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Luca's great expectations // Yet more criticism of Felipe Massa's recent F1 performance

Published by Christine

It has long been obvious that Ferrari don't care for Felipe Massa as much as they used to. We knew that the hiring of Fernando Alonso was instantly going to push Massa down to second driver status, but the depth to which he has fallen in their estimations keeps on surprising me. Earlier in the year, we raised eyebrows at the Inside Ferrari Twitter feed when they proclaimed a qualifying disaster for Alonso because Massa finished ahead. When the roles were reversed though, in the exact same grid slots, it was a brilliant weekend for all involved.

Ouch.

Massa
MassaCredit: Pirelli

Today, Felipe has been talking about his 100th race for the team, and how special it will be when this occasion coincides with his home race in Brazil this weekend. However, team boss Luca di Montezemolo is not feeling quite so celebratory, and has in fact, issued another warning to his driver.

We have a contract with Fernando until 2016 and he's the best driver in the world. Massa's contract will run for the whole of next season. He's been with us for quite a few years.

Even if he didn't have such a great season or much luck, we can't question the ability of a driver who has always been fast and competitive.

Let's hope he can finish the season with a good result in Brazil. We expect great things from him in 2012, and then we'll decide how to proceed. Let's say he'll have to prove himself next season.

- Luca di Montezemolo

Every time they stab Massa in the side like this, I can't quite believe it - even though I really should be used to it by now. I'm sure he is. Fernando, he's the best driver in the world. Felipe, yea, well, he's also on the payroll.

Very ouch.

I like Massa, he's been entertaining over the years. I sang a song about him, I loved hearing Joe talk about their recent playful paddock banter, and I've loved the relationship between Felipe and Rob. Except, even that last part is struggling now. We see far more of Rob on the F1 race edits than we need to, but what we do see is concerning to say the least. This year, all I've seen Mr Smedley do is throw his hands up in disgust, get bleeped out for bad language, and shake his head in despair. Whatever special magic there was between everyone's favourite race engineer and his driver has either gone, or just isn't working anymore.

Earlier in the year, Rob floated the idea of moving upwards and onwards, stating that he doesn't want to be a race engineer all his life. With Massa seemingly going nowhere at the moment, and a team that clearly aren't behind him and are probably hoping to leave him behind somewhere instead, is it time that Massa did the same thing? He's got his race seat for next year sorted, but still has to convince the boss. After 100 races, you'd think he would have already been able to do that.