Montezemolo hints at Massa replacement

Luca di Montezemolo with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso

Luca di Montezemolo with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso

Jan.4 (GMM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has defended Felipe Massa whilst conceding that a number of drivers at rival teams impressed him during the course of  2011.

Montezemolo is honouring Brazilian Massa’s 2012 contract but making no secret that the Maranello based team is keeping its mind open as to the identity of Fernando Alonso’s next teammate.

“2012 is the crucial season for Felipe. We were not satisfied with his past season and neither was he,” Montezemolo is quoted by Corriere dello Sport newspaper.

“What I cannot forget is the fact that Felipe was often faster than Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He helped Kimi to his championship and a year later was a hair short of being champion himself.

“If the tyres warm up for him better next season, we believe Felipe can cope much better.”

Naturally, however, Massa’s seat is highly coveted within the F1 paddock, while Montezemolo admitted Ferrari is also keeping an eye on its options.

“Jenson Button was just excellent,” said the Italian, referring to the 2011 championship runner-up who currently drives for McLaren.

“Mark Webber is a good second driver, and Nico Rosberg has done well with a car that has not been competitive.

“It is also good to develop drivers within yourself, so while Sergio Perez is a Sauber driver, in fact he has developed in Ferrari’s academy.

“(And) Jules Bianchi could develop further if he can test,” added Montezemolo, a staunch advocate for more testing in formula one.

Montezemolo did not mention the recovering Polish driver Robert Kubica.

  • Kevin

    Why does anyone want to race for Ferrari anymore? This “We stand by our driver, but are keeping our options open should we decide to dump him – as we are the great Ferrari who can get any driver we wish” attitude demonstrates an arrogance and a lack of decorum that has been part of this team from its earliest days. This is a team that has managed to burn out some of the best drivers on the planet by treating them like performing monkeys, yet is coveted as the ultimate destination? Ferrari needs its drivers more than its drivers need Ferrari… a reality proven by its lack of ability to deliver results without the highest performing pilots in the sport – just like any other team – regardless of its arrogant belief that the great Ferrari is the maker of champions.

  • John

    I think Ferrari should be more disappointed by Alonso’s lack of performance than Massa’s. Two years he’s had and not delivered a championship, yet he’s always got the better parts and allowed first choice of pitting etc over Massa, so direct comparisons between drivers is difficult. Alonso is, or certainly believed to be, the best paid driver in F1.

    However, I believe Ferrari are in a bad way. I don’t think they’re retail stores are doing so well. Seems to be little demand for the Ferrari brand, which couldn’t be said a couple of years back.

  • Stewy33

    @ Kevin and John

    Ferrari fails to deliver as they’re more concerned in lobbying to the FIA to change the rules since they can’t copy the McLaren or Red Bull technology that beats them (blown diffuser)…

  • Stewy33

    @ Kevin and John

    Ferrari fails to deliver as they’re more concerned in lobbying to the FIA to change the rules since they can’t copy the McLaren or Red Bull technology that beats them.

  • Butterfly

    Ferrari failed to come up with something innovative because the engineers in charge of the design were too conservative. However, bring the right people and you may suddenly find Red Bull & McLaren copy Ferrari’s ideas.

    It’s all about the people, people.

  • Twiinz

    I don’t think Ferrari has been a “failure” over the last couple of seasons. They have been close to the front while only one team can win the title. Replacing their staff is definitely the key to improving the car. Just because they have Ferrari’s facilities an history, it doesn’t guarantee victory. I think many people expect the Scuderia to be on top every year because of the amazing achievements of Todt, Braun, and Michael. I doubt they(or anyone) will ever be that dominant, that long, again. Now that aero is so critical and testing is all but banned, their old method of test til you perfection is not possible. Other teams that did more with less were already in the mindset to do well with the new rules, while Ferrari must change their philosophy. They are doing that with the many staff changes over the last year. I hope they make it back on top soon. With the blown diffuser banned for 2012, I hope all the top teams will be much closer this year. That makes F1 great vs one team winning everything. (even if it is your favorite team. :)

  • Evel

    John, do you even know what you’re talking about?
    How can you expect Alonso to win a championship with a car that’s not capable of doing so.
    He was my ‘driver of the year’ for 2010, coming very close to winning the championship in what was very clearly to everyone but yourself the 3rd best car.
    This year as last, he has completely thrashed Massa, who never even managed to make the podium once!

    Alonso made the podium ten times including 1 win.
    Even Heidfeld and Petrov got on the podium last year.
    Obviously Alonso was given the best opportunities for the race, seeing as though he was so much faster in qualifying.
    In fact Alonso outqualified Massa for a continuos string of 16 races beginning with the Belgian GP in 2010 and finally coming to an end at the 2011 Hungarian GP!
    That is just pathetic on Massa’s behalf.
    In F1, the most obvious way to judge a drivers potential is to compare them to their team mate and being outqualified for 16 races in a row is just unacceptable.
    Alonso scored 257 points in 2011 as opposed to Massa’s meagre haul of 118, less than half that of Alonso!
    Massa should have been sacked in 2010.
    You say that Ferrari don’t give him opportunities but just the fact that he’s still driving for them still is a wonder to me.

    He’s clearly getting by on his past achievements, which are just that – a thing of the past!
    Alonso on the other hand has pushed the car beyond what it should be capable of.
    Perhaps Massa isn’t so bad after all, perhaps he’s just bad when compared to Alonso?
    I’m not really an Alonso fan but it’s very clear that he’s one of the best, if not the best in F1 today.
    If he was in the Red Bull, I’m afraid John he would have won both the 2010 and 2011 championships with ease and far earlier, at least in the case of 2010, than your idol Sebastian.

    What rubbish are you spewing out about Ferrari’s ‘retail stores’?
    What retail stores?
    Ferrari’s doing just fine.
    The 458 has been a huge success for the company.
    There have been rumours that Fiat (Ferrari’s parent company) not Ferrari, has been in a bit of difficulty but trust me, Ferrari will be fine.
    They still have their massive budget, don’t you worry about that and they’re staying put in F1 (hopefully not in terms of their position in the constructors).

    Did you even watch any races in 2011 John?
    You sound like someone who doesn’t have a clue!

  • Evel

    I forgot to give you the figures for 2011:
    Alonso outqualified Massa 16 races to Massa’s 3!!!!!!
    Alonso finished the race higher than Massa 15 times whereas Massa was only able to beat Alonso 4 times, one or two of these being races where Alonso retired.
    Either Alonso’s very fast OR Massa, like you, is very slow.
    I like to think Alonso’s very fast AND Massa’s very slow.
    Regardless, in a sport where your performance is judged according to how you faired against your team mate, Massa has been a dud!
    He was given a chance at the end of 2010 and did nothing with it.
    It’s a pity Ferrari decided to give him another chance, he doesn’t deserve it.
    His awareness of his lack of performance was very evident last year, shown in his frustrations with Hamilton.

  • me262

    monkeys reacting to what the monkeys in the press write

  • Erich Fuenfzig

    Tazio Nuvolari, Enzo Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo are important Persons in the history and present time of Ferrari.
    Car, drivers, whole team and management and owners and luck are important for success.

    But the most important is the human being.

  • John

    Evel, I clearly have rattled your cage. Apparently the truth hurts!

    You’re very good at quoting figures, but you fail to appreciate that Massa had one job to do – be the number 2 driver. He was never ever going to be allowed to beat his better paid team mate. Ferrari as a team are centred around Alonso.

    As for watching races, I did skip Valencia but can you blame me?

  • fools

    @ John yet again…Then why did Button out perform Hamilton as a 2nd driver? Clearly John, you know nothing about F1. Yes, we can blame you for commenting without any knowledge of your own words.

    @ Evel, thank you for clearly claryfying what readers on this site clearly cant read or retain before commenting ignoranlty.

    Happy 2012 all!

  • Butterfly

    Evel is right on the money.

  • F1 Follower 1991


    I wouldnt be so quick to jump on Johns comments.

    If you are comparing the team situation between McLaren and Ferrari then it is you that comes across as knowing nothing about F1.

    Button was no way playing 2nd fiddle to Hamilton this year and both had the teams backing this year. Yes Hamilton has been McLaren’s golden boy over these past 4 years but Button came into the team in 2010 and proved he was no pushover or expected to be a number 2 driver after winning the 2009 title. It was a risk but it has paid off.

    This year people can say Hamilton was off the boil and his head was elsewhere and yes it was, however Button did the best possible job for McLaren. Scoring relentlessly, unlucky in some races and lets be realistic 2nd in the WDC was always going to be the highest he could get. He acted like a team leader the majority of the year and showed a very cool and inteligent head.

    Now if you think the Ferrari situation is exactly the same then you my friend are so wrong it hurts. For starters Massa has easily been half a second off the pace after his accident. Ferrari are a team that have always favoured one driver in their history whether it be Niki Lauda, Michele Alboreto Schumi etc. Now you are really not saying Alonso wasnt signed by Ferrari to be a number 2 driver surely?

    He was signed by Ferrari to be their spearhead and lead them to more titles as thats something Massa simply cant do, if they didnt think that they would of signed a weaker driver to be his team mate. Where does this leave Massa then? As Alonso’s lapdog quite clearly. he gets most of the upgrades later, cant really truely race Alonso “Fernando is faster than you” etc. Alonso has the team to himself and only a fool would think otherwise.

    Massa is only a moving roadblock for Ferrari and if you think Button is exactly that for McLaren then you are really mistaken.

  • John

    @F1 Follower 1991:
    Thank you for bringing some sense to this! I completely agree with your comments; they’re true and accurate.

  • Evel

    @F1 Follower 1991,
    Barichello was able to beat Schumacher at times back in the day and Schumacher was an even clearer number one than Alonso.
    Even Ferrari think Massa’s performance has not been up to scratch.
    They wouldn’t be thinking that if they were purposefully disadvantaging him.
    It makes no sense, with Ferrari off the pace they want both their drivers to be as fast as possible.
    They wouldn’t handicap Felipe just to satisfy Fred’s ego, not when they’re trying to catch Red Bull and McLaren.
    Besides John was remarking about Alonso’s lack of performance compared to Massa, which is laughable.
    Anyone can see it’s the other way around!

  • JuniorJohnson

    Shut up Evil!
    Alonso was completely thrashed by Hamilton when they were together at McLaren proving how useless he is.
    Ayrton Prost was the best Ferrari driver ever and would have put Fernando Aloser in his place!

  • John

    @Evel. No I wasn’t “remarking about Alonso’s lack of performance compared to Massa”. I was remarking on the lack of performance and thereby results from Alonso, especially given his status as No 1 in the team.

    In F1 everybody makes comparisons between team mates as it’s considered the best indicator of speed. In that respect when Alonso and Hamilton were in the same team, the guy with the most experience didn’t shine. The rookie of Hamilton very nearly won the championship in his first try. That shows the class of Hamilton. Although, I think Alonso learned a lot from that experience too. Alonso is very good, just not great.

  • me262

    I dont see things so clearly as some of you experts…accusing each other of not knowing anything about Formula 1 if the other has a differs in opinions. Face it guys, at the end of the day we’re all just a bunch of arm chair fans speculating …sure others have been watching the sport more than others and understand the intricasies of it better. But seriously, a lot of nerd rage going on here…a lot of ego’s need a pressure release valve :)

    My humble take on the discussion, as standpoint of a Formula 1 fan, is in a bit of a grey area…- no need for statistical monologues, sure it appears that McLaren seem to have a no 1 2 driver arrangement and that ‘let them race ‘ philosophy is applaud-able from a fan view point. At Ferrari Fernando seems ot enjoy Schumacher like status at Ferrari…& it may appear to be so…but just how far that status stretches into use of team resources etc is not for us to know, unless one of you have a friend of a friend that works at Ferrari ;) when former team mates of Schumacher come out and say just how much special treatment Schumi had throughout his career with respect with his team mates, the same fans that attack Alonso’s treatment blow the comments off as sour grapes…

    I do seem to remember a couple of times in the season when Massa outqualified Alonso & was infront of him in the race. And at some of these times, the no team orders rule meant that Alonso was stuck behind his team mate -effectively squandering Ferrari’s chances of a podium – effectively squandering a chance for us viewers to see a 3 way tussle between Weber, Button & Alonso for a podium place. Sometimes team orders are good for all

    Finally one for you experts: So it has been mentioned here that Hamilton destroyed Alonso in 2007 therefore Hamilton will forever be the better driver (they were tied on 109 points)…ok so under this philosophy of ‘a driver is as good as who he has beaten in the past and forever will be’, so Hamilton beat Button in 2010 so even though Button beat Hamilton comprehensively in 2011, Hamilton is still the bette drive yeah? and in turn, Button was dumped by Renault in 2003 if memory serves to make way for Alonso …that must make Alonso forever the better driver? Nico Rosberg hasnt lost yet to Schumi so that makes him better than a 7 time world champion

    Didnt Alonso beat Hamilton this year in an inferior Ferrari? Oh yeah sorry, Hamilton beat him in 2007 = Hamilton is better driver…let me etch that in stone LOL

  • F1 Follower 1991


    The points you bring up are an interesting read and it definately creates a lot of head scratching.

    The points you bring up about Ferrari are interesting as a lot of fans as you say do seem to only go one way when bashing Alonso about his position in the team. While none of us are inside Ferrari men (unfortnuately) ;) i think that it would be most likely Alonso does get first dibs on most new parts that come out of Maranello. Interesting to compare the team to antics of RedBull ala the Silverstone situation in 2010.

    One thing that bugs me about the arguement Schumi got everything his own way at Ferrari and didnt have to work hard is maybe he earned Ferrari’s right to have that kind of treatment? He was a double WDC when he joined the team bringing many of ther personel with him from Bennetton.

    He worked relentlessly for the next 4 years testing and upgrading each car to its limit, staying late and working super hard with the engineers. The work rate was something on one had see before. Winning in an inferior 1996 Ferrari regularly against the Dominant Williams. Narrowly missing out in 1997 (his own fault) 1998 and perhaps would of got the 1999 title had he not broke his leg? one can only speculate.

    Now this brought success to Ferrari they could of only dreamed of over the 15 years beforehand. Now all this hard work and effort created a platform and they were rewarded in 2000 through to 2004. But is it the dedication to the team all the long hours and the extroadinary performances he had in the years leading up to 2000 WDC mean he deserves a number 1 status and special treatment at Ferrari? Lets not forget he was a double world champion like Alonso. Its an interesting concept.

    Now the McLaren situation i cant go in to too far. But to clarify to say Hamilton smashed Alonso in 2007 is completely wrong. Hamilton was no rookie ini my eyes. He had been groomed and moulded by McLaren since the age of 11 had his racing career carved out by them and put through extensive tests and simulator work before his debut season. That in my eyes something a lot of rookies can only dream of.

    McLaren sculpted him into their “perfect” driver and due to him being young came into the team knowing McLaren would favour him over Alonso as he was the McLaren goldenboy. The biggest influence with a driver is confidence and i can only guess but Alonso must of caught on to this pretty quickly and must of destroyed his confidence in the team and the ability to trust them. However he dug his heels in and to finish level on points even though being completely out of favour is a great achievement in my mind.

    but eh thats me!

  • John

    @F1 Follower 1991
    Interesting your take on Hamilton and Alonso at McLaren. Yes, Hamilton would have been groomed to be an F1 driver, but if anything the performances of other rookies shows is that it’s a big step from any other formula to F1. That Hamilton made the transition look effortless can’t be underestimated.

    Alonso, who probably didn’t do himself any favours at McLaren, has certainly learned from that experience. He’s to my mind much improved from that time, and it’s also at a time where Hamilton has been too involved with his “bling” pals! It was only in the last couple of races did the real Lewis Hamilton F1 Racing Driver turn up!

    If we then looked to the differencies in the cars, there wasn’t that big a difference this year compared to last. Red Bull were still the best, but not by a huge margin and hence why McLaren’s Button came second (not taking anything away from Jenson). However, up until Ferrari gave up development of that year’s car they were very quick and were probably at one point the fastest car on the grid (yes, even quicker than RB in some races).

    I said a couple of years ago (before Alonso signed for them) to a friend of mine who’s a big Ferrari fan they should have signed Vettel. That they should forget about Alonso (at the time rumoured to be going to Ferrari) and sign up Vettel, no matter how much money they had to spend. It was clear that every race he was getting better and better. It would have been a risk, but I felt a risk worth taking. I’m glad Vettel opted to stay at Red Bull as I think he fits in better there.

    Anyway, I hope the real Hamilton turns up next year, and that there’s many battles between him and Vettel. That would make 2012 a classic season (although I’m still not watching the Valencia race).

  • me262

    @F1 Follower 1991

    You say that Alonso gets first dibs on parts however wasnt Massa the first to get the flexi front wing on his car? and sure, it happens in F1 that if one team mate is half a second quicker, more resources go his way a-la Schumacher, and it is a trait every ‘number 1 driver’ must try to ensure for himself: to get as much of the team working for him

    Massa must do himself a favour to reclaim some his stake in Ferrari: the next time he outqualifies Alonso he needs to beter his race pace and prove that he can race with him too. Alonso’s race pace is that of a Number 1 driver…Massa’s (last year)

  • John

    Yes, Massa got to test a development front wing, which as you saw had some problems. But there were reports during the season of Massa not getting the latest spec of race hardware. And not being allowed in to the pits because Alonso wanted to keep them clear for when he was ready.

    There was one race where Massa held up Hamilton for many laps, but after being overtaken by Lewis allowed Alonso through within two corners. That really summed up his role for the year – ruin Hamilton’s races and keep out the way of Alonso.

    And before everybody starts, yes, we could argue who caused which accident between Hamilton and Massa. Just let’s no go there, this time.