As Ferrari look ahead to a new era under Fred Vasseur, Felipe Massa has warned the Frenchman that he has to make changes but that he must do it in the “right way”.
Last season Ferrari took their first steps into Formula 1’s new era of ground effect aerodynamic cars with two wins in the first three races. Flags went up outside the Maranello headquarters and the Tifosi dusted off a spot on the mantelpiece for the Drivers’ Championship title.
And then it fell to pieces.
Blighted by reliability issues, most notably with the engine, strategy errors also began to creep into Ferrari’s game. It meant both drivers were out of the championship race when Charles Leclerc crashed in France, team boss Mattia Binotto’s comments about winning every one of the last 10 races failing to yield even one win.
Binotto paid the price, handing in his resignation after the season, with Ferrari announcing Alfa Romeo team boss Vasseur as his replacement. Vasseur has a few pressing jobs to do according Massa.
Asked about the possibility of Leclerc winning the title, he told swiatwyscigow.pl: “First of all I think Charles is doing a fantastic job. He’s a great driver, he really deserves to be in a competitive car. He deserves to have the opportunity to fight for the championship as a driver.
“But I think they need to fix the problem.
“They need to improve the things that are not working – on the strategy but also on so many other things. They have mechanical issues at the beginning of the season. They had problems in the pit stop, many, many problems in the strategy.
“In the end, to win the championship, everything needs to be perfect. For me, when you have a season like that, it’s important to fix things in the right way.
“If you start to change things and you change for the wrong way, that is not good. So you need to change things in the right way and fix them quickly.”
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The former F1 driver also weighed in on Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo, two drivers who won’t be on the 2023 grid.
While Schumacher was dropped by Haas after the 2022 season, signing as Mercedes’ reserve driver, Ricciardo make the call not to race and will be the Red Bull reserve.
Both are hoping, or at least thinking as is the case of Ricciardo, of being back on the grid come the 2024 season.
Massa said: “For sure I don’t have that talk with the teams to understand how big is their chance to stay in Formula 1. But they are in the same situation that I was in when I finished Ferrari.
“So, until I didn’t have the opportunity to go to Williams, I didn’t know if I would stay in Formula 1 or not. So, it’s the same for them. They are in that position.
“The result is the most important thing. Maybe the other team is interested in having him if he wants to go. And Mick is the same.
“The only thing he needs to concentrate on is driving well. If he really drives well, maybe he can stay for another season. But Daniel is part of the Formula 1 world.
“You need to concentrate on your job and have good management, people to work for you.”