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Montezemolo insists that drivers start 2011 equal
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Montezemolo insists that drivers start 2011 equal
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Dec 2010   |  6:48 pm GMT  |  103 comments

A small note, but an important one on the status of the two Ferrari drivers going into next season.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has made the point today that the two drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start next season with equal status, after the team backed Alonso from July onwards last season.

And it seems that Massa backed up his team mate in exchange for an agreement that they would hit the reset button at the start of 2011. So it will be up to Massa to beat Alonso or face a similar situation in the second half of next season.

New rules were voted in by the FIA World Council last week which lifted the ban on team orders, but reminded the competitors not to bring the sport into disrepute.

“For sure in the second half of the season we have to be prepared in a very open way, but in the first part of the season it is in the interest of the team to put both drivers in the best situation, ” said Montezemolo.

And as to the suggestion in the Italian media that Massa could be replaced by Robert Kubica if he repeats the form of last season, the president said,

“If I think one of my drivers is not in the condition to win the championship, I will change them. I want two drivers in a condition to win.

“I don’t want to have a person that is frustrated from the first race because he knows he has less power. Also, the races are too unpredictable.

“What is important is to have a clear understanding between the two drivers in case and when it might be a necessity.”

Massa: Under pressure but equal status at start of season (Darren Heath)

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103 Comments
  1. Galapago555 says:

    It will be very interesting to see what happens if we arrive to the Hockenheimring with Felipe ahead of Alonso. Can anybody imagine Fernando yielding to Felipe… “Fernando, Felipe is faster that you, please confirm that you understood the message…” I simply can’t believe it.

    Anyway, I hope that Fernando is going to outperform Felipe again. More clearly this time, as now he is totally used to the Scuderia. If not, it will be a very interesting situation.

    1. Lilla My says:

      I can’t see Alonso moving aside to let anybody through either. But… he may surprise us. Generally, I think that Alonso will be even more competitive next year that he’s used to the team. I only hope Massa will up his game so it’ll be more interesting.

      1. Dave C says:

        Please get real and realise Massa is no match for Alonso, most UK ‘fans’ were hoping Massa could trouble Alonso this year but in truth Fernando made him look like an amateur at times, more so than even schumi did back in 2006, Alonso of second half of this season was a super driver in the realms Senna, Schumacher and Fangio in their prime, he made Hamilton look average and on occasions had Vettel’s number even though I have to say Vettel is looking to be the new Schumacher, point is on performance alone Massa will get destroyed again and again by Alonso.

      2. unoc says:

        Yes, because having a near death experience and then not getting to drive again until testing this year while missing half of last season and having to recover and get back to F1 followed by blatant ugly illegal team orders…. that’s wouldn’t have effected Massa at all.

        I expect Massa to be much closer, ahead at some events, Alonso overall a bit ahead, although I would prefer Massa.

      3. unoc says:

        My other comment which I forgot to add was… Isn’t there a political system, also associated with the colour red that believes in everything being ‘equal’?

        Maybe the radio communication might jsut me next year ‘Felipe, Fernanda is more equal than you’

      4. simon fehr says:

        Why must we constantly be bombarded with [mod] remarks like “most UK fans”? Not liking the way that a driver goes about his business has nothing to do with his or the fan’s nationality. Just because I’m British, doesn’t mean that I don’t like Alonso…he managed to convince me of that be behaving like a Prima Donna, not because he happens not to be British! Credit British fans with a little more savvy.[mod]

      5. Lilla My says:

        I only hope that they would be a bit closer (it would just be more interesting from the fan’s perspective), which doesn’t mean I believe it… ;-) As I said I think Alonso will drive the whole season the way he drove in the second part this year, which was great.

        I think if Alonso was supposed to let Massa through, the radio transmission would look more or less like this:
        -Felipe is faster than you.
        -This is ridiculous.
        -Can you confirm you understand the message?
        -I don’t want to know.
        …still I don’t believe such a situation will ever take place though. As for Massa’a/Alonso’s performances this year you can see my long comment in response to comment 5 below.
        And as for the British fans: I’m neither British, nor Spanish. So I normally don’t read neither the press that makes Alonso god (Spain) nor the one that critisices him (UK). And I’m lucky enough to read newspapers that aren’t partial in any way. I sometimes look into British newspapers and British Internet sites and I can tell you that from the point of view of somebody from outside (implicated neither in Alonso-mania nor in Hamilton-mania), British press sometimes does lots of harm to Alonso. However, I do not say this about British fans, who I hope and believe are more savvy as simon fehr put it here ;-).

      6. Lilla My says:

        The way I see it is that Hamilton was great when there was no pressure (first half of the season), but when the decisive moment came he crumbled (not for the first time in his career). Alonso, on the other hand, was struggling at the begining (getting used to the new team and coping with the pressure of being a Ferrari driver?), but when it really mattered and when the real pressure came (second half of the season) he show how immune to anything he ca be. And he was impressive.

      7. Robert says:

        Massa is a hack who should be driving for HRT, Virgin or Lotus.

      8. Damian J says:

        Lilla,

        “Alonso, on the other hand, was struggling at the begining (getting used to the new team and coping with the pressure of being a Ferrari driver?)”

        In an era where there is so little opportunity to do any testing and with dramatic rule changes year on year, the car in any team can be so different from year to year. So is a new driver really at a disadvantage to an incumbent driver? I don’t think drivers suach as Jenson Button or Fernando Alonso were at a disadvantage to their team mates because they were new to their respective teams.

        I have read several articles wsuggesting that Massa’s excuse for his performance has been the tyres this year so every driver has to deal with the new circumstances that are given to them.

      9. Lilla My says:

        I was thinking rather about the psychological impact, not about getting used to new people or new car – that should not be a problem for any professional driver. Alonso said a few times in interviews about the pressure you’re under when driving for Ferrari. I think that it got to his head at the beginning – the fact that he had a competitive car after 2 years of struggling and that this car was a Ferrari made him maybe want to do too much. I think that he was putting himself under too much pressure and he was overdriving the car, which made him so prone to errors. But that’s just my theory. The fact remains that he made some uncharacteristic mistakes which should not have happened to him, but once he eliminated them he became faultless. And I also believe that he (and the team) learnt from the mistakes they made this season and they won’t do it next year, which can make Massa’s life more difficult.
        I hope the Pirelli’s will be better for Massa and they will be at least a bit closer to each other.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      It’s highly unlikely but I think that he will yield. Alonso ended his relationship with McLaren in a bitter way. Ferrari is his only chance of having a competitive seat as RedBull has its own drivers and even too many plus a world champion so he can’t land there.

      If he doesn’t follow team orders, his F1 career is pretty much over. Ferrari won’t accept it.

    3. Nathan says:

      i might be wrong but didn’t Alonso let Fisichella past at Indy in 06? I can’t ever see Massa being in a position where he is ahead of Alonso in the championship late in the season but if he is i think he would let him pass.

    4. Konstantin says:

      Fernando trashed Massa this season. I can not imagine how it could be “more clearly” next season. Massa jumped ahead in Germany cause Vettel was obsessed with watermarking Alonso against the sidewall…

  2. Born 1950 says:

    If the team stands by their word I’d love to see Kubica in a Ferrari. I do think it would make for a very interesting start to the season as the two drivers each battle to be ahead of the other at the half way point. Even more interesting would be the second half — assuming Kubica managed to be ahead of his team mate at that halfway point — when Alonso would be asked to move over for Kubica. I wonder for how long they’d remain friends?

    But, I’m jumping the gun; are we going to see a newly invigorated Massa in 2011? He’s certainly got something to prove.

    1. Red5 says:

      Surely Kubica is in the frame to take over from Alonso.

      Either that or he could be next Lotus world champion.

      1. rdw says:

        Next Lotus World Champion of what?

      2. Henry says:

        Lotus? really? I hope you are joking. Renault are not Lotus, and will not be. Remember the chassis will still be referred to as Renaults…

  3. Andy C says:

    They may start as equals, but will they start ad teammates?

    All drivers are equal, but some are more equal than others. Of mice and men.

  4. Nesto says:

    Massa didn’t exactly do much post-Hockenheim. I can’t think of one way he was able to help Alonso, let alone himself. He was invisible during races and didn’t take points off anyone of significance. I understand if his spirit was gone but it was 1 Ferrari out there against 2 RBRs and 2 McLarens.

    1. Damian J says:

      That’s the consequence of playing the team orders game so early in the season rather than towards the end!

      Massa could have had a barn stormer of a second half season like Alonso did were it not for the impact on his motivation by Ferrari’s interference in the WDC to deny Massa a win at Hockenheim.

      1. Hisham Akhtar says:

        I’m sorry but motivation should be the difference between 3rd and a 5th, not 3rd and 13th.

        Massa was poor all season and the Hockenheim switch only gave Alonso 7 points extra.

      2. Damian J says:

        The points difference between Alonso and Massa pre Hockeheim was 14 points so your description of Massa being poor ALL season is far from the truth.

        When you are denied a win by your own team, I’m not surprised that Massa gave up the season post Hockeheim. Ferrari can’t have their cake and eat although they will try!

      3. Galapago555 says:

        Re Massa’s performance before/after Hockenheim, you can check the finishing positions on the comment below (#3, brum55 replies to knoxploration). He actually improved his performance after the German GP.

        - before Germany: 67 points out of 10 races, what means a 6.7 points per race average
        - after Germany: 59 points out of 8 races, what makes a 7.37 points per race average.

        Re his motivation: I can’t help but think of a certain Australian that, once it was clear his team considered him the #2 [or at least, he thought so], just fired up and got the WDC lead, and almost won it on the last race. Thats manning up, IMHO.

        Re what he could have done on the second half of the season, that’s another “what if”, like some peopel here that say that Kimi would have won the title this year with the Ferrari. As we don’t have a crystal ball, I’m affraid we will never know. In my opinion, Fernando took the best out of his car – but it’s just my opinion.

        Btw, I’ve read that Team principals voted him as best driver of the year…

      4. Adam Tate says:

        Alonso is a great driver, probably the best of the entire field. But was he the best of the entire field this season? Far from it, and I do not understand why he has garnered so much praise. He scored 5 wins this season, 2 of them, Monza and Singapore were absolutely fantastic drives. 2 of them were inherited after Vettel ran into reliability issues, and one he had to get by bullying his team mate out of the way. So of 5 victories, only 2 in my mind are ones to actually be proud of. How, how on earth is that the best driver of the season, or any season?

      5. Lilla My says:

        Re “certain Australian” – I totally agree – there are different ways of coping with being no. 2 and Webber got it more or less right (at least on the track), while Massa simply gave up. Maybe Massa is a fragile person, but then again – this is not a sport for weak people and there’s no place for patting somebody as you have to be able to stand the pressure – something Massa seemed unable to do this year. So I feel kind of sorry for him, when I see him struggling, but then I think he was really the one to blame for his bad performances. He had his chance to show that he’s fast, but he simply didn’t use it.

        As for the head injury which left an impact on him argument – Massa himself never mentioned it as a reason of his problems (maybe there’s no problem and mayby he doesn’t want to admit it), neither did the doctors. And – in his firts GP apearance after the accident (Bahrain) he outqualified Alonso. So maybe this is yet another comfortable explenation for those who do not want to accept that Massa was simply too slow…?

        He’s the only one who can change this situation next year, but I honestly think it will be even more difficult for him now that Alonso is at home in Ferrari.

      6. Galapago555 says:

        @Adam Tate

        Fully agree with you re voting Fernando as “Best Driver of the Year” on 2010. Actually I voted for Seb – who if not, but the youngest ever WDC? Btw, I voted Alonso as #2.

        I was just commenting the result of the poll made by the Autosport magazine, because it’s funny how many people here insist in considering Alonso a not-so-good driver, who only achived something because of the team orders. As he would say, “This is ridiculous, guys”

  5. knoxploration says:

    Sorry, Luca, but you’re not going to sell me on that fairy tale.

    Despite your claims, when team orders were applied this year, Felipe’s performance on track was near-inseparable from Fernando’s. Both drivers were close to each other in terms of points scored, in terms of the number of times they’d outqualified each other, and in terms of the number of times they’d outscored each other in races where both drivers finished. There was still half the season and a huge number of points available, so Felipe was still easily able to contend for the championship at that point.

    Yes, his performance tailed off *after* team orders were (illegally) instituted, but I would imagine that this had rather more to do with the fact that you’d broken his spirit by telling him that with half the season to go, he was ordered to play second fiddle to his teammate, and wouldn’t be allowed to race him.

    It’s much the same effect as when Kimi Raikkonen’s performance tailed off, after you broke his spirit by making it clear to him that you weren’t going to honor his valid contract, and were instead going to replace him with Fernando. (Spotting a trend here?)

    So no, Luca. If you can’t admit that you applied team orders far too early last year — something most fans agree upon — then I shan’t believe your fairy tale claims of what you’ll do next year. I know full well that Felipe won’t be allowed to win while Fernando’s around, in spite of your claims to the contrary.

    Incidentally, this sums up nicely why Ferrari shouldn’t be allowed to run a third car — something you so keenly desire. You can’t even manage to let your drivers fight it out with just two cars on track, so I really don’t want to see what happens when you’ve got two drivers contractually obligated to hold Fernando’s hand and gift him results that he couldn’t manage to achieve by himself.

    1. brum55 says:

      Sorry but your post is wildly inaccurate. Massa’s performances after Hockenheim were better:

      8 results before Hockenheim: 7,9,6,4,7,15,11,15,

      8 results after Hockenheim: 2,4,4,3,8,DNF,3,15,10

      Also Kimi found out he was being replaced by Alonso during the middle of the 2009 season.

      Kimi’s result in 1st half of 2009:
      15,14,10,6,DNF,3,9,8,DNG

      Kimi’s result in 2nd half of 2009:
      2,3,1,3,10,4,6,12.

      LDM may not be your cup of tea but he knows what he is doing and knows F1 drivers aren’t as fragile as you seem to believe.

      1. Lilla My says:

        You just wrote all I wanted to write (and in fact wrote below) in much clearer and shorter way. Thanks :).

      2. Luca says:

        completely agree – LDM has been around for a long time and knows exactly what needs to be done to make a team successful.

        What most people do not seem to realise – esp here in england as the team orders ‘saga’ was a very short flash in pan in most other countries. Only here are people hooked on this – but Ferrari is more than a F1 team in Italy. There is nothing comparable to it in the UK.

        To be the boss of Ferrari, to be a part of Ferrari, is to be in the spot light 24-7, a pressure that most teams will never experience and so to win is essential. They spend no money on marketing and as that money is used to race, so then need to race and win.

        As for Kimi, the car in 2009 was a dog of a car for various reasons and that was not what Kimi was expecting – he probably drove the season of his life that year, but the car massively disguised this – and he still won a race that he shouldn’t have… Kimi needs more respect for that year, he didn’t let Ferrari down in his driving, they let him down in the car – but being the gent he is, he would prob never say that out loud in public.
        And still almost any driver on the grid would love to drive for Ferrari regardless.

      3. Damian J says:

        “And still almost any driver on the grid would love to drive for Ferrari regardless.”

        Has n’t Alonso said it is his dream to race for just about every team he has signed for?

        In any case, you can hardly blame any driver for saying that he would like to drive for Ferrari WHEN you have one eye on a large pay check which follows with driving for this team but that does n’t necessarily mean that it is a driver’s “favourite” team!

      4. Adam Tate says:

        I don’t know what pre-Hockenheim results you are using for Massa, but he was on the podium in Bahrain and Australia and I see neither in your facts mate. On top of that, Massa finished better than Alonso in 4 out of the first 7 races, so I think you may be a bit off in your assessment.

      5. brum55 says:

        It was stated his form suffered massively after Germany. I used Massa’s positions in the 8 races before the German GP and compared them to the 8 races after to show that his form was actually better, especially immediately after Germany.
        Why 8? Because there have only been 8 races since the German GP.
        You are right that he was ahead in 4 of the first 7 races. That was because of problems suffered from Alonso, many of which were self inflicted, but it was only in 1 of those GPs in Turkey, where Massa was ahead on actual pace.

    2. Damian J says:

      Great point about not allowing a third car!

      Incidentally, even with two cars gifting Alonso a free win, I doubt that he would be gracious in accepting the hollow nature of the win like Singapore 2008.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        I also doubt he would accept his role in the killing of President JFK and his brother Sen. Robert Kennedy.

      2. Damian J says:

        But there was no doubt about his involvement in the killing of President JFK!

        One can only be involved in so many scandals before being found out. Some are very keen to forget his contribution to bringing down McLaren in 2007 thanks to Max’s driver immunity!

    3. mingojo says:

      well, your view is not accurated with regards to this year. Alonso has been the best among the Ferrari drivers. Felipe did not have any impact in the championship except in Germany. He might underperformance as his results in Turkey and Brazil shows or simply he’s not in the same league than Alonso. Next year we will have a more accurate view of Massa’s form.

    4. Lilla My says:

      That’s not entirely true – before Germany Massa outqualified Alonso only 2 times (Bahrain and Turkey) and was outqualified by Alonso 8 times (I don’t count Monaco, because Alonso didn’t set a time there no matter the reason – I’m talking about qualifying results as such only). After Germany Massa outqualified Alonso once (Belgium) and was outqualified by Alonso 6 times (I don’t count Singapore here). Also when you look at Massa’s average qualifying position you will see that before Germany he was 7th on average on Saturday and 6 on average after Germany (not including Singapore again), so theoretically he got slightely better after Germany. At the same time Alonso’s average position before Germany was 5-6 on Saturday (without Monaco) and after Germany – 3rd-4th. My point is – Massa’s performances remained on more or less the same level throughout the whole season, it’s only Alonso, who became better once he saw that the team is backing him. So the argument that Massa became slower after Germany is invalid. It’s just that Alonso was faster and the gap between them became bigger. And I do think that they had more or less equal start to the season, but Alonso somehow convinced the team (rightly or wrongly) that he’s the one that should get all the support. We may like the team orders thing or not, but the truth is that Massa was not up to the championship challenge and Alonso was Ferrari’s only hope. The reason why Massa found himself in front of Alonso e.g. in Australia, China and Monaco was not because of Massa’s great performances, but rather because of Alonso’s bad luck/mistakes. And once he got comfortable in Ferrari, he stopped making mistakes, became faultless and fast and hardly ever was behind Massa again – and not because of team orders, but because he was simply faster. Moreover, in all the 3 races I mentioned before, Massa was more or less at the front after the first lap while Alonso was the last one, but they still managed to finish all the races close to each other (in Australia Alonso managed to catch Massa, in China he finished in front of him and in Monaco Massa finished 4th and Alonso 6th), showing either that Massa didn’t use his adventage or that Alonso was simply that fast.

      I do hope they will have equal start next season and maybe Massa will be closer to Alonso – that would be much more interesting to watch.

      As far as I agree that Ferrari shouldn’t get three cars as they seem to have problems with managing two, I will not again agree with the argument of team mates handing Alonso wins. Yes – Massa gave Alonso 1 (ONE) win, but apart from that Alonso won 4 (FOUR) other races this year. Apart from Germany, Massa was nowhere near winning any other race. You can say that Alonso was lucky e.g. in Korea or Bahrain, but he somehow managed to find himself in a position in which he could benefit from others’ misfortunes, while Massa wasn’t even once in a position in which he could benefit from other’s bad luck and win…

      1. Martin says:

        Personally, I believe Felipe when he says the tyres didn’t suit him. He was closest to Fernando on the supersofts and struggled with harder tyres and also had trouble managing them over a stint.

        In a way, Jenson had a similar problem relative to Lewis. Jenson would need to take in easier at the start of a race to make his tyres last. Lewis wouldn’t drop much if any time at the end, except for in Germany, and would pull away early in each stint.

        I think Lewis and Fernando have the talent to adapt to the Pirellis, but it will be a wait and see thing for Felipe in particular as to whether he will star in 2011.

      2. Lilla My says:

        There was this article in Autosport somewhere in the season, showing that Felipe’s times were slightely (not that much though) better on the tracks where the super soft/medium tyres were used (in comparison with the soft/hard tyres), so I guess we may assume that the tyres really didn’t suit him (though I remember Stefano Domenicali saying that tyres are not the only problem Felipe has). The Pirelli tests in Abu Dhabi also showed that Massa could be closer to Alonso, but these were only first tests, so we shouldn’t read too much into it I guess. Anyway, I hope to see a faster Massa in 2011. I still think Alonso will have the edge, but Massa could really make Alonso’s life more complicated for the sake of the sport and the fans :).

    5. Lilla My says:

      P.S. When you look at the races they both finished before Germany (so without Malaysia) you will see that Alonso finished higher than Massa 6 times and Massa was in front of Alonso only 3 times, so the argument that “Both drivers were close to each other in terms of (…) the number of times they’d outscored each other in races where both drivers finished” is not really valid either as Alonso was in front of Massa twice more often than Massa in front of Alonso.

    6. C Lin says:

      Great post knoxploration!
      Luca, who are you kidding?
      Massa.

  6. malcolm.strachan says:

    I honestly have to wonder if FOTA has a schedule of when certain team bosses and drivers will drop sound-bites for the media to jump all over… It’s the middle of December, any the quotes, sound-bites, comments and stories are going strong! It also won’t probably slow down until January, when people will be all fired up over the new cars and pre-season testing… then that’ll take us until the start of the season in March. F1 seems to have successfully eliminated the off-season!

    1. Andrew Myers says:

      Hehehe – nice observation. :-) Along those lines, a conspiracy theorist could even be forgiven for thinking the whole Lotus thing might just be just posturing? It’s a great way to keep the name in the headlines…

      As intriguing as it is, I really get antsy during the off-season. Is there any form of elite motorsport to follow at the moment? Suffering withdrawal so much I’d even watch A1GP if it were still on…

    2. Frenchie says:

      Let’s hope they can repeat this feat in August. That was a dead month F1 news wise.

  7. CaptainJack says:

    That ‘I will change them’ quote is interesting, that’s pretty much Luca saying flat out that Kubica will get Massa seat if he doesn’t perform.

    1. Shane says:

      I liked that bit too… Though to be fair, there are maybe 3 drivers on the grid that wouldn’t jump ship to drive for Ferrari at a moment’s notice. I am thinking of Schumacher, Barrichello and Hamilton?

      The heritage and prestige are just too great. McLaren and Williams as well, but perhaps slightly less so.

    2. Marybeth says:

      Kubica will not be Alonso’s teammate. He would be too much competition for FA & to handle & he won’t allow it. He was afraid to run against the competition of Kimi so he had him booted out & Massa kept. Santander money talks.

      1. Mario says:

        I agree!

        Kubica and Ferrari would only work if Kubica agreed to be no2. NNooooo chance!

  8. Brian says:

    If it is really to be all square between the drivers next year then I don’t understand why there continues to be a stream of negative comments about Massa from the bosses unless it is supposed to act as some kind of motivating kick up the backside.

    Even in relation to the decision in Germany there is continued insistence that Alonso was faster at the time (hence the switch) rather than the points gap being the reason and simply glossing over any differences between the Ferraris’ relative engine settings which may help to explain the preceding lap times.

    Whilst Massa’s performances certainly seemed to tail off over the season, surely Ferrari should recognise the loyalty he showed by gifting a race win to Alonso – I wonder if Kubica or Webber would really be prepared to do the same…team orders or not

    1. jonrob says:

      Yes, remember that if Massa had not moved over and given the place to Alonso, then Alonso would not have won the Driver’s championship!!!

      Now Ferrari feel vindicated, they were right because the rules were changed for next season, but at the time, they broke the rules and were punished for it, not on a McLaren sort of punishment scale of course, but suitable for form’s sake to avoid it being seen that they were let off completely. We shall sadly be denied another Oscar worthy performance by Rob Smedley which has to be one of the year’s highlights.

      I should just love Massa to be twenty points ahead of Alonso by halfway through next season.

      1. Gareth Jones says:

        Alonso didn’t win the Driver’s championship. That was Vettel.

      2. CuaCua says:

        hahahahah……

        Keep dreaming.

      3. Adam Tate says:

        Ah Massa twenty points ahead of Alonso by mid season would make me happy indeed. Alonso may be good, but he’s not worth all the trouble he brings. On his wikipedia page there is an entire section on controversies.

      4. Sossoliso says:

        Even if Massa was 50 points ahead of Alonso Mid Season, Ferrari will not ask Alonso to move over for Massa. They will use the”Red bull defence… as long as it is mathematically possible..blah,blah.”. One suspects however if roles are reversed, Massa will be asked to move over

      5. Galapago555 says:

        Adam, you will find an “entire section” of controversies in any Champion’s Wikipedia page:

        http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayrton_Senna

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Schumacher

      6. Red5 says:

        You obviously missed the last race in Abu Dhabi

    2. Damian J says:

      Or indeed if Alonso would be prepared to play the role of supporting driver….he certainly was n’t perpared to do that at McLaren (even though that was only in his head) so why would he do so at Ferrari?

      1. Galapago555 says:

        You failed to mention that he is petulant and should man up.

      2. Peter C says:

        This whole thread is brilliant (i.e how bloody brilliant Alonso is, how poor Massa has been).
        i can’t stop reading it, from the floor as I fell
        off my chair laughing.

        Please continue,specially Christmas Day – I’ll need an extra dose of hysteria then.

        Thanks,guys.

      3. Mingojo says:

        But when Alonso was in Mclaren, he was fighting for the WDC until the last race. And after the first lap in Brazil he was the only Mclaren driver with a chance to win it.

  9. Rafael L says:

    Go Massa!

  10. eddyr says:

    I really want to see Kubica in a Ferrari, really hope it happens.

    1. Adam Tate says:

      I hope not, I like Kubica too much.
      I hear he and Alonso are friends which incidentally makes me like Kubica less.

      But, Alonso won’t want a team mate to push him that hard. And I would hate to see Kubica get pushed around like Massa was this year.

      Ferrari: the only team arrogant enough to push aside a Raikkonnen-Massa combination for an Alonso-Kubica one.

      1. Aramis says:

        Yeah but Kubica needs a top car under him, and he’ll get that at Ferrari. Sure he might get a lot of politics but on balance it’s still worth, he can do his talking in the car and that will give him half a chance even if the rest is against him.

        But in a slow car he has no chance, so you know for sure it’s worth it.

        Having said that, I think the r31 Lotus Renault might surprise a few people this year.

      2. Steven says:

        Yeah, but if he is not given an oportunity to win it doesnt matter wether the car is slow or fast.

  11. Marybeth says:

    “Less than a 7 for Felipe Massa. For some reason with have a problem with the brothers of our drivers arriving during the season,” he (LdM) smiled. “It happened with Schumacher, Raikkonen and now Massa. I think Felipe got a bit tired mid-season and went home, sending his brother to drive,” joked the Italian.” (motorsport.com) LdM ran Kimi as 2nd driver to Massa for 2 years, broke his spirit, called him the brother…but…after Massa was injured & Kimi was made their 1st driver again & after he had pushed Kimi out of Ferrari, Kimi came back with 4 podiums in a row & the only win for Ferrari for the year, all that after they had quit working on the car in July. Kimi could have won the WDC had he been their 1st driver all year, & for 2008. Luca did not suddenly stand up and say what a wonderful job Kimi did for Ferrari, that he showed such spirit & that the real KImi showed up in spite of all of the adversity they had put him through, like trashing his career. Luca boxed Ferrari into a bad corner by running Kimi as their 2nd driver for 2 years & the had to grab Santander to get themselves out. Santander’s Alonso was chicken to drive with Kimi as competition so he was pushed aside & Massa kept. I will bet that Kimi could have won the WDC in 2010 also such is was a much better car than the F-60. I do not see anything funny here, to joke & smile about.
    On the first corner of Bahrain last March, since Massa had out qualified FA, Massa had to move over & let FA by, so much for equal treatment for both drivers from the beginning of the year.

    1. Hisham Akhtar says:

      Wow, have you got a distorted version of Ferrari politics.

      You clearly didn’t watch Kimi’s performances in 2008. Even in 2007, he was poor until the last 1/4 of the season where everyone fell apart and he picked up the pieces.

      Ferrari build championship winning cars and expect a championship driver to drive them. If you can’t win with a championship-worthy Ferrari, you have to go…

  12. Rich C says:

    Ol’ 3-car MOnty is saving the Kubica Surprise for that third car!

  13. Galapago555 says:

    A bit off topic…

    James, I’ve just finished reading your book. Simply fantastic. It’s great to review the moments we lived during the year. I think again and again it’s been the most exciting season for so long…

    Great to read again some of the articles you wrote, that reflected the view on how things were happening, and the comments you have added now, with wonderful hindsights. It’s curious to see that you wrote a comment of just three lines to the article about team orders controversy afther the German GP… well done, everything was written on the site on those days.

    I have to confess it’s my very first F1 book – now it will be difficult to buy new ones that match the level of yours! Definitively, it’s worth the money I’ve paid for it.

    Two suggestions for next year’s:
    - more pictures. They are great, could be great to have some more. Positively, Darren Heath’s pictures can compare with your articles in terms of quality.
    - and a more detailed explanation of the end of the season. Looks like you run out of pages by Brazilian GP :-D

    Finally, you say that you are hoping to do again in 2011 the F1 Fans’ Forum, that achieved such a great success, and that you possibly do it in one or two venues around the world… could you tell us wich ones are you considering? Maybe some place in Southern Europe, let’s say, the home country of a famous and controversial driver? ;-)

    Keep up the good job. I will keep learning and trying to get a better understanding of this incredible sport. And also trying to improve my English…

  14. Ginger says:

    Yea right, until the lights go out that is! Ferrari would have the WDC if they asked Massa to get out of the way earlier in the season.

    Sorry, it just isn’t true.

  15. Rafael says:

    It’s a logical move to start the season with both drivers on equal footing. Although this time around, I think the team will need to be more coordinated: They should not hesitate to order Felipe to get out of the way if he’s slower and/or if he’s way behind in terms of points no matter how early in the season, and vice versa for Fernando.

    Even though Massa will be closer to Fernando, I still think he’ll find it difficult to outrace and outscore him. Like what Eddie Irvine said, Massa always thought he has gotten so much better because he was able to (at times) outpace Michael Schumacher and beat Kimi Raikkonen 2x out of their 3 seasons together. But when Fernando came onboard, it turned out Michael was simply losing it and Kimi wasn’t really trying. Fernando’s arrival probably revealed to Massa that he simply wasn’t good enough. I think Massa has found out that Fernando is a different kind of beast: he is always hungry and would do anything to win – on and/or off the track.

  16. Joe Szpara says:

    I am the number 1 Kubica fan he is my favourite driver and i think he is amazing beleive me!!.

    But even i dont know how he would cope at Ferrari because there are quite a few question marks for example.

    - How would he compare to Alonso.
    - If slower then would he become number 2 driver
    - Would Ferrari let him do rallying?.

    I know they let Kimi but thats because he was leaving surely?.

    Let me know your thoughts!!

    1. Aramis says:

      Rallying’s just a hobby for Kubica, he’s said in the past that if a team won’t let him do it then no big deal, F1 is his main game.

      As for the rest, well sure Ferrari means lots of challenges but it’s a challenger worth trying out at least. Kubica needs a good car under him and Ferrari will give him that, or at least one that is good enough for his talent to get it the rest of the way to the WDC.

  17. C Lin says:

    LOL, Monty you talk like a true blue politician. Equal for both drivers in 2011…hahaha.

  18. simon fehr says:

    Ho ho ho…did he have his fingers crossed behind his back when he said it? Do me a favour! I think Massa needs to take everything he’s told at work with a large pinch of salt these days.

    1. Sossoliso says:

      Do not forget his toes too.. fingers and toes

  19. Lilla My says:

    “I don’t want to have a person that is frustrated from the first race because he knows he has less power. Also, the races are too unpredictable.

    “What is important is to have a clear understanding between the two drivers in case and when it might be a necessity.”

    I see it as a quite clear message to Massa – you are either fast and fight for the championship(s) or (if you can’t be faster) you accept the fact that you’re no 2 and you aren’t grumpy.

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      Thats exactly the way i understand it as well, and there is nothing wrong with that imho. Its the same for all the teams who have two cars fast enough to fight for titles, no?

      Because of Hockenheim all eyes will be on Ferrari next year but actually its the same for RB, McLaren, even Renault if they get the chance. Or Mercedes.

      1. Lilla My says:

        Yes, as somebody put it earlier – there are different ways of behaving once you’re a no. 2 driver. Webber might have been complaining to the press from time to time, but he did his job really good on the track, while Massa was simply grumpy. I don’t think any of the top teams can afford having one driver that is clearly underperforming (as Massa did almost the whole year and not only post-Hockenheim) as they want to fight for both championships. So it’s all in Massa’s hands – he just cannot give the team any reason to apply team orders. I think he’s able to be closer to Alonso, though I don’t know if he can be very close to him. However, it’s quite normal that a team with such history and aspirations as Ferrari (but also McLaren) requires commitment, involvement and better results. It was Luca said it, but I’m sure (like you said) that e.g. guys in McLaren wouldn’t be happy either if e.g. Button underperformed next year. The only reason why all eyes are now on Ferrari is because the McLaren boys and the Red Bull boys were close to each other, while in Ferrari you could see one driver giving his best and the other one simply driving around. And I don’t think you can accept such a thing (at such a level of professionalism and competitiveness) for a long time.

  20. Lilla My says:

    I thought they had equal start this year, how it unfolded later is a different case. I’m naive (?) enough to believe that it can be like this next year too. But many fans seem not to believe that the drivers can have equal treatment once 2011 comes.
    James, if you can tell, do you believe they will really be able to start from zero with identical chances and then we’ll see which one is better?

    1. Marybeth says:

      @Lilla, I am one of those who believe that team orders started on the first turn of the first race in Bahrain. Massa outqualified Alonso & had to move over to let him pass on the first turn. Santander money has lots of bullying power.

      1. Lilla My says:

        I think that in Bahrain Alonso simply had a better start. I prefer to see it this way ;-). And look at Australia – Alonso was behind Massa and Rob Smedley told Massa that Alonso was faater (exactly the same message he gave him later in Germany), yet Massa didn’t move over. So, theoreticallly speaking, that would be a bit inconsistent from Massa – moving aside in the first (!) race but not in the second? I think the feeling that Fernando is the one that should get the support was constantly growing in Ferrari and it reached its pick in Germany. From then on he was the first driver.

      2. Marybeth says:

        Lilla, I read somewhere that Alonso called Luca after the Australian and blasted him for Massa being allowed to hold his position & not move over for FA, who was not good enough to pass him fairly & competitively. FA’s contract must read that he is not only #1, but also gets every possible advantage handed to him on a silver platter.

      3. Lilla My says:

        I haven’t heard that and I don’t know where you read it. I would never trust news that says “somebody called someone and said…” – if such a conversation took place, then it’s not something either Luca or Alonso would like the public to know about, so neither of them would refer it to the press saying how it really went. Therefore, if anybody heard such a converstation, he could have heard only one side of it (either Alonso or Montezemolo) and could easily misinterpret the meaning of what was being said, not hearing the responses. Even if Alonso or Montezemolo refered the conversation to anybody who was nice enough to sell it to the press, it wasn’t news from “first hand” and could be easily twisted and misinterpreted again. If it was written in a credible source and the person who said it was someone credible (and not e.g. “an anonimous source from the team”) then maybe you’re right, but media make up so many stories that lie in line with their point of view… However, we’ll probably never know the truth. I still think that Alonso fought his way to the number one driver (the whole issue of team orders put aside) and we have no clue what’s written in anybody’s contract, so an assertion that “the contract must read” is way too far fetched. I also think that no matter if he has Banco Santander on his side or not, he’s good enough to win by himself.

        Alonso gives the public lots of evidence (e.g. team orders) to be considered the villain of F1 and I think if we consider his status in the team it’s better to stick to the solid facts – he’s performances, interviews he’s (or anybody else) given to the TV or press instead of using arguments that “I’ve read somwhere that somedody said…” and that “something must be written in his contract” – these are only vague presumptions and not facts at all, which makes such a converstation less fact-based and more dependent on our preferences, opinions and liking.

  21. Bec says:

    Monty has brought up the idea of a breakaway series again, he won’t be happy until it’s called Formula Ferrari and his team wins every event.

    He wants to turn F1 into a1gp.

  22. Jon says:

    Believe that when I see it.

    This is all about stemming the “Redbull and McLaren let their drivers race and Ferrari don’t thing”. The negative PR aspect of it. Ask him about the team orders ban and he will give you 1000 reasons why it’s the right choice.

    It’s clear that Ferrari is Alonso’s team. You’d have to be very niave to believe otherwise.

    Ferrari has always been the most political and least sporting team in the paddock, at least as long as I have been watching. It’s fine, it’s what makes Ferrari what it is.

    Just don’t try and pretend otherwise.

    One final point.. love or hate the decision makers in the Ferrari organisation, I don’t think there is a more critical and demanding fanbase as the tifosi. They are ruthless. It puts the whole team under an incredible amount of pressure, and somewhat explains the way Ferrari feel they need to approach F1.

    1. For Sure says:

      Yeah I mean really Ferrari’s was Kimi’s team too. Maclaren was Alonso’s team too back in 2007 at the beginning.
      Their pay says everything about what position they are in.
      But when their teammate happened to earn as much points or more, the team don’t have a choice.
      The same thing for Red Bull.

    2. For Sure says:

      In fact Schumacher had to support his teammate when he couldn’t win the title.

  23. Paul D says:

    Both drivers are equal. Some are more equal than others. :)

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      Just like for McLaren (especially back in 2007). Ferrari hasn’t bought that. It belongs to other teams as well.

  24. James Punt says:

    I heard that LDM was considering a role in politics in the future. Well he has mastered the art of being completely patronising to the public, so a good start. Like the old saying goes ‘how can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips move’.

    Nearly fell of my chair at the bit were he said he wants two drivers in a condition to win, but he cannot have that and keep Alonso, and he knows it.

    1. For Sure says:

      Well, he made Schumacher to play second driver role so he would do the same to Alonso if he needs to.

      1. Marybeth says:

        He made Kimi run as 2nd to Massa in 2009 & 2009, also.

    2. Marybeth says:

      @James Punt, “but he cannot have that and keep Alonso, and he knows it.” That may be the best thing that could happen at Ferrari. Call FA out on who actually is in charge in at Ferrari.

  25. gaz says:

    This is off topic.

    So Legard’s been sacked by the BBC. Good news James. We all here know that you sir did a brilliant job at ITV. Now is the time to put yourself in the running for the commentator job for next season. Get Brundle to put a good word in for you. After all you two did win a Bafta. Id think that the BBC would relish the opportunity to win such an award and have the best F1 commentator in a long time at the BBC.
    All the best.
    Gaz

    1. Lewis Jones says:

      Is Legard really out? James, can we have a post on this please.

    2. Nando says:

      Only thing ITV were better at was the commentary. Seemed that you were lucky to life qualifying on occasions, nevermind practise sessions or more than token analysis. Still not sure how they won the BAFTA for Hamilton’s first-win, the post-race was completely botched.
      Would like to see a few different commentators tried out, it’s a long-season and might keep things fresh.

  26. For Sure says:

    I think that is obviously the way to go and I am sure fans understand this, after all we are talking people who understands f1.

    But I wander what would he do if they faces a red-bull 2010 situation.
    As much as I like Massa, the best we can expect from him is like the gap between Mark and Seb last season.
    And I think its very possible.
    At the start of the last season, most people thought he is fast enough to give trouble to Alonso as James mentioned.
    And I think part of his poor season is due to the break he had after the accident. If one of the greatest like Prost struggled to beat Damon after a year off, it’s hardly surprising that Massa was no where near Alonso after that break.

  27. David Ryan says:

    As always with Formula One, I’d reserve judgement on which driver is likely to present the strongest title challenge until the 2011 cars actually hit the track. Leaving aside the variables of the Pirelli tyres, the reintroduction of KERS and the removal of the F-duct and double diffusers, the last few years have thrown up some anomalies in form. No one would have expected Alonso to be matched by Hamilton in 2007 after winning the last two championships, or for Massa to outperform Kimi after the Finn won the title in 2007. Similarly, Bourdais failed to shine at all in his two years despite a strong ChampCar pedigree while Kobayashi has been a revelation. For those reasons I would refrain from speculating and see how things play out, which sounds like di Montezemolo’s approach as well. One of the few times we agree it would appear…

  28. Tyler says:

    Sounds like he just opened the door for Felipe to be shown the way out. Theres no way…Montezemolo knows it, Felipe knows it, we know it… that he will be faster than Alonso. Alonso is #1 at Ferrari… thats just how it is. Poor Felipe, enjoy the drive while it lasts.

  29. Nando says:

    If Montezemolo hadn’t said it I’d find it more believable.

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