Sunday, August 07, 2005

Has FERRARI chosen wisely? 

So Ferrari has picked Felipe Massa to replace Rubens Barrichello in its 2006 line-up. Hardly a surprise since the Brazilian Sauber driver has been linked with the world champions for several years.

But, we asked you, is it the right choice?

Massa has never finished on the podium and has not always shown the consistency required to be a front-running racer. On the other hand he has generally got the better of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve at Sauber this year.

Has Ferrari made a mistake? Below is a selection of your responses.

Why Massa? As a life-long Ferrari fan, he's never really impressed me enough to think he'd be a great Ferrari driver. Personally I think the decision was Marlboro's, not Ferrari's. Brazil being one of their biggest markets (and one of the major reasons they originally chose Rubinho) was probably the clincher for them...
Jason Coles

If they want another number 2 driver then that’s what they've got. If they want a race winner or someone who will push Schumacher to the limit then they haven’t chosen wisely.
Vishal Pitamber

Until Michael Schumacher leaves Ferrari they are never going to pick a top driver to partner him. Massa is probably just as good as Barrichello. He will bring home consistent points but not challenge the German.
Martin Reynolds

Massa I agree is a good driver and all he needs is a better car in order to further his career. He has already shown that he can produce top-class results in a Sauber and I wish him all the best in his new car.
Christopher Hampshire

There is an age-old saying that it is not what you know but who you know. We all have our own opinions. Mine is there are better test drivers out there – a.k.a. Wurz, de la Rosa – who obviously don’t know the right people.
Mark Connolly

I think Ferrari's choices would always be limited to those drivers who don't mind being an assistant to Schumacher. No top driver will get a fair crack at Ferrari until Schumacher goes.
Patrick Nethercoat

It’s great that Massa has finally been given a shot at the big time. He deserves it, considering he has comprehensively beaten former world champion Villeneuve this year! Whether he will have the pace to beat Schumacher at Ferrari, though, remains to be seen!
Matt Hook

Would be interesting to see whether Michael is happy with this decision as he used to say that Felipe is just like the boys at school you want to kick during the break. I personally think that Ferrari's choice of Felipe is not a good move.
Hendro Adrian
Jakarta, Indonesia

Massa is probably one of the most underrated drivers in F1 at the moment. It could be hard for him to shine in Schumacher's shadow, but I believe he clearly has the potential to be a true front-runner.
Aaron Stevens

Dear oh dear, it seems politics have once more lead to Ferrari making a decision that probably won't benefit the team in the long run. Does anyone remember back to 1992-1993 when Ferrari was in dire straits, making bad decisions, making strange driver choices and hiring and firing like it was going out of fashion? The Ferrari era is over now for another 'cycle' and let’s watch as the Scuderia fall away. Once Michael leaves that will be it, the team will fall into disarray.
Dave Handy

You replace one Brazilian lapdog with another when the old one gets a bit unsettling…
Renell Lope
Sydney, Australia

Yes and No.
Yes, because Massa is still young and hasn't driven for a top team and will not get any ideas above his station, so will be the perfect number 2 even after Schumi leaves.
No, there are plenty of young drivers on the grid with more talent than Massa and this is a clear sign that Ferrari are not confident of returning to dominating the sport.
Markus Barr
Northern Ireland

I can understand Ferrari getting rid of Barrichello but can't think of a single reason they opted for Massa. Perhaps Massa's manager (a certain Mr. Todt) could enlighten us…

I hope Massa has more Latin aggression than Rubens ever did. I would like to see him intimidate Michael, a la Senna/Prost at McLaren. That alone would liven up F1 for me.
Ranbir Sagoo

I'm not sure about Felipe – while he has proven that he can achieve good results I think that it sounds like a bit of a stopgap. Personally I would love to see Valentino Rossi have a go as I see him as a possible hero-type replacement to Schuey when he does retire and he would be a great lift to the sport.
Graeme Palmer

For me the more interesting comparison is not Massa/Villeneuve but Massa/Fisichella. He was comprehensively outdone by the Italian last season. Then consider Fisi/Alonso or Villeneuve/Button (BAR 2003) or Button/Fisi (Benetton 2001). That leaves real question marks over Massa for me. However, Ferrari have clearly believed in him for a long time. Are they looking for someone to ultimately replace Schu or someone to replace Rubens until they can secure Kimi or Alonso long-term?

I think Ferrari have chosen wisely, as not only is Massa a very good driver but he also is young and his driving has matured a lot in the past couple of years. He has plenty of time to improve and help Ferrari win again.
Ben Amey

I think this is more a case of who you know and not what you know. There are better drivers than Felipe, but they don't have a manager who is the son of Jean Todt.

Massa has one year to prove that Ferrari have picked him on the basis of his potential performance and feedback abilities and not on the basis that he is managed by Jean Todt's son. At the end of the year, if he is not up to standard, then there will be other experienced drivers coming to the end of their contracts. If he can perform well, especially under this sort of pressure, then he will be a good option for Ferrari. It's all up to him.
Carol Guy

Massa has never looked like a boy wonder in the Raikkonnen mould to me, but evidently Ferrari can see something I can't. Certainly he's never going to be 'a safe pair of hands' in the way that steady old number 2 Barrichello was.
Robin Whitmarsh
Poole, Dorset

Rubens should have moved years ago, when it became clear his role was to help Michael. He sacrificed his best years to help others – Oxfam would be proud! Felipe is not a top-drawer driver, and may not be in a position to help the No. 1 driver.

Massa is not of the Raikkonen or Alonso quality which would make him a strange choice for a top team, but if they want a clear number two then someone like Massa is the man for the job.
Chris Pattison

Absolutely the right guy. Massa has blown away his 'erratic' tag this season. He has been fast and consistent in every race. He has a great natural ability for racing and I am looking forward to him challenging for podiums and possibly wins next season. Brawn/Todt/Sauber know what they're doing!
Stephen Kent

I feel this highlights Schumachers continued power when it comes to driver choice and thus gives a hint that he isn't planning to retire for a while yet! Schumi doesn't like having a respected racer as a number two.
Ben Mallinson

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