Massa ignores Ferrari team orders but Alonso not concerned

Felipe Massa leads Fernando Alonso at Suzuka

Felipe Massa leads Fernando Alonso at Suzuka

Fernando Alonso insisted that there was no rift with Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa after the Brazilian ignored team orders during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Race engineer Rob Smedley barked through the radio “Multi-function strategy A – now, please” in the early stages of the race, believed to be a clear order for Massa to let Alonso overtake into fifth place.

The Brazilian refused, however, and Alonso had to battle past him on the home straight on lap 20.

“We cannot make a big thing about it,” said the Spaniard, who eventually finished fourth to delay Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel fourth successive F1 title.

“I don’t know exactly what happened, but zero problems. We are trying to do our best – Felipe, me, the team – to score as many points as possible.

Felipe Massa on the Suzuka grid with Rob Smedley

Felipe Massa on the Suzuka grid with Rob Smedley

“Sometimes it’s difficult, especially when the performance is not super. It’s never easy when are fighting for seventh, eighth place.

“It would be nice to go back to the old days in Ferrari, fighting for first and second and deciding who wins the races, like Red Bull does.”

Massa, being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next year and looking to secure a seat for 2014, was still fuming after finishing 10th.

“It was an instruction,” he snapped, refusing to elaborate about the radio order.

His misery was compounded by a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Massa did say the orders row had been addressed after the race, but he was clearly still annoyed.

Felipe Massa at Suzuka

Felipe Massa at Suzuka

“We’re never happy with instructions,” he said. “We already discussed it. Whatever happened in the race was not over any instruction, he overtook me on the track. We fought on the track.

“The unfortunate thing was the drive-through… it destroyed my race completely.”

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali refused to publicly criticise Massa for disobeying orders.

“At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on the track,” he said. “I can understand his feeling. The team will totally support him until the end of the season, no problem.”

Domenicali was happy with Ferrari’s weekend after they stretched their second-place lead over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship to 10 points.

“This is the target with four races to go,” said Domenicali. “It’s fundamental to keep our engineering staff with their heads up because we want to keep that position up to the end.” (AFP)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Barlow

    Ferrari should relax about Massa, what are they going to do, fire him next season!!

  • Simon Yong

    People should remember that “Ferrari” does NOT work for the Drivers, the engineers, the many managers, and all at the factory…
    Everyone is paid by Ferrari to work for Ferrari!!! Instructions Must be obeyed.
    MASSA… READ THE COMPANY’S HANDBOOK.

  • farizY

    Hence why RB did that brilliant strategy in Suzuka. I find it hard for Mark to yield to Vettel and vice versa.

  • Eevel

    Simon Yong, you may be fine with being someone’s puppet but Massa has clearly had enough and rightly so.
    As Ferrari won’t be looking out for Felipe’s career anymore, it’s up to him to do it himself and he won’t achieve that by giving up places because of team orders.

  • F1man

    Well said Eevel. Ferrari took the racing out of their team years ago and made F1 boring. Cant wait for FA to explode when KR ignores his calls next year another problem for Ferrari is that they are both not good qualifiers

  • Tinto

    Massa made my day, but his mannish attitude was too late to give him credit for that.

    He bent over too much for Alonso, licked his boots, plain as clown for years. And for who? For Singapore crash gate guy that indirectly or whatever screwed his championship in 2008.

  • ZombieF1

    I have lost the respect for Ferrari last year since the gearbox seal change of Massa’s car. It is much much worse compared to multi21

  • haha

    Tinto, couldn’t have said it better. Alonso and Vettel are bigger politic f*cks than Shumi ever was. And before people argue that Vettel isn’t about politics, look at Mark’s strategy change.

  • the fan

    personally im no fan of team orders. i’ve been a ferrari fan for a long time but there were times when i admire mclaren’s policy and hate ferrari’s. however…

    funny that the same people bashing the ferrari team orders are the one’s praising the RB team orders, how ironic…

  • Me

    Massa is a joke, since his crash he lost it, he had maybe 5 good races in last 3 years and being ahead of Alonso a few times in qulaifying hardly proves that he a good driver, also being unable to keep the pace during the race just proves how pathetic he has become. Ignoring team orders might prove that you have the will and know how to win or at least make up places as Vettel did but Massa’s biggest accomplishment on Sundays race was the speeding on the pitlane after he almost loost his place on track to Esteban Gutierrez only to be overtaken by Jenson for 9th place. So give it a break guys with Massa, why do you think that absolutely no team want him?

    As for Alonso or Vettel being more politics than Schumacher you might want to review those seasons race by race to remember.

  • Tinto

    @Me: Massa played too long the underdog position, and the accident made things worse. Practically his personality and brain are changed. Do not know if a team is going to employ him, but I feel that once freed from Ferrari mental prison, with a bit of psi guidance he can be revived for a midfield team. Is it worth it? That is debatable, but a hefty sponsorship could help him.

    I am quite sure about that the way I have always supported Grosjean despite his miserable years. The potential has been always there, it was just a matter of time to bloom. The same feeling I had seeing Vettel in Torro Rosso at Monza.