F1

Felipe Massa identifies three major issues Ferrari ‘need to fix’

Mick Schumacher drives his father’s Ferrari F2003-GA in October

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Felipe Massa has identified three issues Ferrari must solve before Charles Leclerc will have the opportunity to fight for the championship. The Brazilian star hinted the team’s biggest issue was down to strategy errors after a string of mistakes in 2022.

However, he has also pointed the finger at reliability concerns and pit stops as areas where drastic improvements can be made ahead of the new season. Speaking to Polish site Swiat Wyscigow, Massa said: “First of all I think Charles is doing a fantastic job. He’s a great driver, he really deserves to be in a competitive car.

“He deserves to have the opportunity to fight for the championship as a driver. But I think they need to fix the problem. They need to improve the things that are not working – on the strategy but also on so many other things. They have mechanical issues at the beginning of the season. They had problems in the pit stop, many, many problems in the strategy.”

Leclerc looked in commanding form as he picked up two wins from the first three races as Max Verstappen and Red Bull retired.

However, the tables quickly turned with Leclerc possibly dropping over 70 points across the first half of the season due to issues out of his control. He lost 25 points in two races after suffering a mechanical failure while leading races in Spain and Azerbaijan.

In Monaco, the 25-year-old may have dropped up to 13 points when the team made a controversial call. The Scuderia called Leclerc into the pits when it was clear Sergio Perez would overtake him.

To make matters worse, Leclerc was forced to wait for team-mate Carlos Sainz to complete his stop. The issues threw away a chance of victory and Leclerc trundled home in P4.

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The Prancing Horse also made a nightmare call at Silverstone as they left Leclerc out while others pitted for fresh tyres. The Monegasque was leading but dropped behind Sainz, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez to miss out on another 13 points.

Leclerc missed a chance to capitalise with Verstappen having suffered issues early on. Despite the confusion, Massa has stressed Ferrari needs to take caution when making adjustments.

He added: “In the end, to win the championship, everything needs to be perfect. For me, when you have a season like that, it’s important to fix things in the right way. If you start to change things and you change for the wrong way, that is not good. So you need to change things in the right way and fix them quickly.”

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