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French Grand Prix
Massa believes he was right to ignore order to let team-mate Bottas past
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  30 Mar 2014   |  5:52 pm GMT  |  367 comments

Felipe Massa has insisted he was right to ignore a team order to let team-mate Valtteri Bottas past him to take seventh place in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite concerns on the Williams pit wall about the state of the Brazilian’s power unit.

In an uncanny replay of the Ferrari command at the 2010 German Grand Prix in which Massa was told “Fernando is quicker than you”, Massa was informed that Bottas in eighth was running faster than him and that he should let the Finn through. He ignored the request and went on to claim seventh place and six points.

Afterwards, the former Ferrari driver insisted he was right to do so.

“What I did was correct. I am trying to do my best for the team and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I’m sure the result would not have changed even if I had let him by, so it’s the same.

“The team respects me 100 per cent and they showed they respect me after the race, so I have no problem at all. What’s happened today was maybe not what I expected, but what I did was correct.”

According to Williams’ chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson the request was given to Massa as the team felt that Bottas could catch sixth-placed Jenson Button, and because Massa’s engine was running hot.

“He [Massa] did not do what we would have preferred him to do,” said Nelson. “Felipe was running fairly high temperatures on his engine and we were a little bit concerned about it, and Valtteri had much fresher tyres than Jenson did. We thought that it would be good to give Valtteri a go at getting past Jenson.”

However, he added that had Bottas failed to reel in and pass the McLaren driver, the request would have been reversed and Massa would have been free to retake seventh.

“If he [Bottas] hadn’t achieved it within two or three laps, we would have swapped our drivers over again and everyone would have been happy,” he said. “It’s not a big deal, every team does it. It’s not team orders, it’s a strategic decision based on the relative performance of both cars.”

Bottas, meanwhile, skirted the issue when asked to clarify his position after the race.

“We have still not had a proper chat, we are going to later and analyse this situation,” he said. “We are going to talk through it with the team and analyse what happened and what do we need to do next time in similar situations just so everything is clear with what the rules are and what we do better next time. Maybe it will allow us to get more points in the future.”

The team-mates had clashed earlier in the race with Massa critical of Bottas’ driving as they raced for position. “Did you see what he did?” Massa asked of the pit wall. Bottas, meanwhile, insisted over the radio that “I have more pace than him”.

Nelson concluded by saying that the team would discuss the events with its drivers.

“There’s nothing else going on in the background, we don’t want to put one driver down and one driver up, we don’t have team orders in that respect,” he said. “We will go through everything with the drivers tonight, discuss the situation and what we expect.”

 

 

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1

contrast. Ron keeping magnusson’s feet on the ground. Williams already fanning the ego of a unproven driver. Nice throwback to the amateur days though.

2

I agree. It’s disappointing that they fan Felipe’s ego like this, when he’s not proven that he can still score points consistently, let alone win GPs…

3

VatBot was definitely quicker than Felipe and Jenson. This is factually supported by his rapid approach to them. He had much fresher tyres than both of them and much more likely of overtaking Jenson.

Catching & passing can be two very different things but VatBot has shown in a very short time he is very capable of passing.

I cannot say the same for Felipe in all the years and all the cars I have watched him drive. He seems to believe he has arrived at Williams as, finally, a #1 driver. I was saddened by WIllimas’ decision to hire him but he most likely brings some much needed sponsorship, so not quite a normal hire. Maybe he can change but I won’t be holding my breath. I believe VatBot is the quicker of the 2 and is more capable of overtaking. I think he was too cautious (and rightfully so) of causing an accident (easy with Felipe – speak to Lewis) with his own team – ‘mate’. I can imagine the opinion within Williams of VatBot has risen greatly, while Felipe’s has plummeted. As Cpt Mannering would suggest – “Stupid Boy”

4

+1.

In Sporting Terms, Felipe is past his prime and an old dog.

In Commercial Terms, he’s serves a purpose – hence his current position w/ the team.

5

youtube thing. apart from saying he crashed me massa doesnt seem to say anything. Hardly earth shaking. I guess he just ignored all the williams puppeteers.

6

Andy, better put is, Its a sure way of them getting nowhere.

7

No driver can ever be right in ignoring team orders/requests/instructions.

A driver is part of a team and the order /request/instructions issued by the team while the race is in progress has to be adhered too, so how come a driver can be or is said to be right in ignoring team orders?

8

I’m tired of Formula 1. I used to get up at 1 AM to watch an Australian or Japanese Grand Prix. With this rype of crap no wonder I don’t even wake up at 8 AM to watch F1…

9

If I CAN pass Massa and if I PASS Massa I am faster than him . (Even my mother who is eighty and knows crap about Formula 1 agrees with that..)

If I CANNOT pass Massa and have to whine to my team saying I’m faster than Massa that means that I’m faster than Massa and faster than Button, even though I don’t have neither the ability nor the speed to pass the slower of the two guys in front of me. At the end of the race I must say I’m faster than those two guys who were in front of me… (Even Bottas’ mother, after twenty kilos of Finnish Vodka, would agree with …that……)

10

Except that’s not what happened.

Listen to the full team radio exchange. Link above…

11

We don’t know, but it could be that Bottas and Massa have contracts specifying driver equality with equal equipment. They may have been told before the race that they could race each other. Personally, under circumstances such as those, I believe Massa would be right in his mind to defend his position against Bottas. Psychologically, all drivers need to best their team mates. Bottas’ time will come. Good luck to them both.

12

Ok the I was wrong,you tube makes it clear that people at Williams a bit upset.still not really that much of A big deal,f 1 drivers like to get their elbows out,it’s how they got where they are

13
Yngwie Malmsteen

Go Massa!!! Vai garoto!

14

1. “Valterri is faster than you” is poor choice of words, in isolation. Maybe in context of a long running exchange between Pitwall and Massa, they were not ?

2. Massa always APPEARS to be content to drive in front of his team mate. We’ve seen him doing this in multiple instances with Alonso and now with Bottas

3. Unlike some of the other drivers who admit their mistakes, in Massa’s eyes he is ALWAYS innocent in any incident

4. If Massa doesn’t end this year significantly ahead of Bottas in terms of performance, THIS will be the incident which his supporters will claim as the one which broke his spirit AGAIN; and we’ll hear it for the next umpteen years like how we keep hearing about Germany 2010.

15

What should they have said?

“Errr., Felipe Baby – you’re not quite as fast as Valterri”?

16

Best to listen from YouTube the entire conversation before making judgements. BOT was smart not to risk good points for the team even he likely could have passed Massa. I think in the end of the day that’s what Williams will appreciate. The one who did harm for himself was Massa.

17
kenneth chapman

this latest hoo har between massa and bottas more or less confirms my earlier post, in another thread, re modern F1.

drivers are now team muppets and they are being controlled by ‘others’. they are told how fast to drive, how much fuel to use and not to use. how to look after tyres, maintain gaps, push for a couple of laps, pass or not to pass etc etc etc.

the driver is simply becoming a total puppet having his strings jerked by others insofar as he can’t just race. these restrictions/controlling actions have been slowly building up until only when one looks back and actually looks at it objectively does one see the invidious creep of control. not long ago i distinctly recall a driver asking the pit wall’ who am i racing?’ i mean, seriously, is this what has it has all down to?.

no, i don’t want to try and turn the clock back as i really do enjoy the new technology, in principle. what i want to see is simply….more actual racing with less constriction. something needs to be done otherwise it will just eventually implode. i have never said this before but after a lifetime of watching F1 and embracing it with a long standing passion the racing is now being’drained of any lifeblood’.

18

Felipe Massa and Bottas team radio, Malaysia 2014

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ngWhFrQdIYA

Plenty more than we heard during the transmission.

19

For Williams to use the words they did, given this stage of Massa’s career & what he has plainly set out to do, and given Williams’ precarious position in terms of sponsorship & finance, it was not only a non-Williams sort of thing for the team to do, but a very bad business enterprise wide risk to take.

It must call into doubt Claire Williams future as a manager and the business future for the enterprise in general.

Yes it was as bad as saying you are now our b&*ch just like you were Ferrari’s. Just the sort of thing a spoilt owner-class affected kid taking over Daddy’s business would do immediately before ruining it. Seeing her face in the pit shots in Melbourne after Bottas’s touching the wall says she isn’t coping with the pressure.

Massa could easily his gear, head home and lose little if Williams already had it in for him – while for Williams that outcome scenario would entail real business risk.

The issue is long-tailed, it isn’t done yet.

Ms Williams should take the above as a warning – no one wants to see the Williams team threatened. Bringing Pat back to the pit wall is probably not the answer either – she just needs to up her game.

20

Oh please.

It doesn’t “call into doubt Claire Williams future as a manager and the business future for the enterprise in general.”

[mod]

21

I was wondering if you might manage to squeeze an anti Hamilton post into a story that has nothing at all to do with him!

22

Not really that big an issue.I doubt anyone at Williams is very upset

23

@kenneth chapman: Mate, can you really appreciate that multi21 was the best racing of the year? A few thrilling laps of pure racing. In the end, Webber, paid for Brasil 2012. All this nonsense moralizing about Vettel that come from so many resentful non-Vettel fans is absolutely painful. But it is understandable somehow, all suffered so much seeing RBs on top for 4 long years. Well done Masa, well done Vettel, we want racing not f1 processions, or political games.

24
kenneth chapman

@alanf1…. i have entirely different ideas about the multi21 issue and would say that once webber decided not to risk his car there was no thrilling racing, about one lap if i recall correctly?

i am a staunch believer in racing, not having team orders but i do also see the teams approach. what you are not doing is looking beyond the ‘team orders’

issue here and seeing both sides of the problem.

as for brazil, well now you are drawing short straws. webber did not break any team orders though some people would like to see it that way. if you really understand it you would have seen the interview where webber said pre race that he was not going to give up any spots and he was racing for the win. however if he felt that he was not in the hunt for a top finish he would take it as it comes.

if you actually watch the start you will also see that webber simply kept the racing line and did not chop vettel at all. webber had no where else to go even if was going to give up the place as the ferrari had boxed him in.

people use brazil as a foil to the brazen attitude of vettel. there are no parallels here at all. the massa/bottas issue is significantly different.

25

I know u read this, but wont post it of course!

U are a journalist, shame on you for not posting when someone disagrees with your opinions.

Shame

26

Interesting…

Some have written that they agree with Massa, some have written that they disagree with Mass, some have written that they think he’s a whinger, some have written that he should be congratulated, some have written that Williams should fire him and at least one has suggested that Bottas might punch him…and James has printed them all.

What could you possibly have written that you think James would have refused to post?

27

What are you on about?

28
kenneth chapman

james, one word too many there. leave the word ‘about’ out. then it makes more sense.

29

Lol, I had the same thought 🙂

30

LMAO – so true!

31
Scuderia McLaren

James and Bones, sitting in a tree…

K I S S I N G…

First comes love, then comes marriage,

Then comes a baby, sitting in a carriage.

😉

32

my kids add “drinking alcohol” to the end of that song when they sing it, I have no idea why..

33

It was a team order. Massa was wrong to ignore it. Whether it was right for the team to give the order was another thing.

However, typical Massa. Tried to pass Button for a few laps and gave up. Only when he was told to let Botta’s pass did he up his pace again.

Same old Massa, lazy and only putting in the laps when pushed.

34

Hi James,

Given the little bit of history that we all are aware of about Sir Frank, what are the chances of Massa being shown his place very evidently in near future by Williams?

35

It is early days and he is key to some sponsorship deals etc so I would say not

They will be waiting to see how Bottas and Massa compare as the season goes on

36

Firstly, Bottas had all the powers in the world to attempt overtaking. For example, better tyres and that terrible DRS as well. Did Massa ever had to seriously block his teammate? Most of the time Bottas was far away from striking distance.

Secondly, if your own team shows such disrespect towards you, using these famous words (“…is faster than you”), I think the only good solution in this situation is to show a finger back. Massa did well and deserved his position. So did Bottas, but not Williams, I would say.

37

williams , everyones other fav team to least liked in one race lol.

38

Faster laps doesn’t make the faster driver. Faster drivers overtake. bottas showed that by himself he could driver quicker laps but could not get by. yawn.

39
Scuderia McLaren

Whatever ones opinion on team orders are, and the multitude of variations of what that term means, one can not, in all good faith, have expected Massa to move aside from a pitwall request such as that. Especially considering the race strategies were not substantially divergent and also the echo of history in the way it was uncannily delivered. Frankly, I think it was a BIG home goal for Williams pit wall race strategy management when all things considered. One hires these drivers with full knowledge of their strengths and foibles. Surely a huge potential soul destroying call was not nessecary 2 races into a brand new driver/team relationship. And all for 6th, 7th and 8th…

As Obi Wan Kenobi says in Episode 3 after killing Grevious with a blaster, “how uncivilised”.

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