Sauber

Felipe Massa Announces Retirement from F1

Photo: Williams Martini Racing

In a press conference with team principal Claire Williams in in the Williams motorhome, Felipe Massa has decided to announce his retirement from Formula One after 14 seasons in the sport.

Massa said “Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in Formula One. I have so many great memories over the years and thank everyone in all the teams I have come through to help me get to where I am today. My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved. Finally, it is a great honour to finish my career at such an amazing team as Williams Martini Racing. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula One career with my 250th Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi.”

Claire Williams went on to say “It has been a pleasure to work with Felipe these past three seasons and we will all be sad to see him leave. Felipe came to us at a time of huge change and his blend of experience, talent and enthusiasm have been an important factor in the turnaround of the team. Anyone who knows Felipe knows what a warm and caring person he is, with an infectious personality. He has done a great deal for our sport over the years and I think every team that has had the pleasure of working with him has great affection for him. I know this has not been an easy decision for him, but we all respect his decision to bring his Formula One career to its conclusion at the end of this season. I would like to thank him, on behalf of all the team, for all his hard work over the last three years and we wish him the best of luck for whatever the future holds. He will always be a member of the Williams family and we hope that he will always feel welcome within our team.”

Massa’s F1 career began in 2002 with Sauber pairing up with Nick Heidfeld, scoring four points and a best finish of fifth at the Spanish Grand Prix certainly showed that despite his youth he was going to be a great talent of the future.

In 2003 he was replaced by Heinz-Harold Frentzen at the Sauber team, however Massa spent that year with Sauber’s long term engine supplier Ferrari, he completed testing duties gaining more experience during the Scuderia’s most successful era.

Massa rejoined Sauber for 2004-05 and still produced some good results including a best of the season fourth place at the 2004 Belgian Grand Prix. In 2005 he outpaced his team mate Jacques Villeneuve comfortably through the season.

When compatriot Rubens Barrichello announced he was moving to Honda for 2006, Massa’s career really took off after it was announced as he was Barrichello’s replacement. After enjoying a great first season with the Maranello team he secured his first pole position and victory at the Turkish Grand Prix, then to cap off the season he also won his home Grand Prix at Interlagos. 

After a strong season with three victories in 2007 including having a new team mate in the shape of Kimi Raikkonen after Michael Schumacher announced his first retirement, Massa was really announcing himself at the top end of the field.

It was in 2008 that came Massa’s chance to shine with six victories he was almost world champion, this was spoiled by the last gasp moments of Lewis Hamilton passing Toyota’s Timo Glock at the final corner to claim the fifth place needed to beat Massa to the championship. Massa was gracious in defeat and showing his pride in front of his home fans who came out to back him.

The 2009 season saw a very different shape to himself and Ferrari with the new regulations and the team did not perform well, however at the Hungarian Grand Prix in qualifying a rear suspension spring came loose from Barrichello’s Brawn who was in circuit in front of him, as Massa exited turn three he didn’t see the spring bouncing in the road and subsequently it hit him the head at 150mph rendering him unconcious, because of this incident he duly missed the rest of 2009 with a fractured skull.

After recovering well he returned back to the cockpit in 2010 and after four more seasons at Ferrari with strong results reluctant to appear despite numerous podium appearances, a race win kept failing to appear although it came close in the 2010 German Grand Prix, however he  was told through a coded message that he had to allow Alonso to pass to gain maximum points towards the title.

In the November of 2013 it was announced he would be leaving the Scuderia to head to Williams for the 2014 season on a three year deal partnering the young Finn in Valtteri Bottas, his best moment with the team came at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix snatching a surprise pole position ahead of his team mate and both Mercedes, since then he has secured five more podiums and continued to show  he still had the speed to compete at a high level

His subsequant time with Williams has been a solid relationship as he has been  imperative in helping the team secure third place in the constructors championship for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. 

There is no doubt he’ll want to help see out his career on a high in helping keep Williams ahead of Force India for the 2016 constructors championship.

Felpie Massa will be a missed figure in the field having gone from an aggressive rookie to a very near world champion, he has always carried the latin charisma that has helped him become a well liked member of the F1 paddock.

Guttierez announced as Ferrari reserve driver

IMG_1527-0.JPG
It was announced today that Esteban Guttierez will become Ferrari’s test and reserve driver.

With Sauber not having scored any points in their worst season since they joined Formula 1 in 1993, it was announced at the Brazilian Grand Prix that Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson were going to drive for the swiss outfit in 2015; this left Sutil and Guttierez heading for exit door.

The 23 year old will now line up with four time world champion Sebastian Vettel, 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said Gutierrez:

“Although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula 1 cars.

I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator.”

In my opinion Esteban didn’t really shine in his second season of F1, admittedly Sauber produced a poor car this season and it can be difficult to prove yourself in poor machinery, but there were no real stand out performances from the Mexican.

Shortly after the announcement Esteban Gutierrez said:

“It is for me the beginning of a new path for my future and I’m going to do my utmost to contribute to the achievement of the targets set by the Scuderia”

@SteveF1C

Team Ratings: 2014

I thought as we are well into the off season It’d be time to give some ratings for team’s performances of 2014.

1st, Mercedes AMG F1 – 704pts, 10/10IMG_1488.JPGWell, what can more be said about the W05, between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg they took 16/19 wins for the season and it could of been all 19 had it not been for reliability/weather issues, this a new record beating McLaren’s 15 wins in 1988 with the all conquering MP4/4. Mercedes came into this new hybrid era with a innovative designed turbo system separating the turbine and compressor via a shaft through the bottom of the block of the engine, this in turn created so many benefits which led to the dominance of the team, with little regulation change heading into 2015, Mercedes must surely favourites again.

2nd. Red Bull Racing, 405pts, 9/10
IMG_1511.JPGComing into the first race in Australia, it appeared Red Bull were in crisis mode, the car could barely turn 3 or 4 laps in succession without overheating in pre season testing, also with the Renault power unit there was a considerable horsepower shortage, nearly 80hp if some reports are to be believed, there were fears the car wouldn’t make the race distance, but Ricciardo proved they could, going from strength to strength the team took 3 victories from Mercedes failures with Daniel, taking 2nd is a huge achievement after pre-seasons tribulations, with Adrian Newey taking new projects, next season’s RB11 will be Newey’s swansong, we wait to see how it works out.

3rd, Williams F1 Racing – 320pts, 9/10
IMG_1512.JPGGiven Williams performances in 2013 which was there worst season with only 4pts, we were thinking it could only get better for the team from Grove, they surely delivered and then some, with the Mercedes power unit, it was a genius stroke to switch suppliers, the chassis wasn’t the most complete in terms of balance but both drivers eventually made the most of it, their highlight of the season was a front row lock out in Austria, the layout supporting their slippery car in a straight line, albeit the team didn’t win in 2014, they proved to take a gigantic step forward and took their best season since 2004 and having beaten Ferrari in the constructors since 1997. Being the 2nd best team on pace at the end of the season I’m sure they’re hoping to try and take the fight to Mercedes in 2015.

4th. Scuderia Ferrari – 216pts, 6/10
IMG_1513.JPG This season really opened up Ferrari’s insecurities and fragilities, in pre-season testing Ferrari didn’t look in bad shape, but as the season unraveled it proved too much for the Scuderia to be so far down the field again, Stefano Domenicalli paid the price with his job early on in the year, Marco Mattiaci came into the helm, but this did not change on track performances, he instead upset Fernando Alonso and eventually forced him out to McLaren, Montezemelo also left his post as President of the Ferrari brand, 2014 is a season of huge change for the Maranello outift, 2015 must be an improvement, no questions asked.

5th. McLaren – 181pts, 6/10IMG_1514.JPGAfter suffering a poor season in 2013 not making the podium at all, 2014 should have been a better season for the woking team. It was, but only marginally, scoring the podium is Australia, it really didn’t get any better than that for the team, with the switch to the Honda power unit in 2015, it appeared Mercedes slowly shut out McLaren in their 20th and last season together to prevent secrets spilling over. The chassis wasn’t the best either, With Alonso and Button signed for 2015, McLaren-Honda are hoping for a fast, developing year but want to to hit the ground running, with the most experienced line-up on the grid with over 500GPs between them, it could work well for them.

6. Force India, 155pts – 6/10

IMG_1515.JPGResigning Nico Hulkenberg and hiring Sergio Perez seemed like the best line-up possible for the Silverstone squad. But it was a season of two halves for the team who showed a lot of promise at the start by being very close to Williams at the start of the season with taking a podium in Bahrain, but from the British GP onwards it felt like Force India were standing still in the development race and lacked pace to keep up with their rivals. With keeping their driver line-up for 2015, continuity may benefit them.

7th. Scuderia Toro Rosso, 30pts, 5/10

IMG_1516.JPGA switch to Renault power units proved not the best of moves for the team and a very prominent looking nosecone didn’t help the looks either, a few flashes of promise came from the car, but it never really materialised, 19yr old Danil Kvyat proved his critics wrong by proving that he wasn’t too young to show his talents and earnt a move straight to the senior squad after one season while Jean-Eric Vergne didn’t get to keep his seat despite a late season charge, with a new all rookie line up including 17yr old Max Verstappen, it’ll a very interesting year for 2015.

8th. Lotus F1 – 10pts, 3/10IMG_1517.JPGAfter a fast and steady 2013 and rumours of a huge incoming investment, 2014 was supposed to be the year Lotus took the fight to the front of the field, but after the financial support never arrived and the teams poor finances were made not for great reading, they signed Pastor Maldonado to partner Romain Grosjean 2014, but with a poorly designed chassis and a very lacklustre Renault power unit behind them, it often seemed impossible to drive, with a switch to Mercedes engines in 2015, their fortunes can only get better from here.

9th. Marrusia F1 – 2pts, 5/10IMG_1519.JPGMarrusia came into 2014 looking to finally get on pace with the rest of the pack, they still didn’t get as close as they’d of liked, but a topsy turvy Monaco GP and a very punchy Jules Bianchi finally gave them their first ever points finish, This was such a great boost for the team, but in the Japanese GP good fortune turned into the sadness of Jules’ crash in the rain at Suzuka, the investigations into the accident speak for themselves and it’s a sad time for the team and the Bianchi family, in Sochi we saw them run only Max Chilton’s car as a mark of respect, but since then the team have gone into administration, we really hope this isn’t the last of the team as they’ve done so well in 2014, we await news on their fate.

10th. Sauber F1 – 0pts, 2/10

IMG_1520.JPGAfter a dissapointing 2013 season, it only got worse for 2014, finances putting them close to leaving the sport, an underpowered Ferrari power unit and poor chassis really made life difficult for the swiss outfit, Guttierez and Sutil never made impressions either, no big investments have come into the team despite many rumoured interests, signing Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for 2015, both with financial backing shows that the team are needing investments, time is ticking for Sauber.

11th. Caterham F1 – 0pts, 2/10

IMG_1521.JPGCaterham have never really improved from where they were last year, they brought drastic changes to the front of the car that never proved to have worked, Kobayashi outperformed Ericsson on many occasions, but it was irrelevant after the realisations of the financial status of the team, Tony Fernandes sold the team to a hedge fund, but disputes over who owned what parts of the team raged on, eventually they went into administration, but came back to race in the Abu Dhabi finale, Will Stevens did well on his debut with Kobayashi, but we still await to hear news of their fate for 2015. Rumours of buyers keeping appearing but so far no news.

@SteveF1C