s revival at the end of last season has still not settled in with me. In fact it did not start at the end of the season. In the first half of the season he scored 4 races out of 11, when you compare that to his second half of the season where he scored 9 out of 9 including podiums in japan and Brazil, that’s a very nice improvement. In the last four races he even seemed to outpace Fernando who was definitely not slower. If Fernando was giving 110%, Felipe definitely gave 120%.
In 2011 after the season ended I wrote a critical article about Felipe’s return to the sport after his crash in ’09 (http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/felipe-massa-where-did-it-go-wrong/). I continued to be critical of him at some time even calling his driving as a ‘damp rag’. Perhaps he really needed all that time to recover after his crash or maybe he was in what some people would describe as a dip.
In retrospect of that article I today ask you:
a) Is the Felipe we saw in the first part of his Ferrari career (’06-’09) back?
b) Where could this take him in the upcoming season?
The floor is yours.
I really like Felipe Massa. I think he is a great guy and has raced amazingly through his career – particularly the first half, although he has shown signs of brilliance more recently, too. However, I know that Ferrari (a team I love and respect) are hedging their bets on one driver (Alonso) and making it so that Massa has to defend him and concede to him.
Now, much as I think it is good for a team to have their priorities, Ferrari seem to do this a lot more, or at least a lot more noticeably, than others. It was probably a part of Fernando’s contract negotiations that he would have a subordinate at the team, as opposed to an equal…it would make sense, particularly in the light of his double-World-Champion status.
I think that for 2014, with new rules, new regulations, Ferrari need to really assess their options, and perhaps have two drivers who can race. Now, if in 2013 Massa shows that he is such a driver, then they would do well to keep him, but if he remains as an ‘almost man’, they ought to part ways, and allow another driver in – Vettel, Hülkenberg, Bianchi(?), Pérez (should he get free from his McLaren ties) etc would all be champing at the bit for such a seat – as, I’m sure, would pretty much all sane racing drivers!
2013 is Massa’s year to prove himself. If he can challenge Alonso, he will deserve the Ferrari seat for another year. If he cannot, he seriously needs to look at his career and his future, and Ferrari seriously need to consider their driver line-up.
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