Honda F1 website

JUNE 17, 2005

Massa and Ferrari

It is not rocket science to suggest that should Rubens Barrichello decide that the time is right to move on from Ferrari and take advantage of an offer to be a team leader with another F1 team, Ferrari would probably put Felipe Massa into the second car. Massa is managed by Nicolas Todt, son of Jean Todt, and was a Ferrari test driver in 2003. Massa has had links with the Todts since 2001 when he won the European Formula 3000 series at the age of 20. That connection helped to ease him into Sauber in 2002 but while it was clear that he had raw speed, it was not clear that he had the control to be a top F1 driver. A year at Ferrari as a test driver did him a great deal of good and today Massa is ready for the big time. His performances with Sauber this year have been universally good and he has put Jacques Villeneuve into the shadows.

The big question is what Barrichello will decide to do. There are signs that the wheels are coming off the great Ferrari winning machine with talk of mass retirements down at Maranello, when Michael decides to call it day. Schumacher continues to deny that he is planning retirement but the language of the press conference is not matched by the language of the race car. There are signs that Michael is now reaching the phase that all drivers get to eventually where looking for the edge is less attractive than it was when they were 25.