Button ponders as Massa dodges
SUPER TEAM IN QUESTION: New Ferrari team mates for 2014, Kimi Raikkonen (right) and Fernando Alonso, has everyone talking about the pair's fiesty dynamics, including drivers Jenson Button and Felipe Massa. Image: AFP
Author: Patrick Johnston
Felipe Massa dodged questions about his Formula 1 future on Wednesday while Jenson Button wondered how good Ferrari would be when Kimi Raikkonen joins in 2014.
SINGAPORE - Felipe Massa dodged questions about his Formula 1 future on Wednesday while Jenson Button wondered whether Ferrari would really be a stronger team when Kimi Raikkonen replaces the Brazilian in 2014.
Ferrari announced last week that Massa would leave the team at the end of the season, after eight years with them, to be replaced by their returning 2007 World champion, Raikkonen, alongside Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
A media scrum awaited Massa when he arrived to open a Ferrari showroom in Singapore ahead of this weekend's night-time GP.
He and Ferrari were less keen to discuss the split, with reporters shushed and microphones pulled away from Massa who only said "expectations are high" for Sunday and that he "hoped for a great race".
Massa, seventh overall in the Drivers' standings and 143 points behind Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel, was more forthcoming in an interview with Brazilian TV earlier in the week. He told TV Globo: "I know both Fernando and Kimi on and off the track and I rate them as excellent drivers, but I'm afraid they will collide when sharing the team.
"I told the bosses to breathe as much as possible while they still can because it will be hard for them to breathe in the 2014 season."
Button, part of F1's most recent team of champions with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren until the end of 2012 when Hamilton moved to Mercedes, was keen to see how the new Ferrari pairing got on.
"It's going to be an interesting atmosphere between those two, especially if Kimi is as quick as Fernando," he said. "If Kimi starts out-qualifying Fernando that would be a big one because Fernando is not the quickest guy but as a package he's exceptional, his race pace, he's very good at thinking about situations so he's going to be a tough guy for Kimi to beat.
"It's fun for us watching from the outside... does it make the team stronger? I personally don't think it does," added the 2009 F1 champion.
Massa has been inconsistent since he came back after a life-threatening crash during the 2009 Hungarian GP and has not won for Ferrari since he almost took the championship at the 2008 Brazilian GP.
Raikkonen has enjoyed a record run in the points, which ended in Belgium during August 2013, since returning to F1 with Lotus in 2012 after a two-year absence. His pairing with Alonso, a double F1 champion, promises points but also fireworks.
Button's McLaren team mate Sergio Perez expected them to be strong rivals for the other teams, however. "I think it will be very interesting for all of us to see how they get on, both of them. I think Fernando and Kimi will be a tough couple to beat."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Singapore F1 GP weekend.