What's happened to Felipe Massa?


This topic contains 17 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Steph90 7 years, 2 months ago.

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    The driver who took Hamilton to the final lap of the season in the 2008 title race and in many people eyes deserved that title now seems a shadow the driver he was then. Only in Turkey has Massa strung together a better race weekend than his team mate who has so far dominated him like Kimi never really managed to do.

    What has happened to the driver who dominated races in 2008 and produced such a strong title challenge and ended Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari career? Is it his injury from last year? Has his confidence been shattered by Alonso’s pressence in the team? Or is Alonso just performing much better than we realise?



    Partly it’s the car, but as a top driver he should be dealing with that. Partly it’s his luck, I reckon he’s really started to pull it back since Canada but the fates have been against him.

    Partly I think the accident has got him worse than we realised, I’m just not sure, he’s not the driver we saw in 08/09. Maybe, Kimi wasn’t as good as we all thought? No!


    Ned Flanders

    Well I’m off to snoozy snooze in a minute so this ain’t gonna be my most insightful comment ever, but I think Felipe Massa is having an absolute mare this season. I can’t believe I tipped him to beat Alonso this season…



    I’m not so sure. It’s not as straightforward as it seems.

    His first two races were actually pretty good. 2 podiums in the first 2 races was his best-ever start to a season. But at the time you’d expect him to start getting better, he started getting… worse. First, some rather disappointing points finishes (a 7th here, 6th there, a 9th somewhere else). Then after that, he just vanished, became anonymous, with 3 DNS’s.

    I suspect it’s down to a leadership struggle. While the base car still had in mind some of his preferences in the past, it seems that Alonso has managed to take control of the team’s development direction. Either that or the car development has just become rubbish and Alonso’s better been able to handle it (thanks to handling the recent rubbish Renaults). In any case, with Pat Fry around from next year, Massa may totally lose out to Alonso in the leadership/development stakes.



    I think Massa still have the effect of the Hungary 2009 race & this time he has a team-mate name Alonso who will probably do anything on track to make sure that he is the number one driver for that team.

    But I do also think that the car is playing it’s part as well.I think he will need some time & may be in 2011 he will be back .



    First off, I never like to make excuses esp when it’s Massa as I don’t want to be a biased plank :P So he should be performing better, he’s not as good as he should be but I do like speculating.

    The accident – I don’t think the accident has impacted on his pace or not much. He has been lacking compared to Alonso but that may not be the accident. It can’t have been when he came back and in Bahrain was immediately quick. However, at Bahrain he got a bad start which was partly his own fault and it being the dirty side but after turn 1 he nearly ran Lewis completely off the road. I think maybe his judgement or race craft then were a bit rusty after so long out but he should be finding his feet. Brundle did say that Massa probably is lacking that extra bit of sharpness which counts for a fraction of a second.

    I do think the accident has made him lose his balance a bit. He was on top of the world before and knew exactly what to do. Smedley said when he came back he was so desperate to prove he was the same that he was taking excessive risks in the corners, “being the hair raisingest of the hair raisingest” and that he had to calm him down more. I think it’s easier for a driver to be told to calm it down rather than speed it up but it shows that he wasn’t quite as on the mark and although Felipe likes to say he’s the same, he had to find his feet again. I also think that may go some way as to why he was bloody quick in Bahrain but has had little offs like Spain with the F-duct, Canada and some full on wildness at Monaco. He’s always had a touch of mad in him though so maybe not.

    Tyres- he’s generally always been a bit behind Alo in quali but whenever the harder tyres come into play he’s suddenly got a big gap to him on the grid. The first instance was Aus where he went back and forth all weekend with set up. I think it’s clearly still an issue and one he should be on top of by now but it is contributing to his struggles.

    The car- Massa salavaged some results in a Sauber. He was on top of his game last year in a car that was far from easy to drive. Yes, he shines when the car is at it’s best but he can do the business when it isn’t so I don’t think that’s as much as a reason.

    Alonso- Alonso’s doing a stellar job pace wise but it means he’s making mistakes. However, he’s making Felipe look mighty bad and I think that’s just because Alonso is so damn good and there’s no escaping that. I do think the timing of Alonso was at the worst possible time for Felipe. He needs to focus on himself for a bit, regain that bulletproof confidence/arrogance he did have and work out where to go next but he’s got Alonso who’s making him look bad and probably isn’t helping the siuation. I don’t mean Alonso personally isn’t, just that his presence isn’t great for someone who is desperate to prove themself again.

    I do think he is gradually improving. Bahrain was made easy because he was told not to push so much after Alo had passed him as he had some car issues. The RBR was quick then the Ferrari and then there was a big gap to the Mclaren. He still had to nail his qualifying which he did but apart from that he wasn’t tested.

    It’s easy to just write him off and say it’s been a rubbish year but I don’t thnik that’s the case. I think most people, including me, expected far too much after he’s been out for so long, had a family and has Alonso in the garage next door.

    His pace is still there, he’s not made as many mistakes as Alonso and crucially kept it together at Monaco qualifying and Turkey. Canada was one of his best I think; cracking overtakes showing the progress he has made and good pace. I think that Liuzzi done him a favour. He showed he can still fight rather than trundling around with the big names at front with a whole heap of pressure on him.

    Valencia who knows? There looked like a slim chance for a podium and definitely a 4th place finish at least but it all went wrong. He would have followed Alonso home mind. It’s easy to forget that he was hanging onto Alonso for the most part until the SC mess.

    Britain? Before the SC he was lapping much quicker than Vettel. He got through most of the slower cars fine but got stuck behind Glock I think. He should have got through the cars better when the SC came in tohugh but I’d say looking at performance purely, he isn’t doing good enough. Compared to last year, it’s hard to recognise him. Taking in the context, he’s in the hardest job in the world as Alonso’s teammate but is doing alright. Expect better next year though or he is out of there.



    Steph, that was a great post. Massa has been my fav driver for awhile now, so it’s been hard to see him struggling so much this year. I still have confidence though and I know you do too!



    Of course, you could also say he peaked in 2008 with a combination of factors coming together to work for him; having the best car, on a roll from good results, the confidence of beating Raikkonen, etc. He carried that on into 2009 but then the accident stopped him and he has to try and get over it and get back to the top.

    I expected Massa to be a lot closer to Alonso this year, but to be honest I’d worry more about Alonso’s performance than Massa’s.



    I think we also have to look at what he was like before the accident and this season.

    2006. He wasn’t hired to do anything except be a good number two. Pole at Suzuka, win at Turkey, well for a while at Indy, untouchable at Interlagos and finished ahead of Schumi at Mal. Pretty good. Very different driving preference to Schumi too so an oversteery car for an understeery driver. He made mistakes granted and wasn’t always on the pace but he handled it well.

    2007. I’ve heard loads of people say this was a good year for him frankly I thought it was his worst at Ferrari but still ok. Great drives sometimes such as Nurburgring, Aus, Silv, Turkey and of course Brazil. Mistakes again, contact with Alo and although he had more car issues than Kimi he never really seemed the quicker of the two even if it was close at times.

    08. Mistakes early season, mystifying lack of pace at China and don’t even mention Silverstone were his only real errors. Took on Hamilton when the cars were pretty even and he wasn’t perfect either, remember Bahrain.

    09. Bad car but beat Kimi and actually seemed to be pushing the car.

    I know this seems like a daft history lesson but from that we’d expect him to be bang on the pace of Alo. Alo is a completely different beast to Kimi and a lot has changed. I don’t think he could ever just pick up where he lef off. He’s struggling more than he ought to that’s “for sure” but he should on most occassions be behind Alo.



    “He’s struggling more than he ought to that’s “for sure”



    Tom L.

    I’ve been much more impressed by Massa this weekend, he’s looking more like his old self. Admittedly he has had a few problems keeping the car on the track in places, but that shows he’s pushing to the limit which is good to see.



    For all the stuff about Massa being back this weekend he was at the end of the day consistantly off the pace of Alonso all weekend including being a whopping 0.5 seconds in quali. I don’t think Massa actually made a significant step forward this weekend and managed to qualify 3rd due mainly to Webber’s error in quali.

    Having said that today reminded me that Felipe is a remarkable man of honour and integrity who has shown enormous loyalty to the team in putting their interests above his own. With no team orders allowed he could have refused to allow Alonso past, but he did what he thought was best for the team. Will be interesting to see though how he reacts to this though, Hungary was the scene of his arguably his finest drive in 08, but has this destroyed his confidence or spurred him on more?



    Alonso was quicker all weekend but not considerably so in the race. I just wish they’d just raced but the end goal is the title.

    I don’t know about integrity. maybe Felipe lsot some today by accepting the number 2 position or maybe he gained it for his loyalty to the team and putting his feelings aside. I don’t know.

    I agree it will be nice to see where he goes from here.



    Sorry for doubnle post but the good news is Massa damn well led a race again. He got a good start, his pace hasn’t been great on the hards but he was managing it. He showed he could put himself in a position to be able to turn it into a win. Next step the win.



    “I don’t think Massa actually made a significant step forward this weekend and managed to qualify 3rd due mainly to Webber’s error in quali.”

    Perhaps Massa didn’t get a clean final run?

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