Massa: Clever changes, not danger


"Make cars quicker" and "F1 needs more danger" are some of the headlines that have been bandied out, but Felipe Massa has become the voice of reason, saying the sport needs "intelligent changes".

Formula 1 is going through a difficult period at the moment as current drivers, fans, pundits and F1 personalities all feel the current set-up is too predictable and boring, with some of them calling for radical changes.

Their answer to improving the show? Make it a free for all in terms of development with engineers allowed to build quicker cars.

However, Williams driver Massa has been on the scene for more than 10 years and he warns that making cars won't necessarily lead to more entertaining racing.

"I understand it’s interesting to make the cars quicker, but if you just put the car five seconds quicker and you see even less overtaking than there is now people will complain anyway," the Brazilian said.

"I want the cars as quick as we can, but the change needs to be intelligent. The change doesn’t need to be just to put the cars quicker on the track because if you are three seconds quicker on the television nobody understands.

"Not just putting a lot of downforce on the car. So the car will be quicker, but we will brake later so maybe the overtaking will be more difficult. The change needs to for what people want to see. People want to see competition. People want to see overtakes and fights. That needs to be the change."

Motorsport fans tends to remember the 80s and 90s fondly as they believe the competition was a lot closer, but they forget that Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost often dominated. In 1988 the duo won 15 of the 16 races with McLaren while Prost started in pole position in 13 of the 16 races in 1993 with Williams.

"I remember when it was 20 years of Ayrton [Senna]’s crash, in Brazil they were showing all the races and I was watching most of the races he did. It was a lot worse than how it is now," he argued.

"The difference in qualifying [from pole] was maybe one-and-a-half seconds to third [on the grid]. They were lapping the third every race.  So the difference was a lot bigger than how it is now, but when you speak to the people they say ‘the past is amazing’.

"Go back and watch [that era] and then compare to now. People need to try to not look in the past without remembering so well."

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen and three-time World Champion Niki Lauda, who is the current Mercedes boss, also felt that the sport has "lost its risk factor" and "needs to be a little more dangerous".

Massa, though, begs to differ.

"The past looks more interesting also because the track was a lot worse. It was a lot bumpier," he added. "So when you see the cars driving with the bumps it looks different and more difficult. But now everything is more for our world. Everything is more safe, the tracks are different. So I don’t believe the FIA will change the track to make it more dangerous because I don’t think it’s correct.

"When I see Kimi [Raikkonen] or Niki Lauda saying it needs to be more dangerous, I don’t agree.

"I just believe it needs to be better. There needs to be a very important study to make things more intelligent – not just to change because in Formula 1 we always have a lot of change. But maybe sometimes change is not changing anything."