Will Felipe Massa finish the season with Ferrari?
18th March 2012, 1:59 at 1:59 am #131116
Okay, I know: three practice sessions and a qualifying period does not make a fair indication of an entire season. Nevertheless, this is something that is going to keep coming up. Massa is under pressure to perform at Ferrari, and there has been the suggestion that he could be dropped at the end of the season – if not sooner – if he does perform.
The case for Felipe
First of all, the curse of the F2012′s appalling handling might just be a blessing in disguise for Massa. If the car is not competitive, Ferrari’s expectations might be lowered. At the very least, he will get a stay of execution until Ferrari can sort out the problems with the car.
Secondly, even if Ferrari decide to give him the boot, Massa might just be the only viable candidate for that seat. With al the talk of the F2012′s inherent twitchiness – Martin Brundle called it “evil” – any potential replacement is going to be wary of stepping into the team. Especially after Giancarlo Fisichella made the transition into Maranello in 2009. Any driver who joins the team will have to learn how to handle the car before he can start getting results, and there is never a guarantee that he will actually get said results once he is in the car. An underperforming Felipe Massa is better for Ferrari than someone who will take time getting up to speed.
The case against Felipe
It doesn’t really matter which way you cut it: Ferrari need the most competitive driver they can find. They’ve started the season on the back foot, and I would argue that both Mercedes and Lotus are looking much stronger. If Ferrari waste time assessing Massa’s performance and finding a new driver (who, as already detailed, may take several races to be reasonably competitive), they could tumble down the order. By my crude eestimation, they are fifth on the road right now, behind McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus. Depending on the way other teams shake out, they may be as low as seventh or eighth (possibly behind Force India/Sauber/Toro Rosso), but it’s important to bear in mind that this is a worst-case scenario, and if true, it is unlikely to remain that way for long.
The fact is that the sport is so competitive these days that Ferrari need the best two drivers available. They can’t rely on one driver to secure them a decent overall finishing position – even with a good car, they need every position and point that they can get. Firing Massa may mean his replacement takes a few races to get up to speed, but if he can be more competitive than Massa, then he needs to be in the car as soon as possible. Once a clear running order emerges, Ferrari might just cut their losses and boot Massa in favour of someone else.
So, will Felipe Massa finish the season with Ferrari? Why? And if he is to be replaced, when will Ferrari pull the trigger?18th March 2012, 3:31 at 3:31 am #196409
It doesn’t really matter which way you cut it: Ferrari need the most competitive driver they can find.
That is what I believe it should be but as of recently, it is not. I personally believe that Massa will last through the whole season, and none of that has to do with his ability to drive. As of right now I don’t see any of the current drivers having the ability or character to join Ferrari. Mercedes, McLaren and Redbull lineups will probably remain because of the likeliness to get a capable car soon. Besides the drivers in those teams, I don’t think many have the experience and up until now many of the drivers haven’t seen a variety of teammates making it hard to assess them.
Another point is that many of the current drivers are unlikely to be looking for an employer in another team mid-season. The only driver that I can see replacing Massa mid-season is Sutil. Kubica’s recovery also seems to be going well with recent go-kart and rally car drives, which makes you think that if Ferrari have faith in him he may be hired as a test driver to apply pressure (not necessarily replace). I would like to see Glock in there but I don’t think many teams rate him as high as he should be (idk, maybe I’m wrong).18th March 2012, 3:58 at 3:58 am #196410
As of right now I don’t see any of the current drivers having the ability or character to join Ferrari.
I assume that by “ability”, you mean someone who can handle a car that is hyper-sensitive to changes, far too loose in the back end, and is stymied by a tendency to enter the corners unsettled.
Likewise, by “character”, I take it you are referring to someone who will stand by while talented people like Dyer and Costa are let go, while hair-brained would-be politicians run the
show circus.18th March 2012, 4:10 at 4:10 am #196411
Probably, but only because it will be after mid-season before we know if Ferrari can get Clifford (the big red dog) to run properly. At the moment who except a rookie would want to drive such at awful car.
The real problem for Ferrari is, that unless they can get this car up to Alonso’s expected standards they may need two new drivers next year.18th March 2012, 4:22 at 4:22 am #19641218th March 2012, 4:40 at 4:40 am #196413
Yes, you explained what I meant by “ability” better than I would have myself. It just seems like a “different” Formula 1 car compared to the rest. As for “character” I’m thinking more of someone who is very tame and is willing to obey absurd orders.18th March 2012, 4:56 at 4:56 am #196414
God… I really hope they sack him !!
I am really disappointed with the F2012…. I think they took a too radical approach when they designed it… I hope they get to improve it and at least make it look better on track…
Anyways….. it looks like a promising and competitive season… at least “wonder boy” didn´t get the pole and that in itself is a relief! At least the field is much tighter now and that will make for excellent viewing!!!18th March 2012, 4:58 at 4:58 am #196415
@Prisoner Monkeys Contracts aren’t that hard to get out of and Alonso isn’t short of money or contacts to do it.
As for Massa I do hope he improves but I doubt it and he probably be replaced. Alonso doesn’t want a competitive team mate either he is number 1.18th March 2012, 9:35 at 9:35 am #196416
Will Massa finish the season, But after last season, and what he’s achieved so far in the first race… His day’s as a ferrari driver are well and truly numbered.
Then again, haven’t we been saying this for a while?18th March 2012, 9:37 at 9:37 am #196417
He’ll be lucky to finish a race for them at this rate.18th March 2012, 9:47 at 9:47 am #196418
Then again, haven’t we been saying this for a while?
Perhaps, but the 2012 off-season was the first time Ferrari’s senior management threatened Massa’s place with the team.18th March 2012, 10:28 at 10:28 am #196419
Alonso has already re-signed with Ferrari until 2017.
My understanding is that yes, Alonso has a long term contract, but that it also contains a get-out clause if the team does not produce a car capable of winning the championship.18th March 2012, 10:43 at 10:43 am #196420
Throughout the Aussie weekend, he was slow, not just slower than Fernando, but slow full stop. Not only that, but he’s harder on his tyres than his teammate which combined with his slow, is just a lose-lose. The problem with Felipe is that if something isn’t working correctly for him, it’s like it’s the end of the world for him. Fernando is very good at making the best out of a bad situation.
Even if Ferrari sort the car out, they need to consider another driver.18th March 2012, 10:52 at 10:52 am #196421
My understanding is that yes, Alonso has a long term contract, but that it also contains a get-out clause if the team does not produce a car capable of winning the championship.
Maybe, but where would he go? McLaren are full, and Red Bull won’t take someone who can threaten Vettel. The only choice would be to go to a smaller team to try and give them the push they need to get to the front – but I can’t see Fred joining Williams or Force India, interesting as it would be.
Anyway, this isn’t about Alonso. It’s about Massa.18th March 2012, 11:19 at 11:19 am #196422
Out of interest, what do the Tifosi think of Massa? As far as I’m aware, they’re incredibly passionate (read: unforgiving) when it comes to the way Ferrari performs. Further to that, what are the Italian press saying about Massa? I can’t imagine it’s particularly positive, and I know that the Gazetto dello Sport is effectively a Ferrari watchdog.
In terms of my unimportant opinion, I don’t think Massa’s had ‘it’ since 2009, as we all know. The fact he has stayed this long at Ferrari is surprising, frankly, and unless he stays closer, performance-wise, to Alonso, he can surely kiss his fitted seat goodbye.
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