SINGAPORE – Brazilian Felipe Massa, 32, began Friday free practice of the Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1, a new chapter in his racing career, the future ex-driver of the Scuderia Ferrari in which he devoted the last ten years of his life.
Massa is short for Scuderia since 2006, when he succeeded his compatriot Rubens Barrichello as Lieutenant Michael Schumacher. But it was a test pilot in 2003 and training at Sauber for three seasons (2002, 2004 and 2005), the Swiss team is equipped with Italian engines.
This is a Ferrari that the Brazilian won his 11 F1 victories, including six in the 2008 when he lost the world title to the last corner of the last lap of the last Grand Prix season in Brazil, facing the English Lewis Hamilton. One might even say he was world champion for a few seconds before his audience.
“I want to thank the team for all the victories and all the beautiful moments we spent together,” said Massa last week when he announced on the social networks that he would leave the Scuderia.
Not Easy To Let Felipe:
“It is not easy to let Felipe, I know him since he was in shorts,” said Stefano Domenicali, team manager of the Scuderia.
“For 2014, I want to find a team that will give me a competitive car to win other races and win a championship which is my biggest dream,” also announced Massa, who was the bearer of Marlboro America South, and therefore Philip Morris, the tobacco giant in the Scuderia.
As it is also the last survivor Brazilian driver in F1, after the departure of Barrichello and Bruno Senna, and like Brazil, even the great Ayrton orphan is still F1 fanatic, Massa has some arguments to survive in the paddock “Piranha Club” with a bonus influential agent, Nicolas Todt.
The son of Jean Todt, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) is responsible for finding a base to its driver, with two main tracks: Lotus, where it competes with German Nico Hulkenberg, more younger and faster than him, and maybe Sauber story full circle by returning to the stable of his F1 debut … if “Hulk” share in Lotus.
Over The Same:
The question is whether that will be enough. Because since its useless victory in Brazil in late 2008, and especially since his spectacular crash in 2009, testing the Hungarian GP, nice Felipe is not really the same. A suspension spring lost by Brawn GP compatriot Rubens Barrichello came hitting his helmet, more than 200 km / h.
Massa has not won since, merely assume the role a little dull team mate, often praised by his famous teammate Fernando Alonso. It is better this season, but will still be replaced in 2014 by Kimi Raikkonen’s teammate in 2007 and world champion on his arrival after the departure of Schumacher for his first retirement.
Felipe has already spoken on the coexistence of next year, a priori explosive, between Kimi and Fernando: “They will get into it,” said he predicted on Brazilian TV channel Globo. As for his own future, he has already outlined a plan B in case of failure of negotiations to stay in F1: the German DTM, preserve very popular Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
“Felipe just said he liked racing cars,” tempered Nicolas Todt Friday in the paddock in Singapore. He still seven races to show that he deserves to stay in F1, or at least to expand its track record: 11 wins, 15 pole positions, 36 podiums. It starts this weekend in Singapore.