As promised, I’m digging up the F1 interviews I did last year as part of the lead-up to the 2011 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix!
Starting off with Sebastian Vettel, I’ve had Christian Horner, Mark Webber and Adrian Newey of Red Bull Racing. Today, it’s Scuderia Ferrari’s Felipe Massa:
WHEN I was told by his press officer that I have only 15 minutes with Felipe Massa, the first thing the Ferrari driver said to me was, “You have already wasted some of the time.” Immediately, I quickly opened my notebook and switched on my recorder.
It was the end of the day for the 29-year-old Spaniard who must be exhausted from the flight, the time difference and all the media activities that he had to do, including the opening of the Ferrari store at Marina Bay Sands resort earlier that afternoon.
I was a bit scared of him initially after that outburst, but as we progressed with the interview he slowly opened up and was actually quite fun to talk to!
Q: Which is the most challenging track you have ever raced on?
A: Well, there are many challenging tracks and in fact, here (Singapore) is one of the most challenging tracks. First, it’s a night race and a very long track, difficult and tight with one corner after another.
Q: If there is one criticism of the Singapore track, what is it?
A: As I just said, it’s very tight, very close to the wall; also, the weather is hot, but maybe it might be wet this weekend.
Q: How are you feeling for this weekend?
A: Good feeling after having a good result in Italy, so hoping for a good weekend on this beautiful track, and anyway we need to be well-prepared.
Q: Would you want rain?
A: Having rain will be a lottery, so it’s better to have no rain.
Q: If you’re not F1 driver today, what do you think you’ll be?
A: Don’t know, never thought about it.
Q: Greatest driver of all time?
A: Ayrton Senna and also Michael Schumacher.
Q: Which is your most memorable race?
A: My first victory at home in Brazil (2006). When I won my home Grand Prix for the second time (2008) it was different because even though I won that race, I lost the overall championship by one point.
Q: Do you prefer long or short hair on women?
A: Long hair; but not very very long, a bit longer than yours is good!
Q: Advice for the young and aspiring racing drivers who are aiming to make it to Formula 1?
A: First of all you need to have the talent; otherwise it’ll be very difficult to get there. Then you need to be very strong as you’ll face many difficult times in your career, and you need to understand that these tough times will make you stronger. You need to know the good people around you who can help you and also know that the chances to drive in Formula 1 are very few. Most importantly, you need to be simple and humble.
Q: Three words to describe yourself.
A: Aggressive, fit and humble. But anyway I don’t like to say my qualities; it’s not me to usually say that.
Q: What do you think of female drivers?
A: I don’t have anything against them definitely, but it is also true that this sport is like football. The men seldom play with the ladies, as physically, the men have an advantage over the ladies. But anyway I don’t have anything against them and I think it’d be nice to have a lady racing in F1 one day.
Q: What are some of your pet peeves?
A: Things that I don’t like? Oh, so many things! I don’t like liars, people who think they are the best because we should be humble, and I hate strong animals like scorpions and snakes.
Q: iPhone or Blackberry?
A: Blackberry, I use one.
Q: Tattoo or piercing?
A: Tattoo. But no, I don’t have one.
Q: Slippers or sandals?
A: Slippers or? What are sandals? Ah (after explanation), slippers then.
Q: Berms or jeans?
A: Both. For places like Singapore, berms! But back in Europe where it’s colder, jeans.
Q: Who do you miss the most away from home?
A: My family! My father, mother, brother, sister and also my wife. Usually she is with me most of the time but now with my son, she can’t come as much.
Q: Will you let your son go racing?
A: I hope he does something different. Racing is a tough and difficult job. But if it is something he really wants then I will definitely try to help.
Q: Any plans for more children?
A: For me, yes; for my wife, not so! But we will still try anyway.
Q: Favourite colour?
A: I like many colours: blue, dark silver, just to name some.
Q: Favourite foods?
A: I like everything; Brazilian food, Italian food like pasta and pizza. Spicy food? No, that’s what I don’t like. I cannot eat spicy food, I tried a few times but chilli is just too strong, I never liked it. I know you like it; oh you don’t? Ah, then you know what I’m talking about.
Q: General advice for our readers?
A: You need to keep learning, every day is an important day. Education is important, and the way you treat people is most important. That’s what I would try to do with my son.
Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Debut: 2002 Australian Grand Prix
Date of Birth: 25 April 1981
Place of Birth: São Paulo, Brazil
Marital Status: Married with one son