Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
Japanese Grand Prix
Alonso’s “save” highlights Massa’s plight
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Mar 2012   |  7:39 am GMT  |  524 comments

Race day did not match expectations for the Ferrari team in Australia – it exceeded them. Fernando Alonso’s fifth place finish – essentially the position his Ferrari was in for much of last season in qualifying – was a very strong result from 12th on the grid. It is fair to say that the lowly grid slot was due to Alonso spinning off the track in Part 2 of Qualifying and he would probably have been more like seventh or eighth on the grid in a clean session.

But Alonso’s result also put the spotlight on his team mate’s difficulties this weekend. Felipe Massa had a nightmare weekend of uncompetitiveness, retiring from 13th place after a collision with Bruno Senna. “It couldn’t have gone any worse,” he told the Italian media after the race.

Massa looked uncomfortable on Friday and in qualifying was never on the pace. When Alonso spun off in Q2 he was lying 5th with a 1m 26.494s lap, while Massa at the time was on 1m 27.603. Massa had another run after his team mate’s withdrawal and was still 1.003s slower, qualifying 16th. He got a great start, up to 10th by taking advantage of the chaos in the first turn as Senna and Ricciardo collided, but his race pace was well short of Alonso’s in the opening stint. The Spaniard was into the low 1m 34s by lap three, while Massa took until lap 6 to get to 1m 34.6s. His fastest race lap – 1m 31.940 – was 1.7 seconds slower than Alonso’s (although it was set six laps earlier, so fuel corrected was 1.2 seconds slower).

The discussion throughout the pit lane all weekend was of how Ferrari have stood by their driver despite the results of the last two years. Now again that patience and loyalty is being tested. “We need to stay close to Felipe because it’s clear that he’s under pressure,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali. “I’ve asked his engineers to analyse the data on the car, also to reassure him.”

The Ferrari is a difficult car to drive with a narrow operating window at present. Alonso can deal with this better than Massa, although Alonso had a number of “moments” during the weekend, of which the spin in qualifying was the worst.

Massa is also still struggling to get the tyres to work and in the race was suffering worse tyre degradation than his team mate, which is a sign of not having the car well balanced. This is despite the hiring of Mr Hamashima, formerly technical boss of Bridgestone.

Where does the situation go from here? Massa must quickly regroup and get on top of his problems, clearly. Last year he was able to get away with being over half a second slower than Alonso because the gap back to the next fastest team – Mercedes – was greater than that. This year that part of the grid is much more competitive. Mercedes and Lotus, even Williams and Sauber look to have the pace to vie for the top ten slots, so the difference between the two Ferrari drivers may result in grid slots with a large – and obvious – disparity.

The pressure which Domenicali referred to in Melbourne and which was highlighted pre-season by Ferrari president Montezemolo, is significant. But there is no obvious driver with whom Ferrari might replace him.

Sergio Perez is the closest thing, but he has a Sauber contract and in any case has less than 20 Grands Prix under his belt and that is not Ferrari’s style to go for an inexperienced driver. Mark Webber is the obvious choice for 2013, should Ferrari feel they need to move on.

Nobody wants to see a driver who was so combative in 2008 and so dignified in defeat at the end of that season, suffering like this.

It’s a headache for driver and team management alike.

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524 Comments
  1. Oscar says:

    Been this way ever since his accident at Budapest.. something happened then. Ferrari should go for Mark next season.

    1. Richard says:

      If Lewis joins in, Alonso might look like today’s Massa

      1. For sure says:

        Sorry mate, Lewis is not at his most confident zone. I guess you said this because you are his fan and you hate Alonso

      2. Formula Zero says:

        2nd that

      3. Jez says:

        Dream on. Lewis looked terrible all of last season, an hardly a stellar performance Sunday. Now if you were to say Button, I might agree…

      4. Good joke. Lewis has degraded as a driver while Alonso has progressed.

        Lewis would get wrecked by Alonso now.

      5. Dave C says:

        Totally agree, Hamilton wouldn’t stand a chance if he were to join Ferrari now, he was a match for Alonso and with Ron’s help distabalised Alonso in 2007 but right now Lewis would be wise to take Schumi’s seat at Mercedes next year.

      6. I wouldn’t necessarily say with Ron’s help. I think he was just much more put together in 2007 and hasn’t been able to retain the focus he had that year.

        The scary thing about Lewis in 07 was that he had potential to develop as a driver from the already high standard he had achieved. In the end, he didn’t which must be disappointing for a Lewis/McLaren fan.

        Alonso has developed from the driver he was in 2007, which is amazing considering he was a 2 time champion back then.

      7. PW Rocket says:

        Lewis matched Fernando back then, mainly because he had nothing to lose compared to Fernando.
        Needing to protect his image as a racer while trying to shed the wrecker image, Lewis is not the same driver anymore.
        Back in 2007 he used to dive into the same gap like he is today, only back then other drivers were more “afraid” of him and gave him a lot more room, but no one yield to Lewis anymore… I remembered that Massa used to cave to Lewis’ bullying before last year.

      8. Jaled Larbi says:

        Lewis could only match Alonso in ’07 season because he had the whole team on his side. Ron Denis made sure that season was a nightmare for Alonso, favouring Lewis at every race. However, Alonso still managed to keep his head focused almost winning the WDC. He proved he can manage high pressure situations like the champ he is.
        On the other hand Lewis can’t handle any pressure (clear examples in seasons ’09 when the car was crap and all he could do was complaint about the car and teams, or last year when Jenson beat him fair and square). Lewis needs a crappy team mate, the whole team behind him and the best car in order to win anything.
        If you put Lewis and Alonso in the same team, under equal conditions, i am pretty sure Alonso would destroy him mentally and thus on track. Lewis is mentally weak. Alonso and Jenson are true champs, LEWIS IS NOT.

      9. Darren says:

        Why would Ron of paid Alonso £20 million to race for Mclaren to then favour a driver like Lewis who he paid peanuts to in his rookie year! that argument doesn’t make sense.

        I do think Alonso is a better all-round driver but Lewis ‘could’ still beat him on single-lap pace. On current form though I think Vettel and Button could beat them both.

      10. Justin Bieber says:

        @Darren

        When Lewis had an amazing start of the 2007 season, Ron realize the commercial value of having the first black driver win a WDC in his rookie. Since McLaren gets most of its money from sponsorship, the idea of having the next “Tiger Wood” with millions of sponsorship money flowing into McLaren bank account was irrestible.

        Yes, Alonso was highly paid compared to Hamilton but it became irrelevent when you take into account all the hype behind Hamilton that year. Ron Dennis, Most of the McLaren team, Bernie and the FIA wanted him to win and they went out of their way to make it happen for the simple fact that he would have been HUGE for F1 and it would have given even more exposure to the sport(Tiger Wood Effect).

        Now with insight, It look like Alonso might have been a better long term investment for McLaren.

      11. audifan says:

        wonder why the [ spanish] observer sent by the FIA said reported that alonso got equal treatment

      12. Kevin Green says:

        You may have a point there DARREN maybe Hamilton should turn his hand to the amateur hillclimbs where the total run times tend to be between 25 seconds and 1 min 30 seconds. Nice input :)

      13. Richard B. says:

        ‘Ron Denis made sure that season was a nightmare for Alonso’ that’s the biggest load of rubbish I’ve read in ages.
        As for Lewis needing the whole team behind him, Alonso has a complete fit if the team aren’t behind him. Remember his famous comment ‘I feel alone in the team’ at Renault when Fisichella beat him which was very rare, that was quite frankly – ridiculous.

        It was Alonso who lost control at McLaren because they refused to give him number 1 status.

      14. Kevin Green says:

        You forget to add having the car pretty much moulded round him too giving the long term project so to speak of his time in Mclaren as a whole! seems a waste of time when you see Jenson thumping him! lol

      15. Dave C says:

        Ron initially got Alonso in to win the title but Hamilton was always his protege and as the season went on and the 2 was level pegging Ron changed his mind and backed Lewis it’s fact, even Ron himself admitted in china by saying: “basically we were racing Fernando”

        But anyway it’s all in the past, if you want today’s best driver then Vettel fits the bill and closely followed by Alonso, after the tip 2 Button, Hamilton, Kobayashi and Webber are close together, maybe Kimi will join the pack if he gets up to speed.

      16. Darren says:

        I dont buy into that whole thing (by the way im not the same Darren as the poster above). Theres no way Mclaren would pay god knows how many million to get the at the time world champion to then sabotage his season.

        I do agree that the support of the team was behind Lewis (Rons infamous “we were racing fernando” comment) but I think thats only natural in the stiff and serious Mclaren team to back the guy they had backed since he was 12 who fits the stiff and serious mould very well rather than the outspoken latino. its only natural anyway, you will always prefer one driver over another either deliberatly or subconciously. I proclaim to have no favorite out of Button or Hamilton but I always seem to find myself a bit more excited if Button wins.

        They had equal machinery (so far as we are aware) so the only thing that affected Alonso was Hamiltons sheer speed. I think Alonso is far too tough a cookie to be phased by the apparent teams support for his team mate. The whole scenario was blown up with the spy gate thing, when Alonso threatened to blow the whistle on it his position from then on was untennable. That turned the team against him and rightly so, why should they support him if he is threatinging to jepordise the team.

        All that said, I dont think the two of them could be in a team together again. On the rare occasions when they have been beaten or at least given a good chase by their team mates (Hamilton on Alonso in 2007 and Button on Hamilton last year) they have shown to be insecure and suffer from it. They need to be clear number 1s in their team. Alonso has been at Ferrari and is performing well (shame about the car) but Lewis suffered last year and was in a big huff this weekend about Jensons performance. The others like Vettel, Webber (I think he has calmed down and got over the teams apparent support for Vettel and will be all the better for it this year), Button, Rosberg & Schumi I think are better at just getting on with the job and focus on their own performance rather than fearing their team mates.

      17. alexander says:

        Maybe the one’s with “dream on’s” and similar could explain why Alonso is not allowed to talk about 2007 (it was confirmed by some insiders that somekind of written form of agreement exsists)? It was clearly problem of Alonso so good old Ron made a deal to save him? Oh yes!
        Anyway, time has shown which one of drivers was worth investment. Luckily McLaren have Button to save their arses.

      18. Paul Kirk says:

        Yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Jaled, and the evidence we saw last season certainly confirmed he is basically still a boy!
        When our man, Scott Dixon, got tied up with a woman some of his supporters here said “he’ll be slower from now on”, and I think they were right, although Scott doesn’t do too bad! At least he comes across as a mature man with a good personallity which Lewis isn’t doing at the moment. I must say I’m not a fan of Hamilton’s or Vettal’s, but I was quite impressed by Vettal’s demeaner and manner during the interviews after the Oz race, but I wish he wouldn’t rave on for so long! Last year I was switching off the tv when he started to talk!
        PK (NZ)

      19. Andrew Kirk says:

        I think history has shown that Ron like to create Champions rather than hire them. He famously managed to lure Lauda back to the sport only to then hire a young Prost. Likewise he pushed and back Senna over Prost as he wanted Senna to win with Mclaren. He backed Hakkihen over DC as Mika had stayed loyal with Mclaren during the barren years of 94-96.

        With Alonso the top teams need top drivers always have done. They drive the cars quickly, you make millions off their name etc So Ron needed to hire Alonso but I think the brilliant start of Lewis in 07 caught Ron out. He got swept up in the moment of this young kid who he had invested in having a real chance to win first time out in one of his cars.

      20. LOL says:

        Then you must think very highly of Button who is beating Hamilton for over a season now.

      21. Patrick Byrne says:

        Silly comment. Hamilton is proving to be less than the complete driver next to Button. Speed and raw talent he has in abundance but without the maturity, intelligence or technical nous to utilise it properly.

        Perhaps Massa’s problems are similar to Hamilton’s (on a larger scale). The sprint format of the re-fueling era suited them but with heavy fuel loads and tyre degradation a F1 driver needs a more complete set of skills.

      22. andrew says:

        Smart commentary, I believe. That’s why Ferrari hired Mr. Hashiyama(sp?)I’d venture. Still shows they believe in Massa….or there’s money coming from somewhere???

      23. Johnny English says:

        Sorry, which Lewis you are talking about – Lewis (last few seasons) or New Lewis (annonced new Lewis for this year)? Of course he can join Ferrari but wouldn’t it be nicier to join after being beeten by some Jenson two years in a row. By same Jensom who was described “Slow as Telegraph pole” by Breatore?

      24. audifan says:

        that was just after button refused to sign with briatore as his manager

        funny that

      25. Darren says:

        I think what Flavio said after dropping Button for Alonso was “time will tell if it was the right decision”. Going on stats he did make the right decision. As big a fan of Button as I am if I was a team boss Alonso would be at the top of my list.

        I havent seen “new Lewis” yet, he was fast in quali (which he often is) but sulked again after being comprehensivley beaten in the race. That said he was unlucky to loose 2nd to Vettel because of the safety car.

      26. Bayan says:

        Not sure Lewis can drive a bad car like alonso can. we have yet to witness this as the mecca has had front running pace since he joined.

      27. Phil says:

        Melbourne 2009 (before he forfeited 3rd by lying)

      28. Scott says:

        So you’ve missed the quality of car Mclaren have turned up with at the start of the last couple seasons then have you?

      29. Ash.P says:

        2009?

      30. Bayan says:

        @ Scott: I think maybe you have missed the qualifying the last couple of seasons. I think Lewis qualifed 2nd last year (jenson 4th) and jenson 4th the year before (i believe Lewis had some problems in qualy) – they were very fast and just behind RBR. That was not a bad car it was just slower compared to RBR. Compare it to the dog ferrari has this year and tell me they were comparable.

        @Phil: Ok they had a much slower car to start with in 2009. But in 2009, many teams missed the mark so he was still competitive behind the double diffusers (or just brawn).

        All i am saying is if he was driving the ferrari this year, I doubt he would have finished 5th in Australia.

      31. hero_was_senna says:

        always 1!!!

      32. For sure says:

        One more thing, I am not one of those guys who wouldn’t admit that he beat Alonso.
        It was an achievement that deserves a recognition. Having said that there was a reason why he did it and it wasn’t the team favoritism as we know FA drives best when the whole world is aganist him.

        I bet if they were on Michelin tyres the results would have been very different. The truth is no rookie driver can beat a double world champion under normal conditions, not even Senna or Schumacher.
        He tested a BridgeStone tyres many times while Alonso was getting used to Michelin. And Alonso had to unlearn the whole thing and adapt BS tyres.
        If they are in the same team, I would put my money on FA.

      33. Anup Kadam says:

        More to add… Lewis never beat Fernando then both ended on same points…Add Ron dennis himself said during Chinese GP that they were racing Fernando and not Kimi…

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/10/20/alonso-is-not-the-victim-of-a-mclaren-conspiracy/

        have a look at the link Hamilton followers…

      34. hero_was_senna says:

        1) Alonso and Hamilton were tied on points, Hammy didn’t beat him.
        2) Lewis hadn’t tested extensively on Bridgestones, he raced in GP2 which used Bridgestone rubber.
        Alonso had raced on Michelins whilst he was at Renault.
        Their characteristics were different enough to the Bridgestones, that journalists reported that Alonso, Kimi and Kubica took half a season to get up to speed on them.
        When Hamilton and Alonso tested the Mclaren on Michelin at the end of 2006, Lewis was nowhere near his times.
        Regarding Senna and Schumacher beating double World Champions, Senna I have no doubt would have and Schumacher conclusively beat Piquet in his 1991 races for Benetton.

      35. veeru says:

        absolutely correct. and not to mention FA setups were copied over to Hamilton’ car all year long.

        a rookie cannot find the best setup like a two time world champion. fair enough..

        Hamilton has got more time on that car than Alonso that winter and the whole team was against him…and still almost won the world championship…

        there is no way LH can drive a car around the problem…

      36. Erik says:

        Hamilton beat Alonso fair and aquare.

        If you have equal number of points you look at most wins and if they match you 2nd places etc and hence Hamilton ended up second in the championship before a third placed Alonso.

        Hamilton even got order to not try to pass Alonso early in the season and got upset about it. They thought Alonso would be the one to win the WDC but LH held onto him.

        If Hamilton would not strand his car in the gravel he would have won but he did. In the race before Hamilton put his car in the wall and spun off chasing wins. If he did not do that he would have won(if LH still put it in the gravel).

      37. Erik says:

        That shouyd be Alonso put his McL in the wall chasing wins.

      38. For sure says:

        Exactly Erik, I support FA but if Kimi didn’t exist, Lewis would have been the champ not FA, it is a fact.

      39. For sure says:

        @hero_was_senna

        Please see my reply below.

        Points are no the only way to determine drivers ranking. If the points are equal, they look at the number of wins. Lewis finished second, FA finished third that season. I support FA and no it is not an opinion but a fact.

        http://www.fia.com/en-GB/archive/Pages/en.aspx

        FYI
        select year 2007
        select category F1 world championship
        select subject: championship classification

        Take a look at who is second and third.

        Thanks and regards,
        For sure

      40. KRB says:

        Anup Kadam, did you even read your own link?!?!?

        It basically says any McLaren-against-Alonso-conspiracy theorists are out to lunch, which indeed they are. Unhindered by logic, they’ll happily believe anything.

      41. ian says:

        Lewis and Fernando are BOTH great drivers.

      42. Paul J says:

        +1

        They ARE both great drivers.

        But Alonso is better :)

      43. F1fan4Life says:

        Everyone has their opinions but guess what, Alonso and Hamilton TIED and then Alonso left, so the driver in that team that was happy stayed and the one that left was most unhappy. Therefore in his most difficult F1 year Alonso still wasn’t beaten by his teammate.. He’s never been beaten by a teammate.

        King Lewis meanwhile has been beaten, and in his own team. The facts are staring us in the face.

      44. KRB says:

        If Kimi wasn’t in the equation, then with both tied on 109 points, Hamilton would’ve been crowned World Champion, on countback. Tied on points, sure, but still only one winner. That’s how F1 rolls.

        Lewis beat Alonso in 2007, fair and square.

      45. Quattro_T says:

        [mod]

        FA has beaten LH in slower car 2 (!) consecutive years. 2010 FA beat both Mclaren drivers over the course of a season, in a slightly slower Ferrari.
        In 2011 FA beat LH once again, this time in a much slower Ferrari, and was not far away from Button as well (over the course of a whole season). In 2011 the Ferrari was so bad, they even stopped developping it quite early and shifted attention to the 2012 car, while Mclaren kept making the car faster and faster.
        Keep in mind that in 2010/11 LH was no roockie any more, compared to 2007 but was still beaten by FA in a slower package.

        No question final results of 2007 were down to how badly Mclaren team was treating FA, in the second part of the season.

    2. AndyFov says:

      I don’t think it’s Budapest.

      If Massa’s lost his mojo and Ferrari want to know why, they could do worse IMO than asking themselves what making Massa a clear number 2 has done to his spirit.

      1. Massa was worse than Alonso before Germany 2010.

      2. madmax says:

        Agree, If they had of let him win that race on the anniversary of his near fatal accident it might have been the confidence kick-starter he needed.

        Since than he has been no where because he probably doesn’t have confidence in the team and himself.

      3. Sebee says:

        Or that was confirmation of his place in the team. Second fiddle. They want Massa to be second to their golden boy, he’s second. Where is the problem? I say he’s living up to his job description and obligations perfectly.

      4. dubdub says:

        It’s the drivers responsibility to prove to the team he is the number one driver.

      5. Luca says:

        he joined up against Schumie, and was able to stand his ground. He then paired up with Kimi and whilst Kimi won that year, Massa was able to bounce back and challange for the WDC missing out at the last moment.

        So the 2nd driver agruement doesnt hold much sway with me.

      6. Sebee says:

        Yes, against Schumi who knew he was being pushed out for Kimi soon, and who knew the team he put together was going on with other things and slowly falling apart. The generous Schumi who by then had seven stars on his helmet and didn’t have a single thing left to prove. The Schumi who after his briliant domination found a new perspective on life and became a more complete generous individual – which always tends to come easier when you have the above mentioned seven stars.

      7. Formula Zero says:

        Hypothetically lets say you are right. But the gap in pace and grid slot is too big to even support your ridiculous claim. It’s not that Alonso is under pressure & fighting for the championship against Massa. I love Filipe & would love to see him wdc, but his consistently downward form doesn’t support any claim of favoritism. Ferrari isn’t benifiting out of this after all.

      8. AndyFov says:

        If, and it is an if, Alonso is enjoying the type of favoritism Schumacher had when he was partnered with Johnnie Herbert, it’s perfectly understandable why Massa’s nowhere.

        Also, is it unreasonable to suggest that Ferrari have perhaps developed their cars in a direction that suit Alonso’s style more than Massa’s? Remember, Fisichella went from putting a Force India on pole and very nearly winning in the thing to looking a complete tool at the next race when he switched to a dog of a Ferrari.

        I maintain Massa still has the talent, he’s just not in a car that allows him to show it.

      9. David says:

        Fully agree with this point. It’s worth recalling that at Hockenheim 2010 Massa was as fast or faster than Alonso (despite team radio messages to the contrary). The team orders incident clearly destroyed his confidence, knowing he’d never be allowed to be faster than Alonso. Alonso tried the same team pressure with Hamilton at Canada 2007, asking McLaren to get Hamilton to let him past on the same pretext he was actualyl faster (despite being behind) but they refused – and we know the outcome. I’ve no wish to attack Alonso here, any driver can ask a team to give him preference, it’s a team option, but I do think it has to be taken into account when assessing the demoralized state Massa’s driving is now in. Incidentally, my opinion: Massa should have refused to comply with the orders and taken a route of Ferrari, if competing in Formula 1 mattered to him more than money. But that was for him to decide.

      10. Sebee says:

        A balanced view David. You want to understand mental state – try to wrap your head around treatment of women in certain societies and religions and then understand what can be done to someone’s mental state.

        I don’t believe Massa is being treated equaly on equipment within the team – as an insurance policy to ensure he doesn’t out do Alonso. It’s the team’s way to protect their #1. I also believe that the way the team has behaved toward Massa is clear that he’s a second class citizen in the team. Yet because he is a “team player” – let’s call it that, he is kept on, because the team know that the way the second car is treated there is little chance anyone else would do anything of higher value than Massa in that second car.

        You know what’s extremely funny to me – all this Ferrari third car talk they keep nagging about every single season over last few. Funny because they won’t even give good hardware and proper support to their #2.

        I think there are many “legacy” fans of Ferrari from Schumi years, Kimi years, and even Alonso fans now wear red. But I think that Ferrari are into their funk decade or decades – and won’t do squat unless they buy success like they did with Schumi and co. They will have to wait to find that perfect talent mix on another team, open their wallet and then – stay the heck out of the kitchen while the cooks make it all happen.

        The truth is, last 5 years they’ve way been better at loosing championships than winning them.

      11. Mingojo says:

        I don’t think Massa was as fast or faster than Alonso in Germany. In fact, Fernando was faster than him the whole weekend. Regarding Alonso vs Lewis, I think it was in Indy, not in Canada. Alonso was faster than Hamilton and only a change of strategy by Mclaren because they were afraid of a safety car avoided Alonso’s victory. After the race Fernando didn’t complain like Lewis in Monaco which triggered a FIA investigation.

      12. Russell says:

        Well said David Ferrari might have destroyed Massa in the moments you describe. But Massa agreed. He must have had enough money to be able to say no, just race as fast as he could, and accept the consequences.

        It all looks like the makings of a sad ending.

      13. David says:

        Hi Sebee, my respect for Alonso the driver has grown again the past year or so – since late-2010 say, when he started driving phenomenally well in a car some way behind the McLaren, yet alone the Red Bull. I much prefer McLaren’s policy of backing both drivers equally (in theory anyhow) but I can see why a team would put its effort behind someone of Alonso’s all-round talent and energy. On the other hand, I wonder whether Ferrari and Alonso himself wouldn’t benefit from a bit more competition between their drivers (and if so, that would have to be another driver now).

        Strange but this season the top teams without driver preference seem to be Mercedes and Lotus. Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren all have dominant drivers given explicit or implicit preference by the team – and amazing that the McLaren one isn’t Lewis. That’s a whole other story.

      14. rgvkiwi says:

        I agree completely with Seebee. Massa has the ability and capability, history proves that. I garuntee that being ground down on by the team to “support” Alonso in the way they have these past few years is the biggest problem.

        Equipment I am not so sure about but strategy etc absolutely.

        In a game where 10ths even 100ths matter, confidence, team support, strategy and car develepment (direction) are massive disadvantages to be without.

        Ferrari are deluding themselves. They take all real “racing” support away and then wonder why the no 2 driver has mediocre performance in a sport where the tiniest thing matters.

        They can say they support Massa till they are blue in the face, words will never replace the actions we have all seen so frequently from Ferrari…

      15. KRB says:

        Mingogo, yes I think it was at Indy USGP, but I don’t think you can say Alonso was faster, or that he wasn’t po’ed. Just YouTube that race, and see how Alonso tried to pass Hamilton down the main straight, but couldn’t pull it off, and then wrung his hand at the pitwall afterwards, b/c he wasn’t let past.

        Alonso did the same thing as Germany ’10 to Fisichella in Canada in their Renault days. I think Alonso is a great driver, but I really hate it when he pulls this sort of stuff.

      16. hero_was_senna says:

        You are all basing you ropinions on Massa vs Schumi or Kimi.
        In my opinion, 2007 Mclaren issues aside, Alonso is the best F1 driver since Senna. Massa was never a top tier driver and he’s been found out.
        regarding Germany 2010, Massa got a great start to overtake Alonso, and the team, rightly, felt that Alonso would have a better chance of the championship than Massa. they were right to tell him to move aside.
        Why does nobody ever mention Irvine and Salo in Germany 1999, Salo could and should have won that race, what were ferrrari going to do? Fire him?
        Yet he moved over for Irvine’s championship assault.

      17. Sebee says:

        Alons is stubborn – he uses this for good in F1 to never give up. This is certainly good for us to watch. How stubborn would he be if he was asked to move over a few times?

        That Irvine/Salo incident just confirms what everyone here knows – Ferrari enter the championship with 1 car, and a backup. The second car at Ferrari is a driver’s death sentence. Why do you think Rubens was in tears when he won his first in Germany in 02 – it wasn’t supposed to happen. And if Michael was within sniff, it wouldn’t have.

        Honestly, we sit here and deny that Ferrari puts two cars on the grid because it’s the requirement but clearly have always pushed a #1/#2 status. Is it really that hard to roll back 20 or 30 HP on an engine for the #2 car? Isn’t that enough to shave off a few 10s and ensure you don’t have on-track drama? Problem is, it works well when you have a dominating car like Schumi did – not so well when the grid is this close. Ferrari not only have to understand how their new car works, they have to figure out how to make two drivers work like McLaren. Their culture right now is broken. They only need to look into the mirror if they want someone to blame.

      18. hero_was_senna says:

        Well Sebee, it’s great to see your grasp of Ferrari and it’s history is so open-minded…

        For your information,
        1) Barrichello won the 2000 German GP from 18th on the grid, Schumacher had retired and the conditions at the end were half of the Hockenheim circuit was wet, the other half dry.
        The Mclarens came in for wets, Rubens carried on on slicks and won.
        2) Salo was a stand in for Schumacher after he broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999. He wasn’t competing for the championship, was he?
        3) If Ferrari were so obviously 1 and 2, how can you possibly expalin that in 2007 Kimi, the highest paid driver that season won the championship, yet in 2008 and 2009 he was trailing Massa generally.
        Surely using your hypothesis, Massa would never have been on the same lap as Kimi.

        But like any tabloid, why let facts get in the way of assumptions!

      19. Sebee says:

        You do realize everything you said backs up my point, right?

        Barichello won or was allowed to because Schumi wasn’t in it – just like Irvine in Australia. If Schumi was P2 in both cases they wouldn’t have won it.
        Salo was just another illustration but valid – I would have done same if I called the shots.
        Massa and Kimi – really perhaps someone knows more, but we have no idea what was going on, when Alonso was signed and if Kimi knew, if Kimi appreciated Schumi hanging around, etc. Perhaps in the post Schumi/Todt era Ferrari experimented with more equal treatment just to end up upsetting Kimi and create internal drama that resulted in Kimi not performing and eventually wanting to leave.

        I’m not here to argue for or against team orders or against #1 and #2 status – I think I have been clear that I support the strategy. But to blame #2 for lack of performance when he is treated like #2 (no pun intended) is a different argument all together. And I certainly feel Massa is treated like #2 at Ferrari.

      20. Sebee says:

        You know, now that I think of it, maybe the whole Kimi thing is the reason Massa is treated more #2 like now. That whole thing may have upset Kimi who thought he would be #1 after coming in at high salary and winning a championship – but Ferrari let Massa loose in 08. He got upset and perhaps threw his weight around. It ended up costing Ferrari a buyout and lost #1 driver and they vowed to protect their #1 driver investment. Alonso now signed till 2016 must be protected or will be expensive for Ferrari. And therefor no more letting Massa loose to challenge the #1 and decretalus is value. What I do remember from 08 is all the talk about how little Massa was paid vs. Kimi and how how he was outperforming Kimi. I think I may be onto something here.

      21. hero_was_senna says:

        You may have some truth in your statements sebee, I would be arrogant beyond belief if I thought I knew all the answers, but from what I’ve seen in the media about Kimi, he doesn’t get upset by stuff, he’s the Iceman, after all.

        Mclaren have always insisted they have no no1 and no2, but if you ever read DC speaking about his time at Mclaren, you’ll appreciate that he was effectively treated as number 2 by the team. Mika or Kimi were always preferred by Ron. He won races, yes, but Hakkinens first 2 race wins were orders by the management to let him through.
        Australia 98, he made a mistake and pitted, it was outrageous that DC had to give up a race win for that.
        So let’s not get on our high horses, team decide generally what will happen, they’re the employers.

      22. Sebee says:

        here_was_senna, seriously – I REALLY THINK ABOVE MAKES MORE SENSE THE MORE I THINK ABOUT IT! (sorry, but it makes so much sense I’m sayin’ it loud).

        Ferrari perhapas from influence from Schumi who I’m sure supported Massa, and I’m not sure liked Kimi pushed for more equal treatment after leaving, Ferrari tried it and the whole thing backfired with Kimi – who got mad and rebelled. That’s when Ferrari started looking to Alonso, but with Alonso coming in they decided this whole equal treatment thing is a no-go and doesn’t fit in at Ferrari – let’s go back to #1 #2 status. And hence you have Alonso clear #1 in salary and status and Massa clear #2 with slower hardware or whatever else must be done to slow him down. Add to this the demotivation to have to submit to Ferrari orders at will anytime he manages to get a sniff or success and you have the Massa we have now. Massa who works the politics, wears red, collets his check and after so many years putting up with it is probably not going to rip his guts out when his team is clearly making him #2. One of those – oh yeah, you think someone else wants this job and will do it better Ferrari? Go ahead, go find them and sign them to this carier death seat. Who’s willing to play second fiddle to Alonso and never have equal hardware or treatment for the next 4 seasons (not counting this one)? To be honest, I think Massa is in a good position to keep this seat. What real racer would want it? Massa is as good a racer as they will find for that seat.

      23. anil says:

        Ferrari only have a number 2 driver when one of them is out of the championship hunt (like Massa for Kimi at brazil 07 and vice versa in 08).

        There have been several races where Massa has been ahead of Alonso in their two full seasons together; the problem being that Felipe has often been far too slow or been overtaken by Alonso.

        Ferrari have only asked Felipe to let alonso by and that was in Germany 2010, the same race alonso won by 5 seconds from Massa who wasn’t even a second clear of Vettel.

    3. Dan says:

      That is true. And I do not have the impression that he will be able to recover again.
      (He should have retired after the accident, but of course something like that is always easy to say in hindsight. In any case, having faced death like that will change you.)

      1. Captain Sorbet says:

        Maybe something for Robert Kubica to consider.

      2. Sebee says:

        Not only a matter of facing death. It’s a matter of what is that risk worth? Is it worth it for Massa to drive hard, and as he well knows risk facing death again in a car that can at best be mid top 10 with luck?

        I’m also tired of Ferrari putting huge pressure on their drivers with a sub-par car. Every second driver beside Massa and Rubens have been incredibly bad in the second Ferrari – which should tell us a few things about the equipment provided here. I believe it’s their way to “pump up” their No.1 – they give the second different hardware.

        I hope all of this gives us all perspective. Schumacher made his own team, had the type of input on the car and team talent like no other driver. All drivers since (including last years for Schumi) had a car which was built for them by staff chosen by the board. And this is why Ferrari is a 3rd best (or lower) team right now, and will continue to be.

        Massa has been there for a while, and has seen it all. Don’t you think he knows well what’s going on? I’m with Massa on this. I’m not arguing that he’s the best – but he certainly is very capable. And after his life experience and time on the team he isn’t going to rip his guts out to go from 12th to 5th. In the end, while impressive, it’s hardly Ferrari impressive. All I ask you to do it keep a balanced view.

      3. StallionGP F1 says:

        What a brilliant point regarding the guys in the 2nd ferrari seat anyone remember Fisichella almost won spa in the force India switched to Ferrari and couldn’t get out of Q1 and in the same car Raikkonen was getting to Q3.

      4. Rafa says:

        Sorry hardly makes any sense: Massa suffered a freak accident from a loose bolt from another car, something which can happen anywhere in the grid as long as you have a car in front of you close enough, not because he was pushing the limits of the car beyond what it could perform. Are we trying to imply here that what massa’s trying to do here is find a comfy place at the end of the pack with enough distance in front of him so that loose bolts don’t pose any danger? Common! The guy’s an absolute embarrassment at present, period. And as for hockenheim being the reason for his current form, all I would say is that any of the drivers in the grid which we regard as good to great (amongst them six dwc ) would not let themselves be defeated by such an event, much less over two consecutive years, which has been the intervening period. Ferrari need to sort out loads of things, and many are nothing to do with massa, that’s what’sbeen saving his head for a while, but the shove will come to push in the end, it’s just in the cards.

      5. Sebee says:

        Rafa,

        What I’m saying is that he is a man with perspective, may I say better perspective than perhaps you or me. He is a family man, with enough money to enjoy the rest of his life, came close to death in a freak accident which makes him reconsider the value of fighting for 7th place when his team doesn’t really care. He is not getting the car to fight for wins. And he knows if he is in that position and his “team mate” is behind him, a radio message will follow. That’s his reality.

        Is that the cutting edge attitude we expect in F1 – of course I agree with you it is not. But is this his fault, or that of his team – there we can have a discussion.

        As I said in my posts here (too many in this one article already I admit) he knows Ferrari well, he knows what’s expected of him, and it’s just a job to him now. And since Ferrari is paying the salary, it’s obvious they are happy with his work. They paid off Kimi, I hardly see the reason they would keep Massa unless he was doing as expected, as asked, as paid.

        Finally, I guess you don’t have enough proof of how poorly treated that second car seems to be at Ferrari from past substitutes – but I say again – no one will do much better in that second car. And many will likely destroy their carrier in 3 GPs by taking that 2nd Ferrari seat. If I was a driver manager I wouldn’t stick my driver in there. Lewis better not go into that shark tank either.

      6. Luca says:

        if Massa is as risk adverse as you think he is, then there would be little point in even turning up and getting in the car.

        this year he is racing to keep that seat – if you think he wont try as he is fed up with Ferrari giving him sub-par equipment then why stick about and not go to another team where he could win?

        whoever has been in the better position to win has had the backing of the second driver in the team – shcumie for irvine / massa for kimi / kimi to massa – yes there is bias to one driver to start with, but typically the better driver to start with.

      7. Sebee says:

        StallionGP, don’t think I’m overlooking Irvine. I’ve seen it, I remember it.

        Funny how Irvine started winning only after Schumi broke his leg. Before anyone says it – sure Eddie took Australia that year, but after Schumi had problems in the wild first race of season.

        What’s key is suddenly back to back Ferrari wins after their #1 is out of contention – to ensure constructor standings perhaps? Did something suddenly change with Eddie’s car to make that happen? Do you even doubt it? And what about Salo – who’s abilities were not known – suddently the guy is winning the first GP and we have to ask him to move over for Eddie? How embarasing! Let’s make sure Salo doesn’t have the same amount of power at the next race so we don’t have to do the switcharoo thing again. It really looks bad on TV.

        There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, #2s at Ferrari don’t get same hardware as #1.

    4. Wayne says:

      I know we’ve all decided that the prospect of Alonso and Hamilton in a Ferrari together is ridiculous but is it? Alonso’s problem was with the McLaren team not Hamilton. Judging by what these two sya about each other there is respect there. Yes Alonso could put a stop to any such move but would he want to or would he want a shot at putting that doubt from the season he was beaten by a rookie Hamilton to bed once and for all? Ferrari have said admiring things about Hamilton in the past whereas RBR have simply got too big for their boots and let their ego’s run away with them.

      I know it sounds ridiculous, but I always feel that Whitmarsh positively beams when Button performs and displays less enthusiasm when Hamilton wins. I can’t offer you any proof but I just get a strong sense of it. I do not belive for one fraction of a second that this in any way translates to any favouritism in terms of equipment or anything else tangible, but just that feeling will be enough to destabilise Hamilton – he is a pretty vulnerable guy emotionally.

      I think Hamilton needs a fresh challenge with a new team, why not Ferrari – where they devote themselves to their drivers instead of the cold, clinical approach taken by McLaren? Hamilton would thrive with that sort of emotional support. What’s the downside for Ferrari, the two drivers take points off each other – can’t be any worse than one driver not effectively turning up which is what they have right now.

      1. Joe B says:

        That’s a pretty interesting consideration, and a situation I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing.

        I think that Ferrari have to look at their team top-down and see where the multiple problems are first before once again becoming an attractive prospect to any of the current drivers. Car performance aside, there’s then the issue of any incoming driver becoming an assigned number two, unless that mentality also goes in the inevitable shake up. I think Hamilton’s probably lost too much love to drive for Ferrari as it is right now, but if there is another wholesale change, who knows?

        I agree Hamilton needs a fresh challenge, and probably a chance to lick his wounds. Personally, I’d like to see him in a Williams next year. It’d be good to see him in a midfield team aiming up, and with him not putting so much pressure on himself.

        As for Massa, well, it’s been covered pretty comprehensively by other commenters here. Last year there was some thinking that he’d do well to ‘do a Kovalainen’ and go to one of the new teams as a development driver, but the way he ended last season and has started this one suggest that he might be better off out of the sport altogether. A real shame for he seemed like a really nice guy, but this sport is for the best drivers in the world. And the largest sponsor bank balances, but that’s another article… ;D

      2. You may well be right. Hamilton was hired by Ron Dennis, who first met him in 1995, while hiring Button was one of the first big decisions taken in his own right by Whitmarsh, and that faith was repaid within 2 races in 2010 with that wet / dry Australian GP victory. There is a perceptible difference when Whitmarsh refers to Button, he is much warmer in his praise. McLaren do go to great lengths to provide identical levels of equipment and support, but ultimately the Boss will prefer one of his drivers over another. It is probably still the case that Ron still carries a torch for Hamilton within the McLaren group as a whole in preference to Button given Ron’s huge role in mentoring and supporting Hamilton in his pre – F1 career.

      3. AndyFov says:

        I think it boils down to business, and Button’s success is more marketable than Hamilton’s.

        Button’s seen as smart and dashing, with wit and an engaging personality. He’s a grown-up playboy type. Lewis lacks maturity and charisma. He still looks like he’s trying too hard to get onto Beyonce’s xmas card list IMO.

        In short I think that McLaren know that in JB they’ve someone with the potential to peddle a fair few road cars and Tag Heuer watches.

        None of that has anything to do with Massa. Sorry, I got distracted!

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Andy i agree with all that but you forgot to add Jenson wont tend to embarrass the team on a regular basis!

      5. [BR]CerealKiller says:

        “the season he was beaten by a rookie Hamilton”… huummmm… The season I saw, they end up TIED.

      6. Wayne says:

        Then you were not paying attention. Hamilton was officially classified ahead of Alonso.

      7. SketchCND says:

        You should’ve gone to Specsavers in that case!

        http://www.formula1.com/results/driver/2007/

        Hamilton was placed 2nd and Alonso 3rd (by way of placing count back when tied on points)!!!!!

      8. jawsf1 says:

        Sorry to be picky but whilst they tied on pts Hamilton was higher placed due to the number of 2nd places scored.

      9. Jeff says:

        Though Fernando had to block Lewis from getting out on his qualifying lap in one race to get that ‘tie’.

      10. Colin says:

        I think many people feel Hamilton ‘beat’ Alonso was because Hamilton was in his first year of F1, whereas Alonso was a WDC.

      11. F1 says:

        One thing to consider here: Hamilton sits in the best car on the grid. Only a fool would change teams while having the best car.

      12. Joe B says:

        But if he’s comprehensively beaten by Button (if), then would he want to stay? Furthermore, if he has another season like the last, would McLaren want him?

        This is all speculation based entirely on one race, but it’s fun to think about…

      13. A-Z says:

        Alonso + Lewis in the same is likely impossible. Yes, He have problem mainly with McLaren, not Lewis.

        But, Alonso really want to be clearly No 1 status and better treatment, and for sure Lewis never want to accept No 2 status.

        So this scenario is unlikely to happen.

        for me, I don’t think any other team that Lewis could feel at home like McLaren. If Ron is there, I think he could probably solve some Lewis mind problem.

    5. Stuart Harrison says:

      Given Ferrari’s form, I doubt Mark would be interested. Ferrari would be better with almost anyone else on the grid except for Massa, IMO.

      His incident with Senna was un-necessarily rough and makes me wonder who really was the guilty party in last year’s feud with Hamilton.

      The sooner he goes, the better for everyone in the field!

      1. Formula Zero says:

        Webber wants be at Ferrari. There were some serious driver exchange conversations happened in Melbourne. Plus remember, they were both managed by Flavio. Webber & Alonso also good friends. No matter how bad Ferrari seems, you must consider them as contender for next season. Lewis won’t get along with either Fernando or Seb. His attitude towards Jenson after the race is the most recent embarrassment. Lewis will work better with Partners like Petrov, Kovy & Di Resta. So unfortunately it is times up for Massa & Webber at Ferrari. And Lewis not going anywhere.

      2. Sebee says:

        Good point about Flavio.

        We have to be honest – Mark is a good #2. Maybe there is something to that.

        To me though, Mark is too much of a man’s man. He wouldn’t that the crap that Massa took – and we know it. And end of day, that’s really what Ferrari want from their #2 – submit to what we tell you. A driver can’t have fighting spirit when it’s his job to submit at a flick of a radio button.

      3. Jez says:

        Webber wont have a better option than Ferari next year. RB will not renew his contract. Mark is well used to doing what he is told and being a number 2. He has been the past two seasons and this will make three.

      4. Pat Guillon says:

        This may the best opportunity for Ferrari to bring in a young driver, maybe Jules Bianchi to show support for Italian drivers. Massa needs to get away from Ferrari if he’s to have any future in F1. Better to leave than be shown the door!

      5. SD says:

        Bringing in Bianchi for that reason would be a good idea if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s French.

    6. Sebee says:

      Yeah, he learned that day how pointless and unimportant F1 and fastest lap is in the grand scheme of things.

    7. DB says:

      Budapest was a setback, obviously. But I think he was slowly getting back to his old self up to Hockenheim exactly one year later. After that, he was worse than right after his comeback from injury.

    8. Wu says:

      Something did happen – lack of Schumacher’s influence over Ferrari. Seems he was still involved after he retired, guiding Ferrari towards Massa. 2008 and ’09 shown exactly why Schumacher supported Massa – he was brilliant in both seasons, coming ever so close to the championship that in the end was lost by Ferrari itself, not the driver. ’09 shown that even if he isn’t in the best car, he can still race his heart out.

      Saying that, Massa needs to know he has his race engineer and the team behind him. As he was trying to find his form in his first season back, he got screwed by the ones that he thought had his back, and ever since that contraversial day, he’s been going backwards.

      Seems Ferrari put all their eggs in one basket, and that basket isn’t Massa. Massa needs the kind of support he enjoyed in 2008 and 2009 if he is to flourish, otherwise he’ll keep fading. Saying he has his last chance and not doing much to help him isn’t doing anything but delaying the inevitable – being fired.

      I think it’s time for Massa to look for somewhere else to drive, and take Smedly with him if he wants to and still trusts him, otherwise we won’t see him race next year, which would be a great shame. His challenge to the ’08 WDC wasn’t a fluke, but he, like Alonso need a special kind of environment to be at his best, and right now he’s getting exactly the opposite to what he needs at Ferrari.

      1. Wayne says:

        No, no, no. Massa was at times 3 seconds a lap slower than his team mate. You cannot excuse Sunday’s performance with psycological flim-flammery. Ferrari have stuck with Massa longer than any other top team would have stuck with a driver. Ferrari only moved Massa over in Germany because he had allowed himself to get in such a position in the championship that he trailed his team-mate, and is was the right decision as Alonso’s late championship charge proved. Massa spent the wholoe of last year fixating on Hamilton as his excuse, he’ll have no where to hide this year.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        His challenge in 08 wasn’t a fluke?
        He hasn’t been in contention before or since, you may want to review that

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        He was ahead of Raikkonen in 2007 as far into the seaon as Turkey. Ok so it wasnt 2008 level competing, but even so.
        2009, really, nobody would have competed for the championship in that car.
        2010 was his only other car capable of challenging, but was fresh off the crash then got booted to 2nd driver status mid way through the season (not without reason, though).

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Massa is damaged goods since his incident good enough before? yes now? no there’s significant bit missing and it clearly ain’t coming back. Would be ok to fill one of the lesser seats in F1 maybe?? but with the up coming fresh young talent i feel his number is up in F1 as a whole.

      5. Wu says:

        Where was Kimi in 08 and 09? Massa beat him hands down. He was at his peak when the accident happened. People are forgetting how well he did in that dog of a car Ferrari produced. Constant solid finishes despite having no real chance of winning.

        Massa has been more or less ever since his move to Ferrari up untill his accident. He beat an on-form Shucmacher a few times in the races and qualis, did the same with Kimi in 2007, and upped his game for the other 2 years.
        He got pole on his first race back in Bahrain.

        No, something happened in 2010, something that disheartened Massa. Same thing in 2011, he was on par with Alonso at the start of the season, then faded over the year. Let’s face it, given the history of Alonso’s outburts, in Renualt and Mclaren, it’s not far fethced to believe the same is happening in Ferrari.

        Trouble is, Alonso’s prima donna-ness is backed up with good results, and I can’t see why Ferrari would want to change the status quo.

        Massa is demoralised. I think the qulity is still there, but he needs a team around him he can trust, one that believes in him, instead of treating him like a second driver at every oppertunity.

      6. DingBat says:

        Amazing how this is being blamed on Alonso…the most powerful man in F1 today and/or Ferrari themselves!..All this is pure speculation and makes for a good story…Bottom line is we don’t know for sure what’s causing this but what we do know is that Massa is being paid handsomely to do a job and he is failing dismally. And another thing, it makes absolutely no sense for Ferrari to ‘sabotage’ Massa as some are claiming as WCC is way more important to Ferrari than WDC, always has been. And if Massa is so fragile emotionally that he could let the Hockenheim incident ‘destroy’ his career then why did it not happen when he was asked to move for Kimi? Ferrari have given Massa all the support they can (most teams would have booted Massa after 2011) and it’s up to him to deliver…simple really, you make your own luck…… but that’s just my opinion ;-)

      7. Wu says:

        You misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m 100% sure Ferrari wants Massa to do better than he is now, but Massa needs to feel “loved”. It doesn’t matter if that’s a bad quality in a driver, but it’s what made Massa a championship contender. He is simply not getting the kind of support he used to and it shows. Ferrari should simply get rid of him and find a second driver that’s eager to please. I’m thinking a straight swap with Perez might be a way forward for both Ferrari and Massa, because I doubt he will ever get back to what made him special while still playing second fiddle to Alonso.

      8. Satish says:

        Of course Massa needs a special environment as you say Wu, he needs the team to be behind him just as every one of these top drivers today do (Alonso, Button, Vettel, Schumacher) to varying degrees.

        That’s why Massa was doing lots of tough talking about Alonso just before and after Alonso joined Ferrari, about it not being Alonso’s team, etc. But his on track performances, especially as someone who had already been racing at Ferrari for 4 years then did not match up to his vocal performance.

        I remember the debates before Alonso started at Ferrari if he would be able to match up to Massa! But Alonso asserted himself over Massa quite comfortably by winning the very first race of 2010, and so on.

        Massa has been on the backfoot ever since and not all of it can be attributed to Santander or Ferrari or whatever else people consider a factor for Massa’s poor performance. It doesn’t matter if Massa has “lost it” or not, he is no longer “doing anything” at/for Ferrari and hence why he needs to shape up or be moved out.

        And for folks going on and on about the 2010 team orders incident and it’s so called detrimental effect on Massa, look no further than Mark Webber at Silverstone 2010 for how a REAL driver performs when he feels hard done by his team! But all Massa can do these days is to be petulant whenever someone tries to overtake him, as Senna found out in this race. Google “Massa Senna dicing” for pictorial proof of how Massa unnecessarily went off track to push out Senna.

      9. MISTER says:

        I think you missed the fact that their cars were tangled for more than 100 yards. Nobody in F1 is stupid enough to try and hit another driver. You never know what damage you might take.

      10. Wu says:

        Massa took the normal racing line when Senna tried to pass him… it’s rough, something that Maldonado did in the same race. However when they became interlocked the best thing both could do is carry on and hope they get un-interlocked along the way.

        It’s tough racing, but it wasn’t anything more than that. It shows that despite problems Massa had throughout the weekend, he was still fighting at every oppertunity.

    9. Paul says:

      Let’s face it, if Massa does get in front of Alonso, he’ll be ordered aside anyway. So why bother busting your guts. Ferrari have reaped what they’ve sewn.

      As for Alonso v Hamilton, it still amuses me the number of people who seem convinced that McLaren would hire a double world champ like Alonso (at huge cost), and then build the car and the team around a rookie who they only confirmed a few weeks before the season started. Hamilton has probably declined as a driver since then, certainly in terms of consistently. But that year he fairly and squarely blew Alonso away. He needs his dad back in charge and to get rid of the popstar distractions.

      1. Jez says:

        “if Massa does get in front of Alonso, he’ll be ordered aside anyway” OK it has happened. It is as likely as seeing a snow tiger in the Sahara right now.

      2. Jeff says:

        There are a lot of people prematurely writing off Lewis after one race. Jenson set up his car better for the race (as opposed to qualifying under low fuel). Consequently, he had a quicker car that Lewis couldn’t match. I’ll be surprised if Lewis will repeatedly make that mistake at the next 19 races.

        That’s not to take anything away from Jenson. I think he’s always been one of the best racers in the world, and over a race distance in a well balanced car can beat anyone. I suspect, however, that the next race may be a bit closer between them. Jenson won’t get blown away, though.

        Ferrari, however, have made their bed with Alonso, and will now have to lie in it. Webber may go to Ferrari, but only to take a big pay packet. He’s not going to be competitive though, as everyone knows Alonso will be given preferential treatment. It would be the kiss of death for Lewis’ career for him to take the 2nd Ferrari seat. I think he’s intelligent enough to realise that.

    10. Ed says:

      Wow, now’s that quite a line back to the OP!!! Which when you get there is actually about Massa’s injury and nothing to do with Hamilton!!

      Though it doe’s show that while he may not be performing at the top of his game right now, you lot cant help but not talk about Hamilton!!!

    11. j says:

      Longest first comment EVER.

      1. DK says:

        +1, I didn’t realize it is still the number one tread

      2. DK says:

        +1, I didn’t realize it is still the number one tread

      3. DK says:

        +1, I didn’t realize it is still the number one tread

    12. Rhodekill says:

      OK this is a wild call…but Kobayashi?

  2. Simpson W says:

    I am really tired of Massa blaming this and that. If you have difficult time for a particular year, that’s fine. For 3 consecutive years, as a tifosi, I am MAD.
    Is there any communication breakdown between Massa and his engineers?
    I would agree with James that Perez is the closet candidate for replacement but he is racing with Sauber….. what about G.Fisichella or Bianchi?

    1. Dan says:

      Fisichella? Really?
      The last opportunity he had in a Ferrari made him look the second rate driver he has always been. He was faster in a Force India.

    2. Zsoltiy says:

      Do you honestly think that Fisichella or Bianchi would do better with that car, with ALONSO as their teammate? Do you honestly believe it? Shame on you for turning your back on Massa “as a tifosi”, who in his first three years at Ferrari managed to win and beat three world champions! I don’t think you can call yourself a tifosi.

      1. monktonnik says:

        He only beat Raikkonen over a season.

        I am sure he out qualified and and raced MSC at times, but not over a whole season.

        I don’t think that Fisi would necessarily do better than Felipe, but to be honest Ferrari should have put him out to pasture for 2010 and kept Raikkonen on with Alonso.

      2. Sebee says:

        Maybe Alonso said I come, but not next to Kimi – hence the 30M goodbye card to Kimi.

        Fisi is a backup to a backup to a backup when there are 30 days in February. Why is Massa at Ferrari so long? Because he can work the politics and put up with the crap they throw at him. As I said above you can’t be a driver with fighting spirit and charge when you you have to instantly turn it of when someone flicks the radio button on the other end.

        Let’s give Massa a break – honestly, he has been the most successful #2 at Ferrari ever. He was world champion for a few seconds – which is more than any other #2 at Ferrari can say. That plus his long employment clearly to me means his employer feels he is doing exactly what he is paid to do. Never again will Ferrari let their #2 challange their #1 like Massa challanged Kimi.

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        If you only count up to Nurburgring in 2009, he beat Raikkonen overall in their 2.5 seasons together.

      4. monktonnik says:

        @Sebee, I think Rubens is probably the most successful No2 as he has a lot more podiums to his name, although he did less races at Ferrari.

        Felipe has had good seasons for Ferrari, no doubt, and at places like Turkey he shows true world class form. It is a shame that Ferrari asked him to move aside for Fernando; I think that is what has broken his spirit.

        @Spinodontosaurus, you are right of course. I didn’t mean to say that he only beat Raikkonen of just one season, but rather to say that KR is the only World Champion he has beaten over a season.

        But is Massa is not rated in the top echelon of drivers it is hard also for me to rate KR in that elite group as they have shown that over a couple of seasons they were more equal than MSC or Alonso against Massa.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        A tifosi, of which I count myself one, wants Ferrari to win. They want drivers to give everything and they want to see competition with other teams.
        On occasion, a driver is hired by Ferrari that leaves us all bewildered because he doesn’t fit the mould. this is especially true of Ferrari since Enzo passed.
        Capelli, Barrichello, Massa and Kimi.
        We rejoice when drivers like Villeneuve, Mansell and Alonso fight for the reds.

        Prost, whilst a brilliant driver, was clearly second to the man we should of had, Senna.
        Schumacher was the best in the field from 1995 to 2004 so that was a good call, but he never inspired love from the Tifosi, just respect. His idea of sporting was having a sub-serviant number 2, that gets no respect from anybody.

        Ferrari is Italian in “cuore” which means to get our blood coursing through our veins, we want heroes driving there. We want gladiators wheeling the chariot.
        Of the current crop, Hamilton would be a better addition than Vettel, despite the fact that Vettel would be more controlled as a driver.

      6. F1 says:

        ‘Prost, whilst a brilliant driver, was clearly second to the man we should of had, Senna.’

        Senna was not crazy enough to sign for Ferrari. Same can be said about other first class brasilian drivers like Piquet or Fittipaldi. Only second rate brasilian drivers like Barrichello or Massa sign for Ferrari. But Senna – no – he didn’t want grande casino – all he wanted was the best car and Ferrari couldn’t give him that.

    3. Zsoltiy says:

      You can call yourself an Alonso fan, but a tifosi? NO WAY!

      1. Sebee says:

        Isn’t Tifosi a type of pasta noodle?

      2. Sebee says:

        Oh boy, it’s worse than type of pasta – it means “Carriers of Typhus”! Thank you google.

        Thank goodness I never wanted to be a Typhus carrier! Even when Schumi was there.

    4. Doobs says:

      I would get that Lewis into the 2nd Ferrari. He would work well with Alonso, they have both matured somewhat since 07. Lewis can work round an iffy car better than Massa, whereas Massa like Button, only seems to go well when the car’s more or less perfect. But the real issue for Ferrari is not the driver at the moment.

  3. Rosd Jackson says:

    Ferrari seem to be waiting for Kubica. There is however, no guarantee that Robert will ever be able to race again. At present the only real option I see for them is to wait until the end of the season and hire someone like Mark Webber. Mark would jump at the chance to drive for Ferrari, at least based on previous comments. This would give Ferrari the chance to ‘wait and see’ on any number of drivers currently building their careers, Ricciardo, Hulkenburg, etc. Or maybe just sign Algesuari, he’s got a bit of spare time at present.

    1. Richard says:

      Totally agree and Adrian Newey might also move to Ferrari in the next two years and build a team that will be a match the might of Lewis & Button.

      1. Kedar says:

        Nope, Newey was already approached by Ferrari and he turned down the offer and took up his role at Redbull. I guess they need to get Rory Byrne back.
        James, I read somewhere that Rory had significant input into this years car, what happened there any more information?

      2. James Allen says:

        He was a consultant on it, I understand

      3. markdartj says:

        I heard that Newey turned down Ferrari because he doesn’t want to live in Italy. He prefers to live in the UK, where Red Bull is based.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        My money is on a joint partnership between Brawn and Newey at Ferrari within 3 seasons from now but either way certainly Newey regardless of what he has previously voiced.

    2. Johnny English says:

      Sorry, but I think nobody considers Kubica any more. No matter how sad the truth is – that accident has sealed Robert’s fate in F1. With some many pretty good drivers around (even some are without seats this year) I really doubt any team will risk putting him in their car. I wish all the best for Robert but I believe we must stop talking these nonsences about him comming back to F1, especially to Ferrari.

      1. Wu says:

        One would be mad not to consider Kubica – Lotus surely did, even as they signed Kimi.

        Kubica was the driver of 2010 for many. He did not contedn the championship, but the Lotus guys were taken back with his speed, determination, and most importantly his leadership.

        One area where Ferrari has been failing is leadership from drivers ever since Schumacher’s exit. That’s why Kimi was fired, because they thought Alonso would replace Schumacher in that role. Instead they got a more emotive version of Kimi, who likes to whine over the radio instead of driving a team forward.

        Saying that, even if Kubica came back, would he be able to fit into the leadership role like he had at his Renault days? He would have his work cut out to bring the team towards him, and challenge a 2 world champion for influence. Kubica would be best in a team like Merc after Schumi retires again, for Roseberg is not team leader material, and Hamilton, not a team leader material himself, is more likely to stay at Mclaren.

      2. Johnny English says:

        It’s probably hard to live then you see things in a different way than other. Alonso has been behind team since day 1 at Ferrari – find at least a single sentence where he complains about his team even after bad results like on Saturday?
        Yes, I agree regarding Kubica – everybody is waiting (every single top team) for the guy who never shows his right hand in the pictures and like rumors say (not only Algesuari’s source) barely holds a glass in it. Robert was a fantastic driver but his time in F1 is done. Hope I’m not right

      3. Joe B says:

        It’s sad, but given the length of Kubica’s recuperation he really is off the cards, I’d really happily be wrong, but that accident was probably the end of his career.

        Unfortunately his return is an ‘if’ that gets bigger every month.

      4. Wu says:

        I gave the link to the site below, but I’ll give it here.

        He drove a rally car about 2 weeks ago, posted competitive time too. That’s something that can’t really be done with only one hand.

        Alg’s source was wrong, and he shouldn’t have run with it. Perhaps Kubi’s hand lacks the fine movements yet, and the glass holding thing was either taken out of context or a complete lie.

        http://robertscomeback.blogspot.co.uk/

        P.S. That Alguesuari rumour is there too.

      5. Doobs says:

        I don’t think Alonso whines over the radio, that’s a certain Macca driver you’re thinking of. LdMonte himself has praised Alonso’s team leadership skills and he probebly has a better knowledge of his man than anyone here.

      6. Wu says:

        No, Alonso has a bad habit of letting his temper get the better of him. Even as far back as… last qualifying. Instead of being angry at himself, his first response for binning it was to have a go at the marshal for not doing what he’s not supposed to do!

        I get a feeling he’s not an easy person to work with, live with, or be friends with.
        He’s a great driver, don’t get me wrong, but he has about as much charisma as an old shoe lace.

    3. Ron W says:

      There is another option.

      Adrian Sutil.

      He has the skill, the experience, and the potential.

      Ferrari should sign him up.

      1. Wu says:

        Sutil has his own issues, personal and on track he really needs to sort out. I’m sure he was a wasted talent at Force India, but last year he got spanked by di Resta, a rookie. It was more down to Sutil’s lack of effort than di Resta’s ability why that happened, and after Kimi, and now Massa, Ferrari do not need another driver that can’t be bothered.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Check their final points totals, you may want to review that post afterwards.

      3. Dave Aston says:

        Sutil got spanked by di Resta? Not according to the scoreboard.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        plug lol you would be right i reckon but for Sutil’s off track escapades as it appears it inspired Sutil to drive out of his skin in the latter half of the season realising the grave situation his career was in.

        Anyway you are wrong Sutil fairly out performed Di Resta all in all (and out scored) but if it was not for his off track issue i doubt he would have.

        Quite strange what it takes for some people to perform at there best i would have thought if you reach the pinnacle of motorsport you would naturally do so anyway!

  4. lepton says:

    Massa is fragile, when everything is perfect, he can be as good as ANY other top F1 driver, but any imperfection in the car or change of condition, his performance degrades more than most other drivers.

    Alonso is a great driver because he can drive around many issues, he can produce result under a wide variety of situations.

    It is sad to see Massa gets into current state, it would be better for he if he decided never come back after recovered from the injury.

    1. lecho says:

      Patrially agree. I guess it may be the same issue Ross Brawn was talking about Ferrari in Schumacher times: his ability do drive around car’s problems underlines his team mate’s problems while the true problem is car’s general imperfection.

      1. monktonnik says:

        Well said.

    2. Kevin says:

      Agreed! It’s not that Massa is that bad, it’s just that Alonso is so good. The problem is Ferraris. It takes a dual world champion, with a unique ability to alter himself to the car to make that Ferrari look good. A comparison would be classy stoner on the Ducati which no-one else can ride, Rossi included. Massa is one of the best drivers in the world he needs to move to another team. Id like to see him in a Williams next year with Pastor.

      1. brendan says:

        yes he could do well in a williams.

        i also agree in throwing JA in the car. might cause a few fireworks!

      2. Kevin says:

        I don’t believe Bruno will last anymore than this season. From my understanding of Williams financial situation they could well afford having Fillepe next year.
        JA in a Ferrari? Impossible, the car been described as having a ‘small performance window’ that I doubt James could squeeze through….

      3. James Allen says:

        Or squeeze in even!!

      4. Sk&y says:

        JA = Jamie Algersuari, correct?

    3. Wu says:

      I agree that Massa is fragile, but I believe it’s more to do with support he gets from his team rather than how good the car is. ’09 shown us the boy can drive a bad car. He outclassed Kimi throughout the year, which ultimatly lead to Kimi’s downfall.

      1. Doobs says:

        No he’s just fragile. He’s a touchy feely driver, very affected by his state of mind. He’s not a ruthless psycho killer like Schumi or Alonso or Vettel. How many times have we heard Rob Smedly et al giving him encouragement over the radio? You don’t get that from the other side of the garage.

      2. Wu says:

        Wasn’t Hamilton getting encouragement in Monza after he got demoralised by Schumacher?

        Morale is a strong thing, and good morale can win races if the car is good enough. Massa is demoralised, and if he feels that whatever he does in a Ferrari will be meaniningless because Alonso comes first then he needs to move quickly like Rubens did. Barrichello contested a WDC a few years back, so it’s not over for Massa, but he has to look for a drive now and show to the paddock what he’s capable of.

    4. Rafael Lopez says:

      I like Massa a lot, and I agree with you.

      Further, I think it’s worth noting that Massa has never won a race without starting on the front row. Even in 2008.

      Massa sadly is not a good overtaker. This is a big problem when you can’t qualify well.

    5. Simmo says:

      YES!

      Look at Canada 2011. He was 2nd while he was doing well! Then he lost out because he was put in a bad situation with HRT.

  5. Jon W says:

    Clearly the Scuderia were hopeful of an Alonso/Kubica partnership for 2012 and I think it would be foolish of Massa to kid himself otherwise. If he doesn’t up his game, I fear for his career.

    This story also highlights the void that the Ferrari Young Driver Academy should be filling. Yes I know it isn’t Ferrari’s style to go for a young driver, but their current situation isn’t working well for them either. Unfortunately, Jules Bianchi isn’t going to do a better job than Massa.

    Sutil and Algersuari might though!

  6. Mike says:

    Buieme and Algursari (apologies for the spelling) are available, plus sutil and heidfield. Ferrari have plenty of experienced drivers to choose from. The question is does anyone want to play second fiddle to alonso in a car that is difficult to drive.

    1. Rick says:

      I think the four guys you mentioned would all be very happy to spend a season with Ferrari. It would be a great opportunity for any of them to show what they could do in a top team.

    2. Wu says:

      I mentioned earlier in the year that Sutil might be a possible replacement if Kubica is not able to drive (or doesn’t want to have a comeback race in a woeful Ferrari that supports only one driver)

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Waken up and smell the coffee Wu as with most of your posts!. The only path back into F1 for Sutil would be if he started his own team, and that’s if Bernie and the other powers above would let him in as it would be very very controversial.

      2. Wu says:

        To be honest I don’t care if Sutil comes back or not. But it is a possibility. Pretty sure there are no FIA/F1 rules stating Sutil can’t race. If I got it wrong, then correct me.

        Would Ferrari hire him? That’s another matter that only Ferrari could anwser.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        I would think you have that very wrong but morally and sensibly no team with any sense or dignity would take him on and i think you would find that covers every team.

        Why would take in a just into the top 3rd driver to risk bad press detracting sponsorship deals etc etc?? wise up even if Alonso carried out such a crime he would be brushed out of the F1 circus back door. Silly Silly idea.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Im sorry Mike, but none of them is Ferrari material, Alonso would destroy them.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Not so sure hero Alguersuari would fit in nicely i reckon, Reckon he is a far better driver than given credit for and also remember very young.

        I feel he would be the perfect companion for Alonso come Ferrari come replacement or in house contender.

        Interesting Mercedes were quick to swoop for him for either there own uses to profit from or to keep out of competitive rivals cars!!

      2. Mike says:

        Being destroyed by Alonso is irrelevant. Ferrari need a second driver to score points. If Massa is not scoring points Ferrari have nothing to lose in trying one of the drivers mentioned above. It would only be for the rest of the season.

        If Massa struggles with his new chassis in Malaysia I fear he will not make it to the start of the European season.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I pray you are right, I can’t wait till Massa is ejected from the team, he brings nothing to it

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Not quite Mike with the car known as being poor i reckon he will get at least 5 or 6 races regardless (unless he bins at every race from here on) but cant see him being there come mid season regardless if the cars good or not as i reckon even if the car turns out to be the best by then the margin between Alonso on race days will be too great to justify him being there.

        Really sad to see him go but this has to be his last Regardless i feel Jaimie is the man for the seat all in all giving the fact that Alonso is there and the team order tendancy of Ferrari, but get the feeling from a post reply from James the other day that the seat is near certainly Webber’s for next season so I wonder if there’s a 2 way contract clause for if it becomes clearly justifiable for a Torro young gun to get into a Red Bull seat and likewise Webber gets straight into the Ferrari seat??

        Should be interesting to see what happens regardless, I feel this could be a strange season as where multiple drivers change team etc throughout the season.

      5. Kevin Green says:

        That’s a bit harsh hero, got to remember prior to his accident he was certainly very good and put in some pretty exciting drives in his championship WINNING season (read and think and you will get it browsers) he was up against a very competitive hamilton at the time in a team/car at the time very much moulded around him as it was in 07 too.

        I do believe you are right and as i previously said he should never have got past the 1st season back since but to say cant wait is somewhat harsh considering his accident was absolutely faultless of his own accord.

    4. Jason says:

      Agree that the drivers you mention are likley to perform better but from a marketing perspective?? Ferrari can not take on other teams rejects.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Rejects?? to be snapped up by an ambitious Mercedes team virtually over night! barely reject material. I will assure you we will see a lot more of Jaimie in the future and at the top end too quite sure his next drive will be in a top 6 team and from the start of next season at the latest.

      2. Jason says:

        Fully agree with you but I dont think Ferrari does – that’s my point. I was genuinley impressed by Jamie in the second half of last leason..

  7. Nqwazi says:

    I do feel Ferrari bears some of the responsibility for this, had they not asked him to move over for Alonso and let him take the win on the anniversary of his accident, then i think Massa would have more confidence and be a better driver.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      If Massa was any near as fast as Alonso on a regular basis they wouldn’t have asked Massa to let Alonso through.

      1. Sebee says:

        And looking at the results of other drivers 12th to 5th isn’t all that impressive. Let’s put that into perspective please. If number of spots gained from starting grid to GP finish is the metric, I’m not sure Alonso would be on that “podium”. Perez, Kimi, Kobayashi all this same or better with what should be slower hardware.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      The problem is that in the 39 races that they’ve been team mates, thats still one of only two races where Massa was able to match Alonso (the other being China last year). He’s been showing for all that time that on race pace is generally half a second a lap slower than Alonso and I think thats got nothing to do with his crash but the genuine difference in their abilities matched with three less than perfect Ferraris.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Korea 2011? Massa was the faster for some distance of the race, and only lost out due to slow pitstops landing him in taffic.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        I seem to remember that race ebbing and flowing a bit, there was points where Alonso was being held up and times when Massa was definitely faster. I’ll give you that one as it was still a good performance, but that still leaves it at 36-3 in Alonso’s favour and quite a few of them weren’t even close.

        I get the feeling that if he doesnt pick up the pace by ome way, and now, he may not even see out the season as him loosing points relative to Alonso could cost Ferrari dearly.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Korea 2011, wasn’t that the race that Alonso told the team he was faster but they didn’t let him through?
        Put in some quicker laps after Massa pitted, came out and chased down Button some distance ahead and caught him. I don’t remember Massa stuck to his rear after that? In fact he was 10 seconds back.
        He had qualified ahead of Alonso as well.

        The problem that Massa has, and I remember seeing it with Trulli at Renault, Alonso isn’t the greatest in qualifying, but come race day, he is staggering.
        In 2004, Trulli generally started ahead of him, but during the race, one Renault would move forwards, the other back, no prizes for guessing which was which.

        All the greats have a weakness.
        Prost didn’t like the rain or passing back markers.
        Senna took too many chances through back markers and lost some wins because of it.
        Schumacher was generally poor with starts, how many times did he carve across the track to keep others behind him?
        Alonso isn’t the best in qualifying
        Vettel in a dominant car has it all covered, qualifying and race, but I want to see what he does when he isn’t always at the front. Suzuka last year showed he has weaknesses too when he swerved at Button at the start. Or Turkey and Spa in 2010?

    3. I cannot agree with the sentiment that Massa is struggling because he has been relegated to #2 status at Ferrari. He is an F1 racing driver, if he can’t clear his head and do his job then he isn’t up to the task. Nice guy, gentleman off the track, gracious in WDC defeat… YES. Up to the task at Ferrari now, no…

      I guarantee you that if any other top driver was relegated to #2 status he would buckle down, race his heart out and say “Not too bad for a #2 driver” after finishing ahead of his teammate.

      1. HansB says:

        Exactly my point. I just can not understand those people saying Ferrari have destroyed FM.
        A true #1 driver fights his position within the team from the first to the last race. He is not letting himself getting in that #2 position in the first place. Not after 10 of the 19 races.

        If he still hasn’t worked out that Germany incident after one and a half years, he is not worth his seat in F1.

    4. MAS says:

      These hockenheim-excuses really need to end.

      If a driver is mentally destroyed if he has to take one for the team when it is neccesary (if illegal) he doesn’t deserve his seat, much less the milions he is being paid to occupy it.

      I don’t believe that theory anyway because Massa knows better than anyone that at Ferrari, succes is rewarded with number one status in the late season. All he has to do is beat Alonso in the first half of the season. He moved over for Kimi in ’07 and Kimi moved over for him in ’08. He could similairly turn the tables this year and be the golden boy once more…

      I also really haven’t detected Massa’s supposed recovery up to hockenheim. He was comprehensively outperformed by Alonso from the first corner of the first race of 2010 onward and IF anything is undermining his sense of self-worth then it’s that (and not Stefano Domenicali giving him the stink-eye).

      In other words, his underperformance has damaged both his confidence and his standing within the team, not the other way around.

  8. My bet is that Massa finishes out the year, and they choose to let him go. Then they call up Perez, who has been scoring well as of late. By then, he’ll have almost 40 races under his belt. They took a chance with Gilles after one race… different management and times now, but it’s not unreasonable to see them putting in Perez after he’s had two years to mature.

    They probably wouldn’t mind a Telmex sticker on the car alongside the Santander stickers!

  9. Dave C says:

    Go for Kobayashi, he’s a better and more exciting driver than Perez, the results speak for themselves.
    If they really want a champion calibre driver then keep an eye on Kimi, if he gets up to speed and shines for Lotus it be wise to try and tempt him back, he is the most naturally gifted driver, even more do than Vettel or Hamilton, but then he got out dueled by Kobayashi at Melbourne, that could be down to ring rust so we shall see.

    1. Sri says:

      Even if Ferrari want him, I think Kimi may not go there!

    2. Phil Bishop says:

      I can’t see Kimi going back to the team that dumped him for Alonso when he still had a year left to run on his contract. Sure he enjoyed being paid NOT to drive for them but he’s a proud man

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      How naive, Ferrari got rid of Kimi for a variety of reason, not because he was slow.

      1. Sebee says:

        To make room for Alonso who probably wasn’t coming if Kimi was there. Santander paid the bill – with taxpayer dollars. Ok I’m speculating.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I don’t think Alonso would have had an issue with Kimi being there, much as Senna wasn’t fussed by Prost being at Mclaren.
        The original talks were that Alonso had been signed for 2011, but Ferrari decided to cut their loses and paid his season off. I would imagine also, $250,000,000 dollars a year from Marlboro would cover the expense of paying him off. I doubt Santander was involved.

  10. Henrik says:

    Replacements? Sutil for instance. Trulli. At this rate, perhaps Badoer and Fisichella would be improvements?

    But Alonso was lucky, very lucky, to get fifth. It seems that Lotus and Williams, possibly Mercedes if they fix the tyre issues, are better cars right now. Mercedes certainly in qualifying. That would mean Grosjean, Kimi, Maldonado, Webber, Vettel, Button and Lewis are expected to finish in front of him on a track with working DRS zones.

    1. Alonso fan says:

      LOL Yep but you got to admit he’s consistantly lucky. Just look at how he got the Renualt to finish in the top ten for two seasons after McLaren kicked him out. (Ignoring the fixed race)If you do something enough times you have to admit its not luck but skill.

    2. Formula Zero says:

      F1 is not always just luck. Jack Villneauve was a lucky champion, Alonso is a better & proven champion even when he is 10th. He does it over and over. That’s the fact. That’s why Fernando always loves racing toe to toe against Schumi. Because they are very much alike when it comes to outperforming a car. If Alonso had Schumi’s leadership skills we would’ve witnessed Ferrari dominance for possibly for the next decade. But that’s F1, mostly fact, hardly any luck.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher’s leadership skills?
        Todt brought Schumacher to Ferrari for 1996. With his suggestions, they signed Brawn and Byrne for 1997 and finally won the WDC in 2000.
        Alonso should have won in 2010 but for the wrong strategy call.
        Last year, the design team was replaced because ultimately, they weren’t improving. Pat Fry has been the Technical director for under a year and has been recruiting alot of top level people ever since.
        When they get the car right and Alonso wins, will it be Alonso or Pat Fry’s team that guided the team?
        Alonso is a leader, and it’s taking time to get the package together.
        Even the “great” Newey took from 2006 to 2010 to win a championship with Red Bull.

      2. F1 says:

        ‘Alonso should have won in 2010 but for the wrong strategy call.’

        You can also say Alonso lost out after he crashed in Belgium. Or after he destroyed his car in FP3 in Monaco. Think about it.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Trust me I have.
        Also the jump start in China, the team and Massa not letting him through In Australia when he was obviously quicker…
        Hang on, the team not asking Massa to let Alonso through, good grief, flies against all of peoples assumptions huh?
        Due to his mistakes, he was 47 point behind in Britain, and yet still managed to be in the lead of the championship come the final race.
        Massa never once uttered he would win the championship, yet Alonso kept saying they could turn it round. His self-belief is staggering

      4. Wu says:

        I completly agree. What Ferrari needs is another Schumacher, a person that puts all the effort into winning not just on the track but off it, supports his team and engineers instead of crying like a baby when things go wrong, someone with the technical know-how, who understands the car technically instead of just driving it.

        Schumacher was a great driver, but he was also a leader. He inspired his people into doing better, and he gave them back results. He knew exactly what he wanted from the car, and delivered when it was given.

        It seems Alonso is waiting for Ferrari to give him a car he wants and expects everyone to be thankful he’s there instead of building the team around him, building its morale and devotion to him.

        Incidently Shucmacher is doing the eaxt same thing at Merc he did at Ferrari. He knows what it takes to win, and even after 2 seasons finishing below Rosberg, he is still the team leader. Alonso still has a lot to learn from his example.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Depends how you view it.
        I don’t think Rosberg is actually that good, and Michael hasn’t got his ability from 15 years ago to carry the car any longer.

      6. ism says:

        Found this. http://youtu.be/prrV_gQa1oM
        even if u might think this can’t gv the overall pic, but it show hw detail n all-rounder n hw “busy-body” MSC of team problem…he push everybody to the limit, not only for his own car team, but the whole team…if that is not some sort of leadership, i’m not sure what it is ….

  11. Dulait says:

    If and when Kubica can prove his fitness and demonstrate he still has the capacity to pilot and F1 car on the edge then Felipe can expect a phone call. Dominicalli should offer Alonso half his retainer; as without him he would already be drawing unemployment benefit.

    Even Alonso may be enought to rescue his plight however. If the Mark II Ferrari due at Barcelona doesn’t deliver, I expect curtains for both Dominicalli and Massa.

    1. Wu says:

      I agree that Kubica at his best would be one hell of a competitor to Alonso’s dominance over the team. Alonso more or less said the same.

  12. Mark in Australia says:

    When you are just not quick enough and have lost the edge, the time has come…. Unfortunately for Felipeand Ferrari this is the reality.

    I can’t see this partnership seeing the year out, sorry to say.

    I’d love to see Webber in a Ferrari at some stage, but doubt Mark would go there with the current car issues; any thoughts?

    1. lecho says:

      You cannot blame the driver for him being unable to race a dog to podium finishes.

      1. Mark in Australia says:

        No, you can’t. But what you can do is compare the driver to his team mate. And in this case, and for the past few years Alonso has mopped the floor with Massa.

        You can’t blame the dog of a car but Alonso has fundamentally had the same gear to work with. He even managed a win last year in said dog of a car.

        Massa needs to be accountable. I feel as soon as a suitable replacement is found he will be out, barring a race winning turnaround from Felipe.

      2. lecho says:

        The truth is that Alonso, especially with whole team behind him, would mop the floor with 90% of current Formula 1 drivers. I don’t see Massa’s fault in this.

        Massa is a momentum type of driver. If he can string two or three good results, he can go steamrolling again. But that would never happen IF Ferrari would still concentrate solely on making Alonso a world champion. Considering that I don’t see a reason why Massa’s contract was ever renewed. They should search for a humble number two driver back then. But still, putting Perez, Kobayashi, Maldonado etc. in the Ferrari wouldn’t fix the major problem which is the car.

  13. Henrik says:

    Oh, forgot: Alguersari or Buemi, my favourite of those two would be Alguersari.

  14. chris green says:

    alonso should be doing a better job than massa-after all the whole team is built around alonso.
    ferrari aren’t capable of running 2 number 1′s like mclaren, mercedes etc. it’s just not in the latin culture or ferrari’s dna.

    massa is getting the standard ferrari treatment. smiling to your face while the knife is twisted in your back. in the old days ferrari just dumped drivers on a whim. at least a driver knew where they stood.

    1. MISTER says:

      I don’t share your thoughts. Just because in the past Ferrari used the teams orders without putting up “curtains” doesn’t mean that’s the case every time.

      In 2010, Ferrari like everyone of us, saw the performance difference in their two drivers. They knew that with the car they had that early in the championship..they need to back Alonso to have a chance of the Driver’s championship.

      What do you think McLaren would’ve done if the performance difference between Lewis and Jenson was big in favour in Lewis and Jenson managed a very good start and race..
      It’s all strategy to aid the chance of winning a championship. McLaren used to radio on Lewis (or was it Jenson) that their fuel is critical when they were racing each other very close. Maybe that was the case indeed, but what if that was a coded message?

      I don’t know about you, but I would be very upset if Ferrari would let a unperforming Massa take a win and blow the chance of winning a championship for the second driver. If Massa would produce those kind of performances like in Hockenheim race by race..then I would be outraged at Ferrari..but that was a one-off. Every team is here to win..not to please the fans.

      I cannot believe you are comparing McLaren’s driver situation with Ferrari’s. Jenson and Lewis are pushing each other all the time and they are sharing wins..while at Ferrari is obvious that Massa is nowhere Alonso’s pace. And that was the case since Alonso arrived in 2010..not just now.

      1. Bakdraft says:

        This is I feel a ‘corrupted’ view of F1, as opposed to the pure view as given by Frank Williams.

        It does not matter if Massa underperforms, if he manages to get a win fair and square he should have that win. Handing it over to Alonso is unworthy. To be a F1 world champion you should be able to do it by your own merits and not have it handed to you in the way Schumacher did, and now Alonso. It is clearly Ferrari way, and that is why I really cannot find it in my heart to love them.

        It is true, you could argue other sports employ such tactics such as cycling, but they are also the poorer for it.

        F1 should be pure, if nothing else, the WDC should be able to say ‘I won that’ and not I was gifted that.

        Massa, I feel has been broken by this Ferrari ethic in the same way Rubens as before him….

      2. MISTER says:

        What you are talking about is something that it will be ideally..but the real world is not like that. You must wake up and realize that.

        How is “Fernando is faster than you” different from “Mark hold your possition” or ” Jenson we are critical on fuel”. To me, they are the same.

        You must be very naive to think that all team orders that are given in F1 are plain and simple like it was in Germany in 2010. There are always team orders and sometimes maybe not even the drivers don’t know they follow them.

        Nobody is going to write about you that you got 2nd place in championship but you got it on merit while the champion was helped by team orders. History remembers champions and not number 2′s.

        Come on guys..there are millions of £/$ invested in this sport. You think the shareholders would be happy if a team principal says “We didn’t win the championship but we let our drivers race every time” ? Shareholders will be happy when they see their investment grow.

        Ohhh and don’t get me started on “it is clearly Ferrari way”. Look at RBR last year. Vettel was miles ahead in the championship and still Horner instructed Mark to hold the possition.
        I see that even worse than Ferrari’s team orders in Germany 2010. At least Ferrari knew that Massa will have absolutely no chance of winning the championship. And they were right.

    2. Rafa says:

      Latin culture? It never fails to amaze me, when people calmly make statements like this: would LH clearly sulking mood at macca’s favouritism of jb fit into this description? If memory serves me well, that’s two English drivers in an english team, hardly Latin! Maybe we should think of red bull’s more than obvious bias towards vettel as the standard bearer of the team? But then, the outfit is Austrian with a base in the uk i think and one driver is German and the other Australian… Hmmmm. And Ferrari not being able to run two nr 1 drivers? That is clearly untested since massa can hardly claim being a decent nr 2. But let’s retrace: 2007 kimi wins the championship, fairly being deemed the nr 1 driver, whereas the following season, massa challenged for the dwc. Was Ferrari not a Latin team then? Hmmm I’m confused.

      1. Rafa says:

        Oh and as for massa getting the standard Ferrari treatment, how does two years of hardly meeting any expectations at all fall within your description? In my company and probably in most that want to keep succesfull, massa probably would not have survived 2010, much less last season. Sorry to say, your post does not make any sense at all, but then again, it could be my Latin character failing to understand simple logic.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Oh dear lord!!
      So from the 1950′s when all Ferrari drivers fought with each other constantly, through the 60 and 70′s, 1979 when Villeneuve and Scheckter fought each other, 1982 Villeneuve vs Pironi, and on, then in 1999 through to 2008 when Ferrari won countless races with 1-2′s, or Kimi won a WDC in 07 with Felipe moving over in the last race, then Massa nearly winning in 2008…
      Silly me, of course those Latino’s can’t run two cars equally. ( BTW, I’m Italian here )

      Maybe the fact Ferrari have won 16 Constructor championships would imply that maybe they might run two cars equally? (Mclaren have only 8 consturctor championships. )

      Massa cannot support Alonso whatsoever and because of this Ferrari cannot win the Constructors championship.

      1. Jeff says:

        They used to work that way. There hasn’t been a lot of evidence of that since the Schumacher era. Given that the team’s principal financial benefit is from the constructor’s championship, and that having two strong drivers is the best way to maximise your chances of that title, I’ve never understood the logic behind favouring one driver over the other anyway.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher left at the end of 2006.
        Ferrari won the 2007 and 2008 WCC. The WDC in 07, almost 08
        2009 was a poor car, as was 2011. Any car that can only win a race per season, will never win the WCC.
        Since his accident Massa has proven that he isn’t up to the task of F1 driver any longer.
        Whether it’s residue from his injuries, or Alonso has completely destroyed him psychologically, it doesn’t matter.
        He was good enough as a second driver, but he was never going to be a multiple Champion.
        What I can’t get my head around is the fact that he has proven in 2 seasons, that he just isn’t good enough anymore in any capacity, be completely different if he was supporting Alonso but not quite at his level.
        Ultimately, the second driver should be good enough to step into the team-mates position if he encounters problems

  15. RichyS says:

    If Massa makes it to the end of the season in a Ferrari race seat, I’ll eat my rocket redMcLaren hat!

    Is Luca Badoer still available? Even he couldn’t be worse than Massa right now.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      +1

    2. HMain says:

      Ferrari’s loyalty to Massa is water tight – as seen over the last few years. Mark my words, he will stay for the remainder of the season.

      Would you like tomato sauce with your hat? :)

  16. Steve says:

    How long do you think he will last James? Will he make the end of the season or will Ferrari wait for Webber next year?

    While watching Maldonado fight Alonso on Sunday I couldn’t help but think he was the logical choice to replace Massa. Pay Williams a huge hunk of cash for Maldonado, Williams brings back Rubens for one final blast, everyone’s happy.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t know, that’s why I highlight this story. It’s interesting to see what they decide to do. Their options aren’t great

      1. Mr G says:

        The only option available at present will be to sign a driver that is not driving, plenty of them or call Perez, my understanding is that, because he is part of the FDA, Ferrari Driver Academy, he has a clause in his contract that will allow him to drive for Ferrari.
        Accordingly with my Italian sources, Kubica is not anymore in the frame for an F1 seat next season, Webber is a safe bet, but Hamilton stock could be on the up at Maranello if he decide to quit McLaren at the end of the season.

      2. Anil says:

        What’s stopping Ferrari from going after Alguersuari or possibly Sutil? Are there any legal hurdles?
        Persisting with Massa in his current form would seriously compromise their constructor championship chances.

      3. Oracle says:

        Alguersuari and Maldonado? One is a pay driver, the other was just sacked for being average and you think they will do a better job than a driver who beat kimi and scored 12 wins and may poles?

      4. MISTER says:

        Quick question James.
        If Ferrari decide to take Perez in 4-5 races..will Perez take his points with him at Ferrari or the points will stay at Sauber?
        What are the rules in regards to that?

        Thanks

      5. Joe B says:

        The constructors points stay with Sauber, the driver points go with Perez. Same thing happened when Fisichella moved there in ’09.

      6. KinoNoNo says:

        Points won in a Sauber stay with Sauber.
        Points won by driver stay with driver.

      7. Dave Aston says:

        He keeps his, Sauber keep the constructors.

      8. Stuey says:

        Points don’t “move” if a driver changes teams.

        The drivers championship is independent of teams, so technically a driver could win the championship having changed teams mid season.

        The Constructors points are scored by the car, so any points scored by a driver at that team, remain with the team if the scoring driver moves.

      9. Anil says:

        @Oracle – On your question “you think they will do a better job than a driver who beat kimi and scored 12 wins and may poles?” – on current form, the answer is YES!
        Massa is not the same driver he once used to be.

      10. Formula Zero says:

        I know it is very early days, but Vettel seem to be interested in Ferrari at some point of his career. I’m thinking back his post race emotional interview in Monza last year, “only thing would’ve made this win perfect if I was wearing red”. What’s your thought?

      11. Amritraj says:

        How about Heikki?

        The guys has proven to be quick, has experience and worked with a big teams in the past. And he is just 30, if I am right.

        Could be a good move for Ferrari.

      12. F1 says:

        He is contracted to caterham.

      13. Kevin Green says:

        F1 and you dont think Hekki would have a get out clause if Red Bull or Ferrari Approach him?? i would certainly think so!

      14. Kevin Green says:

        Not great maybe not James but certainly plenty full, what driver would turn down the chance to drive for Ferrari ??(other than Kimi or a very front runner currently) I reckon they should take the gamble on a young gun itching at the bit to prove them self rather than an already accomplished driver coming in understanding they are in a no2 role.

      15. Kevin Green says:

        delete that other one and this one put in here on landed in wrong place!!!

      16. Kevin Green says:

        Options are not great no but certainly plenty full i reckon they should let a young gun in that’s itching at the bit to prove himself instead of a accomplished older the driver that understands that he is in as a no2 as lets face it Ferrari are unlikely to win the constructors until something radically changes outwith the drivers seat so why not take the gamble on a young gun who might just get them there on raw talent alongside/pushing Alonso??.

    2. zombie says:

      I’ve heard there is a clause somewhere on the Ferrari contract that says they cannot hire bald drivers.So Maldanado is definitely ain’t happening!

      1. Chris says:

        Does the non hiring of bald staff policy run to technical directors to!!! If it does, I’m willing to bet they’d change that policy in a heartbeat if they could get their hands on a ceartain technical mind!!!

  17. Stuart says:

    I think he has just lost it. Whatever it was that he had before his big accident has gone, and it obviously can’t be helped by being continually well beaten by his team-mate. It is a shame to see him like this, and unless he digs incredibly deep and finds something then the focus and scrutiny is going to become more and more intense. I hope he can find a spark, something just to set him going.

    In a way it is admirable that Ferrari have stood by him for so long, but surely Domenicali and co. can’t afford to have blind loyalty for too much longer if results & especially performances continue on their downward curve.

  18. Darren says:

    Timo Glock would make an ideal substitute. He deserves better than Marussia and would be closer to Alonso having much experience in difficult cars.

  19. Rafa says:

    I personally never liked the idea of sacking people, but scuderia’s loyalty and patience is far from what one would call reasonable. Massa simply is not cutting it and one could definitely say that he’s harming the team at this stage. I hear those that argue that massa was given a very clear no 2 role in the team and given the injustice of this he’s just cashing in for as long as he can. That’s a pretty cynical view i think, and these people would argue differently if it was other teams involved. At the end of the day very few times over these last two years has massa looked remotely competitive. Who knows JA, maybe that kid that you’ve got commenting with you on gp day won’t last that long without a seat (although if you go by Spanish media, alguersuari is not really alonso’s cuppa tea, but then again, who is?) For all I admire FA, sometimes I wonder how much loan in his karma bank does he have to pay before things brighten up for him? Tough!

  20. Paul says:

    I don’t see them replacing Massa mid-season with a driver racing for another team. It would be like Fisi in ’09 all over again.

    What about someone like Sutil, or even Kubica if he’s ready?

  21. Jonathan says:

    The sad thing is, Massa’s deficiencies with respect to Alonso mean you can’t help but re-evaluate his earlier achievements.

    Instead of admiring his race wins in 2008, I look back and think, “wow, the 2008 Ferrari must have been awesome — in Alonso’s hands it would have won the WDC easily”.

    1. Brad says:

      The team was behind Massa, that was the difference. It was Kimi’s option to have equal status within the team, which benefitted the other driver.

      1. DingBat says:

        So…It was Kimi who opted not to be No1 driver and have equality in the team which is why Massa did well in 2008 is it? Sorry but you gotta laugh sometimes. Massa was given No1 status that year because he was beating Kimi fair and square. Remember that Kimi was the one getting getting the No1 status salary at the time and not Massa. It’s been said here many times and I’ll say it again. Ferrari will back their fastest driver whether it be Michael, Alonso, Kimi or Massa, they proved that in 2008, surely it’s obvious that Massa is just not performing and has nothing to do with status, Alonso or Ferrari politics?

      2. Brad says:

        or maybe Fernando is just competing againts a defect teammate who has’nt been the same after a horrible accident. What a way to measure Alonso…

    2. Dan says:

      I really do not think that one could draw any conclusions in this regard.
      Massa is clearly not his former self and there are many other puzzle pieces (such as Alonsos preferential treatment) that contribute to the current state of affairs.

    3. Harv says:

      I think you are being a little unfair to Massa here – Raikkonen was his team mate after all, and he beat him (though admittedly I don’t remember if Kimi had bad luck or other reasons for being beaten).

    4. Martin says:

      In addition to Dan’s comments, just look at the sensitivity to temperature that season. Any time it was cold the Ferrari tended to be nowhere. Kimi couldn’t qualify well on most tracks – heat helped a lot.

      On some tracks and temperatures the McLaren was clearly the better car. On others the Ferrari had the edge. A common comment from Martin Brundle when commentating in 2008 was “look at the understeer”. Felipe was clearly comfortable with that on corner entry. Whatever the car does now, he isn’t comfortable with it for much of the time.

      When the cars are well balanced and the cars have a good feel you won’t get much difference between the top drivers. When there are problems differences appear. Kimi had an issue managing the tyre temperature in 2008. The McLaren characteristics have meant that Lewis has never obviously been tested, and he tends to end up on the excessive wear side in races occasionally. Melbourne was unusual for Jenson as he just went for it from the start – a bit like India in 2011 – rather than being more cautious.

      Alonso seems okay with tyres and under and oversteering balance, but he had brake feel issues with McLaren. Schumacher had tyre feel issues in 2010 and 2011. We are working what flaws Vettel has – he is increasingly showing he can pass others, and he seems to have tyre management as good as anyone. Yet to see him in an ugly understeering car.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  22. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    Maybe if Kubica recovers !!!!

    1. Kevin Green says:

      He might but not enough to justify a top seat drive i dont think, shame though as i believe he was certainly in the top 5 driver bracket for sure post Senna.

      And on that why bother bouncing about in the lower bracket of F1 if he could switch to rallying maybe and do well there certainly seems about as interested in that as he is F1.

      With his injuries and the fitness level req in F1 training and the G forces on cornering etc i wonder if he would fit into rallying now better??

  23. The Hand says:

    As i have said before he should not have been racing last season, let alone this one.

    Loyalty is all well and good, but at this level you have to think of it that the driver is simply a component on the car (we have been told that enough over the years by the engineers). Using this as an example: if the gearbox was causing an issue and the result was that you were off the pace at nearly every track or caused you to fail on multiple occasions, would not the team look to replace the component with something more reliable?

    Whenever i think of Massa i think of a quote from Martin Brundle in 2004 saying “you would not even lend Massa the keys to your hire car the way he is driving.” He has done nothing since 2008 and cannot rest on those past achievements, drop him and dont look back.

    James, is the willingness to honor a long term contract a case of the Nicholas Todt’s still having massive pull at Ferrari because of his fathers legacy?

    As for replacements: Jarno has no current drive…He will get you through the season in preperation for Mark Webber in 2013.

  24. Kay says:

    I’m not his fan but I do feel sorry for Felipe. Seems like he and Lewis are also on a downward trend with regard to their performances.. o_O

    I don’t think Felipe has a problem with anything, it’s just Alonso being too good a driver, and when you put Alonso next to Felipe, the differences become much more visible than if they were in different teams and cars.

    1. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

      it is unfair to compare Lewis to Felipe. Hamilton put a stunning lap on Saturday and if it wasn’t for the safety car he would have finished 2nd.

      1. Kay says:

        I didn’t say Hamilton did a sh*t job, I just said he’s going downhill (and I don’t mean going down like a landslide either). It’s just you gotta look at Saturday and Sunday, Lewis wasn’t as strong in the race and couldn’t get the better of Jenson, hence on a downward trend (especially when Jenson has had the upperhand over Lewis since the mid-end of 2011). Felipe in general has been going downhill anyway.

      2. Wu says:

        Yet another person underestimating Button. He is a brilliant driver, a world champion that has been getting used to Mclaren and slowly taking over the team leader role. Button knew you can’t win on Saturday and preferred to have a faster car on Sunday.

        I think Hamilton did a good job, but he has to stop believing he’s the best when he simply isn’t. It’s that kind of enitiled, lazy thinking that will be his undoing for yet another year.

    2. A-Z says:

      Compare Lewis to Massa in not fair.

      Massa is obviously downtrend. But I don’t think Lewis is downtrend.

      Lewis speed is still there, but his weak point is tyre management. If the tyre is more durable, I stil think Lewis has the upperhand to Button.

      With this Pirelli, Button can show his advantage as everyone predict since 2011. His reputation is soft on tyre.

  25. Al says:

    If he has many more races like that, he will be kicked out before the end of the season.

    Look at how the “undertalented pay drivers” have fared ? Maldonado harrasing Alonso’s Ferrari in a Williams … Perez… Even Petrov is looking way stronger than Felipe.

    Being a nice guy is not enough, FM needs to get on it or he will correctly be labelled a basket case and shown the door.

  26. Husker says:

    Ferrari should have dropped Massa at the end of 2010, or at the end of 2011 at most. The only reason they’ve kept him is because they feel sorry for him after Hungary 2009.

    He’s never been a brilliant driver, not even in 2008, average at most with some good results. In wet conditions he’s a complete joke, he’s done. Ferrari know it, he knows it and we all know it.

    Felipe Massa at this point is like a racing horse with a broken leg, there isn’t much more that can be done for him.

    Ferrari will lose at least a couple positions in the constructors championship at the end of 2012 because they are basically running a one car operation with Alonso, the other one is simply useless an has to go away.

    1. Oly says:

      Not nicely said, but true.

  27. PaddockF1 says:

    Hi James, what would you say Alonso’s “moments” were (with the exception of the qualifying spin)?

    1. James Allen says:

      He had some big slides, some major corrections etc in free practice in particular. The car looked a handful

  28. Paul L says:

    James, old topic but whats your feeling about him physically – do you think he lost something (reflexes, etc) in the 2009 accident?

    I still recall his Singapore 2008 pole. He seemed then like the only other driver to Hamilton who could do something freakish behind the wheel.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think the doctors would know that and it would have been highlighted. He’s not matching Alonso and that’s tough mentally, as it was for Kovalainen at McLaren. I see it quite similar to that situation

      1. DMyers says:

        The big difference between the situation with Kovalainen at McLaren is that Hamilton was getting new parts one or two races before Heikki, therefore the disparity between the two was often artificial.

      2. Henrik says:

        I think the doctors have absolutely no way of knowing for SURE exactly how the head injury affected Massas driving. They can tell he’s basically fine, but they have no way to measure “driving skill” and exactly how the brain processes the input and put it to use and if that in any way is different from before. He can be 99.8% fine, but its those .2% that give you half a second on the clock.

      3. Sri says:

        Good comment. Too much faith on doctors is not right! Brain and mind (the driver of brain or you may call functional force/program of brain) are not known well to us now. We are still far far away from fully understanding these two entities and how they work together.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Absolutely spot on!! im just amazed he is still been given the chance behond the hope and pitty yr this is now his 3rd since!!

      5. Sri says:

        If Alonso is overachieving with the car and Massa is still at the level of competitiveness of Hamilton as in 2008, then the conclusions are: 1. Alonso is very very exceptional driver, perhaps the best the world ever saw. 2. The whole Ferrari technical team has tobe sacked (not Massa) for producing a car which even 2008-level competitive Massa is unable to produce good results as he can still beat Hamilton if given a good car!
        The truth is 2009 accident had its effect and Massa is not the same one as seen in 2008. It is like Monica Seles in tennis. She never came back to her high standards after the attack on her.

      6. Oracle says:

        Massa was not driving the same car as hamilton in 2008, he was driving a much faster Ferrari which has fooled many into thinking he was a lot better than he really is.

      7. For sure says:

        Oracle so you meant Kimi was driving far too slow in that Ferrari 2008 then. He must have been like 1 second off the pace.

      8. Don Farrell says:

        Did anybody see the TV show Richards Hammond did about how his serious accident in Top Gear changed his life & personality? He also interviewed Sir Sterling Moss about his serious accident and Sterling Moss said it changed so many little things about his life and personality as well. And their wives agreed saying they weren’t the same person they were before their accident. So maybe it’s the same for Massa – he’s a nice chap but has lost that extra bit of risk-taking edge it takes to be a top F1 racer.

      9. Moxlox says:

        Great analogy. I like this comment above all else here.

        The subjective mental affects together with being forced to be a number 2 have blunted Massa. Those few tenths lost have sadly made him an also ran.

    2. There was also Monaco 2008. Besides Singapore 2008, both were awesome pole laps, and Ferrari screwed him in both races.

    3. HMain says:

      Don’t forget that after the accident, Massa returned and scored pole in Bahrain 2010 and came in 2nd in Germany 2010. So the accident couldn’t have been so bad on him physically.

      I think Massa is just an OK driver. As JA says, in a car that is difficult to handle (which includes wet conditions), Massa does not cope very well. Anyone recall Massa’s 6 spins at Silverstone 2008 in the wet?

      As for a replacement, there will be no replacement for Massa this year. He will see out his contract with Ferrari. Ferrari’s unfailing loyalty to Massa will ensure this. It’s the same loyalty that sees Stefano still at Ferrari.

  29. Wayne says:

    I agree that no one wants to see Massa suffer, but he was not so dignified last year. Indeed he seemed to fixate on Hamilton. I remember his race engineer deciding the best way to motivate Massa on one occasion was to suggest he try to ‘ruin Hamilton’s race’. Last year, Massa was all the things Lewis is often accused of: churlish, childish and sometimes dangerous – yet he largely got away with it because he is a ‘lovable figure’ and is constantly cut slack because of his fight back from injury.

    Honestly I’m torn… On the one hand he is arguably the most underachieving driver on the grid, and the least deserving of his seat on recent to mid-term form, and his personality is beginning to suffer for it – which is possibly the greatest shame of all.

    On the other hand it is heartening to see Ferrari’s loyalty to their driver, who was injured in service to them. When so many drivers are simply cast aside with little more than a text message, Ferrari are to be applauded for shrugging of the coldness of ‘business’ and embracing the warmth of ‘people’.

    Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari in 2013? Is it really totally impossible? I don’t think it is. For sure, Alonso could make sure it never happens but would he…?

    1. MISTER says:

      Lewis would not go to Ferrari unless Ferrari really sort that car out before Lewis signs a new contract.
      McLaren is fast and the Ferrari is having lots of issues..why would he go to Ferrari?

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Correction Lewis would not get the chance to go to Ferrari!!!

    2. Wu says:

      Hard not to fixate on someone who kept crashing into him.

      How many of their collisions was Hamilton’s fault? How many other collisions were Hamilton’s fault?

      Give me a break, Hamilton was a wreck last year, and Massa was justifingly upset.

      1. Wayne says:

        Nope, you’ll recall that Massa too was penalised.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      On the other hand it is heartening to see Ferrari’s loyalty to their driver, who was injured in service to them. When so many drivers are simply cast aside with little more than a text message, Ferrari are to be applauded for shrugging of the coldness of ‘business’ and embracing the warmth of ‘people’.

      How times have changed..
      In 1976, Reutemann was signed for the 1977 season because Lauda had been so severely injured in Germany.
      Lauda’s remarkable recovery, at Monza 6 weeks later, forced Ferrari to have to supply a car for him and eventually sack Regazzoni.
      Lauda left Ferrari once he secured the championship in 1997 before the end of the season, and alot of his decision was based on this business decision.

      On another occasion, Arnoux, was sacked after his 1st race of the 1985 season.
      I don’t understand why, they seem so reluctant to make the big decisions.
      Is the media and public perception that strong now?

  30. Massa may have been dignified in his defeat in 2008, but since his hit on the head, and in particular since he found out about the crash scandal he’s been less than magnaymous.

  31. luke richardson says:

    James, do u think massa deserves a seat at ferrari?? I am dure thst given his pace last season and the apparent continuation of this in 2012, he can’t have long left to prove himself, he seems a different driver since his accident and ferrari cant keep giving him these chances, when the really need 2 drivers to take the challenge to red bull and mclaren!

  32. Matt W says:

    I feel sorry for Felipe. After his great 2008 season he was given a terrible car in 09 and then suffered his unfortunate accident. When he returned, Ferrari had hired a new team leader and it has been obvious that Massa is the second driver in the team ever since Alonso arrived.

    He had his comeback win in Germany handed to Alonso and if I was a betting man I would put money that development is geared around Alonso as the number one driver. Mentally it must be very frustrating and I don’t see how Felipe can overcome it.

    (I’m not saying Ferrari’s policy of favouring Alonso is wrong, clearly with a double world champion in the team he is a natural figurehead)

  33. Alex says:

    How about your 5Live colleague Jamie? Or how about Ferrari old boy Barrichello?

  34. Pierre says:

    Massa has just ALWAYS been overated, to my point of view. He knows he’s under pressure so overdrives, so makes mistakes, destroyes tires… For him the question is not to know IF he’ll drive for Ferrari next year, it is to know if he can still attract a top team…

  35. Everyone had sympathy for Massa at the end of 2008 and again following his accident.

    However, for at least 18 months it’s been very obvious to everyone that he’s no longer the driver he was before the accident.

    It’s a real mystery why Ferrari management have made no move to secure a guaranteed replacement, especially when it became clear following his accident that Robert Kubica was not going to be available any time soon, if at all.

    If all else failed, if they had any sense they should have swallowed their pride and put Kimi back in the car when he became available.

    I wonder how Monte could possibly think they can run three cars when they can’t even find top notch drivers for two ?

    Great result in Australia for Kimi and the Enstone team, by the way : This is sizing up to be a fantastic season.

    Pity about the events at Williams, though.

    The team must have been heartbroken to see 6th place thrown away on the very last lap.

    That’s young drivers for you.

    I doubt whether Rubens would have made that particular mistake…………

    1. HMain says:

      Ferrari want 3 cars because they don’t have the heart to give Massa the boot. Hence, they’ll be able to keep Massa in the 2nd car and put Valentino Rossi (an Italian heor) in the third car ;)

  36. Dean says:

    Even if Massa was replaced would the new driver do any better in the Ferrari tractor? Probably not.

  37. Aneesh says:

    The penultimate line was perfect in it’s irony and sad but true bluntness.

    I’m sure it’s everyone’s hope that Massa rises up to the occasion. However, it looks like he himself is fighting a losing battle.

  38. Sam says:

    Hard to find someone to play second fiddle to Alonso.

    Heidfeld is free and might help develop the car and support Alonso’s effort a little better than Massa – Nick has always stepped up when his team mate has had genuine pace – (Raikonnen, Webber and Kubica to name a few) and stayed on par with them, whilst driving consistently to solid points finishes – Certainly he is what Ferrari really needs in the number 2 chair in terms of the constructors championship.

    People have gotta get off this Kubica dream – I doubt they’d offer him a contract until they’ve seen him race somewhere else beforehand – He may have lost some speed and confidence like Massa.

  39. W Bennet says:

    ….another crash! Massa perhaps not the victim he tried to portray after several collisions with Lewis Hamilton during last season’s races.

  40. Dmitry says:

    I think both Massa and Domenicali, and Montezemolo as well, deserve this situation for what they did in 2007/08 to Kimi. They tried to make a hero out of a psychologically weak and less-than-highly skilled driver (along with making room for Alonso) by making Kimi look slow and demotivated.
    It’s strange they haven’t been questioning Massa’s motivation for the last two years…

    1. DingBat says:

      Ferrari made Kimi look slow and demotivated? How does one do that? You honestly think that Kimi would not have noticed that he was being sabotaged by his team? cause that’s what’s being implied here. Kimi wasn’t interested in being a team leader which is what he was hired for and in the end he lost interest in racing, it was there for all to see with Massa beating him more often than not. Kimi’s sacking was entirely his doing and anyone who believes otherwise is simply ignoring the obvious.

  41. AuraF1 says:

    I think it’s less the crash and more the crushing weight of alonsos personality cult at Ferrari. He struggled with tyres last couple of years but ever since the Ferrari team orders scandal he’s just not even tried. Before that he at least seemed keen to try and outperform alonso.

    1. HansB says:

      If FM is that easily demotivated, he doesn’t deserve a drive in F1. He is not a fighter then.
      The truth is, he’s lost it.

      1. DingBat says:

        +1

  42. Norman C says:

    Sutil should get his CV ready and send it off to Ferrari. That is the ONLY option that Ferrari can get a fast non rusty driver, Alonso will make Sutil fight for it because Sutil does deliver under pressure. Looking at the end of 2011, Sutil was very strong. Massa can take some time off for the year and try to get in the grid next year or do Indy.

  43. ninguen says:

    There´s room for someone taking over. Ferrari has onboard Fisichella, even Badoer or Gene (but i don´t think these two would be a major improvemente)Sutil and Alguersuari are free to drive, Buemi, Liuzzi and Bianchi surely could release themlseves from their contracts. A lot of possibilities to look at if you need. But if they develop the car and Alonso enters the fight for the championship they will probably do no have too much problems to get the 3º slot on the manufacturers championship so no great reason to change Massa… but if they need the points…

  44. Pushkar says:

    Awesome insight, especially how a 0.5s difference wasn’t obvious in 2011 but will be clear this year with the improved mid-field.

    2012 is a very different season and I know we say this every year but the current crop of F1 drivers is really better by an order of magnitude. 25% of the grid consists of world champions. I can think of another 25% who are clear potentials. It has never been this good. Massa is in neither of those lists and he drives a Ferrari. How can Ferrari have a driver not in the top 50%? It doesn’t make any sense.

    I can’t remember a single phase where Massa stood out for me. He was good in 2008 but his performance is too unpredictable for any team, let alone Ferrari. I read that Schumacher stepped aside a little bit earlier to give this guy room in the team in 2006 and it’s increasingly unbelievable.

    I don’t think it’s a question of patience. It’s a question of finding the right number two for Alonso. I don’t think Ferrari want someone who would challenge Alonso’s status, we all know what happened in 2007 at McLaren. Ferrari needs someone like a (slightly younger) Mark Webber, who can consistently bring home 18 points and the occasional win.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Schumacher stepped aside because he was scared of Kimi joining the team, probably a decision he has come to regret, as I believe he would have won the 2007 and 2008 championships.

  45. AussieWoZ says:

    This topic was ‘talk of the track’ amongst fans there on the weekend. It’s clear that he hasn’t been close to the form he showed in 08/09.

    I feel sorry for Massa as the next few races will be difficult for him to regain confidence as the car is not to his liking at all.

    Webber to Ferrari for 2013? YES! He gels well with Fernando and would be an excellent end to his career.

    On another note James, when is the 2nd JAonF1 podcast coming out? Thanks!

      1. AussieWoZ says:

        Thanks James! Looking forward to it.

    1. Shane Stobie says:

      Agreed. It was certainly a hot topic of conversation. One of the things that was most painfully obviously at the track was how shocking Massa was compared to Alonso. It was pretty sad to see him constantly falling back into the clutches of Force India, Sauber, Williams & even Torro Rosso when Alonso was racing with Webber & Rosberg at the front.

      1. Oracle says:

        Thats because all those cars are quicker than the Ferrari. Massa is the ‘real’ benchmark for the car just like Irvine was in the 90s for the terrible Ferrari’s he drove aloneside Michael in 96/97.

    2. HMain says:

      Will Webber make a good fit in Red?

      I don’t think so.

      Mark is no slouch and he “wants to win” so i don’t see him moving over for Alonso. This may create a intense driver partnership.

      The driver who replaces Massa will probably be contracted as a number 2 driver. Besides, it has been all but confirmed that Mark will stay at RBR on for another year whilst the STR boys bake in the oven for an additional year. In the words of Dr H. Marko, the STR boys have been given 2 years to show their worth.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        What you mean in the same way, that Webber doesn’t move over or try to pass Vettel??

      2. HMain says:

        Webber doesn’t like to move over.

        Since Seb now has 2 WDC’s with RBR, the team bosses are now more willing to give Mark a chance to fight for wins. This is because Seb’s double WDC has validated Marko’s Junior driver program. Marko is now focused on the next batch so he can have his next “high”. That means Mark now has the opportunity to actually race Seb without the team bosses interfering.

        How is this relevant? The fact that RBR has one driver who has achieved atleast one WDC with RBR, gives the other driver hope.

        In a Ferrari, both Alonso and Webber would not have scored a WDC with the red team. That would make them both “incredibly hungry” for that elusive trophy. Alonso, would no doubt use his influence in the team to ensure he has the best chance to claim the championship, leaving Mark’s dreams and their friendship in tatters.

        Fernando needs a contracted number 2, and Mark doesn’t like that role. Hence, Mark won’t fit in well in a Ferrari.

        I am not saying, however, that Mark won’t be in red, I am saying that he won’t enjoy being in red (if Fernando is also in red).

      3. F1 says:

        Webber moving over for Vettel? Forget it.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        I doubt Massa particualrly enjoys moving over either.
        Button and Hamilton made contact in Turkey 2010 after a misunderstanding from the pitwall.
        As I have said, these guys are selfish beyond imagination.
        I have to say though, I read an interview with Alonso before the 2010 season. He expressed he’s never asked for number 1 status, merely that the team treat him equally, ie he will do the rest.
        In many ways, it was a veiled comment to the Mclaren team and their fraternal support of Hamilton.
        He wasnt wrong though, was he?
        If in only one race they had supported him, a double World Champion as opposed to a rookie who may succumb to pressure, he would have scored the 1 point to win the 2007 WDC.
        You can bet that if Alonso had been coming in for tyres during the Chinese GP like Lewis, he wouldn’t have ended in the gravel trap.

      5. Divesh says:

        Webber will be an improvement over Massa, but he won’t be a match for Alonso.

        There are clear number 1 and 2′s at all top 3 teams at the moment, and that is, Vettel, Alonso, Button.

        Webber will not beat Vettel over a whole season now, and neither will Hamilton beat Button over a whole season. In 2010 it was a different story, but today, in 2012 and from what I saw in the first race, that’s how it’s going to shake out.

        If Webber were to go to Ferrari it would be as a clear no. 2 to Alonso. Let’s not kid ourselves, Alonso is king at Maranello, and any potential teammate would have to get his clearance as well. And he’s not likely to ok somebody who he perceives as a threat.

  46. AlexD says:

    Yes, Massa has a problem…but the bigger problem, to be honest, is the one that Domenicali has. I am not sure he will be the boss of Ferrari next year.

    The situation in the team is a disaster. By the way, I think this is because employees are working under crazy pressure, they fear – there is nothing like passion anymore in the team. This is obvious.

    1. monktonnik says:

      I agree with what you say about pressure. Who would Ferrari replace Domenicali with? Pat Fry maybe?

      1. James Allen says:

        Both of them have gone back to Maranello for meetings

      2. AlexD says:

        It should have been Ross Brawn in the first place and Ross came to talk, he wanted to lead the team, but LDM wanted Italian boss. Here we go…

      3. zombie says:

        Exactly. What a dream situation Ferrari were in despite having lost 2006 title. MS left on a high-note but promised to stay on at Ferrari, passed the baton smoothly to Kimi. Jean Todt took over the entire Ferrari division under Fiat, and Ross Brawn as the team principal would have been the most logical step. Instead Luca ruined everything by pushing out Brawn, Nigel Stepney fell foul with Ferrari management,Todt/Zapski/Byrne all left Ferrari and its just been a rudderless ship ever since. 15 years of hardwork put in place by Jean Todt was destroyed in 2 seasons.

        Something tells me eventually it’ll be another English man leading the technical team at Scuderia, and another German taking them to the title glory.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        More like both have there jobs on the line unless a radical turn around of car performance within a couple of races!

  47. ArJay says:

    One might as well ask – ‘does the car itself deserve a place at Ferrari’ – and will it be replaced before the end of the season? Specialized ‘components’ – human or mechanical – have a narrow performance band and need to be matched to produce a good result.

  48. Alex W says:

    Massa has not been good for years, not even close, he is a waste of space in that car, Kobi would be exciting, heck Heidfeld is a much better driver, he would atleast finish races, and would be cheaper than Massa.

  49. Doohan says:

    James, you’ve mentioned Mark Webber as a possible replacement a few times, especially on the One hd telecast.
    Apart from Mark, does Sergio Perez interest you as a possible younger replacement?
    His ability to make the tyres last and drive around damaged cars would propose he could fight the current Ferrari better then Massa can in his recent 18 month form.

    1. James Allen says:

      Webber for 2013 yes

      1. AuraF1 says:

        I presume a lot of the Webber talk is a Briatore connection between them all?

        I wonder how much Webber knows about the Red Bull secrets of 2010 and 2011 (and possibly this year) that led them to dominate the design field? Would it be worth RBR paying him until retirement just to avoid him taking his knowledge to Maranello? I realise he’s not an engineer but surely both Red Bull drivers have some idea of what Adrian Newey was contorting the cars into!

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Wow very straight blunt answer! I take that as good as confirmed!

    2. zombie says:

      I’m not too sure about Mark. He is already 36 and will be pushing 37 by next season. He has seriously contemplated retirement for a while now. Instead Ferrari should take a serious look at getting Sutil in mid-season this year. If he scores, its good, if he doesn’t, then its ok too as the 2012 Ferrari wont be winning anything any time soon.

  50. Oly says:

    In my opinion if Massa was able to score better back in 2010 he would have probably took some points from Vettel and Alonso would have been a 2010 champion. To see the same situation again would be ridiculous.

    I feel bad for him but Ferrari and FA deserves/needs a better (second) driver.

    In the matter of fact I still can’t understand the logic to dump Kimi (and not Massa) to make a room for Fernando. Stupidest move ever imho.

    1. monktonnik says:

      Agree with the comments about dumping KR. Just looking at it from a balance sheet point of view they paid a world champion to take a back seat when they could have let Massa recuperate for a season. If this were a normal business I don’t think that could have ever happened.

  51. Nick Hipkin says:

    I think its obvious really, as soon and aslong as Kubica can prove his fitness, he will be straight into Massa’s seat. I expect it before the end of the season.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Sadly it’s not looking great for Kubica’s return to the very top level given the severity of his injuries. I know drivers may be superhuman but some damage is hard to come back from no matter what the determination is.

      That said, Ferrari seem to have some level of loyalty to drivers, even giving Badoer a shot briefly out of respect for his long service, so who knows – maybe they’ll let Kubica in even if he can barely drive.

      At this point it probably doesn’t matter too much given how off the boil Massa seems to be.

  52. Nitrobox says:

    It looks like F2012 is very hard to handle. Team doesn’t fully understand yet how to ballance it. It lacks grip, it consumes tyres pretty fast, it is simply uncompetitive.
    In these circumstances only the driver who can adapt his style pretty fast can handle this car and get it into top 10. Massa is not and never was the one. At this stage it is tough time for Ferrari and Massa’s position is only the indication how bad the construction is. They can expect miracles only from Alonso side who shows how great driver he is. Team must to figure out what to do with the car..i don’t believe that replacing Massa with Perez or any driver currently without the seat would change anything. I’m sure tho that for 2013 Ferrari should go with another partner to Alonso: Kubica if healthy or Webber. If those are unavailable then Hulkenberg,Perez, Bianchi…

  53. olivier says:

    Get Trulli in the car! He is experienced & Italian!

  54. Bash says:

    I think it boils down to Massa just being slower than Fernando.

    In 2010, before the Germany incident, Fernando had stamped his authority on the team, both on and off track, which led to what happened in Germany.

    In 2011, Massa was so comprehensively outclassed that it was not even worthy of discussion.

    Now, why is he slower? Is it because of his accident? Maybe – and if it is then at least he has a dignified way out
    Is it because of Hockenheim? I call BS. These guys are professional racing drivers at the highest level of the sport. One tough day at the office should not throw them off their game for an entire season. And if it does then they should try another line of work. From what I’ve seen at almost every level of the sport, the psychology of a successful racing driver is as singular as they come. Massa should be tougher than that.

    Maybe its a car problem. This is more likely IMO; Alonso just seems more in tune with what the car is doing and what the car wants from the driver to go quicker. Massa is the opposite; he has his way of driving and the car needs to cater to HIM. When everything is perfect this is fine, but otherwise he seems lost.

    1. Thomas says:

      It is a lot in the tires. Massa is great at taking a lot of speed into corners – perhaps the best in the world at this. He will lean on the tire and let it flex instead of sliding, gaining a lot of laptime. This is no longer doable with the pirelli control tires.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        That’s an interesting comment on the tyres. I didn’t know Massa approached them that way, but he definitely seems to have struggled more with the Pirelli than Alonso.

        I think it’s possible for even a super-tough mentality to be rocked by multiple events though. Massa is weakened by recovery from a major incident. Alone, that could probably be overcome – but say he’s already questioning himself and his mortality – then he struggles with a new tyre and as he arrives back at the factory Ferrari have thrown themselves headlong at Alonso, building a team around him just like Michael before him. Hearing every day that Alonso is perhaps the greatest and will save Ferrari has got to crush the spirit of even the hardiest sportsman.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        “as he arrives back at the factory Ferrari have thrown themselves headlong at Alonso”

        Would hardly have been a surprise, they were negotiating with Kimi’s management team to get him out of the Ferrari seat for 201, before Massa had his accident.
        That alone would have been indication enough that Ferrari would throw themselves behind Alonso.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        It’s not so much the arrival of Alonso, or just Alonso’s force of personality, it would be more psychologically damaging when the whole team and organisation essentially rebuilt itself around Fernando, lavishing every attention on one driver.

        Ferrari didn’t even deny it. The Italian press was full of quotes that Ferrari doesn’t do well without being told what to do. They want to be utterly co-dependent on a strong leader figure – after Schumacher – they needed Alonso – who seems to be the only current driver who operates in the same way. Vettel might turn out to be that sort of driver one day – but he has Webber alongside who’s so completely a no BS guy, it’s a tougher fight.

        Massa has always seemed a bit fragile. He’s more like Lewis than he’d probably care to admit. Both have some amazing skill inherently but they both depend very heavily on their engineers and seem to spend less time planning a race and more on reacting to it.

  55. Stewart says:

    I’m far from being a fan of Massa – he’s great if everything is absolutely perfect, but tends to go to pieces if something goes slightly wrong. However, one of the constants of the last several years (going back to 2007, I think) is that he has a terrible start to the season, rumours swirl of his intending defenestration from Ferrari, then he pulls something out of the bag and saves his seat. Who’s to say this year will be any different? While I don’t think he will be there next year, I would be very surprised if they got rid of him mid-season, particularly given the paucity of alternatives.

  56. Johnny English says:

    There are really great drivers on the grid but only one of them is the best. Sorry, that one can be only Alonso. Even Massa has shown he can drive fast with a fast car but Alonso shows he can do that with any car you give him. Kidding or not (maybe these 0.6secs must be tested by Mythbusters) but he really brings those 0.6 secs.
    [mod] give this guy a at least a decent car – he’s worth having few more championships under his name.

  57. Don Farrell says:

    I’m sick and tired of all this Ferrari talk of standing by Massa… Massa is a lovely chap I’m sure but look… his spark of talent has fizzled out… Ferrari need strong drivers to win the Constructors championship – as great as Alonso is he can’t win it all by himself! Every year they hang onto Massa they are holding back the team… it’s a cause of the an Army is as strong as it’s weakest man!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      +1

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Agree

  58. Patrick Grigor says:

    Its dire to watch. Its also a damn shame but hey this is a man that has had year after year to prove himself, every year he says ‘we need to improve’ -bloody right you do Feliepe. Thank god we have Fernando. Imagine if we didnt? We would have been lucky to qualify two cars higher than 15th. Even when Alonso had spun out in Q2 there were 8 more minutes of quali and Fernando had set his time on used tires, Massa still couldnt get within 1 second of this? Its insane?! -At that level I mean. I say take on Perez for a trial one year contract with an aim to sign him for a further 5 year contract beyond that. Get some stability with drivers that have longevity and hardcore racing talent. Id also be on the phone to the baby Jesus asking for him to make sure Fernando has the karma he deserves in order for him to stay. Get some stability, take a step back and learn, hope and pray for the mk2 chasis to perform in Barcelona in order to showcase Alonso’s comeback for the WDC that he most certainly deserves for his tribulations.

  59. Don Farrell says:

    I forgot to say… Stefan, bring back Barricello asap – he’s probably in Brazil with his bags packed waiting for your call. :)

  60. Ade says:

    Clearly Ferrari have not produced a ‘good’ car for the last few seasons. Alonso is the only component that is working for them. Look back to the ‘mare that was Fisichellas short tenure in the Ferrari race seat – he made the car look totally uncompetitive, which it clearly was in anyone but Alonsos skilled hands. Massa is now showing us the same evidence of a bad product and maybe, just maybe, that is one reason for the scuderia to hang onto him a while longer. Alonso is no benchmark as he can get the absolute best out of any old dog they give him, but Massa would certainly let them know if they were making improvements….
    Just a thought, anyway.

    1. Klaas Backers says:

      When Fisichella was in the Ferrari, Kimi dragged that thing to a race win in Spa that season. (I know Badoer was in the car at that time, but it shows that some drivers can do it, others clearly can’t) Unfortunately there are no alternatives for Ferrari to choose from. Who is a realistic option to replace Massa when the season has already started? If you look at talent at experience alone, I’d give Sutil a go…! If Massa doesn’t improve at the start of the European season, It’s bye bye Felipe…

      1. AuraF1 says:

        And Fisi nearly won Spa in a pretty ordinary Force India against Kimi…moving to Ferrari he had never experienced KERS and the tempermental braking that early system wreaked upon the cars.

        Even Schumacher has since said he was glad he couldn’t answer the call up to sit in that Ferrari – it would have crushed most.

        Alonso can definitely drive around problems more than most. Part of this is his absolutely borderline scary refusal to give up. It was why it was absolutely hilarious when he jokingly came on the radio last year saying ‘I give up! I give up!’ Nobody believed that for a second.

        With Massa – well he’s got another sprawling kitchen sink of a car and he doesn’t even look like he gives a damn anymore.

  61. azac21 says:

    For Massa’s sake he should switch to another team. He damages his reputation as a top driver with such performances. A few more race finishes behind mid-field team drivers and he will be out of the F1 picture…

    Maybe a switch with Perez in Sauber? He can re-gain his confidence then by managing to beat Perez who will be driving a Ferrari.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Possible with the Sauber engine tie in, often wonder if Sauber get extra funding from Ferrari as a sort of potential feeder team if you like.

      I think Alguersuari would have been the best man for the job and reckon that’s Why Mercedes snappen him up quick sharp more so to keep him out of the other big teams.

      The boy will go places i reckon.

  62. James Allen says:

    I can assure you that the data the engineers work with tells a different story to your view. Opinion is one thing, facts are another

    1. ArJay says:

      Putting aside the ‘drive’-ability of the contestants, how about an article on their relative technical abilities when it comes to communicating with their respective engineers? You could limit the comparison to the six world champions – I would assume that some are more able to actively help develop the car than others.

    2. MISTER says:

      What do you mean by this James? That Massa is not as bad as it looks?

    3. Oracle says:

      I would love to know what data they are using to compare Massa from 2008/2009, when the cars and regulations were different to the recent Ferrari’s, which would make a direct comparision impossible.

      Just to remind everyone, that a 36 year old Michael outclassed Massa in 2006, and this was accepted, but now so many are unwilling to accept Alonso in his prime, doing the same, so they create all sorts of excuses.

      How hard is it to accept the Kimi was overrated, and the 07/08 Ferrari’s were a LOT better than given credit for? If you accept these logical assertions then everything makes sense.

      PS. For more evidence, just look at how Massa and Alonso compared to fisichella in 2004/2005. Successive seasons, same regulations. Fisichella, easily beat Massa, but was crushed by Alonso the next season. This again strongly indicates that Fernando was far superior to Massa, so there tenure together merely confirms everything im saying.

      There is no other credible explanation although god knows we have heard them all. First it was the new bridgestone tyres that didnt heat up, but at first it was just the hard ones, but once Massa started getting blown away on the softs, the excuse changed.

      Then when they got completely different pirelli tyres, which massa said suited him, it would all be fine, until he got blown away even worse on them.

      Then it was the accident, and now its apparently every excuse you can think of plus the kitchen sink, oh and don’t forget confidence, which is always a popular excuse, but I wonder what was wrong with his confidence at Australia 2010, when 2 weeks prior he has outqualified Alonso by 3 tenths, and matched him in the race until gearbox problems developed? Surely his confidence would have been sky high? Yet he was 7 tenths slower than Alonso that weekend.

      None of the excuses hold water.

  63. Klaas Backers says:

    James,

    Can you explain why Alonso had a decent pace at the first half of the race, but then faded dramatically after the safety car? Is it just the case that the car is good on heavy fuel and awfull on low? If so, what kind of changes can they make to resolve this?

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari don’t know that themselves. The temperature dropped a bit and he was on medium tyres, but it’s hard to say

  64. lee saunders says:

    the car is a pig and massa is not the sort of driver able to deal with that.whether or nor theres any driver out there with the natural ability and available to come in replace massa is another thing

  65. Erik says:

    James I have a name for you – Kamui Kobayashi!

    Imagine him in a Ferrari.. wow!

    1. James Allen says:

      Crikey! Is the F1 world ready for that?

      1. For sure says:

        Why not James? I don’t understand. Please elaborate. He looks every bit as good as SP doesn’t he?

      2. Dave Aston says:

        The perception of Kobayashi is interesting. His overtaking skills seem to overshadow the fact that he scores a points. The film ‘Moneyball’ is a good insight into how perception of intangibles too often is a distraction from real performance. In short, Kobayashi, spectacular as he is, also ‘gets on base’ a lot. I reckon, for 2013, Webber to Ferrari, Kamui to Red Bull.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        Well they’ve tried building a completely new style of car – why not a completely new style of driver?

        I can’t imagine Kobayashi ever fitting into the Italian squad even if this fantasy driver hiring was possible – but it’d make great TV!

      4. I’m sure there was a time nobody could have imagined Irvine fitting in at Ferrari…

      5. KinoNoNo says:

        Well played sir.

        I LoL’d

      6. Dave Aston says:

        I’m ready! And, don’t you think he’s the type of racer Enzo Ferrari would have loved? I think the tifosi would like him too.

      7. Ashley Scott says:

        HAHA! I’m Ready for that :P I agree with another comment that it would make amazing TV :P

      8. Erik says:

        It would be a new phenomenon, Japan would go crazy! The guy deserves it!

    2. Tim says:

      I’m ready for that. He’s full of passion. Put him in the most passionate team, give Massa his seat at Sauber. Everyone more or less saves face. If I were Kobayashi’s manager, I’d be working the phone right now. I see this as the perfect solution for all involved.

    3. Matthew Yau says:

      I second this. Love the way he drives.

  66. Ian Hamilton says:

    James, do you think that when Massa leaves Ferrari that Rob Smedley will go with him to another team?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I’d hope so! It’d be like breaking up a marriage if not – those two are so close. Rob telling Felipe how to take corners is one of the weirdest but strangely emotional things to hear on the in race radio transmissions.

      I have this weird vision of Rob and Felipe as the Odd Couple.

  67. Im not sure how much Perez is contracted to Sauber, he’s a Ferrari driver.

    What about Jarno Trulli / Luizzi for half a year to return some Italians to the grid? There’s also Sutil.

  68. Thomas says:

    As a big Massa fan I’m sad to see him struggle. In his third year with Alonso he is still struggling massively, and it is quite clear that something is not working. Hats of to Ferrari for being massively loyal to him.

    Next year Ferrari should pick Webber. The guy won’t mind Alonso as they are friends, and he will just be better if he feels the team is favoring Fernando.

    Timo and Heikki are also great drivers who should be considered. They are both better than many drivers in better cars.

    Would not go for Lewis. The guy is incredibly talented, for sure, but he can’t seem to get his head straight enough to perform consistently. Even his wdc was lucky, with the Ferrari team screwing Massa and Lewis screwing up for himself.

    If thet could get Jenson they should. Best driver on the grid last year and looks sharp this year as well.

  69. Nick says:

    I just wonder if Alonso has the same car as Massa?
    Of course it should be the same but as far I know some difference is present anyway. I saw that chassis numbers were different last year (2011) almost each race for them and that was explained that some chassis suits one better than another. Although, both chassis have the same new parts for the each race. But if the chassis were different – they (new part) could work differently , I presume the same in 2012 …
    So, the question is does Massa have the right technical attentions like Alonso has ???
    Why Stefano said “I’ve asked his engineers to analyse the data on the car, also to reassure him.” ? This makes me think why? Shouldn’t Massa’s engineers take a look at the problem without any words from his boss? Or only when Massa suffers a lot and only in this case some attention would be possible?

    Nobody takes his car problems at all as Alonso is #1 and looks like Massa is a test driver for him since mid of 2010.

    1. Johnny English says:

      Completely agree with the topic. When a guy can’t show anything on track for few years in a row then there is Alonso and conspiracies to blame. Epic. Next time add Santander’s money also – would make more sense

  70. Holbein says:

    James,

    Wouldn’t it be a very good time to give a chance to an Italian driver such as Jarno Trulli. His experience and ability to deal with engineering aspects may add a lot of value to fix a problematic car!

    I believe, as a Brazilian, that Massa had enough chances to prove himself and unfortunately failed. We may also have to consider that Alonso had an edge over all teammates except Lewis, and he proved not to be an easy fellow.

  71. Richard D says:

    Sadly Massa has never really got back on full form after his accident. I can’t see Ferrari sticking with him till the end of the season if he continues to under perform. There are a good number of decent drivers out there without drives and one top contender has to be Algesari!

  72. For sure says:

    I find it really really hard to understand what actually happened to Massa. We are talking about a guy who went faster than 7 times world champion and Kimi. I wander how on earth he unlearned how to drive.
    I think may be it’s because of lack of support he used to get. When he started with MS, he had all kind of support, schooling etc..and the team was pushing him to be a champion, then he grew as he raced with Kimi and became a real contender. After he met Alonso, he looks like he is mentally buried. Plus the team, understandably didn’t treat him the way they did when he was down.
    James what do you make of that?

    1. anil says:

      When was Massa faster than Michael? Of the 54 qualy sessions on 2006, Felipe was slower than Michael in 51 of those with the average time between them being 0.5s. That is massive, one of the largest we’ve seen in F1. His win in Brazil came from schumacher’s puncture and in Turkey came from the safety car. Schumacher had 7 laps more fuel than him and almost took pole despite his mistake.

      Massa may have at times been quick, but he has never been in michaels league.

  73. Anthony says:

    James,

    Sutil is fast and without a contract, why do you think he doesn’t have a chance in ferrari?

    They could also hire buemi or alguersuari….

    I think all of them could do a better job than Massa at this stage

    1. James Allen says:

      Because of what happened in Shanghai and his conviction

      1. Dave Aston says:

        True, and apparently Bertrand Gachot isn’t being considered for the drive either.

  74. From what i’ve read in most posts there seems only one option left for Massa and Ferrari. And thats to,smell the coffee,wakeup,and fire Felipe!! Either now,or the end of the season. I agree with the folks who suggest Nick Heidfeld as a stop gap until 2013. He does the job required,nothing fancy,just a solid safe pair of hands. The input he(nick)could give the team would be invaluable for next season. And yes,he’s cheaper than massa. As for next season,yeh,i think Perez would be the guy i’d put money on,filling the other ferrari seat. The other suggestions i.e webber or hamilton are for me non-starters. Webber is too old for a longterm stratergy,and hamilton? Sure it would be great seeing him driving a red ferrari,but like we all know,alonso would never agree to such a scenario! He wants a number 2 driver,and thats that. Also,yes,the two have their history with mclaren. So thats how i see things,heidfeld as a temp,and perez in for next season. Simples!lol

  75. gond says:

    By the Spanish GP we will have Pérez driving for Ferrari. That kid is really good, very, very talented. He was one of the most mature rookies I have ever seen, and in this first race of 2012 he again performed like a champ. What a better way of securing driver succession planning than having him for a few years driving alongside FA?.

  76. madmax says:

    Sutil has to be by far the best driver sitting on the sidelines apart from Barrichello who is tied up now in Indycar.

  77. F1Fan4Life says:

    Some of the comments here about Ferrari possibly giving Massa a car that is somehow less than Alonso’s car are absolutely ridiculous and show how naive some people are. Ferrari at this point spend most of their PR time trying to reassure their fans. To think that a team would somehow lessen the potential of one car when they are leading (Mark Webber’s car had KERS problems again this race…he had a lot of problems with his car last year compared to Vettel)is already somewhat questionable, but to now suggest that a team that is underperforming so poorly would do so is just stupid.

    My perspective is that the Ferrari cars of the last few years have been hard cars to drive on the limit. I feel while I do like Perez, Alguersuari, I think they’d have a steep learning curve of a few races before even being able to drive comfortably let alone fast. I feel there are only a handful of drivers on the grid that can make the car look somewhat competitive, and Alonso head’s that list. If it were up to me I’d put Barrichello in there; He has enough experience to handle a difficult car, he still has speed and most of all he’s been good with giving technical feedback to help the team move forward.

    As for Massa, it is simply a fact (to me) that he was never going to be a Schumacher or an Alonso. He is a bit like Kimi (except Kimi is faster) in that he can perform when the car is quick out of the box and is set up perfectly. Since Ferrari haven’t had a car with those qualities lately, lately he has been mediocre. Nobody would notice were it not for the other car being occupied by a driver that can make a difficult, shoddy car look competitive. I know a lot of people say every since his accident he hasn’t been the same, but I disagree, there are many drivers that go through accidents and come back just as strong, and I want to give Massa credit for coming back. We are simply seeing Massa at a time when Ferrari are struggling, and Massa is just not the right driver for them at this point in time.

  78. mahesh says:

    trust me Ferrari…. if u want a good season then try to hire SUTIL. he is your only hope as i have met him in INDIA n i can tell you guys.. he is damn good,professional and very importantly fast. try to solve his suspension out n hire him. you will see some amazing changes then n there only. you have no other option right now. he just needed a good car. force India’s last year car wasn’t that great in first half of the season particularly but still he could manage to grab points. i have seen him racing 100 of times and i can assure you that he will fight in a Ferrari like a flying falcon. all he needed was a much deserved car like yours. try him. he is ur only available an outstanding option. check which level he has taken Force India to! Buy him, Bribe him or just steal him. he is your man. all the best Ferrari.

    1. MrNed says:

      Adrian? Is that you?

      1. mahesh says:

        no.. its a fan of him..thanks !

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I feel like I’m listening to Homer Simpson!

      1. mahesh says:

        good for u my dear !

    3. Kevin Green says:

      Not too sure about how the whole law thing works in India and morally how things are taken on things like attempted murder serious assault and using dangerous or sharp weapons etc.

      But i have a funny feeling we ain’t going to be seeing Adrian Sutil driving a F1 car on race day again im afraid.

      As for his great driving through the later half of 2011 season? its amazing how due to come possible career changing incident can make you perform better no matter what your job!!!.

  79. mattoz says:

    Could Ferrari buy Ricciardo from Toro Rosso and/or provide a discount on the engine deal? The Italian connection could be enticing for Maranello…

    Regarding Massa, do you see any takers for his services post Ferrari?

  80. Andy C says:

    The problem for Felipe is that Fernando is (IMHO) the absolute standout driver of his generation.

    Although I’m a mclaren fan, and he didnt work out there (understatement ;-), he just impresses me every time he gets into a car.

    Imagine what its like having been thoroughly beaten by your teammate, you’re obviously always going to have that in your subconscious.

    For what its worth, I’d love to see mark webber finish his career at Ferrari.

  81. Chris G says:

    Hi James
    I’m curious to know how this is affecting Rob Smedley.
    He has always seemed to me to be one of the most talented and competitive engineers on the grid. I know he has a very close working relationship with Massa and so the current situation must be extremely difficult for him.
    Friendship and loyalty are, sadly, difficult qualities to maintain in such high pressure, high finance envronments. Do you happen to have any insights or opinions on their current situation?

  82. Chris says:

    The SECOND DRIVER at Ferrari is there to score points and backup Alonso. There are plenty of drivers who can, and will, do that. There are drivers who won’t, you guys know who they are.

    I’m more interested in Stefano Domenicali’s future. It must be under threat?

  83. Martinus says:

    James, did you hear any paddock comments about Kubica karting and Skoda Fabia WRC tests? I think Kubica would announce retirement if there was no hope for him.

  84. Nuno says:

    James,

    I agree with you about Massa’s difficult situation, (Nobody wants to see a driver who was so combative in 2008 and so dignified in defeat at the end of that season, suffering like this).

    On the opposite, I totally disagree with you when you mention that Mark Webber is the obvious choice for 2013, should Ferrari feel they need to move on. Move on ?? Did they move on with Pat ? No, they moved back. Would they move on with Newey ? Of course not…Their problem is on the TOP.

    Would you like to see Mark “suffer” like Massa ??

    Maybe he would do a better job than the Brazilian, but he would be crushed on the same way by Alonso and would have to get used to the spaghetti mentality. That would kill him, and for Ferrari a couple of points won’t make any difference. Moreover, Mark is too old. A guy like Perez would be a much better bet. No problem being crushed by Alonso (he is still a kid), and has a future.
    Briatore would be very delighted with the trade, but I am not sure whether Mark is still that hungry about money. And he risks a lot to leave F1 on is knees, like Massa.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Not sure Webber is too old. Given that we’re seeing extremes of driver age these days, I think Webber could continue for a good few years yet (if he still has the passion for it) – but I agree that he’s already said he wouldn’t want to leave the championship team to go to a back of the grid team – sadly it looks like Ferrari might be one of the convoluted mid-pack at this stage. I know a lot of drivers would like to see their career out at Ferrari but you have to assume Webber would rather have one or two more cracks at the WDC with RBR and then either go as a WDC or as close to it as he can feel comfortable with.

      Perez is definitely going to be in a Ferrari sooner or later. I just think they will prefer a more experienced driver until they have the technical side sorted out. They’d probably parachute Perez in a few years when Alonso is looking towards winding up his natural career and he can groom Perez as the new leader…

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Got to remember too other than for last yr maybe Webber’s driver has only been getting better and more impressive as the years roll on and he is 10 odd yrs younger than Schumacher so!!

        And also i don’t think many would argue that himself and Button are the 2 top driver personalities on the grid so not only is he good for a team as a driver which is the prime thing (cant justify seat should not be on the grid regardless) He is also very good for F1 as a whole.

        I reckon we could see Webber on the grid for another 3 or 4 seasons yet onv depending on how all the young guns coming up through perform as i could not see Webber taking a seat in a other than top 6 team.

  85. Holly says:

    It’s funny to read people saying that everything is because Germany 2010 and you have Webber that have been backstabbed by his team in public and in provate and still performs well.

    The problems with Massa is clear, Alonso is better, way better, he is not only fighting against one of the best drivers in the last decade but against one that has a special skill, get the most of crappy cars.

    The excuse for this week was the balance, if they check the car and everything is OK, then is Massa’s fault for being incapable of working in a proper setup.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Webber is a lot tougher than Massa though. Webber is the old fashioned sort of guy who drives with broken bones and keeps quiet about it!

  86. Wu says:

    I’ve found this site about Kubica’s recovery; this month he has driven a gocart and a rally car, so it seems it’s not all doom and gloom. From the pictures he is definitly not in a fit state yet – needs to shed a few pounds, gain muscle strength, etc.

    http://robertscomeback.blogspot.co.uk/

    Seems Massa has at least most of the season to improve his form, but he needs the support from his team to do so. It’s really Alonso’s team now, and if something doesn’t change I’m affraid it’s the end of Massa.

  87. Kevin Green says:

    I picked on this subject on a previous post Massa is now simply damaged goods and as i said also but for that accident he would certainly still be mixing it with the very best he really WAS good.

    But sorry a third season since?? sympathy and hope can only go so far i question him getting to see last season at the level/expectation of Ferrari and the other top 4-5 teams but to let him see in a 3rd season since the accident crazy choice and i would be surprised if he is not shipped out by mid season.

    None the less its all a shame and will be sad to see him leave F1 but don’t feel there is a place for him with all the current new talent coming in too.

  88. Scotty39 says:

    I think it’s incredible the number of people who think Massa “has lost it”, or just isn’t good enough. LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE!!!

    I’m no fan of his (or Alonso’s), but you can clearly see the car is an absolute pig and it’s Alonso’s brilliance that extracts the maximum (and more) from the car – whereas Massa simply can’t do this. Look at the problems Kimi had in his final year at the Scuderia…

    Yes I would agree that Massa probably could (and certainly should) have done a better job over the past 2 years, but that’s only relative to Alonso’s performances.

    And what’s to say the development direction Alonso is dragging Ferrari towards is compatible with Massa’s needs from a car?

    There’s such a fine line between getting the car to the driver’s liking so he’s on the pace, to having something slightly wrong and he looks “slow” compared to his team mate. As an example, look at Button’s championship year – from Silverstone onwards Rubens was often able to extract more from the car than Jenson, yet today Jenson is seen as an equal (almost) to Lewis, Vettel, etc al! You wouldn’t put Rubens in that same group would you…?

    I am 100% sure if the car was more driver friendly and easier to drive close to the limit, Massa would be up there at the sharp end. He proved in Germany the year before last that he’s still got it when all the circumstances are right.

    I just fear Ferrari may look to replace him before they give him a car that’s good enough to show he’s still got the talent we all know is there.

  89. Chris Chong says:

    If you believe in the concept of someone’s soul being crushed, and how it can have a lasting, detrimental affect on a person, you only have to remember five words:

    “Fernando is faster than you.”

    1. azac21 says:

      … and what an omen that turned out to be!

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I have been watching F1 for decades.
      One thing that is evident anytime you watch these drivers is their single minded focus.
      They would never have got to F1 if they were weak-minded in anyway, trust me.
      If I had been an F1 driver and signed as the second driver for Ferrari in 1996 onwards, I would have done my damndest to be in a position to have the team radio, “Michael/ Fernando is quicker than you”
      Just how many races would the team repeat that to you before they realised, actually they should be supporting you?
      Any argument falls flat when a driver shows he’s faster.
      Germany 2010? Massa should have moved over and then sat on Fernando’s rear to prove to everyone that was not the case.
      Last year, in Korea, Alonso was screaming he was quicker, the team didn’t move Massa over because it wasn’t important for the championship. Once Alonso was through, he left Massa standing and caught Button up

      Berger was signed to Mclaren for 1990 to 1992 and he thought he’d beat Senna, yet Senna left him in no doubt that he just wasn’t at his level, but it never stopped Berger from racing as hard as he could and supporting Mclaren.
      Don’t forget, the previous season, he had had an enormous accident at Imola, including erupting in flames.

      1. drums says:

        “Germany 2010? Massa should have moved over and then sat on Fernando’s rear to prove to everyone that was not the case.
        Last year, in Korea, Alonso was screaming he was quicker, the team didn’t move Massa over because it wasn’t important for the championship. Once Alonso was through, he left Massa standing and caught Button up.”

        So right!!
        +1^10.

  90. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    Given how limited Ferrari may be in their choice for a 2013 driver do you thinking there’s any feasibility in them being forced to looking towards Hamilton? It may sound unlikely but could be their only option for a top driver line up for the sake of the team.

  91. Philip says:

    Do you remember when the extra lap at the end of qualifying was an advantage, and Kimi took it from Massa? When Massa was asked about it, he just seemed not even to understand the advantage, let alone to understand how Kimi had pulled a fast one.

    I think Massa lacks the understanding of the finer details of the competition, not just the time spent sitting in the car, but the whole weekend and the whole year’s efforts.

    He does not bring anything extra to the team. It is past time for them to move on. Actually, it is a bit of a sad statement on the available driving talent out there that no one else has made a compelling case for that seat.

  92. Jenks says:

    If Ferrari want to drop Massa halfway through the season, I’d go for Heidfeld.

    As for the number 2 seat next year, I would love to see Kobayashi in the car. Perez makes sense for them though if he has a strong 2012.

    Massa is running out of places to hide. The car may be a dog, but you still have to be up there with your team mate. A lot of other teams would have let him go by now.

    It may just be that his near-championship win is the reason why Ferrari are still employing him. That or he has a dirty file on Alonso.

  93. James Alias says:

    lol. my i suggest, Michael Schumacher? haha.

    1. For sure says:

      Haha I was thinking the same. Can you imagine, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher in Ferrari?
      For sure, Bernie would be laughing all the way to the banks.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      The thought had crossed my mind previously.
      But if Michael ran scared of Kimi 5 years ago, and he stated back in 2002, that the one driver he saw as a threat, was Alonso who wasn’t racing, just testing for Renault, I believe hell would freeze over before he took up a seat with Ferrari.
      If Rosberg is beating him so easily, just what would Alonso do to him? Granted a better option than Massa, but I don’t see it.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        End of season though a frustrated jumped ship Alonso may possibly see Schumacher back at Ferrari! so many possible scenarios with the up and coming drivers in the sport too this era has got to be the best ever for overall talent on the grid.

        There’s so much possibilities that you would never have imagined likely before . :) As i said earlier i have a vision of both Brawn and Newey being at Ferrari Within a few yrs

      2. Webbo says:

        ‘As i said earlier i have a vision of both Brawn and Newey being at Ferrari Within a few yrs’

        I can see that happening, but only with Schumacher as a Ferrari driver.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Why would that be Webbo??? brawn already proved he can build a championship winning car without the input of Schumacher. reasonably good chance of any of that scenarios the return of Schumacher being the least likely.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Another problem there though Webbo can Schumachers translation only work in a unique way with Brawn/Brawn and co??.

        Is his success been more down to Brawn as an individual or Brawn and his people??

        Who actually knows? as there never been a different scale to read from in F1 through his whole career.

        I would think the deciding factor for Schumacher would have been the fact he was working with Brawn again as opposed to working with his native team due to the fact that Brawn created a thumper of a car with Honda/Button/Barrichello realising where his success probably (certain in my eyes) came from, whilst at the same time expecting to be able to jump into the car the following yr and finding success doh!!

        But of course the car at that time was not moulded round him was it??, where as now it continually seems to be benefiting him over Rosberg yr on yr the car seems to be moving backwards for Rosberg as his best times in that car seemed to be in there very early days.

        Strange how the flow is constantly swaying in Buttons favour at Mclaren too over time, that also tells a story in itself too.

      5. Webbo says:

        ‘But if Michael ran scared of Kimi 5 years ago’

        Michael scared of Kimi who was fired by Ferrari? Good joke, mate.

      6. hero_was_senna says:

        Glad you appreciate the humour…

    3. F1 says:

      Maybe but only if Mercedes would oust him, which is not very probable.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Don’t bet on it! Mercedes now about need drivers to finish the job where as Ferrari need a car developed! As much a greater driver i believe Alonso to be i feel Schumacher brings considerably more in development uses.

      2. Webbo says:

        Right now Alonso has more speed but Schumacher is the better developer, that is true. Perhaps a switch between them would make sense then?

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Actually could yes would need to see more clarity on the Mercedes car 1st and exactly where it is as a car come the seasons end.

        I think Alonso would be wary of Brawn and co getting on at the platform he is getting off at though if that was the case.

        Reckon there would be a fair bit if paperwork and clauses to go through there as Alonso’s next move if need be would have to be pretty certain in his mind of where he stands for at least a season.

  94. For sure says:

    I will never allow myself to accuse Ferrari being racist. But I can’t help thinking that perception may be one of the elements why Kobi can’t be a Ferrari driver. We all know that the Japanese drivers have certain reputation and IF Kobi was a German, surely he would be on the list of Ferrari list.
    It only takes one to change it all tho, Jeremy Lin for example.

  95. azac21 says:

    … and what an omen that turned out to be!

  96. Matthew Yau says:

    How long has Kobayashi got on his contract? I would love to see him take Massa’s seat. Experienced enough for Ferrari and probably the most exciting driver on the grid.

  97. Franco says:

    Has everyone forgotten that this was the first race of the season. Yes Massa performed very poorly and Yes Alonso was outstanding but let’s not forget they had a completely new car. When you look at all the other they are essentially an update from last year made to suit the new regulations so its inevitable Ferrari were going to suffer early on.

    James, whilst I didn’t get a chance to listen your commentary as was watching sky who incidently did an amazing job I did manage to catch up with your excellent Chequered Flag podcast, looking forward to hearing these throughout the year.

  98. Jez says:

    Its the end of an era. Luca will head off to be the Italian President -or at least try- Domenicali will be fired and Massa will be lost in the mix.

    Ferrari fans are in for a long wait for glory. I will be surprised if Fernando will have the patience to stay much longer as he is wasting his prime years.

  99. Tyler says:

    Alonso is more adaptable and able to drive around problems better than most. It just magnifies Massa’s struggles and reveals Alonso for the talent he truly is.

  100. Rich C says:

    I wouldn’t “love” to see anyone replace Massa.

    But sadly, ever since he took that hit on the head he’s not been the same.

    Whether it messed up his reflexes or his vision or balance or whatever by just the tiniest amount it’s obviously slowed him.

    In spite of all the best wishes in the world, I don’t think he’ll last the season.

  101. Paul D says:

    Massa’s time is up and it’s been obvious for some time. Sometimes I doubt whether Domenicalli is the man to get Ferrari back to the top. He seems reluctant to make the tough & difficult decisions that are needed.

    They should have gone after Jenson Button whole heartedly last year before he signed his new deal at Mclaren. Again they’ve missed the boat on that one.

    Short term I’d bring Sutil in as he finished last year very stongly. Longer term i’d go for Rosberg.

  102. Chris R says:

    I’d just like to say, when Massa first came to F1 I really liked him. He was quick and unpredictable, I think he matured driving alongside Schumacher at Ferrari.

    Massa is an emotional guy, and I think when Alonso came to Ferrari, Massa felt let down, as if Ferrari were saying “well sure you were here last season and all, but heres our new favourite”.

    And I certainly dont believe Massa is the type of character who will be motivated by his team chief saying ‘It’s clear he’s under pressure’. He needs to be praised.

    All just my opinion, I like Massa and hope he does well this season.

  103. audifan says:

    I think ross left the team because he didn’t get the job he deserved

    I also think ferarrigate came about because of the same syndrome

  104. Kevin Green says:

    Quite interesting how this post has become about as much of who to replace Massa who yes is as good as finished since his accident to be fair a shame though really like him and he WAS really good.

    Cant beleive that with the amount of fresh or switched talent this season the amount of people trying to pick a pin perfect replacement already! we have just passed race 1 it will take at least 3-4 races for everything to balance up to say a ideal candidate. Crazy Crazy.

    I reckon Maldonado has put himself in the best position thus far but that’s just 1 race behave guys.

  105. richard c says:

    Was I watching a differant race to everyone else??LH had a poor start to the first race of the season and was unfotunate in the SC spell….but thats it!Jb took advantage of this situation, ok, but thats it in a nut shell.Jb won again on the back of someone elses mistake. The Whitmarsh thing is getting to everyone I know. If I was LH I would win the WDC and go to Mercedes and on the way out tell Whitmarsh exactly what I think of him! I prey for the day when the bbc get rid of Eddie Jordan.That bloke is a complete baffoon! he consistantly gets basic facts wrong and on Sunday was put right by DC 6 or 7 times.

  106. Ralph says:

    Where’s Ferrari’s driver programme?

    They had no-one to replace Massa after Budapest ’09.

    I’m not saying ‘Sack Massa’. But he’s been off pace for three years, why haven’t they got options?

    Is the same short-termism that has killed Ferrari’s car development since the testing ban?

    1. Kevin Green says:

      That’s where its all wrong i feel, there should not be driver programmes within F1 fair enough sponsoring monitoring drivers in lower formula’s but what Red Bull are doing and you could almost argue Mclaren and Mercedes too in selling products to other teams is a way of grooming if you like. I don’t like it and think its all far from right for the sport and sportsmanship as a whole.

      James
      There’s a thought with Mclaren now pretty much building there own engines for the road cars is there any word of them extending into there F1 cars and breaking from Mercedes completely??

      1. James Allen says:

        I don’t see them doing that – too expensive and risky

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Would not be surprised if they were tinkering with the idea behind the scenes as not to upset Mercedes, would certainly put confidence in there car buying customers that have the basic insight and understanding of the huge differences between the 2 i would think, will certainly be interesting to see whats pushing there cars along in a few yrs time.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        The design of the engine was based on the Nissan VRH35 racing engine used in Le Mans in 1998. Mclaren designed and developed this with a company called Ricardo, a leading British technology company.

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

        I’d imagine most of the design work was done by these guys and development carried out by Mclaren.

        Mclaren, per se, aren’t engine designers/ builders. Outlay would be huge, hence the recent rumours of working with Honda again.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        But surely if there cars do sell in masses in the field they are targeting it would surely make sense to move into this also at the same time giving there car more distinction with a greater percentage of the car being in house and ultimately over time keeping cost down and even being able to sell/supply engines to there F1 competitors and others even

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        The problem is I think 2 fold. Ferrari is an engineering company with links going back to the 1920′s.
        Ferrari began in 1947, but before that Enzo Ferrari managed the Alfa Romeo team from about 1923.
        All manufacturers, back then, made the chassis and engine, so Ferrari through the years has continued in that vein.
        He also used to be quite disparaging of the British teams, calling them “garagisti”, ie they bought an engine and designed the chassis.

        I would never call Mclaren a kit car builder!
        But the British teams have a different mentality on building a car, and it does go back to the 60′s when they would buy in engines and build the chassis.
        This carried through, really, till the 80′s when Ron in fact, went to Porsche who built him a Tag Turbo engine, Honda had joined as engine supplier in 1983, but before that you would get your engine from Cosworth, Matra and that was about it.

        I doubt the return from F1 is actually worth the investment anymore.
        Ferrari powers Sauber and Toro Rosso, yet when Vettel won in 2008, no-one mentioned the engine.
        Renault provide a few teams with engine, but it’s Red Bull, who are also sponsored by Infiniti
        Mercedes run their own team, but when Mclaren win, the casual F1 fan sees Button or Lewis, they don’t know what’s under the engine cover.

      6. Kevin Green says:

        On that hero you have to remember in there prime days the Jaguar engines were among some of the finest out there, and with the clear strides forward Mclaren as a whole Racing team technology and car production has come forward in the last 20 yrs i see no reason why the cant and would not venture into there own engine production before too long for there F1 cars also as they seem to be getting about everything right these days.

        Look at there car on the top gear track thumping its latest Ferrari counterpart clearly on chassis development alongside there own lower powered Engine so why not venture into there own engine tech for all there uses?

        It makes total sense for the long run and they seem to have little other avenues to venture or improve as there road car is absolutely spot on amazing for there 1st mass produced and being comparably cheap at that!!.

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        Kevin, this difference of opinions will run and run, I have views and opinions that obviously run counter to yours. I’m grateful that there are people in the world who do have passionate points of views, otherwise what a boring world this would be.
        If good fortune smiles on you in life and I happen to be sitting at lights in my 458 and yourself in the MP4/12C, i will salute you as we both have great taste.

  107. Andrew Barker says:

    The Massa situation reminds me of a driver called Ivan Capelli remember him !!!! He was destroyed by a very poor car and Jean Alesi who seemed to get more out of the car.Capelli was replaced with 2 races to go by Nicola Larini.Capelli was signed by the Jordan team for 1993 but only lasted 2 races after crashing very heavily in South Africa and failing to qualify in Brazil and that was the end of his Formula One career if Massa doesn’t improve quickly i fear he will be in the same situation career over.

  108. Russell says:

    After qualifying on Saturday I called a friend, and looking at the qualifying results, said to him.

    From 1st to 8th it is less than one second. Was it closer or further apart last year?

    From 1st to 20th it is 2.83 seconds. Was it closer or further apart last year?

    He keeps records of all this stuff, and he answered. Last year between 1st and 8th was 2.5 sec. and 1st to 20th was almost 6 sec.

    Some of you might be able to check these numbers. If they’re right, that’s an amazing tightening of the sardine can.
    1 second to 2.5 seconds for 1st to 8th
    &
    2.83 seconds to almost 6 seconds for 9th to 20th

  109. Charlie says:

    I feel genuinely sorry for Massa.
    I’ve no idea what his or the teams issues are but I’d be surprised if it was any one thing…
    …sadly, regardless of where any ‘fault’ may be, he’s just not performing in the circumstances he finds himself in and will surely be moved out soon.

    Replacements?
    -Webber? Regardless of friendships and affiliations he’ll never accept a role as ‘offical No.2′, so that won’t work.
    -Perez? He strikes me as too sensible and too talented to move to Ferrari while he’s still learning his trade and Alonso is so far from retirement. Too long as No.2 at Ferrari would kill his career as it has done for so many in the past.

    -Sutil? Very, very good, and he’s probably desperate enough that he’d both work hard and take the traditional Ferrari No.2 position with all that entails without complaint. He’d probably even go for ‘you’re only in until we can come up with someone better’.
    -Alguersuari? Why not? Surely he’s better than ‘Helmut’ was generous enough to label him. He’s available and with youth on his side he’s probably daft enough to think a move to Ferrari’s No.2 slot would be a good career opportunity.

    -Heidfeld / Barrichello? Neither is an impossible option. The former a reliable super-sub, and the latter might just do it because he loves F1 and wants that 20th season.

    Wild speculation aside all will be revealed in due course…

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      What is it with this labelling “official” number 2 at Ferrari?
      Are you telling me, that only Ferrari has 1 and 2 drivers?
      What a load of nonsense, all the years since 2003 when team orders were banned, it was only Ferrari using them? Huh?
      “Heikki, Lewis is faster than you…” yet not one reporter, or fan said a word. This was Hockenheim 2008, yet 2 years later, Ferrari is swamped with negative press for the same words.

      I accept that Ferrari need a second driver who can score points consistently, but I tell you what, alot of drivers would love to go to Ferrari to prove they can beat the best.
      Any potential winner would want to beat the best to prove his worth.
      If any of them run scared of competing against Alonso, that says more about their self belief than Ferrari’s set-up.

  110. Adam Tate says:

    Thank you for your article James. So many are calling for Felipe’s blood and it’s disgusting. I’ve never seen a driver treated so rudely by the fans.

    My question is when will Ferrari realize that Alonso is not the next Schumacher? When will Alonso realize that? Schumacher was able to dominate a team and make it work by building up the team around him. Alonso has tried this and he is failing.

    Massa held his own against Schumacher, and Kimi. Kimi, a driver that is every bit as talented, if not as 100 percent committed as Alonso, never demanded the scuderia revolve around him. He won a WDC with Ferrari and almost helped Massa to do the same.

    Many people blame the accident, but forget that in early 09 that Massa was killing Kimi and dragging that dog of a car to places it didn’t deserve. The real problem was Germany 2010, Ferrari shot themselves in the foot that day. Imagine how cruel it would be, if you were on the way to victory, a year to the day after nearly loosing your life, a season and a half after just missing the world championship, and then having to hand it over to your team mate? And then, said team mate doesn’t even convert it into a WDC.

    If they had allowed Massa to win the race, it would have been the feel good PR story of the season, he would have had his confidence back and been far more competitive, taking points from McLaren and RedBull and likely helping Alonso win the title.

    But ego was more important that day, soulless number crunching. And when the prancing horse doesn’t have a soul, what’s the point?

    I was hoping Ferrari could have a resurgence this year, that both Fernando and Felipe could fight at the front, but after really thinking about it, they don’t really deserve to.

    It should be Domenicali, Montezemolo and Alonso answering the tough questions, not the little guy, the fall guy, a competitor with far more class than the rest.

    1. Thomas says:

      Well said! I know Alonso is rated highly by most everyone in the know, but tbh he has never won anything without everyone behind only him. He is a double world champion because the McLaren fell apart in 05 and because he had a dominant car in the first half of 06.
      In 07 he could have won again but he resolved to childish behavior and instead of proving he was a deserving champion and a great sportsman he self-imploded against a rookie and could not handle fair competition.

      Alonso is not and will never be another Schumacher.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Thomas, you must have had your head wrapped with rose tints back in 07, because the media reported from Bahrain that year that Ron Dennis was having to calm Alonso down, then Monaco which Alonso won easily, Ron asked him to say the team had helped him, then Hungary …. oh I could keep on, but you know what, you’re one of these people that Churchill once said,
        “the truth comes up and bites them every so often, they brush themselves down and walk off without having recognised anything”
        Ron Dennis and Mclaren completely supported Lewis in 2007, Alonso was shut out of the team, all season long. To the point that Lewis fell off the track in China because the team “we were racing Alonso”
        I think it says something that since 2008, when Lewis has had a decent team-mate he falls apart, because he hasn’t got Uncle Ron’s unswerving support behind him.
        [mod]

    2. F1 says:

      ‘My question is when will Ferrari realize that Alonso is not the next Schumacher? When will Alonso realize that? Schumacher was able to dominate a team and make it work by building up the team around him. Alonso has tried this and he is failing.’

      I would give him some more time. it took Schumacher 5 years to put Ferrari on top of the competition and we shall wait another 2 or 3 years to see if Alonso is made of the same class as Schumacher. Only in 2014 we will know the real level of quality driver that Alonso is made of.

      1. Sri says:

        Since when do drivers put the team together? The technical team does it. Brawn and Todt did that in Ferrari and Schumacher was there at the right time. Any good driver in Schumacher’s place would have done the same. Now Newey is doing the same elsehwere. Ferrari need new ideas and good technical team. Alonso or any other good driver in their team will then deliver.

      2. Webbo says:

        It was Schumacher who brought Brawn to Ferrari.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        No, it was Schumacher being at Ferrari that gave Brawn and Byrne the impetus to accept Todt’s offer at Ferrari.
        It was Todt, that throughout 1996 to 2000 before winning the drivers championship with Schumi, took all the flak and was called to resign a few times prior.

    3. Roland says:

      @Adam Tate – I don’t think Massa was killing Kimi at all at the start of 09, in fact Kimi had the edge in qualifying and was very unlucky in the races. Sepang, the team made a kamikaze tyre decision, Silverstone his strategy was wrecked stuck behind nakajima, Nurburgring he retired with mechanical failure, all of which skewed the points balance in favour of Massa when the performance level was very similar, Kimi slightly quicker.

      But yes I do agree that Ferrari made an enormous PR blunder in not allowing Massa to claim the Germany 2010 win. Alonso was already on top in terms of performance but I think it crushed Felipe to know he was destined to play second fiddle. I reckon his woes are a combination of a slight loss of sharpness from his accident and the mental hammerblow of being pigeonholed as the number 2. He was much closer to Alonso at the start of 2010 than during the latter half of the year or in 2011.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      “My question is when will Ferrari realize that Alonso is not the next Schumacher? When will Alonso realize that? Schumacher was able to dominate a team and make it work by building up the team around him. Alonso has tried this and he is failing.”

      I would say that Alonso is completely dominating the team. Isn’t that a normal comment on these pages whilst you’re all defending poor little Massa?
      I’m glad Ferrari rectified their mistake in 2010, when they realised that Kimi wasn’t the new Schumacher because he has no work ethic.
      In Australia last weekend, I have read he didn’t go out in the rain during practice. So back to his ice-cream eating self motivated best then…
      I’m also glad Alonso doesn’t think he is the next Schumacher, apart from being a better driver, he’s is not a cheat!

      Regarding Schumacher building a team, it took him 5 years of countless days testing, sometimes with 4 drivers out there, himself, Badoer, Gene and Barrichello before they achieved dominance. It Byrne and his design group 5 years to build a car that was being developed in 2 windtunnels running 24 hours a day.
      The problem has been, the FIA has removed so many of Ferrari’s traditional weapons, ie test tracks and wind tunnels, whereas the British based teams developed simulation technologies which Ferrari lag behind on.
      Fry said last year, that some of the systems Ferrari had in place were a few years behind the British teams, certainly not state of the art and would take time to get up to speed. CDF computing and simulation and strategy computation, but they are signing in top level engineers constantly, but it takes time.

      You can use whatever stats, or hindsight you want to, but Schumi took 5 years to win with Ferrari, he’s starting his 3rd year at Mercedes, but whilst improved they won’t be fighting fot the WDC. But it’s not Schumi who signed the engineers, it was Brawn who signed Willis, Costa and Bell.
      Newey took from 2006 to 2010 to win the championship.
      Ferrari will turn it around, but Massa is a weak link on track.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Near word perfect, you must surely agree that Schumacher does bring that key driver to engineer (or be it maybe just to Brawn) that no other current driver seems to take to a team in order to improve the cars???

        Just hard to read how universal that cars are to other drivers within the same team as Rosberg if anything seems to be going Backwards, but Kimi came into Ferrari and won 1st season in and couple seasons later Alonso came close and his skills are clearly justifiable as the Ferrari is getting comparably poorer.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        For once Kevin, your reply made absolutely no sense to me, there’s contradictions in practically every sentence.

        But one thing that glares out, Brawn is a technical director for Mercedes, he hasn’t designed any car since the Jaguar XJR/14 of the 1991 season.
        In F1, the guy who designed Schumacher’s winning cars was called Rory Byrne.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        It was meant in regard to as you could put it a communicating/understanding language through Brawn into engineering/design department as it seemed very clear that the majority of the communication seemed to be going through Brawn even when out of the car.

  111. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    A few posters have alluded to it, but I think the key factor impacting Massa’s performance is momentum. You could see it with Webber in 2010 vs 2011. Once a driver gets some momentum, it (in my opinion) dramatically affects their performance. Its that 11th tenth that enables a driver to get an edge. I have no doubt that Massa has the talent. But I believe that the competition is so strong these days that he can’t string together enough good performances to regain his momentum. Perhaps a year off in a lower category or more testing would have been better for him than rushing back and getting into numerous scraps after qualifying badly.

    As for possible replacement drivers, I think you need to look at recent history to give you some insight as to what LdM might be thinking. Whilst I think Massa is underperforming, the other options (eg new drivers or reserve drivers) won’t work. Fisi and Badoer both failed and made Ferrari look foolish. Similarly the way they treated Schumi at the end of his career. Instead, in my opinion, LdM will want to look statesman like and loyal by retaining Massa until the end of the season.

  112. Dan G says:

    Hi James,

    Nice work on the weekend mate.

    I remember there being a lot of talk around the paddock last year in regards to Mark in the Ferrari for 2012 before he resigned for RB.

    While Mark has stated he would’t mind driving in Red, has there been any real interest from the Ferrari side that makes the chance of him moving there next year any more of a possibility than it was last year ?

  113. Mark Crooks says:

    The one thing that Massa has proved and his numerous replacements while he was out injured is that the Ferrari is a very difficult car to drive and that it takes a special kind of talent to get speed out of it.

    Alonso has proven that he has the talent and Kimi had it but even he at times had difficulty.

    If anyone is going to replace Massa then it will need to be someone with a lot of experience driving around problems and wringing speed out of an under-performing car.

    1. PW Rocket says:

      I agree. Ferrari may be difficult to drive but at least it suits Alonso’s driving style. Same goes for the fact that after Massa’s injury Fischella did not get a single point. As a Schumi fan I am glad that he didn’t drive the F60.

      I think Perez’s driving style could be too gentle and a nervous car may give him trouble. On the other hand I would love to see Kobayashi get his hands on this difficult car. With his exciting car control skills he may shine.

      1. Mark Crooks says:

        I think Heikki Kovalainen would be a good fit, he has learned a lot getting the maximum performance from the Lotus/Caterham and has proven he can be a good number 2 team player while at McLaren.

  114. JB says:

    There are so many drivers who is more committed and better skilled than Massa right now. I just don’t get it why is Ferrari loving Felipe baby so much? It is like a father having an unconditional love for his spoiled son.

    1. HMain says:

      :) And it was once said by Peter Sauber that all Massa needs is a hug.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I read someone say the same about Mansell, yet there was doubt Mansell could wring the neck of the car no matter what state he was in emotionally. The 80′s proper men racing, not these bum-fluffed kids

  115. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    If I was Ferrari I would replace Massa with just an average driver like… BUEMI, or BARRICHELLO, or TRULLI. At least, just for a couple of races for thinking a definitive name, why not?

    By the way, somebody can also replace Senna, please?

  116. Adam says:

    Mark Webber to Ferrari in 2012? By this you are presuming that he does not get offered a new contract for next year from RB. And for this to happen, he would need to perform worse than he did last year or one of the TR boys exceeds expectations. If he gets dumped by Red Bull, why would Ferrari want him. To go from a number 2 driver who can’t win a race to another? The other option is that Mark left RB, but why would he leave a race winning car to go to a struggling car? He has already said he would not do that. Surely Ferrari have other options in the pipeline…. I personally don’t think we have seen the last of Kubica. Is there a chance they could replace Massa with Kubica before the end of the season?

  117. Darren says:

    Jaimie would surely be a good option to slip straight in.

  118. dmutie says:

    What ever car Massa was running in australia was very diffrent from Alonso’ car

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I can’t believe I read that…
      There won’t be any difference in performance because of a new car.
      Problem is, if in Malaysia, Alonso can’t perform miracles with the car because of the circuit, and finshed 8th for eg, and Massa lucks into 9th but 3/4 lap behind, will that be vindication for the new chassis?

  119. KenC says:

    Good god, not Webber! His head-to-head stats vs his teammate are worse than Massa’s. Since Webber had his chance to win the WDC, with 6 races left in the 2010 season, he’s been comprehensively beaten by his teammate. In the past, drivers like Webber and Massa, beaten that badly would have been dropped in half a season. I guess having a compliant #2 is more important than having two drivers who can push one another. Recommending Webber, who is well past his sell date is just ludicrous. If he can’t challenge Vettel on a regular basis, how is he to challenge Alonso?

    1. Darren says:

      He probably wouldn’t be a consistent threat to Alonso but he would certainly oush him harder than Massa is doing which is not at all. Webber has proven to be a reliable performer who gathers good points. That’s what Ferrari want. Alonso can do the rest.

      1. F1 says:

        ‘Fernando is faster than you. Do you understand the message, Mark?’
        Webber switches off the radio.
        Expect fireworks.

      2. mahesh says:

        lol ! awesome !

      3. Darren says:

        Yep, there could be occasions. It would depend on Alonso. If he is confident he would be in front of Webber consistently enough to not cause to many problems he would give the go ahead for Webber to join.

        On the upside being closer to Alonso would make Webber a good rear gunner, like he has been for Vettel quite often.

      4. F1 says:

        Darren, I don’t think you can count on Webber as a rear gunner. He’s simply not that kind of driver, and that’s good for F1.

      5. Paul J says:

        Haha. Somehow I just can’t see Webber taking kindly to that!

      6. KenC says:

        So, in the last 26 races, Webber has been beaten by Vettel 23 times, and you consider him a good replacement for Massa? Is he a reliable point collector? In those 23 races he finished behind his teammate, how many times was he only one position behind? 6. Webber’s record going back to the last 6 races of 2010 when he was in the driver’s seat to win the WDC, he’s been an abject failure, as bad as Massa. How either have jobs is amazing. And, Massa has finished behind Alonso 23 times of the same last 26 races. Equally bad relative to their teammate.

      7. Darren says:

        No matter how you slice the stats there is no getting around the fact that Webber is far closer to Vettel every weekend than Massa is to Alonso. There is no doubt that on current form that Webber would be a step up for Ferrari.

        Personally I’d rather see a fresh face at Ferrari come through the ranks. Webber may get one more season with Red Bull if he has a good year this year and then should retire.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Ferrari is not looking for a driver to take on Alonso consistently, they are looking for a driver that can pick up from Alonso if he hits trouble, and contribute to the Constructors championship.
      Alonso, last year finished on the podium 10 times.
      If in any of those races he had had a problem, the next driver would not have been Massa because Massa finished 5th once
      If Massa had supported Alonso better in races in 2010, rather than just the German GP (!) Alonso would have won the championship despite the strategy cock-up.

      I’m fascinated to watch what happens at Mclaren this season if Button keeps beating Lewis, it’s been ok up to now, but if they can fight for the WDC, trust me, it will get nasty.

  120. Lynn says:

    Webber at Ferrari in 2013, would like to see that happem too.

  121. panagiotis says:

    I guess an Italian young driver would be the best option for Ferrari if someone considers they are about to replace Massa. At the end of the day an Italian prodigy would certainly match or even overpass struggling Massa’s times… plus many other benefits such as “bad karma” (one reason less for excuses), future prospects, gain some good publicity in Italian media (they are desperate for that), budget related factors (they don’t need but hey…), etc. Above all Massa certainly lacks any good psychology; Alonso’s performance just kills the guy, some how he has to get a grip with everything, starting with the car. I don’t think they are going for a replacement, there was a nurturing call for Massa from Domenicaly. As for next year, they will have to find a fast and obedient “second driver”, that’s hard, isn’t it!?!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      “it was like being hit over the head with a cricket bat every weekend” Irvine speaking about his time against Schumacher

      I’d do it

      Live the life of Irvine, professional playboy, paid millions to back up the leader, drive for the most famous team on earth and smile for the cameras.

      Isn’t it funny that the most vociferous drivers at Ferrari in the last 20 years have been Brazilians. They have almost Italian levels of pressure from their home crowd because the Brazilians are looking for their next Senna.

  122. AlexNK says:

    I can’t believe the amount of bad rap Massa is taking here, I wonder how much of it is due to his collisions with Hamilton last year (like how GP2 champion Maldonado after clashing egos with LH suddenly became the worst driver of all times).
    Last year Massa was outclassed by Alonso in absolutely the same manner that Webber was outclassed by Vettel. Points differences: 134 – Vettel vs Webber, 139 – Alonso vs Massa. Qualifying: 16:3 Vettel vs Webber, 15:4 Alonso vs Massa. Get real, people! Webber can’t drive around the car’s problems any better than Massa can. Webber can’t even sort out his starts for over a year now, unbelievable! Nevermind him and Alonso being friends, Webber would be destroyed in the second Ferrari.
    No driver mentioned above would do much better than Massa at the moment. As was said, this car has such a narrow performance window, that it takes a miracle to hit it. Heidfeld, Trulli, Sutil – are you kidding??? Nick couldn’t get the tyres to work in his BMW for the whole season and couldn’t help it. Trulli and his power steering, should I say more? Sutil only shone last year against average DiResta, who was beaten in this year’s first qualifying by his teammate by almost 0.8 sec.
    No, the last thing Ferrari should do is to continue to look for a scapegoat. They did enough of that already in post-Schumi time (Dyer, Kimi, Costa). Rather than threatening their driver, they should get behind the problem with the car eating up its tyres.

  123. LiamC says:

    You are kidding right?

    Spa 2011. Eau Rouge. Webber v Alonso.
    Compare last years percentage of points v team mates. Massa was completely outclassed. Webber didn’t do well by his own admission, but still performed much better than Alonso v Massa

    1. AlexNK says:

      Red Bull vs Ferrari. Most aerodynamically perfect car vs complete pig, in the place of the track where aero is everything. That’s the key. Not to take anything from Webber in terms of cojones, but there is no way he’d have done that trick in the Ferrari.

      Statistics shows that didn’t perform against Vettel any better than Massa against Alonso. Considering the fact that most people here believe Alonso is the most complete driver, that leaves Webber no chance against Alonso, none at all.

  124. Denis 68 says:

    With Ferrari unlikely to win anything this year and the fact that there is no Italian driver in F1 this year, it’s the perfect time to blood a young Italian driver in the second Ferrari.

    Mirko Bortolotti is the perfect choice he recently turned 22 years old, was the Italian formula 3 Champion in 2008 and the FIA Formula 2 Champion in 2011.

    He has alway’s been quick in his previous F1 test’s with Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Williams and the first time he ever tested an F1 car (A Ferrari at Fiorano in November 2008) he was quicker than Massa (and remember Massa was at his prime then) and Bortolotti was only 18 years old at the time.

  125. garyp says:

    Coming to the discussion late but as regards Massa I think Ferrari are hanging on for Kubica as there is no-one really available that could step into a difficult car and perform better than Massa IMHO

    And just going back to Hamilton he has a massive talent but until he learns to stop sulking and acting like his world is ended at the first race he is never going to have the mental strength to win a WDC again. Button is consistent knows he will get beaten regularly but is in for the long haul getting the most he can from every weekend.

    Classic tortoise and the hare situation really.

  126. Slaven says:

    Why shouldn’t they wait for Kubica? He might be ready for the end of the season… maybe

    1. Thomas says:

      Kubica is out imho. He has been out for too long, there are still question marks over his hand, nobody know his level. Kimi and Michael both kept up with some form of racing, Kubica has done nothing of the sort while recovering.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher raced in low level motorbike racing and injured himself in 2009.
        Kimi rallied on the WRC stage, at the top level.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Or you mean he was trying to keep up with drivers who are at the top level!

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher raced in the IDM, Internationale Deutsche Motorradmeisterschaft, essentially a German National Bike racing series, certainly not World Level racing like MotoGP and WSK.
        IIRC, he finished one race in second place, but to Schumi it was just a hobby, not a career.
        Kimi, competed against the very best in that sport and on occasion was quick, but it was never a hobby, it was always a serious assault on the championship

  127. Bo Amato says:

    Great Article…..

  128. David Smith says:

    James, I have just read that Ferrari are supplying Felipe with a new chassis for Malaysia.
    Quote – In a statement on their website Ferrari said: “Work has already begun in the Sepang pits to prepare chassis number 294, which replaces the number 293 and will be used by the Brazilian in the second race of the season.

    “This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park.”

    So either ferrari are fully behind felipe or they are on the process of illimination ie of there no fault with the car then…
    Be interesting to hear Rob Smedleys take on Australia, any chance you can raise the question to him in Malaysia?

    Thanks for your exceelent R5 commentary.

  129. JohnBt says:

    I truly feel sorry for Massa, but in the F1 world when it’s time to go the drivers will be the first to know and feel it.

    Filipe has never been the same after the Hungary incident. His decline is even worse now with the ‘hard to understand’ F2012.
    Look at Stefano and Fry immediate flight back to HQ after Albert park.

    Now who’s gonna be Nando’s team mate. Tough one.

  130. Carpes says:

    Go Massa go Massa you are a good boy.

  131. RONOSON says:

    Alonso is the best driver on the grid. No doubt about that. Massa was always going to struggle against him, coming from competing against a completely disinterested Raikkonen.
    With regard to some of the comments about Lewis at the moment, well, he’s probably reaping what he sowed last year. He openly admitted he spent time partying with celebs and generally not putting in the required effort. In this time, Jenson has brought the team onside, remained completely professional and McLaren have clearly built a car around him.
    The over the top sulky behaviour from Lewis in Australia was ridiculous, and would have done him no favours either. He was comprehensively hosed off by Jenson in equal equipment.

  132. Truth or Lies says:

    Its really amazing how so many people have been so quick to write off various F1 drivers through the years based on often misunderstood and very complex situations. A situation exasperated in the new media age of instant messaging.

    I recall during Jenson Buttons wilderness years 06/07/08 that he was completely written off, yet out of no where won the championship in 2009 and then moved to McLaren. Where once again according to all the high stool experts he would be savaged by Lewis Hamilton, this hasn’t happened so far… and so it goes.

    I ve no doubt Massa is under pressure, intense pressure even, but drivers at this level are a very special breed and I’ve no doubt are, all fragile in their own way. Alonso’s tantrums at McLaren showed his all too human flaws and insecurity just as Hamiltons mood on the podium last Sunday allowed the world to read him as an open book – angry and frustrated.

    I don’t accept Massa can’t drive a less than perfect car, his string of pre Hungary podiums in 2009 bear this fact as do certain sector times against Alonso even last year. But for sure he has problems in some areas and he is clearly a more percise or sensitive driver. Tyres seem to be a huge issue, look at Schumacher in 09/10 for example and his tyre struggles. But perhaps the Ferrari setup in the Alonso age has no room for a driver like Massa and if so his future lies with another team, William perhaps…

    He is however, even on a poor day a vastly more capable and competent driver and complete team member than some of the alternatives mentioned elsewhere here and with 1 down and 19 to go, lets see how the season pans out.

    A new chassis for Sunday appears an interesting step in the right direction.

    Best of luck to Felipe and all the other 23 drivers on Sunday, who through their participation and sacrifice, provide us the fans, with such joy and entertainment and allow us mere mortals to participate in our own way on the fringes of truly awesome experience.

    Thanks JA too for a great site.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Australia-Ret, Malaysia-9, China-Ret, Bahrain-14, Spain-6, Monaco-4, Turkey-6, Britain-4, Germany-3

      Is this obscure? Sorry, these are Massa’s finishing positions in the 2009 WDC. As you may notice, there is no string of podiums.

      Also, and being pedantic I know, but Schumacher had no tyre issues in 09, he was “retired”

  133. Nick says:

    Hi James,

    Can you please comment why Massa always has another chassis not the same like Alonso (I already pointed to this above). See official info:
    Massa had chassis in Australia : 293, but Alonso had 295.
    Link: http://www.ferrari.com/English/Formula1/News/Headlines/Pages/120317-f1-australian-gp-alonso-and-massa-out-in-Q2-an-inauspicious-start-in-melbourne.aspx

    Now they say that Massa will have another chassisin Malaysia: 294 but not 295 like Alonso, why ???!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Chassis number 294. He had 293 before and Alonso has 295. Car is the same

      1. F1Fan4Life says:

        James what about your opinion on this…Now that Ferrari are actually bringing him a new chassis in this limited time frame, should Alonso destroy him again, will the Massa whiners with their conspiracy theories be satisfied? Or will the…injustice….continue?

  134. Paul J says:

    I’ve been hearing some rumors since Australia that Trulli could be drafted in to replace Massa in the very near future!

    James, you’re always a man with his ear to the ground – any substance to those rumors?

    1. James Allen says:

      No. I don’t think so. Ferrari’s main priority now is to sort the car out. Maybe if Massa is still way off Alonso after Bahrain then they might look at putting someone else in the car for the Mugello test in May, but it’s not really their style

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I wonder what Enzo Ferrari would have done by now.
        From everything I have read, not the most patient of men, and maybe he would have been too politically incorrect these days.
        Quote after Pironi crash in 1982, “Addio Campionato” Goodbye to the championship.

        If he had made the mistake of hiring Massa in the first place, I couldn’t see him giving him a chance for the 2010 season anyway, he’d have kept Kimi and brought in Alonso.

  135. Bobby says:

    Time for Massa to exit. He’s had plenty of time to rediscover his form. To me it seems clear it’s just not there anymore. His raison d’etre seems to be to crash into whoever he finds himself sharing the track with.

  136. James, It is quite clear that Massa is currenly being used as a ‘test driver’ for Alonso and being given the inferior car and conditions. I am disappointed that it has taken a Brazilian journalist to speak out?

    1. James Allen says:

      Mmmmm. Not sure about that..

  137. ROBERTO MARQUEZ says:

    How very easy is to talk about Formula 1 drivers.To start in any given moment there migth be only 5 or 6 top performers ,in my humble opinion at this moment they are ( the order does not mean anything ) Hamilton. Button,Alonso,Checo Perez, Vettel and ?. Second the rules are making more and more difficult to judge the driver by his own abilities rather than those of the pit crew, the marshalls biased decisions,the tire strategy etc.The tires deserve a particulat chapter :do you think people like Fangio, Jack Braham, the late Ayrton Senna would agree to race on tires that come apart in 15 laps ? Do you honestly think that all tyres in a race have exactly the same properties, as an engineer we must assum there are variations that could be more important that somebody that drives agressively ? With the the abundance of pit stops it seems is not that important to make pole ? So to create a better show we castrate the better drivers. What will be the next idea ,cows in the middle of the track ?

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