MARCH 18, 2016

Massa admits Williams not in title fight

Felipe Massa has acknowledged that Williams will not get involved in the title fight between Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016.

Although with a much smaller budget, the British team finished third overall for the past two years and had targeted a step forward this season.

But Robert Doornbos, a former F1 driver, thinks Williams' 2016 car is not a race winner.

"When I saw it in Barcelona it didn't look great," he told the Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal, "especially in the corners where it was very nervous and with understeer."

Doornbos thinks Williams can aim for fourth or fifth overall this year, and even team driver Felipe Massa acknowledges that no higher than third is realistic.

"I would like to be wrong but I think the title fight will be between Hamilton and Rosberg," Massa told Brazil's Globo.

"Our fight, it seems, will be with Red Bull and Force India, in the group behind Mercedes and Ferrari, but I am confident that we can develop," he added.

Another issue for 34-year-old Massa, as he begins his 14th consecutive season in F1, is that his Williams contract expires at the end of this year.

"I'm happy doing what I do and I want to continue in formula one for a few years," he told Spain's El Mundo.

"There are big changes in the rules next year and I feel like an important part of the team for these changes."

Doornbos thinks it is also a crucial year for Valtteri Bottas, who according to rumours only missed out on the move to Ferrari this year when he began to compare unfavourably to the former long-time Ferrari driver Massa.

"Bottas needs to be careful," said Doornbos, who drove for Minardi and Red Bull.

"He is missing some momentum in his career now so the Finn really needs to beat him (Massa) in order to save his career," he told Ziggo Sport Totaal.