Felipe Massa has defended his team and car against suggestions that the design of the F2007 is unusual and not a good idea. Rival engineers have expressed their surprise at the extension of the wheelbase by about 85 mm – the current feeling is that shortening the cars’ wheelbase is the best way to deal with the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
Massa said on his website, “It’s not important what people outside the team say. What is important is what we achieve on-track. The new car is the work of the same people who produced the 2006 car so why should they not be able to do a good job again? They have not forgotten how to design a car in just a few weeks!
“If the car looks different to last year’s, then it is because we felt that was the way to go, and at the moment it is working very well.”
Massa goes on to comment that without Schumacher and Brawn, the culture within Ferrari has changed. “For sure,” he said. “We will need to get used to working with some new people coming into the team and we will have to adapt. But for now, it is all going smoothly.”
Meanwhile, Schumacher himself has denied suggestions his new role within Ferrari will be to mentor the drivers. Over the weekend, an Italian newspaper claimed that Schumacher was set to become either the new Ferrari team boss or the driver coach. However, another magazine has Schumacher on record saying “The drivers have not asked me for advice.” He then added he was at the Spanish session to catch up with the cars’ progress.
Ex-Formula 1 driver turned musician, Jacques Villenueve, has also been voicing his thoughts on Ferrari and their drivers saying he feels Raikkonen is overrated and not as good as Alonso. He criticises Raikkonen for not taking enough time behind the scenes. “A complete driver will spend time with the engineers, setting up the car and pushing the team,” Villeneuve explained. “He doesn’t give a shit, so he isn’t up there with Alonso.”
Villeneuve thnks that Massa could emerge this season as Ferrari’s top driver. “With the right equipment,” he explained, “Massa can be a title contender. He and Kimi will definitely challenge each other, but Felipe should finish ahead because of his work ethic.” Villeneuve carried on with his criticisms, although he turned to other teams. He said he thought Nelson Piquet Jr will replace Fisichella sometime in 2007 and that Robert Kubica messed up last season when he replaced Villeneuve by making too many mistakes and driving the car too hard.