Felipe Massa has been a presence on the Formula One grid since 2002, driving three seasons for Sauber and seven for Ferrari with a year as their test driver in 2003. Last season he reached two major milestones - 100 races for Ferrari and 150 Grand Prix starts. His past team-mates include world champions Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, and Kimi Räikkönen, as well as Fernando Alonso who he currently partners at Ferrari. He has had a mixed season, as he faces the added pressure of retaining his seat for 2013, and currently lies 13th in the championship – 106 points behind championship leader Alonso. He has not enjoyed pole positions, wins, or podiums this season, although he did pick up his season’s best result at the British GP, coming home in fourth place and looking ‘racey’ throughout the weekend. Here we take a closer look at his F1 career, his season so far and what the fans say!
Sauber (2002, 2004-2005)
Felipe Massa joined the grid in 2002 with the Sauber team and over the course of the three seasons he was with them he finished in the points fifteen times and accumulated 27 points overall. He was replaced by the team at the end of the 2002 season and he spent the following year testing with Ferrari, before returning to Sauber for 2004 and 2005.
Massa has been at Ferrari for the past seven seasons, partnering the likes of Schumacher, Räikkönen, and now Alonso. In his first racing season with the team he finished the drivers’ championship in third picking up two wins and seven podiums on the way. In 2007 he came fourth in an incredibly close championship, before fighting with Lewis Hamilton for the 2008 championship, which he narrowly lost out on at a dramatic Brazilian GP. That was his best chance to date when, in 2009, he suffered a horrible accident when a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s car hit him on the head at the Hungarian GP. He sat out the rest of the season before returning in 2010. He came sixth in the championship in 2010 and 2011, while his team-mate fought for the championship.
F1 Career Summary
Pole Positions: 15
Fastest Laps: 14
Career Points: 605
Best Championship Finish: 2nd
What the fans like
- He is a “cool guy”
- He’s back!
- He is good on Twitter – his pictures are great, he can be funny
- His family – they have a regular presence in the paddock
- His relationship with Rob Smedley
- He hasn’t let his world champion team-mates slow him down/visibly get to him – has been on par with the likes of Schumacher and Räikkönen
- He is fast, and came so close to winning the championship
- He isn’t emotionless
- His passion when he wins, especially at Brazil, surrounded by home fans
- The infamous “Stay cool Felipe Baby” radio message at the Malaysian GP in 2009
- He hasn’t been the same since 2009
Massa has shown flashes of speed and fight this season, can he become more consistent to score more points to move himself up the championship, and help Ferrari in the fight for the constructors? Can he get back on the podium or even take a win? If he continues his British GP form, then you could say a podium isn’t far off!