Mar.22 (F1 Media) Felipe Massa’s former mentor at Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, leapt to the Brazilian’s defence during Thursday’s FIA Press conference in Sepang, insisting that the discrepancy between Massa’s performance in Australia and that of fifth-placed Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso was a pointer to deeper issues than poor driving.
“If I look at all the winter testing I think it was very clear that the two drivers were very close together,” said Schumacher. “If you look at the optimum lap time achieved in the Barcelona tests, it’s again very close. So to see the big difference that we saw in Melbourne, I can only assume there must have been something not right for him.
“He’s been around for so long,” he added. “He [was] fighting for the championship in 2008, he’s always been up front, so I don’t see any reason why he should not be capable of doing so in the future. I trust he will do so, and that the team will do their utmost to give him the support that he needs.”