Felipe Massa says F1’s new-spec cars introduced at the beginning of the year put the muscle back in the driving, like it was a decade ago.

Wider tyres and increased downforce changed the complexion of F1 in 2017, with drivers handed a harder task behind the wheel on the back of higher cornering speeds.

Massa, who just retired from Grand Prix racing after fifteen years at the pinnacle of motorsport, likened the new-spec cars to those he raced ten years ago, during his most successful years as a Ferrari driver

“Definitely I will remember that it [the 2017 car] is nice to drive,” Massa said.

“When you’re just driving the car, it is quite a nice feeling for the driver in terms of the G-force and the physicality.

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“I think to do a perfect lap in these cars you need to be a proper driver, not like in the past where the tyres were going away or you needed to drive like a grandmother. Now you need to drive like a driver.

“It’s similar to maybe 2006, ’07 and ’08 or even before that time. You have the car ready to accept everything so the driver really needs to risk and drive in a proper, aggressive direction.”

While the Brazilian is all for today’s tougher-to-handle cars, he still deplores the fact that overtaking remains a challenge, with aerodynamics hindering the ability to follow another car at high speed through a corner.

“I think the only thing that needs to be changed is to understand how to follow other cars a bit better,” Massa said.

“You can have as much downforce as we have but you need air. If you don’t have air, because you have a car in front, you lose downforce, you lose grip.

“So definitely for overtaking, if Liberty can understand how to improve the cars on the floor or different things to manage to be able to follow cars a little bit closer, it would be good for the show.”

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