Massa under more scrutiny in Montreal

Author : pantisocracy2000
Publish Date : 2021-04-07 09:08:20


Massa under more scrutiny in Montreal

The Monaco Grand Prix was a bit of a turning point for Ferrari's under-performing Felipe Massa.

For the first time this season he looked comfortable with the car and was a match for his teammate Fernando Alonso for much of the weekend, finally finishing sixth. But is this all too little too late? Can he maintain that momentum at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend?

'I definitely feel more confident now,' Massa said on the Ferrari website post-race.



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In the opening five rounds of the season, though, the Brazilian failed to finish higher than ninth, scoring only two points for the oldest and most successful team on the grid.

It is amazing to think that less than four years ago he was world champion for a few seconds.

At the title-deciding 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix it looked as though he had won the championship only for McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to pass a struggling Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap and grab the four points he needed to take the crown.

However, Formula One is an unforgiving environment. You are only as good as your last race. And if your teammate is comprehensively outperforming you it is clearly time to move on.

Right or wrong, it has been the same since the birth of motor racing -- every team on the grid needs two drivers capable of getting the maximum out of the car.

So what does Ferrari do? The president of the Italian manufacturer, Luca di Montezemolo, recently threw a doppio espresso over rumors that Sauber's Sergio Perez would step into Massa's seat this season by saying that you needed much more experience than the young Mexican has in order to pilot one of the famous red cars.

Perez is a member of Ferrari's young driver program and it would make sense for him to join the team if Massa is given the push, especially after his stunning performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

A move midseason though? Ferrari has been there quite recently and had mixed results.

Ferrari chief coy over Massa future

Back in 2009, when Massa had that terrible accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the team needed a driver it could 'plug in' to support Kimi Räikkönen.

Test driver Luca Badoer stepped in for two races, but after failing to score a point he was thrown out of the seat to make way for Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella.

Things did not go too well for him either. In the last five races of that season his best finish was ninth. The same as Massa in the first five races of this year.

It is not just Perez that has been touted as one of the wolves circling Felipe Massa's garage. Paul di Resta and even Kamui Kobayashi have also been named as possible replacements.

If Massa's form -- which I do not think has been the same since he was asked to move over for Alonso in the 2010 German Grand Prix -- does not improve, then he will no doubt be replaced.

But who will want to go there? Yes, it is Ferrari. Every driver wants to race a car that has the Prancing Horse embossed on the steering wheel, but your teammate will be Alonso.

By the time the new driver arrives the Spaniard will be so well established in the company that he will be -- in everyone's minds -- the number one driver.

And who wants to act as a number two? Rubens Barrichello did that job for Michael Schumacher when he was at Ferrari and the only reason he stayed there was because the number two Ferrari was faster than any other car on the grid.

No one, bar Schumacher, enjoyed watching him having to support 'Il Grande Michael' though. Whatever happens, I just hope Massa finds the form that made him untouchable in so many races in 2007 and 2008. A nicer man you will not meet.

It is not just Felipe Massa's seat that's been put under the spotlight. Di Resta has been mentioned as a possible replacement to Schumacher at Mercedes if the seven-time world champion retires (again) at the end of this season.

There is always talk of Mark Webber retiring and either of the two Toro Rosso drivers could make worthy contenders for the 'Sebastian Vettel understudy' role -- as could Red Bull reserve driver Sebastien Buemi.

All the possible outcomes will be forgotten when the lights go out in Montreal this weekend though.

It is a track with plenty of long straights and everyone will be looking to run a car with minimum drag -- much like at Monza -- in order to eek out the best top speed.

However, as we all know, the tires will be the things grabbing the headlines.

Who will get the right balance and make use of the narrow performance window of the Pirelli rubber? With six winners from six races I am just glad I am not a betting man...

Right or wrong, it has been the same since the birth of motor racing -- every team on the grid needs two drivers capable of getting the maximum out of the car.

#newsupdatenow



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