Felipe Massa remains adamant that the first corner crash with Kevin Magnussen at the German Grand Prix was not his fault at all, and has hit out at the McLaren driver for being too aggressive.
The two drivers came together at the first sweeping right-hander at Hockenheim on the first lap, causing Massa to roll in his Williams. The Brazilian driver walked away unharmed, but the FIA decided that it was a racing incident.
Massa made some comments after the crash criticizing Magnussen for trying to win the race at the first corner, and his stance has not changed since last Sunday.
“I think he was a little bit too aggressive,” Massa said. “There were two cars there that he had not even the line to make that corner so quickly because he was on the inside.
“At the end of the day, he lost also points because of that, so it’s not just me. For sure, I lost and it was a big loss, and I was very cautious on that corner. I even backed off for Valtteri to go in front.
“In my car it was impossible to know that someone else was there. I couldn’t see!”
General paddock consensus suggested that Massa was to blame, but he found this laughable, comparing it to the incident at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix where he was taken out by Kamui Kobayashi and was clearly blameless.
“So you see that there is a lot to improve even in the FIA,” he said when asked about the stewards actions.
“You think it was my fault? It was my fault in the first race as well in Australia,” he added with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“I’m just saying that if the stewards is thinking like that, I don’t know who they’re taking to be steward to be honest. How many races has he caused problems on the first lap?” he said, referring to Magnussen.
Massa is now moving on from the incident, though, and has switched his focus to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I don’t think really we need to go to the past and live in the past,” he said. “You need to live in the future, we need to live the present and we need to concentrate to do a good job here. That’s the only thing I care about. What is past, it will not change.”
The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test concluded on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Combined times after the two days of running are below, with Nico Jamin (Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires) and Oliver Askew (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) remaining on top from Saturday to Sunday, and Darren Keane (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) supplanting Andres Gutierrez at the head of that field.
Previous notebooks are linked here (Friday, Saturday), with additional Sunday notes to follow.
Several drivers pulled double duty between series, namely Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda and USF2000), Carlos Cunha (Juncos Racing in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda) and Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda, RJB Motorsports in USF2000). Telitz (above) added a run in Pro Mazda in Team Pelfrey’s No. 82 car; the Wisconsinite has done a lot of the series’ testing for the new Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18, and had hoped to run all three series. We’ll have more meanwhile on Thompson and Exclusive’s double in the days to come; the Michael Duncalfe-led team out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one of three new Pro Mazda teams adding those cars to USF2000 efforts (Pabst Racing, BN Racing) this week.
There were a handful of drivers that changed cars or teams for Sunday’s second day of the test, primarily in USF2000. While Keane ran both days at Newman Wachs, the Brian Halahan-managed team ran David Osborne and Oscar DeLuzuriaga in the Nos. 37 and 38 cars, taking over from Jake Craig and Max Peichel. Osborne switched from Team Pelfrey, where he ran Saturday, and where Jacob Loomis ran Sunday. Justin Gordon ran a second Exclusive Autosport chassis, switching to the No. 90 on Sunday after running the No. 92 Saturday.
The PM-18 best lap set by Askew is more than three seconds faster than the series’ official track record (Pato O’Ward in 2016, at 1:22.8800, 105.941 mph). Askew’s best time of 1:19.8142 averages 110.010 mph around the 2.439-mile circuit. Neither the Indy Lights nor USF2000 cars eclipsed the existing lap records in those categories.
Drivers largely extolled the PM-18’s outright pace and potential with the horsepower upgrade, in what is a significant step forward for the series. “Following prototype testing of the new PM-18, I believed that we had a special race car and this weekend’s testing confirms that,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Based on team and driver comments, this is a fantastic race car and I am very pleased with what Tatuus, Elite Engines and my team have assembled. It fits perfectly in between the USF-17 and the IL-15 in terms of lap times and, more importantly, it takes what a driver learns in the first step and introduces higher HP, higher grip and higher aero. This will be a great training car for years to come, and seeing our program now with three excellent and well-designed cars is very satisfying to me.”
Keane, one of the few veterans (relatively speaking) within USF2000 was plugged in this weekend as the only driver outside Pabst Racing to threaten the top of the timesheets. “It’s a good boost in confidence for me heading into next year. I am really happy with how everything is going with the team. They are a great group of guys and it’s just really good to see us improving and being where we want to be,” he said.
Rinus Veekay hailed the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Mazda this weekend in his first test there, although the talented Dutch teenager may well focus on Pro Mazda next season and shoot to win that championship, and continue his battle with Askew established in USF2000. “The car is very nice, quick,” noted VeeKay. “You can really feel the downforce and it was a pleasure to drive.”
The MRTI is done with official running for the year, but the $200,000 MRTI Scholarship Shootout remains in December at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway, outside Phoenix. The winner of that will get a ticket into USF2000 for the 2018 season.
Full MRTI spring training will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February 2018, with undoubtedly a bevy of driver and team announcements to come over the following months.