Felipe Massa has warned Red Bull against giving Max Verstappen a new team-mate over fears that it would lead to his “deterioration”. Red Bull secured their second consecutive constructor championship at the Japanese Grand Prix in September while Verstappen won his third straight drivers title two weeks later in Qatar.
The 26-year-old recently became the first driver to surpass the coveted 500-point barrier. Meanwhile, Red Bull broke the record for the most amount of points accumulated in a single season.
While Verstappen has won 17 races in 2023, his No2 Sergio Perez has only come out on top twice this season. Some pundits believe Red Bull should bring in a new driver that can challenge Verstappen for the No1 spot but Massa thinks it would be an unnecessary distraction.
“As long as Max is happy and the team wins both the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship, I think it would be wise to leave things as they are now,” the Brazilian told FORMULA 1 Magazine.
“Max is visibly feeling good and wins almost every race. For him, any change would mean a deterioration. What Max is showing this season is incredibly good, of an unprecedented level.”
Not even a top-quality signing like Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso would make much sense to Massa. “Even if you put Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso in Red Bull’s other car, I’m not sure much would change,” he added. “Maybe a little bit, but believe me, they wouldn’t beat Max either.”
In the background, Massa’s lawsuit against the FIA for the 2008 “crashgate” scandal rumbles on. The Brazilian driver aims to seek compensation from Formula 1 for a “deliberate incident” that caused him to lose the 2008 Championship to Hamilton.
Massa’s lawyer, Bernardo Viana had given the FIA, until mid-October to respond to a Letter Before Claim sent to them in August. The deadline has since been extended with a verdict on whether or not the case could go to court expected later this month.
“The objective is to bring the trophy home. It’s not financial,” Viana told Motorsport.com. “To get there, several measures will be taken with different aims, some to obtain information and others to obtain statements. We want everything that happened in 2008/09 to come to light.”
He added: “We understand that there is even more information that has not been made public.”