I can’t help but think that the rumors of a signed, conditional, agreement with Robert Kubica to drive for Ferrari as early as 2011 has to be playing in the mind of current driver Felipe Massa. I would be overstepping my bounds to suggest that the rumors are the cause of Massa’s performance woes of late but one can wonder how this would affect the Brazilian.
It seems, according to the BCC, that Ferrari are to launch and investigation into the lack of pace Massa has been experiencing compared to his teammate Fernado Alonso. Cynics may say that clearly the lack of pace is just the driving skill of Alonso versus Massa and while there may be some truth to that, is it worth several 10ths of a second?
The investigation is centered on Massa’s uncomfortableness with the car and team boss Stefano Domenicali has suggested that this sentiment is also being offered by Alonso as well.
“Felipe started to complain about the level of grip of the car from the beginning and that never happened (before),” Domenicali commented.
“To be honest, Fernando was also saying this.”
Massa feels something has happened and he can’t put his finger on the reason yet:
“Fernando is a very good driver but something has happened to me,” stated Massa.
“Something is not going like I want, so I can’t do the lap time or drive the car like I want.
“This is something that we need to understand, and improve.
“It looks like something is not working out to give the grip. This is something that we need to understand, but I’m sure we will.”
This statement admits that Alonso is a good driver but Massa feels something has changed and that he should not be this far adrift of his teammate according to his talent. I would agree to point and also wonder what has changed for Massa or the Ferrari to make his this far off the pace.
The rumor mill will begin. Adding tot he Kubica rumors could be the emergence of Alonso as the clear number one at Ferrari. The Barrichello syndrome, as we like to call it, is certainly shaping up to suggest that some political actions could be at play at Ferrari. As a driver, I am not sure how comfortable I would be with the word “investigation” in referring to my lack of pace and this could mean that Domenicali will be turning over every stone, including Massa’s capacity, in the coming days.
Perhaps it is routine as Alonso has complained about the same thing but with McLaren leapfrogging the Scuderia, the team has to do something and quick. Ferrari was presumed to be the fastest car behind the Red Bull’s but it seems that McLaren’s amazing upgrade knights have done it again in a season without testing and Ferrari should feel put upon as they have failed to match McLaren’s technical development for the last year and a half now.
Time will tell but next weeks Monaco Grand Prix will hardly be a litmus test for Ferrari as anything can happen in that bath tub of a circuit. Perhaps Massa will do better but he has never placed higher than 3rd at the principality and something tells me that there are no less than four cars that will insure his mediocrity leaving Ferrari still in the investigation mode.