Former F1 driver Felipe Massa was quite upset when former teammate Lance Stroll said that he received no guidance from him last year.
The Brazilian was initially set to retire at the end of the 2016 season, he even had an emotional farewell at Interlagos. However, Williams implored Massa to extend his F1 career by one more season. They wanted to field the experienced Brazilian alongside incoming rookie Stroll. Through their combined efforts, the team took fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Massa then retired for good and was replaced by Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin for 2018. Stroll said that “I don’t think I had any guidance from him last year, whatsoever. I don’t know why people seem to think there was a coach or a mentor thing going on”.
The 37-year old initially declined to comment at the time but has now responded to Stroll’s remarks.
“I did a lot for him, with all humility,” Massa said. “When I first met him, he was 7 years old, so it was a pleasure for me to be with him, trying to help him.
“He came in with great difficulty to have the speed, to understand an F1 car, to understand how the tyres work, as he was 18 years old.
“I was very close to him, I talked a lot, I tried to help in things that I have never seen a driver [try to help].
“Not even [Massa’s mentor at Ferrari, seven-time champion Michael] Schumacher, who was a master for me, did for me what I tried to do for him.
“So, I was upset [when reading Stroll’s comments] because it was not what I imagined. But there’s no problem.”
Massa has now been appointed president of the FIA’s karting division. As of now, he is preparing for his maiden Formula E campaign with Venturi. To this day, he believes that Williams “took a direction that is not the correct one”.
“He [Stroll] joined the team due to the money he was bringing to the team,” said Massa. “And then I left and they took another driver that is also bringing money to the team.
“They were not trying to get the best driver.”