Massa: Schumacher was as quick, but in terms of intelligence, Alonso is better

Felipe Massa set to leave Ferrari at the end of 2013

Felipe Massa set to leave Ferrari at the end of 2013

At the end of the year, Felipe Massa and Ferrari will go their separate ways in racing terms, but the affection that links the Brazilian to the team with which he grew up, as a driver and a man, will always be strong and he leaves with unique insight into the recent history of the team.

That is clear from what Felipe had to say in an interview with Andrea Cremonesi for Gazzetta dello Sport, as part of the build up to the 2013 Finali Mondiali, which gets underway today and goes on until Sunday at the Mugello circuit.

The event will also serve as tribute that Ferrari wishes to pay to Felipe, who will always be a Ferrari man.

Feliep Massa celebrates victory at the 2006 Turkish GP with Fernando Alonso (second) and Michael Schumacher (third)

Feliep Massa celebrates victory at the 2006 Turkish GP with Fernando Alonso (second) and Michael Schumacher (third)

Ten years at Ferrari, a racing life. Only Michael Schumacher wore the red race suit for longer than Felipe Massa, who leaves Maranello at the end of the year.

Wearing that red suit, the Brazilian came within touching distance of taking the world title in 2008, but he also almost lost his life at the 2009 Hungarian GP.

The party in Mugello will feature the final huge Ferrari crowd: how will you feel going to the event in Tuscany?
Felipe Massa: With happiness in my heart, because it will be wonderful to salute the fans to thank them for all the years we have spent together. They have always supported me, even in the most difficult times.

Eight years as race driver: what’s the secret to staying such a long time at Ferrari?
FM: I have always behaved honestly and have given my all in my work on the track, with the engineers and in the factory. I think I have always acted very professionally.

Felipe Massa with Jean Todt

Felipe Massa with Jean Todt

Do you remember your first day?
FM: It was early 2001 and I had come off the back of a season in F. Renault with Cram: I went to meet Jean Todt in a jacket and tie. Very tense and I was shaking.

The best moment of this long adventure in red?
FM: Definitely 2008 when I came that close to the world title, with many wins and poles. But the day that will always stay with me was the one of my first win in Brazil (2006.) For a Brazilian to win at home is like taking the championship. Remember Senna? When he won in Interlagos he was happier than when he won the championship! I learned to race in Interlagos, I grew up there: to win there in a Ferrari wearing a green and yellow suit (not the usual red one, Editor’s note) was the best moment of my life.

How do you explain to a youngster joining the FDA what it means to be a Ferrari driver?
FM: Mm, well first that it’s hard to get in! Because the selection of drivers is a tough process and it’s already a privilege to be part of the reds. And then, driving for this team means always being under the spotlight, you must always push to the maximum without worrying what people will say about you. It’s like being in a National football team, driving for Ferrari is like being in the Italian football team or playing for Selecao. You have to be prepared.

Felipe Massa wheeled to hospital after his crash during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian GP

Felipe Massa wheeled to hospital after his crash during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian GP

After the accident in 2009, did your priorities in life change?
FM: No absolutely not. Only that now I value life more. Because you always think nothing can happen to you and then…

Stefano Domenicali said that he always considered you as a world champion after 2008. Did you sense that?
FM: 100% yes. I deserved the title, taking into account the season and everything that happened…

Sebastian Vettel took his fourth title this year: are those titles more down to him or his team?
FM: It is 100% down to him and his car. Because it’s true he drives the quickest and most consistent car. But then it’s he who manages to extract its potential, who takes pole, who puts 6 tenths over on everyone, including his team-mate! He’s a fantastic driver.

Let’s play at defining the men who have been your bosses, starting with Luca di Montezemolo.
FM: He is a big hearted person, and an able promoter. He knows how to describe and sell the idea of Ferrari. He is the right man for the job of president and I’m not just talking about the racing. He has an enormous aptitude for representing the company.

Felipe Massa with Stefano Domenicali, Fernando Alonso and Luca Di Montezemolo

Felipe Massa with Stefano Domenicali, Fernando Alonso and Luca Di Montezemolo

Jean Todt?
FM: My best teacher. I first knew him when I was 19 and he has been the most important person in my career.

Stefano Domenicali?
FM: Definitely a friend, we have grown up together at Ferrari.

Rob Smedley?
FM: He has played an important role in my career. When I first raced for Ferrari my race engineer was Gabrielle Delli Colli, but things didn’t go as they should have done and so I chose Rob who was there at the start and was with the test team (he came from Jordan, Editor’s note.) He knows me 100%.

You have had many team-mates, which was the strongest?
FM: Fernando. Schumacher was as quick, but in terms of intelligence, Alonso is better because he manages to put everything together perfectly.

Ferrari started 2013 strongly but then it stalled..
FM: At the start of the year, the car was competitive, but the mistake was that we didn’t manage to develop it as we should have done and as others did. The performance difference in this final part of the championship is down to a car that was not developed in the right way.”

Felipe Massa with Rob Smedley

Felipe Massa with Rob Smedley

Are you already thinking what you will do after F1?
FM: I love racing, it’s part of my life and makes me happy. Maybe after F1 I’ll try my hand at some other category.

Which ones would you like?
FM: DTM or Brazilian Stock Cars.

Webber has decided to race in Prototypes?
FM: I have no experience of endurance racing, however if they managed to get more top teams involved it could become interesting. (Ferrari)

  • Nirmal

    please call michael schumacher return at ferrari in 2014, please Michael Schumacher replace raikkonen and massa, i love so so much michael Schumacher, what you can di it then please call Michael Schumacher

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    True. Alonso knows he is not quick therefore he starts with a contract where team orders are guaranteed for him if his teammate is ahead. Then he steals the resources, engineers, new parts from his teammate. If this all does not work in his favour, he changes teams.

  • Allen

    Massa! What are you smoking?

  • Boycotthehaters

    Alonso_is_Slow, my old nemesis. Your hate is strong. I can feel it. You do not understand the power of the darkside.

    Experts agree Alonso is the top driver, atm. I prefer vettel, though. Your hate consumes you, just like the headmaster at my school.

  • db

    This question is to Massa:
    If Alonso is so much more intelligent than MS, why does MS have 7 WCS and Alonso only 2 and still zero with Ferrari.Sorry I actually think something happened to Massa’s intelligence after that bump on the head! And I am not a MS fan and dislikes Alonso immensely, they both are nasty champions and got some of there championships in a way that could be said, “not all within the rules”
    But MS must have something up there to achieve 7 WCS!

  • Boycotthehaters

    Four seasons (96-99) schumacher dragged thw ferrari around being beaten by inferior drivers in Adrian Newey designed cars (williams, then McLaren).

    He came 3rd, 2nd, 2nd and broke his leg in 99

    Then the next five years….. BAM! Ferrari on top after a 21 year drought

  • Butterfly


    Yeah, but Jean Todt was improving the team back then. Four years of waiting for MSC, but they were getting better and better.

    I see no such progress at the current Ferrari. Heck, if Domenicali were 10 years younger, I could have said the Italians are going to beat their own previous record (those 21 years).

    Come to think of it:

    – last title (of any kind) was 2008, meaning this is the 5th year.
    – Domenicali is 48, so he could be around for ten more years as TP.


    That means Ferrari could go for a 15-year drought. Now, all it takes is another Italian like Domenicali and, BAM, they can easily hit 25 years.

    Thinkgs look promising for the boys in red.

  • jl

    when you talked about domeniceli’s age you should see horner’s.
    when you talked about alonso, you should see how vettel crushed him.

  • Harys

    The Ferrari is reasonably fast, but the drivers have to spend their energy & concentration to keep the car on the track instead of finding ways to shave off 10ths of seconds through hairpins & chicanes.
    Since 2009, Ferrari has been building a nervous car which is hard to drive. If Schumi drove any of the current cars since 2009, he would have hated it & he would have performed worse than what he did with Mercedes. Though Alonso came so close to win the championship with the same inconsistent current car on a couple of occasions, he surly would have won them if the car had more edge to it. Ferrari knows very will that with their current car, if it wasn’t for Alonso, they would have been fighting with Force India & Sauber for the constructors.
    This is not the 1st time Massa praises Alonso.

  • Spartacus

    I suspect that Massa never seen what Schumacher did for Ferrari having arrived too late.

  • Nando Aloser

    I’ve always thought that Massa looks like the retarded son of an incestuous mongoloid union and this goes to prove that a book can sometimes be judged by its cover.
    Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know that Alfonso won’t ever win a Championship with the Reds, while The Greatest Of All Time, The Majestic Michael Schumacher won 5, yes Boycottthebull 5 Championships!
    Boycottthebull, go and ask your hateful Headmaster to put you over his knee and spank the stupid out of you!

  • Steliyan

    I cant understand why the opinion of one looser is so much attentive these days to make Michael bad? Once again he deserves his faith and I ‘m so sorry to see and hear how much Massa is disrespectful to Michael, whom he lend his own race seat .
    Otherwise Massa should out of F1 since 2006 onwards.
    Small person.

  • fools

    “Alonso is better because he manages to put everything together perfectly”.


  • Tinto

    A Massa full of samba emotional statement, this guy must love masochism, butt kicked and sidelined, but still licking good. Tough resurecting from being slave.

    If inteligence is about picking the right team, outsmarting other in races or smartly talking in English, that should be Michael.

  • Boycotthehaters

    This site is being ruined by the one individual who keeps posting using other peoples names. Is that you, “pfft”?

    Massa is not in a position to compare Schumacher and Alonso, he can only compare Schumacher in 2006 vs Alonso 2010-13.

  • Tamburello_1994

    These are the stories we get when there’s no race this weekend.

  • Wardski

    Schumachaer won all his titles in an illegal F1 car…. nuff said :p

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Alonso could not win titles against the new generation even with illegal cars….nuff said:P

  • sebolonso

    Massa has latin mentality. Bending facts comes naturally. Schumi has 5 wdc’s in the bag and Raikkonen 1. Massa has almost one and Alonso zero. How on earth can you be best with zero result. Childish latin daydreams all the way.

  • Boycotthehaters

    All schumacher’s cars were illegal? How so?

  • Red Bull Cheats

    I guess you dumb ba$t@rds forget that with a few slightly different races Alonso and Ferrari would have won 2 WDC in the last 4 years. Only in the last race by a few points did they come 2nd. So yeah, done nothing at Ferrari… If you are ret@rded.

  • AGn

    and……… you r the dumbest

  • Ukwhite

    @Red Bull Cheaters: Alonso’s first championship was won against Kimi: equal 1st podiums with more DNFs for Kimi, 5 versus 3. With luck and a better car on his side, you ask yourself if Alonso won 2006 championship on merit and if he was a better driver than Kimi.

    Having this said, questioning two of Vettel championships, ‘cos Alonso shoulda woulda coulda, is plainly wrong applying the standards.

  • Butterfly


    Latin mentality you say? Could you please expand on that. And, while you’re at it, could you please tell me which countries have such people?

    Also, please tell me where you’re from, I want to check something.


  • Ukwhite

    @Butterfly: Joking… Monza and Suzuka celebrations describe maybe best what ‘latin’ really means. Or go hit somebody’s car in an Italian parking lot then go in China, USA or Brazil for the same experience. It will end completely different.

    A bit more serious, I do really believe that ‘the latin’ Massa is not the same guy after his car crash, last years with Ferrari thrashing him even more.

  • Forza Ferrari

    Schumi in his heyday was waaaaay better than what Alonso has ever been or ever will be. Alonso is an amazing driver, no doubt about it, but Schumi is on a different level. Schumi was the complete driver, blindingly fast in qualifying and blindingly fast in a race. And I don’t think there has ever been a more intelligent and thinking driver than Schumi, maybe only Alain Prost comes close.
    Massa, I respect you, but you’re just talking rubbish here.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Schuey beat senna is his rookie year. He dragged a crap box intouunbelievable positions and nearly took second in the championship in his first full year.

    In his prime, he was a smarter racer than his peers and untouchable in the wet. Senna, Clark and Schumacher were the kings of the wet in their prime.

    Noone stands above the rest, at the moment. I wish I had a time machine to put clark, fangio, stewart, schumacher, prost, senna, lauda and gilles villeneuve in equal cars in their prime.

  • sebolonso

    @Butterfly: Origin Europe both for me and latin people.During last decade Massa did adapt latin mentality as Ferrari employee. That is the Italian version. One more thing…it doesn’t matter where you come from. This site is possible to visit from where ever. Just internet connection is needed. If you wanna check something…go ahead…be my guest.

  • Laokannan

    If he’s so intelligent, then why he hasn’t won anything since 2006, despite driving for top teams.