A “calmer” environment may have contributed to the return to form of former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.
In 2008, the Brazilian went wheel-to-wheel with Lewis Hamilton for the world championship, but a year later he was fighting for his life after the qualifying accident in Hungary.
Massa admitted to Spain’s El Confidencial that when he returned in 2010, he entered a period of form that was the “worst” in his entire racing career.
“A lot of people thought ‘well, ok Felipe, what a shame’,” revealed Pat Symonds, the technical boss at Massa’s new team, Williams.
“What we found at Williams is that we have awakened him,” he told F1’s official website, revealing that the Massa of late last season was “a Felipe that we haven’t seen in years”.
Some believe the reason for Massa’s resurgence is that while he struggled to deal with the pressure of being Fernando Alonso’s teammate, life at Williams is much calmer.
“Life at Williams is calmer, for sure,” the 33-year-old and 11-time grand prix winner admitted.
“You have to work as hard as at Ferrari, but it is simpler,” Massa explained.
“Only the racing matters; the other stuff not so much. So you have the mindset only to make the car better, to think about the racing.
“Ferrari is fantastic, strong, great, beautiful, but with so much pressure and so many things that are not important that all comes together at once.
“Here (at Williams), the only thing that matters is the work,” he added.
And Massa said he is not the only driver who has been struggling at Ferrari in recent history.
“I think the biggest problem was the mental side,” he admitted.
“I suffered a lot for a while, but eventually it got better, I improved that side and people have seen that Kimi (Raikkonen) struggles even more than I did.
“So maybe they (Ferrari) found someone who suffers (with it) even more.”
Massa hopes that, after he and Valtteri Bottas shone in the 2014 Williams, race wins and even a title bid might be possible this year.
“I hope,” he admitted.
“It is possible, but the car is still new and we have to see where all the others are — if there is a team that has invented something amazing.
“But with the work and the mentality of our team, who knows if this year I can fight again for wins and, who knows, for the championship,” said Massa. (GMM)