I’ll be honest, I think Ferrari made the right call. They had to make a change in drivers and Felipe Massa has had the chance of a lifetime. It just didn’t work out. Ironically the last race Felipe Massa won with Ferrari was in 2008…the last year Kimi Raikkonen won a race with Ferrari. After 8-years, Massa’s time had come. He had survived the culling of Schumacher and Raikkonen and has not been able to make the most of the loyalty Ferrari have shown him. Much of which may not be of his doing to be honest as 2009 nearly ended his life, let alone his career.
That isn’t to say that he is not a terrific driver and swell guy. I believe both of those words could be used to describe the Brazilian. He is affable, gregarious and a real team player. I tend to think of Massa from the old days as a really good team player at Sauber and the way he handled himself on the podium in Brazil in 2008 when he learned he had lost the title by the slimmest of margins. Stoic!
All of this being said, many fans and several F1 journalists are claiming that Massa has a great chance to move to Lotus F1 to replace Kimi Raikkonen. A swap if you will. If I’m honest, I can’t see that happening at all and I think Lotus would be daft to make such a move.
Nico Hulkenberg would be my choice at lotus F1 and I truly believe the German can outpace Massa any day of the week at this point in their careers. I also believe Paul di Resta, Jules Bianchi, Valteri Bottas, Heikki Kovalainen, Kamui Kobayashi, Davide Valsecchi, Jerome D’Ambrosio and even Pastor Maldonado might be a better choice for Lotus F1.
Maldonado would bring petrol dollars with him…a lot of cash (if the team need cash right now, this is the right call regardless of what you think about his driving style). Hulkenberg is arguably the best of the rest. Jerome, Timo, Kamui and Heikki are all experienced F1 drivers who were there or thereabouts and were simply missing the right car to prove it.
The point is, Massa has had his time in F1. Does he warrant a ride at Williams, Sauber, Marussia or Caterham? Maybe but those teams don’t have the cash to pay him and I suspect his chances are slim in F1 for 2014. Felipe is a great guy and the world of motorsport needs great guys…it just may not be in F1.
I would be astonished if Lotus F1 chose to take the driver Ferrari poached Raikkonen for. Shocked and amazed.