Felipe baby on board, go(ing) slow


isn't dead.
Valued Member
What's up with Felipe Massa?

He's having a poor season so far.

Out of the 10 races so far this season, he's only made forward progress in 4 of the races. The rest, particularly the last 3, have been poor.

We heard him famously in Australia being instructed how to drive the penultimate corner so as to not let people past him - something that drivers of this calibre don't need telling, surely?

Is he wilting under Alonso's relentless pressure and air of dominance? Is the car not to his liking? Has he suffered as a result of his accident? The early signs indicated not. Can we put a lack of form down to more recent updates on the Ferrari car or just that Alonso has established an outward no-1 presence at the team, even if they would deny that?

Personally I can't honestly believe the accident would have lead to such a drop in form. Felipe has always had weaknesses, particularly in regards to his race craft, which is amongst the weakest in the field. He's had good pace throughout his career, in a similar way to Vettel, but seems to lack the explicit desire to drive the socks of his car and produce actual results, Alonso, Hamilton or even Webber-style.

Take for instance his spin at Luffield on Sunday. Nobody spun there all weekend, was it a case of him pushing too hard, knowing that he didn't have the pace to catch up with his team-mate? It was like watching 2008 all over again, except this time Felipe baby didn't have the rain to blame.

And let's not forget his double-attack on Alonso on the opening lap, he could've completely wrecked both Ferraris' races, although as we know that would later turn out to be the case anyway ;)

Answers on a postcard. Or a post.
Enja said: And let's not forget his double-attack on Alonso on the opening lap, he could've completely wrecked both Ferraris' races

Was Massa's brush with Alonso his fault then? I thought it was more a case of Alonso being too aggressive after his own bad start, but overall a 'racing incident'.

I agree about the Luffield spin though; very strange that one.
Felipe is not the force he was in 2008 and we don't have to look too far to find the cause. Fernando Alonso would not have left Renault for a contract as no2 or equal status driver at Ferrari. His contract would have been very specific and detailed and would have a cast iron no1 status clause. Ferrari fearing Felipe would not be on top of his game would have been only too willing to sign such a clause, have a history of favouring one driver and are paying Fernando twice as much money as Felipe gets.
I don't think we have ever seen Felipe in the same form as we saw him in his first year for Ferrari. He was however, during his championship charge year against Lewis, my favourite driver outside of the British hopefuls.

When you hear from him in the pits he sounds fired up and determined, but on track he does not appear sharp and focused, or maybe even determined. I wonder if much of this is to do with his cars performance in traffic (hence i say 'does not appear' and not 'is not'). We have seen both the Ferrari's struggle to pass even 1sec/lap + slower cars, but both of them then pump out fastest laps when they see clear air?

I think it would be easy for us to be asking the same of Button, who has displayed similar practice/quali performance when compared to his team mate as Massa, if he had not put in the fantastic in-race performances he has. So could this be down to the McLaren being the better car in turbulent air? Not totally i fear, but maybe partially.

IMO he is missing that extra 1% that takes a good driver to great status, he certainly has had it in the past and its quite possibly the combination of a serious injury last year AND his dominant team mate that just takes the edge off his performance...??? We are talking a tiny dip in performance here i think, but it makes all the difference.
I think it's fair to say the car has been difficult to drive for both of them, Massa has been struggling all year but Alonso's performances have hardly set the world alight, he's had numerous driver errors, struggled with the car/tyres/set up & probably worst of all lost his cool on more than one occaision. It was evident from last years car that it was difficult to drive and it seems not much has changed this year. Massa seems to have a problem with the harder tyres on offer this season but it's difficult to pin down where his problems stem from.... a combination of all i imagine.

I for one hope ferrari get it together for both of their drivers and let them show their potential sooner rather than later...
He's also lost his personal advisor this year (Schumacher), maybe he's forgotten how to go quickly without the constant tutorage.. :)
Felipe and Fernando both feature more often than other drivers in the "most overtaking moves" at the bottom of the Overtaking Summaries...

Felipe, Fernando and Lewis are tied at the top of the table with 29 overtakes each.

Felipe's spin could well have been the product of a sudden loss of downforce incurred when lifting the throttle... :thinking: Their EBD is still in the early stages of development...
Enja said:
The rest, particularly the last 3, have been poor.

Just to defend him a little bit, I don't think you can say that his performance in Valencia was 'poor'. I would say that he is, in a sense, the forgotten victim of the Hamilton/Alonso/Safety Car row, as he was dumped down to 15th when he was going well in 4th position.

As for his being worse than other times:

Race  1 BHR:  2nd [won in past]
Race 2 AUS: 3rd [1st podium]
Race 3 MAL: 7th [started 21st and poor there previously]
Race 4 CHN: 9th [2 podiums; held up behind Alonso in pit]
Race 5 ESP: 6th [won in past]
Race 6 MON: 4th [couple of podiums; unlike Alonso not binned it]
Race 7 TUR: 7th [Massa circuit; beat Alonso]
Race 8 CAN: 15th [collision at Turn 1, points if not ushered into wall by MSC, poor in past]
Race 9 EUR: 11th [held up behind Alonso & SC when running 4th; won in past]
Race 10 GBR: 15th [tagged by Alonso in lap 1, always rubbish]

I feel although he's not been 2008, there has been some mitigation for the poor positions. His good performances (such as Monaco) have been on the quiet. You may say Alonso had better pace at Monaco; but Massa didn't damage his car binning it in FP3!

I think to call him too poor would be overly harsh.
I had a quick look through the head-to-head stats page.

Felipe's not doing too badly vs. Alonso. Better than Jenson vs. Hamilton anyway!

But he has had a weak 3 races. Next time out he really needs a performance.

I agree absolutely with the comment that Alonso is Ferrari's undisputed no. 1. Does any know if they are driving the same car? Have we got photo's of different aero parts? There would never be a Red Bull story if Alonso knocked his front wing off. The team would just swap it for Felipe's and he would just accept it.
I think Massa has always been the undisputed Ferrari Number 2, except when in 2008 they found Raikkonen not giving a monkey's, and Massa surprisingly beating him.

I just don't think Ferrari are very good thus far!

The fact that Alonso was behind Massa to hit him on lap 1 says more about Alonso than it does about Massa.
teabagyokel said:
I would say that he is, in a sense, the forgotten victim of the Hamilton/Alonso/Safety Car row, as he was dumped down to 15th when he was going well in 4th position.

Well said. Also, didn't he come off worse than Alonso during that incident as, after being waved through by the SC, he continued round to the pits respecting the spirit of the rules by going at a reasonable pace rather than sprinting back to the pits like Alonso did?
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