Despite being one of the most experienced drivers in the world of motorsport, ROKiT Venturi Racing's Felipe Massa still finds the level of competition in the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF simply "unbelievable." Still getting to grips with the virtual world, we catch up with Massa to hear his thoughts on the sim racing challenge.
"The race didn't go so well for me because there was a big crash on the first corner," said ROKiT Venturi Racing's Felipe Massa following round four of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF.
"I actually didn't hit anybody...but I stayed there and then I ended up last and my car was very damaged, so I couldn't drive in the right way - I couldn't enjoy myself in the race because of this," he says with the frustrated smile.
With a racing career dating back to the early 1990s, Massa is one of the most experienced drivers in the world of motorsport. But, after an 18th place finish in the last race around Hong Kong's virtual Harbourfront, it seems real-world experience counts for very little in the new arena of sim racing.
"It's definitely a great idea to do this Race at Home Challenge because we enjoy ourselves, we have fun at home and also for the fans and for the people watching as well," adds Massa.
"This idea to do a charity event together with UNICEF is a great. I have been working with them for a long time and it's really nice to see us doing something to help the people, especially the children and the families struggling with the difficult times as a result of the Covid-19 virus."
First named a UNICEF champion back in 2007, Massa was working with the organisation long before Formula E even existed. Formed in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the all-electric championship partnered with the global charity to develop a competition that pitched top sim racing talent against real-world drivers to raise funds for UNICEF to keep children around the world healthy, safe and learning during the coronavirus crisis. Now, with an opportunity to combine his role as a driver for the Monaco-based Venturi squad with his charity work, the Brazilian driver is working to spread the message far and wide while developing his sim technique.
"I've been out and not playing this game for a long time. It's unbelievable to see that you really need time - you really need to spend proper time in the simulator. I see drivers doing 10 hours a day!
"It's unbelievable to see the level of the drivers and how much they know about all of these games and systems. Driving is very different - you need to understand so many different points."
Already halfway through the competition, Massa will need to sharpen his sim skills in order to challenge for the title at the Grand Final. With Mahindra Racing's Pascal Werhlein now in the lead, the seasoned driver will have to give it his all to wrestle the top spot from the Mahindra man's hands.
Published on 20th May 2020