Felipe Massa, for the past three years has been under-performing for the Scuderia Ferrari team. This means that Ferrari has never been able to challenge for the constructor’s championship in the last three years. So the question here is why aren’t Ferrari replacing him?
Here are the reasons :
Firstly, The Ferrari team are trying to recreate the Schumacher era, where Michael sweeped five consecutive world championships.What I mean to say about the Schumacher era is that the Ferrari team wants Fernando to do what Michael did from 2000-2004. During Schumacher’s reign, Ferrari won the driver’s as well as the constructor’s championship for five consecutive years.
To repeat the same feat, Ferrari needs one top-class driver which they have in the form of Fernando Alonso and a supporting driver who can score points consistently and support the leading driver. Basically, Ferrari want Felipe to do what Rubens did during the Schumacher era.
The current Formula 1 field has very highly rated drivers and there isn’t any driver on the grid which when put in other Ferrari can accept the Number 2 status. The other thing is that the Ferrari team doesn’t want to have two star drivers in their team.
In 1982 Scuderia Ferrari team signed Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi who were both very highly rated drivers. In front of their home crowd at Italy, Didier Pironi disobeyed team orders to win the Italian Grand Prix. Two weeks later Gilles Villeneuve lost his life at Zolder while trying to out-qualify his team mate. Didier Pironi’s career also ended in the German Grand Prix that year in a life threatening crash.This ultimately meant that Keke Rosberg won the 1982 world championship with just a win to his name.
This experience clearly taught Ferrari that having two star drivers in a team leads to nothing but carnage.
Putting another competitive driver in the second Ferrari may not necessarily lead to what we saw in 1982 but the in-fighting among the drivers may cost them the world title. So over the years the Ferrari philosopy has always been to have a top-class driver and a supporting driver.
Secondly, Fernando Alonso doesn’t want to have a competitive teammate. The 2007 season was a clear indication as to why Fernando doesn’t want to be teamed up with a competitive teammate. It was the year in which Alonso signed for the Mclaren-Mercedes and he made his debut with Hamilton. Alonso and Lewis could have won the championship but the ego-ish behaviour from them (particularly the Hungarian Grand Prix) meant that neither of them deserved the championship.
This is the main reason why Fernando Alonso has been supportive of Felipe Massa as his teammate. With Massa in the other car, Alonso can always have the edge over his team mate. Luca di Montezemelo is also aware of Fernando’s situation and so doesn’t want to replace Felipe with another competitive driver such as Sergio Perez.
If Massa can consistently score points and not be in a situation to beat Alonso, Ferrari will be very happy to keep him for another few years.