As Scuderia Ferrari are in the middle of the preparations for the 2023 Formula 1 championship, the first season with new boss Frederic Vasseur at the top of the Ferrari Racing Department, former F1 driver Felipe Massa has urged the new team principal to make changes but that he must do it in the “right way” to allow the Italian side to make a further step forward and finally challenge for the F1 titles.
In 2022, Ferrari designed the F1-75 car based on the new technical regulation of Formula 1’s new era of ground effect aerodynamic concept. And the start of the season proved to be great, with two race victories for Charles Leclerc in Australia and Bahrain. Expectations were high after the positive start of 2022, but unfortunately it all went downhill from that stage.
Several poor strategic decisions from the Maranello pit wall, most notably in Monaco and Hungary, alongside power unit reliability problems, meant Ferrari lost precious points in the fight against Red Bull, who went on to easily win both titles despite the fact that the F1-75 proved to be the fastest car on the grid in the first half of the championship.
Mattia Binotto eventually paid the price for the disappointing outcome of the 2022 F1 campaign and handed in his resignation at the end of the season, leaving the Maranello team after 28 years.
Scuderia Ferrari will now be led by ex-Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur, who has a very difficult task ahead of him, associated with a lot of pressure.
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When asked to comment on the possibility of Charles Leclerc becoming world champion in 2023, Felipe Massa replied:
“First of all I think Charles is doing a fantastic job. He’s a great driver, he really deserves to be in a competitive car. He deserves to have the opportunity to fight for the championship as a driver. But I think they need to fix the problem. They need to improve the things that are not working – on the strategy but also on so many other things. They have mechanical issues at the beginning of the season. They had problems in the pit stop, many, many problems in the strategy. In the end, to win the championship, everything needs to be perfect. For me, when you have a season like that, it’s important to fix things in the right way. If you start to change things and you change for the wrong way, that is not good. So you need to change things in the right way and fix them quickly.” – Felipe Massa explained.
The former Ferrari man was also asked about the situation of former Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo, who have lost their place on the Formula One grid next year.
Mick Schumacher was not offered a contract extension by Haas and left the Ferrari Driver Academy ahead of 2023 aware that his best change of returning on the grid in the future would be to sign with Mercedes as reserve driver. On the other hand, Daniel Ricciardo make the decision not to sign with a smaller team and returned to Red Bull as a reserve driver.
Both of them are confident of being able to return on the grid as early as the 2024 Formula One season.
Felipe Massa pointed out that “for sure I don’t have that talk with the teams to understand how big is their chance to stay in Formula 1. But they are in the same situation that I was in when I finished Ferrari. So, until I didn’t have the opportunity to go to Williams, I didn’t know if I would stay in Formula 1 or not. So, it’s the same for them. They are in that position. The result is the most important thing. Maybe the other team is interested in having him if he wants to go. And Mick is the same. The only thing he needs to concentrate on is driving well. If he really drives well, maybe he can stay for another season. But Daniel is part of the Formula 1 world. You need to concentrate on your job and have good management, people to work for you.” – the former Scuderia Ferrari driver concluded.