F1 Winter Break
Massa: “If I felt I’d lost Ferrari’s support I would quit”
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Sep 2011   |  7:24 am GMT  |  142 comments

There’s an awkward interview in El Pais, the leading Spanish daily paper, which was done during the Spa weekend with Felipe Massa and which slipped under the radar.

Reading it through, it seems very familiar; a newspaper goes to interview the underachieving team mate of its national hero and asks him how he feels about being beaten by their man. For Massa in this scenario you could insert any driver down the years who has found himself paired with an ace.

However Massa is slightly different in that he was a contender; 11 times a Grand Prix winner, he almost won the 2008 world championship, thought he had in fact for about 30 seconds after victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix, until Lewis Hamilton scrabbled past Timo Glock into the fifth place he needed to snatch the title away from him.

Massa’s dignity in defeat that day was the most impressive memory of the whole occasion. And so it is today, faced with a Spanish journalist wanting to know what has changed since that 2008 season when Massa won six races.

“Nothing, I am exactly the same,” says the 30 year old Brazilian. “It is true that I have not got the results since then, but I have the same ambition and determination.”

Of course, two significant life changing things have happened since then; he had a huge accident where a spring from another car hit him in the face, taking him out for the second half of 2009 and then he became a father for the first time. Massa says that neither of these things has slowed him down.

“These two things give you a lot of experience, but none of it affects me when I get into the car – at that point you do not remember anything. I forget about my son, my wife, my father and mother. Michael (Schumacher) won many titles as a parent. People talk about it too much – although it is true that these two years have been the most intense of my life.”

Massa says that he feels he has the “full support” of Ferrari and that the moment he feels he no longer has it, “I will quit immediately.”

The facts are that the last two races have seen an upturn in Massa’s fortunes, certainly in terms of finding his speed. He has qualified ahead of Alonso in Hungary and Spa, although on both occasions he’s gone on to finish behind the Spaniard; in Spa a puncture spoiled his race.

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I don't really know what people think in other countries, but here in Spain many people (specially Alonso's fans) don't understand why Ferrari keep Massa as their #2 driver. He obviously can't compete with Fernando's speed and skill, but neither can he compete with any of the other top teams' drivers. Vettel has a huge lead in the WDC, then Web-Alo-But-Ham are packed (21 points between Web and Ham)... and then we find Massa, 72 points adrift. I wouldn't call that being competitive.


That's funny because when I read the F1 related comments in AS and Marca, I note that many Spanish fans wonder the same thing...about Alonso! Seems to Spanish fans are "envidiosos" and don't support their own.


One wonders whether Ferrari and Alonso want a more competitive driver or whether they are happy with a team player, someone that will move out of the way for Alonso when asked.

Hamilton and Vettel look to be two of the best drivers on the grid. Lets assume thy came into Ferrari. What would happen? We've seen already how Alonso copes with competitive team mates and it's not exactly pretty! Nor is it conducive to a good team harmony.

If you ask me I think Ferrari and Alonso are delighted to have a team player like Massa on board, someone that knows the team well, can offer good feedback, will tow the party line and doesn't rock the boat.

Why change that and bring someone like Webber into the team who would shout about injustice every 5 minutes or Hamilton who would likely beat Alonso (or at least match him) and then have Alonso imploding?

I reckon they're happy as they are.


Well Michael, I don't agree with your comment about Ham and Vet being "the two best drivers". Put any of the currant F1 drivers in the RB and they would all be winning! (Well most of them) When you've got the best car, you've got to win. We haven't seen Wetal faced with actually racing because he starts from the front due to RB's cunning qualifying tricks. As for Ham, a "good" driver has good races (evan if he doesn't win, but the Ham stufs up his races with ill-judged mooves, he needs to tidy up his act, then we can say he is a good driver!



Possibly but it's not a good strategy for the constructor's championship (and let's not forget that's where the money is). Red Bull & McLaren have two strong drivers and expect both to be picking up good points every week.

I feel sorry for Massa, I think he was a far better driver before his accident, but in ruthless world of F1 there is no room for compassion and I'm astonished Ferrari haven't found a replacement before now.


You say that but that strategy worked perfectly well with Schumacher in the team. The second driver needs to be just good enough, but ultimately it comes down to the car, if the car was a Red Bull then Massa would be good enough to support both Alonso and Ferrari. You put Webber or Hamilton in that car (for example) there would be fireworks.


Strange that Massa would compare himself to the Kaiser.

Incidents affect people differently for instance some drivers lose some of their speed once they become parents (The reason Jenson said he doesn't want to settle down at the moment) while other drivers such as Schumi become even better.

Also some drivers become more fearless after a serious crash while other drivers lose some of their speed (fingers crossed for Kubica)

So all in all, I think becoming a parent & the Hungary accident affected Massa for he definitely isn't the 2008 & 2009 (First half) driver.

Massa is just about to lose Ferrari's support I say for his biggest friend (who was crucial in getting him the drive in the first place) - Schumi has left the team already.

Now drivers who will never win another WDC

Massa - The way he lost the 2008 title just goes to show the F1 gods said NO!!!

Schumi - The way he lost the 2006 title just goes to show he shouldn't have unretired

Alonso - The way he lost the 2010 title just goes to show his 2006 title was his last for unlike Hamilton in 2007, time isn't on his side


'the way schumi lost the 2006 title'?

what, coming from 26 points behind alonso to lead the championship after a terrific win in China, only to lose it due to a blown engine in Japan.

If anything he should have carried on and retired in 2010.


Wow, some list you put together. If there was ever a list of ones that got away, this is it.

2008 - Don't get me started on the validity of Singapore 2008 result being allowed to stand in the championship.

2006 - Engines blow. Remember those days when reliability was still a factor and you wondered if a driver would make it to the end?

2010 - This one just hurts. You only get one chance to win your title as a first year Ferrari driver. Alonso may be #1, but oh boy, did Ferrari let him down on that one.

Thank you goferet for reminding us how many Ferrari gave away recently.


hmmmm... go back and look at lap times from Brazil 2006. I seem to recall a driver, on average, was more than a second a lap faster than the field in dry conditions... his name, Michael Schumacher


Not to brag, but I was at that amazing race. Been luck to see Monaco and Brazil 2006 Schumi drives in person. Strategy and determination, and that move on Kimi on last lap into the esses - just lovely stuff.

What I was referring to is what jonnyd said below - that sad sad (for Schumi fans) Japan blow-up right after the pit stop. Which reminds me...about above mentioned Massa's class in defeat at Brazil 2008 - he probably learned it from Schumi in Japan 2006. Remember how he went to the garage and thanked each and every member of the team after loosing the championship on a mechanical engine failure? Schumi came a long way from his early bump and run days.


2 things

1) Kubica's crash took him out for 1 race. Massa's was half a season. Slightl difference. 1 month and he was back racing. 8 months and he was back racing.

2) Massa, might improve. Schumacher is nowhere near his Ferrari days. Alonso, WTF? He scored more than anyone in the later half of the season, nearly won and was in the 3rd best car as opposed to Vettel and Webber in the best and Hamilton and Button in the 2nd best.

He sprinted in dragging Ferrari and the car with him, how that is a sign of him failing is beyond belief. It's easier to see Hamilton as crashing around, he lost 2010 arguably because he crash in Monza and was too optimistic about a pass in Singapore and crashed. or Button who lost to his teammate and failed to win again after the first 4 races, or Webber who did that, but was leading the charge the longest.

I'm not an Alonso or Hamilton fan, but saying that Alonso, voted as the best on the grid by the Team Principles of 2010, wont win a WDC again, is ridiculous


Dude. you need to get your facts straight. Schuey has passed more cars this season THEN ANY OTHER driver! Schuey is in a barely top 10 car and yet you look at his race pace... completely there... Obviously a fair weather Schuey fan at best or a punter at worst.


Which facts?

Schumacher is being well beaten by his teammate. His teammate who most don't consider to be the best out there. 56 points Rosberg 42 Schumacher. That means for every 4 points Rosberg gets, Schumacher gets 3.

Last year it was even great 142 vs 72.

Schumacher was only scoring about half the points Rosberg did.

Sure Schumacher may have had a good race for him last time,e but over the last 1.5 seasons or even since the start of this season he hasn't been even close.


I thought it was Button who had the most passes so far this year?


Yet still he's still behind Rosberg on points. Explain that.


Your thinking of the wrong Kubica crash, goferet was refering to the rally crash, not Montreal 2007.


lol yeah man, completely forgot about this one, just haven't seen him in ages. Always think of Kubica crash as Canada (or Kanada for you polish people I think)...

Misread the OP, I doubt Kubica will be full speed when he returns.


Umm, Kubica has been out all season, no?


I don't think he was referring to Kubica's Canda crash, but rather his current situation.


James it is true that Massa has not been the same since 2008, infact I was suprised Ferrari held him in such high esteem when they signed him in the first place.

He is number 2 at the team, just like Webber is number 2 at Redbull.

What I would like to see is more young drivers pick to be the number 2 driver in strong teams.

I would be suprised if Massa see out his current contract, he has not pushed Alonso in any races except Germany last year.


Massa has clearly moved over for Alonso at least once this year too.


I could be worng but I think Felipe's title run was a bit over-rated. I think he had a faster car than the McLaren that year and Kimi was clearly done with the sport having already won the title. Don't get me wrong, you still have to be good to win races and Felipe, on song, is that - it's just that he is no Alonso, Schumi or Hamilton.


I think Felipe’s title run was a bit over-rated. I think he had a faster car than the McLaren that year

>> You surely must be joking Ms/r/s. Wayne 2008 McLaren was the best car in all conditions, and especially in the low temperature and variable weather conditions races where McLaren clearly had better traction out of corners.

2008 barring the opening flyaway leg, every race was at lower track/ambient temperatures where Ferrari was struggling and McLaren car at its best. It was not till final 3 races that Ferrari gave the final push in its development and solved the tyre issues in low temp races. Additionally Ferrari strategists didn't do favor to their drivers by going for dry weather setup in wet races like Silverstone.

It was only in Brazil did the Ferrari car looked confident in wet conditions.

So to claim 2008 Ferrari was better car than McLaren is big insult to the smart guys at woking who after the miserable run till 2006 season have produced proven race winner year after year. even when their car is not best out of the box like 2009 season, that team with hard work of Gary Paffett on the best simulator on the grid has come up with best upgrades.

Compare that with any other team on the grid, who are simply not able to ferret out the fundamental flaw with their cars over the season (e.g Ferrari again this season struggling on medium/hard compounds and in low temperatures), I tip my hat off to the McLaren technical team. As someone who is not a McLaren fan, I do envy the technical superiority McLaren has and good leadership after controversial Ron Dennis has left F1 team.

Lewis is really blessed to be driving for the team in their best years, else you had likes of Kimi, and JPM who are best racers, drivers with amazing raw speed and proven race winners, but had to be in the woking team at wrong phase of the team's life.

So please don't make random statements to make certain driver good than he really is. Lewis no doubt is amazing racer, but he has been blessed to have a team that is 100% behind him and watches his back on his occasional On-track and off-track gaffes. If he was not personal project of Ron Dennis, Ron was always notorious to throw the drivers under the bus end of the season to cover up for the bad cars he gave them, something that neither him nor Martin have done to Lewis when he bungled so many times in his yet growing career.


A touch over emotional do you not think? Whether the Mclaren or the Ferrari was faster that year is a subject that devides even the inner circle of F1 (and I base my assertion on those pundits who agree that the Ferrari was overall a faster car) so my statement was not 'random' or 'designed to make one driver look better'.

Niether is it an insult to Woking to say that the Ferrari was quicker. There is always a 'quicker' car, it is not insulting to suggest so.

My opinion differs from yours, that's what this sight is for! Your emotional outburst about 'random statements' isn't warrented my friend.


Nkameth, we do not come here to 'argue' but to offer our opinions. You know mine and I know yours. Not every opinion has to be fully researched and justified, posting here is a fun leisure activity not a job mate.


A touch over emotional do you not think? Whether the Mclaren or the Ferrari was faster that year is a subject that devides even the inner circle of F1 (and I base my assertion on those pundits who agree that the Ferrari was overall a faster car)

>> back with references plz, I have gone at length the illustrate why and how the McLaren car was best of that season. Have recorded all the races in that season (given that I am a Lewis fan myself) and every race with lower track temperature and variable condition, you can see Ferrari having same issues they are having this season on low temps. And barring the the first leg of fly away races most races were run in low temp, variable conditions.

I have just stated the facts based on data and not randomly taken refuge in views of paid pundits (and not even bother quoting the names).

So re-read the entire post and understand the difference between argument based on data and vague random statements.


Massa did not help himself in Germany last year, he capitulated. Webber has set the example for forthright, principled drivers fighting their corner and Massa showed none of the same spirit? Would Webber have let Alonso through at that stage of the season - no I do n ot believe he would have. Is Felipe driving to win or just taking part?


I think that Massa would've been sacked if he didn't let Alonso past, particularly considering that towards the end of the year, when contract decisions would've been made, those 7 points looked like they were going to be crucial.


So racing just to take part then.


Massa biggest gift is his charming skills with Ferrari. He has always been just another average F1 driver but managed to have a great lengthy career in Ferrari. Where as genuine talents like Kimi gets paid out...


You do know that Massa outscored Kimi by 18 points in their 2.5 years together?


No Massa was just charming, the race director and live TV feed to make him look good than the Finn...



I don't believe Massa's speed has ever changed. He was slower than Fisi when they were team mates,then paried with Schumacher, he was slower, there's the myth that he pushed him, but the figure don't back that up at all. We all saw What Alonso did to Fisi in terms of speed, so its not suprising Massa is getting buried. The problem is, he was paired with Kimi whom everyone assumed Kimi was the quickest man in F1, it looked like Massa found half a second, now kimi's gone, its looks like he's lost half second. The most realistic answer is kimi just wasn't that fast, at least not at Ferrari.


To say Kimi wasn't fast at Ferrari is absurd. 9 race wins in 3 seasons, a far better record than 9 wins from 5 seasons at McLaren. Add to that numerous poles and a whole boat load of fastest laps.

Kimi, possibly barring Vettel would still be the fastest man in F1 today were he to return.


sent 2 days ago, why is it still awaiting moderation?


I think it is down to the Ferrari's Kimi drove being understeery monsters.


Massa is only a sure bet for a win when he has the fastest car and pole position. In the pack he tends to be clumsy and does not appear to have the knack of working his way through to win or improve his result. He looked good in 2008 as Kimi went to sleep but if you look at certain races he looked pretty average then too when he was not at the front.

Massa will always be a good no. 2 but only a no. 1 can win races when the car should not and there are only a handful of drivers who have done that in recent years (MS, KR, FA and LH).


This sounds a lot like the current criticism of Vettel.

Much like Vettel, I think Massa can win in many different conditions, the first obstacle is that the Ferrari isn't nearly good enough. He was on course to win last year, but this year's Ferrari isn't as competitive as the F10 was. The second obstacle is Alonso, who has completely centered the team on himself.

Schumacher was able to help Massa, Kimi was able to work well with him, and those results showed. 2nd in the Constructor's Championship in 06, 1st in 07 and 08.

If Alonso were truly great he would find a way to elevate Felipe's game. Last season Ferrari finished 3rd in the standings due to this deficiency and barring a miracle they will have the same result this season as well.


I like Massa but I read a few weeks ago that he was one of the only drivers to welcome the forced ban on DRS at Eau Rouge.

Somehow I cant quite respect him in the same way after that.

Not because I don't agree with the ban but the fact he was public in welcoming it made me not want to watch him drive any more.


So you must not like or respect Senna then, by your logic.


ElliottB Did they have DRS in Senna's day?

Must have missed that.


That's missing my point. Massa was one of the few drivers calling for it banned under safety concerns, much like Senna called for changes of larger scale during his career. Heck, other drivers called for the banning of DRS through the tunnel of Monaco this year. All for safety. I was drawing parallels to the desire for safety, not the parallels of DRS and something else. And if you read the post I was replying to, you'd have read his final sentence where he was specific in stating he lost respect for Massa because he was public about his concerns.


So in effect what Massa is saying is that he's just not good enough. He has underperformed Alonso in almost every single race. His best finish to date this season is 5th. There is no way to justify such a dismal performance. What a waste of a seat!


Agreed and what makes it worse is that a driver like Giorgio Pantano was never really given a chance to compete for a seat.


Surely you aren't suggesting Pantano would perform better in the Ferrari than Massa?

I think it is sad Pantano wasn't given a second chance in F1, but let's be realistic.

People seem so keen to give away Massa's seat, but really fail to analyze the current driver market, under which I don't believe a suitable replacement yet exists.


I have no idea how Pantano would perform vs. Massa. That's the point. All I know for sure is that Massa has not been meeting expectations. In football he would have been benched. Obviously, its not that easy in F1, but the only way we know if Pantano can surpass Massa is by putting him in the seat. Anything else is mere speculation and you don't earn points for speculating.


I for one would love to see Felipes upturn in fortune continue.

You dont suddenly go from being a person who was 1 lap away frow the WDC to being someone who cant cut it.

If anything, he appears one of the drivers that needs an arm round the shoulder.

As with most top teams though, there will be time at which their patience runs out if Felipe isnt consistently points scoring.

The fact remains that Fernando is (in my view) one of the very best in this sport and I think the most complete package as a driver at present, so being beaten by him is not actually a massive surprise. Its being close to him that is important.


Alonso and Vettel definitely are a cut above all other drivers on the grid. I sometimes wonder how Massa would perform against a Jenson Button or a Nico Rosberg.

In the Kimi years, I thought Massa was faster but far less consistent. Kimi crashing at both Spa and Singapore ruled him out of the title race in 2008. Then in 2009, he appeared to be faster and more consistent than Kimi. He also lost a lot when his mentor, Schumacher, decided to resume racing

One also wonders how Fernando would have performed in the Ferrari that year. I suspect that car would have won more than the one race.

Ferrari need Massa to score more points than he had since his return. Let's hope his upturn carries on.


I'm yet to be convinced that Seb is better than the likes of Lewis and Jenson if I am honest (obviously open to furious debate potential).

I have no doubt that given the Redbull for the last two seasons, either Jenson or Lewis would have been a double world champion (as seb will be).

Thats not to say Vettel is not getting there in terms of being a top line driver. I personally just dont think he's yet reached the level or consistency of Alonso.


I honestly think if you put Button, Hamilton, Massa or Alonso in a RedBull they would easily challenge for the Championship. The car is that good.

But I also honestly think that none of them would out perform Vettel in the same car. He is proving to truly be in a league of his own.


I think he has reached a trememdous level of consistency since Japan last year.

Look at the comparison between him and Webber (who is no slouch himself) this year: it's staggering!

The guy is a monster. His results read 1-1-2-1-1-1-2-1-2-4-2-1 and has 9 poles, 2 front row and one third spot starts out of a possble 12.

Being located in Sydney, it hurts a little bit seeing a driver you support being beaten badly by his team mate (I feel for you Felipe fans) but you've got to admit that Vettel is just amazing (besides that finger gesture after winning pole or race of course!).


Surely the other way around vs Kimi - Massa slower but more consistent?


Sorry, Massa seems faster in 2008 and 2009. In 2007 and early 08, Kimi was definitely faster AND more consistent than Massa.

I think it changed from his win in Bahrain 2008. Kimi never looked as comfortable as Massa from then on. Massa still had the occasional uninspired race such as Italy or China in 2008, but he was on fire in Brazil (possibly one of the most exciting races I was given to watch on TV), Turkey, Valencia, Hungary and Singapore despite a lack of wins for the latter two.

The trend carried on into 2009 until Hungary that is.

Then again, it is just my impression, from memory. I might have a different opinion if I'd watched those race again.


James, You can understand the quality of posters when they claim Massa who out qualified on 12 times on Pole as compared to 5 times of Kimi Raikkonen during the 2007-08 season, to be slower but consistent than Kimi.

I may not be a Kimi fan but on raw pace Kimi can only be matched by Vettel and Hamilton in my view.

And please don't respond with Kimi raikkonen's fastest race laps record in 2007-08, coz those who have followed Kimi's career should know the finn had this crazy impulse of posting a fastest lap on the final lap of the races when most of the times drivers are expected to conserve the engines-gearboxes etc since 2005.

But Kimi never paid heed to any logic of not stressing the engine when not needed (especially when he was not winning a race or fighting for position in dying seconds of race)

So those saying Kimi was faster or not interested in Massa are belittling what Massa was doing in 2006-09, these are some of the very people who do the same petty thing of belittling Vettel by attributing all his success to pole position starts...


Not much of an upturn, considering Alonso in both Belgium and Hungary was ahead of him within a couple of laps.


I don't think Massa has been the same driver since his accident. I don't know if the difference is physical or psychological, but I'm convinced he's lost maybe 0.2-0.3 seconds a lap since his peak. Alonso was quite lucky that the accident happened before he joined, as it was much easier for him to assert his dominance than it would have been against the 2008 Massa.

I actually thought the same thing happened to Ralf after his big accident: he was still quick but never quite the same. Also Hakkinen, although he was so quick he could afford to lose 0.5 s a lap and still beat everyone... 🙂


He really needs a fresh start,he looks worn out now. His lack of speed in the last 2 season is mostly psychological, in early 2010 he was much closer to Alonso's speed before lagging behind by a long way. Sadly for Massa, there aren't that many seats available in competitive teams,maybe its time to talk to his old boss,Peter Sauber.


His lack of speed in the last 2 season is mostly - Tyre changes that were implemented last season on Bridgestone trim. While both he and Schumi couldn't get their head around the change in front/rear wheel/tyre dimension and the resulting lack of grip going into corner.

And just when Pirelli Tyre compounds seemed to be working his way during the winter testing, the Pirelli compounds by regulations are designed to degrade unpredictably.

So if you have noticed a pattern with both Schumi and Massa, they seem very racy and scoring positions in first couple of laps, as the tyre starts to degrade both Schumi and Massa start to struggle, Massa looked really in good shape at Silverstone, but for strange reasons Ferrari left him out too long in every stint thus denying him a good chance to get fresh tyre and continue his good showing.


Ferrari look amateurish in the pits this season compared to RedBull. They have let both drivers down on numerous occasions, but Felipe has definitely had the brunt of the failures fall on him.

A shame really, it was a botched pitstop in Singapore that ultimately cost him the 08 title.

Whether he remains at Ferrari or not, he truly is the most unlucky driver in F1.

Grayzee (Australia)

I feel a rather important fact has been left out here. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Schumacher, in the other ferrari, out for most of the 2008 season with a broken leg?

So, how much of Massa's success was down to a great car? As much as I admire Massa, he did not really match it with Schumacher, and has only just now been able to match Alonso.

Like so many other drivers, he is very "good" but not, I think, on the level of Shuey or Alonso.

Grayzee (Australia)

Okay, guys. I will now return to THIS planet! I am not sure where I was.......

I cannot believe it has been 10 years since Shumacher broke his leg? How time flies........

Thank you all for correcting me. I am truly humbled. :-


Schumacher retired at the end of 2006.

Raikkonen in his first year at Ferrari after 4 at McLaren won the WDC. He narrowly missed twice at McLaren with horrible reliability.

Your thinking of 1999, where Hakkinen won and Irvine was the closest Ferrari (2nd).

Massa took 2005 off, and was replacing Barichello. Hence he was new to the team, inexperienced and placed next to Ferraris chosen son who had just won 5 WDC and 5 WCCs with them. Schumacher said he thought Massa showed great ability.

Massa vs Raikkonen in 2007 saw Raikkonen win the WDC and Massa helped Raikkonen near the end (110 for Raikkonen, 109 points for Hamilton and Alonso both in McLarens)

Massa vs Raikkonen in 2008 saw Raikkonen emerging okay, but Raikkonen who usually dealt with car setup very well struggled with new suspension and Massa excelled. Raikkonen had horrible luck and hence had to help Massa. Massa lost by 1 point.

Massa vs Raikkonen in 2009 saw an uncompetitive car, Raikkonen didn't care Massa did, Massa was doing better, Massa was hit on the head with a spring from Alonso car (I think?), Raikkonen then went a lot better giving the destinct impression that he didn't care before but then after learning Alonso was replacing him he decided to go out on a high note in a horrible car and did better. Winning Spa, his favourite track.

2010: Alonso and Santander money replaced Raikkonen and Massa coming back from injury and having not driven since his incident was beaten by Alonso, and then mentally squashed again in Germany giving over the win.

2011: Massa is slowly improving, and the last two races, Hungary and Spa, as James pointed out, Massa has qualified higher than Alonso.

Take from it what you will, but Massa is loooking better.


I was hit with a spring from Barrichello car the Brawn GP


Sorry mate, I meant 'He'


Hope you're recovering well, Val.

Tom Haythornthwaite

That's funny; so was Filipe Massa.


your 2009 part is questionable... I do not think Kimi only woke up in the hopes of not losing his seat. I choose to believe the team had no choice but to listen to his requests when Massa went down. I even believe the car's development was purposefully designed not to Kimi's liking mid way through 2008 when talks had already begun to bring Alonso in to Ferrari. Ferrari had to count on Kimi to score points as Massa's replacements were showing us all how horrible that car was to drive. Kimi is a consumate professional who has not said a bad word of any employer, past or present, despite his good name being dragged through the mud by one particular employer. They have so much disdain for Kimi that they even removed his name in their hall of fame tribute section on their website.


They removed Kimi from their website? Surely not.


Massa was hit on the head by a spring from Barrichello's Brawn.


Actually I think that spring came off of Rueben's car.


Bugger that's 2 in one day I've mucked up.

Yeah I knew it was some tenuous link, and I thought.. ironic they are teammates, but it was the Brazilian thing.


Schumacher broke his leg in 1999. The number 2 driver at the time was Eddie Irvine. In 2008, Schumacher was in retirement.


You are wrong. Raikkonen was in the other car...


"Full support"? As a No2 I'm sure he does have Ferrari's "full support"

That's the problem these days, words don't mean what they used to.


I think he does. If he puts the car on pole and leads the field on the first lap, I'm sure Ferrari would do all they could to help him win the race? The problem is he hasn't done that and so it makes perfect sense for the team to throw their weight behind Alonso.


Massa was the textbook definition of sporting behaviour in Brazil 2008 and my respect for him increased ten fold. Since then though his chin seems to have dropped and he often seems unable to find the speed in the car like Alonso does. We know he's fast as he's beaten Schumacher in his prime and barely lost to Lewis. Maybe he needs to drop Rob Smedley and try something new. Rob seems to hold his hand too much compared to the other engineers but there's no denying that Massa has benefitted from it but does he really need such constant supervision? Maybe a change would force Massa to rethink his approach to a grand prix weekend and unlock that speed again? Or maybe his trust in Rob was dented by the "Alonso is faster than you" debacle?


Maybe he needs to drop Rob Smedley and try something new. Rob seems to hold his hand too much compared to the other engineers but there’s no denying that Massa has benefitted from it but does he really need such constant supervision?

>> I agree with the dropping Smedley part, after the Germany Faux Pas on radio, Rob smedley has made interesting strategy calls on Felipe, left felipe stranded on dead tyres for 3-4 laps more than required (especially this season 3-4 laps can mean losing anywhere between 3-5 seconds per lap, given Pirelli degrading pattern)..


This year felipe seems to be fast in quali but he does not maintain a fast and steady pace for the whole race.He has to perform well in monza for the home race of ferrari(last year he was 3rd).James do you think he can make his first podium of the year in monza this weekend?


This year felipe seems to be fast in quali but he does not maintain a fast and steady pace for the whole race.

>> Pirelli tyres, Both He and Schumi seem to overusing their tyres in the first 2-3 laps of the race when invariably every race they make up positions and then after losing the grip seem to have no choice but loose lap times and fade out during the race.


I think Ferrari will definitely be very strong this weekend, and with Ferrari giving up on development after this race, it's probably Felipe's best chance of a podium, or even a win.


A win for Felipe would certainly boost his image and would shut up his critics.


Exactly right, and would probably make me the happiest person alive for a little while as well!


Yes I do. He was on the podium there last year


I think you feel so because you seem to like him more than some of the other drivers. Nothing wrong with that though. Everybody has their preferred teams and drivers.

If all the other drivers in top teams finish the race, there is little chance Massa will be on the podium.


Massa is one of the big surprises on the field.

We know he is capable and we hoped he would push Alonso, yet the spaniard is doing all the pushing of his skills by himself. Massa and Kimi showed that Kimi while capable was overvalued. Alonso and Massa pair show the value of Alonso on nearly every weekend they drive together.

Perhaps the problem with Massa is that he is tired of being paired up with aces. Name another driver who had to deal with that type of star pairing. I think he needs to feel that he's #1. He feels he earned it. He has a case.


Barichello..... 00-05.

2 things

1) Raikkonen had some bad luck which stopped 08 in its tracks and Raikkonen famously didn't care 09, even getting an icecream during a red flag stop rather than focusing on the race. The car was slow and he didn't care, only seeming to do so after he found out about Alonso and 2010.

2) Raikkonen and Massa both like a slightly understeery setup. Alonso likes lots of grip on the front, turning in wildly (watch his onboard laps). With Alonso as leader this may why Massa is struggling slightly more than he should, because the car is slightly harder to tune for Massa given its aero/mech setup.


Massa both like a slightly understeery setup. Alonso likes lots of grip on the front,

>> On contrary with the changed tyre/wheel specs since last season, Massa& Schumi are struggling due to that lack of front grip. This year's Pirellis are grippier but they degrade drastically if over used, both Massa and Schumi seem to doing that in the first 2-3 laps on the race. Watch their laptimes as well.

Barring Button there are not many drivers who are big fans of understeering car.

The key is tyre management, Massa need to figure this out world has changed since his return on the tyre specs and he seems to be slow in adjusting to the tyre change.

Who knows Pirelli tyres may suit him the next season and you will find him getting his mojo back.


Kimi likes pointy, oversterring cars, he is confortable controlling the back-end slide.

Alonso will turn-in abruptly when he knows the back-end is safe, which I guess comes from a more understeering car. This was more evident in his championship years with Renault.


what do you expect kimi to do when his Kers died on him? His car DIED on him...would he have had your admiration if he got out of the car and pushed it all the way back to the garage to fit a new KERS in and head back on out?

and btw, Kimi likes oversteer, not understeer...


Barichello didn't have to deal with Kimi and Alonso after Schumi. And Berichello knew he was #2, where Massa - young and impressionable was being told he was equal. I do agree with you that the Schumi years must have been plenty challenging for Rubens.

But it's 7 season for Massa where little positive attention is on him. First it was 2 years of Schumi - will he or won't he retire. Then 3 years of Kimi - first of which was Championship year, now Alonso. And while they keep saying - equal - we know the fans and media don't see it that way.

It's almost like he's there to just "take it". I stick by my statement - when treated like #1 Massa delivers. He's just not been given a chance.

As for your 2008 statement, Massa had a much tougher start to the year than Kimi, and he still pulled it out to make it count. Kimi must have a really short attention span with 2 wins, a second and third in first 5 races just to see Massa open up the lead and take over the second half of the year. His attention span seemed much better for years in the flimsy Newey McLarens - "Kimi, your McLaren is the fastest car on the grid, this message will self destruct along with your car in 3, 2, 1..."


Great comment!


@Borg: Yes, Massa's run of team-mates is probably unprecedented in F1. Heidfeld, Fisichella, Villeneuve, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Alonso!

I don't know if any other driver in history has been teamed up with 4 world champions in a row.

@unoc 12: Massa had more bad luck in 2008 than Kimi if you look at Singapore and Hungary alone!

It's a convenient excuse that Kimi wasn't trying, but even in 2007, Massa was ahead of Kimi after 11 races from memory.


Raikkonen had to adjust to Ferrari, new team, new environemtn, new style of car.


I'm sure he's the same as ever. It's just that in the last two years Alonso has put his abilities into perspective, and we can now see that he is a good but not great driver.

His golden opportunity was 2008. Ferrari had the best car, and Kimi Raikkonen was clearly not at his best. He was desperarely unlucky that year (e.g. Hungary, Singapore), but a great driver in his position would have won enough races to put the championship beyond luck.


I thought is was Massa who was "unlucky" in Singapore in 2008. That GP result being included in the championship count is a farce.

James - I can't post as Sebee for some reason.


Sorry, comments picked up by spam filter for some reason


Probably a sign that I need to cut down on my comment quantity.


THis one came through direct - not via Spam


Alonso has scored more than twice as many points in the same machinery which says it all.

Even if he is the official #2 to Alonso he should still be closer than that!

That's why Fernando likes him, no chance of his team mate showing him up anymore.


Drivers like Alonso don't worry about team-mates, they take it for granted they can beat everybody on the planet.


And then take the hump when they don't!



For those saying Massa has improved in lieu of him out-qualifying Alonso in the past two races should think again. In Hungary Alonso's tyres were overheating in the final sector and he lost a lot of time. In Spa Alonso never got a clean lap in. He was behind Perez on his run and then when he slowed down to make room Webber overtook him.

There is no way Massa is anywhere near Alonso as proved by the fact that Alonso overtook Massa on track on both occasions very easily and out performed him. I really can not see how Massa has improved when Alonso has won and been on the podium six times this season. Massa has not even finished fourth. His best has been fifth. It is night and day. Massa is the second driver in the team because quite simply he is too slow to pool any resources into him.

Ferrari will improve massively when Massa leaves. He single handedly made them lose second place in the Constructors title last season and this year will be the same.

Massa's contract ends after next season. At the same time Hamilton, Button(if the extension is taken up), Webber and Kubica will also be at the end of their current contracts. Any of those will be a massive step up from Massa.

The sooner Massa leaves the better for Ferrari. There are drivers in worst cars that look a lot better then him.


On paper, you're obviously correct, but if you look at the amount of potential points Massa's lost through bad strategy, slow pitstops, bad luck (e.g. punctures) etc. it should be much closer than it is.


Point taken but how many of those bad luck stories are consequences of him being poorly positioned in the races to begin with?

The points table does not lie, is that not what they say?


Maybe sometimes, but with some good strategies, maybe he would be able to improve his position, like Button is able to do regularly. Also, I think that bad pitstops are completely unrelated to road positioning.

Like Webber, he's always been extremely unlucky through his career. Webber's luck finally turned around in 2010, so maybe Massa's will one day as well.


Of course, I think Alonso lost the same amount of points than Massa through both years because of safety car, bad strategy, slow pitstops and bad luck. In fact this cost him winning last year championship.

The safety car history with Alonso it's going to be a F1 funny fact over the years.


What about all the extremely good luck Alonso had from safety cars in 2010? Safety Cars saved his skin in Melbourne, China and Monaco!

Also, much of the bad luck Alonso had with Safety Cars in 2010, Massa lost out even more in the same race - look at Valencia and Abu Dhabi.


So hard to be a Massa fan 🙁

He kind of reminds me of Vettel? Certainly not as good, but just in the fact that when Massa gets pole, he gets away from the field and wins. Likewise, he has a very hard time winning when he does NOT get pole.

In fact, if I remember correctly I don't think Massa has EVER won a race without starting in the front row.

As a sidenote, Hungary 2008 pass on Hamilton at the start was amazing


Massa has not been the same since losing the WDC in 2008. For me, that disappointment was the start of his drop down the rankings. It was compounded in 2009 both by the whack on the head from the spring off Rubens car, and also by the 'Crashgate' issue, when he learned that he would have won the WDC had it not been for the illegal shenanigans at Renault stealing his points.

He doubly lost the 2008 WDC, and then had to play 2nd fiddle to the man who benefitted in Singapore as well as to LH who was handed the WDC that Massa would have owned.

It's tough at the top.


It must have been a shattering disappointment for Felipe to lose that WDC so cruelly - and at his home GP which he'd just won. However, he was driving pretty well in '09 before Rubens attacked him with that spring.

I don't really see your point about the Singapore race though; it wasn't McLaren or Renault's tricks which caused him to drive off from his box with a petrol station attached to his car.


That safety car would have never been deployed were it not for Piquet's crash, and therefore Massa would have continued in the lead, set to win or atleast pick up enough points that would have given him the championship.

Instead, Renault cheated and Massa, like everyone else dove into the pits.

They should have thrown that result out.


Adam, you are absolutely right: everybody did dive into the pits at the rigged safety car, but only Felipe tried to take off while still attached to his fuel rig. We can all understand the mad dash and compulsion to get out quickly, but an error was made and that's where the points were lost. Had he exited in a normal fashion, I think it almost certain that he would have finished well and gained those decisive points.

You are probably right as well about anulling the race result, especially with Fernando's tainted win.


@unoc12 No, you're mistaken. Mclaren wasn't the second fastest car in 2010, that was Ferrari.

At the beginning of the season Ferrari was right behind Red Bull in pace but it was Alonso that was making so many mistakes & throwing away points & wins. If you remember Alonso false started in China & crashed a car that was looking good for pole in Monaco.

Mclaren were just taking advantage of Alonso's mistakes & that's why Hamilton was on top of the WDC the half way stage.

The only track were Ferrari were slower in the first half of the season was maybe Turkey but even there Massa out qualified & out raced Alonso.

Now from around Valencia, Ferrari introduced upgrades which brought them much closer to Red Bull & that's why Alonso was able to push the unreliable Red Bulls in the second half of the season whereas almost all Mclaren upgrades failed & hence Hamilton & Jenson ended 4th & 5th.

As for the Hamilton DNF in Singapore, that was ruled a racing incident though Webber was at fault & that's why he apologized later for Kubica made the exact pass on Sutil in the exact corner but Sutil left him enough room.

Oh, the Kubica accident I was referring to is the rally accident at the start of this year that has sidelined him for over a year.

Food for thought

Prost never won a WDC with Ferrari & only won another one when he joined a dominant Williams in 1993.

Alonso has pledged his future to a Ferrari team missing the dream team.

Do the math


Errr... The Singapore DNF was definitely the result of a racing incident. I was at the race and have have an excellent memory of this little coming together. Lewis just didn't leave enough room for Webber to turn in. At best it i a 50/50 incident.

I think it is a case of Lewis misjudging the pace of others and not leaving them enough space. This happened again no later than the Belgian GP with Kamui.

At the other end of the scale, you have Webber and Alonso who displayed huge respect and trust towards each other in the Raidaillon at Eau Rouge.

As for who had the second fastest package in early 2010, I think it varied between races. Turkey was very painful to watch that year. And yes I agree, there some uncharactisc mistakes from Alonso in Australia, China and Monaco.

P.S. Prost was awesome. Shame he ended up portrayed the way he did in 'SENNA'; but that's another story.


Prost is always downplayed. He beat Senna in both years as teammates, including without the silly rule taking the WDC away i 89.

He nearly won a WDC against 3 times WDC Lauda, losing by .5 of a point. He beat Lauda to a WDC. Beat Senna to a WDC. Nearly won in a Ferrari (note, not a dream team). He won in a Williams. He nearly won 8 WDC's. Mising only by a 2-3 dozen points combined!!!

@Alonso lost points through no fault of his own too, think of Malaysia I think or China when his engine blew. In the first 4 races Ferrari were 2nd but whether got in the way, from Spain onwards (Hamilton was beating Ferrari until his puncture), Monaco, Turkey (McLaren 1-2), Canada (Hamilton), etc... McLaren were on top. Ferrari only really coming back for Singapore and Italy where even then he was battling with the McLaren of Button. Button FFS! Button.


Prost was only at Williams for one year so hard to improve on that


I´m from Brazil and there’s a crescent feeling of no sympathy for Felipe. At each time he opens his door to Fernando, he loses respect in front of Brazilian fans — and in exactly the same way Rubens did some years ago.

I didn’t see none commenting that, but Felipe already have played the nice guy to Fernando this year, maybe when Fernando had some hope in the WDC fight:


Now that Vettel almost grab the title is amazing how Felipe had some speed back, but I think even Rob Smedley is realizing how difficult is to manager Massa against Alonso.

In the last race edit in the F1.com he almost goes mad when Felipe was overtaken by Fernando and Lewis:



Thanks for the link. Unfortunately F1M has requested Youtube remove the footage. What is so wrong with this sad sad organisation that they are unable to comprehend the benefits of fans uploading stuff like this? F1 Managment is stuck in the 1990's - to their own detriment...


The frustration may well stem from the fact that Alonso nearly took him off in the process of making that pass, and opened the door for Hamilton to boot. Not the best conduct from your teammate by any standard, it has to be said.


This is the contradiction at the heart of the "team orders" controversy. Alonso just treated him the same way he would treat anyone else.

If someone thinks he should not be allowed to do that (for example in Germany 2010), then Ferrari would be massively compromising your WDC contending driver. I suspect that Alonso could have passed Massa at Hockenheim, but that it would have been risky (like in the pitlane entrance earlier in that year). But not if he has to avoid discomoding Massa too much.

So, it seems to me that there are two tenable positions to take:

1. Either you accept team orders and don't complain when they are applied for logical reasons,


2. You allow team-mates to race to the limit and don't complain if they are aggressive with each other(and perhaps take each other out ala Red Bull in Turkey 2010).


Presumably Alonso would have been more careful if there was a gravel trap. Overtaking was not too diffficult with DRS.

I too would have been happier to see Alonso attack Massa in Germany 2010 as he would have done if it were Hamilton, Vettel etc. The contradiction is people who then criticise him for not being gentle enough with his team mate. It should be "no holds barred", team-mate or no team-mate. But I can undertsand why Ferrari did not want that.


The only truly sporting way is to let the drivers settle the matter on track.

RedBull did just that at the end of last season and were rewarded for their conviction.

A far more honorable and enjoyable way to win a championship, than using team orders.


I don't think it's the fact he was treating him like anyone else so much as the Desperate Dan nature of the move generally - Alonso was practically off the track at one point so that could have ended both their races had luck not been on their side. I much prefer them racing wheel to wheel than a repeat of the Hockenheim farce, but I can understand at the same time why Smedley might not approve of the passing move itself. Alonso can also consider himself lucky that corner doesn't have a gravel trap anymore, or else that would have been embarrassing to say the least...


Really interesting post, thanks!

I'm curious to understand the context behind Rob Smedley's apparent frustration in that edit. I always thought they got along.

Can anyone shed any light on the relationship?


Much as I like Massa as a driver, I feel in future years he will - like Stirling Moss - look back and acknowledge his head injury was more significant than he wants to admit now. It's understandable - he's in a vulnerable position and doesn't want to appear weaker - but given that Prof. Sid Watkins suggested that head injuries usually take about two years to recover from properly he should perhaps give that some thought. I also feel explaining the situation at Ferrari simply by saying "Alonso is just faster - end of" is missing a lot of the complexity of how Ferrari operates. Since di Montezemolo has been involved, the team's success has primarily come from marking out one driver as the "chosen son" (so to speak) and focusing on their requirements. It happened with Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter in their championships years, and it happened again with Schumacher as well. Alonso is merely the latest to benefit from it, and Massa the latest to suffer detriment from it. Certainly, Ferrari's inability to devise successful strategies for both cars - to the extent Martin Brundle commented that it was almost as if it's an afterthought for the team as to when Massa should pit - would point to that as a factor. Looking at how Massa was dominating a number of races in 2008, I certainly find it hard to agree with the view that he's simply not good enough to match Alonso.


Excellent, excellent post. I could not agree more. It just saddens me to see Ferrari act in this manner. Surely they can figure out a way to be fully supportive to both drivers; a la McLaren. They just seem to choose not to.



I tend to disagree with the majority of posters. Massa is doing what he is being paid to do. That is, being a second driver who scores points. Much like Webber. His tilt at the title could best be compared to Irvine.

James - to make a true comparison, you should post time differences as to how much faster you think Alonso truly is on similar setup (race strategies aside).


I think it's a huge shame that we never got to see a pre-accident Massa against Alonso at Ferrari. Some will say that he's long got over it, but I'm in the camp that believes he's lost something and hasn't been the same since.

Alonso coming in and out-doing him more often than not, will only have served for further make it tougher.


Completely agreed!!


To be frank a pre-accident Massa would make little impact against Alonso. As James has highlighted before Alonso is deemed the second coming of Schumacher in the eyes of Ferrari, they have taken to him as more of son than they ever did Massa. He has more pedigree in the form of 2 WC's and has that similar uncompromising approach that Schumacher had in his prime.

To ed24f1 above, the only luck Webber had in 2010 was finding himself in the fastest car on the grid for the first time in his career!


Of course he had a great car, but Webber was extremely lucky to virtually have no mechanical issues whilst Vettel had so many.

Also, he survived crashes with Vettel and Hamilton and continued to get podiums, whilst the other driver retired.


I'd say it would be considered good luck, as Webber had typically got the lion's share of his team's retirements in the past.

Yeah, I understand that it wasn't his fault, but he was still lucky to keep going. For example at Singapore, his rim was only a couple of laps from falling off.


Vettel's unreliability and misfortune can hardly be classified as Webber's luck.

Also, remember both Vettel and Hamilton drove into Webber, it's not as if Webber drove into them and got away with it.


This is a great debate! Isn't this why we all love JA on F1??

Just to add my two pennies, I don't think that Massa has been the same since his accident. Whether it's a psychological thing, or the absence from the cockpit, or his family commitments, or just because he is now being compared to the current best driver in F1, he has not looked as strong since his comeback. I personally think that Ferrari care more about the WDC than the constructors, and so having a clear cut #2 driver like Massa probably suits them - for now, at least. Massa doesn't seem as happy at Ferrari either these days, so maybe it is time for him to move on. He is fast becoming Alonso's Barrichello.


If you look back at when Massa was hired by Ferrari and all the available drivers at the time, he was chosen precisely because he isnt on par with Alonso, Vettel or at the time Schumacher. Ferrari didnt want that and they still dont. I dont really understand some of the debate... his F1 career taken as whole he's always been consistent in the caliber of driver he is.....good but not in the upper class.


In case you are not aware, Alonso's then Manager had contacted both Jean Todt and Flavio after he debuted at Minardi. And the deal would basically be the same where Alonso would have been a test driver and/or driven for Satellite team and groomed as understudy to to Schumi-Rubens.

Flavio's offer came on table quicker than Jean Todt (and standard deal in Flavio contracts was Flavio doubling as the driver manager), Alonso accepted the offer, took test role at Renault for a year before being promoted to race seat.

Jean Todt was late to table his offer (probably there was conflict of interest as well since Massa was managed by Jean's son)

and Ferrari groomed Massa at Sauber...

Talent wise Massa is definitely top shelf bloke, its just the confidence level (he is too good for his own bad)....


I see your point. Of course he's top shelf or he wouldnt be in F1. The fact remains that if he were as good as Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel... then his career would reflect that. Results dont lie.


Not quite right. He had verbally agreed that deal with Todt, but then Briatore put forward a deal and he took that instead.


I am a bit puzzled that most people seem to overlook his accident.

I am convinced that no one who has been facing the possibility of death due to accident or illness can stay the same.

Additionally he was away from the sport for a while, certainly losing physical abilities AND he became father.

These facts together with the impression that he does not drive at 100% make up for a clear picture imho.

He is not the same anymore.


In my eyes, Massa is the 2008 world champion. Go Felipe!

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