Massa: I don’t regret what I did, I was fighting to the end, that’s the way I wanted to do it

Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday 27 March 2014.

Sepang is now well and truly the team orders capital of Formula 1, as this last edition of the Malaysian Grand Prix again featured high drama between teammates.

Last year, not only did Red Bull’s infamous ‘Multi 21′ affair make the headlines, Nico Rosberg was also controversially ordered to stay behind his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The same did not happen in 2014, as Hamilton easily dominated the grand prix ahead of Rosberg.

The new ‘team orders’ storm has been triggered by a tussle over mere seventh place, after Felipe Massa was asked by Williams to move over.

“Okay Felipe, Valtteri [Bottas] is faster than you, do not hold him up,” the Brazilian was told over the radio.

The order was eerily similar to the infamous ‘Fernando [Alonso] is faster than you’ issued by Ferrari some years ago, but this time Massa was not listening.

Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday 30 March 2014.

Having ignored the order once, Massa was told again: “Valtteri has better tyres, we need to let him go. Do not hold him up.”

Massa again ignored the order, holding station ahead of his Finnish teammate and failing to pass McLaren’s Jenson Button for sixth by the finish.

“I have nothing to say,” Massa, breaking his silence, told the BBC afterwards. “I was just fighting to the end, that’s the way I wanted to do it and I will fight for my career and for what is right.

“I don’t regret what I did. I have very good respect for the team and I believe they respect me and that is very important,” he added.

Speaking to Britain’s Sky, deputy team boss Claire Williams refused to publicly rebuke Massa, saying only that it had been “a difficult situation”.

“It’s racing. It’s such a difficult situation,” she said. “You’ve got to do the best job for your team at the end of the day, it’s a team sport, and that’s what we are here to do to maximise the points for our team in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s the way it is. At the end of the day Felipe finished ahead of Valtteri.”

Williams replied to persistent suggestions that Massa ignored team orders, “He didn’t ignore them, but both cars were getting really hot at the end of the race, and they were both told they needed to make sure they got both cars across the lines rather than overheating them. Valtteri was also told to cool it off as well.”

“I’m very happy we are ending the race in P7 and 8, which is a great result for Williams. Much better than anything we did last year so I’m happy,” concluded Williams.

Bottas suggested that he thinks that Massa should have obeyed, “I was approaching quicker than him. We should speak with the team, look at the data and see if I could have caught Jenson and I thought I could have.”

“We need to learn from today for the future, we always have to keep learning,” added the Finn.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes Team Chairman and also a triple drivers’ world champion, indicated that he thinks that Massa “did nothing wrong”.

“It is something that could be a problem for us [at Mercedes] in the future,” he said. “Racing drivers are racing drivers – they race for themselves. I would do exactly the same and my drivers would do the same.”(GMM)

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Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Tamburello1994

    Didn’t think for himself in all his time with Ferrari – because he knew he couldn’t get away with it – so why he thinks Williams are going to put up with that nonsense is beyond me.

  • Boycottthebull

    I was watching the race and heard the orders not to hold Bottas up but he was nowhere near Massa at the time. I waited a few laps and he still wasnt right on his tail. By the time he closed he didnt have anything left to pass so Massa was well within his rights not to move over. What did they expect him to do slam on his brakes, wait for Bottas to come closer and let him pass? Bottas seems a bit oblivious to those around him and even what lap he is on sometimes so you have to be careful if you going to let him pass you.

  • Resultant Asteroid

    Now, aaaaallll these Vettel/RBR haters who kept repeating “Multi-21″ for over a year (and will continue to do so, because this was actually an excuse to throw their hate … nothing more) need to either:
    keep throwing names on Massa for a year from now (and not accepting any explanation for his behaviour from anyone ofcourse), calling him a cheater and bla bla bla …
    They need to see Psychiatrists and admitt they are immature creatures who cannot apply same rules on everybody … period.

    No nonsense, no “but”s, no “it was worse from Vettel”, no lawyer stuff, … nothing.

    At least, Vettel did it while fighting for a race win, not seventh place.

  • Severn

    So where are the people screaming about how drivers MUST obey the orders of their employers, the teams? And any driver who failed to follow team orders should be disqualified by the FIA? It’s almost like they were just being dishonest hypocrites when they said such things.

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    Huh, the Multi 21 issue is that Vettel who was behind, was told NOT to pass Webber and did it anyway, risking the race of both cars, when they were running 1-2. So to compare apples and apples, Massa would’ve had to disobey an order not to attack his teammate for the lead. He was instead told (first) not to hold up his teammate who was behind in a lowly 8th place, and then to move over for him, when said teammate was nowhere near a place to actually be able to pass him. I mean, really, if Bottas was that much faster, how come he had problems getting within one second of him, even AFTER they told him to go pass Massa as he was gonna move over.

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    You saw the same race that I did. WHich was a silent snoozefest, also.

  • karlich

    No, the issue isn’t whether Bottas could have, but whether Massa should have. Both Vettel and Massa put themselves above their team, plain and simple. Some find that unfair, non-sportsman, arrogant, selfish, whatever. I salute them both for doing it, because even though I acknowledge the fact that Red Bull, like Williams, are a massive team effort off track as well as on the track, these guys chose to stick idiotic strategies, computed assumptions and what else not for one simple reason: they are racers and as long as they can, they will grab each opportunity by its balls and hang on their like a rabid bull terrier until the situation gets the better of them. Vettel gets booed, Massa gets applauded for what is, in essence, the very same incident of disobedience and putting one owns interests above those of the team.

  • karlich

    I am sure Frank will give him a good beating while Claire stands outside, smiling for the cameras 😉

  • Severn

    Really? That’s your big distinction? Vettel was told not to pass while Massa was told to let his teammate past? And somehow you’ve convinced yourself the former is bad and the latter is all right?

    If you insist on looking at the differences it’s a lot more understandable and acceptable for a driver to ignore orders when a race win is at stake than it is when he’s fighting with his teammate over seventh versus eighth place.

  • tokyo_2606

    where are all those people that gave Vettel a hard time? come out, come out where ever you are!

  • BS

    Oh petulant one…you are making an argument that no one else made. Vettel took away Webbers last win. Yes, massa should have yielded, but given his history and recent comments, it’s easy to understand why he did not. They both should have followed orders.

    Your preemptive posts are weak, and only reaffirm my earlier posts about your unconditional love for vettel.

  • BS

    Where are all of Vettel’s ball washers? Oh, there right here making arguments no else is making.

    Do you guys get his pubes stuck in your teeth, or does he shave them for you?