Regardless if you are a #1 or #2 driver, circumstances dictate that a teammate must maximize his performance to either beat his fellow team driver or support his efforts by taking away valuable points from his competitors. In the case of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, taking away points from Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel hasn’t been something the Brazilian has excelled at in 2012 and that hasn’t helped his teammate Fernando Alonso.
That isn’t the issue at hand as I was reading Massa’s comments at AUTOSPORT today in which the beleaguered driver suggests that Alonso needs him:
“Sure, Fernando needs me,” said Massa. “In a championship like this, it is very important to have both cars scoring points.
“This year it is so competitive between many drivers, many teams, so you know how important every result is. It is a championship that maybe one point can be enough to win or lose.”
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Massa is right, Alonso needs all the help he can get but if Germany (or the last 2 years) is any indication, Massa is in no position to help and that’s been my concern for the last two years. The fact is, the days of being upset over firmly being placed as the #2 at Ferrari are long gone. Massa isn’t there to win titles any more, he’s there to be the best #2 driver he can be and unfortunately he isn’t doing a bang-up job of it as of late.
Massa is capable. That is one thing I do know and it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t been able to deliver. He wants to deliver and is capable of delivering but simply isn’t. If you look back to Ferrari when Schumacher was there, Rubens Barrichello had a long shelf-life at the team because he delivered.
Barrichello can look back and offer comments of regret for playing the #2 role but the fact is the Brazilian won a lot of races and had a tremendous life while being shown the heels of Schumacher. Either you mentally accept that or you don’t. Rubens accepted it at teh time and now laments it apparently.
What will Massa do? If Massa isn’t a role driver and isn’t comfortable in his new skin as the support program for Alonso, he’d be much better somewhere else and that includes Indycar etc. Ferrari want a clear #2 that finishes on the heels of Alonso and Massa’s mid-field performance isn’t helping.
Based on Massa’s comments, he is up for his support role mentally or at least verbally but is his performance? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.