Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says Felipe Massa will not be reprimanded by the team after he ignored team orders during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
On lap eight, Massa, 32, was running ahead of Alonso when the Brazilian’s race engineer Rob Smedley gave him the instruction: “Multi-function strategy A. Multi-function strategy A now please,” over team radio.
Massa, who is racing for his career as he has yet to secure a seat on the grid next year, chose not to move over, however the Brazilian was later overtaken by the Spaniard on lap 20 in a legitimate pass after Massa made a mistake on the exit of the final chicane.
Domenicali said: “At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on the track. For sure Felipe is trying to be as quick as possible and I understand his feelings. He will find the team totally supporting him up until the end of the season with no problem.
“We brought home what was the maximum and there is no story to create around these things because there are other things we need to focus on, including how we are going to improve the car up to the end of the championship.”
Massa went on to finish 10th at Suzuka, after a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane ruined his race, while Alonso finished fourth to keep the title race alive going into the next race in India.
Massa said he spoke to his team about the incident after the race. “It was an instruction,” he said. “I am never happy with an instruction. We already discussed it, but for sure it was an unfortunate race today because of the drive-through. It was not an instruction when he overtook me on the track. The instruction came much earlier.”
Alonso said that there was not issue between himself and Massa after the incident. “We cannot make a big thing about this,” he said. “We are racing and whatever we do today, we finished more or less in the same positions because we could not achieve anything more. I don’t know exactly what happened, but there are zero problems.
“It would be nice to go back to the old days of Ferrari, where we were fighting for first and second, and then decide who wins. Or do what Red Bull does, when one car does two stops and one car does three stops, and they finish first and second. This is a much easier life.
“In our position we are always trying to do our maximum. I am trying to do my maximum, Felipe is trying to do his maximum and the team is trying to do its maximum.”