Felipe Massa suggests Ferrari's title hopes slipped away after crumbling under pressure

In a week where Lewis Hamilton could be crowned champion for a fifth time, former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has admitted he believes the team he spent so long with are crumbling under the pressure to win a championship. 

It would take a miracle to stop Hamilton and Mercedes from winning this year’s drivers’ and constructors’ championships, with the Brit only needing to win this weekend’s race in Austin and Vettel finishing no higher than third place.

It has been a barren run of form for Ferrari, who last tasted success with Kimi Raikkonen back in 2007, and since then have struggled to find the devastating form we once came to expect from Ferrari. 

This season has been no different, as Sebastian Vettel has struggled to push on when it mattered at crucial times, with his team failing to find the winning formula. 

Massa believes the pressure the team is under has played a big part in their shortcomings.

 

Speaking to Motorsport, the Brazilian said: “We won the championship in 2007, and then after 2008, Ferrari started to have some issues – they never won again.

“Maybe when I left Ferrari in 2013 the feeling is similar to what they have now. Pressure to win, and they are struggling to keep the pressure down. They are struggling to do their job in an efficient way.

“I think definitely this year – although I am not saying they have lost the championship yet – but maybe they lost the battle at the end because of some mistakes, and maybe because they are feeling the pressure in a higher way compared to Mercedes which has a lot less pressure.

“Mercedes won the last four years. It makes it much easier to work with a title in your hands, compared to working where you need to win, and the chance to make mistakes is higher.” 

If Massa is right, it will take a very strong Ferrari team to destabilise their Mercedes rivals, who are at the top of their game at the minute and looking set for yet another F1 crown.

Massa went on to hint that the only way they can change their current situation is to adapt a much stronger management. “I think you need to find the way to work, the way to prepare things, in the most quiet way, in the most focused way,” he added.

“They are a good team and an amazing team, and I have to say, the car they managed to do is pretty good. They are doing a good job on that, but maybe some little things around are missing.”

Massa also pointed to the death of chairman Sergio Marchionne to having had an effect on the team this year: “There is no doubt the shock of the sudden death of its leader, Sergio Marchionne, who had been such a strong reference in the team, will have a major impact, and that is totally understandable.

“Now is the time to try and turn things around and finish in style a season that has many positives.”

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