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.”