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Felipe Massa calls for Formula 1 to study grip levels

Felipe Massa leads a pack of cars, Spanish GP 2014

Felipe Massa has urged Formula 1 to study redressing the balance between mechanical and aerodynamic grip in order to improve the quality of its racing.

The 2014 regulations have significantly reduced the levels of downforce on the cars this season, but the 2008 world championship runner-up reckons the sport should revert to the wider profile of tyres seen in the past.

"Formula 1 is very aerodynamic, so in my opinion we need to make a study to improve the mechanical grip, more than the aerodynamic grip," Massa said.

"It's possible. In the past we had massive tyres. We don't need tyres like that now, but increasing a bit [would be a good thing].

"The problem is they changed the rules to reduce the aerodynamic grip [for this season], but they keep the mechanical grip the same so nothing [has] changed.

"We're still struggling to be behind somebody."


Force India racer Sergio Perez recently criticised tyre supplier Pirelli for being too conservative with its compound choices this season and both Massa and Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi agreed the current tyres could be better.

"The tyre is something we can improve a lot - softer, but not for just one lap, a consistent tyre," added Massa.

Kobayashi added: "The tyres are too hard. I say they are stone, and when you have stone tyres it's so difficult.

"It's like driving on ice. The tyre can be made much easier for everybody.

"At the moment, due to the tyre we cannot push 100 per cent. If we push we just overheat them.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley agreed the current tyres are too hard, but conceded Pirelli had to be conservative when faced with such significant rule changes over the winter.

"Force India is one of the teams that voiced an opinion at the end of last year that we felt the compound choices were too hard considering the amount of downforce we were going to lose," Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"But you've got to respect Pirelli's position: they're on the frontline, and with all the torque [from the new engines] they've taken a conservative approach.

"Is that wrong in the first year? Probably not on balance, with two massive variables and what happened last year.

"As teams we've just got to live with it, but there's an opportunity to change it for next year."

Fernley said it wouldn't be necessary to increase the tyre size in F1, if the compounds were adjusted correctly.

"All things should be kept open, but I think if you adjusted the compound on the profile we have you'd have better grip," he added.

"Pirelli have done a good job and I can understand why they've been conservative.

"We should accept that and support them, and maybe encourage them to be a little bit more aggressive next year."

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