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Massa gives Alonso an uncomfortable welcome
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Massa gives Alonso an uncomfortable welcome
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Oct 2009   |  12:12 pm GMT  |  163 comments

Felipe Massa is playing an interesting game at the moment, with regards to his team mate for next season, Fernando Alonso.

First at a lunch for Brazilian journalists yesterday in Sao Paolo, he claimed that Alonso must have known about the Singapore crash plot, even though he was cleared of involvement by the FIA, “Fernando knew, ” he said. “Of course he knew, I’m 100% certain of that. In a team it is impossible not to know the strategy of the other driver.”

Many of the drivers say the same thing privately, but have not wanted to say it publicly. Massa said it and he does not deny he said it, even though he did issue a clarification via the Ferrari website.

“What I’ve said is the outcome of a hunch I’ve had and is not based on any concrete evidence,” he said. “The FIA World Council announced that there was no indication that Fernando may have been informed of what had happened and I respect this outcome. Obviously I’m very disappointed about what transpired last year in Singapore: I have already said several times what I thought about it and now it’s time to close that chapter and to look to the future. What is certain is that this episode will not marr in any way the relationship I’ll have with Fernando when we will be teammates.”

Under the circumstances Massa might have been expected to keep his hunches to himself in the interest of team harmony for next year. But it looks like it isn’t going to be that kind of relationship and he isn’t going to play that kind of game.

Massa knows that Alonso is a very different beast as a team mate from Raikkonen and he knows that many people expect him to lose the inevitable psychological struggle with Alonso. McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh offered Ferrari a piece of advice on how to manage the Spaniard last week, “I’m sure as long as Fernando is winning everything will be fine.”

The move to Ferrari is such a big thing for Alonso and has been so long in the making, that he is sure to try to take control. Massa is fast enough to trouble him and they both know that. The key question; is Massa strong enough in the head? And that is what we will find out next season. Those close to him say he most definitely is. What’s intriguing about Massa’s comments here is that he wants to show Alonso from the outset that he is no pushover and he has no qualms about probing Alonso’s weak points, such as the doubt over his involvement in the crash scandal and thus, by extension, his reputation.

It is easy to dismiss Massa’s outburst as nothing more than an aftershock from the frustration he feels about losing the world championship because of a race whose outcome was ‘fixed’. Maybe, but there is definitely more to it than that, after all here he is implicating his new team mate in that fix; quite a tough statement at this stage and an uncomfortable welcome to Alonso.

This is great stuff, I love this psychological business between drivers, it’s so fundamental to the racer’s instinct and is such a window on the soul. The key is to play a hard game, but without damaging your reputation.

Also said at the lunch, but less widely reported, was a comment about how Alonso will have to fit in with the Ferrari way, not dictate how things should be,
“It will have to be Fernando who adapts himself to the Ferrari style and not the other way around, ” said Massa. “I know how Ferrari works, he has to learn. If I was going to Renault it would be up to me to adapt to them.”

Massa also said that if it had been up to him he would have been behind the wheel this weekend in Brazil, “I feel ready to race and if they asked me to I’d take the wheel. But the risks involved in another incident are very high.”

This is no surprise. On the night of Massa’s accident I spoke to a London brain surgeon and he said to me then that if Massa was his patient he would not let him drive again for six months because if he had another accident it could be very dangerous.

I suspect that Massa wanted to race again this season because he wanted to make sure he had his feet back under the table at Ferrari before Alonso’s arrival.

Their partnership will make for some great entertainment and is sure to be very successful on the track, but it is crystal clear from this episode that it is going to take some very strong management to keep the ship on an even keel.

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Just read of this on another website and had to check my favourite F1 site (here) for confirmation. Its unlike you to be beaten to the punch. Or were you?

Anyway, a lot of people underestimate the effect of a near death experience on a mans outlook. Be rest assured that if Massa is going to go racing ever again it is going to be on his terms and no one else. He is unlikely to risk his life for team orders except he is out of the championship.

As long as the accident had no impact on his racing capability Alonso has a big big fight on his hands.

I admire Alonso but this is a big test for his career perhaps more than it is for Massa.

What do you think?

Great work and keep it up. Hope you have plans to monetise the site.



It is, quite rightly, very hard for Massa to accept that rather than bringing in a new young driver to support him, Ferrari have brought in another supposed number 1. He must feel overlooked, no doubt. A slap in the face. After three years of expressing his unconditional love for the team/family, how he is the heart of the team and ready to lead them, he gets sweet FA (good, eh?). Can't be a nice feeling.


I agree. Also in a funny case of Irony Massa is probably feeling like Fernando at Mclaren in 2007. Where the team kinda shifts the backing to an experienced (experience in F1 and within the team) to an outsider who is promising.

Lets see if Massa behaves like Fernando and blocks him during qualifying in Hungary.


But don't forget that 2007 was a good experience for alonso, and he won't make the same mistakes he made at mclaren. You can see it already on his late comments.

Massa is a dificult team mate, but alonso is more experienced, and much more difficult to beat, that he was in 2007.

About hungary, alonso wouldn't do it at ferrari, he knows it's his last chance in f1. If he doesn't suceed, he might have to retire with just two titles.


Alonso's win at all costs mentality will be perfect for the Scuderia. They are a perfect match in both mentality and ego. I can see the Tippex being applied as we speak to the 2010 press release stating Felipe will be replaced by a solid No. 2 to Alonso due to 'health' concerns.

Of course you are right about Singapore. Alonso knew all along. Now he knows you know too i'm sure he will be friends and you will live happily ever after in the pit garage sharing data and 1-2's.

Felipe - you are too quick, too straightforward and too naive to survive the politics this time. You deserve a chance but they will not give it to you. Everyone is fooled by Ferrari's 'concern' for your health -its all show and Italian PR spin.

Their new Bambino is installed and will be flavour of the month until Rossi parks his bike and signs the marriage certificate.

You will not be allowed to compete with the new Messiah.

I wish you well...but watch your back.


Well Felipe may be Naive but his manager is Jean Todt's Son so he is well connected within Ferrari and perhaps has his say in the FIA as well. Guess if Felipe gets beaten pretty badly by Alonso I am not sure that he wouldnt try to use his influence to bring up Singapore 2008 investigation by FIA 'due to another mysterious insider "Y" '


Amen to that brotha! 😉


I'm emailing this to Massa as we speak!


Rossi is now too old and has no car skill, apart from that he is rich enough to retire, and has no need to learn a new sport.


Rossi isn't too old! Thats ridiculous! Also he has great car skill.

You need to do some research!


Too old to start in F1 with no GP2 experience or equivalent other than a few tryouts. He obviously has talent but it's different. He would need to do a season or two of GP2 first. Then a season as a test driver to learn the car.

He is still one of the best ever MotoGP riders, though Lorenzo is pushing him hard as Stoner did earlier. Yeah he is up there with Aggo, but that does not give him the experience to step into an F1 car and be fast, look at Fisi who has many years of experience, in a different car he is slow.


James, as always a hugely insightful interpretation of the news. You haven't just reported what happened, but have given a thoughtful insight into what it really means. If anyone wants to make a comparison, just look at the high level and simply factual way that PlanetF1 report the same thing. There is no comparison. Thanks and keep it up!


Yes, and it is that intelligence and analysis, combined with Martin's, that we need so much back in the commentary box.


@Werewolf - couldn't agree more!



The new guy has had a year and I'm afraid (with all due respect) he just doesn't cut it.

A "Badoer" to James' Massa you might say.

I thought it was a given, that JA would be alongside MB this year.

Seems like the BBC's attitude is.'never mind the quality, feel the width'.

As an Aussie fan, I urge UK fans to instigate a "Bring Back James" campaign.

I'm sure he'll be back, standing up in the chair soon.


A Kimi to James' Schumacherv;)


Alonso may have known Piquet's strategy, but only when he was due to stop for fuel, not which lap he was due to crash...


"What is certain is that this episode will not marr in any way the relationship I’ll have with Fernando when we will be teammates."

yeaa... righhhht....


Ferrari and Santander must be furious.... The one ace Massa had up his sleeve was the love the team had for him, he was one of them. This could push him out on the shelf a bit and that is not good.


I agree. Regardless of what the team say Alonso is not going there on an equal partnership with any other driver. Just like Shumacher days it wont be written down but who are they trying to kidd. Why get rid of a good partnership "Kimi & Massa" to bring in another world champion. They want to go back to the Schumi days with clear lead driver.

Regardless how much Massa is part of the family he will need to keep his mouth shut and just get on with it. I think they have Kubica's mobile listed in friends and family.


This may be what is planned, but one word about the politics:

The Hamiltons pulverised Alonso when he tried to mess with them.. You'l find at Ferrari the Massa mafia just as well established and ready to take on NewBoy... Will he fare better with them? we will see


You are assuming that the rest of the scuderia disagree with Felipe. Apparently most of the pitlane believe Teflonso knew a great deal more and I wouldn't be at all surprised that many of the team agree with every word said.

Felipe has a Ferrari style personality which is why they love him. Teflonso's spoilt brat style will not fit at all well.


'teflonso' lol lol lol


Agreeing and choosing to start a war over it even before the old season is over are two different things.


James, this is a great article - with the type of insight that I feel is your main strength - and which I enjoy reading the most, so I hope you will provide more like this... Thanks


Before the season starts, he may not pass some kind of test: medical, physical, neuropsycological, latin, math, music.... I do not know.....

He may have done a lot for Ferrari, but again Ferrari invested many years on him as well. This kind of attitude do not serves him well, does not help anybody and will hardly make him world champion neither past year or next year.

Moronic behavior to say the least.


I totally agree. We now know that Alonso is never going to be "prosecuted" since it was never proved that he knew about crashgate. However, Massa has now severely damaged the team atmosphere and in the end he will be his own victim.

Massa is a nice kid but he has always struck me as not particularly bright and he has just demonstrated it.


This guy is something else,Please be quiet and

just drive.People all over the world prayed

for you but your true personality comes out.

First you said Lewis championship is a fake,

You were not the only victim in last years

race, The teams,drivers,fans, were also cheated

please stop being a short bitter man.


Just throwing this one in the ring.....

But I too have been a little disappointed by some of Massa's recent comments. It's the complete opposite of the impressive way he handled himself at the end of last year and every time the team cost him points. It's like listening to a different person.

Strange how this new personality comes out as he recovers from a serious head injury......


I have read that after a head injury, one of the side effects can be to become much more aggressive and angry for some reason. I just wonder if that plays into this.


New personality? Did you forget "Whine fest 2007 (tm)" when Massa kept claiming that he should have been WDC 2007 if not for his supposed bad luck?

Even during 2008 he was whining about everything the team did wrong. Never about his own poor performance in the first two races, Silverstone or Monza.

He was more subtle though. Repeatedly saying things like "I don't blame the team for costing me the race at ...". Or "People make mistakes. I don't blame the team"


Totally agree. Massa plays petty mind-games. If you're good enough you should be able to do your talking on track instead of resorting to little games that just establish your insecurity. Total opposite to Massa in that regard is Raikkonen who would just keep his mouth shut and not comment. Ferrari will regret getting rid of him and keeping someone who is simply not going to be able to deal with Alonso.


Get him in the car as soon as possible. The less he mouths off the better.

I'm getting pretty tired of his rants recently.


Massa is quick/fast enough to trouble Alonso, that taken but.....

You see, i think Massa is already losing the mind game. Feeling the urge to come out this way gives the impression he feels he is the underdog, he is the one who should adjust. See, Ferrari brought in FA because they miss MS... a leader or maybe someone for the team to revolve arround. I get the 'hunch' Massa knows this.


Massa has always been the underdog, and as a Massa fan, thats just the way i like and how he likes it.

He has the power base at Ferrari, Alonso doesn't. Massa will use it to beat him.


You bet he does. As I've been saying here for weeks, leadership is key to the FA deal.



indeed, as you have pointed out, leadership is the key in the lead.

You once wrote that the Singapore race does not reflect well on Alonso.

Well, the whole pitstop mess reflects even worse on Massa! Can you imagine that mess taking place in the Schumacher years? Or the Renault/Alonso championship years??


I tend to respectively disagree with the leadership argument. Kimi's leadership qualities (or lack thereof) were already a known factor when they brought him into Ferrari. He wasn't going to galvanize the team, he was just one piece of a complex red puzzle.

I seem to think, that Kimi is out in the cold either because:

1. The team concluded from their data that Kimi isn't sufficiently quicker than Massa to warrant his pay premium (maybe a combination of 2008 results and telemetry information).

2. Kimi's image isn't very good for the Ferrari brand.


I think that Ferrari accepted that the team would not be driver led with Kimi and that's partly why they kept Schumi on the team.

The team have settled now and Alonso may upset that. Will Schumacher mentor Alonso? No, Alonso will think Schumi is in the way or is favouring Massa.


3.Santander offered to handsomely pay Ferrari to take Alonso instead of Kimi.


One thing we have missed here all along during the sacking of Raikkonnen in Ferrari and Bringing in Alonso (as part of the leadership deal) is that Massa "also" does not have those leadership qualities.

I read a domenicalli interview in one of the forums and he has told that Raikkonnen was an introvert and doesn't talk much and though he says he and alonso are on the same level when it comes to speed. He goes further and says that, when the car is not good, he is not getting lot of stuff from kimi. My question now is what about massa then? He is definitely not an introvert according to my opinion.

James it would be interesting if one of you guys ask domenicalli this question - If he feels Raikkonnen did not have leadership qualities and they brought alonso in for it, then whats massa's status as a driver in the team in the past 2 years and in the future?



Clearly ""Leadership"" as the crucial factor we are told it is, and retaining Massa as teammate look to be incompatible.

Probably just me but I'm also finding this concept of a "leader" to give technical feedback to the engineers a bit opaque. Maybe what you really need is better engineers. [?]


This story has made me smile, as I agree James that there is probably more substance to Massa's comments than simply stating his views on 'crashgate' affair.

I can't see Alonso being too impressed by these comments! I don't know whether Massa and Alonso already have a shaky relationship, I recall the race a couple of years ago at the Nurburgring when the two had a heated conversation in front of the TV cameras prior to going on the podium?


Funny, how the media and the public always whines about drivers of today being robots, too PR-conscious, yet when somebody is being honest, like Massa is now, we either bash them or accuse them of mind games.

I don't think it's mind games. Massa was simply asked what he thought about it and he gave his honest opinion. Let's not forget he is friends with Piquet Jr, so they might have talked about it in private. Although in public Piquet never made accusations against Alonso, but he might have his private opinion or even knowledge - although probably unprovable, hence no public accusation by him against the Spaniard.

BTW, when will Alonso ever pay for his wrongdoings? He seems to have a talent for getting away with things. Like when he was untouched in the spy scandal, although he was very much involved together with De la Rosa.

And even the media gives him a free pass, they don't seem to question his role, at least morally. It reminds me of Senna, but totally the opposite of the media's handling of Schumacher.


Anything that Piquet says about Alonso knowing is going to be accepted as evidence, as we have seen in the whole Crashgate saga. No further evidence would be needed: the FIA chose to believe PK, that's the bottom line. So why PK does not say the truth about Alonso is beyond me.

I think it is too late now. If he'd done it at the right time (the hearing) he would have had the support of at least Hamilton's, Massa's and Kimi's fans. Now he has nobody's.


He didn't say it at the time because didn't gain anything doing so. it was briatore he was after. Now he is a ferrari driver, and is in the best interest of the sport, that he is allowed to race in 2010.

i would say to massa, to think before he opens his mouth, because this type of comments, are not what luca de montezemolo expects from a ferrari employee. He is attacking his new recruit, and he expects a more professional behavior, from his team mate.


So basically PK denies/hides Alonso' knowledge in Crashgate. This obviously means that he's lying, although only a little bit. If the reason is that he had nothing to gain from telling the truth because he was only interested in Briatore, he's a fool. He has given up the opportunity to end Alonso's career.. to the delight of half of the paddock and fans.

He would have redeemed himself a little bit.


What I don't understand is why Piquet doesn't tell the whole story about Alonso knowledge/involvement. That would at least earn him the support of all those Alonso haters that are tired of the Teflonso thing and want to have something real to bash him with


Was it ever noticed that the two drivers who have been exposed to have tried to 'blackmail' their team bosses are Alonso & Piquet?


' Massa is fast enough to trouble him and they both know that. The key question; is Massa strong enough in the head?'

Given what Felipe has shown this year I think his head is stronger than most. And good for him for saying what most drivers (and journos from what I can gether) believe.

I wish him the best of luck next year and suspect we will have another season like we saw with Nando at McLaren.

On another topic, I love Whitmarsh's comments, he says a lot in a few words!


'Felippe Baby'...strong headed?


lol, good point Charlie. I was being a bit flippant about how well he dealt with that nasty injury but you have a good point, that was some class radio from the pitlane.


Well I agree about the injury. It was a horrible thing to happen and full credit to him for coming through it and being so keen to get back in the car.

In terms of strong-headedness though, I have to say that I'd say that Massa and actually Hamilton have a little way to go. I think Hamilton took a lot of strength from the fact that he could play the moral high-ground role in 2007, but I've felt that he sometimes gets a little petulant when things aren't going his way. Just my opinion though. Massa I think is certainly mentally weak. He has a fantastic relationship with Ferrari which is where a lot of his strength comes from. Rob Smedley is an important influence as well. Without the support of the team though I think he's a litte ropey. Oversteering off in Melbourne in 2008 was unforgivable, and then messing up under pressure from Hamilton in the following race...

I don't think he'll be able to deal with someone consistently beating him. And let's remember that Kimi did actually (in terms of points and position finishes) beat him over the three years. Massa's reaction to Kimi's exhaust-influenced 2nd place in France in 2008 said it all for me. Anyone who celebrates a gifted victory in such style is a little insecure about something.

Alonso's reaction to Kimi Raikkonen's tyre failure at the Nurburgring in 2005 was equally telling about his weakness of mind. That said, I reckon Alonso's hard as nails now. Nothing can perturb him. He didn't seem particularly fuffled at the fact that he totally messed up his relationship with one of the greatest teams in F1 history, and I don't see Massa 'beating' him. I'd argue that Massa didn't ever 'beat' Raikkonen - there were highs and lows for both of them in 2008 and it was a low-scoring season - and therefore he's not going to get the better of Alonso. I don't think he'll cope too well.

Expect fireworks at Ferrari, and Hamilton getting a bit hot under the collar at Mclarn if Kimi goes there. If he does, expect Hamilton to try to take the same force from the team that Massa did at Ferrari. Fortunately Raikkonen doesn't care about anything in particular so will be immune!


Excellent stuff James!

Massa had a big dose of "you are number 2" when Schumacher was there, and the whole team, sun etc revolved about him and Massa was a minor moon or asteroid.

Massa now has the upper hand in terms of team experience, in team ethos and a sense of being home. He also this last two years had coaching from the meister, which in some way must have helped compensate for the loss of Ross.

Now he has put Alonso on the back foot and given notice that he is no walkover.

Wet race coming up "anything could happen in the next half hour" (sorry could not resist supercar reference or was it Captain Scarlet? The one where the whole FIA sinks below the waves at the start ;-))


The true measure of a racing driver is not a few words to your (sympathetic) national media it's what happens on the track. As we've seen in Germany and elsewhere, Massa knows perfectly well what Alonso is made of.


That's the most perceptive and relevant comment we have had so far


You're too kind sir!


It was Stingray


Ah if only we could all have such knowledge. 🙂


This is quality, why can't there be more of this open dislike and rivalry between drivers?

This years title would be even more exciting if Button and Rubens fell out!!!

Next year we need Hamilton and Alonso to have a few collisions to relight that fire and Alonso to go to war with Massa. Alonso and Hamilton are the two most complete drivers on the grid and if they are both competing for the title next year it will be the closest thing we will ever get to Senna V Prost.


Jenson Button vs. Alonso is more like Prost vs Senna. Hamilton is still unproven.


Hamilton unproven? You're kidding? I'm not a McLaren or Hamilton fan, but he's top shelf, no doubt about it.


I like Button but he's got a lot to prove, Rubbens has been beating him lately...


Clackers, what absolute nonsense! Hamilton has proved a lot more in his three years in F1 than Button has in a decade. The only unproven aspect at this stage is whether Hamilton will go on and be better than Alonso.

No other drivers come close although in time Kubica and Vettel may be considered in the same light.

Jenson Button is very talented but like Massa if he's not in a winning car or there are not exceptional circumstances it's unlikely that they will win races.

Remember the consensus of opinion last year from respected journalists was that Hamilton had an inferior car to that of Ferrari for about half the season's races and it was evenly matched for another quarter with Hamilton having the advantage for just 4/5 of the races. I even remember James Allen discussing this on ITV and hence the big effort on Ferrari's part to get Alonso.


How is Button more proven than Hamilton when he has less titles and has won less races? What a silly comment to write.



Hamilton has proved that he is one of the best drivers in F1!

He is the World Champion!

He bested a 2x World Champion in his rookie year!



Hamilton did indeed have a good car for his first two seasons but last year the Ferrari was superior over the course of the year. The only time in recent memory I can recall a driver winning a wdc in an inferior car was Schumacher in 1995 in the Benetton.


Alonso had the same car and he was beaten by Hamilton.

Besides, Hamilton got third in Australia with that underperforming car ...


Alonso did and Hamilton beat him.


Yeah but how many drivers had a car like McLaren had in Hamilton's first 2 years. Hamilton showed how good he really is in the McLaren box of a car earlier this yr when he cried like a baby cause his car wasn't fast enough. He's good, but way too over-rated.


I'm not the best fan of Hamilton, but the guy is world champion and was runner up on his debut.


Massa is a pretty emotional guy, and I like him all the more for it. It fair enough if he is still pissed about last year, and of course, concerned that Ferrari have banked on Alonso for their future success.

As for the possibility the Alonso knew ... well, so what if he did. I bet there is not one other driver on the grid who, on being told their teammate was going to crash to help his strategy, would have spoken out. Even Mark Webber said afterwords that he had no idea if he would have objected or not.


I have no doubt that Alonso will beat Massa if they are all on their own. I think Massa got extra bit of attention within the team in the last 2 seasons purely because Kimi wasn't bothered at all. As James pointed out earlier, Michael's role within the team next year will be fun to watch.


They will miss Kimi big time...


I totally agree. Ferrari has been stupid. Kimi and Alonso would have been a better line-up considering Kimi just goes about his job without being bothered about such politics.



Is there any justification to think that, although both Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali insist the drivers' contracts are the same, behind closed doors it's actually not?

Ferrari for some time have constantly implied that they hired Fernando to lead the team. From what I understand, to define a leader is to fall in line behind a certain person and acknowledge his being "number 1".


If Alonso is brought because of his leadership quality, this means Massa can only be a number 2. There can only be one leader in the team.

The only thing Massa can do is to out-drive Alonso on the track.

Let the show begins .....


I find it funny that Martin Whitmarsh of all people is dishing out 'advice' on how to manage Alonso!

I very much doubt that Massa has the head to win any political fight with Alonso. He seems to 'nice' a guy. Still, he's effectively said here 'let the games commence'.

Let it be noted by all that it's Massa starting the politics, not Alonso.


Duly noted and recorded.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I think that Alonso's friction was mainly with the Ronster. James, is this right?


Whitmarsh’s comment wasn’t advice, it was sarcasm.


Still very funny though!

Alistair Blevins

As a result of statements like these, and past history, Alonso will be motivated like no other to bury his team mate next year, both in terms of results and head games.

Mclaren will have it easy with Hamilton and Raikkonen (if that's how it all pans out).

Can't wait.


This sounds like Massa's trying to mark out his territory before FA arrives, Massa now needs to move on.

On th upside, we now have the prospect of no Max at the FIA and disharmoney at Ferrari. I wonder if FA & FM Will share information during the winter tests and will MS remain neutral?

Bring on March 2010!!!


My respect for Massa grows daily.


Its all handbags methinks....but clearly Massa has fired the opening salvo in what promises to be a no holds barred confrontation for superiority.


Massa has his chance in 2008 and didn't take it. Now with Alonso on board I doubt that chance will come again. Good driver but not as consistent as the top 3 drivers, Kimi, Lewis and Alonso, on all the circuits on the calendar.

All very well being good at 3 or 4 tracks, Brazil, Bahrain and Turkey, but when it comes to the others they make him look average some times.


One mechanical failure less and the championship was easily his. Don't be silly. Massa's did everything he needed to to win the World Championship, but McLaren drove for points in Brazil and did what they needed to beat Ferrari. No reflection on Massa.


Button's situation is not unlike Massa's of last year and indeed it was a situation that James Allen referred to a lot last year. 2008 was probably Massa's one and only chance to be the world champion. It's like this for Button this year. As a consequence pressure and questionable statements come to the fore.

With the likes of Alonso and Hamilton you know that they will be challenging for wdc again and again.


After Schumacher's retirement, the plan was for Kimi to be their number one driver and his lagging performance allowed Massa to be their de facto number one. He's a fine driver, but best suited for a support role. Massa has to be out of his mind if he thinks that he will be treated the same as Alonso. This is a double world champion with great instincts for developing a car who is coming with a fist full of cash from Santander.

I had a lot of respect for Massa after Brazil last year. He conducted himself with grace and dignity. He is now slowly but surely negating that.


Why is everyone assuming Kimi was lagging at Ferrari? Maybe Massa was simply quicker!! He beat Schumi at his best several times in '06. So i would think Kimi would be easier to handle.


That is a good point, but you have to remember that schumi was at the end of his carreer and kimi tends to show more interest at certain circuits than he does at others. Also don't forget that kimi basically had to park the car in china last year to let massa past. Kimi is fast when kimi wants to be. Massa is fast when kimi kind of checks out for the weekend.


This is brilliant. The 09 season isn't over and there is already tension. Soon we will be hearing statements like 'they get on really well and often play games on the playstation against each other.'

This season has been okay but like a lot of people I am waiting for the fun and games of next year, the bitching, the scandal, the politics, the back stabbing, oh the joy!!!!

Meanwhile back at McLaren Lewis & Kimi will be racing hard and will eclipse Ferrari and the rest of the teams.

Will that is my 'hunch'


What?!? You don't think this season has had 'bitching, scandal, politics and back stabbing'!!!?

Have you been watching a different sport from the rest of us???


Point taken. Yes there has been bucketloads of scandal, politics etc but I prefer racing, overtaking and in-fighting!

2007 with Hamilton v Alonso was brilliant and the racing was quite good too.

This year has been too much about getting to the first corner. Imagine if there wasn't KERS? The only overtaking would be Jenson's first lap moves!!!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Re Martin Whitmarsh's comments: I feel that Massa will not be allowed to win. It will be Alonso for WDC or nothing. I don't think that Javier Botin will be too pleased if Massa does a Hamilton and embarrases Alonso. Fernando will go straight to Uncle Javier to complain and Ferrari will also feel like fools for paying multiples of Alonso's salary.

Spain still has a colonial attitude to South America. Spanish Santander did not pump in millions to see some Brazilian underdog win and belittle their idol.


No one has mentioned that Martin Whitsmarsh was Ron Dennis' deputy in 2007 and Fernando has said a few time his problems were with Ron not with Lewis.

Also when Ron Dennis accused Fernando of threatening re: Ferrari data, was after MM was fined by FIA. In my opinion, he wanted to use Fernando as scapegoat.



But FIAT sell a lot more cars in Brazil than Spain. Santander money are peanuts compared to that.


This is a very good point. This is one of the reasons Mika Kallio didn't get past the first stages of discussions with the Yamaha Tech 3 team as they felt Ben Spies would sell much more bikes in the US, than Mika Kallio in Finland, not to mention worldwide. It's business, I am sure this was a contributing factor to Kimi leaving as well. Apart from the salary of course.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Sorry, I meant Emilio not Javier! Javier is another famous Spanish banker for M&B.


It will be very very interesting to see the dynamics between Massa and Alonso next season *, provided Massa is fit enough etc, etc.

And also who Schumi "consults" with\to.

I can't imagine Alonso, like Kimi, being overly enamoured with Schumi contributing.

And I can't see Rob Smedley being too happy either... I'm sure he'll be "coaching" Massa to win.

* - in fact, next season there will be lots of driver changes, with lots of new possibilities for friction and fireworks.


Reading the blogs of the journalists that were there with masss, it seems like it said that naturally and after some questioning about it. It didnt look like something said to the public in some sort of mind game.

Ive read 4 blogs with that same opinion. from people who were there at the moment.


I suppose Renault caused the fuel rig to stick to the car. Fernando must have known about that one too. I really hope down the line Felipe will win a championship. Otherwise he will be digging up this scenario for the rest of his career.

I don't think Ferrari would put up with this sort of talk all season.


after these comments, I keep my fingers crossed for Alonso. A sore loser, Massa is.


Massa is just a simple man. I am not implying anything negative here. He is simple in the terms of saying what is on his mind without too much thinking of consequences. He cannot be schooled in this area and so Ferrari then has to explain to people what he meant playing things down a lot.

It was never going to be easy between this two (FA and FM), was it?

Massa looks like he is being kept on a short lead at the moment with the muzzle on. Was he unleashed he would bite to the bone. Such is his frustration. Alonso meanwhile stays calm and I think he is, in deed, a better mind game player than Massa. It all plays to the hands of Withmarsh and others though.


well, Alonso has had more practice in mind games so he should be better


I recall that the entire Macca factory "fell in love" (per Ron) with Fernando when he arrived and spoke to the workforce saying that he'd always dreamed of driving a McLaren....

And here we are again and he'll be saying the same thing to the Ferrari guys...

Deja vu...

BUT.... although Ferrari love the heart on your sleeve stuff in favour of the team they really, really won't like the criticism that Fred sends their way in public if things don't go his way... he really has a "Toys out of the pram" personality rather than the "Behind closed doors" approach that suited Ferrari and Michael...

So perhaps Massa is not being too silly upsetting and unsettling Teflonso before he arrives... I wonder if he's discussed it with Rob?.... funny how this came out just after he's been at Maranello with Rob and somehow I can see this as the start of a very specific campaign to make sure Felipe turns out to be top-dog.... or, at the very least, not bottom dog...

Massa will do anything for Ferrari...

Fernando will do anything for .... Fernando...

And I think that could well swing things in Felipe's favour long term....


The problem was not Fernando when he was in MM, and not certainly Lewis. The big problem was Ron Dennis. Ron Dennis decided to support Lewis over Fernando, with Lewis getting the best strategies,or the last flying lap in Q3.

James, I remenber ITV in 2007 reported that Fernando smashed some doors in MM motorhome after being outqualified by Lewis in China. However, the Spanish press reported he did that after asking what was the pressure tyres in his car.Apparently they were wrong. Could you bring light to that?


He did it after qualifying in Shanghai and it may well have been something to do with tyre pressures, now you mention it, I do seem to remember something about that.


Great post.


Every single minded driver like Alonso will do anything for himself.

Look at the history of F1 and think about these names.

Schumacher, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Stewart, Gilles Villenueve, Fangio to name some

They all moved to the fastest car available to win races and champoinship.

Schumacher was told by the media that he has been foolish to go to Ferrari, I am italian and lived in Italy at the time.

He knew that only Ferrari had the budget to be competitive again, Alonso is the same, he knows that Ferrari will bend backwards to win titles and he is one of the best drivers of his generation.

Massa has been a no 2 before under Schumacher era and I will be not surprised if he will bottle it again under Alonso pressure.

Massa's comments could signal a little weakness by him before actually the 2 will start working together


"I recall that the entire Macca factory “fell in love” (per Ron) with Fernando when he arrived and spoke to the workforce saying that he’d always dreamed of driving a McLaren….

And here we are again and he’ll be saying the same thing to the Ferrari guys…"

Alonso has said many times that his biggest dream was to drive for McLaren. Going to drive a Ferrari next season, will not make his childhood dream disappear, doesn't it?

No deja vu here, just you seeing a future as it seems.


Yes i think you've got it. It seems strange that all of these comments should come around as soon as he see's Rob.

I think a war is on, but a track war, not more.


Massa needs to get over last year and fast. He is already sounding like a sore loser and his latest comments are further proof that he fears Alonso.

Ferrari will pull behind Alonso more than McLaren did and I think that is key this time round.

Bring on 2010!


I`m sure that he knew nothing about it,in the same way that He,Pedro de la rosa & Lewis Hamilton knew nothing about the information stolen from Ferrari !


Nice for Massa not rolling over and playing dead. Everybody knows Alonso knew, but it just can't be proven.


Ah, let the mind games begin!

Here's to hoping Massa kicks Teflonso's ass next year, though I have a feeling its more likely to be the other way round.

All we need now is Kimi back in a Mclaren and it is going to be one epic battle next year 🙂


Felipe sounds a tad intimidated by Alonso's arrival. I like Felipe, but I hope Fernando beats him soundly!


There is this aura that Alonso will be able to do at what Raikkonen was unable to do at Ferrari. Raikkonen didn't bring major sponsorship with him, hence he didn't have that financial stake and bargaining power to obtain the leadership or preference role. Therefore, Massa has legitimate reason to be worried, if he is worried in fact.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this situation is, in many ways, dissimilar to Schumacher's arrival to Ferrari in 1996.

My personal opinion is that both Raikkonen and Alonso are very close in terms of driving talent. It is the Santander deal which causes me to presume that Massa may encounter difficulties next year with Alonso as his teammate.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I agree completely. Santander are the ones that made everything happen and a debt must be repaid to them.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Ferrari have made such an epic mistake in taking on Alonso and dumping Raikkonen that it could well rip apart the team and do damage to it for a number of seasons. Alonso and Massa are both hot-headed and impetuous and will incite a massive civil war within the team, a civil war that Massa's just started.

On another note, I've lost a lot of respect for Massa since he's banged on about the Singapore incident. He is basically implying that Hamilton is an unworthy champion. Without the crashgate incident, Hamilton likely would have raced with a different strategy in the last three races of the year. He probably wouldn't have dive bombed Raikkonen on the start at Fuji because he would have needed guaranteed points, and he and McLaren surely would have raced with a more aggressive strategy at Interlagos than the one they employed.

The fact is that Massa did plenty to give away the championship, including his wreck in Oz, his spin while in second at Sepang, his spin while leading in Monaco, his absolutely rubbish performance at Silverstone, etc.. His implication that Hamilton is an unworthy champion is disrespectful and reflects poorly on him.


Massa is not saying Hamilton is not worth. But he is saying he lost the Championship himself but for one stupid action by a mid ranking team. Of course, one less error within Ferrari in 2008 would have also delivered Massa the Championship. Or one more McLaren error could have delivered Massa the Championship. If only Heikki had been stronger than Hamilton. If. If. If.

Massa did make a mistake even mentioning it again. No failure in losing the Championship by 1 point to a bloody good driver.


well said david


This is simply great, bring on 2010!!

I've never been so excited for a new season, it's potential is staggering!


The difference between Alonso and Massa is that Massa drives for his dream of Ferrari while Alonso drives for Fernando Alonso.

Massa has the power base at Ferrari (since 2003) and Alonso knows it.


Maybe people should stop analysing all of this and just concentrate on what he is saying.

Alonso was in on it.


Having known Fernando, the evil warrior, don't you think this might in fact work against Massa? If Fernando gets a sniff of the fact that Felipe is still loosing his sleep over 2008, he might just make sure everytime they come face to face, Felipe gets more enraged. This way he might be just able to get under the skin of Felipe and slowly but steadily throw him off-track.


2010: Alonso's first year at Ferarri, and Massa's last. It will be a shame for Massa, but Alonso will never be his "team mate", just his closest rival, and the man who will force Massa out the door.


Raikkonen came to Ferrari and Massa sent him packing.

Bye Bye Alonso.


Nothing wrong with that IMO. All racers should be in F1 to win and that includes beating their teammate. One Kovalainen in the paddock is enough, thanks very much.


Massa being able to handle Alonso...hmmm Time flies so fast, it was just a short time ago that it was Kimi that Massa wouldn't be able to handle.

He (Massa) runs a hot blood in those veins as most of his Countrymen do, Senna was a quiet? Barrichello didn't speak up this year? Piquet never spoke out or up?

I remember Massa confronting Alonso at a certain weigh-in not so long ago. Can't handle him?

I have enjoyed a love hate relationship watching Alonso, I recall hearing him run the jawbone a bit during his first year as champ against a Michael Schumacher in which I thought, just get in the car and drive as well.

It's good for personality and I agree with those that have said, Massa is Ferrari thru and thru and I believe that goes both ways.

One thing is for sure, Ferrari will have the talent next year, lets hope they have the car.


Ferrari always wanted Alonso, but he pulled a fast one on Todt and went to drive for Renault after agreeing to be a test driver for a year.

Massa got that job instead and when MS retired, Todt was no way going to have Alonso on board (especially as he had agreed to go to Mclaren) so he chose the next best thing and that was Kimi.

Once Todt had stepped down, the tide began to turn against Kimi, especially given what had gone on at Mclaren. Kimi knew this and signed for another year in 2010, so Santander bought him out, as planned by Kimi.

Now Ferrari have the driver they wanted all along, whose role was filled by Massa due to Todt. Kimi was never the replacement for MS that they wanted, it was Alonso.

Massa ought to have thought about this or perhaps he did and has decided to come out fighting.


It's not the first time Felipe mouths off making himself look very questionable.

As an another example, he badmouthed Kimi before the start of this season. I wondered at the time why he feels the need to do that. Kimi never said a bad thing about him in the public as far as I know. I guessed that they possibly are knowing that Alonso is coming in and have to decide who to drop - hence why Felipe would feel a need to start a smearing campaign against Kimi.

I think it showed Felipe is a weak character. And I expect he will lose his marbles with Alonso completely, because Alonso is not like Kimi at all personality-wise.

In fact I saw such weakness in Felipe already in 2007. You could very clearly read from his face whether he was ahead of Kimi or not in qualifying. It was like his self-confidence went hugely up if he was ahead, and then if he was behind Kimi, it went hugely down. It was so clearly readable from his face and from his comments. People like Kimi are very hard to read - they have a very solid self-confidence and are not rattled by such silly little things like who is ahead in qualifying.


Massa has always struggled with the opinion of many that he was/is not talented enough to have a seat at Ferrari.

He has done a great deal to dispel this talk, but having AF brought into the team and the effort Ferrari made to make it happen will have upset his already delicate self belief.

Here is a man who has the typical fiery Brazilian blood coursing through his veins, a bump to his head and way too much time on his hands.

With the pain still burning from his near miss at possibly his only real shot for the WDC and the time to dwell upon a world of 'what if's', you will get this type of talk.

It's sad, but if he doesn't get good advice, he might just talk himself out of a seat.


Hi James! Like the others have stated, I too would like to thank you for making this story more appreciable by injecting it with your thoughtful insight. Well done! ...Call me "old school" or even an "out-of-touch idealist" but I personally believe the number 1 status in any team should be earned rather than demanded by anyone as a prerequisite before signing on. It's for this reason I couldn't understand the many posts I've read in various forums of how unjustly some people feel Alonso was treated by Ron Dennis in McLaren '07. What's with all the questions about sharing data with your teammate? Isn't that what you're supposed to do within your team and what Alonso was being paid handsomely for? I still think Alonso could easily have annexed his 3rd WC 2 years ago had he only kept his nose to the grindstone and avoided getting too emotional. ...Back to this business of the number 1 and leadership status at Ferrari; I seriously doubt any parallel in Alonso2k10 with Schumi'96 as I don't/can't recall Michael bringing along a major sponsor with him to underwrite or buy that #1 status for him. Schumi earned it.


I believe Massa is doing nothing wrong by saying this. He has every right to do so.

I just want to know, what was the actual reason Ferrari fired Kimi? They really weren't blaming him for a bad performance this year were they? It was the cars fault and not his because Massa didn't do that much better.


Indeed, he wasn't fired. They needed Kimi to agree to it. So technically, he wasn't fired, as he agreed to cancel the contract for 2010.

I seriously doubt Ferrari would have actually fired him had he decided to be stubborn and insist he has a contract and that he isn't going to cancel it. Can you image Ferrari wanting to go to court over something like that? Extremely unlikely! Hence why I think Kimi was exactly right when he maintained it is his decision.


They didn't fire him, they wanted Santander's money and Santander bought Kimi out. Kimi has already banked more money for next season than most drivers will earn, without his pay from whoever he chooses to drive for next.


I'm a Massa fan and i know that Ferrari have made a mistake firing Raikkonen. They dont need Alonso, Massa and Raikkonen were perfect and succesful.


This is just the outbursts of a driver that knows he is outclassed in every single way by Alonso. Because he wont be able to beat him on the track Massa is trying to wage a war of psychology to level the playing field.

Massa is not a champion driver and I do not believe he has ever put in the hard yards to earn a Ferrari seat, Barrichello is a better driver and in 2011 i will hope that Ferrari replace him with Vettel or Kubica to compliment someone of Alonso's calibre.


I love F1! Bottom line, all the drivers will turn on each other given the chance. You don't make it into F1 by being a nice guy.


...unless your name is Jenson Button.


This is why I prefer Raikkonen; he doesn't get involved in these head games with people.


Agreed! He is mentally very strong. And I think a lot of people pretty much completely misunderstand his personality - but of course that's fine with Kimi 🙂 it's not like it matters to him if others are misunderstanding.


There may be trouble ahead (da da).

But while there's Alonso and Massa,

there'll be no love and romance.

The toys are gonna leave the prams (da da).


one interesting thing i just thought about was

that - Alonso started having problems only during the middle of the season after moving to Mclaren and it largely had to do (according to my belief) with Hamilton being competetive and mclaren denying him no.1 status!

till the fifth race(monaco) it was all hunky dory!

4- 5 races down the season was when people started thinking seriously Lewis was also championship material!

Now in ferrari, his problems have already started.... we know massa can be competetive... this is a different mind game for Alonso too.... lets see how long he remains/acts "cool" to Massa's comments (I am sure he is not going to sit quietly) :-)!!!


Problems at McLaren started in Melbourne when Alonso's family were overwhelmed by the team's support to Hamilton while watching the race.

They didn't last long, soon they moved to Renault's and watched the races there as the Maclaren's lack of support for Alonso was unbearable ... they were racing Fernando after all


Actually, Lewis triggered a FIA investigation in Monaco, British press and Ron Dennis did the rest. MM started to try Fernando as an outsider. In the second half of the season Fernando outscored Lewis.


Unfortunately for Massa, I think that Alonso has the sort of personality which thrives on the creating situations of tension and conflict. This recent outburst does nothing more than indicate that Massa is unsettled about the prospect of Alonso arriving. I don't think Alonso will be anything other than pleased about that.


James, just one question for you and i hope you can answer, is Alonso as a person not as a racing driver popular within the Paddock


Difficult to answer. He has a lot of admirers, gets on well with pit crews and so on, but he's quite an introverted character, keeps himself to himself


Keeping himself to himself hasn't done Kimi any favours at Ferrari.


Because they don't trust him, and who could blame them.


James, on another topic. Given your Italian connections, I'm surprised you have posted nothing on the N.Technology case against the FIA ?


Waiting to see the outcome.


reading all of this I just hope Kimi in McLaren beats all these cry-babies masssas and allonsas.


Maybe Alonso was involved.

Anyone think of that?????????????????


Just seems like a lot of angry-little-man syndrome


Massa's comments appear to be a mixture of sour grapes (over the lost title) and gamesmanship (as you pointed out). Ultimately, di Montezemolo and Domenicali have quite a few millions of euros invested in the new arrangement, and I suspect they won't tolerate too many fits of temper by the drivers. Di Montezemolo seems like a canny sort, to say the least, and I suspect he might handle anhy potential team mate friction with a bit more finesse than was the case with Ron Dennis at McLaren in 2007. In any event, both drivers simply need to get on with the program if the Scuderia are to have a shot at the title next year.


I hope massa puts one over over on Alonso, being a gifted driver dosn't give you the right to be an arse. I also hope that Kimi and Lewis fight for title next year with Massa... that would really hurt, but I suspect it will be a fight with Alonso though.....

James you are the best F1 Journo of the minute. Shame it didn't translate to a comentator. Please keep the blog going though!


Maybe the FIA are prepared to look the other way re Alonso's involvement in Singapore as a 'Thank You' for helping them nail McLaren?

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