Friday, July 24, 2009

Massa: Jaime is too young for F1

Thursday 23rd July 2009

Felipe Massa believes Jaime Alguersuari is not only too young for F1 but could also "burn himself" due to his lack of experience.

Alguersuari will become the youngest ever driver to compete in a F1 race when he lines up on the Hungarian grid this Sunday at just 19 years and 125 days.

The Spaniard faces a massive task as he has yet to put a F1 car through its paces around a track having only ever taken part in straightline testing.

But one person who believes it may be a bridge too far for the teenager is Ferrari's Massa.

"For me he's too young," the Brazilian said.

"When I came into Formula One I was just 20 and for me it was also quite young. I was too inexperienced to ask what I needed from the car so I made some mistakes. For sure I had a very difficult car to drive, but anyway, it was not easy for me.

"But even for myself, and I can say it was too early for me, I did the whole winter (of testing), so I did many tests in Formula One. He's never driven a Formula One car, or he has driven it in a straight line or whatever.

"For me it's wrong. It's not good for him. For me he can burn himself very quickly. Maybe he's an incredible talent and he will do much better than everybody thinks, but for me it's not good for him.

"I'm surprised a team would put a guy like this in the car. For me it's not right."

Massa, however, isn't the only driver who believes Alguersuari is too young.

"I started in F1 when I was 20 and I didn't have the mileage for a superlicence, the proper mileage," said Brawn GP's Jenson Button.

"But I did quite a bit of testing throughout the winter, and I was allowed to race because they thought it was enough and nobody else complained.

"If somebody gives you the opportunity to race in F1, you're going to take it.

"When someone says you've the drive, its difficult to turn around and say 'No, I'm not ready yet. I need more experience' because it is your dream to race in Formula One.

"But at his age it could absolutely destroy his career. It could end his dream of being competitive in Formula One.

"I don't know the reasons for him getting the drive. I can guess, but he's not going to help the team develop the car.

"I hope he does well. It's a make-or-break thing for his career. If it does go well, fantastic, but it's on a knife's edge isn't it?"

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton admits that while he understands Alguersuari's desire to be in a F1 car, he fears the Spaniard's early debut could damage his career.

"All I can say is any driver in the world would jump at the chance to be in a F1 car.

"I can't look at it and say 'I wouldn't do it' because I would have done it, just the same, but fortunately I had people around me when I did come in.

"In 2006, when (Juan Pablo) Montoya left (McLaren), I was going to replace him at China, Japan and Brazil, and I'd only done straightline tests, but it would have been the worst move of my career.

"It took me eight days of strong, core testing before I felt really comfortable in the car and matching the pace of Pedro (de la Rosa) and starting to compete with the other guys.

"It takes confidence and a lot of preparation. If I hadn't have had that testing and I'd gone into China, who knows if I'd have got my drive the following year.

"For me, it wasn't a good idea, but he may prove us all wrong, and all the best to him."

Alguersuari, though, has dismissed the criticism, saying he's just going to do the best he can do this weekend while learning a great deal about F1 in the process.

"I'm relaxed. I know what I can do, what people can expect from me, and the most important thing is I know what I have to do.

"It's another car, another race in my career. At the end it's just one steering wheel and two pedals."

Source : Planet F1

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