If he wants to race with a top team next season, Felipe Massa will have to significantly up his game.
A downward spiral in performance from the Brazilian since the British Grand Prix, discounting Italy, seems to have culminated this afternoon in Singapore. Massa was completely obscure on the timesheets during practice, eventually finishing both sessions in 12th and 15th place. If Massa is to convince teams, and top teams for that matter that he is worthy of a drive next season, he will have to significantly up his game.
Making his life difficult this season, just as the last three seasons, is his teammate Fernando Alonso. Every weekend, Massa must live up to a driver who consistently outperforms his car. When you consistently lose to that, just as Massa has, it is hard to decipher when a decent performance is actually being put on.
We never really know if Massa’s performances are at or below the level of the car he is driving. This is not a quality top teams want to invest in.
Massa has said recently that he is in contact with Mclaren for a drive in 2014. Everyone knows this isn’t really true, and is more of a PR ploy by the Brazilian’s management to try and raise his profile. Mclaren will not be considering Massa. That much is obvious. What was less obvious and has been made apparent this weekend is that Mclaren could potentially be looking at Alonso for a race seat in 2015.
Sergio Perez hasn’t performed to the best of his abilities according to team principal Martin Witmarsh, thus making his future prospects with Mclaren a little less secure than Perez has led the public to believe. In the wake of Jenson Button‘s confidence in remaining with the team for the years to come and his general impressive performances this weekend, Perez has tried himself to play up his future with Mclaren.
This isn’t even taking Lotus into consideration. Getting a drive with the Enstone-based squad is much more realistic, but the consensus for who should fill Kimi Raikkonen‘s soon-to-be-vacated seat is overwhelmingly in the favor of Nico Hulkenberg.
If Mclaren is having reservations about their own driver, then Massa is going to have a job ahead of him to convince them to take him on. He may be an 11-time Grand Prix winner, but that form may have been from another driver at this point. Massa has, unfortunately, lost much of his credibility as a top driver, and that fact could be more true than ever at the end of the season.