F1 Winter Break
Ferrari in the horns of a dilemma
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 May 2012   |  2:37 pm GMT  |  316 comments

[Updated] Everyone who follows F1 knows that Ferrari have shown extraordinary level of support to Felipe Massa in the last two and a half years. The little Brazilian almost won the world title for them in 2008 and would have done if they hadn’t lost him a win in the Singapore GP by leaving the fuel hose attached at a pit stop.

After his accident in Hungary 2009 they again stood by him, helping him back into the car for 2010. But now, with such a tight field at the front in F1, the signs are that their patience is running out, highlighting the “drop off” in his performances.

In the 43 races since his ‘comeback’ in 2010 Massa has scored an average of six points per race and has been on the podium five times. There were no wins, but he did move over, on team orders, to let Alonso through in Germany in 2010, a race which he would otherwise probably have won.

In that same 43 race period Alonso has scored an average of 13.2 points per race. With seven wins.

On Sunday Massa came home 15th. Like Sebastian Vettel with whom he was fighting, he had to serve a drive through penalty for using DRS in a yellow flag zone, but Vettel (who also had to have a front wing change) finished 7th while Massa did not recover.

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali called this “unlucky” but also commented, “We expect Felipe to react and fight back..we absolutely need his points to also fight for the constructors’ championship.” Ferrari lie fourth in the constructors’ points table at the moment having finished a distant third in 2010 and 2011.

On the Ferrari website today they look at it like this. “As for an analysis of the Scuderia’s performance and its two drivers, Fernando has always maintained a very high level (67 points and second place in 2010, 51 and fifth place last year) while Felipe’s drop off has made itself felt. The Brazilian had picked up 49 points two years ago and 24 the following year, while so far this season he has just 2. In Montmelo, Felipe was very unlucky, both in the race and in qualifying, but everyone, he more than anyone, is expecting a change of gear starting right away with the Monaco Grand Prix, his second home race, given that he lives just a few hundred metres from what, as from next Sunday, will be transformed into the paddock for the sixth round of the 2012 championship.”

Ferrari are in a difficult situation. If a ready made replacement for Massa was clear, they might already have made a switch. The fact that there isn’t one keeps him there.

To improve its chances, it will need an established driver but it will be hard to get an established driver to move mid-season. Test driver Jules Bianchi is far from ready for a move like that and even Sergio Perez is too inexperienced to cope. It could ruin his career to make a move too soon.

What is making the situation all the more painful is that Lotus are scoring a lot of points and Mercedes have the potential to outscore Ferrari too. They could end up fighting for the drivers’ title with Alonso but finish up fifth in the Constructors’

Time to act, or time to support and try to turn it around for Massa, before replacing him with Webber or Perez or Di Resta or whoever next season?

Read the Ferrari team statement HERE

Listen to Jaime Alguersuari’s analysis of Massa’s problems on the 5 Live Chequered Flag Podcast HERE

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"Everyone who follows F1 knows that Ferrari have shown extraordinary level of support to Felipe Massa in the last two and a half years."

"There were no wins, but he did move over to let Alonso through in Germany in 2010, a race which he would otherwise probably have won."

It's not as if Massa decided to pull over and let his team mate through of his own free choosing - the team's message to him was a clear order to get out of Alonso's way, as everyone who follows F1 knows.

This was not Ferrari giving an "extraordinary level of support" to Massa. Coming one year to the day after his Hungaroring crash, it was a kick in the teeth.

If Massa's head dropped as a result of that (and who could blame him if it did), then Ferrari are reaping what they sowed.

Phillip Harben

Totally agree with this. Massa looked feisty up until the "Fernando is faster than you" debacle.

After that, he was a broken man. His "fans" in Brazil decried him and did everything except lynch him. Everything about him was called into question on a national level.

Massa is under contract until the end of the season, so he wasn't going to quit in outrage over being told to move over and lose those years of wages.

I think it best for Massa and Ferrari, if he steps away, mid-season by mutual agreement, if Ferrari want any chance at the constructors.


So I guess Alonso won the championship in 2010...

I hope Alonso wins every championship between now and 2079. He'll be running all by himself and there will be 3 spaniards watching formula 1 on tv if they can afford the electricity since Spain is doing so well economy wise...

Seriously? Who cares?

15 years from now most people will say who is Massa? Who is Alonso? Nobody will remember...

What is formula 1? 24 drivers driving around and around so the "winner" and everybody else will finish exactly the same place they started? It is like chasing after the wind... In a way Formula 1 reminds us of life. We strive to be the best we can be but in the end we end up exactly where we started before we existed as human being. Unless we believe in life after death, previous lives, etc..

We wake up early in the morning to watch F1 ...

I wonder if this is really worth it...


[qoute] Pedro Chung: "Seriously? Who cares?
15 years from now most people will say who is Massa? Who is Alonso? Nobody will remember…" [/qoute]

Even someone who became much more interested in F1 myself lately I can say that a lot of people will remember. This is F1. There is so much tied up in nostalgia, lineage and pedigree. My father who stopped watching many years ago started watching again recently and he still remembers the mid fields from late 80's till he stopped watching.

Fans who do more than just watch 2 hours on the race weekend [b]will[/b] remember.


I understand,

I was and still am a big fan of formula 1 but I miss those days in the 1980's when things were simpler and there was less me, me and me.

I would wake up at 1:00 am to watch a race in Australia or Japan and boy it was worth it. I wish F1 were a little simpler with more teams, more drivers and a little less technology.Not like F Indy but perhaps more dependent on mechanical grip, a manual transmission (do you remember Ayrton Senna in his qualifying sessions in Monaco driving his McLaren-Honda V10, V12? and shifting his own gears and doing his magic?)Less aerodynamic grip would be nice.Spending US$50 million so a car can be three tenths of a second faster because of some intriguing aero parts.... Not so nice. Would we spend $40K so our cars would be 0.1 second faster??

We would not need so much these sugar honey iced tea tyres if these cars were not so darn turbulent... The Arnoux-Villeneuve battles at the Dijon-Prenois track would not have occurred if they were so aerodynamically dependent.Tyres lasted a whole weekend in 2005 and I think that season was not so bad. I remember Alain Prost being a master of saving tyres and eventually winning races when cars were not regularly changing tyres and those races were not bad even with the 250 liters, 220 liters (1984 and 1985) and then 195 liters (1987) fuel limits of the turbo era in the mid 1980's...

Less is more..


"If Massa’s head dropped as a result of that (and who could blame him if it did), then Ferrari are reaping what they sowed."

You make it sound like Ferrari should have put all their eggs into Massa's basket to win their next title.

Let's face it, 2008 were extraordinary circumstances and Massa didn't capitalize. He never had a chance against Alonso. Ever. Have you ever heard anyone say that Massa was the most complete driver in F1? Ever?? Get real.


I think its been well established that noving massa aside was the correct thing to do as at that point he wasnt fighting for the title, whereas Alonso was. Ferrari oeed massa nothing them and owe him nothing now, their patience with him has been extraordinary.


Massa should have got out of Ferrari once it became clear he was only there as a Number 2 driver. Barrichello made the same mistake and seems to have regretted it.

Being a Number 2 doesn't just damage your confidence -- it damages your reputation in the long term. The car is developed to suit the Number 1, accentuating any difference in pace between the drivers.

Massa is now heading for a situation where no serious F1 team will want him -- whereas if he had walked out in 2010, he would still have been attractive to many competitive teams (e.g., Lotus, Williams, Sauber, Force India).


WHy would you give up?

You're one of a very exclusive club - only 22 men in the world get to drive in Grands Prix - I'd give my leftie for that! And what's more you're in the most famous team of them all - AND they give you $20+ Million a year for the privilege - sure you're gonna walk a way from that!

And, if you were really jacked off at the team - you'd have a little chuckle to yourself everytime you looked at your bank balance.


The driver situation at Ferrari is the same as it was with Kimi; both drivers can take points off each other until one doesn't have a chance at the title. Read my reply above to a comment left by Sabee. Massa's problem is that he is NOWHERE near alonso's pace, even if he was a clear 'number 2' driver he would be an awful one as I can't remember the last time he got remotely close to the back of Alonso's car.


Completely agree. Essentially - on average - Alonso is half a second faster than Massa.

Not that there's much wrong with that!


And he would have given up 2 years in a red suit. Rock and hard place. Be #2 at Ferrari or quit.

Please remember, not like other teams would guarantee him that we wouldn't end up being #2.


Quite right, though it's not guaranteed other teams would even want him as a number 2, apart from HRT and Marussia of course, but who else would want someone is so obviously damaged goods?


You are funny. Let's say my employer tells me to move over and let my so called team member, but also competitor to benefit. Do you think I will ever do it?

If your are a competitive being yourself, then there is no way these things will let you down. You will find a way to raise...because you are as competitive as others.


Let's call it like it is: #2 seat at Ferrari is carrier death until 2016 - or whenever Alonso is out. Whoever takes it is guaranteed to drag that ball and chain of #2 for ever. It's against every instinct an F1 driver should have. And oh yeah, no chance wins.

All I will say is this - had Maldonado been in a Ferrari in Spain - what would have happened?

EXACTLY. Any driver worth his beans will take a shot at Maldonado's recent Sunday experience vs. Massa's current position. Any other drives is not worth Ferrari's beans. And hence is the problem.


Ferrari, as they have done since MS left, don't have a no. 1 and no.2 driver. Massa let Kimi through in Brazil 07 as he had no chance of the title and Kimi reversed the favour in 2008 (China). They took loads of points off each other in 2008 and Massa was never asked to yield.

The same applies for Massa; he's been ahead of Alonso a few times and other than Germany (where only Alonso had a shot at the title) he has NEVER been asked to yield. Infact, most of the time Massa has held Alonso up (China '10 and Australia twice) come to mind yet they've never asked him to yield. Look at Korea also. Korea 10 was a great example as once Alonso got past he dropped Massa like a fly. Germany '10 too; Vettel finished very close to massa at the end of the race. Hell, Alonso got him going into the pitlane at China '10 and the rest is history.

The problem Massa has is that on the ODD occasion he finds himself ahead of Alonso, he can't keep the pace going and ends up finishing way behind. Forget being a no.2 driver, Massa can't even finish directly behind Alonso. Had he finished between Alonso and Vettel, Webber and Lewis more often in 2010, Alonso would have won the championship. In 2011 he was too busy fighting Mercedes and Toro Rosso's whereas Alonso was fighting the RB/Mclaren.



Come on, what a load of nonsense. Asking him to move over was a kick in the teeth? Then why is he still there?? He is a free man. Last time I checked most men who get kicked in the teeth don't just accept it. Massa knows he didn't have the pace to assure a win that day. Quite frankly some people whine for him more than he'd ever complain. If he had a better seat to move to, he would. He doesn't and there is a reason why. Its not Ferraris fault. Seems like some fans have been more affected by Felipes head injury than Felipe himself.


Agree with you 110%. He is his own man.


I totally agree with F1Fan4Life. If his feeling were so hurt because he was asked to move over in Germany, to let the much quicker Alonso through, then he should have just moved on. Find another team. Most drivers would give anything for a Ferrari seat. I can't believe that people are still defending Massa after all this time.

F1 2012 produces great upsets and shocks every race weekend without fail - the way the Pirreli's drop off, the 5 different winners in 5 races, the smaller teams beating the big boys, and of course the fact that Massa is still in red overalls. Shocking.


Can you imagine? A broken hose away from a championship.

Champion on every cover world wide vs. 2nd who in years will be forgotten by most.

Depressing. Perhaps it's in his head. That was his time, his chance. He knows how close it was and how unlikely that it will happen again.


Exactly. Ferrari have not "shown extraordinary level of support" [sic], James. They've done the exact opposite. They made it clear to Felipe that he will not be allowed to win while there's even a remote chance that Alonso can be maneuvered past him.

When they stole a win from Felipe in Germany 2010, they completely broke his spirit. That win would have brought him to within just 19% of the points tally of his teammate, with nearly half a season to go. It was not only mathematically possible that he could've beaten Fernando in the championship by season's end; it was very realistically possible, as well. We've seen drivers come from further back in the past.

For the majority of that season, Felipe had been pretty close to Alonso; there was little difference between them until just three races beforehand. (Look at the results, and you'll see that Felipe and Fernando had beaten each other in the race an equal number of times right up to Canada.)

That race was the beginning of the end of Felipe's career as a race car driver, effectively. His spirit was broken, and since then he's never been the same driver. He suddenly understood that he'd been paired with another Schumacher: another supposed champion who requires his teammates be thrown under the bus at the first available opportunity. This, the very same team he came close to giving his life for.

Add in the media's dogpile of hatred this year, and he's now basically given up altogether. I'm quite sure he'll get turfed at some point this season, and I'm equally sure he won't be back in another F1 seat. Another driver chewed up and spat out by Ferrari: he's not the first, and he won't be the last.


I've always considered it was selfish of Massa not to just let Alonso through on that day. Although at that point in time it may have been mathematically possible for him to beat Alonso in the championship, he was never really going to be able to challenge for the WDC. As history goes on to prove, Alonso almost won the championship and Massa was no where. If you were Ferrari or any other team in that situation, would you customize your strategy to give you the best chance of securing a championship or giveaway valuable points due to the slower driver (with no chance of fighting for the championship) momentarily having track position?

If at the same race it was Massa who was in with a fighting chance for the championship and Alonso was far behind with only a mathematical chance of beating Massa, Ferrari would have told Alonso to move over if he hadn't already done so. The fact is that situation has never occurred for us to see.

Number 2 drivers have every chance of becoming the number 1 if they lead with their performances in the car.

In 2008 Massa outperformed Kimi and because of that, in the latter period of the season took hold of number 1 status in the team. Kimi to his credit, recognized this and drove with a view to achieve as well as he could but where possible supported Massa's push for the title.


As Ferrari showed when they asked Kimi to move for Massa and wasn't Kimi their No1 driver and world champion then?....of course he was but Massa was out performing him, plain and simple Some are just looking for reasons to slate Alonso and/or Ferrari or to defend Massa without looking considering that maybe Massa just isn't up to it anymore, it happens all the time and for reasons we may never know. Can't keep blaming Alonso and Ferrari, that's just silly, Massa is stronger than that and you actually do him a big disservice as it paints him as a weak person who needs to be mollycoddled


Don't get ahead of yourself, massa had no chance of the 2010 championship, admitting several times he couldn't get to grips with the hard tyre that year and only being that close to alonso due to uncharacteristic mistakes from the spaniard early in the season. ferrari owed and still owe Massa nothing yet theyve been better than Mclaren were to Kova. Massa has been at ferrari longer than any driver bar schumacher.

Also, there have been occasions where massa has got ahead of alonso and ferrari havent asked him to move over; each time he held alonso up or was passed.


If they'd done the opposite they'd have dropped him at the end of 2011


THROW his career away, sorry.


Well, lecho, as we all know, Formula 1 contracts usually aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Look what Ferrari did to Kimi in 2009 to make room for Alonso. Then go back to the end of 2007 when McLaren and Alonso agreed to tear up the remainder of his contract. If Ferrari really wanted someone like Button or Webber (or Rosberg, or even Heikki who has done a brilliant job with Caterham), they could have gone to one of them and worked out a deal and then taken care of the contractual particulars with Red Bull.

On the other hand, it's quite possible- especially given the paddock rumors at the time- that Ferrari DID approach Button and Webber, and that they couldn't reach an agreement.

I'll end by saying that I'm sure Ferrari weren't counting on Kubica to through his F1 career away in a stupid bushleague rally.


I don't want to argue with You James, but how could they drop Massa at the end of 2011 with no replacement that would guarantee better results from the start?

Sutil? Alguersuari? Liuzzi? No way.

And I agree with above. Massa is a momentum driver, I've always said that. If he would have won the German GP, he could have turn the season around.

Now, it's an execution.


Come on, that was two years ago, he should have recovered from that by now, if he can't he just doesn't have what it takes to be a Ferrari driver or even to be an F1 driver, don't you think?


Why should he have recovered when the same situation exists? Can you imagine having a team mate like Alonso & knowing you will never be allowed to beat him on the odd occasion when you can?

Ferrari are a one driver team & it's causing them problems. Which top driver would want to drive for Ferrari knowing that it would effectively be the end of their competative career unless Alonso retired or was injured?


Thanks for all the insightful comments, but I fear my point has been missed.

Yes, I agree Massa is a liabilty to Ferrari & that he's nowhere near as good as Alonso.


I feel that his performance is far worse than it should be because Ferrari have picked a number 1 driver as they did through the Schumi years.

I don't buy that he's only been asked to move over due to the championship position, if Ferrari operated with an equal driver understanding as most of the other teams do, that 'team order' would never have been issued.

Whilst I agree that many drivers would relish taking on Alonso in an even fight, I can't see many of the current top drawer drivers being interested in signing for a 'No.2' position.

Finaly, Massa is not Mark Webber. Mark is known to be one of the toughest drivers in F1. I think he gets off on being the 'No.2 driver' who every now and then sticks it to the 'No.1 driver'. He's also not driving for Ferrari, Red Bull have been heavily derided for their treatment of Mark & now supposedly have equal status...Massa has never had this.

I'm not defending Massa in my argument, I'm simply condeming Ferrari for their '1 driver' approach to F1.


There's comments in all the above statements that aren't looking at the overall picture.

1) Germany 2010 was the right decision, because Alonso's results after Germany read 2, Ret, 1, 1, 3, 1, 3, 7= 252

Massa's results read 4, 4, 3, 8, Ret, 3, 15, ,10= 144

But for a wrong strategy call Alonso would have been champion. Massa with an extra 7 points would have still finished 6th but with 151 rather than 144 points. so 63 points behind Button instead of 70.

2) As mentioned already, an F1 driver shouldn't still be suffering from that pit call, 2 years hence, Webber is still as stubborn and feisty today as he ever was, and he's had a few calls favouring Vettel.

3) Regarding being Alonso's team-mate and fearing him, look back at history, 1987 a certain Mr Senna signed for Mclaren, to take on what most F1 pundits regarded as the worlds best driver. If he had turned Mclaren down because of being fearful of Prost, what would that have said of Senna.

The truth is most driver's would love to take Alonso on, because they would want to establish themselves rightfully as the best. Let's be honest, most F1 drivers are so confident in their abilities, they fear no-one.

What Massa has come up against is the greatest driver in the world. IMO, the greatest driver since Senna was killed.

I could mention Schumacher dictating to Ferrari who they should hire as number 2 during his time there, but no respectable driver would want to sign as number 2. Barrichello and Massa aren't great drivers. Yet when Ferrari signed Kimi and let Schumi decide his future, he ran... sorry retired!

Whatever the situation between Ron, Lewis, Mclaren vs Alonso in 2007, not once did you feel that Lewis was intimidated by Alonso. That's the sign of a true F1 driver.

Ultimately, any driver coming into Ferrari as Alonso's team-mate would need to show Ferrari that he is quicker than Alonso consistently to get the team behind him. It's simple.

If Rubens had out-qualified Schumacher in every race and had to let him through every time they were 1-2, how long before Ferrari would have made him team leader?

madmax, would you care to elaborate on these "so many compromised strategy's" and as for the 1 day at Mugello, would you honestly use a driver that is not driving the car to it's potential at the moment?

Singapore's fuel rig lost him the championship of course, but so did his engine blowing up 3 laps from the end of the Hungarian GP, as did spinning 5 times at a wet Silverstone or spinning off whilst following Kimi in Malaysia.

Sorry guys, Massa is a liability to Ferrari now, whatever the reasons.


That is just your own conclusion. Massa was told to move in 2010 because at that point of the championship he didn't have a realistic chance to fight for it, while Alonso had by his own merit. The decision was proved right with Alonso reaching the last race leading the championship over the much superior Red Bulls.

Before that, during all the first part of 2010, all 2011 and the first 5 races of 2012 Massa has had every chance to beat Alonso with the same machinery at every practice, qualifying session and race. He just hasn't been able to do it, that is a fact.


Well exactly.

"The little Brazilian almost won the world title for them in 2008 and would have done if they hadn’t lost him a win in the Singapore GP by leaving the fuel hose attached at a pit stop."

The above is a pointless statement. To make this statement valid you would need to remove all mistakes by all other teams as well, including McLaren. Who knows who would have won the title if we retrospectively go back and eliminate all team errors from the equation.


You've got to bear in mind that Singapore '08 is something of a special-case due to Flavio, Pat and Nelson (not Teflonso though!)


I don't know why you're making accusations of a pointless statement. the "point" is there was very little between Massa and the title in 2008. The same "point" could be made that Hamilton got lucky for the conditions that allowed him to overtake Glock.

The fact is, Massa has been a top driver- taking on and beating kimi in equal equipment, almost beating Hamilton to the championship. It seems taking on Alonso at the same time as recovering for a life affecting accident has just been too much.

I think Massa could take a leaf from his old teammates book- take a couple of years out and do something different to recharge the batteries then come back for another go.

I'm pretty sure Sauber would allow him an open door in the future, with Ferrari's blessing.

If he doesn't turn things around n Monaco he would be a big man, and earn some respect, by admitting its time to take a break, before the team force him into it.


I agree. Massa has had so many compromised strategy's in races this past two years. Ferrari keep saying they will do all they can to support him but he isn't even regarded as a number 2 driver, he is like a number 10 driver with Alonso taking up 1-9.

Even in the recent test, Massa just gets a day with Alonso two. If Ferrari hadn't been so cruel to Massa in Germany 2010 maybe things would be very different today and Ferrari would have one of the strongest driver pairings.


Massa has shown in the past that he can compete at the front of the grid and bank points.

He needs to get his confidence back and show the Ferrari team that his driving ability and competativeness is still there. Then if the strategy during races doesn't work the finger can only be pointed at the team not the driver.

I would love to see Massa be competative again and not go down the same path as Barrichello.

As where will he go if he leaves Ferrari ???


Doubt it. Massa blows hot and cold, mostly cold.


Massa just isn't quick enough. I don't know what more they can do for him. Thing is, it's ruining his career at the moment too, as his reputation is getting worse and worse.


I think it best for Massa, too, to have a fresh start with a new team. Whether it's a real situation of favouritism or a psychological artifact, it's the wrong atmosphere for Massa in that team and it won't right itself. Would love to see him in another team, and rediscover some form - he can do it, I'm sure.


The sad thing is, he's even in the last year of his contract. I would have thought any driver in that situation would be totally motivated.

There's no doubt, Alonso is making him look really bad.

Stuart Harrison

They can drop him like a stone. He had the kiss of death when Barrichello said he thought Massa had a "long career ahead of him" recently.

He was fast in 2008, but I suspect that was back when cars were easier to drive and Ferrari were at the top of their game as a constructor. Clearly, at present, they're not and Massa can't cope. They need fresh blood! The sooner they get it the better for all concerned.


Ferrari are fourth in the constructors atm.


I suspect to a point they are reaping what they sow. Germany 2010 must have shattered the confidence of a guy who was trying to rediscover his form after the 2009 accident. I think this was a major turning point.


If he's that fragile, well....


Massa was nowhere near alonso's pace up to the race in Germany but it always suits the anti Ferrari brigade to forget that simple fact. massa was nowhere in the championship by the time the German gp arrived but alonso was still well within a fighting chance so they had no other choice and if they are honest there are not many teams in the pit lane that would have done anything different


It's not anti-Ferrari, not at all. It's a clear fact that since Schumacher days Ferrari are a one-driver type of team. For some reason they can't cope with supporting the two equally. And the funny thing is that Alonso is THE ultimate vampire who needs his team to be focused around him even more that Schuey needed.

Look at his career. He always tried to dominate his teammates, never had an equal driver in the second car. When he saw that McLaren won't make Hamilton bow for him, he started the soap opera and left.

He may be a great driver, but not the one to win a WCC with; unless having an absolutely perfect car with satisfied cucumber as the #2 driver. He never was, and never will be, a team player.

Sadly, no place for Massa in a Ferrari. Also, no place for an ambitious driver in a Ferrari either.


Not at all, but read the "satisfied cucumber" part again, although it's a little harsh for Fisi, but that's the reality. He didn't have any ambition for a number one role and accepted it, something that won't happen with Massa.


"He may be a great driver, but not the one to win a WCC with"

Did you miss the '05 and '06 seasons?


That's a justification for why the team may have decided to do what they obviously did. I honestly fail to see how "they had a reason for doing it" is of relevance to this discussion, though. Why people keep bringing up this race is because they think the outcome may have come to influence Massa's performances after that point. There's really no need to dismiss that with "anti Ferrari brigade" kind of phrases.

The point is that if Ferrari wants to continue their policy of having a number one driver to whose interests anyone else eventually defers, they still need a number two driver who is content and able to perform well under those circumstances. The obvious question is whether Massa is still the right kind of driver for that role. If the answer is "no" and the team fails to act on it, they're hurting their own interests rather than serve them, because especially if they can provide a good enough car for the better driver to achieve podiums, there shouldn't be any excuse to not have the other guy at least close behind.

David Daniels

Over the 35 possible sessions this year (FP1/2/3/Q1/2/3/Race x 5), Alonso and Massa were both participating in 30 session.

Alonso was quickest in 26 of these 30 sessions - almost the worst teammate ratio of all teams. (Maldonado 21 to Senna's 3 being the worst.)

If you concentrate on qualifying, that ratio becomes Alo 9 - Mas 1 . . . which is the worst ratio! (Mal 7 - Sen 1)

In 2011 for the whole season: Alo 98 - Mas 32 (and in Q : Alo 42 - Mas 12).

That's a significant drop in performance since last year - his time must be up.

Shame he never won WDC in 08, I was 50/50 as to who I wanted to win on those last laps in Brazil.


Awesome work!

Just wondering if this takes into account drivers like Senna losing a FP to their reserve driver each week though? That might affect the results a slight amount?

But fascinating stats overall...



Indeed - all data is only for sessions where BOTH drivers participate. Indeed - in the post of the full data you can see the FP1 reserve driver stats including those for Botas v Maldonado.

What it doesn't take into account is curtailed sessions. If the curtailment was due to mechanical/technical problems, then that's a bit harsh - but if they curtail their own session by spinning into the armco . . . 😉 Perhaps the latter should have an a additional demerit factor? So - overall curtailmnet is not adjusted for.


Nice work but I dont think you can read too much into the practice times, different cars and different teams run different programs during practice virtually none of them do a flat out quali lap during practice, the same can be said to an extent for Q1, the top teams usually run the prime tyres if a particular driver is struggling they will burn a set of options making him faster than his team mate on primes.

That said though I do agree with you, Massa is on thin ice. The "its Ferraris fault for ruining his confidence in 2010" has worn thin now, yes maybe it did but that was nearly 2 years ago if he was going to bounce back it should have happened by now. I dont know if its the cars or the tyres or what it is, he is a shadow of his former self. He was ok in 2009 until his crash (given how crap the Ferrari was that year) I suspect he has mentally never 100% covered from that.

Its a shame, no one likes seeing a great driver struggling like that, especially one who was so proud and dignified in defeat when the championship was robbed from him.



Don't forget the data only compares teammates! So what top teams do compared to other teams has no impact of the data relevance. By your own arguments, this makes the comparative stats of teammates more relevant than comparing drivers from different teams.

Since it also only compares when both teammates participate in a session. Should, for example, one teammate not progress into Q3 then no data is returned for Q3 - there being no comparative time.


Does anyone think there's any link in Massa's performance on race weekends being tied into the fact that there is no longer any testing?

Schumacher also at times seems to miss the constant testing he did in his heyday.


Very nice. Would you care to share the data on all driver pairings?

David Daniels

2012 - All sessions ..

Sebastian Vettel - 16 / Mark Webber - 17

Lewis Hamilton - 21 / Jenson Button - 13

Fernando Alonso - 26 / Felipe Massa - 4

Michael Schumacher - 11 / Nico Rosberg - 21

Kimi Räikkönen - 11 / Romain Grosjean - 18

Paul di Resta - 11 / Nico Hulkenberg - 15

Kamui Kobayashi - 16 / Sergio Perez - 14

Daniel Ricciardo - 14 / Jean-Eric Vergne - 13

Pastor Maldonado - 21 / Bruno Senna - 3

Heikki Kovalainen - 14 / Vitaly Petrov - 9

Pedro de la Rosa - 14 / Narain Karthikeyan - 6

Timo Glock - 18 / Charles Pic - 7

2012 - Just qualifying ..

Sebastian Vettel - 4 / Mark Webber - 9

Lewis Hamilton - 10 / Jenson Button - 4

Fernando Alonso - 9 / Felipe Massa - 1

Michael Schumacher - 5 / Nico Rosberg - 7

Kimi Räikkönen - 3 / Romain Grosjean - 8

Paul di Resta - 5 / Nico Hulkenberg - 5

Kamui Kobayashi - 3 / Sergio Perez - 7

Daniel Ricciardo - 5 / Jean-Eric Vergne - 2

Pastor Maldonado - 7 / Bruno Senna - 1

Heikki Kovalainen - 4 / Vitaly Petrov - 1

Pedro de la Rosa - 5 / Narain Karthikeyan - 0

Timo Glock - 3 / Charles Pic - 2

2012 - Test Drivers FP1 ..

Jules Bianchi - 0 / Nico Hulkenberg - 2

Pastor Maldonado - 1 / Valtteri Bottas - 3

Heikki Kovalainen - 1 / Giedo van der Garde - 0

Alexander Rossi - 0 / Vitaly Petrov - 1

Pedro de la Rosa - 1 / Dani Clos - 0

2011 - All Sessions

Sebastian Vettel - 84 / Mark Webber - 43

Lewis Hamilton - 79 / Jenson Button - 50

Fernando Alonso - 98 / Felipe Massa - 32

Michael Schumacher - 41 / Nico Rosberg - 75

Nick Heidfeld - 22 / Vitaly Petrov - 43

Rubens Barrichello - 63 / Pastor Maldonado - 42

Adrian Sutil - 64 / Paul di Resta - 34

Kamui Kobayashi - 48 / Sergio Perez - 53

Sebastien Buemi - 54 / Jaime Alguersuari - 40

Heikki Kovalainen - 56 / Jarno Trulli - 21

Narain Karthikeyan - 7 / Vitantonio Liuzzi - 27

Timo Glock - 54 / Jerome d'Ambrosio - 37

2011 - Just Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel - 43 / Mark Webber - 12

Lewis Hamilton - 39 / Jenson Button - 16

Fernando Alonso - 44 / Felipe Massa - 12

Michael Schumacher - 11 / Nico Rosberg - 31

Nick Heidfeld - 5 / Vitaly Petrov - 17

Rubens Barrichello - 15 / Pastor Maldonado - 15

Adrian Sutil - 24 / Paul di Resta - 13

Kamui Kobayashi - 11 / Sergio Perez - 19

Sebastien Buemi - 23 / Jaime Alguersuari - 10

Heikki Kovalainen - 16 / Jarno Trulli - 2

Narain Karthikeyan - 0 / Vitantonio Liuzzi - 7

Timo Glock - 14 / Jerome d'Ambrosio - 5

David Daniels


Reserve drivers are automatically excluded from teammate stats since, as it says, stats are for when both drivers participate in a session.

Reserve drvier stats are shown separately in the larger post.


What a great method of comparing drivers in a team, simple but very effective.

I think it would be interesting to look what happens if you discounted FP1. I think it's fair to say that is common for drivers to test different parts for baseline performance as well as some teams employing practice drivers. From FP2 and on they are working on race set up and qualifying which all counts.

It won't do anything for Massa's stats that's for sure.


Very interesting data.

Sutil looks good. Di Resta not so good.

Perhaps Alonso and Hamilton or Hamilton and Kovalainen would be worth trying as a pairing !

For me Felipe has not been the same since his accident. A great shame. A decent young man who has been a credit to Brazil and F1. I think Ferrari need to move on to pastures new.

For me, Perez, Kovalainen, Sutil as a stop gap. Guessing that Mark Webber would not be released mid season.


That's fantastic! Great contribution 🙂


Is it just me or does it look like Jenson was flattered by race results (as a result of LH's DNFs etc) - the overall performance ratio looks pretty bad for JB. No?


@James, have you heard anything coming from Massa or the team regards the car's characteristics or setup that may be behind his inability to get on top of the car?

I've always regarded Massa the same as Jenson, give him a car that's capable of winning and he will -- but both are very susceptible to balance issues and unable to drive around said issues.

Watching the onboard footage from Montmelo, I can't believe the steering angle required to get that car around! I'm wondering if Ferrari have been suffering for rear grip and have looked to a slow steering rack to quieten things down?

Massa needs a VERY planted rear to be quick because he likes to chuck the front-end into the corners... Alonso couldn't be more different; front-end washout.

We saw across 2007/08 that Ferrari can't develop a car for both drivers, nor can they manage 2 cars in a race (strategy) so I can't see anyone succeeding alongside Alonso; disclaimer, unless they drive like Alonso.


WHich current or recent drivers drive like FA? There's your replacement?


With the very small operating window of the Pirelli tires, it would be difficult for every team to equally support drivers with such differing driving styles as Alonso and Massa. McLaren seemed to have solved the problem by adapting the car to Jenson's style and have Hamilton change his style. Mercedes might have done the same, but Schu seems to old to change his style and instead blames the tires. Which is a fair point, but he fails to see that the fans like the current show more, even when it is not the fastest driver who is winning.


I'd say mclaren seem to have accepted jenson won't beat Lewis in quali and his engineers always work with jenson on race set up where he tends to excel (well up until even jenson admitted he has no idea how to manage these tyres either!)


How about Lotus, where both of their drivers are doing well?


McLaren seemed to have solved the problem by adapting the car to Jenson’s style and have Hamilton change his style


Tell that to Jenson!! 😀


How about Heikki Kovalainen?

I'd like to see a second chance for him, he has the pace and more mature now after his McLaren years and i remember him saying that he's looking to move back into a top team one day.

Maybe Caterham would let him go considering this is a golden opportunity, Heikki can go back to Caterham next year??


Adrian Sutil perhaps?


But how about Jaime Alguersuari? He was really consistent in races and this year it is all about consistency?




talking of caterham, Petrov is also good. I think Glock, but he is locked in contract.

But yeah, Heiki is good too

Michael Grievson

That would be good. I think heilki would do well


Based on last years performances I agree, but he hasn't exactly out performed Petrov so far this season.


good choice, caterham haven't improved so he'd probably be happy to go


they should hire Kimi back 🙂 but he won't go, he is happy in Lotus

Jose Arellano

Kimi and Alonso would be the best line up!


Well it would once and for all put to bed any claim that Kimi is the best.

David Daniels stats prove that Grosjean is a faster driver than Kimi in qualifying, whereas Kimi has far more racing experience. Grosjean after all is just a rookie, but getting closer to Kimi in races now.


Qualifying pace is probably going to be the hardest thing for Kimi to pick back up after his two-year absence from F1. Putting together a flying lap requires a sharpened set of skills, sharpening of which comes with consistent practice and application. Grosjean has been doing hot laps in GP2 and testing drives for Renault in the two years that Kimi was away from circuit racing. Look how long it took Michael to get to the point where he could start challenging Rosberg in quali.

Kimi has nothing to worry about with qualifying pace. He's doing just fine. And his race pace is phenomenal not just because of his experience. He has always been a "smoothly aggressive" driver who has been able to take care of his tires. His best season- 2005- was a year in which you had to run the whole race on one set of tires. Grosjean, on the other hand, is still a little bit of a ragged driver.


May be you can say , everybody in the field is better than Kimi.


Do you really thing that this will work out. Remember what happened in Mclaren, when Alonso was with a equal driver. Either Alonso will report about Ferrari to FIA or he will show is anger in the press. Kimi, he wont mind what ever alonso does, he will simply race or if they prefer Alonso, he will loose motivation. So this wont work.


Hami's contract ends this year...maybe the former team-mates will re-unite at Maranello


How about Sutil ? 😉

He is available and finished 2011 on a high.


Sutil lost out to di Resta. I don't think he'll ever be back in F1.


Yeah, and no way that Ferrari takes a driver who couldn't even beat one of their current test/sports car drivers.


Sutil's already been talking to Maranello 🙂


What on earth are you talking about Mojo? In 2011 Di Resta scored 27 points, Sutil scored 42! Look at their histories and you'll see that Sutil is a better than Di Resta


Di Resta was in his Rookie year...


Its a tough situation. They probalbly also have memories about how poorly Fisichella preformed after being drafted mid-season. I dont believe Webber will leave Red Bull, Di Resta most likely wont want to be a number 2,Perez isn't fully proven or matured,Sutil never impressed me and Kubica- when was the last positive news about him?

I think the way to go would be with Kovalainen or Glock. Both have matured (particularly Heikki in my opinion) and would be willing to be a number 2 driver for a real chance to prove themselves.

I say Perez or Sutil after giving Massa his send off race in Monaco.


An obvious choice for a mid-season draftee would be Nick Heidfeld. He would not bother Alonso, but he would bring excellent technical skills and, most importantly, he could be counted on to quietly score points every race.


Well, Kubica drove a rally car (Fabia WRC) about two months ago and got some very good times. He doesn't say much about his recovery so we don't really know where he really is now. I think he said he would know in June after tests in a simulator. However unlikely it seems, never say never. He's a very tough guy...


I wonder if that's what Ferrari is thinking, put him in for a few races, hardly going to make a difference to the points tally is it?

Then decide which way to go.

And all this talk of Alonso wanting subserviant drivers beside him, before his accident there was rumours of Kubica at Ferrari with Alonso.

Kubica had massive respect from Hamilton, Alonso and co.


He has recovered from an ugly (well, not SO ugly) accident before and seems very focused on returning to the track. I rate him very highly as a driver and would love to see him back at F1.


One of the journalists said Kubica tested gp2 symulator and was easily beating the current drivers' times. Lots of karting, fabia wrc, renault clio, gp2 symulator, clearly he is targeting f1 comeback. I'm sure Ferrari know where he is now.


+1 on everything you write. They surely remember the Fischella desaster. Another problem is that there is no real crack driver available on the market. Although now that Ferrari changed their tone towards Massa, they might have found one who is at least faster than Massa, while not being of a caliber like Hamilton or Alonso. Kovalainen or Glock would be good choices. And don't forget, Hülkenberg is managed by Willi Weber.


If I am not mistaken, Hulkenberg is not managed by Willi Weber anymore.


It would be career suicide for Hulk. If Perez isn't ready, Hulk is er... double... not... ready?


Fischella was a disaster....Is Massa doing any better though. I don't think he will cross 30 points this season!


There are some rumours in Poland that Kubica in almost fully fit, and he'll just need up and downshift gear paddles on the left sude. But that's just rumours. We've seen his Clio driving, he hasn't lost his edge, I'm sure he'll be back sooner or later.


Hey James, do you think it's conceivable that they would put Giancarlo Fisichella in the car?


Come back Rubens, all is forgiven!


I don't think on his end, though!


Well a few weeks ago he said he'd come back if asked to..

James Clayton

Ha! He made a statement to the press that he was ready to talk if Ferrari called and he held no grudges.


Whenever I hear Rob Smedley's voice during a race I always feel a little uncomfortable. If the dialogue between the Ferrari technician and Felipe Massa was scripted by Ricky Gervais and the round face behind the wheel belonged to Karl Pilkington it would all make jolly sense. But I am reliably informed it's all real.


I think even Rob Smedley has given up on Massa when you see footage of the ferrari pit wall!


I think, had it not have been for his accident, Massa would've gone from Ferrari sooner but in light of the accident it'd have made for bad PR.

Domenicalli obviously wants to have his own, Alonso-led era to leave his mark on the history of Ferrari, as Todt, Brawn etc did with Schumi and Massa is the last remnant of that previous era that needs removing (look how easy they let 'ambassador' Schumi go to Mercedes).

Perez seems to be the likely replacement with Massa and Perez doing a straight swap and it can't come soon enough. I want to see Massa shine and show people what he's made of and the move to Sauber, with their competitive car and team boss who Massa gets on well with, is a place where his confidence can be rebuilt and he can shine.


Massa is a good driver, but he is just that: a good driver. Even Jean Todt never considered him a top 3 (Todt always thought highly of Schumacher, Alonso and Raikkonen). Frankly, he was lucky to have been fighting for the championship in 2008. Considering Hamilton's inexperience and fumbles (along with Raikkonen's) he got a sniff at the championship, but he was extremely fortunate to have been in that position (e.g. the gifted win in Spa - literally). That isn't to take anything away from Massa, he's a capable driver. But remove Schumacher who served as his coach in 2007-2009, and enter Alonso and you basically have a clear picture of where Felipe truly stands.


Actually that's inaccurate.

It was spoken about in the press that Alonso was wanted by Ferrari and Briatore was in contract talks, but Todt made his feelings on Alonso very clear. He didn't want him at Ferrari at all.

He'd signed Kimi up in 2005 for 2007, and he made comments that he had the fastest driver in F1 now.

Todt's comments angered Alonso and he actually took a swipe at Ferrari during winter testing for 2006 when Ferrari had Valentino testing their car in Valencia and 20,000 people turned up for the spectacle.

It wasn't Ferrari Alonso was angered by, it was Todt's clumsy outspokeness.


Actually, Alonso was in discussions to take a spot at Ferrari. As I understand it, it would have entailed doing testing for a couple of seasons, maybe even a season at Sauber, and then moving up to a Ferrari race seat. Then Alonso got the deal from Briatore at Renault to give him a race seat for 2003, and he took it. This prompted Todt to basically tell him to go off himself and that he would never be a Ferrari driver "as long as he was in charge." When it came time for Ferrari to find a Schumi replacement, Kimi became the obvious choice.


Mark Hughes wrote an article for Autosport prior to the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he eliminated all instances of luck intervening in race results and calculated the effect on the season. He determined that Massa would have won the championship with 2 races to spare. On that basis, I feel to claim that Massa was only in the hunt due to "luck" is with respect very wide of the mark.

James Clayton

Luck now has a scientific definition? Sweet.


Fortunate? That wasn't fortune, it was skill. Back then Massa was a good driver, but just not good now. If anyone was fortunate it was Lewis. Hungary and Singapore, and Glock in Brazil, were in Lewis's favour not Massa's. If either of those hadn't of happened Massa would have been champion by a clear margin.

James Clayton

If all the cars aside from Nakajima's had failed in every race of the 2008 season, he would have been champion.


But that didn't happen.


Todt always thought highly of Schumacher, Alonso and Raikkonen

>> Yup that explains why Todt had his son manage the career of Massa, gave him time to get acclimatized in F1 in Sauber and then promoted him to Ferrari team. Not to mention the last business item that Todt conducted as Ferrari team principal was to extend Massa's contract to longer term

All the pieces of the puzzle are now in place.

I'd share story of how Alonso committed his future to Flavio while he and his first manager were in contact with both Jean Todt/Ferrari and Flavio/Renault. But I guess you know it all.


Thinking he is a good driver and extending a contract which you're making 10%* on are not the same thing.

I've always suspected that Massa's 'success' in Ferrari has more to do with the financial interests of the Todt family than Massa's raw driving talent.**

* Probably not the actual figure.

** I have no proof of this either


Car set up and design aside, Massa simply has not been the same since his accident. Something Martin Brundle said that blows to the head often do permanent damage in terms of reaction time etc drawing on his own personal experience. Add to that having to play second fiddle to Alonso does nothing for his confidence, and it appears he is now in decline. Ferrari have been extremely fair in as much as they have kept him on, but personally I prefer to let drivers race rather than use team orders. As to Massa's replacement Sutil is certainly quick, and it would be good to see Heikki back in a top team. In terms of availability Sutil is probably the fastest.


Something Martin Brundle said that blows to the head often do permanent damage in terms of reaction time etc drawing on his own personal experience

>> True who else but Martin Brundle can be paragon of unbiased F1 opinion working on payroll of British TV companies.

And there phrase "conflict of interest" has never been a problem in F1 circus as much as I remember 🙂


Getting hit in the head is a national bias?


Maybe he remembers his bad time with Senna in the old days lol..


All the talk of a Kubica comeback seems to have died down now. Is this looking like a dead end now James? Have Ferrari being testing him at all to your knowledge? Such a same really if its not going to happen, maybe he will pop up in a less physically demanding category.


If Ferrari test anything even a bicycle it'd be to the world's knowledge, not only to JA.


Adrian Sutil is the answer for Ferrari: experienced, fast and no threat to Alonso.

Also, as we saw in 2009, Ferrari can buy another driver out of his contract, they could get Kovalainen who is experienced. Webber is a different matter, as RedBull always has a faster car than Ferrari and I doubt he will want to move.


Mark is astute enough to know he will be shunted aside in a heartbeat as soon as one of the rising stars of TR is deemed ready for an RB drive.


Yer but Ferrari only had to spend Santander's money to buy someone out of contract, not Ferrari's own money 😀


In regards Sergio Perez, I highly doubt they'll put him in next year, let alone this year, but -

A question I've been wondering:

I understand that he brings a large sponsorship budget to Sauber from Telmex and that Sauber needs this sponsorship to be viable.

As a Ferrari customer, how will this be worked out for Sauber?

Jose Arellano

Sauber will keep the sponsorship giving the seat to Esteban Gutierrez


In public Ferrari have said that they are supporting Massa. But they are not. In Bahrain, Massa was on the softer tyres and was faster than Alonso. Did they ask Alonso to move? No. He is not treated equally and he is not given equal equipment. He is driving a car which is totally designed to suit the driving style of Alonso. He is more like a test driver. Ferrari can’t find a replacement because no self-respecting driver will play bridesmaid to Alonso and they know the shabby treatment they will get. It is true that Massa is underperforming. Ferrari is responsible for that. They have mentally destroyed him. Germany 2010 is not the only time Massa had to move over to let Alonso pass. Ferrari will only succeed once they drop the ‘number one driver’ title and treat both drivers equally.

I used to be a huge Ferrari fan. But since they systematically got rid of both Schumacher and Raikkonen, I have lost that love. They do have a good car this year. It is not bad as the media has projected. I have heard many journalist and broadcasters saying how good a job Alonso is doing in a bad car. That is just nonsense. It is a race winning car but only one man can drive it because it is designed to his driving style.


So the Ferrari is a race wining car... But suited only for Alonso. You must be kidding.


I wonder if you laugh at the response your comments have provoked.

The stand out comment has to be,

"Ferrari will only succeed once they drop the ‘number one driver’ title and treat both drivers equally.

I used to be a huge Ferrari fan. But since they systematically got rid of both Schumacher"

Was I watching a different Ferrari during the 1996 to 2006 seasons? Wasn't that one of the most "number 1 and 2" team structures in F1 history?

As to your opinion on the quality of the F2012, I could quote every British F1 journalist, every F1 TV presenter, seasoned F1 professionals and countless internet articles that confirm Ferrari's problems since testing.

You're right, only Alonso can drive it because he's genius.

If you used to follow Ferrari as you claim, you'll remember the F310

Ok, the 1996 car, which Irvine could never get to work, yet schumacher, at his peak qualified on pole with it and won 3 races. Yet Irvine finished but 6 races in a "pig" of a car. Or was that because it was designed for Schumacher and not Irvine.

The truth is, the worst a car is, the more likely a great driver will overcome it's limits whereas a good driver will struggle.


Exactly. Hamilton had no problem snatching a couple of wins while having to develop a dog in 2009. He could have even won a few more. He was blindingly quick in Monaco before shunting in Q1. He outqualied Seb in Abu Dhabi by seven tenths before a technical cockup by McLaren cost him. And if the team had done a better job with strategy in Valencia and Monza, he could have maybe managed to pull those out. (Monza is stretching it, but it could have been closer with a better strategy.)

In recent memory, the only drivers who have managed to win races in dogs are Hamilton (2009, Hungaroring and Singapore), Vettel (2008, Monza), Raikkonen (2009, Spa), and Alonso (2008, Singapore and Fuji). I guess it's not so much of a coincidence that most observers would probably rank these guys as the top drivers in F1 at the moment.


Finally some sense in this thread. I' was shaking my head reading the other comments in shock. Alonso is #1 at Ferrari because he is a better driver, plan and simple. Why would they give Massa a 'test' car if they need him to take points off the competition.


Ferrari F2012 is designed to suit Fernando's driving!! What does that even mean? You think Ferrari being the biggest/most popular team in F1 don't want to win Constructors? They do want to and each and every person in that team is trying to do it EXCEPT Felipe.

Felipe was never quick.

2006 - He could match MSC cause MSC was at far end of his career and not as quick as he used to be. Still Felipe could only match him not beat him.

2007 - Kimi won. Felipe was 4th. Behind two McLarens.

2008 - Got a shot at the championship only when Lewis crashed out in SPA and did too many mistakes. Not sure what happened to Kimi that year.

2009 - Accident agreed.

2010 - Fernando was the one to have a shout at the title before Germany. He was quicker than Felipe that time of the race and Vettle was catching them. Why shouldnt have Ferrari done what they did. Who comes first the team or the driver?

Even if we leave everything aside. Is Felipe so weak as to loose everything with one incident - Germany 2010?

Just imagine what Fernando went through in 2007 when his team boss told openly in media that the whole team is racing Alonso. And still he finished the season with same number of points as his teammate.

The bottom line is Felipe has to perform and that is exactly what he is not doing. Period.


Your recollection of the 2008 season seems, with respect, somewhat patchy. But for the engine failure in Hungary with 3 laps to go, Massa would have taken the title irrespective of the Spa penalty. But for the pitlane error in Singapore, he would have taken it with a race in hand. If anyone's position in the title race was down to Lady Luck, arguably it was Hamilton's. As for Germany 2010, the FIA investigation found Massa had been instructed to turn his engine down ("save fuel") while Alonso's had been turned up several laps before the positions were switched. In light of that and their respective pace beforehand, I would advise taking the claim of Alonso being the faster driver with a pinch of salt. The circumstances were somewhat engineered.


How can anyone say they have a good car, the last good car they had was 2008. Since than, they have always been a step behind. The biggest issue that Ferrari is having in developing a good car, is lack of testing. They have always developed the car on the track, not in a wind tunnel. That was the reason Massa was the logical replacement for Ruben, a good driver who knew the car. Massa is a good driver, not a great driver, Alonso is a great driver. Massa has never adapted to the new tyres, he has never driven a car on anything other than a Bridgestone. His driving style requires downforce and traction, something that Ferrari hasn't been able to give him, or Alonso for that matter. Yes, Ferrari did tell him to move over, but he was never really in the championship fight anyway. Alonso has adapted, Massa hasn't, Alonso has had to adapt to a different tyre in the past, Massa has never had to adapt. They have given him enough time, unfortunately, it is time to move on.


"he has never driven a car on anything other than a Bridgestone"

Sauber used Michelins in 2005, when Massa outscored Villeneuve 11 points to 9...


I couldn't agree more.

Well said!


Thank you for this.

The delta between Nando and Massa is too great to be attributed to Nandos undoubted quality. Compare all other team mates and you'll see that every now and then a team mate trumps the other but not @ Ferrari.

The gap is too big to be put down to Massa alone. The only mistake he made was staying there and perhaps not telling them to do one that day in Germany.

His crime is being too soft other than that the whole team is geared to make Alonso look great the expense of #2.

One more thing, is the Ferrari really that slow? Nobody outdrives a car. You only drive it to its limit. Nando is being compared to a team mate who he is and has to beat.

Nando is great and better than Massa but c'mon guys


All I can say is thank God you are no longer a Ferrari fan. At least one thing has gone right out of this.



I can add many races in 2011 season to the list of compromised strategies. Silverstone'11 stands out as highlight where double podium finish was easily possible.

But Ferrari always has left Massa 2-3 more laps than needed after the Pirelli tyres have lost grip losing valuable track positions for the Brazilian.

Every single race last two seasons, Massa makes up places in opening laps and the team lets him fall into grips of cars on fresher tyres by neglecting his race strategy.

I am not saying its a conscious effort to sabotage Massa, but Ferrari(and even McLaren to some extent) has this strange obsession with #1 driver and they inadvertently neglect the #2 car.

Yesterday, it was not necessary to take the drive thru penalty immediately. Vettel took his penalty as late as possible, after consolidating his track possible. Massa was asked by the pitwall to take his penalty immediately and thrown to back of the field.

Its horrendous to see repeat blunder from Ferrari strategists.

Ferrari talks of running three car team, its ironic they wish so.


hehe maybe they wish for a even slower driver than Massa to make him look not so bad, and at the same time owning the entire grid having a car in top, another in the middle and the last at the rear... 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀


I don't think anybody at Ferrari tells Felipe to drive slowly.

"They have mentally destroyed him. Germany 2010 is not the only time Massa had to move over to let Alonso pass"

I think Rubens went through even more. He dosen't look like a destroyed man, does he.

If you think the car is fast, look at the Brazilian.


Sounds reasonable. I've been wondering why Ferrari are keeping Massa for a long time now. If they continue to play 1st driver, 2nd driver then there may indeed be nobody who wants the job except some rather ordinary testers.


One driver sitting it out this year who is probably better than many on the gird is Algesauri. If I was in charge at Ferrari I'd be looking at getting a test at least.


The reason why I think Algersuari might be an intriguing choice is because he has been Pirelli's test driver this year, so he has been intimately involved in gathering data on the development of the tire.

Having said that, this didn't work out too well for Lotus-Renault last year when they hired Heidfeld.


Heidfeld did nothing wrong...money talks. Algesuari is a good shout.


Yes, but he's only just started - done 1 test so far


I think Kovalainen should be given Massa's seat for the remainder of this season. Massa is a spent force which can't all be blamed on Ferrari.

Kovalainen has shown that he can out perform his car which he has done for all his seasons with Caterham/Lotus. He couldn't do a worse job than Massa is doing right now!


Yer give Hamilton or ALonso the same Caterham and they'll out-perform the out-performing Kovo.


Some stats on how Massa performed against his team mates at Ferrari through the years from Schumacher to Kimi to Alonso



Does this mean Massa will be even with Kimi if he moves to Lotus? No, because Massa is a good driver not a top of the cream. As kimi was not motivated he was able to out score him. See the real Kimi now or his days at Mclaren. I think kimi doesn't need NO.1 status but he excepts the team to respect his personal preferences, which is pure racing.

See the way Lotus handled him up before the season started.


Some of those figures are a bit misleading- eg due the top 10 qualifying on their race fuel loads in the past, which often made them slower than 11th place!


Need points? Need a driver who always makes up for his average qualifying? A driver who has beaten Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Timo Glock (remember him?), Mark Webber, Jacques Villeneuve and Robert kubica? Sure he may not be as fast a Kubica, but he outscored the Pole and still has full use of his hands

He's in sportscars at the moment. Give Nick Heidfeld a call.


he also struggled to outqualify petrov many times in 2011. had a great 2007 but his pace and consistency is lacking.


you forgot he also beat ex-Ferrari driver Alesi, in his rookie year!


Is this suppose to be surprising that Nick beaten Kimi?

Kimi was the new kid in town whereas Nick had several years of experience in F1 already, as tester or driver.

Funny how you compare new kids to experienced adults.


Never underestimate the value of experience.

Di Resta v Sutil is a good example. Now with one year's more experience Di Resta has gone up a level. He would regularly be beating Sutil now, I reckon, if they were still team mates.


Give DC a go..! Mucho experience and will have that car set-up in 8 minutes


I would counter, James, by saying one should never underestimate the value of speed.

Petrov had Heidfeld covered last year. And I don't think many would rate Petrov as a top class driver.


Nice to hear your reply James.

But how come I don't get yours in my e-mail updates whereas I get other readers replies to my posts through email? o_O


Agreed as an option to be studied at the very least. What was that "blackout" last year at Lotus?


Even David Coulthard had beat kimi in his first year as Mclaren driver


It's really irritating that everytime someone talk about Massa, some people come out with the same childish argument, it's because germany, no it's not because germany, it's more deeper than that, and only the team and Massa know it.

You have other driver that has been a victim of team orders and "back-stabbing", way worse than Massa, and this driver is Webber, and he is performing good, so no, it's not because team orders.

My personal opinion is that Massa is mentally blocked by the fact he is driving against an all time great driver, a driver with a remarkable ability to reach the 100% (or close) of the car performance, plus the tyres don't suit and also the fact that he is not an adaptable driver and he always lacked the racecraft others drivers have, and know you have in the grid a lot of competitive young kids and veterans, this is no longer a battle of 1 vs 1, you have to fight your way against everyone.


Agree with you. I remember when they banned traction control, a commentator noticed that Massa wasn't able to adapt quickly he was spinning all over the place. Maybe he has a hard time adapting to the tires.


Yes that commentator was Mr. Martin Brundle, Independent non-affiliated to any TV channel or any country TV-Pundit.

In the said race Ferrari had miscalculated weather conditions and had gone for dry weather setup in full wet weather race.

Massa spun 7 times on one corner of Silverstone circuit and in the same race his team mate spun 6 times on the same corner.

While Massa's spins were guffawed at by the said pundit and his colleagues not a peep came about other Ferrari car spinning off six times.

In one of the following races, Lewis spun off the track and it was attributed to Lewis giving 110% everytime he took to track.

In the same season in the season finale race Massa won a wet weather race, nobody talked about his wet weather racing skills.

Following year (2009) in wet weather condition Massa drove his car while other cars were struggling and was running for good points haul when late into the race he had technical DNF. Didn't hear anything about his wet weather racing or racing in non-traction controlled car in that race.

Would like to take a chance to applaud such an independent unbiased expert commentating, after armed with such unbiased and informed viewed fans start making expert opinions about drivers(players) and teams.


Massa's still done at Ferrari 🙁


This is possible but it doesn't seem to have had the same effect on Button. He keeps going.


Button keeps going, because he's a world champion. That's a thing that really can boost your morale.


He isn't, Kay. But he plays to his strengths and does very well for himself in doing so. He's been there to pick up the pieces and produce when Lewis has cocked up.

No one confuses Button for having the same kind of one-lap pace that Hamilton and Vettel have. But he is still a very good racing driver with top notch racecraft who, when given a top car, knows how to manage it in a race and take care of his equipment. That type of thing tends to yield a lot of success.


Or destroy?

The way Button's going, makes it seem he doesn't really deserve it. Not that I don't like him, he's a fine gentleman, but he don't deserve to be in the same calibre as Hamilton or Alonso.


I think this season is a write-off in terms of winning the constructors championship.

Instead they should use Massa or his replacement as test sessions during races to support Alonso's bid for the drivers title. There's no way he can "support" Alonso from coming home that far back.


I think whoever gets that car mid season is going to have a very tough challenge ahead of them, the Ferrari has proven time and time again to be a very difficult car to drive.

Michael Grievson

It's a shame because Massa was a great talent. I've seen many times in my life how a life changing event can change people and 90% of people would be slower after a near death experience. I think he'll be replaced sooner rather than later which is a shame.

I thnk most people in the paddock will offer him support and a midfield team like Williams or force India will snap him up. Perhaps a swap with de resta?

What ever happens I have respect for him just for getting back in the car.


"how a life changing event can change people and 90% of people would be slower after a near death experience"

Mika Hakkinen. Discuss (10 marks)

Michael Grievson

Mika isn't Massa


Massa is a "touchy feely" driver. Different personality to Senna or Hak, or Lauda etc. Some drivers can come back from near death experiences, other's can't. Massa is in the latter group I fear.



But when drivers can come out even stronger after such events, you saying Massa isn't Mika is almost like an insult to Massa saying he's weak.


Mika is Finnish. Finnish people don't possess the capacity for fear.


No, I'm just saying.

Finnish people don't possess capacity for fear.

I didn't say anything about any other nationality. Just those freaking crazy Finns. You know: the ones who flip over 10 times in the forest into a tree and either die from their stupid decision or walk out of the car like nothing happened?


So based on that, Brazilians suppose to show fear??!

I don't see that in Ayrton Senna and in fact quite the opposite.


When he is dropped by Ferrari then I think he is gone from F1. Midfield teams have shown that they are willing to go for youth over experience.

I feel bad about his accident but he is fragile. Mika was dead on the track and come back to win championships.


Great talent? He was fast on his day, as was DC but great??

James Clayton

I don't see any team that would 'snap him up'. Most teams already have drivers that are already finishing ahead of Massa; why would you do the trade?


I imagine this statement from Ferrari has been very carefully timed.

They've just seen Alonso complete for a win in dry conditions, so they now know Massa's poor performance cannot be solely attributed to the car. I fear anything other than a strong showing from Felipe in Monaco will mean curtains.

So good luck to Felipe, I really hope he can at least see out the year and then start afresh with another team.


What happened to Kubica?

Isn't he testing already?

He is perfect for Ferrari because he has the speed ans consistency to lead and even challenge Alonso. There's a couple of drivers that could jump in the Ferrari and make points straight away but they won't leave midseason. If the second car isn't scoring might as well use it for his recovery.



If Kubica is fit then he should be the number one priority. He deserves to be in front running team. He can bring in lots of points. I rate him at par with Lewis but not Fernando.

He and Fernando being best buds can also play a huge role in his signing.

Robert Gunning

Just seen on Autosport, Sutil was in the paddock at Spain looking for work. He should be worth a punt.


Not committed, ready to go and a decent driver. Hungry. Why not. He should be able to score more than 2 points in 5 races!!


I'm not even sure that Massa is all that bad or even performing that badly...

Does everyone remember what happened when they put Badoer and Fisi in the Ferrari after Massa's accident? Kimi constantly top 10 but Fisi and Badoer couldn't get off the back row!

Could Ferrari's just be difficult to drive on the limit?

And what of Massa's pace relative to Alonso... ? I don't actually know so would like to be enlightened... I guess he's around 0.5 secs a lap slower on average? If so, has anyone other than Hamilton ever been better in comparison to Alonso in the same car?

I'm not Massa's biggest fan but I can't understand where his talent has gone... Surely it can't just disappear? Perhaps Alonso is just THAT good and Massa is in fact quite decent, he just looks shocking in the same

machinery as Alonso?

Just some thoughts, not necessarily my opinions... Would like to hear some others' thoughts on this?


Alonso is THAT good.

In my life I have only witnessed one better and that's Senna.

Truth is, I think Senna was exceptional from day 1, simply just a staggering talent, with no weaknesses.

Berger once said in interview, he joined Mclaren and looked for a weakness but he soon recognised he had none, unbelievable in qualifying, in rain and in the races.

Alonso seems to be getting better and better, he seems to be reaching heights that maybe Senna had all the way through.

There are days when I watch Alonso and am reminded of Senna.

Alonso falls down on the bench mark figures when you watch his qualifying and his wet races. Yet he won in Malaysia this year. So he's getting his all round game up.


Alonso is a top quality driver, one of the all-time greats. But I really struggle to put him above guys who I have seen like Schumacher (dude took a freaking Jordan in his first weekend in F1 while staying in a bloody youth hostel and qualified top-10 with it at Spa) or Prost (THE most consistent driver and technically proficient in F1 history, period).

And then you have to consider the past greats. I don't think Alonso rates with Clark or Fangio.

Among current drivers, you could argue he's the best. Hamilton and Vettel are quicker, but less consistent. Kimi is more naturally skilled, but certainly less committed.


You got one thing right and one thing wrong.


Yes, Alonso is just THAT good and Massa is in fact only decent.


Even Hamilton has not beaten Alonso in the same car. They were tied on points and that too after the whole team was against Alonso for half of the season.

Btw not sure the logic of who is better driving the same car tells the whole story. Look at McLaren 2011. Is JB better than Lewis. Hell no!!!

James Clayton

Hamilton was ahead of Alonso in the championship due to results countback.

Whatever the circumstances, Hamilton did beat Alonso in his rookie year. Albeit by the smallest of margins.


I never said Hamilton did beat Alonso... I asked if anyone had been better in comparison to Alonso in the same car. I'm pretty sure everyone except for Hamilton was around 0.5 seconds a lap off Alonso's pace.

Let's see... Grosjean... Got dropped but wasn't all that far off Alonso and look at him now... Piquet Jnr... Dropped. I'm not saying this was wrong but Piquet was pretty damn handy in GP2 - Why suddenly so bad in F1??

Fisi got crushed, Trulli got crushed, Massa is getting crushed. Alonso has completely owned every team mate but Hamilton.

Soooo... Is Massa really that bad? I suspect that whoever Ferrari draft in will be just as far off Alonso's pace.

Like I said, I'm not Massa's biggest fan but I have a feeling that Alonso flatters that car and Massa simply drives it to 98% or whatever as most of the grid would. It's only drivers like Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen who consistently find that last couple of %.


Massa is not getting the job done, and needs to be replaced sooner rather than later so Ferrari can get the WCC points needed.

If the car has good power steering, then they should get Trulli in, experienced in both racing at the front and being a team mate of Fernando Alonso.

It would be a good solution for this year while longer term options are considered.


Thanks James for highlighting the importance of the Constructor's championship, funny how in Ferrari they are starting to get nervous, as I said before a complete F1 team must be able to deliver a good car for both of its drivers.


The car is good "enough". It's leading the WDC


Or the other way round, a complete F1 driver should be able to drive around the car issues. For a good example look at what Alonso did in Malaysia 2010.


Massa scoring points is not only important for Ferrari to have a shot at the WCC but also facilitating Alonso's bid at the WDC. If Massa is performing well enough to take points off Kimi/Lewis/Vettel, then it would mean that the gap between them and Alonso would increase, provided that Alonso is ahead of Massa and others.

I know he has been unlucky but I have a feeling that he is not good enough to overtake cars which only have a slight performance disadvantage compared to Ferrari. His lap times were OK but he has to overtake the slower cars inorder to make use of the pace of the car and score points.

Hope Monaco is the turn of corner for Massa and Ferrari in a good way.


I know he has been unlucky but I have a feeling that he is not good enough to overtake cars which only have a slight performance disadvantage compared to Ferrari

>> So very true, since last season every race start Massa has made up 2-3 places on an average. And in this season every race he has made up 4-5 places on race start. for example in Spain he was running 11th after starting 17th.

and was in same group of cars as Vettel and Button when Vettel and Massa were pulled over for drive thru.

While Ferrari chose to take the drive thru immediately resulting in Massa emerging 16th in field, RedBull chose to wait as late as possible and Vettel emerged up in the field around 10th, from that point Vettel made some places and finished sixth.While Massa ended in 15th place.

To objectively evaluate root cause of Massa's troubles (and that of Schumachers) both are struggling with Pirelli tyres period.

And given the nature of regulations, that situation is not going to change and both of them are fading in every race after making up places on the race starts.

One hope for them is if their teams are innovative in terms of tactics, and have enough tyres on hand to enable both these drivers essentially short sprints, something that both of them flourish on. But then again the risk is they may still run out of tyres in the last stint and the places they win will be lost like it happened to Kimi two races back and suddenly both of them will be back of pack after shining through 4/5th of the race.

Other alternative both the drivers sneak in their own supply of Bridgestones to race meetings 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

IMO Ferrari is responsible about this, not Massa.

Ferrari has not a 3rd driver to be ready immediately, what it was thinking? And the car is going backwards. Maybe they can finish 6th or 7th as a team in the WDC (add in the list as a candidates to be better Sauber and Williams).

I would put immediately Sutil for 2012 only (I would take the risk something goes wrong with him in the judiciary side).

In 2013, maybe Webber or Button, in this way you also take points off from rival teams.

Anyway, I would replace Massa right away for sure.


You sure the replacement can do a good job immediately?

Think back: 2009 Fisi


Yes, why no qualified backup driver??

Or do teams do that these days?


IMHO the problem Ferrari face has more to do right now with the Brazilian market and its interests there. Don't forget about Brazil's rising profile. And Massa is Brazilian. So he'll stay. Santander also have great interest in this being the case. That's why he stood there in 2011 and 2012.

No Massa case this year. All noise.


Shame for the F1 marketing departments that the current Brazilian drivers are being comprehensively outperformed by their team mates.

As for Ferrari, I think Massa's performances have been so weak as to make his position untenable, so they'll have to look elsewhere. Frankly it is so untenable, they should probably have someone ready by the summer break, perhaps even as soon as Silverstone, unless he's suddenly finishing races within 10s of Alonso.

As for Brazilian drivers - it seems a shame that there are no obvious successors to the Piquet/Fittipaldi/Senna mantle, and not just for the marketing departments.


Dear James,

Is it a case of confidence and the lack of it that is overwhelming Massa? Is it the fact that he has not be able to get back into the prime after the accident? Is it a lack of mentor,,,we know that he was close to MS and really benefited from his association? Or has the development of the car been skewed to favor Alonso?

The reason that i ask these questions is that the performance level of a top level sportsman cannot go down in a dramatic manner as we see in Massa case.

The clamor for Massa's head will increase if the same persists, which is sad for a sportsman like him


SK Anand


Kobayashi would be a good replacement. Not a great qualifier but a good racer.

It is very hard for Massa to come back strong as I think he is also mentaly finished.


Di Resta in a Ferrari for next year please! Quick, smooth and tough!


Ferrari made the wrong decision in 2009. They should have kept KR not Massa. Cold logic. The team would now have 2 of the best current drivers.

There will be many who will disagree: those who reckon Massa is better than KR. To these people I just put the question "What's the problem?"


Kimi showed signs of not having interest. Plus he cost them an arse-ful of money. Massa at the time was more consistent. Of course things look different now.


They don't want two top drivers, they want one and a half top driver to win the WCD and half a driver to get them extra Constructors Championship points.


Ferrari made the wrong decision signing Kimi for 2007, they should have signed Alonso, he'd have won in 2007 and 08, and the team would have been very different in 2010 so likely champions then too.

Apart from differences in ability, it's a lot to do with their different work ethics.


Don't forget

Kimi won the title for Ferrari. And two constructors. Period.


No, Lewis pressed the wrong buttons at Brazil


Yeh, he lucked into the WDC in 2007 when Lewis spun out of the Chinese GP, because as Ron said, "we were racing Alonso"

He had Massa let him by at Brazil to secure the title by a point. What a performance.

2008 Massa nearly won the WDC

The constructors were won by both drivers adding to the score. Don't forget in 2007, Mcalren were disqualified from the WCC so Ferrari waltzed it, it would have been Mclarens but for spygate.

Like I said, if Alonso has signed for Ferrari for 2007, he would have secured the WDC sometime before Kimi did. He would have secured the 2008 one too because he wouldn't have off days like Massa did, and they would have won both Constructors too.


It's difficult though isn't it.

I mean Mclaren could have got rid of Hakkinen after his life threatening accident in 1995. Yet gave him space to recover and a seat when he returned a few months later.


I see your point, but in all honesty, I think once Todt left the team after the 2007 championship, the working relationship between Kimi and Ferrari was just not there anymore.


Do you really think that KR would ever move over and let Alonso by? We all seen the support he gave Mass in his Championship fight. KR is just to self-centered to think about a team as a whole. I don't think he will ever set foot back in a Ferrari.


"Do you really think that KR would ever move over and let Alonso by?"

That's just you assuming KR is as slow/bad as Massa.

If KR was there, this problem wouldn't even be here in the first place coz both of them would be trying to get to the front rather than with one of the crawling to the back.


I don't think KR would have ever NEEDED to move over and let Alonso by...


He did support Massa in the championship fight...China and other notable cases...


Really?...Maybe you're forgetting Kimi letting Massa by in China 2008.


That is the view among many in the Italian media


My understanding is that Ferrari has confirmed, albeit only to the Italian press only, that the vacancy is open to all but two current F1 drivers. The two exclusions, Karthikeyan and Hamilton.

Neither are considered suitable Ferrari material.


I'm Italian,and a Ferrarifan, and i never read anything that comes even close to what you are saying, and i read a lot of Ferrari news.

Hamilton not suitable Ferrari material???

Hamilton is every team's material, i think Di Montezemolo would thank the Lord on his bare knees if he could sign Lewis, or "Il campione anglo-carabico" as he is often referred to.

James Clayton

I would absolutely *love* to see you back up this 'understanding' of Ferrari's confirmation with a link.

No I don't read Italian, but I know plenty who do.


James, would they ever consider bringing Barrichello back into the team?


Hmm...if only there was someone who in the past month had been fitted for a Ferrari seat....

Jacques Villeneuve possibly can't do any worse than Massa at the moment.


Alright. We'll all have a quick laugh at that 🙂


Villeneuve in a Ferrari...

He would be shockingly bad I suspect, but may make everyone of a certain age smile 😉


The story surrounding Massa is rather interesting, even on Scuderia.net where there's a division between the Tifosi loyals. The sad thing for Ferrari now (i think) is the reaslization that the constructor championship will soon be out of reach. And this will happen very soon, unless both cars finish on the points often (higher up). So, what about Massa then? I think if his perfomance doesn't improve, then a decision must be made. Hard as it may be but hey...a decision has to be made. DS.


A poor performing team mate also isn't taking points off the likes of Vettel, Hamilton, Kimi etc. so Alonso has less of a buffer for the WDC as well


Why does Glock not come up in all talk abour replacing Massa?


Maybe coz the team knows better of drivers abilities?


Very good point...I don't get what he or Kovi are still doing at the back of the grid when they are clearly talented.


How about Valentino Rossi?


Take 2 wheels off the Ferrari F1 and Rossi should adapt pretty well.


Ha,ha,nice one!


James, im a huge ferrari fan but do you think as Alonso has assumed the new role of Michael in the team (something they never had with Kimi) that Ferrari have simply designed the car more around Alonso's preference hence not only is Alonso's supreme skill beating Felipe but the car as well. I also think that Massa has never really got to grips with the Pirelli's something that imo Alonso has done better than most.


Read the initial comment correctly, I am a huge Alonso fan and imo he is the best driver atm in F1. I was merly saying that it is because of this that Massa is looking so put of sorts as well as the teams (correctly so) 100% commitment behind a double world champion. Hence if Massa was partnered with Webber or Rosberg the gap wouldnt be so noticable.


F10 was not designed around Alonso, and where did Alonso / Massa ended up at the end of 2010?


The F10 was a heavily updated car though, throughout the year the F10 would have been more focused on Alonso than Massa.


Yes and which driver was screaming at the team to get Massa to let him through in Australia because he could win the race. Massa defended against Alonso so heavily that Hamilton and Webber got past them both!

Or Malaysia, where he had a gearbox malfunction, needing to take control manually and yet still raced harder than Massa and over took others.

Or China where he performed the sweetest cheekiest pass I have ever seen, into the pits against Massa.

Or maybe Monaco, crashed out before qualifying, started 24th, Massa was 4th.

End of the race Alonso had got up to 6th, and Massa was still 4th..

The developments arrived around the British GP, and Alonso recovered a 47 point gap to nearly win the championship.

Anyway Ryan M, why would Ferrari follow the direction of Massa over Alonso.

Whatever your personal view of Alonso, he is a multiple winner and a double World Champion.


Now tell me, who won the opener? =)

Can't say that was a car around Alonso's preference.

Nothing against Massa here, it's just the argument of the car was based on Alonso more than Massa just isn't valid.


Some reports suggest that Sutil and his manager spent a lot of time at Force India, while Hulk's manager visited Ferrari. Ferrari could replace Massa with the Hulk or DiResta (as he is more impressive and appears to be a reliable points scorer) and FI can get back Sutil. This is a perfect trading opportunity for FI. They might want to keep ferrari pleased as they will be looking for a new engine supplier if Mercedes pulls out of F1 or when their current engine deal runs out. Force india has already started the groundwork by giving Bianchi some track time this year.


The fact is that Robert Kubica would probably have been racing for Ferrari this year instead of Massa had he not had his accident and now all the best available drivers are under contract elsewhere. Which topline driver would want to go to Ferrari anyway if they continue to put all their eggs in the Alonso basket?


Kubica's accident is what allows the Massa problem to still exist, really. Ferrari have run with two number one drivers in the past and they'd have had no other choice if Robert and Fernando were their drivers. Such a damn damn shame that he had that accident!!


As much as I like Massa, its time for him to move on, right now. They effectively have a one-horse team.

He hasn't been the same since the hit in the head. Its not uncommon for those injuries to never be restored completely, and all he need do was to lose a couple of milliseconds off his reflexes to be in this situation.

All the motivation in China won't fix that.

Almost any currently active driver would be better, and all it takes is money.


They effectively have a one-horse team.

>> And that's the way they love to operate traditionally. And then why blame Ferrari, every team at sharp end gets caught up in that obsession. While everybody keeps mechanically harping about how "Constructors title" is important, the allure around "Driver's title" simply has more overpowering and polarizing effect.

A look at recent history of F1 is good indicator of how things pan out.

Keeping the subjectivity out of the discussion, its interesting to note all the pitstop cock ups in 2005-06 happened in Renault Garage on Fisichella Pitstops,

Similar was the case with McLaren in 2008/09 and Heikki

In first six races in 2011 Ferrari mechanics always butterfingered on Massa Pitstops.

Many of the posters have elaborated on the strategy compromises of the #2 driver.

Add Rubens/Brawn, Webber/Red Bull clutch issues on race start, strategy switches, preference in giving upgrades ( and making #2 driver say how he didn't like the upgrade in official press releases) and one can see a definite pattern of teams at sharp end are not exactly honest of where their priority lies "Drivers" or "Constructors"

Having said that "Constructors" points only become important in days/weeks prior to sacking a driver. e.g. JPM 2005 , Heikki 2009.

So who knows Maranello has already made up its mind and Massa maybe out of Ferrari very soon.

Fisichella, Badoer and Gene must be smacking their lips and raring to go. Sitting in the stable can be hard, even if the stable is of the famous "Horse Whispherer" 🙂


One thing may be worth consideration in all of this: Sir Stirling Moss, unquestionably one of the all-time greats, took the best part of two and a half years to recover properly from the head injuries he sustained in a crash at Goodwood in 1962. While Massa's injuries were not quite as severe, thanks to the advances in helmet design since then, a 2kg spring hitting your head at 180mph is still going to do a great deal of damage and I suspect it may have been premature to return to racing as he did in 2010. It may also be the case that Massa is still recovering - a 2008 study in the Lancet suggested cognitive improvements following traumatic brain injury continue for over 2 years, and much as he may have met the baseline required to race I suspect Massa's brain is still repairing damage today. I could be completely wrong on this, but looking at the literature on TBI it sounds plausible.

Other than that, Ferrari's poor strategy planning and general running of its 2nd car has already been mentioned and is a valid point, as is the poor luck he's had this year and last season. However, none of this detracts from the fact that he needs a good result at Monaco urgently. Given his pace last year (before the tangle with Hamilton, obviously) I think he can do it, but the pressure is definitely on.


Nicely put


I am impressed to see so very eminent authorities on Sports Psychology and Post Trauma gather in one place to write off Massa.

All we need is Ferrari and other teams on the grid to hire everybody on this forum to work with their their team members (including drivers) promoting good mental health and hence team harmony and optimized human potential.


One of the issues yet to play out from the competitiveness of this year will be its impact on the driver silly season.

If Massa was to look around, he will see four more competitive teams than in previous years.

Williams, Louts, Mercedes and Sauber are now legitimate targets for a driver that needs/wants to leave a team.

James Clayton

And why would any of them take Massa when their current drivers regularly outrace him?


Interesting question, a bit like asking why did Ross Brawn take on Jenson Button at the end of 2008/early 2009.

Or Mercedes with Nico, he was regularly beaten until a few weeks ago.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no great fan of Massa, but Alonso has a very distinct driving style, and Massa might just be better in a team that takes development in a different direction


Those situations don't compare at all. Nico was regularly beating his team mate Nakajima at the time Mercedees signed him. Brawn didn't really sign button in 2008/2009, he was already in the team and with 2 months to go until the start of the season there was no sense in making any changes. Anyway, Button was on par with Rubens at Honda so....?


I ve been a Ferrari fan for decades and rarely has the gap between team mates been so great. Drivers like Massa just don't lose it to this extent, he's one of the best starters still, but then he looses pace, stays out too long on old tyres so Alonso can pit at will. I saw this pattern through 2010 and 2011, but for some reason this year it seems to be wrecking Massa's chances even more. It's a one car team for sure and only a team solution will solve this problem. One other possible reason for Felipe's lack of sustained speed, might be that he is unwell. I hope he catches a break soon, he's been on pole in Monaco before so maybe Q3 is possible, but it's a big ask on a very hard track.


I got the impression (and I think James has written as much) that the team have been confident that Massa still has the same level of ability that he had in 2008, and just needs the car to work in the right way.

Perhaps they've now decided/realised that with the current rules and tyres, the car isn't likely to suit him in the forseeable future.


What about Hamilton to Ferrari? 1 He'd get a team that can do a decent pitstop. 2 He'd stop tripping over Massa round the circuit. And 3 Wouldn't it be nice to see how he and Alonso cope?

James Clayton

1 - Alonso wouldn't have it, he's said as much

2 - Santander, who came to McLaren for Alonso but stayed for Hamilton, already sponsor Ferrari as well.




As others have siad, I think Sutil, Buemi or Algersuari are the only obvious candidates for a mid-season change (assuming all current race drivers are locked in). All are experienced and all are hungry. Out of the three, I'd probably go with Sutil on experience, with Jaime a close second on the back of his recent Pirelli work...


It's time for Luca Cordero di Montezemolo to step in and replace Felipe. Personally I really like Felipe, but this is business, and Ferrari has been losing a lot waiting for this driver to bring back his skills up to standard. Sadly Felipe has being racing in a pathetic way, I'm still surprised he hasn't been replaced long time ago.

But which option do you have? I really believe is not going to take long before my compatriote Sergio Perez will take over that spot. Experience some of you might talk about now... what better experience than grow up, improving your skills and learning from Alonso! Fernando is the most complete driver out there.

Honestly all drivers have bad races, but Massa seems has lost his confidence behind the steering wheel of that Ferrari at all.

I'm a huge Mclaren fan, not a Ferrari one.


One thing that we all do forget is that to us it is a sport that we are all passionate about, but to them it’s not only a sport, this is also business.

And in any big business you either sink or swim and if you don’t swim then you’re out . . it doesn’t matter what personal or professional setbacks you have had in your life, once you become a liability i.e. Massa’s current performance then they will look elsewhere.

So what if he nearly won the championship. . that’s not today, that’s not now, I have been a Massa fan through and through but there is a point in any team where you need to take a “suck it up princess” approach and just get on with the job, which going by Alonso’s results, Massa doesn’t seem to be doing with the car.

And in regards to a replacement . . we can speculate all we like but Ferrari have probably had their “plan B” regarding Massa since the end of last year . . and well contracts are never water tight and money (and Ferrari prestige) speaks louder than loyalty. Cause at the end of the day this is still a Business . . and they want results!


Nothing against Massa, but like I've always said....


Big big big mistake in their decision.


Kay - please can we not do the "my driver is better than your driver" comments so much,

Most readers find them annoying and we need to keep the level high here - Thanks -Mod]



Just I do believe Kimi is better than Massa that's all. Like I said there is nothing against Massa, and in my posts on your previous articles I did say I feel sorry for him in fighting for survival. My point was that Ferrari made a bad decision in 2009 and thus led them to the situation they have now.


Can't see anything negative in the Ferrari PR messages. They think Massa was unlucky in Barcelona and naturally expect him to perform better in the next race.

I think Filipe (and Schumi) are overdriving due to the increasing weight of expectation on them (their own, team, fans, sponsors). Ironically they are both on 2 pts.

Changing drivers mid-season or driver swap might backfire if the replacement doesn't perform any better (e.g. Fisi and Badoer).

If Filipe's results are still the same by British GP, it's not impossible to think tthat Filipe may get "injured" or "rested" and a current driver loaned to the team for a few races for more immediate results, maybe one of the Sauber boys (but returned before their home GPs in Japan or US) or an experienced hand in the backmarker teams (Timo Glock, Pedro).


Heidfeld could still win the WDC with a string of 2nd places.


Maybe slightly off-topic but team orders are being discussed here.

Does anyone recall Vettel being told 'Mark is quicker than you' or similar? I have it in my head that this was said over the teams radio. I recall Vettel was closing in on Mark when he was given the 'information'. After the race young Seb was confused as to how Mark could be quicker when he was catching him up at the time. If it was ever said, it was probably '09. Either that or old age is effecting my memories....

If they both made the podium that race (and I have no idea), maybe James would remember the post-race interview where Seb was confused.




Silverstone'11 was "You have to maintain the distance Mark!"


"Maintain the gap".


I recall something like that, but was not "Mark was quicker", I think it's about save fuel. Was in 2010 if I recall correct.


It was Turkey 09, something came up in the interview, but I don't think it was as you remember it.

Unfortunately, F1.com doesn't have the recorded interviews available that I could find.

Vettel won the next race.


Ferrari should hire Sutil. I'll bet he will take the offer and deliver coz he needs to prove he can earn a 2013 seat. Remember 2011 when he got better when his seat was under treat.

Go on Ferrari, pull a wild horse out of that old bag!!! Some Game theory is what Ferrari need. Stefano needs to do something to save his job too, he is starting to look bad. Dare I say it!!!!!! He needs to make a Flavio-esque call or worse still Marko-esque call.


Agree with you 100% this is not Massa's problem anymore. James, is it true teams are financially rewarded with their point standing?


Why do so many people say Sergio Perez is not experienced enough? Come on guys! Hamilton was also lacking experience when he debuted at McLaren and he nearly won the championship in his 1st year! Poor Felipe is not delivering anymore, the numbers are there to prove it! Barring the big guns there are still enough pilots who could have done better than 2 points this season. Sergio has enough talent to be given that chance! And then, as everybody is pointing out, there is really not much of a choice. I am sure Peter Sauber would immediately fill Sergio's seat in the best possible way with Ferrari's cash.

James Clayton

Why do so many people say Sergio Perez is not experienced enough?

Because Ferrari have said that Sergio is not experienced enough...


no they haven't

James Clayton

Sorry, my bad. I was remembering the Mark Webber article from here and thought it included a quote from Ferrari to that effect. It didn't.


Yes but Hamilton had McLaren's full support since a young kid and had full access to the teams equipments and stuff to be fully prepared before his first season in F1.


Some of the comments belie a total ignorance of the actual sport of racing and what a racing driver is.

The short version of why Massa is being treated like a #2 is because he is a #2. The individual who made the session vs session season analysis did a very nice piece of work. Individual incidents can be overlooked but when viewed over a season; or two; the evidence is damning.

Try it this way - when was the last time you remember any of the following:

- Massa looks quicker than Fernando this weekend (P1/P2/P3/Q1/Q2/Q3/Race)

- Fernando doesn't seem to have the pace of his Brazilian teamate

Hardly any. For those who say Massa was "broken" by being told to move over in 2010 - you don't know racing or racing drivers. Quick is quick and if Massa had the pace of Alonso it would actually SHOW UP as an argument. Instead its all about "Fernando is #1", "Massa is not supported", "Fernando will not allow Felipe to be quicker than him" "Felipe is depressed". Not one word about Felipe being quicker.

Whereas Webber Vs Vettel, Hamilton vs Button, Vettel vs Bourdais, Alonso vs Hamilton, Massa vs Raikonnen, Massa vs MSC, (examples off the top of my head) it always comes down to pure pace first and platitudes later.

With Alonso vs Massa its platitudes throughout.


Sadly, and speaking as a long term Massa supporter, I too feel it is time for the Scuderia to make a switch. I think he came back from the accident soon, and with the birth of his first child around the time of his comeback he clearly has taken a more 'fatalistic' view of his racing - he just doesn't look like he wants to be in the thick of it any more. This is to take nothing away from him as a human being; every new father has to contend with a mixture of feelings about the birth of a child, but not many are at the time recovering from a near-fatal accident, and do a job which requires the putting aside of all feelings of risk in order to succeed. Ferrari have shown him great loyalty, and that is the least he deserved, but I can't see him improving drastically from here, and as we all know, results are everything in this sport. If il Commendatore was still at the helm I think this question would be moot - he would have gone a long time ago...


Hi James,

Why isn't Ferrari looking at Heikki?

He is fast, organised, and intelligent; also, he has worked with Alonso in the past at Renault.

Should be a good fit according to me.




Fast? Reliable? Was this the same driver that was out-classed by Hamilton and couldn't even play the role of support driver in 2008? He wouldn't be any better than Massa.

James Clayton

*past performance is not a guarantee of future failures. Driver's abilities can increase as well ad decrease.


I think they'll go through to the end of the season with Massa, then change


Hi James

Other teams use a third driver in their FP1 do you think Ferrari should be looking to use this session for Jules Bianchi to provide a comparison? Ferrari are very poor when it comes to bringing up new talent & they have made it clear that their second car is their number 2 car which is hardly an encouraging calling card for any prospective driver to fulfil. Is it time for them to start thinking about a youth policy like most of the other top teams follow?


As this article alludes to, Ferrari have not been supporting Massa...more like they have no option but to keep him...either for contractual reason or lack of alternatives. I like Massa, and I think a move would be what he needs. He is doing himself no favours with this year's performance, and therefore reducing his appeal for a decent midfield drive next year, which I think he is capable of and could see him return to some form. Unless they can poach someone, Ferrari are unlikely to get an experienced driver for next year, so they should cut their losses and get someone in the car now, so they are more prepared for next year...my suggestion would be be Bianchi.


There is a risk that whoever driver they replace Massa fares even worse! It could just be that the current Ferrari is so bad that Alonso is performing miracles with it and its true pace is reflected in Massa's results.

Put Sutil, Heidfeld, Kovaleinen, Perez, etc. in that seat and if they do no better or even worse than Felipe, and you have evidence that it's all about the car. Not a nice prospect given that Ferrari is a true road car manufacturer.


They could, of course put Giancarlo Fisichella in the car; or a test driver?

Ah yes...........

They will most probably bite the bullet and do their best to support FM. I doubt a change to any of the sensibly available pilots would make significant difference.


Ferrari don't like cold logic.

They like drivers who blend in socially, drivers who know the words to all the favourite team songs, drivers who speak italian good...

I would definitely say Sutil be given a trial.

Also, may sound way too unlikely, but JUAN MONTOYA's been doing well in Nascar.

Ok he's not a Kimi or Alonso or Vettel but speedy enough and would bring in the points. Can he be lured back?


I think Montoya is a speedy driver worthy of an F1 seat. But I feel that he remembered well the bitter experience he had with F1. It will be difficult.


It seems like Ferrari has no plan B or accountability at all. As a result, they have to keep Massa. I'm glad I'm not a Ferrari supporter after Kimi left.


Ferrari needs an experienced driver am Rubens would appear to be free. Do the maths.....


Sht, don't you think that Rubens has shown a lot of ingratitude since he left Ferrari? Every now + then he finds an occasion to say how badly he was treated as nr. 2 in the team. He accepted to sign a nr. 2 pilot contract. They let him win a dozen GPs. And then he went on to make the Austrian scandal in 2002 and even continued to drive with Schumi the following year! And now he's too old anyway!


All valid points. But given both have what the other needs (Rubens has the experience and Ferrari the drive), things be easily forgiven - even if it's just for half a season.


Hamilton at Ferrari would be very interesting. Personally id love to see it!


Same here! From watching Fernando & Lewis these days it really looks like a good, if bold for Ferrari, idea! Come on Luca & Stefano, turn the page and move on. Forget about your medieval idea of nr. 2 pilot! McLaren shows it can be done!


hi james

I did a statistical analysis of all alonso's championship results versus his teamate.

(I left out the early seasons as i considered that to be his apprenticeship years.)

The interesting result is that alonso generally scores double the points of his teamate. One year that went against the trend was 2007 when alonso and hamilton were about even and alonso famously spat the dummy.

Maybe one has to consider the possibility that Alonso destroys teamates and it will be hard for Ferrari to ever win a constructors championship with alonso as number 1. I don't think that alonso can deal with another driver his equal in the same team. This is what i call 'the alonso diilemna.'

btw Massa has historically done very well in comparison to his teamates ie schui and kimmi.

Alonso's prescence at ferrari has destroyed Massa - there's no easy way to say it. Germany 2010 was just the straw that broke the camels back.

A lot of people are blind to Alonso's shortcomings. He should have won the last race but was beaten fair and square by a relative newcomer. He lacked the patience to wait until the last few laps and to use his fresher tyres to to make a move on maldonado.


A very thoughtful post, Chris - I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

I'm no fan of Alonso but he does get at least 110% out of any car he drives - 2007 must have been a real shock when he found out the hard way just how good Hamilton really is !

Lewis has also shown himself to be one of the only other drivers on the current grid that can produce good results from a difficult car.

James : I'm certain you are right that Ferrari would have done better to keep Kimi alongside Alonso but surely even Ferrari would have struggled to find the second year's budget to retain Kimi and recruit Alonso ?


Evo2 are you serious? Do you really think Ferrari is short of cash? The real problem is that until Montezemolo gives up his job fans will have to survive with a number 1 pilot & number 2 pilot. I would very much like to see 2 pilots with eaqual chances at Ferrari. McLaren style. Not the stupid Williams style with Piquet free to kill Mansell.


It is very hard to be his team mate, clearly. And that needs to be born in mind by Ferrari when they select their drivers for 2013.

Arguably retaining Kimi and dropping Massa would have worked out better for team points, but Massa was performing better in 2009/9


It would be good for Massa to go back to a smaller team and rebuild his confident, just like Heiki Kovaleinen did with Caterham. I think a swap between Massa and Heiki would be a very good deal for both teams.

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