Latest / Interview

Exclusive Felipe Massa Q&A: My luck will turn

05 Sep 2014

From capturing Williams' first pole for two years in Austria to accidents in Canada and Germany, Felipe Massa has swung from breakthrough highs to dramatic lows during his 2014 Formula One campaign.

While he therefore trails team mate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers' standings, Massa says he can draw comfort from his role in Williams' remarkable resurgence this year - and from his conviction that his turn in the limelight is just around the corner...

Q: Felipe, you've had a rough ride this season - bad luck seems to be your frequent companion. Do you ever think ‘why me'?

Felipe Massa: Yes, sometimes - you try to understand why something is always happening to you. But in reality I am very positive because I know that it's going to change. I am sure luck will come my way again - and I am sure that it will be from this weekend on!

Q: Do you believe in the concept of luck and misfortune? Your career has been full of shining moments and very unfortunate ones…

FM: It has, yes. I cannot say that I was the luckiest man in the paddock. But then let's turn it around: I was also probably the luckiest man because I had many difficult moments and accidents and I am still here. So in the unlucky times I was still lucky. But I would not pin everything down to luck. Take for example the last race in Spa: a piece of debris got lodged in the car and we made the mistake not to remove it immediately at the first pit stop. In hindsight you have to say that this was a matter that should have been addressed at the first stop - then I would have been in the position to score good points. But we didn't, so it was not only bad luck, it was also a mistake - and that needs to be said. But now Monza is a completely different ballgame. I love this place. It is always a joy coming here - and from the performance that our car has it should be a good weekend.

Q: This would usually be a question for rookies: why have accidents come your way this year? You have involuntarily contributed to some of the most spectacular moments, but that could hardly have been your intention…

FM: It happens. I had so many years with very little ‘body damage' - not so this year. Maybe I simply wasn't in the right place at the right time. I hope that this is now history - I honestly hope (laughs). It is frustrating finishing a race in the barrier. I want to go back to my true self and show what I can do.

Q: From 12 races you haven't scored points at seven, while Valtteri has scored in all but one race. When you analyse that, what would be your conclusion? And what have you promised yourself to change for the rest of the season?

FM: I am happy for Valtteri - he is doing a great job. He is developing into a great driver. You need to be fair in that - [he is doing] a fantastic job! We are working very well together. I am also convinced that my time will come - and together we will do a great job for the team. We are fighting for the position Ferrari is holding, and together we can beat Ferrari.

Q: Would there be a bit of a satisfaction putting Williams ahead of Ferrari?

FM: Yes, I think so - but because of the team. Think of how Williams was in the last couple of years, and how we are now. Finishing in front of a top team like Ferrari is a great satisfaction for everybody. Also think of the future - all the windows suddenly open up when you are successful.

Q: How do you see your role right now in the team? They all say that you have contributed a lot to Williams' revival, but in the end for a driver only his points tally really matters - and there Valtteri has almost triple yours…

FM: Yes, it definitely could have worked better for me. I cannot be happy for myself, but I am very happy for the job I have done with the team - the improvements and all the work that went into this team to make it better step by step. I am one hundred percent part of that development. But of course my results are not really something that can make me happy, for many reasons. There are still seven races to do - so the tide can turn.

Q: Williams was always a team that was driven by constructors' title glory. Is that what makes things a bit easier for you and your position in the team?

FM: Now the constructors' championship is more important than anything - and moving up one position means a lot for us. It means a lot for our future; it means everything. So the position in constructors' is the target as it demonstrates that we're a top team again. In that respect I don't care so much about my position. It's the team that really counts - for the moment.

Q: Williams have been hailed for their recovery this season, but they haven't exploited all their opportunities. Look for example at going out in Q1 at Silverstone, or making the front row but finishing behind Mercedes in Austria - and lately at Spa-Francorchamps, getting both cars into Q3 but only scoring points with one. Why is that?

FM: Yes, we've missed out on some important points - for so many different reasons. But this is also part of growing - growing back to where Williams was. Right now we are not in the perfect shape, but we are working on it.

Q: The perfect shape - which direction does that journey take? The Mercedes engine is the best around…

FM: Even if the other engines catch up next season I do believe that Mercedes still will be the benchmark - and we have to build an even better car. Better aerodynamics - even if we then have a similar engine to the others. We have already jumped massively ahead, but you can't change everything in one year, so the future is the target. Maybe we finish third in the championship this year, but we want to finish second or first next year. Moving forward - that's what matters.

Q: In what areas would you say you have made your biggest contributions?

FM: Everywhere - even on the technical side, to give the right ideas. So even if my tally doesn't make me too happy, I am very proud of where we are. I am proud of the team - not so proud of me, but that will change.

Q: Ferrari are third in the constructors' standings, but only ten points ahead - that sounds manageable…

FM: Yes, even this weekend. But if it is not happening here there are many more races to come - and double points in Abu Dhabi - and in the end the standings after that last race are what really counts.

Q: The team has already risen like a phoenix in 2014 - will Monza move you even further forward?

FM: I hope. As I just said, I love the track, I love the atmosphere - so I want my moving up to start here, ideally with a podium finish. Hopefully that will last until the very last lap of the very last race!

Q: So how did it go today? All your competitors seem to believe that Williams could well be on the podium on Sunday…

FM: We've been able to run through all our programmes, and that gives a lot of confidence that we will be a strong challenger for top positions in the race. But to say on a Friday how good the times are was never my thing, so let's wait for tomorrow afternoon - when everybody has to show their true form.