Comeback of the Year & Disappointment of the Year
23 December, 2012
Comeback of the Year: Felipe Massa
Dec.23 (Grand Prix 247) Our choice for the best comeback of the year will no doubt raise eyebrows as the natural candidate is Kimi Raikkonen, but we opted for Felipe Massa because the Brazilian was all but written off by mid-season this year. Indeed, various members of the media in Italy were virtually demanding that he be axed.
Credit to Ferrari as they showed extreme and unwavering loyalty in the Brazilian who nearly died in one of their cars back in 2009 and has since never really been the same driver who so very nearly won the title in 2008. Nevertheless in the final half of 2012 he delivered faultless performances to re-establish himself within the team and returned to the podium twice after an absence of nearly two years.
A contract extension with the Maranello squad was his reward and the smiles were more frequent. Great comeback Felipe!
Massa reflected, “In the first half of the year, I was worried about renewing my contract,” he said. I did not think that Ferrari would really wait right to the end of the summer before deciding on the driver line-up for next year. It’s true that ever since I’ve been at Maranello, there have always been rumours about me: already in my first year there was a list of drivers who were supposed to take my place and it was the same this year, with a lot of names and plenty of speculation.”
“At the start, I paid too much attention to these things, but then, in August, I told myself I should only think about racing and having fun and so I began to really drive, to have the right feeling with the car and to drive as quickly as I know how. Now I feel very strong and the results were there to see in the last nine races: so I am optimistic for the future – mine and Ferrari’s,” concluded the Brazilian.
Disappointment of the Year: Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna was axed from Williams at the end of the 2012 season, a year earlier he had been axed from Lotus indicating that the Brazilian simply did not have the right stuff or did not do enough to impress two teams steeped in Formula One experience and tradition.
Sadly his season alongside Pastor Maldonado was lack lustre, admittedly not helped by the fact that the team’s reserve Valtteri Bottas took over his cockpit on many FP1 sessions, and ironically the year started with a spin for the Brazilian on the opening lap in Melbourne and ended with a spin on the opening lap at Interlagos.
A return with a top team is probably the only step left for Senna to take in F1, but for now it is unlikely that anyone will come calling.
“Since the beginning of my program with Williams I accepted that I had to share the car with Valtteri Bottas in 15 Fridays as a part of his preparation for a likely début in 2013”, Senna explained.
“I had some notable achievements this year, such as the fastest lap in the Belgian GP, my favourite track, scoring points on a regular basis and making up many many places through the races.”
“Regularly racing in the top ten has certainly been a step forward in my still relatively short career and has allowed me to further sharpen up my race craft. Working with a competitive and supportive engineering team like Williams has left me well prepared for the next step in my career”, Senna concluded.
Subbed by AJN.