A Brazilian correspondent has leapt to the defense of Felipe Massa.
“Ferrari is making a huge mistake,” wrote Livio Oricchio in his O Estado de S.Paulo blog. Massa is currently the subject of widespread criticism and vociferous calls for his dismissal, after failing to get close to Fernando Alonso’s pace in the difficult new F2012 car.
The Italian team is publicly denying it is seriously considering replacing Massa with Sauber’s Sergio Perez, but rumours to the contrary indicate the opposite is true.
The loudest voices are being heard in the Italian press, with a La Stampa headline saying Ferrari “has done everything it can to support him (Massa), but everything is meaningless.
“You would have to find him a new team with a weaker teammate. That would be the only way to save him.”
A Ferrari insider told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport: “Since Jean Todt left Ferrari, they are once again listening to the press.”
Oricchio contends that Ferrari is not giving Massa a fair go.
“At times, Massa has become a test driver — with (private) testing forbidden, he is the one experimenting with new components at the two races so far.
“And in some of this testing there was so little downforce on the car that it explains fully his difficulties,” the Brazilian added.
“But they (Ferrari) are not making this clear so it only confirms the already deeply eroded image of Massa becoming almost unsustainable in the face of public opinion.”