9 January 2014
Fittipaldi: F1 2014 'a good time for Massa to join Williams'
Emerson Fittipaldi and other prominent Brazilian racers reckon Felipe Massa can excel as Williams embraces 2014 F1 rule changes.
Emerson Fittipaldi, amongst others, believes that Felipe Massa's decision to join Williams for the 2014 F1 season could pay dividends for the former Ferrari man.
Massa was eased out of Maranello by Kimi Raikkonen's return as team-mate to Fernando Alonso, ending an eight-year relationship between the Brazilian and the Prancing Horse. Having insisted that he would not join an also-ran merely to remain in F1, however, Massa duly signed with Williams, which was coming off one of its worst seasons, having barely out-scored Caterham and Marussia in 2013.
With wholesale changes to the regulations this year, many expect the playing field to be more level than in recent seasons, and Fittipaldi was not alone is expecting the Massa-Williams combination to take advantage.
"Felipe can do very well next year, because of the changes to the rules,” the two-time world champion confirmed to Brazil's TotalRace.com, “Williams has all the experience, all the resources, to be one of the big teams, of that I have no doubt.
“Williams is a power. It may be having a difficult time, but all teams go through it. No one expected McLaren, for example, to be so bad last year. Williams is motivated and Felipe is motivated – he will act as a leader."
Fittipaldi's view was shared by the likes of IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran – who claimed that switching teams would be good psychologically for Massa – Alex Ribeiro and F1 wannabe Luiz Razia, while former Benetton driver Roberto Moreno sees both Massa and Williams benefiting from the relationship.
"Anyone who has large experience of Ferrari can be very well utilised by other teams,” he reckoned, “It's the same situation when Rubens [Barrichello] left Ferrari. He was highly rated because he had the experience you will not find in a supermarket. It's something that teams need and something that is difficult to find, so Massa will be very good for a team like Williams. As he exits a top team like Ferrari and goes to another who can not fight with Ferrari, I believe he will help the team more than the team can help him."
Former IndyCar driver Felipe Giaffone hopes to see other parallels between the careers of Barrichello and Massa now that the latter has moved to Grove.
"If it was the same car [as 2013], it might not be a good solution but, changing the rules, anything can happen,” he claimed, “If you can give it a twist, the same thing can happen as happened with Rubens going to Brawn. The car, which would be rubbish, and which nobody believed in, was suddenly a rocket. Felipe has the same chance to hit on it with Williams."
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