“The worst thing Carlos could have done” – Rob Smedley reveals the ‘Felipe Massa mistake’ Carlos Sainz has successfully avoided in Ferrari with Charles Leclerc.
Rob Smedley, the British automobile engineer, is currently F1’s Director of Data Systems. But he is most well-known for being Felipe Massa’s race engineer during his Ferrari days. Smedley also followed and exited Massa at Williams, before joining Formula 1’s official operations. He has now drawn a comparison between his former driver and new Ferrari joinee Carlos Sainz on the F1 Nation podcast.
“He (Massa) made the big mistake [of saying] that he was going to come in and he had to match Michael. Michael Schumacher, seven times world champion, the lad’s not a slouch!”
And he won none. Massa you really brought this on yourself, didn’t you?👀 https://t.co/5hXOciY0os
— Ebru (@burgonya) April 13, 2021
The discussion is around the positive approach Sainz has taken on joining Ferrari, positioning himself as a team person. He and Charles Leclerc seem to be getting along really well, with intentions clear to help Ferrari rise from their dismal last season’s performance of sixth overall.
“The worst thing Carlos could have done…is come in and make a big bold statement that you’re going to send Charles [Leclerc] off into the weeds and you’re going to get number one status. Because if that doesn’t work, the pressure just mounts on you and it becomes almost insurmountable, the task you have in hand.
“If we go back to when Felipe first started as an official driver at Ferrari, he made the big mistake [of saying] that he was going to come in and had to match Michael…Michael Schumacher, seven-time World Champion, the lad’s not a slouch!
“Felipe kind of walked into it and in his mind he was going to match him and he was going to beat him and all the rest of it. And it just started to unfold from minute one. It wasn’t until we put the right team around him who kind of got his feet back on the ground and said ‘you’re not going to beat Michael, so forget about that’.