Ferrari star Felipe Massa has slated Formula 1 as being in 'a complete mess' and a state of disarray heading into the opening race of the 2009 world championship in Melbourne this weekend.

In the build-up to the campaign over recent weeks, the top flight has been rocked by a number of contentious issues, from a much-disputed and ultimately reversed new scoring system to a mooted boycott of the Australian Grand Prix over alleged unpaid revenue [see separate story - click here] and now a protest by Red Bull Racing against the controversial diffuser designs being run by Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams that is likely to culminate in an FIA Court of Appeal hearing, meaning the result of the season curtain-raiser may well remain subject to change until after the Malaysian Grand Prix a week later. The sport has certainly had better starts to the year.

"I am unhappy with the situation currently going on in Formula 1," Massa is quoted as having said by PA Sport. "One week we have some news and then the next everything changes. We need consistent rules, a consistent way of working, to make things a little more serious.

"To be honest, when I saw the points proposal from FOTA (the Formula One Teams' Association) which increased the difference between first and second place, for me it was the best for the sport. Then suddenly [the FIA] came out with a completely different story and it was a complete mess. Nobody liked it, to be honest. I think for sure the winner needs a better advantage from first to second - but not in terms of victory, in terms of points.

"I've heard many people saying that the driver doesn't fight so much for the victory. The driver always fights for the victory, but he needs to concentrate on the whole championship, not just one race, because if the driver wins [only] two races or three races the championship is finished.

"Even within a team, if one driver wins three races the other driver has no chance [under the FIA's proposed system], because the team will do everything for the driver who won the three races. You force the teams to have a first driver - and that's not good for the sport."

The Brazilian would have prevailed in the 2008 title chase under the governing body's proposed new system - now postponed until at least next year in the face of opposition and pressure from teams and drivers - having emerged victorious in six grands prix to McLaren-Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton's five, but he is adamant that he is not in favour of a format that potentially punishes consistency.

For example, a driver who wins six races but fails to finish any other would be crowned champion over a competitor with five triumphs to his name and 13 other podium finishes - on paper a far higher points total. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen echoed Massa's comments that the changes all came a little too late in the day.

"It's not the best thing for Formula 1 to start the season with all kinds of different stories," the Finn contended. "If you change the rules, then they should be changed over the winter time and not a few weeks before the start of the season."

The principal area of the rules currently threatening to overshadow the start to what has been billed as the most open and unpredictable campaign in years is that regarding the 'illegal' diffuser being run by three of F1's ten teams, with Massa in particular expressing concern about the scintillating and entirely unexpected raw pace displayed by Brawn GP's BGP 001 during pre-season testing.

"My feeling is things need to be clarified," the S?o Paulista urged. "Now we are unsure whether it is legal or not, so we will wait and see what decision the FIA make, but there must be 100 per cent clarity.

"They (Brawn GP) were really strong in the tests. If they have a similar car here as in the tests, then for sure they will be very strong."

The 27-year-old is equally well aware that he too will require a 'strong' start to proceedings if he is to set to rights his agonising failure to pinch the laurels at the last in 2008 - not helped by having registered a blank in both Australia and Malaysia this time twelve months ago through costly errors.

"For sure I'm looking for victory and the best I can - to try and win the race," he asserted, "but it's important to finish in the points. We saw last year that points can be very important at the beginning of the season. At the end as well, but at the beginning it's always important not to lose points.

"With testing it's important to have an idea [of how the car performs], but for a race weekend you have not a clue of how you're comparing with other teams."

"I think it's a good package," added Raikkonen of the Scuderia's new F60 challenger, "but it's too early to tell how strongly we'll do. We'll see tomorrow and over the weekend."

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment