Massa ‘not surprised’ by Ferrari’s decline

Michelle Foster
Felipe Massa congratulates Carlos Sainz. Brazil November 2021

Felipe Massa congratulates Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz after the sprint qualifying. Brazil November 2021

Felipe Massa says Ferrari’s decline has not come as a surprise, with the team’s best years being their days with Michael Schumacher.

Although Ferrari have had the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel driving their cars, the team have not won a Drivers’ Championship title since Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 success.

That was followed by a 16th Constructors’ Championship title a year later, but that is where the championship success ends.

Although the Scuderia have added runner-up results in both the Drivers’ and teams’ competitions they have fallen short in the past decade, slumping as low as P6 in the 2020 season.

Massa, a former Ferrari driver, says that did not come as a shock to him.

“That did not surprise me,” reports him as having told Spanish daily AS. “Ferrari’s best years were with [Michael] Schumacher, then 2006, 2007, 2008.

“After 2009, Ferrari was no longer the team of the hour.

“There have been many changes and it is important to keep a cool head. That is difficult at Ferrari.”

He added: “Ferrari’s problem is not a driver problem, it’s a car problem, a team problem. Sainz and Leclerc form a very important driver pairing.”

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz embrace. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Last season, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc put together an improved campaign for Ferrari, up to third place in the Constructors’ while Sainz was P5 in the Drivers’ standings, best of the rest behind the Red Bull and Mercedes pairings.

That the Spaniard beat his Monégasque team-mate came as a surprise to many with Leclerc said to be the future of Ferrari, and Sainz questioned all too often in the build-up to his debut season as to whether he would be the number two.

He answered that on the track, taking four podium finishes to Leclerc’s one.

“Sainz works hard, he’s consistent and fast. He’s a very strong driver,” said Massa.

But whether he will ever win a title “depends on the car. He has the necessary consistency, but it’s not easy to get a team-mate like Charles Leclerc right at the start overtake. He has to do a perfect job for that.”

Looking ahead to this season and its all-new cars, Massa reckons Formula 1 will most likely again witness a Red Bull versus Mercedes battle for the big prizes.

But, he adds, Ferrari and McLaren will likely get involved.

“If there are big changes there can be surprises, although that’s difficult,” he said.

“I think the big teams will still be at the top, like Mercedes and Red Bull. But maybe also Ferrari or McLaren. Usually the big teams are more likely to start the year at the top.

“I hope that with the changes Ferrari can win again in 2022. I’m a Ferrarist. But it’s not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and a cool head to get good results.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Massa ‘not surprised’ by Ferrari’s struggles

Felipe Massa revealed he hasn't been surprised by Ferrari's decline since the late 2000s.