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Why would Massa help Alonso?
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Why would Massa help Alonso?
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Oct 2010   |  4:11 pm GMT  |  186 comments

There is a lot of attention on Felipe Massa at the moment, despite the fact that he is not a contender for the World Championship.

He has been the subject of speculation about whether he will retain his drive next year, while recently he has received encouraging words from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, which is a mixed blessing, like a chairman’s “vote of confidence” in a football manager.

The Ferrari website has identified his “key role” in the next three races and he himself has said that “the best thing I can do to help Ferrari’s and Fernando’s aspirations.”


Ferrari are 92 points behind Red Bull with 129 points available. So if Red Bull score an average of 13 points in each of the final races Ferrari cannot win the title. This is highly likely given that Red Bull has comfortably averaged 26 points a race this season.

So Massa is driving now for Alonso’s championship. It’s not a racing driver’s normal objective and it must be hard to find the motivation to put it all on the line for a team mate who’s made your life difficult all year.

If he can take points away from Alonso’s rivals, particularly the Red Bulls, then it gives Alonso more of a chance of winning the title.

Korea is a bit of an unknown, but it looks like it could be good for Ferrari. If that were the case then Massa’s role would be important, a 1-2 finish would really shake things up. Brazil will favour the Red Bulls, but Massa is normally outstanding around Interlagos and can clearly play a role.

I’m in the process of pulling together the text for my end of season book and it’s fascinating to look at the arc of Massa’s season from his emotional return from injury, to his cautious words about Alonso at the Ferrari pre season event in Madonna di Campiglio, to his feelings after outqualifying Alonso in Bahrain then after being beaten by him in the race. He was then subjected to Alonso’ aggressive pass in the pit lane in China and then we had the infamous team order to hand the win in Germany to the Spaniard.

Massa is a confidence driver, as good an example of one as you will find in Grand Prix racing. When his confidence is up, as it was in 2008, he’s amazing and can perform incredible feats. His race engineer, Rob Smedley, must take a lot of credit for that as he is not only a superb engineer, but he’s also like a motivational coach in his driver’s ear. He’s lifted Massa’s spirit to many of his great achievements.

All drivers are affected by confidence to a degree, but the hard ones, like Alonso and Schumacher back in his day, seem to perform whatever is going on around them, of course they make mistakes, but their performance doesn’t fluctuate due to confidence.

It’s been clear for most of Massa’s season that Alonso has simply “done his head in”, as the saying goes in F1. Obviously the final straw was Hockenheim, but he’d had his head down before then. As with Schumacher’s form this year, the blame is being laid on the tyres, in Massa’s case his struggles to deal with the harder compounds, but his real problem starts not with a “T” but with an “A”.

It will be interesting to see the response he gets in Sao Paolo as Brazilian colleagues tell me the Brazilian fans were very disappointed in him for moving over in Germany and he will be well aware of that, having spent a lot of time over there since then. They loved him for his fighting spirit in 2006 and 2008, but they were angry that he capitulated in Hockenheim.

He’s operating in a tough environment; in team mate match-ups among the leading drivers, Massa’s defecit to Alonso in qualifying is one of the largest. Most of the time Alonso has had two or three tenths on him, sometimes more. Although they start again from zero next season, it’s hard to see why 2011 will turn out any different from 2010.

Ferrari has stated clearly that Massa is to be retained next season, he signed a new two year deal in the summer, although Italian sources insist that it’s 2011 with an option on Ferrari’s side for 2012.

He’s a driver who looks like he needs a change of air to me, but there isn’t anywhere else for him to go and you don’t leave Ferrari out of choice.

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186 Comments
  1. Andy C says:

    Its an interesting one isnt it. The challenge for Felipe is large enough in getting himself far enough up the order to get into the mix.

    The second one is risking the wrath of his fans in Interlagos if he gets to the front and has to help Alonso through. I feel for him to some extent, as its the same situation Rubens effectively found himself in.

    I remain convinced that he wont be in a Ferrari next year, as I think Webber will be there next year.

    I would love to see Kubica at Ferrari, but I honestly couldnt see Alonso really wanting to go toe to toe with him (just in case).

    From a fans perspective, I like seeing the top teams trading drivers from time to time as it gives us all a barometer to see how people really compare in similar cars.

    James,
    if Felipe was not at Ferrari next year, who do you think would be favourite for the drive (hypothetically speaking), and who would you like to see up against Fernando?

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      how can you come with such nonsense. Who told you that Webber is moving to FERRARI !!!

      1. ian says:

        Although the odds are against it i could see Webber and Massa swapping seats. Both would enjoy a new environment.

        What’s interesting about Alonso is that although very quick, he probably isn’t the quickest out there, but he’s very clever and knows what to do to get his way. The problems at McLaren were partly down to Hamilton being so established – and not easily put down ( all that youthful confidence ). In that respect Alonso reminds me of Niki Lauda – not all ways the quickest, but always the smartest. And tough.

      2. devilsadvocate says:

        yeah, since Webber REALLY enjoys his position at RedBull where his number 2 status is mostly media hype. In fact he handled that so well I bet he’ll just be right at home at Fezza… errr wait

        Anyone want to start a pool how quick he gets fired if he tries the same media stunts at Ferrari that he did at RedBull?

      3. Andy C says:

        All opinions are nonsense unless you agree with them :-)

        I didnt offer a guarantee. And I didn’t come up with it. I was referring to rumours I had seen from a source at autosport.

      4. Jo Torrent says:

        Don”t get angree, but it is simply not on the agenda that’s it

      5. well he said he “thinks” weber will be there , so maybe no one told him :)

        its very hard to tell what goes on behind the scenes , what we see is normally completly different.

        Matt

      6. Andy C says:

        I spoke to eddie Irvine on this when James had a slot on eddies Talksport show and eddie said stefano (how’s that for a namedrop lol) said felipe would be there next year.

        When he arrives at the skiing weekend I’ll believe it :-)

      7. I don’t think it’s too outrageous a suggestion; both drivers have reason to be unhappy with their teams and both would probably only move to a team that could provide them with another shot at the title.

        There are a few sizeable obstacles though: Firstly, Ferrari would be getting a better deal than Red Bull, as Massa is clearly in need of rebuilding at present whereas Webber is at his peak.
        Secondly, Massa would have to take quite a hefty pay cut to join Red Bull; Webber is earning about a third of Massa’s basic pay, supplemented by large performance bonuses. Thirdly, what happens if Webber wins the title? He may feel like leaving to spite Red Bull, but would the lure of Ferrari be enough to overcome Alonso’s huge presence within the team?

        My money would still be on Massa seeing out 2011 with Ferrari, but after that I think it’s wide open. Kubica has been linked with the seat and I think he’s one of the few drivers in the field who could match Alonso’s pace and stand up to any mind games. Alternatively, Ferrari have occasionally suggested that they may go back to having a steadier, but very clearly number 2 driver, in the Irvine/Salo mould. Sebastien Buemi is one name I’ve heard linked to Ferrari in this way, but I could imagine Glock or maybe Sutil being attractive to them also.

      8. Mario says:

        For that reason Kubica and Alonso are extremely unlikely to race in one team, especially a team like Ferrari. It would be sparks all the way!

        I think that having a number 2 driver generally works better for a team it is just hard to get no2 that is a good points scorer at the same time; once you know you are good you want to be no1.

    2. Jon B says:

      What about Kovalainen or Glock at Ferrari. Especially Glock seems made for the role, he is quick and solid but probably won’t trouble Alonso too much. Heikki, great guy he is, didnt fare too well in a top car at McLaren, so the Maranello squad could be a bit more cautious.

      1. Frenchie says:

        Jon B,
        They’ve already got Massa for that. :-)

      2. Williams4Ever says:

        Yes one can’t really perform well in top car, when team gives inferior strategy, by heavy fueling a driver in qualifying effectively neutering his chances to beat the #1 driver in team to pole.

        About being top team – a team that couldn’t get engine mapping issues resolved for 3+ races in 2006, doesn’t have capability to give driver his first touch of car till Qualifying on Saturday (Imola’06), mixes up tyres in Pitstop (China’08) and leaves bung attached to car (Monaco’10), can’t get new parts in place for second car(season 09), either the team is Tier two team like HRT or team willfully botches up races of one of their drivers.

    3. RickeeBoy says:

      James and Andy,

      I believe that Massa is currently experiencing a lack of feel for the car to extract that vital few tenths which separates the “Lacklustre” from the “On Edge”.

      I also am very impressed that Ferrari have shown admirable and long term faith in Felipi when they could easily have delayed the contract signing.

      I also think that here in the UK we do not see or understand the Tifosi or the Italian press – and that once the weight and pressure starts to weigh too heavily then Ferrari will move with a cut throat efficiency for what they want.

      They have a number One in Alonso and therefore the focus will be all towards him and his great fight for the WDC – but now with Felipi he is taking additional headlines for his poor performances and the poor reflection this has on Ferrari. I cannot see it getting better for 2011 ( Sorry Felipi ) and therefore I have to agree with Andy that I think there will be changes for 2011 – although all the decent drivers are now ” In Contract” –

      Only driver not under contract and available who could give the Ferrari a decent showing above Felipi – and act as No2 – is Sutil. ( The Tifosi and press would be pi**ed but after a few decent showings ……. life moves on )

      Swaps – Ferrari may be able to use some dollars.

      Webber – Can’t see it – Mark is happy to do one more year then retire with as little upset as possible and he wouldn’t want the ogre of Alonso and Italy playing mind games with him. Especially if he’s WDC.

      Kubica – Yes but say goodbye to Renault.

    4. BMG says:

      I agree, Webber is saying lots of nice things about Alonso and Ferrari and I noticed a cooling of relations between himself, Horner and Redbull.

      I don’t think he will get treated any better at Ferrari, Alonso is clearly number 1 and Webber would need to be just a support to the Team.

      I would love to see him at Renualt, Kubica needs to be challanged by a strong 2nd driver. Then we would see if Kubica is the real deal.

    5. Jez says:

      Great idea! Webber to Ferrari, Kimi to Red Bull, Massa… Well who really cares.

    6. mickmickmurphy says:

      Alonso is showing how solid the Ferrari is this year, and Massa is driving like a broken man. It’s obvious the car is not the problem. I don’t think Massa will be in a red F1 car for much longer.

    7. Rich C says:

      Webber to Ferrari? Never gonna happen, get real.

      WHat Ferrari needs is a dependable #2 driver who accepts he’s #2. Perhaps a young up-and-comer would fit their team scheme. But never anyone that might beat you-know-who!

  2. Aaron James says:

    Brazil’s twisty corners might favour red bull, but that stonking climb up the hill has been a Ferrari Type-056 happy hunting ground for nearly half a decade now.

    That motor for whatever reason is a rocket around there, and Brazil’s tarmac seems to play into Ferrari’s tyre wear characteristics. Whether that will be the case again, I don’t know. But in many ways Brazil should be a cracking race with each of the major contenders having some aspect of their package that suits the circuit well, and others less so than their competitors.

  3. Andrew Watson says:

    Alonso not as hard as Hamilton !

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Alonso supporter I guess !

      1. Tim. says:

        NO…reality

      2. pfft says:

        thats why Hamilton crumbles at the end of EVERY season

      3. Anthony Marte says:

        Like last year, right? When he scored more than any other driver at the end of the season in the worst mclaren ever

  4. Irish con says:

    I think mclaren could be the ride to have this weekend but I think the Ferrari will be the car to have in the last two races. Brazil has been one of ferraris best tracks the past few years and Abu dhabi is slow corners and straights which is ferraris strength. I think alonso stands massive chance this year to win it and he seems quite confidant too

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Korea :
      *******

      if low grip RedBull then McLaren then FERRARI
      if enough grip McLaren then RedBull then FERRARI

      SAO PAOLO :
      ***********

      FERRARI then RedBull then McLaren

      Abu Dhabi :
      ***********

      FERRARI or McLaren then RedBull

      1. Galapago555 says:

        “SAO PAOLO :” Is there a new Italian circuit? Knew something ’bout a Brazilian town called “Sao Paulo”…

      2. Aussie Fan says:

        boom boom tisch! He’s at the comedy club (late) all week if you want to see him everyone. :-)

      3. Jo Torrent says:

        Given how good is FERRARI record there, it has to be written that way. If the trend continues, I will write it SAN PAOLO

  5. Ben G says:

    Poor Felipe. His real problem is that he got back in the car too soon after his accident. He wasn’t ready.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I heard that following an accident the sooner you step in the better it is !

      1. Ben G says:

        Tis’ usually two years before your brain is totally healed from a serious brain injury. In a world where every 1/1000th reaction time counts…

  6. Olivier says:

    I feel sorry for Massa. There’s no future for him at team Alonso. You’ve got to admire the sportsmanship from McLaren: they treat their drivers with genuine respect.

    I really hope McLaren gets the Constructor’s championship. Webber so much deserves the Driver’s troffee.

    1. David says:

      Yeah, McLaren treats the drivers with genuine respect….like they did to Kovalainen in Hockenheim 2008, or when asking Button to ‘save fuel’, or with Button’s stupid tyre strategy in Japan. McLaren only supports Hamilton. He justs gets away with anything in that team.

      It’s funny (or should I say sick) that all the ones that critise Alonso/Ferrari for what happened in Germany, are blind to what is happening with Hamilton/McLaren.

  7. Nacho says:

    Massa’s problem is as simple as the fact that he’s not a #1 driver for the team. There are always number ones and number twos. Simple as that.

  8. For Sure says:

    IF Alonso win the championship by 6 points, I wonder what would that do to his reputation.

    1. PaulL says:

      Probably enhance it except from those who don’t like him I guess

      1. For Sure says:

        How exactly enhance it when he would never be a champ if Massa didn’t move over for him?

    2. Irish con says:

      If alonso wins the championship do u really think he cares what you think or other narrow minded like people

    3. veeru says:

      It would do nothing mate. A couple of years from now, no one will remember it (except the odd British media chasing it here and there) That’s how many world champions became world champions, and in how may cases you remember those guys being helped out by their team mates

      I am not supporting the team orders here, the point is, no body remembers the second guy. Can you say quickly who came second in 2002…
      1…
      2…

      Time’s up…

      But again, I have to say Ferrari were pathetic in handling it. I mean why would you say to your driver “Sorry” when you have just asked him to move away. Can’t that wait unitl the race???

      1. Adrian says:

        2nd in 2002…wasn’t it David Coulthard?

      2. veeru says:

        see my fellow fans, our Adrian (I am sure a big fan of F1) poses a question mark too. That’s why I said nobody cares about the second guy, the runner up (fancy words for a loser) ha…

        just kidding

    4. Amritraj says:

      He’ll then be called a triple World Champion.

      1. For Sure says:

        Yep triple world champion with one hollow championship.

      2. Anthony Marte says:

        Two… remember the mass damper?

      3. axu says:

        @Anthony Marte: “remember the mass damper?”
        Meaning that if a Red Bull driver wins the WDC this year, it will be a hollow victory because of the documented flex of the front wing? (which contradicts the rules, even if it cannot be proven illegal through the current test).

    5. JD says:

      The same thing it did for Kimi Raikkonen’s reputation when Massa moved over for him in ’07.

      1. Jon B says:

        And when Kimi moved over for Massa in 2008..

      2. JD says:

        And when Collins gave his car to Fangio in ’56…

        Evil Ferrari!!!

      3. JR says:

        And to Hamilton when Kovalainen moved in Germany 08, or you didn’t see that one?

      4. JD says:

        JR, the point is not an empirical review of previous champions who benefitted from teammates moving over. Unlike McLaren, Ferrari’s long past is clearly characterized by it’s drivers working for the “benefit of the team”.

        Peter Collins, Lorenzo Bandini, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello, and now Massa all sacrificed in a big way to help their teammate win the championship. It’s part of Ferrari’s DNA more than any other team in F1. Personally, I don’t discount Raikkonen because Massa moved over for him. And I won’t think any less of Alonso if he wins his third title this season.

    6. Lilla My says:

      Don’t get me wrong – I don’t support team orders, BUT if Alonso wins by less than 7 points then it will only mean that Ferrari were right in Germany as without it they wouldn’t get any title and it’s all about winning the titles after all.

      1. Damian Johnson says:

        Is sport really about winning at any cost?

      2. Lilla My says:

        Let me just quote somebody we all know:

        “Winning is the most important. Everything is a consequence of that.”
        That’s Senna.

        When you’re not a professional, sport may be for fun or anything else, but when you’re a professional – you may have fun, but you also want to win. If you’re a professional sportsman and don’t want to win but mostly have fun, you should look for some other job. At the end of the day we remember the winners and not the loosers.

      3. Wobblebottom says:

        F1 is!! and I love it!

      4. Marco Pizzuti says:

        now somebody is speaking sense !
        Absolutly correct Lilla !

        Forza Ferrari !!
        Forza Alonso !!

      5. Lilla My says:

        Keeping my fingers crossed since March! :)

      6. Mike says:

        Agree with Lilla!

        Forza Ferrari Forza Alonso!

    7. johnpierre rivera says:

      nothing, MS reputation never once took a hit despite the handful of races that were gifted to him, and the fact that each of his team mates at ferrari were under contract to drive as a support asset.

    8. Tim. says:

      “I wonder what would that do to his reputation:………..
      Makes him a Champion

    9. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion says:

      How do you remember James Hunt? as a worthy world champion or as a traitor who broke a pact to avoid racing under infamous weather at Fuji?

    10. Ikertzeke says:

      We should ask Hamilton, he knows from his 2008 experience…

      1. Damian Johnson says:

        Not sure what you mean.

        Hamilton competed with Kovalainen as an equal in 2008 who was significantly slower than Hamilton and also had significantly fewer WDC points unlike Massa this year who still had a credible possibility of winning the WDC at the half way point in the season.

  9. jonrob says:

    Massa to McLaren, Button to Ferrari Ha Ha! :-)
    But Massa really does need a team that gives equality to drivers. Maybe if Webber retires as is punted, then Massa to Red Bull.
    BUT he is signed for another year of submission. Sadly I see the end of his career when he finally leaves Ferrari.

    The only upside here is that we may yet get to hear some more “Oscar winning” double talk from Rob Smedley. You have to hand it too him it must be a quote of the year. Vicky Pollard watch out!

    1. Harv says:

      As a previous poster said I think it makes more sense for Webber and Massa to swap. Ferrari would want a less fickle driver who would guarantee solid points for the Constructors’, but they’d feel he wouldn’t be faster than Alonso. And Red Bull would get a pretty quick experienced driver who wouldn’t seriously challenge Vettel; they then get to favour Vettel without it being too obvious, increasing their chances of keeping him at RBR longer.

    2. Ikertzeke says:

      I can’t see Massa in any of those cars, right now he is in a very bad situation, Alonso is kicking his ass

  10. Jo Torrent says:

    I hate the way the media in general treats Felipe Massa. Every year they speculate about him loosing his seat while FERRARI keeps its faith in him.
    Since the 1st day he put a foot in Maranello, I sensed that general media feeling : this guy isn’t worthy of the red seat ! And that kept going. Whenever he has a bad day, the speculations restarted and FERRARI kept denying…

    And this year was not different as we heard about Felipe loosing his seat from the start and we heard that FERRARI was considering KUBICA instead. I’m 100% sure KUBICA wasn’t considered for next year at any point.

    As for his speed deficit to ALONSO, I would like to see among the 25 on the grid, who has the ability to match ALONSO particularly in race trim. Very few can do it (Hamilton, Vettel may be and that’s it ).

    Add to that the problems he has with the tyres (next year we’ll see if the tyres were the true factor) and his accident’s consequences and you might forgive him.

    1. Andy C says:

      Jo,

      Massa is generally liked by the press from the coverage I’ve seen. Nobody is accusing him of not being worthy of his seat).

      He’s had a tough year (as you said as much to do with Fernandos performances as anything).

      Maybe you read other press than I, but I’ve read autosport for years and he’s generally been shown in a good light. As his pace and results have been good also.

      It is excellent that he made a good recovery from the accident.

      1. Rafael L says:

        I disagree.

        The media always seems to be quick to point out Massa’s flaws but not so much the good things.

        I can’t help but agree with Jo Torrent.

    2. Stephen W says:

      Jo how very true,Alonso is a hard act to follow,and i doubt very much whether if Vettel or Hamilton were in Ferrari now,they would fair any better.

      Hamilton has never moved teams,neither has Vettel,could they adapt? On the other hand Massa has been with Ferrari for a number of years,and i think had not been for his accident he would almost certainly be in a better position than he is now.

      1. Rabbit Leader says:

        Hamilton would give Alonso a run for his money at Ferrari. Alonso has gone on record saying that he would not want Hamilton at Ferrari. Why? Possibly because there would be a clear risk that he might be asked by Ferrari to play the team orders game as the # 2driver in support of Hamilton.

      2. Stephen W says:

        I haven,t read anywhere that Alonso does not want Hamilton or indeed Kubica at Ferrari,i have read he wouldn,t wish to partner Hamilton,again.
        I respect your point,however its completely unknown how Hamilton would adapt to a new team.
        He certainly would give Alonso a run for his money,better him at Ferrari? No i don,t think so.

  11. Mick says:

    James the average gap between Alonso and Massa in qualifying is 0.334. Based on average of their fastest qualifying laps of any session they both competed in. (not including the two wet weather affected sessions, sepang and spa). So its more like 3-4 tenths.

    1. **Paul** says:

      Massa’s problem is simple. He’s not as fast as Alonso as you point out. He’s got the same car, the same tyres but whilst Fernando qualifies in P3 or similar Massa doesn’t make the top ten.

      There is plenty of rubbish written about Alonso in the British press. I would suspect most of it stems from the fact that he had a turbluent time at McLaren with Lewis. If Alonso wins it’ll be beause he’s hugely talented in a car which isn’t the best, and Lewis fans will need to understand that FA remains the most complete driver in F1…. They won’t of course, but what is it they say about leading a horse to water !

      1. panya says:

        Hi Paul,

        I can’t agree with you more. You are so very right !!

  12. Ciprian says:

    James I believe you’re giving a superficial look at the whole thing. lack of confidence and that’s all? really, I think there is more – why Kimi lost motivation all of a sudden in 2008 certainly not out of “fear” faced to Massa.
    and now Felipe “baby”, the ace of 2008, how come he’s loosing so much his “confidence”, completely and constantly.
    I reckon all this is happening because Ferrari treats its drivers like soiled socks, “expendable assets”. and people tend to get fed up with this, of course. even to a point to which they stop caring about racing anymore, sadly.
    every time Montezemolo speaks out at least 1 phrase is with “commitment to Ferrari” like they were some gods on earth or something. well they far of that, let’s get serious.

    1. Anil says:

      Kimi lost motivation because he had already won the world championship, and on top of that he was driving a car which wasn’t to his driving style at all, which many of the additions going onto the car making lean towards an understeer-neutral set up.

      It’s not a question of whether Felipe will help Alonso, it’s whether he’s quick enough to keep up. Alonso can do amazing things in a F1 car, whoever he partners needs to be someone who get their head down and unfortunately Felipe is just that, a confidence driver.

      Hopefully he’ll be able to get more out of next years tyres.

  13. Canuck says:

    From a Ferrari Fan, I am rooting for Felipe.

    I hope he can contribute some good points for the constructor championship.
    As you say, James, winning the WCC may be out. But they still have a chance to beat McLaren for second.

    In my wish list is that Alonso clinches the WDC by less than 7 points.
    Many people that dislike Alonso will go berserk, and Red Bull will have to answer for not helping Mark Webber in Japan.
    This would make for 2 months of good fun for a Ferrari fan in the offseason!

    BTW, as I stated before, I fail to see why so many people oppose to team orders in F1 when they have been around for so long.
    Red Bull could have used them and extend their lead in the WDC. It is a missed opportunity and a big gamble moving forward.

    Cheers,

    1. sender says:

      Those are good points.
      We also do not know how many times one or another team tried to use team orders and they just didn’t work out. For example it could be that in Turkey Red Bull were trying to get Vettel past Webber but in a different way. Webber defended position and we know what happened. All those fuel saving and engine turning down things were strange.
      As for the situation right now at Red Bull – it is difficult to say what option is the right one because Vettel has closed the gap. He also has a chance. It is interesting to note that he has beaten Webber in all the last 3 or 4 races. Why that has happened – well, each of us can make his own conclusions.

  14. Jack Sentry says:

    The answer to your question is surely that Massa is looking to bolster whatever position he may think he has/needs next season at Ferrari. Otherwise there is no reason whatsoever to do anything other than go through the motions for the rest of this season.

    However, the problem he has to contend with is that if he does a good enough job and Alonso does win the championship then his position next season is shot before this one is over.

  15. mingojo says:

    I think Felipe has learned a few lessons this year.
    1. Fernando is better than Kimi.
    2. You have to do your talking on the track. Massa spoke lots of rubish before the season started and Alonso just did his talking on the track.

    1. Lynn says:

      Fernando is NOT better than Kimi, he is more SHREWD.

      Felipe can handle an honest, straightforward teammate but not a clever foxy one.

      Fernando will win the WDC for sure.

      1. mingojo says:

        The evidence suggest that Felipe has been slower than Fernando this year. It’s not about being a clever fox. Felipe tried mind games before he season started and Fernando ignored then.

      2. inaki says:

        Massa has beaten Kimi easily in 2008 and in 2009 till the accident. Specially in qualifying but also in races.
        Alonso is a much better driver than Raikkonen, by a mile.

  16. Michael says:

    Why should Massa help Alonso? We are talking about a teammate that back in 2008 cost Felipe the championship with the stunt Renault pulled in Singapore. Amazingly, Alonso was unpunished for that.

    No way does Felipe lose Singapore if that doesn’t happen. He dominated that weekend up until crashgate. He was robbed. Massa should keep doing what he’s been doing. Qualifying horribly and crashing the Ferrari. Oh how I’d love to see Felipe take out Alonso into turn one. I think that would be poetic justice.

    1. James says:

      Wow. I’d forgotten about that. Yeah, Alonso’s on his own for this one.

    2. Brace says:

      Massa lost championship in 2008 because he beached his car in Malaysia loosing 8 points, because his engine blew up 2 laps from the end in Hungary loosing 10 points and because his team screwed his pitstop in Singapore, costing him anything from 10 to 1 points, and considering the fact that he lost the championship by just 1 point it doesn’t matter if he even finished 8th after all the position swapping due to the safety car confusion.

    3. Lilla My says:

      Massa lost the championship in 2008 because of many factors. If he and Ferrari didn’t make mistakes earlier in the season, then what happened in Singapore wouldn’t have mattered at all. This was just one incident and no matter how severe it was you can’t say that Massa lost the title because of that one thing, it’s not that simple. Plus – Alonso was never proven guilty for crashgate, but people keep on blaming him.

      Massa lost because of his faults, becuase of spinnning in the rain in Silverstone, because of Ferrari’s faults, because Glock was passed by Hamilton in Brazil, because of his engine failure in Hungury (where he started third) and because of many other factors but people remember only Singapore. Could we get on with that and stop blaming everybody around, but ourselves, for our failures?

    4. Stephen W says:

      Alonso could have qualified on pole in 2008 had it not been for a fuel pump failure,Massa did not dominate then and does not now.

      Singapore 2010 Alonso did it on his own.

    5. Christopher says:

      That sounds like a fantasy of excuses. Felipe lost 2008 because he didn’t score enough points. Remember his driving in Silverstone that year anyone?

      Again blaming Alonso for PQ Jr crashing is another excuse from people that just don’t like Alonso. He was exonerated by the FIA. Massa has been out qualified and raced all year by Alonso. You can blame what you like but Alonso at the end of the day has out driven Massa.

      1. Wobblebottom says:

        Right on mate. Simply said and simply true!

  17. Shane says:

    I like Massa as a driver, his passion and general demeanor are really great to see on the track, especially when he is “on”.

    That being said, I have always considered him to be a fantastic qualifier, but not necessarily up to the challenge of a race. What sets the WDC driver’s apart that have been his teammates is their ability to just get on with it, no matter the circumstance. If Alonso starts dead last, he gets on with it and manages to get himself into the points. If Alonso crashes out, he resets and focuses on the next race. It seems to me that Massa’s passion is his greatest strength and also his greatest weakness.

    1. Irish con says:

      I sort of agree with you but in 2008 one of massa’s greatest strengths was his bounce back ability. He always seems to pick himself up greatly from a massive let down. Ie Malaysia to Bahrain and Germany Hungary Valencia

  18. bones says:

    I doubt he wants to helping him,even for me the the memories of the 07 European GP are still fresh,we do not really know what was said within the team after Germany this year, BUT the main thing is how he could help him if he keeps being far away from the front?
    How many race has he been very competitive this year?

  19. Soeren says:

    If I were Massa, I’d be out of Maranello as quickly as possible. He must be believing he can have a better start to the season than Alonso next year, which I doubt. I guess even if he’s getting to grips with the Pirelli tires quicker than Alonso, Ferrari will discover “a technical problem” with his car quite soon … cowardly [mod}.

  20. ruben says:

    For those feeling sorry for Massa, maybe you should consider how lucky he is… when you see guys like Hulkenberg who have loads of talent but might be on the way out because of lack of funds/sponsorship. Massa gets paid very well and gets to drive a car that’s a good contender. To leave Ferrari because of not wanting to be a #2 would be insane unless a top ride somewhere else became available. I think back to Eddie Irvine when he went from Ferrari to Jaguar…

    1. Romeo ( MEX in USA) says:

      I am with you 125%

    2. James says:

      I’m with you too!
      There’s always a way around being made a number 2 driver. Just ask Mr Webber.
      Perform on the track and there’s little the team can do.

      1. SB says:

        There is something a team could do…. ‘forget’ to have your tyres ready when you come to a pit stop… like ferrari did when Irvine was in the championship hunt… Ultimately the team can make and break a driver.

    3. Wobblebottom says:

      Really good point mate. Now it seems talent alone is not enough (you have to bring money with you, crazy!!)

    4. Kedar says:

      Also the fact that Jean Todt’s son manages him may have had something to do with his drives in a Sauber and then in a Ferrari

  21. nash says:

    If Interlagos will be another race for Massa to yield the WDC to another driver… it will be a disaster for him…better then for him to go home and enjoy amazing moments and unreplacable joy with his little boy

    2007 – he gave WDC to Kimi
    2008 – he had it for a few seconds
    2010 – he lays the final WDC stepping stone for “A”?

    1. Tim. says:

      Reads like a great team mate

  22. Sven says:

    Massa has been the nearly man for his entire career in racing. A very god race every now and then when circumstances are right. But realy did he ever look like a true championship contender!
    I dont think any of the other top teams believes that. The second car at Ferrari is for sure the best seat he can have.

  23. Dino says:

    Bear in mind that while Ferrari can’t reasonably fight for 1st place in the constructor’s championship, they still have a fair crack at 2nd place by beating McLaren, which would only require 47 points.

    With McLaren’s recent form this is actually pretty likely.

  24. sender says:

    In this article there are some arguable things. I will not ennumerate all of them but it must be said that Alonso will not receive almost any help from Felipe because Felipe will not be up there to support somebody. This year he has not been good enough. I do not know who is to blame for this but that is a fact.
    Other thing – it is getting a little bit ridiculous that in mass media a lot of people consider Hockenheim’s race as a farce. As has been said many times, a lot of teams in the past have given team orders and to some extent Ferrari did the right thing. I know that there are people with different views but there are a lot who supported Ferrari.
    I agree with James than next year nothing will change dramatically and most likely Alonso will still be in front. It is the same about Schumacher and Rosberg. Alain Prost has said that he has doubts that Michael will turn it around.
    A lot depends on the team philosophy. I hope that Ferrari will get it right otherwise it is really difficult to see where the motivation for Massa will come from. It must be said not only about this season but also about the next one.

  25. Galapago555 says:

    “Why would Massa help Alonso?”

    Mmmm… maybe just because he is told to do so by his employer – at the end of the day, he gets paid for doing his job, so it should be quite normal for his boss to tell him: “Felipe, I want you to drive this way, and to do so and so”, and for him simply to do it.

    Assuming it’s legitimate to yield to a team mate who has better chance for the WDC. And more at this stage of the season.

    Where’s the problem?

    1. Jonathan De Andrade says:

      I think the point James was trying to make was ‘where will Felipe find the motivation to help Alonso?’. Given the circumstances this season has unfolded to Felipe, especially in regards to his relationship with FA, I find it hard to Felipe. Of course he has being told to do so, and I have no doubt he will try to do his best. But being 100%motivated and on full throttle is another story …
      How hard would you push to help a friend of yours? And someone else not regarded as a friend?

  26. James says:

    It’s interesting how that 7 point margin keeps coming up when people speak about Alonso winning the title.

    1. vodka and orange says:

      Just goes to show how astute Ferraris thinking was at the time, although everyone knows points make prizes!! It only took the first 5 races to see Alonso was going to outperform Massa as soon as he got his head together after a good first win, and then an unlucky punt in Aus( by Massa wasnt it?!!!), that sent him almost to last position! Maybe Alonsos early season nerves were because he was too worried about Massas dodgy driving in the first few corners…….maybe Fernandos “chop in the pitlane entry” was him sending a message back….for sure early season Ferrari had a lot of shenanigans going on behind the scenes……..its all good fun #:)

  27. James says:

    On paper, I just don’t see Massa finding form in the next few races. But if he happens to have a coliision with either Red Bull, then the championship will get really nasty.

  28. Mark m says:

    To all the massa critics has any one ever returned to a f1 car after being hit on the head by an errant spring. I think not! The man suffered a life changing injury and we do not get to know the true extent of his injuries. Maybe he should have taken the Insurance money from the crash and retire but him continuing to drive does show us a glimpse of his inner character, his resolve to get the job done but with the limited testing these days they do not get the track time to polish their race craft the way they would like.

    1. Michael says:

      Exactly!!! Massa’s return is nothing short of miraculous. Ferrari really stuck it to him robbing him of a comeback win. Karma will bite the Ferrari prancing horse’s head off.

    2. Tim says:

      Perhaps not, but several drivers have returned from life-threatening injuries so it isn’t exactly unprecedented.

      Niki Lauda was famously read the last rites after his horrible crash at the Nurburgring in 1976, yet he returned to fight for the WDC the same year and went on to win two further titles. Karl Wendlinger crashed his Sauber at Monaco in 1994, sustaining head injuries that put him in a coma for several days. He returned to F1 the following year but never really looked like the same driver and was fired a few races in.

      Motor racing is a cruel career which has little sympathy for drivers who under-perform, for whatever reason. Massa isn’t relying on sympathy to retain his seat, nor should people expect Ferrari to take that into account when deciding to retain him.

      1. Mark m says:

        The two incidents that you have quoted are good but the one crash that bears a lot of similarities to massa’s crash is senna’s. He had an impact on the head by a part of the suspension, yes there are other mitigating circumstances in his crash but the fact remains that he died from severe head trauma. In fact it was senna crash that saved massa’s life the helmet standards have increased since then and if massa has his accident then would he be alive probably not and this discussion would totally irrelevant.

  29. Stig says:

    Massa sertainly needs fresh air James, but as you say there are no good seats left. Renault? Dont think he is worthy of a RBR seat.

    If you look at his season it is unlikely that he can help Alonso much as;
    -he is not him self this year(after accident)
    -tyre problems
    -lack of motivation at present

    They would need a race where the Ferrari had a clear pace advantage like in 07/08 at some tracks. Thats not going to happen.

    Cant see him changing seats for 2011. But why does anyone think Webber would leave the quickest car in the field + teammate he can handle for a top seat against Alonso with No.1 status? If he leaves it will be Raikkonen doing Vettel!

    As long as Webber beats Vettel he will be WDC. I could see him quit on top if he wins though..

    1. Harv says:

      Webber himself said earlier this season before he re-signed with RBR that if he had an offer from Ferrari that he’d be silly not to consider it (and this was when the Ferrari was a LOT slower than now). It’s more than likely every F1 driver’s dream to drive for Ferrari, and if he did win the WDC, and doesn’t retire, he’d probably be as fulfilled as he could be, and gladly move to Ferrari for one year even if it meant going to a slightly slower car. And even then, there’s no guarantee the Red Bull will be the fastest next season.

    2. Andy C says:

      Yes I can. If he wins the wdc he will have achieved what he wants to.

      I’m sure a lot of f1 drivers would jump at a year in a Ferrari to end their career, due to the history (and adding a few more red machines to the home garage :-)

    3. SB says:

      I think Webber has soured his his relationship with RedBull. I think he will leave this year to go to Ferrari. I think Ferrari made Massa move over in Germany as they could see that Alonso was their best hope for this year, next year if both their drivers were in contention for the championship then i do not think they would do the same again. Alonso has driven with Webber before in Renault and they are good friends. The teams that have let both their drivers fight it out are 1 and 2 in the constructers because both drivers are scoring… surely thats what ferrari want too for next year. I’d love to see a shock move by Kimi to RedBull….. Redbull and Kimi fit.

      1. Stig says:

        Well, I could agree that you pose a fair argument for him to switch to Ferrari. If he wins this year I guess he could live with a season or two at Ferrari before he retires, even if beating Alonso is not very likely.

        But he has a contract, and I doubt RBR would swap Webber for Massa. So that would mean Massa to Renault, Webber to Ferrari and Kimi alongside Vettel. Likely? I dont know..

        I am also unsure of how damaged the relationship is between Webber and RBR. With Massa Vettel will be nr.1, even if Massa Im sure beleives that he can beat him.

        Well well, we will soon find out who goes where. I think as soon as the WDC is over the gloves will come off :)

  30. Richard Bell says:

    It’s sad to see the Brazilian’s have such a dig at Massa, Rubens did it every year of his Ferrari days, I’ve heard F1 fans have short memories, maybe that’s it.

    Saying Massa’s problem starts with ‘A’ rather than ‘T’ is probably true, just like Schumacher’s is ‘N’ not ‘T’.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Shumi’s problem is A for Age or O for Old

    2. Aussie Fan says:

      I don’t think Schu’s problem starts with a N, but rather U(ndersteer).

      On the few races where he has dialed it (understeer) out he has comfortably out paced Nico, but if he can’t get that front turning in in the slow corners then Nico comes along & makes it look like he is a faster driver & it isn’t just the Mercedes car playing “im not gonna turn in today”.

      At least it shows MS hasn’t lost his ability to drive quick (where would one lose that anyway you either have it or you don’t), if he had, he would just be slow EVERYWHERE, which isn’t the case :-)

  31. Red5 says:

    No reason why Massa wouldn’t help.

    Can’t imagine that he would want to consider driving for Virgin next season.

    Once the math works against him for sure he will support the team goals.

  32. Stefanos says:

    Ferrari chose Massa over Raikonen and at great (financial) cost. They clearly believe in him and have shown it on multiple occasions. He is part team Ferrari. They decided (probably correctly) that Alonso has a better chance this year. They misshandled the situation. Particularly, Rod Smedley took it upon himself to apologise to Massa on live radio.

    It is all the statements from McLaren and Red Bull that are hypocritical, opportunistic and unecessary. They are not without sin themselves.

  33. Merk says:

    There is no future for any driver being in the same team as Alonso.

    Not that he is the fastest, he really isn’t (is why Hamilton, a rookie, easily equalled him).

    But Alonso just dictates and demands that everyone serves him. Be it in the team or even outside the team, how everyone should just move over for his royal highness.

    And if he doesn’t get what he wants, he doesn’t have a problem damaging and backstabbing the team to the extreme.

    Very nasty kind of personality, one of the worst in F1 history, in my opinion.

    1. Anil says:

      Hamilton is not faster than Alonso, 2007 was a poor season for Alonso but it didnt help that Ron and most of Mclaren were pretty much against him. He was also wrongly penalised in Hungary, which hamilton won.

      On top of that, him and Kimi had to completely change their driving style to use those bridgestone tyres. The tyres are easily the most important aspect of a racing car and if you look at both of their performaces for the first half of the season you can see they were affected from using Michelin tyres before that.

      Alonso was brilliant in the second half of the season. He wouldve won the title had he not hit a river and aquaplaned in Fuji.

      1. Rockie says:

        Obviously you must have seen a different championship Kimi was the form man for the second half of the season man check your facts.

    2. SuperOsnola says:

      [mod] Didn’t you hear about an interview where drivers said F.A. was the best?
      ¿Don’t you remember Hungary 2007, the only time that a driver has been punished without breaking any rule? ¿Don’t you remember uncle Ron Dennis saying “We didn’t expect Kimi, we were racing Fernando”?
      I could continue with that list of questions, but I believe it will be enough to demostrate Fernando is the best (by far, I would add).
      [mod] I don’t personally know him at all, but I know things like he gave HIS money to the engineers when he took pole positions with Renault (I don’t know if he keeps doing it now), he is one of the drivers that most help Africa Kids and he never says it…
      Please, read what you’ve written again [mod] –

      1. James Allen says:

        Please read the rules again. You are welcome to comment here but we will not tolerate arguments

      2. SuperOsnola says:

        Ok, sorry.

    3. Aussie Fan says:

      Alonso + Vettel in the same team would be errrrrmmmm “entertaining” to watch. Bookies would have a field day!

      We could place bets on whom crashed into whom first, whom demanded preferential treatment first, best dummy spit of the season, most uncomfortable press conference, most questionable team order, whom is going to quit first, how many times they will cost each other points by not wanting to play the team game because of their fragile egos, whom gets ordered to let the other driver past first, how many times Vettel asks “what’s the fastest lap” 3 laps from the end (what’s it matter ya little MS record breaking wannabe, just race buddy), best teammate “assist” crash (think Piquet JR), most disgusting show of team support (think Vettel getting hugs & slaps on the wall in turkey after he crashed out Webber), the list goes on & on. It would be entertainment plus!

      Cmon Bernie, I’d like to see that!

    4. Kedar says:

      Also Alonso was new to the Bridgestones and had to unlearn the Michellins in 2007. Besides he did finish on equal points to Hamilton that year
      before you pooh-pooh this argument look at what the tyres are doing to Massa right now. I agree that Alonso wants to be the prima donna of the team but I still think he is one of the quickest out there

  34. michael grievson says:

    For me what massa needs to do it show Alonso he’s not going to be walked over. He should knuckle down and focus over the winter and come back determined to win.

    It was a mistake to move over for Alonso in Germany. He may have been told to but it show Alonso he’s not going to be pushed around.

    Having said that, he can’t blame Alonso for his lack of performance. One of Alonso’s strengths is the ability to drive a car that’s not fully suited to him.

  35. Lilla My says:

    Why would Massa want to help Alonso?

    Because, if helping Alonso requires being up there with the title contenders then by doing so, Massa can prove that he’s still a worthy driver able to fight at the front and thus secure his seat for the next season(s) proving wrong all the people who have already sent him away.

    As far as Massa leaving Ferrari is concerned, I don’t think he should do it – he should stay and try to up his game next season – they both start from zero in March. Alonso earned his position on the track IMHO this year (I don’t agree with people saying that he required it. I think he worked for it) so why couldn’t Massa do it in 2011? I don’t think he’s capable of that but why not give it a shot? After all, if you’re a Ferrari driver then leaving it for any team is a step back and nobody likes that.

  36. James Punt says:

    Its hard not to feel very sorry for Massa. He crossed the line in Brazil in 2008 thinking that he had won the World Championship. Seconds later his world caved in.
    In 2009 the car wasn’t good enough and then he nearly died in a freak accident.
    2010 he gets back to racing but finds that his team have decided that they want a leader in the camp and that man is Alonso, perhpas the most selfish man in F1 since Schumacher. If he didn’t twig that he was now the defacto number 2 driver at the time, he certainly did by China. Germany was just the inevitable situation that was always going to crop up later in the year.
    He is now a paid poodle. Nice car, might win a race now and then if Alonso has crashed out, but he will be expected to just be a good boy and finish behind his superior. That is the Ferrari way and it sucks for Massa and it sucks for racing fans.
    He should just walk away with his pride intact but I guess he will stay and just get ground down for another year or two. Where else can he go? The damage has been done now. He is not as quick as Alonso who which top team will take him? None.
    And remember if Hamilton hadn’t got passed Glock in Brazil he would have been World Champion in 2008. Most drivers never get a shot at the title and if you miss that chance it must be soul destroying. A sad story.

  37. TG says:

    If Massa helps Alonso his countrymen will never forgive him. Fact.
    He will regret it – just as Barrichello has.
    But, as already said, he will likely be in no position to help until Brazil, when he’s in front of an expectant home crowd on his favourite track – then you can expect to see a different Felipe qualifying near or possibly in front of the McLarens.
    I feel sorry for the guy, especially following the crash. Mika Hakkinen says he still gets blinding headaches today, 15+ years after his big smash.
    And regardless of how he performs in the rest of his career (I reckon one more year at Ferrari then a few years with Toro Rosso or another middle-order outfit) he’ll always be known as “Magnaminous Felipe”.

    1. JD says:

      That’s what I don’t understand. Barrichello and Massa are on the outs with their countrymen. So does that mean their favorite driver is now Lucas di Grassi? Talk about conditional love. Unbelievable.

    2. Tim. says:

      “If Massa helps Alonso his countrymen will never forgive him. Fact”

      HOW is that FACT and where do you get that?

      1. TG says:

        All right, you got me, it was a turn of phrase and I didn’t – in fact – carry out a nationwide survey of Brazil which concluded that the entire nation, right down to the smallest child, would be a bit angry with him. Guilty as charged.

        But how about this clarification: “In my opinion there is a high probability that the large chunk of his passionate sporting nation, who have already experienced the career woes of one high profile Ferrari #2 and are likely not in the mood for a repeat featuring their best current driver, will not forgive him.”

        I like the first way. It was considerably shorter, yet expressed the same opinion. Funny that.

    3. Andrew Myers says:

      I agree. Imagine in front of a Brazilian crowd if Felipe was asked to yield to Alonso. The fans would never forgive him. I hope we don’t see this situation, but those pushing for team orders ought to consider it.

      Bernie says he has no problem with team orders, but I wonder how he’d feel if a Russian or Indian driver was asked my their team to surrender the lead at their home GP. These markets are apparently important to him, and I am not sure he’d like to upset the fans there…

      1. Rabbit Leader says:

        Good points. I always felt in TV interviews that Bernie is difficult to pin down when he has contradictory views. So expect him to be against team orders when it suits such as when an Indian or a Russian driver are expected to play the team orders game.

  38. Tim B says:

    I think Ferrari really let Massa down with the Hockenheim maneuver. For someone coming back from a serious injury, especially a head injury, rebuilding confidence is critical, and probably even more so in Massa’s case. Hockenheim clearly damaged Massa’s belief in the team, and possibly in himself.

    Hopefully for his sake he can bounce back next season, but I have my doubts.

  39. Michael says:

    The other real question is…would Alonso help Massa? As we saw early this year…the answer is quite clear.

  40. Matt W says:

    I hope Felipe doesn’t have to help Alonso in the final few races. It will be bad enough for the credibility of the sport if Alonso doesn’t win by a big enough margin to negate Germany, let alone if he picks up more points to team orders.

    This isn’t because I am anti-Alonso, but because I am fed up with the credibility of the sport being called into question. In the modern sporting world F1 needs to make sure that it is clean. Constant scandals and controversy turn off the fans and put off new viewers. F1 could have done far more over the last few seasons to give off a much better image. The sport needs to move with the times.

  41. Ricardo says:

    It’s São Paulo, not Sao Paolo!

  42. Rafael L says:

    Why would Massa help Alonso?

    This seems rather easy: everyone knows he isn’t allowed to finish 1st, so the best he can do is finish 2nd. Doing so would show everyone that he has the pace.

    Ideally, Massa should want to get pole every time and then happily pass 1st place over to Alonso, not because he’s slower, but because he has to.

    Go Felipe!

  43. Regis says:

    I havent’ had a chance to read all replys so excuse me if this has been said.

    Imagine if Felippe si leading Interlagos, which he most certainly can and Fernando is in 2nd place. He will then have to move over for him for the championship.

    What would happen then? he would get “booed” on the podium, hated by his own people, would that be the tip of the iceberg for him? I think it would and doubt we would see him in red next year.

    I think he is actually hoping this scenario doesn’t happen, what do you all think?

    1. SuperOsnola says:

      It happened in 2007 and I don’t remember Brazilian people getting angry with Felipe, but after what happened in Germany the reactions could be very different…

      1. James Allen says:

        That’s the point; people understand when it’s the last race of the season and it’s for a drivers’ championship.

      2. Regis says:

        thanks for that

  44. MonzaOne says:

    Why would MAssa help Alonso if required? Because he is a Ferrari driver and as he has no chance of winning the WDC while his teammate has, he is obligated to do so.

    Of course if Massa wants to be seen as someone that is disloyal to his team and wreck his repuation, he will be obstructive and it will end him being fired from Ferrari.

    If Massa ever believed he could beat Alonso, or thought the Spaniard would be like Raikonnen, then he ought to be considered delusional.

    Welcome to the real world Felipe. You are teammate to the best driver in f1 today and gives no quarter.

    It also reflects just how superb Hamilton’s first year was alongside Alonso. Good man is Lewis – and so nice his fans too.

    NB: I am not a Lewis supporter by the way.

  45. Wombat says:

    It would interesting to speculate how much those 7 points gifted to Alonso by Massa in Germany really cost Ferrari. Ferrari thoroughly discouraged an obvious ‘motivational’ driver who they now need to work miracles to help their favored man win the F1 championship (given he has a least two drivers to beat). Maybe $1m each I’d say. They would be happy to pay that much to reverse that decision in Germany. And perhaps it is a lesson to others who might want to play the team game on how it should not be done – not that I necessarily have an issue with team orders as long as it is all transparent.

  46. JohnBt says:

    Looks like Massa’s not in a good position. If he helps Alonso, he will surely receive endless slugging especially from his fellow countrymen.

    But if Massa does not help Alonso Ferrari will be disappointed with him, hence his seat will be reconsidered even though they signed him for 2011 and 2012.

    What happens if he make mistakes? Can’t rule that out.
    Look at what happened in Suzuka.

    With his paycheck of 12 million a year, which team can match the hefty salary? The ball is in Massa’s court or Ferrari?

    Those who dislike Alonso claim Massa can be faster or is faster. Not in my opinion though.

    Go Mark Webber…oops.

  47. Rowan says:

    So many people have said that they feel sorry for Massa, but I don’t get it. What right do we have to feel sorry for him, really? He gets to do what he loves and earns a shitload of cash, has a happy family, and is just generally more successful than most. He doesn’t need any pity.

    Then again, I guess I kinda get it, in a way. It’s a good feeling, being sorry for others, isn’t it? It makes you feel better about yourselves.

    I have never been a Massa fan, and I doubt I ever will. From the moment he said he would gladly be helping MS to get the championship, EVEN BEFORE ever stepping into a Ferrari car (in 2006), I knew that he would never be a WC. He doesn’t lack the talent, he just doesn’t have the right mindset.

  48. Thalasa says:

    If Massa’s only problem was being number 2 driver at Ferrari, then he would come 3th in the driver’s standings. Massa is not having his year.
    I think Massa is a great driver and I like very much his fighting spirit, but for whatever reason he is under performing.

    Wouldn’t be Mercedes a good team for him? he could be Schumacher’s no 2 (as he used to) for one or two seasons, and then no 1.
    My best wishes to him anyway.

  49. Michael says:

    To begin with, a very clear story on Massa’s mental state. If it is indeedd as you say, then Alonso has done himself a huge disfavour by his behaviour towards his teammate earlier this season, especially China and Hockenheim. Because he now needs Massa to gain the title. However, the only way in which Massa has enough confidence to be able to help him if is allowed to win a race, which then automatically would be at the cost of Alonso. Had Alonso stayed behind Massa at Hockenheim, how different the story would have been. Alonso would still be number one at Ferrari, but then with a confident nr 2 who knows he can (and is allowed to) win the occasional race (just like Barrichello and Irvine with Schumacher) and in doing so can keep his confidence in himself and the team. Right now Massa is damned regardless of what he does. Beat Alonso? Ferrari won’t be happy.
    Lose to Alonso? His fans and personal sponsors will not be happy.
    It’s a typical catch-22, which can only be resolved by Alonso.

  50. snafuracer says:

    The team bosses are telling him : help Alonso become champion, or you are out of the game. Or at least that’s the way I see it. Massa knows he’s second driver, and he can’t get out of that spell, unless he outperforms all of the leading five.

  51. ajpandabear says:

    If i had my own racing team, i would expect the driver with no chance of the WDC (massa)to support my other driver.
    I supply the car (team), you and your team mate go racing for the WDC, win me the constructors championship.
    But if things dont work out for you, you WILL support my other driver! or your out!
    Any team that lets the drivers do what they want, should be shot.
    I own the team, i own the cars. I pay the team, I pay the drivers. Who is the boss?
    this is business, like it or not!

  52. volkan says:

    The sole reason Massa has the number 7 car is to help Alonso till the end of 2010 season. That’s after he lost his chance to win the championship. We should not be sentimental, he has no obligation to outperform Alonso from now on.. Unless you want Ferrari to crumble, you should not suggest that…

    Unfortunately, he is not even up to that that task. He should be stealing points from the Redbulls and McLarens for every single point counts now….

  53. Prancer says:

    Interesting article James but not sure if I agree with your closing remarks.Quite possibly my memory is getting a bit hazy! but I had the impression Rubens had a Ferrari contract for 2006, that the team were happy with his performances, but he simply got fed up of Schumi and asked to be released early?
    From a Ferrari perspective I would like to keep Felipe as I can’t see quality drivers lining up to be Alonso’s dogsbody.But from Felipe’s perspective he would possibly be better off and almost certainly happier somewhere else.

  54. chris green says:

    James the average gap between Alonso and Massa in qualifying is 0.334.

    The average gap between the two – as people -is about a mile.

    Felipe should leave Ferrari for his own peace of mind and self respect.

  55. Damian Johnson says:

    Who else might replace Massa apart from Kubica?

    1. S2K says:

      Anyone, I guess.

    2. Tim. says:

      I really don’t think their is anyone out there that wants to leave their current ride….IMO

  56. Dan says:

    A bit off topic, but someone has to say it – this week’s banner is epic James, good job!

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks very much. I love it too! It’s one of the best we’ve had

  57. rossetto says:

    It all depends if Mark Webber can ski.
    If he cannot ski Ferrari will not take him to Madonna di Campiglio opening.

  58. rossetto says:

    Anyway, I do not think Webber is faster than Felipe even at his current low form.

    1. Tim. says:

      Webber’s low form or FM….:)

  59. David Newsome says:

    Some statistics (we love them). Alonso and Massa have now taken part in 84 pre-race sessions together. Alonso has been quicker in 73 (87%) of them. That breaksdown as follows:

    Practice 1 = 12-3 Alonso (80%)
    Practice 2 = 15-1 Alonso (94%)
    Practice 3 = 13-1 Alonso (93%)
    Q1 = 14-1 Alonso (93%)
    Q2 = 10-3 Alonso (77%)
    Q3 = 9-2 Alonso (82%)

    Alonso has destroyed Massa this year. Alonso doesn’t need any help from Felipe to win the Championship. He proved that in Singapore.

    VAI ALONSO!

    1. Wobblebottom says:

      Great stats mate!

  60. David Newsome says:

    This, by way of comparison, is the same rate of superiority that Kubica has had over Petrov. Enough said!

  61. Ed says:

    Well hopefully Ferrari/Alonso will return the favour if Massa gets in the same position in the future, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why Massa is doing this.

    Of course its ironic that Alonso expects Felipe to help him when Alonso could have given the 2007 championship to Lewis only by slowing down on the last lap.

    1. Irish con says:

      Ur sooo wrong. It wouldn’t have mattered what alonso done on the last lap. Lewis needed 2 places not one

      1. Ed says:

        Indeed I am, thanks for correcting me.

  62. Rafael says:

    Here’s the thing: the fact that Ferrari hired Raikkonen when Schumacher retired, and then Alonso when the Finn called it a day speaks volumes. If Massa was capable of leading the Scuderia, then they wouldn’t have found the need to hire the other two, would they? Having watched over Massa for his entire career (since even before Sauber in ’02), perhaps Ferrari has seen for quite some time that he truly doesn’t have what it takes to be a champion.

    A lot of people like to say he proved his ability to fight for the title in ’08 and that he was just unlucky. I don’t think so… Rather, 2008 flattered to deceive: Raikkonen’s motivation was on the slide, Hamilton was still going through a steep learning curve, and Alonso was in an uncompetitive car. So in fact 2008 was Massa’s lucky year, yet he still failed to deliver. If you look at it from another point of view, what 2008 said about Massa was despite having a very competitive car all season, despite battling a relative rookie, and despite being favored by the FIA at critical times (Belgian GP), he still couldn’t get the job done. Yes, he was unlucky in Singapore and Hungary, but he also blew it for himself a lot of times: colliding in Oz, spinning in Malaysia, giving up on catching Piquet for 2nd in Hockenheim, spinning countless times in Britain, losing his head in Fuji, etc.

    If he’s pinning his hopes on the reset button in 2011 (with regards to the Pirelli tires) then he’s dreaming. Remember, back in ’07 most of the Michelin runners struggled with the Bridgestones – none more so than Alonso and to some extent, Raikkonen. Yet despite this, Alonso was still a constant title contender and would have in fact outqualified Hamilton 9-8 (rather than vice versa), and would have also perhaps won the title, had the FIA not intervened in what was an intra-team conflict in Hungary. Also, Massa had the upper hand on Kimi for most of mid-season, yet by the end of it he still ended up being beaten by the Finn to the championship. In fact, he (Massa) was nowhere near the championship! Ferrari and McLaren dominated 2007, and those top 3 guys all finished within a point of each other. Yet Massa – in the other Ferrari – was a distant fourth…..

    1. MAS says:

      I wouldn’t say that Kimi “called it a day”. When Ferrari brought Alonso’s entrance forward they had to choose which one of their established drivers to sack. The fact that they choose to retain Massa may have been partially due to his accident (as in, they didn’t want to seem too callous) but suggests at least some confidence in him.

      Though I do like Massa, I have to admit that I agree 2008 was a hugely lucky year for him. He had absolutely everything going for him: the car, the stewards (on several occasions, not just Spa), Kimi moving over for him (devious Ferrari!) after being uncharacteristically uncompetitive, Hamilton’s inexperience and he just didn’t do it.

      As much as I think he comes across as a nice guy in interviews and such, the selectiveness of his and his fans’ memories of 2008 really annoys me. I suppose slight lapses in his own memory can be excused (Hohoho!) his apologists (for lack of a better word) were apparently not watching the same races as the rest of us (though Hamilton-hate is often a factor as well).

      The fact that Massa was himself beneficiary of “team orders” in ’08 makes it all the more galling that people are so furious on his behalf about the Hockenheim episode. Sure it was barely past the halfway mark of the season instead of at the end but it was clear Massa was not going to be a contender this year whereas Alonso was juuuust within reach but needed (and still needs) every point he could get. I’m not saying McLaren and Red Bull fans haven’t got a legitimate gripe, just that Massa fans should be quiet about it, like he is.

      In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Massa has another terribly lucky year (particularly at the start) and he gets the better of Alonso, Ferrari would, in similar circumstances, probably give him the “more equal than others” status (again!). Of course, it’s a pretty big IF. Beating Alonso on merit is difficult for even the best drivers on the grid and this year was Massa’s best opportunity (with Alonso coming into HIS team, a known vulnerability). And he once again didn’t make the most of it… not even nearly.

      Finally, getting the most out of a car that is sub-par or that you are simply not comfortable with, is what separates the truly great drivers from the merely fast ones. The gap between Alonso and Felipe this season (minus seven points perhaps) represents that difference.

  63. D. says:

    Massa is a clear #2 to Alonso. If he stays on in 2011, he will be a clear #2 to Alonso again. He is a bit better than mediocre, but just a bit. Oh, and it would help if he could somehow drive in the rain.

    1. MAS says:

      Whether or not people like the concept of a number one driver, it is a status that is earned. Alonso earned it this year, Kimi earned it in 2007, Massa himself earned it in 2008 and Schumacher, of course, was point man of the entire Ferrari-resurgence. Going back further: Senna earned it and then contractually enforced it by demanding the power to veto any prospect for the car next to him.

      If Massa is a number two driver next year, it will be because he couldn’t beat Alonso earlier in the season. If any team order shenanigans rear their (admittedly very ugly) head, it will be when he has already fallen behind.

      Massa is a nice guy and a quick driver who can do great things ‘on his day’. Alonso is surly, ruthless and a bit of a pantomime villain but technically more than worthy of all the praise the other drivers and the engineers lavish on him. That makes it doubly fun when he is beaten or at least overtaken by a sympathetic guy like Felipe or a promising rookie.

      Unfortunately for Felipe, I think there are only two- at most three, drivers on the grid that have a chance of equalling (let alone beating) him in the same car and the likeable Brazilian is not one of them.

  64. tristan says:

    massa has to take alonso out of the equation, mentally, and just focus on winning the 3 remaining races. if, in the process, he finds that alonso is behind him in 2nd, then, bad luck, but he has to let him through. if, in the process, he finds alonso NOT in 2nd, then he is more than welcome to take the win. he would still be helping alonso by depriving a rival of the win and the 7 points which that represents. plus he would be bolstering his reputation and prooving his speed.

    1. drums says:

      Tristan, you hit the nail right on top of it.

  65. Qiang says:

    Compare to many ex-f1 drivers including Juan-Pablo Montaya, Massa have already out-achieved his talent due to many reasons. I believe he has been relatively lucky in his F1 career apart from the terrible accident last year.

    I don’t know what exactly in his mind coming into season 2010. I wish he will learn something from what Nico Rosberg has been doing this season. Somewhere I heard him saying he wants to challenge Alonso again next season. I hope he did his careful analysis with Rob before making that statement. I personally doesn’t believe that’s a smart stratgy to start with. You don’t want to set a goal that you have little chance to achieve.

  66. Tod says:

    I Dont think Alonso is unable to work with another great driver. Massa simply drive like a no2 driver this year, Simple as that.

    All this judgment on Alonos is going by the season he spent with Lewis, when it was Lewis who was the one who ignored in team rules and stole Alonos qualifying lap and would not give it back when the team asked him to… this is what started that one off.

    This season it was Ferrari that asked Alonso to move at that time, Alonso was only annoyed early in the race when Massa was slow and holding Alonso up while Vettel was closing in.

    When Massa let him pass later in the race the first thing Alonso said on the radio at thew end of the race was “Is Massa ok?” and he did not celebrate on the podium. that does not sound like a driver who is happy to oppress another drivers race.

    And the truth is every team would have done it, though maybe with a little more style admittedly.

  67. Luca says:

    Fernando Alonso seems to be a gift that keeps on giving for Ferrari fans.

    “In terms of happiness, motivation, driving, the team itself, it’s my best season,” Alonso has just told the media. “It would be nice to become champion this year but if we cannot do it I will still have great memories of 2010.”

    I cannot tell you what a difference this guy’s declared enjoyment of the team and its ethos makes after the silent Raikkonnen years — or the Schumacher years, when Michael construed to make it appear the team owed “him” for every win.

    That is why Massa has lost his mojo a bit. As long as the Finn was at Ferrari, Felipe could be the “nice guy”.

    Now he just comes across as somewhat of a thankless whinger who does not credit the Scuderia for keeping his seat warm while he recovered from his crash — something very few other teams would have done.

  68. mickmickmurphy says:

    Poor Filipe. Nice guy and all that, but when your team-mate DOMINATES you in the way Alonso has this year, what can he do about it? Probably not a lot. Time to move on I reckon.

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