Having watched his old team Ferrari bounce back from last year’s troubles with a victory in Australia, Felipe Massa believes the Scuderia could win this year’s titles.
After a win-less 2016 campaign, Ferrari appear to have capitalised on this year’s new aerodynamic regulations and have designed a race-winning car.
That was shown in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel raced to the victory ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Although it was just one race, Massa says the result bodes well for the Scuderia.
He wrote in his Motorsport.com column: “I was very surprised by Ferrari. After the problems of 2016, many experts were convinced that the difficulties would have an impact on its hopes for this season.
“From the outside, Ferrari continued to develop its 2016 car until the end of the season, and it was suggested that this commitment would hold back its 2017 challenger. Instead, Ferrari has done a great job.
“The car was immediately competitive and I believe Ferrari is able to win the championship. The Mercedes is probably quicker by one or two tenths, but Sebastian Vettel has confirmed that he is right there and is able to exploit any error his rival makes – no matter how small.
“It is also good for the sport to have different names on the top step of the podium. Fans have more to talk about too, because obviously there are fewer discussions when one team keeps on winning.”
But while Massa is relishing seeing his old team at the top of the standings, he hopes Williams can capitalise on any chances that come their way.
“The gap to the big teams is quite large and it is clear the change of regulations has helped those who have more financial resources,” he said.
“Red Bull has not yet shown its full potential, being half a second adrift of Mercedes and Ferrari, while our gap is double that.
“I hope to be able to seize any opportunities that come my way – and I feel this year there may be a few chances.”