Felipe Massa fears for the future of Brazilian drivers in Formula 1

Felipe Massa fears for Brazil's relevance in Formula 1 amid his struggle to stay on the grid for 2014 and the dearth of Brazilians in top feeder series

Felipe Massa fears for the future of Brazilian drivers in Formula 1

The outgoing Ferrari driver is his nation's sole representative in F1 at present, and he thinks it is essential that he or a compatriot has a drive next year.

"I think it is very important," said Massa when asked by AUTOSPORT about the value of having a Brazilian racing in F1.

"We've always had successful Brazilian drivers in Formula 1. It's really a shame what's happened in the last few years.

"I'm now the only Brazilian driver in Formula 1 and I still haven't got a contract for next year.

"It would be a big loss for Brazil if I'm not driving, or if another Brazilian driver isn't racing.

"I hope I can still be here and still fight for my country."

Massa believes the country's problem goes beyond F1 and into the leading junior categories.

"It's a problem that started a long time ago," he said.

"When I moved to Europe from Brazil in 2000, in every category in Europe there was a Brazilian fighting for the championship.

"All the important categories were full of Brazilians. We even had a team in Formula 3000 [the Petrobras Junior Team run as a Super Nova offshoot].

"Now Brazil is not in any category. You don't see Brazilians fighting for championships anymore.

"At the moment Felipe Nasr is the only one who has a little chance to get to Formula 1.

"Apart from him, I don't see any others that have the talent and the opportunity."

Pastor Maldonado's impending departure from Williams is set to allow Massa to switch to the British squad next season.

Williams is likely to get extra sponsorship from Brazil if it completes a deal with Massa, but he emphasised that any deal should not be regarded as him becoming a 'pay driver'.

"In Formula 1 I have always been a professional," said Massa.

"I've always had my salary. I've never brought money to race. Nothing is changing on that.

"I won't sign or talk with a team if the first thing we talk about is sponsors.

"It doesn't mean I won't help find sponsors, but it must be in a professional way."

BRAZILIANS IN F1: 2000 VS 2013

When Massa first came to Europe to race in 2000, Brazil was represented in F1 by Rubens Barrichello at Ferrari, plus Sauber's Pedro Diniz and BAR's Ricardo Zonta, while Luciano Burti made a one-off Jaguar appearance when Eddie Irvine was unwell in Austria.

It was a particularly good year for Brazil in top junior series. While Massa conquered the Formula Renault Eurocup, Bruno Junqueira became F3000 champion for Petrobras Jr (pictured), with compatriot and future GT star Jaime Melo as his team-mate, and Enrique Bernoldi also a frontrunner for the Helmut Marko-run Red Bull Junior team.

Antonio Pizzonia won the British Formula 3 title, following in the footsteps of Mario Haberfeld two years earlier.

In 2013, Carlin driver Nasr is Brazil's only GP2 representative. One podium for Andre Negrao was the limit of Brazil's Formula Renault 3.5 success this year, while Formula 3's top Brazilian Pipo Derani took three podiums and eighth in the European standings.

shares
comments
Kimi Raikkonen absence fuels doubts over Lotus F1 team relationship
Previous article

Kimi Raikkonen absence fuels doubts over Lotus F1 team relationship

Next article

Lewis Hamilton sure Mercedes could win in F1 without Ross Brawn

Lewis Hamilton sure Mercedes could win in F1 without Ross Brawn
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best Plus

The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best

GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV pays a visit to designer Jens Munser, to observe the production of Mick Schumacher’s special helmet for the Miami Grand Prix. What follows is some fascinating insight on the mindsets of Mick’s dad Michael, and family friend Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2022