Rubens Barrichello has advised his friend and countryman Felipe Massa to remember to enjoy his job, amid rumours the Brazilian is speeding towards the exit at Ferrari.
Speculation is rife that amid his apparently worsening performance slump, Massa will be replaced by the famous Italian team — perhaps as soon as within the 2012 season.
F1 veteran Barrichello, who has switched to Indycar this year after losing his Williams seat, told Brazil’s Globo Esporte that he thinks Massa’s problem is psychological.
“It’s not a speed problem,” he said, “it’s something that he needs to solve within himself.
“He has to close his eyes and enjoy, remembering that he does this because he likes it.
“Every time that I lost a little bit, it was because I had forgotten that I did it because I liked to. So we (drivers) have to relax and improve that way.
“(For Massa) it is just a moment, and every moment and race in formula one is a cycle of life.”
Barrichello’s advice for Massa may be particularly relevant, as he was at Ferrari during Michael Schumacher’s ultra-successful reign last decade.
Now, it is Fernando Alonso who is the Maranello team’s favoured son.
“Of course Ferrari loves Alonso, because he is one of the best, if not the best who is there (in F1) now,” said Barrichello, 39.
“So, it’s tough for Felipe.”
Barrichello also laughed at the results of a recent fans’ poll in the Italian media that showed he would be a highly popular choice as Massa’s replacement.
“It was very unexpected,” he said. “Maybe it was a way (for journalists) to see if Italians would pick an Italian driver, and suddenly I win.
“It is a very public business and shows that I must have left something behind,” added the winner of 11 grands prix.
© RIF | GMM