F1: Number 1 driver not Ferrari’s ‘top priority’ – Massa

(GMM) Reliability is Ferrari’s “top priority” rather than the nomination of a clear number 1 driver for the 2022 drivers’ title battle.

That is the view of Felipe Massa, who admits he was clearly the Maranello team’s number 2 at the tail end of the ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era.

Felipe Massa

“The roles were clear in 2006,” the Brazilian, now 41, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Then came Kimi Raikkonen. We agreed with him that before the race in Spa we can fight, and then the one who is behind helps his teammate,” Massa revealed.

He said those examples are relevant today, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both in the top 4 drivers in 2022 but also clearly behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“I don’t know what the situation is now, but at the moment, for Ferrari, reliability should be a top priority,” said Massa, days after Spaniard Sainz’s spectacular engine failure in Austria.

“First they need to deal with this before assigning the number 1,” he added.

“Perhaps next time it will be Leclerc who is out and Sainz will win. So it’s too early to assign roles, because even in Maranello they don’t know who will get to the finish line in the next race.”

The good news for Ferrari is that some favorable circuits for the red car are now looming.

“Red Bull and Ferraris are very evenly matched,” former F1 driver Christijan Albers told De Telegraaf.

“That’s nice to see as they are two cars with two different philosophies. Now high downforce is with Ferrari and high speed is with Red Bull.

“I see Paul Ricard as clearly a circuit for Ferrari, despite the two straights. I also see Hungary as a Ferrari circuit, but then we go to Spa where Red Bull should be very strong.”

As for Massa’s concerns about the number 1-number 2 dilemma, Albers thinks Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto is handling it “reasonably well” publicly.

“On the other hand, they lost so many points with Leclerc,” he added. “Verstappen also lost a lot of points but with Leclerc it was also stupid tactics and strategies.”


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