Massa: Better not to comment

Date published: February 5 2018

Felipe Massa has refused to be drawn into a spat with Lance Stroll after his former team-mate said the Brazilian was never his mentor.

Massa’s final season in Formula 1 saw him line up alongside Stroll at Williams, his 15 years of experience in sharp contrast to Stroll’s rookie status.

Stroll, though, says he never received any guidance from Massa.

“I don’t think I had any guidance from him last year, whatsoever,” he told Motorsport.com. “He was a team-mate like any other.”

He added: “I don’t know why people seem to think there was a coach or a mentor thing going on. There wasn’t; it was just him doing his job and me doing mine, and whoever did it better finished ahead.”

As for Massa’s thoughts on his former team-mate’s comments, those remain a mystery after he refused to be drawn into a war-of-words with the Canadian…

Stroll: ‘Massa was never my mentor’

Date published: February 4 2018

A defiant Lance Stroll has denied that veteran driver and Williams team-mate Felipe Massa mentored him throughout his rookie season in Formula 1.

At various stages of the 2017 campaign, Massa compared his relationship with Stroll to the one he had with Michael Schumacher in the early stages of his career at Ferrari.

But Stroll has now said there were not really any words of wisdom exchanged and it was just a normal partnership.

“I don’t think I had any guidance from him last year, whatsoever,” Stroll told Motorsport.com. “He was a teammate like any other.

“He was busy trying to drive as fast as he could, and I was trying to drive as fast as I could. That was it. There was nothing more to it than that.”

“I don’t know why people seem to think there was a coach or a mentor thing going on. There wasn’t; it was just him doing his job and me doing mine, and whoever did it better finished ahead.

“Whether my teammate is someone with 15 years’ experience or someone of one year’s experience, my approach doesn’t change.”

Stroll finished three points behind Massa in his debut campaign and 11th in the World Drivers’ Championship.

Massa ‘disappointed’ by lack of Brazilian F1 driver

Date published: February 3 2018

Felipe Massa is “disappointed” by the absence of any Brazilian drivers in this year’s F1 championship, saying the country needs to help youngsters into single-seater racing.

With Massa retiring at the end of the 2017 season, Brazil has been left without a single driver on this year’s grid.

One has to go back to 1969 for the last time there were no Brazilians in Formula 1 with Emerson Fittipaldi entering the sport in 1970.

He was followed by other race winners in Nelson Piquet, Aryton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Massa to name a few.

“Of course, I’m disappointed,” Massa told Auto Hebdo. “My country is an integral part of F1 with drivers like Senna, Piquet and Fittipaldi, and I am honored to have been part of it.

“What worries me is that there is no sign that another driver will arrive in the short term. The economic situation in Brazil plays a role, but it is not the only problem.”

The 2008 championship runner-up highlighted the lack of junior series in Brazil that can prepare young drivers for the step up from karting to single-seater racing.

“There is nothing that prepares them to go from karting to single-seater and no national series that can prepare them to go to Europe, which remains the place that offers the most opportunities to progress,” he said.

“I tried in 2010 with the Formula Future FIAT, but it did not work. Today, when I see Formula 4 in many countries, I think Brazil needs such a championship.

“We have a new president of the Brazilian Automobile Confederation, Waldner Bernardo de Oliveira, and I really hope that it will give a new impetus to do something for young people.”

Massa: Williams’ 2018 car ‘a lot more aggressive’

Date published: January 7 2018

Felipe Massa is hopeful that Williams can improve this season after they adopted an “aggressive” and “quite interesting” approach with their 2018 challenger.

Williams didn’t have the best campaign last year as they finished a distant fifth in the standings, more than 100 points behind fourth-placed Force India.

However, they are confident of taking a step forward this year as the design of the 2018 car is the first that has been overseen by technical boss Paddy Lowe.

Massa, who retired at the end of last season, says the 2018 entrant is quite different from the FW40.

“I saw the new car in the windtunnel and I saw so many changes that it looks quite interesting,” he told Autosport.

“Everybody is working. Maybe you get to the first race and everybody has so many different changes and everything in the car.

“The car looks a lot more aggressive. It looks a lot more different so I believe maybe they can improve.”

Massa, though, warns that Williams will not have it easy to move up the standings this year as the midfield battle will be a lot tighter as their rivals will also upped their game.

“You will have Renault that will improve,” the Brazilian said.

“You will also have McLaren so we need to see how much it can be this improvement.

“I need to see also what the drivers can do but I believe maybe the team can have a better car compared to what we had until now.”

Massa in no rush to join Formula E

Date published: January 5 2018

Felipe Massa is willing to bide his time over a move to Formula E as he would like to throw himself straight into a title challenge.

The Brazilian is exploring new ventures after retiring from Formula 1 at the second attempt following the conclusion of the 2017 season.

Massa has already gone back to karting and will take part in the opening race of the Brazilian Stock Car Championship in the coming months, but Formula E remains a longer-term project.

“For sure I’m trying to understand what is going to be the situation in this moment and I don’t know yet,” Massa said.

“I don’t think I will race in Formula E [this season] because it’s just starting now and most of the teams have their drivers.

“I want to race in the championship where I believe I can be on top, fighting for the races, for the victories and where I can be fighting for the championship, so I will prepare myself to find the right car, the right team and to start well in the season.

“So it [a move into Formula E] will not be straight away, it will be some preparation for the next championship and then for sure I have ideas of what to do in the meantime, coming to some races doing some events, maybe doing a few races in terms of working in television or something like that.”

However, Massa has not completely ruled out taking part in the some Formula E races this season, should the opportunity arise.

He added: “If I had an opportunity to do a few races in the right way then ok but I don’t know if I would have the opportunity.

“So, the championship is starting and for sure I’m not interested to take the seat of a driver just to be there. I think I need the championship and myself in the right way.”

Lowe explains Massa’s Williams departure

Date published: December 22 2017

Williams’ chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has revealed Felipe Massa was seeking assurances over 2018 too early for the team to commit to him.

The case of Lance Stroll’s mystery team-mate for next season will drag on until January, where the Grove-based team are expected to announce Sergey Sirotkin, Daniil Kvyat or Robert Kubica as the final driver to complete the 2018 grid.

Lowe said that Massa would have also been in contention, despite his initial plans to retire after the 2016 season, but the Brazilian wanted answers before Williams were in position to give them.

“With the timing of it all, Felipe needed a decision before Brazil,” Lowe told Motorsport.com. “We weren’t able to.

“He was still in the running and was a strong candidate. But we weren’t able to make that commitment at that point.

“So we agreed that he would drop out of considerations and retire from the team.”

Nethertheless, Lowe has praised Massa for his efforts and was a driver they could always rely on no matter what.

He added: “He was a great reference for [the performance of the FW40].

“You always need a good reference somewhere in the garage.

“Felipe has provided that reference at every race actually, and that’s been really valuable.

“There haven’t been days where he’s been lost. [He has always] been able to give a reference for Lance, and I think that’s also quite remarkable.”

Watch: Massa’s team-mate in karting brawl

Date published: December 18 2017

Ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa has said sorry after his team-mate Rodrigo Dantas sparked an on-track brawl at the 500 Milhas de Kart event.

Dantas and Tuka Rocha were racing behind leader Massa and repeatedly came into contact with each other before the latter hit Dantas off the track altogether and resulted in both karts heading for the tyre barrier.

They both got out of their karts and squared up to each other, then Dantas pinned Rocha to the floor and punched him.

Security guards came rushing in to end the fight and all karts of the two teams – MDG Matrix and Sambaiba Centerbus Racing – were disqualified.

Massa feels that was the right decision and says that the incident came after hours of bubbling tension.

“From what I saw, the whole team should be disqualified,” Massa said.

“But that did not happen, and what happened next was a war inside the track.

“For me, this is very sad and sadder still to see my team within that. It was not my decision – I was driving the [leading] kart – but I apologise to everyone for what happened, because I have never seen anything like it in my career.

“The competition is inside the track, but never in this way.”

Massa has just recently been appointed the new head of the Go Karting Commission by the FIA.