Massa’s biggest supporters fear his F1 career is on brink of collapse

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa in Spain

May 15 (GMM) Speculation is mounting that Felipe Massa is on the verge of being replaced as Fernando Alonso’s teammate at Ferrari. After yet another below par performance, this time at the Spanish Grand Prix, even his allies in the Brazilian media are fearing his demise. This has prompted a frenzy of speculation over possible replacements.

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday 24 September 2011.Team boss Stefano Domenicali fueled the speculation on Sunday by insisting that Ferrari expects the struggling Brazilian to “fight back starting in Monaco” and although Fernando Alonso is joint leader in the driver’s standings, the team is fourth in the constructor’s race and trailing the leaders by 56  points.

“We absolutely need his points to also fight for the constructors’ title,” said Domenicali.

However, prior to this, talk was already doing the rounds that Adrian Sutil could be set to play a role, should Ferrari bite the bullet and dump Massa, while Di Resta has been actively promoted by no less than Sir Jackie Stewart.

Speculation is that Sutil could either replace him directly, or replace a driver who moves from his existing team to Massa’s cockpit. It is the latter scenario that seems most likely.

Sutil, trying to resurrect his career after the Eric Lux assault affair, returned to the F1 paddock at the weekend in Barcelona, accompanied by his manager Manfred Zimmermann. They spent a lot of time at Force India, his old team.

(L to R): Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1, Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1and Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1. Force India F1 Driver Announcement, Whyte & Mackay, Glasgow, Scotland, 26 January 2011.The theory, that has emerged, is that the Anthony Hamilton managed Paul di Resta could be set to move to Ferrari, with Sutil to fill the Force India vacancy. But there is also a whisper that Nico Hulkenberg’s manager Timo Gans has been spotted in the Ferrari motor home in Spain.

“It’s important to be here,” Sutil told RTL at the Circuit de Catalunya. “Hopefully something comes of it. It’s still very early in the season, so I have to wait a bit, but on the other hand maybe I can get back into a cockpit quite quickly.”

He admitted that he spent “most of the time” during the Spanish Grand Prix with Force India.

Meanwhile axed Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari has advised Massa to relax and focus on getting his formula one career back on track.

Asked about Massa’s continuing crisis, Spaniard Alguersuari acknowledged that it is a “difficult time” in the Brazilian’s career.

“Right now the most important thing for him is to stop thinking about the external pressure and just focus on his work and his problems. Sometimes you’re not competitive, something has happened and you don’t know what it is,” Alguersuari told the Spanish newspaper AS.

“But the worst thing you can do is doubt, hesitate, get nervous and start looking at your teammate, because all that will happen is it will get worse,” he added. “Being in elite sport does not, as many believe, depend just on your skills, it’s about managing the psychological, physical and technical elements.”

“I am convinced that Massa is not now a slow driver, he can get back to being like Fernando [Alonso] and some days – why not? – faster. The only difference between the two is in the head; that’s the difference between good and best,” said Alguersuari.

Livio Oricchio, the respected F1 correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, fears the sport’s last Brazilian drivers – Massa and Bruno Senna – could soon lose their seats.

“As a driver, your main reference is always the work of your teammate, so in the sense that [for Massa and Senna] they are Fernando Alonso and Pastor Maldonado, it’s going very badly. At this point, only a miracle will keep Massa at Ferrari.”

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012 spins into the gravel. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday 16 March 2012.“He would have to do what he has failed to do in the last two championships, which is to qualify close to Alonso and score points regularly. Neither is what a Ferrari driver is really about,” admitted Oricchio, “but it’s a huge challenge given Massa’s loss of confidence and an unbalanced car.”

Even Massa’s strongest supporters in Brazil, like the O Globo journalist Celso Itibere, admit the situation is dire.

“He is at risk,” said Itibere, “his decline is progressive, he is failing to react and he runs the real risk of not finishing the season. At this time Ferrari has no one to take the job. Everyone they would like to have there – Perez, Kobayashi, Webber – are not available.”

Tuesday’s edition of the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport is expected to report that Massa’s ousting is imminent.

And the latest edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport did not even once mention Massa’s name. “It is as though he does not exist,” wrote Oricchio. “Yet it is an Italian newspaper, and he is a Ferrari driver.”

When asked if he fears for his F1 career, Massa said in Barcelona last weekend: “No. I live in the present. What will happen will happen.”

Asked if he is afraid another bad performance will seal his fate, Massa insisted: “I’m not afraid of anything, especially criticism. It doesn’t affect me.”

  • zouzou

    frankly it’s about time they replaced him.

  • visz963

    I am very much looking forward to this. Get a good replacement, and Alonso’s days are numbered, too.

  • Michel

    Jeez visz963, what brand of socks are you smoking……?

  • fools

    “I am convinced that Massa is not now a slow driver, he can get back to being like Fernando and some days – why not? – faster. The only difference between the two is in the head; that’s the difference between good and best,” said Alguersuari

    Alguersuari makes a good point. That goes with everything we do in life and in sport.

  • visz963

    @Michel, it is easy to see if you dare to think a bit. With one exception, Alonso never had real good teammates, and he could not consistently beat those.
    The exception Hamilton, who as an F1 rookie immediately beat him and made him flee back to Renault.
    Massa is not a driver anymore. Once he is gone, Alonso will have to face real driver again (I hope Ferrari will not hire Karthikeyan), and then Alonso will most likely loose his supremacy at the team. Then he will go, of course. Possibly leave F1.

    This is the same story that happened to Montoya when he became subordinate to Raikkonen.

    Wait and see.

  • Barlow

    F1 is a sport measured by tenths and hundreds of a second. Maybe after Massa’s accident he is not able to regain the perceptions and sensitivities he developed in the many years of his racing career. Which is to bad, because I think Filipe is a good man! But sometimes it’s just over.

  • Tamburello_1994

    At this point I wonder if Massa has the same equipment as Alonso . . .

    Felipe was getting tossed about like luggage at Faro this last weekend and it was quite hard to watch at times. He seems resigned to his fate. Alonso drove with supreme confidence all day long and seem to get on rather well with his machine. Just makes one wonder if the card havn’t been stacked against Massa from the git-go.

    Just one man’s Opine.

  • Stewy33

    Robert Kubica… enough said.

  • Kimi4WC

    I would be very cautious joining Ferrari atm, unless it was at least two year contract, it’s like committing suicide right now.

  • Taz

    LOL ferrari is not a sucide, could be the great team as it once was, 2010 they were right up there leading… drivers championship on last race. massa was half points behind 2011 was wasted year and 2012 5 races gone think massa was given a new car and all in 2nd race we all said we should give him couple more races… 5th race gone and its like all teams got 2 drivers while f2012 has 1.of course massa is a great driver and all but hes wasted 1/2 of 2010 all of 2011 and looks like it will be all of 2012 as well,We Ferrari need to see him gone and see some one else in the number 6 car we need to give others a chance we can not possibly lose anything by changing drivers for 1 gprix.sick and tired theres a new driver for his seat every week. hurry and replace him now.it cant go any more worse then it is,

  • Taz

    if they had better driver 2nd driver in 2010, easyly alonso would have won,2012 if massa was up there then f2012 would be concidered as the benchmark team.

  • Kimi4WC

    Heikki Kovalainen is the answer for Ferrari!!!!!!!!!

  • Hmmmm

    I feel Sutil is the best option available. Actually, a shame what happened with him at the end of the year… But, coulda worked out great in retrospect.

  • nod

    not good i know he is struggling so much but hopefully he can fight back in monaco

  • f1guy

    @visz963 Saying that Alonso is not a good driver just shows a lack of understanding of the sport, he was twice World Champion and a big share of that is on the driver/car not in the partner driver.

    Alonso was champion not with the best car, his work helped improve Renault’s overall and Ferrari’s car, in the same way that Schumacher helped Ferrari and is helping Mercedes.

    You might not like Alonso but saying is not a good driver is just an emotional statement than an educated opinion.

  • f1guy

    @Michel, it is not a sock, just its own envy fumes while driving at 50Km/h

  • Nowhereman

    Massa is done at Ferrari..
    He might regain himself at another builder but at Ferrari he is done.
    Paul DiResta would make an excellent replacement for Massa.
    Paul is fast and in a better car, he could fight for points.

  • airman1

    I am sad to see Masa going this way, and it is interesting how people quickly forget that he gave a good run for the money to Hamilton, to the last corner of the last lap of the last race, after having his season ruined by his own team twice in so many races. Masa sucked up a spring in the eye, and he might not be MS or someone else to recover from that, maybe he will never, but it is sad to see people here spitting on him like this. This is just an indication how unforgivable we have become. If he needs to go, fine, let Ferarri make that decisson, but we should just say thanks for the good races he did for us (as spectators) and wish that there were more of them. And for the naysayers of Alonso, remember this. He took two championships, from MS, in a row! He did not fought season rookie for the title (like Raikonnen did and almost lost to him), he fought a 7 time world champ and beat him. He didn’t even had a super dominating car those two seasons either.

  • aks

    what is the emotional jackass telling now ………..

  • Taz

    @airman1
    massa has never given us (ME ) a good race.
    yes i do remember whn he used to take wins from the pole ,never seen him fight is way to the win.. any ways hes wasted last 2 years at ferrari and these first 5 races.and AIRMAN1 dont forget if massa was better in2010 alonso would be wdc but he cant evan take points off the rivals.done man hes done we spitting cuz he wasted to much time

  • visz963

    @everyone: Bullshit. No emotions. I am simply expecting Alonso’s downgrade right after he gets a real teammate. Try to comprehend that before talking about emotions. One of his biggest luck is having Massa as teammate, but one day another Hamilton will come. It is not by chance that fled from Mclaren, where he was only a second driver in the end. Try not to be blinded by fans and journalists.

  • Sini

    I don’t think Massa’s career is over and also I know that Ferrari will not replace him during this season so all this talk is kinda pointless in my point of view. Media has been trying to replace Massa even at those times when he was still winning! The media have been writing these rumors about him whole his F1-career. I don’t understand what does the press have against him. And – as his fan – I WANT him to leave Ferrari after this season because this team is all about Alonso now. Alonso is the king of the team, and they have made Felipe only as a “test driver”. And yes, Massa has been on points only once this season but the unluckyness he have had is huge and also he could have been clearly on points at Spain without his drive through penalty.

  • Butterfly

    There’s absolutely no way Ferrari will bring Sutil to the team after what he did in China last year (assault and subsequent trial and conviction).

    They just need to improve the car to the level Felipe can drive it, that’s all there is to it. If they had two Alonsos in the team then that would have been fine, but Felipe just can’t drive a difficult car.

  • divs1

    Eccelstone himself had said that he knew Alonso was been given substandard car when compared to Lewis after the whole saga broke out. Now you guys can see what type of respect Lewis has for Alonso and also he had confirmed the same whEn he metioned that probably he didnt treat Alonso like a WC when he had arrived at the Mclaren which was wrong on his part. Sir Jackie tewart says for him its Alonso who stands out as a Formula 1 racer when compared to all the current drivers on grid this year.

  • gouthamgmv

    visz693 is probably the most senseless person who watches F1. I can only laugh at his comments. Thanks mate! :D

  • Obviously

    I think I just figured out vizzszzsvsvsz problem. He is a Hamilton groupie. Dood, your so lame… Proven over and over..
    The whole point of this article was about Massa…

    @Stewy, I always respect you and your comments. But not so sure about Kubica… That’s a tough one to recover.. Reminds me of Barry, on Archer… Unless Kubica is rebuilt as a bionic. It’s gonna be tough. Just the long time off is enough to slow the reaction times, ya know?

    Someone said Sutil. Might be a good choice. Irregardless of his glass smashing into the face of a drunk dood while drunk. He is a point on pilot. And good for drama, which basically is what this sport has become in a sense… Which pays for..well….everything.

  • John

    One of the problems for Massa is that he doesn’t get the traction control system that Alonso has fitted in his car.

    It’s mighty difficult to compare drivers when they’re not getting the same equipment. Any replacement to Massa should consider that may do more damage to their career than it has to Massa’s.

  • Butterfly

    @John:

    Traction control is banned in F1, Your Highness. It’s all down to driver skill in the corners, that’s where Felipe is week, because he can get off the line pretty well – the starts are okay.

    He can’t compensate for the car’s shortcomings, whereas his teammate only needs the car to have four wheels.

    It might be a good idea for you to shut up in the future.

  • John

    @Butterfly
    Please don’t be rude – you’re not the expert you think you are.

  • andrewf1

    So according to you, Ferrari are deliberately giving one of their own drivers a weaker car, just to make sure he doesnt score championship points for them, right? Sounds legit.

  • andrewf1

    That was @John.

    He might not be the expert, but you’re not making any sense at all.

  • John

    @andrewf1
    Remember that Ferrari are centred around one driver – Alonso.

    Like him or hate him, Ferrari put all their resources towards Alonso. If they’ve got one new part; Alonso gets it. Alonso also get priority in the pits; Massa has to stay out until they’re clear (you’ll have heard this via the team radio?).

    Ask yourself this question – would you give access to questionable technology to a driver you’re actively trying oust from the team?

  • Butterfly

    @John:

    Sorry to say, but you’re being paranoid about the whole Massa situation. Why is it hard to accept that Alonso is that much better at driving the car than Felipe is?

  • fawxx

    just get perez in. he may suck in it but he will be decent enough next year

  • visz963

    @obviously_idiot: from your comments stating that I am a Hamilton fan it is clear that you understand nothing, not even yourself.

    @gouthamgmv: better you laugh because you cannot even speak (no to mention thinking)

    Massa is on the verge of collapse, and Alonso is ont the verge of being beaten by his successor. Cant wait!

  • ansib

    Massa has been a very quick driver in the past its just that he cant get the tyres to work this year just like Schumacher this year,I would never count him out But just saying.anyways everyone is entitled to theri opinion.

  • andrewf1

    @John,

    you really think this is a great scheme planned by Ferrari to give Massa an under-performing car for 2 years in a row so as to justify firing him during the season? Hell, they fired Raikkonen even though he was still under contract AND payed his salary in 2010, which was the highest of any driver.

    Your twisted conspiracy theory makes absolutely no sense at all, it would mean Ferrari deliberately wanted to give up on championship points, drivers’ as well as constructors’…just so they can fire Massa.

  • Mopar21277

    Felipe hasn’t been quick in the “New Generation” of lower downforce cars ala 2009+; not that Ferrari has had a great car any of these years, but he is massively off the performance of Fernando. Even with the 2007 & 2008 dominant cars, he was not very good in the rain. His accident was very unfortunate and hasn’t helped things.

    The man for the job who is free and clear is Jarno; he’s used to wrangling the Toyota for all it was worth. Better yet would be Timo, but Marussia would want big money to buy out his contract.

    Why would Force India let DiResta go, particularly when they are not affiliated with Ferrari?

  • Speedo

    Airman, Massa did not give Hamilton a good run. Hamilton drove superbly way down from P24 to catch up Massa. As usual Massa is a spoiler who likes to hold the driver behind him back. If he was racing full throttle, Hamilton on a 2 stop strategy with wasted tyres would not have caught up with him. This proves Hamilton was faster and Massa a spoiler.

    I think they should change the rules where you keep to your racing line but close the door only once per lap and not at every turn/bend. This would allow the faster cars behind to overtake and make it that much more interesting. It is more like a blue flag. The second driver could always be a spoiler to aid his team mate out ahead.

  • John

    @andrewf1
    It’s very strange, isn’t it? If Massa is so bad why haven’t they got rid of him, yet they continue to give him a drive. There has to be a good reason, other than you’re looking at Massa’s performance and not Alonso’s car.

  • Stewy33

    @ Obviously

    Ya, I know it is difficult to see Kubica at Ferrari this year. As most of you know I like posting facts, but I have heard rumors that Kubica has moved to Italy and has been seen driving rally cars in Tuscana Italy. Another rumor I have heard has claimed Robert Kubica has signed an ‘option’ to compete for Ferrari in F1. With all these rumors going around I am just waiting for confirmation that any of these rumors are true. Come on Yalla, get an interview with Robert, twist his arm or something. LOLOLOLOL

  • Selvam

    Instead of Perez & sutil, Kobayasi might me good choice…

  • Butterfly

    @Mopar21277:

    You’re right on the money with the 2009+ generation of low-grip cars.

    That’s what Felipe can’t work around, he needs an RB7-like car to shine, and there aren’t any of those around…

  • Alonsofan

    felipe has been underperforming in 2010-12(uptil now) and Ferrari has given every possible support to him for whole 2011.But I wonder why keep him for that long,I mean for pete’s sake kimi was fired so that massa would keep his place,when alonso was employed.its not like massa has a huge sponsorship behind his back but I mean the man will have very little options if ferrari sack him.

  • ride me sideways

    kobayashi one off the best to replace him…but would rather see him in a red bull or a macca

  • fools

    Cant wait till vitz96faq gets ran over by Alonso this year for the WDC.

    I can tell vitz is getting very nervous.

  • Jacko

    @visz963

    NoteL Alonso has never been outscored by a teammate. You think Hamilton beat him in 2007. They had equal points. For sure one of them should have won the WDC, but Hamilton was too stubborn to help his superior.

  • joputa

    Visz963 would involve Alonso in a discussion about the price of fish in china

  • farizY

    One guy suited for the job at Ferrari, KOBAYASHI!!!

  • hillside

    its about time!!

  • andrewf1

    @Jacko,

    his superior? really?…lol. everybody knows and remembers 2007 as the year Hamilton lost the championship to Kimi. Nobody ever says ‘oh 2007 was the year Alonso lost the championship’.

    but let’s stay on topic, this is about Massa.

  • Butterfly

    @andrewf1:

    You see, when the team is against the 2X Champion and favoring the rookie, that gives said rookie *lots* of motivation and demotivates the Champion (Alonso).

    The whole McLaren team, from the mechanics to the management were interested in the rookie winning the title, not the Champion. They only brought Alonso in to get the no 1 on the car – they did the same with Button.

    Still, Alonso wiped the floor with the whole team, Hamilton included, his father, Ron Dennis, etc. He ended on equal points with Hamilton and McLaren lost both titles to Ferrari *and* they were involved in that espionage story.

    Now, Lewis is a really good driver, in the same league as Alonso, but what happened that year wasn’t a fair fight between the two. On one hand, Lewis was being encouraged by everybody (McLaren & Dad) to go out and deliver, while Fernando was being humiliated for no reason at all.

    If finishing on equal points in those circumstances is considered “being beaten”, then maybe you shouldn’t watch F1 at all.

    Hope that clears it for you.

  • andrewf1

    @Butterfly

    Those are not facts and stories, that’s just your subjective opinion on the matter. Nobody from Mclaren wanted to deliberately ‘humiliate’ Alonso, he did that to himself by automatically assuming number 1 status.
    And what’s this humiliation you talk about? What – refusing to let him pass Lewis in the USA GP, or allowing Hamilton to charge for pole in Hungary? Very humiliating indeed…If that’s your view of ‘humiliation’ then you should get a dictionary – or i dunno, redefine your feelings.

    p.s. I never said Alonso got beaten on points. I said everyone knows it was the year in which Lewis lost the championship by 1 point, not Alonso. For goodness sake, Hamilton had a 17 point lead with 2 rounds to go. He only got equalled on points because of a DNF and car trouble in Brazil.

  • Lol.

    He got equalled on points because of two stupid driver errors. He did not deserve the title that year, therefore.

  • usman fasih

    @andrewf1

    so i’ll assume your version of events as so? all ill say about the kerfuffle in McLaren is that Ron Dennis was one cunning fox. His poaching of the then world champion was a master stroke which effectively eliminated a rival in alonso and Renault whos parntership had dominated the previous 2 years…who better to partner their golden child? Brilliant…untill it blew up in his face. Alonso AT LEAST would have expected equality…and good on them, at least McLaren now have 2 brits ;)

  • Butterfly

    @usman fasih:

    The padawan is right.

  • Stewy33

    Anyone that ends up taking that seat at Ferrari must understand a few things:
    1. Alonso is number 1, you must let him pass.
    2. Look at your racing suit, it say Santander right on your chest. That is Alonso’s sponsor meaning let Alonso pass you.
    3. If faster traffic is catching up (for example Kimi Raikkonen) your job is to block him as long as possible with out the Stewards issuing you a penalty!
    4. Alonso gets first stop on pits stops.
    5. If the media ask you how you compare to Alonso you must always admit Alonso is the better driver even if you have to slow down and block cars to help Alonso stay up front.
    6. You must be Alonso’s puppet.
    7. If Ferrari doesn’t win the constructors title you must take full responsibility for the failure.

  • Butterfly

    @Stewy33:

    It says Santander because they decided to bet on the best there is, which is Alonso.

  • andrewf1

    Oh Butterfly…you and Alonso should get a room

  • Stewy33

    I know my comments may have be aggressive towards Alonso, but in a nutshell that is what is like at Ferrari. Am I saying Alonso is bad, not at all, but the politics of the matter is why I am not a Ferrari fan.

    Related to the main topic, I would not be happy at all if Mark Webber goes to Ferrari… I would like him to stay at Red Bull. I have followed Mark for years, but it would be a moral monstrosity for me if I have to switch my colors to Red to Support Mark.

  • visz963

    Stewy33 fully right. Alonso could not beat several of his teammates by his own force.

    With a good teammate he would quickly sink.

  • visz963

    @Andrewf1: you should understand that Butterfly is not a thinker. That is why he explains Alonso’s failure at Mclaren by lame excuses, in order to explain himself that Alonso was better even when he was washed by the rookie.

    Bullshit. Once you are beaten by a rookie, you are beaten, no matter what the team does, who speaks better english etc. You have failed. This is what happened. No excuses.

    And you take into account that Alonso had equal opportunities at Mclaren. It is only him who wants everyone beleive the opposite, to make himslef look better.

    Replace Massa as soon as possible, put in a good young pilot, and history will repeat itself. And then you will hear again those lame excuses both from Bitterfly and Alonso.

  • me262

    @visz963

    butterfly is not a thinker….and you should stop thinking cos it makes my head hurt. You impoverish this forum with your every post. Surely there is an alonso hater website, why dont you join up? if your already an administrator of such a site then why dont you spare this site of your childish, un-bright pholosophies of alonso assasination? your like a broken record dude, then alonso has a masterful win in malaysia and you dissapear behind mummys skirt. Im here to hurt you brother: alonso has 61 points and is leading the championship. Lets talk about Massa shall we? expand your repertoire

    I hope your right bud, if they replace Massa and the new driver does beat Alonso then we’re all up for something special…must be the coming of the next Senna?

  • Butterfly

    I guess the Troll is quite frustrated at the moment seeing how Alonso thrashed his driver (Massa), but, whatever, that’s done and dusted.

    I hope Hamilton is his next teammate for some of you to see what a fair match between these two would yield.

  • Obviously

    Stewy’s breakdown on the Scuderia situation was mostly on point. And that is the fact.

    Unless some freakish occurrences start happening, and vvsvsisvsvzzvzzzv’s wet drams come true, and another pilot would come in to take his place as #1. But the chances of that are slim/none to none.

    @stewy, Santander also pasted on the from of LH and JB. Should they all move over? Not trying to be sarcastic… But the move over rule is specific to driver #1.. Not Santander…

    @stewy, please don’t stop posting, you are one of the few on this site that has any sense. And a good dry humor as well… Good lookin, homey.

    Even if they can purchase a Kobayashi or Perez, will be tough on them with Alonso there. As stewy said about Webber, but actually would be a good fit, IMO.

  • Obviously

    Doesn’t Massa look like is has Down Syndrome??

    Now for sure, I’m going to hell….