As Formula E prepares to step into a brand-new era of faster, more powerful ‘Gen2’ cars with exciting new rules and innovations such as ‘Attack Mode’, one former F1 star is also taking his first step into the unknown.
Having graced the F1 paddock for 16 years, Felipe Massa is one of the most recognizable faces in motorsport. But even he is unsure of the challenge that faces him when he steps into his new Venturi team car in Ad Diriyah this weekend.
“It is the first race in the championship that I don’t know any tracks,” said Massa during Friday’s press conference. “Maybe I know a little part of Monaco that we are using in Formula E and I know maybe only the last corner in Mexico. It’s a lot to learn. Even if I am an experienced driver in motorsport, I have been racing in Formula One for 16 years, it’s a new challenge. Being an experienced driver helps to learn but now we start from zero. So, actually, I don’t know where I am compared to the other drivers and difficult to understand where our team is compared to the other teams.
“What I can say from the testing from the first day I drove the car to the last day I drove the car it went pretty ok, pretty well, so we know the different expectations like qualifying mode and race mode and understanding how to drive the car in the race, how to manage the battery in the right way, which is a big, big change compared to all of the other championships.”
As one of the most likeable and popular drivers on the F1 grid, Massa will undoubtedly have one of the biggest fan followings of all drivers on the grid for the new season and that is sure to win him his fair share of Fan Boost votes.
Hey guys now you can Help me with a extra boost in my First race at @FIAFormulaE please vote for me at the Link at my Bio or at Twitter writing #fanboost together with #felipemassa. pic.twitter.com/nQOps4Jj9B
— Felipe Massa (@MassaFelipe19) December 11, 2018
The Brazilian was within a few hundred yards of becoming F1 world champion for Ferrari in the most dramatic of grands prix finales when Lewis Hamilton pipped him to the title in 2008. So, does he think FE can ever become as big, or even bigger than F1?
“Formula E, electric cars, is for sure in the present but it will definitely be our future, even the short future,” added Massa. “It takes a little bit of time. It’s not easy to put things in the perfect way straight away, but if you’ve seen in the last two years how much it’s growing, the championship, not only the drivers but manufacturers and companies, it’s getting really interesting to be inside this world.
“When you see how many companies they are signing and sponsors at many levels, even companies that sell fuel, and even racing in a country that is an oil country, I think this shows how much this championship is growing. Will it overtake Formula One? It’s very difficult to say but what I can say is that it is possible. We just have to wait and see the way things go. But what I can say is that it’s not impossible.”