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Retired Ferrari ace Jean Alesi warns Felipe Massa: Coming back to F1 is a mistake

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Retired Ferrari ace Jean Alesi warns Felipe Massa: Coming back to F1 is a mistake
Jan 2, 2017, 10:40 AM

Former Ferrari F1 star Jean Alesi has offered a piece of New Year advice to Felipe Massa, another ex Ferrari ace who closed out his career at Willi...

Former Ferrari F1 star Jean Alesi has offered a piece of New Year advice to Felipe Massa, another ex Ferrari ace who closed out his career at Williams in November but who is now poised to un-retire.

The 51 year old says that coming back to race for Williams next year in place of Valtteri Bottas, who is due to be announced soon as Nico Rosberg's replacement at Mercedes, is a mistake.

XPB.cc Felipe Massa

"Honestly to me this is a mistaken decision," said Alesi in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport today. "Felipe has stopped, he's turned a page.

"And what if he discovers that the Williams isn't quick?"

Massa had several emotional send-offs in the closing stages of the 2016 season; a party on the roof of the Williams team area in Abu Dhabi was attended by many of the drivers and other teams, while in Brazil, when he crashed and walked back to the pits under Safety Car conditions, many of the F1 team mechanics came out to line the pit lane and give him a guard of honour ovation. It was unprecedented in a hard-nosed sport like F1.

Massa retired because Williams was moving on with 18 year old Lance Stroll and Massa didn't want to move down the grid just to stay racing in F1. He made it clear he'd like to keep racing something, but with Rosberg's sudden decision and Mercedes' need for a suitable replacement, the dominoes started to fall and that led Williams back to Massa.

Conversely Alesi has some interesting views on Rosberg's decision to retire a few days after winning the world championship.

Alesi, Rosberg

"To start with I thought the same as Lauda; I was surprised and angry. Let's say I didn't really get the logic of announcing your retirement the same week in which you won the title.

"But then I thought about it some more and I thought of Senna, of how he said he would drive for Williams for nothing and how hard he worked to make it happen and then he died. Perhaps Nico just didn't feel like racing any more."

Alesi raced in 201 Grands Prix between 1989 and 2001, winning just one and taking 32 podiums. His decision to follow his heart and race for Ferrari in their least competitive period, rather than honour the Williams contract he had signed and which Nigel Mansell then took up, cost him the chance to win the world championships Williams bagged from 1992.

With a more hard-nosed attitude he could easily have been world champion, but he followed his passion.

Alesi, Lauda

Today his son Giuliano is making his way in GP3, racing for the Trident team again in 2017 after a tough rookie year in 2016, so Alesi is seen at many F1 races at the moment. He also does a turn for French TV station Canal Plus and stays close to the sport through his extensive contacts.

What do you think of Alesi's comments? Do you think Massa is making a mistake? Leave your comment below
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Series Formula 1