Ferrari’s rabid anti-McLaren comments

Ferrari personnel are well-known for making ludicrous statements about their opposition, particularly when they are talking about anything to do with a certain team that begins with ‘M’ and ends with ‘cLaren’. But I think Luca Baldisserri has come out with a corker today. I do think this comment could come back to bite him on the bum.

“I think that, with these new regulations [banning traction control], Lewis Hamilton may have a rough time,” Baldisserri was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

“For sure he won’t be able to carry on driving the way he has, and even though he raced and won in GP2 without traction control, he was on different tyres.”

Is he sure?

Lewis Hamilton blitzed the GP2 world when he raced without traction control. Luca Baldisserri has a point with the fact that they were different tyres. But Hamilton raced on those different tyres last year, so he has experience with both F1-spec tyres and cars without traction control. It’s probably not too much of a leap for him to work out how to drive a car that combines the two.

Perhaps if he is looking for someone who might struggle under the new regulations, Mr. Baldisserri could look a little closer to home. Felipe Massa is already hopeless in the wet, and he is bound to be hurt further by the lack of traction control given that he has been mollycoddled with cars that do all the work for him throughout his eight-year-long F1 career.

I’ve done a quick search on the series Massa has raced in prior to F1 — Euro F3000 and Formula Renault 2000. And although I have failed to find detailed technical regulations for Euro F3000 in 2001 or Formula Renault in 2000, my hunch is that they probably ran without traction control.

But 2001 is a mighty long time ago. It is certainly much longer ago than 2006, when Hamilton last raced without TC. And Massa did not compete in series that are specifically designed to be ‘feeder’ series for Formula 1, as GP2 is.

Massa has been a critic of the removal of traction control. It’s not difficult to see why. Okay, so he is citing the expertise of his mentor, Mickey Schumacher who says that the lack of traction control will make wet races more dangerous.

But for how many years in history have grand prix cars successfully raced in wet conditions without traction control? Even if we ignore the early years of grand prix motor racing and concentrate on the modern era, the years 1994–2001 were TC-free (unless you believe that every single car in every single race in that period illegally ran traction control without being caught). I don’t recall wet races being a particular problem then.

I think the real reason Massa is criticising the new regulations is because he reckons it will eradicate his already slim chance of ever winning the World Championship. The same goes for David Coulthard as well, by the way. He was always one to want the lazy route to winning (I still won’t forgive him for complaining about Enrique Bernoldi not letting him past in Monaco 2001).

I might be wrong. Maybe Massa will excel without traction control. But I just don’t see it somehow. Regular readers know that I am not a big fan of Hamilton, but I feel certain about this. Hamilton will cope much better without traction control than Massa will.


  1. Hamilton will cope much better without traction control than Massa will.

    I agree. I’m not a Hamilton fan either, but the Brit will cope better than Massa, I believe. Felipe has been moaning about F1 sans-TC (hinting at psychological concern), has been conferring with Michael Schumacher and used to throw his Sauber off the track with some regularity. While Hamilton is a tad lairey, he will know that in order to win, he will need to ease off. Massa will be trying to catch up with Raikkonen whereas Lewis will, after the first few races, calm down and settle in to a groove.

  2. Only time will tell, but hopefully Baldisseri likes the taste of humble pie…..

  3. I agree too – Hamilton may struggle but Massa is giving off all the signs that he will struggle as well. Unless it’s all a front and a bit of psychological warfare, perhaps he has been learning more than we think from Schumacher!

  4. Yes, a really stupid comment. If there are pilot ready to drive without TC it must be HAM, GLO and the rest of the guys from GP2. ALO and RAI will have no problems either, because they are great drivers, expert in wet (ALO) and snow (the finnish). The rest of pilots will have to work a bit harder. But Massa… Massa is going to have a hard time, do you remember Humgary when ALO was able to recover 30+ seconds under rain. Masa is probably the most hyped pilot of the current grid.

  5. Hi all,

    First off: it’s good to be back – my PC died. Secondly, a rant warning (sorry Vee, for hijacking this thread, but I thought the guys here would be appreciative of the subject matter): Peter Windsor’s blatant pro-Lewis Hamilton slant.

    I’ve been reading F1 Racing for a few years now, and have enjoyed Windsor’s writing as much for the depth and breadth of F1 knowledge on display as the opinions expressed. Given that he’s a Brit writing for a Brit magazine, a little pro-Brit sentiment/hype is understandable, and usually taken with a pinch of salt i.e. pre-Lewis Button coverage.

    October and November issues, though, showed me a Windsor I had not expected to see. In just about every article he wrote, regardless of the subject matter, there would be 6 paragraphs of himself creaming over how good Hamilton was viz-a-viz the sulking Alonso. Given the prevailing UK v Spain zeitgeist in the paddock, it’s understandable that Windsor should stand up for his countryman, but the manner of his writing reduced him, regrettably, to little more than a Lewis fanboy, to borrow a videogame term.

    I suspect that Windsor knew full well that it not Hamilton per se that most intelligent F1 fans hate, but the way the incessant and often obsequious media coverage that surrounds him. That Windsor should choose to write what he wrote could only mean he was writing from the gut, which reduces him to a gutter hack. That is tragic.

    I’m currently on a boycott of F1 Racing because of Lewis being on the cover: he’s been there on 4 consecutive covers. Even though it is a Brit magazine, I am honestly surprised that the editor (now Tim Scott, then Matt Bishop) has chosen to go with Hamilton on the cover knowing it’s probably overdone. I’m not so much disgusted as saddened by the fall of journalistic integrity at a publication that I have admired so much, and still do.

    If anyone from F1 Racing is reading this, let it be known that I speak for no one but myself. But I suspect I’m not alone in feeling this way.

  6. No problem alvin, thanks for coming back.

    I don’t think I’m surprised about Peter Windsor, but I don’t think he has a problem just with Hamilton. Although he is a good writer, he is quite sycophantic about almost everyone involved in F1.

    But I am definitely considering ending my subscription of F1 Racing. I have almost eleven years worth of issues stored up in a cupboard, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s really worth it any more. I was going to write a post about this actually, so I might just wait before I say any more! 😉

  7. I believe if Luca Baldisserri was sure he wouldn’t have started his statement with “I think”. A speculation on a speculation.