Massa fears for Brazil's F1 legacy

01 Nov 2013 09:49

Felipe Massa on Thursday expressed his fears about Brazil's ability to maintain a tradition of supplying leading drivers to Formula One.

Massa, who is struggling to find a seat for 2014 after being told he will be released by Ferrari, is Brazil's only current F1 driver.

"We've always had successful Brazilian drivers in Formula One," he said.

"And I think it's important. It's really a shame what's happened in the last few years.

"I'm now the only Brazilian driver in F1 and I still haven't got a contract for next year. It would be a big loss for Brazil if I'm not driving, or if another Brazilian driver isn't racing.

"I hope I can still be here and still fight for my country. but this is a problem that started a long time ago.

"When I moved to Europe from Brazil in 2000, in every category in Europe there was a Brazilian fighting for the championship.

"All the important categories were full of Brazilians. We even had a team in Formula 3000.

"Now Brazil is not in any category. You don't see Brazilians fighting for championships anymore."

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's impending departure from Williams is set to allow Massa to switch to the British team next year.

Williams are expected to gain more from sponsorship from Brazil if they complete a deal with Massa, but he emphasised that does not mean he is to become a 'pay driver'.

"In Formula One, I have always been a professional. I've always had my salary. I've never brought money to race. Nothing is changing on that," said Massa.

"I won't sign or talk with a team if the first thing we talk about is sponsors. It doesn't mean I won't help find sponsors, but it must be in a professional way."