Felipe Massa is 10th in the Formula 1 drivers’ standings
Felipe Massa says that changing the driver lineup at Williams F1 would send the team in a worse direction after Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have been linked to taking Massa’s seat for 2018.
Massa, a Formula 1 veteran with 15 seasons under his belt, is a consistent points finisher — though he has gone 43 races since his last podium in 2015.
With title sponsor Martini requiring that the team field a driver over the age of 25, Massa fits the bill perfectly for both team and sponsor, so you can understand the frustrations of the 36-year-old Brazilian.
“I think it’s frustrating that the team is trying to go for a direction that can really be much worse for the team than keeping the same (drivers),” said Massa. “Lance (Stroll) is growing a lot, and to be honest I’m really doing a great job with my driving, so I think the team has a direction that it can just be positive to keep it the way it is. If the team changes something, they can pay more than it costs to keep me.”
Massa, however, has scored just 34 points this season and is on a pace to have his worst F1 season in that category since 2009.
“I think the team knows 100 percent what I am able to do,” Massa said. “Where I am in the classification in the championship now I am not because of my mistakes, I am because of things that happened in three races, that I lost maybe 30 points. If I had the points that I’m supposed to have, not from my mistakes during the season, I would have been maybe fighting very close to the Force India guys.”
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Working against Massa is the sheer amount of money that a driver is required to bring to a team. With costs continuing to spiral into the stratosphere, Williams may find it difficult not to switch Massa out for a driver who brings a bigger bank balance.
“Unfortunately, money is part of this game, unfortunately not in the right way, for the professional drivers, for the professional teams,” said Massa. “That’s why I think if Williams keeps the direction they have now, they are behaving like a professional and top team — if not, they’re thinking about different things.”
After retiring from last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix — his retirement already announced — Massa famously wrapped himself in the Brazilian flag and, with tears in his eyes, strode down the pit lane to his family while mechanics of all teams — most notably those from his former team, Ferrari — applauded him.
If this year really is to be his last, Massa says that he would prefer to know before his home Grand Prix on Nov. 12.
“I think it will be better for the team, it will be better for me, (to know) just before Brazil,” Massa said. “I’m totally motivated to carry on, I feel like I’m taking the best out of the car, working really well with the team, and that’s what I believe.
“For sure, if I don’t know in Brazil I will try to enjoy my last race at home. It doesn’t mean I have to say ‘bye bye everybody,’ If I need to wait one or two weeks, it won’t change my life completely.”