Ferrari stick to equality. Good for them

Ferrari's drivers will compete as equals in 2010

Ferrari's drivers will compete as equals in 2010

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has confirmed the team’s 2010 F1 driver line-up of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will compete as equals.

Ferrari embraced driver equality after Michael Schumacher left the team in 2006. It’s great to see that their change of driver line-up hasn’t led to a change in policy.

Although most teams claim to practice equality in their driver line-up it rarely prevents heated arguments among F1 fans as to what really goes on – particularly when conversation turns to Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007.

But after a decade of Ferrari being a one-man team, it’s good to see they haven’t lapsed into their bad habit.

And it’s to Alonso’s credit that he hasn’t used his position as one of F1’s most coveted drivers to force them to bring in a weak number two driver – especially in the wake of the Singapore scandal.

Domenicali pointed out that at different stages in the last two championships Massa was called upon to help Kimi Raikkonen (notably at Interlagos in 2007) and vice-versa (for example at Shanghai last year). On both those occasions only one of Ferrari’s drivers was still able to win the championship.

A drivers’ championship title is less deserved if it is won by a driver whose team mate isn’t given the chance to put up a fair fight.

If Alonso or Massa wins next year’s championship, they will know it was even more deserved for being won against a competitive rival who had the same equipment.

Not all of Ferrari’s champions have been able to say the same thing.

Read more: Alonso finally confirmed as Massa?s team mate at Ferrari for 2010

Advert | Go Ad-free

82 comments on Ferrari stick to equality. Good for them

1 2 3
  1. It will be great to see two of the best perceived drivers at the same team if treated as equals, it will make it pretty clear if one is superior.

  2. Wesley said on 1st October 2009, 22:12

    The smart thing for Alonso to do is keep a low profile after the Singapore scandal.Even if he knew nothing of it,he can’t afford to rock the boat.He shouldn’t need special treatment.He has talent and a Ferrari.(if Ferrai get back on form next year and I think they will)

  3. Serbian Kimi said on 1st October 2009, 22:12

    Well said, keith!

    A succint article, nothing to add really….

    If Kimi makes a switch to Mclaren we’ll be in for two spellbinding team duels and (potentially) a classic season!

    Provided Alonso doesn’t start to moan if he gets outqualified by Massa in the 1st quali session in Bahrain in 2010:):):)

    • Depends on the cars too. This year Both Ferrari and McLaren have been under performing. If it stays the same and if Brawn and RBR continue to dominate next year we will have 4 Very Frustrated drivers of which 3 of them are former WDC !!!!!

      Again…..I would rather wait to see the Driver Equality of Fernando and Felipe in action at Ferrari rather than hearing it from Stefano. If it happens good for them. If it does not I am not Surprised at all !!!!

  4. James said on 1st October 2009, 22:15

    Domenicali is off his rocker if he wants us to believe that.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st October 2009, 22:22

      Why do you say that?

      • James said on 1st October 2009, 22:49

        Well we know Alonso’s attitude. He’s never really had a driver that can push him, compete with him and beat him (except for Lewis in 2007).

        Then there is Ferrari who has favoured one driver more than another for 13 seasons now. There was the Schumacher era, and then when he broke his legs it was Eddie Irvine over Mika Salo. Then there is Schumacher and Barrichello. Austria 2002 is pretty striking in my memory! There is then Schumacher and Massa. Massa never really beat Schumacher hands down unless Schumey had an issue in the race or qualifying.

        Then Raikkonen and Massa. Raikkonen clearly got preferential treatment in 2007, and vice versa in 2008 (although the title was at stake). This year is harder to tell between Massa and Raikkonen because of Massa’s unfortunate accident. I’d probably say that Massa had more support. Then of course, the accident happened and Raikkonen has had more support since, it would seem.

        I’ve been watching F1 since 1994, and I’m pretty sure that every champion since 1994 has been the number 1 driver within the team (I suppose you could argue Hill and Villneuve were pretty equal in 1996).

        Maybe Domenicali will prove me wrong, but I’ll believe it when I see it!

        • Ferrari who has favoured one driver more than another for 13 seasons now.

          lol Try since their inception.

        • Fer no.65 said on 2nd October 2009, 0:45

          I have to disagree there.

          It’s obvious what happened in the Schu era. But in 2007 tho, Massa beated Kimi at Istambul when both were far from the championship lead.

          If Ferrari prefered Kimi to the champ, they should have done what they did in Interlagos that year. And yet, they didn’t.

          They both tried their best that year, only that Massa was less consistent than he is today and Kimi was at his peak.

          In 2008, Kimi had little to no chances. Yet, he almost beated Massa at Magny-Cours. Kimi went down after that so it was obvious for him to help Massa, specially after Massa had done so in 2007.

          Both years, they waited till one of the drivers had real chances. Then they “favoured” the contender.

          • Paige Michael-Shetley said on 2nd October 2009, 6:42

            Raikkonen was tied for the lead after Britain.

            Massa only beat Raikkonen from France onward last season because a) Raikkonen had a slew of bad luck, and b) Ferrari not only designed a car more suitable to Massa’s driving style, but EVERY major update added to the car suited his style, as well. So after Raikkonen won them a championship in 2007, Ferrari screwed him over in 2008.

        • Carl27 said on 2nd October 2009, 9:08

          Correction about the 2007 season, LH and Fa same points!

        • In another interview, Domenicalli was asked how Ferrari would manage 2 strong drivers next year. He answered “the same way we always have”, which I thought was strange as I don’t remember ever seeing a bullwhip & cattle prod in the Ferrari garage.

          And speaking of the Schumacher/Barrichello years…was checking some stats the other day and it occured to me that without team orders favoring Schumacher, Rubens might now be a 2-time WDC dicing for his third championship.

          Frankly, I hope Rubens pulls it off this year. Jensen has gone all weak sister, after his run of luck petered out, while Rubens continues to soldier on in spite of his perceived problems earlier in the season.

          • DASMAN said on 2nd October 2009, 14:06

            Thats rubbish… Rubens was never consistantly fast enough to beat Schumacher. Team orders were only used on a handful of occasions.(unecessarily) There were too many to number of occasions where Schumacher qualified on pole and Rubens was not even close.

        • Ferrari brought in Kimi to be No1 but he didn’t deliver in the first half of the year (2007) and only due to the spy-gate that Ferrari was allowed to win the driver championship instead of excluding both McLaren drivers which would have made the season a 2005 Indianapolis race :)

          The title was give to Kimi how was less than happy in his reaction to achieving his boyhood dream.

          Then Ferrari was blackmailed by Kimi management to sign him and take up the option despite the relation is not working and they had no choice but to accept BUT made sure never to support him and instead Massa was the unofficial #1.

          As for Hill v JV 1996. I remember the first race where JV was leading Hill in his first race ever only for Williams to order him to preserve the car due to oil leak that covered Hill’s car front.

          From then on Hill was favored but fell out with them over money and was sacked just as he became a champion.

          JV 1997 won it in the last race against a half-hearted Schumacher 1994 style move (that didn’t wok my friend, Brundle was saying :) but even then he let the McLarens to pass by for the win to preserve his car and from there on McLaren over took Williams as the best English team.

          One question regarding 2012 please. Will the ban be on refueling only, or does it also include the tyres? I thought will still have pit stops for tyres only! Please correct me.

          Ali
          God > infinity

      • James said on 1st October 2009, 22:55

        On a side note though, love reading your articles mate, and the blog/website as a whole. Very enjoyable reading!

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st October 2009, 23:07

          Thank you very much! Interesting theory by the way…

          • Ronman said on 2nd October 2009, 6:47

            Well, domenicalli is reatehr new and possibly was against the tactics used in the shuey days. If todt was in charge, i believe one driver will be the #1 and another muppet. however, if Todt was still head of the team, Alonso would never get on board…

            and i’m surprised no one mentioned that in his articles…Todt never wanted Alonso at Ferrari for a simple matter of respect…which i think Alonso has a problem comprehending… he always cries humbleness and simplicity, but in fact he’s one of the most arrogant drivers out there, and i hope he doesn’t destroy the family spirit inside Ferrari…

  5. frank said on 1st October 2009, 22:18

    I really hope Mr Domenicalli stick to his word. We’ll be watching.

  6. beneboy said on 1st October 2009, 22:22

    I never really understood why people thought McLaren were giving preferential treatment to Hamilton over Alonso.

    I’m not a McLaren fan but I’ve always respected the team a lot for as long as I’ve been following the sport and one of the main reasons for this is that Ron Dennis has always tried to get the best two drivers & then also tried to give them both the opportunity to win.

    Ron & Lewis may have had a better personal relationship due to their history but I just can’t see a man like Ron hiring a two time World Champion and then not trying his best for him, regardless of whoever else is in the other car.

    As far as Ferrari are concerned I think they’ve learned the hard way that if you have a number one driver and he ends up getting injured you’re not very likely to win anything if your number two driver isn’t that good or used to winning. When Kimi joined the team I was a little worried that Felipe would be kept as a number two driver but, for the most part, they’ve each been given a fair chance to win and, as a Ferrari fan, it is much more exciting seeing both drivers fighting for the championship.

    While I’m gutted to see Kimi leave, if he does go to McLaren, and they can build him & Lewis a decent car, I think we’re in for some very good racing between them.
    Although I’m hoping Felipe can come back better than he left and blows everyone away next season !

    • … but I just can’t see a man like Ron hiring a two time World Champion and then not trying his best for him, regardless of whoever else is in the other car.

      Well, what about Niki Lauda in 1984. Prost was Dennis favorite and he tried as hard as possible for Lauda not to become WDC. The next year he tried even harder and Lauda spent half of the season seing his car failing.

  7. I will belive it when I see it. I was under the impression Alonso is to be #1 whereever he gose.

    • At Ferrari whichever drive gets 40 points more than his teamamte becomes #1 according to Eddie Irvine. Now with the 10-8-6… point system and close competition that might have been reduced to 20. Alonso would agree to such a contrat, so would Massa.
      Ali

  8. Pfft. Believe it when I see it. Alonso will throw his toys out the pram *again*, I’m fairly sure. This is the guy who tried to black mail his team, remember, because he wanted to be number one at McLaren…

  9. SaloolaS said on 1st October 2009, 22:47

    It’s actually the same as in 2007, except for Kimi and Alonso, who changed teams between each other. Too bad they spent 2 years to do so.

    • MacademiaNut said on 2nd October 2009, 0:40

      Yep, I wish they did this switch in 2007 itself, we would have seen two years of good racing at least.

  10. nope i reckon Alonso will just shut up and deal with it regardless what happens because he knows if he screws this up he will never win world titles in another team, Ferrari is begging to give Alonso world titles for these 3 years. you watch Ferrari are going on the attack for 2010 big time…..

  11. Hallard said on 1st October 2009, 23:33

    I hope Ferrari can stick to this plan. Neither Ferrari nor Alonso have a reputation for fostering driver equality, but I would actually attribute that to the management styles of Jean Todt and Flavio Briatore, respectively.

  12. yer………..and pigs will fly

  13. Ahh boohoo spare me the sermon, especially those McLaren zealots.

    Come one F1 is a team sport and teams, as they always have been and always should be, are allowed to manage themselves in a way they feel best befits them.

    Team orders are a part of F1 and if a team wants to run a number one driver then so be it.

    No driver wins the drivers championship by themselves. “Sorry Jense you didn’t design, build and test your car all by yourself so you’re disqualified from the championship”. I can’t believe the ridiculousness of what you are saying:

    A drivers’ championship title is less deserved if it is won by a driver whose team mate isn’t given the chance to put up a fair fight.

    What about if the team mate wants to help him, for example Fangio and Collins in ’56, no one talks about Fangio like they’re spitting out mucus, the kind of team help he had makes Schumacher’s look insignificant. After the ’56 Italian GP Collins said:

    I never thought that a 25-year-old guy like me could take on such a big responsibility. I have lots of time ahead of me. Fangio should stay World Champion for another year. He deserves it.

    Makes a refreshing change from the kind of egotistical tripe that often comes out of most modern F1 drivers mouths.

    A lack of team orders and respect for them, as has been proven in the past, can also be dangerous. It’s not that uncommon to see ill disciplined team mates take each out.

    Alonso is exactly the kind of Driver who should be given number one status because he won’t let the team down although I can see why Massa deserves equal status.

    Team orders and number one drivers are part of F1 and should be accepted.

    • MacademiaNut said on 2nd October 2009, 0:43

      In that case, I will stick with one driver per team. Thank you!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd October 2009, 0:58

      No driver wins the drivers championship by themselves. “Sorry Jense you didn’t design, build and test your car all by yourself so you’re disqualified from the championship”.

      Of course the drivers don’t build the cars, it’s hardly relevant to the discussion though.

      What about if the team mate wants to help him, for example Fangio and Collins in ‘56

      That’s an interesting historical point but it’s hardly likely to happen in 2009 is it? F1 is not a sport of gentlemen drivers any more.

      Come one F1 is a team sport and teams, as they always have been and always should be, are allowed to manage themselves in a way they feel best befits them.

      I don’t disagree with this point at all, but it doesn’t take anything away from my point that a drivers’ championship is a more impressive achievement if it’s won against a strong team mate. Do you agree?

      • First point is relevant because no drivers championship is won just by the driver, take a good race strategy or even fast pit-stop as a less extreme example, these can make the difference between first and 2nd, half a point can decide the championship.

        Second, Irvine had no problems being number two to Schumacher in fact rather than just doing it he did it well. Coulthard wasn’t a bad number two for Hakkinen either.

        Third, no I don’t agree. Whether a victory is impressive or not depends on it’s manner, which is to say you could win impressively with the help of your team mate (Bergher Suzuka ’91) or you could win without your team mates help unimpressively (Button Hungary ’06).

        • Maciek said on 2nd October 2009, 9:22

          Your third point works for individual race wins – but if you need to take a season-long championship into account, during which your teammate has repeatedly to let you pass, etc., it does take something away from the achievement. From memory, didn’t Schumacher say after the Austria debacle that “once the championship is decided, then we’ll have some real racing”? Kinda goes against the intended spirit of the thing, no?

    • bobo said on 2nd October 2009, 1:57

      how about the kind of competition/relationship that Alonso and Trulli once had? I thought that was a pretty good set up.

    • In the 90s at Ferrari whoever gets 40 points more than his teamamte becomes #1 according to Eddie Irvine. Now with the 10-8-6… point system and close competition that might have been reduced to 20. Alonso would agree to such a contrat, so would Massa.
      Ali

  14. MacademiaNut said on 2nd October 2009, 0:38

    “A drivers’ championship title is less deserved if it is won by a driver whose team mate isn’t given the chance to put up a fair fight.”

    They should put this as footnote on every one of Schumacher’s titles.

    • Keith this is the kind of misguided, uninformed opinion that comes out of statements like the quoted.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd October 2009, 12:32

        Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

        I’m thinking of putting that up in huge letters at the top of every page.

        • Adrian said on 2nd October 2009, 15:05

          If I do agree with you does that make you right?? ;-)

        • lol Adrian.

          YES IT DOES KEITH… just kidding I know it doesn’t but then argue your point.

          When it comes to sport I don’t think deserving comes into it, you either win or you don’t, it’s not about whether someone deserved to (cheating is a separate issue).

          A lot of people don’t have a realistic handle on the part that team orders and hierarchies play throughout F1’s history, they think it’s something that started with Schumacher without realizing it’s place at the very inception of the sport and prevalence throughout it’s existence. A lot of world champions have benefitted from help from their team mates, Fangio, Clark, Andretti, Senna, some of the sports most exalted names. MacademiaNut is never going to say “Fangio should have a footnote at the bottom of his titles that says he doesn’t really deserve them” because he/she doesn’t know any better.

          Cycling is similar in that the team sacrifices itself for the team leader, no one says Lance Armstrong doesn’t deserve his titles because he had help from his team mates who weren’t allowed to beat him. In the same way that Georgie Hincapie was Armstrong’s “domestique” so Irvine was Schumacher’s number two. It’s part of the sport.

    • Jonathan said on 2nd October 2009, 7:51

      Does anyone seriously think that Barrichello would have beaten Schumacher to a World Championship if given more support?

      The idea is absurd. Barrichello was #2 on the track because he was #2 in ability.

      Moreover, everyone knows that “equality” is only maintained until it becomes clear which of your drivers is going to be the main title challenger. At Ferrari, that was always obvious from the first races of the season, so applying “equality” would have been bizarre.

      • Maciek said on 2nd October 2009, 9:27

        So why do I remember Barrichello moving over to let Schumacher pass in rather questionable circumstances? I guess Barrichello had unfairly taken the lead on those occasions, and letting Schumacher pass was only the right thing to do.

      • Does anyone seriously think that Barrichello would have beaten Schumacher to a World Championship if given more support?

        Yup. I do.

        Don’t forget, he was second in the WDC twice during the Schumacher years. I’ve said it before, without team orders, Rubens might now be a double WDC. Without being instructed to move over on many occasions, he would definitely have won more.

        • So you reckon in 2002 when Michael Schumacher won 11 out of 17 races and finished in every race no lower than 3rd, you reckon Barichello could have beaten him had he been given equal status in the team? You’re having a laugh.

          How many times did Barichello let Michael through exactly?

          • Hotbottoms said on 2nd October 2009, 22:15

            K: Even though I somewhat agree with you about whether the championship is deserved or not if champion’s team mate isn’t given a fair shot, your point “How many times did Barichello let Michael through exactly?” is a bit misleading.

            Being number #2 driver doesn’t mean you’ll always let your team mate through. It’s more about who gets a better tactic, who gets team’s best engineers, who gets updates on their car first etc. When number #1 driver gets all these benefits, there is rarely need for letting through.

          • Yeah that’s a good point although my question was actually a genuine question, what is the actual number times that Rubens let Michael through, I don’t think it’s that many but I couldn’t be bothered to work it out.

            With regards to your point I think the updates are significant but they can also backfire, strategy too but yeah I take your point. Engineers can make a big difference but surely a team like Ferrari has a high standard of Engineer, Massa wasn’t clambering to get Michael’s when he left. Also Massa gave Michael a much better run for his money than Rubens ever did. In the case of Michael Schumacher I think it was logical that he had number one status, having won two championships he left a successful team and turned down drives with competitive teams to go to Ferrari who were rubbish and had barely won a race in years. He brought Brawn, Byrne, Stepney and others and they worked their asses off to get to the point where they could challenge for the title. Rubens turns up right when they find the honey and what you think he should get parity with Michael? It’s not gonna happen.

  15. Harv's said on 2nd October 2009, 0:50

    hmmm. ferrari are not the same team that dominated up the schumi era.

    power is shifting…

    …away from ferrari, its another teams time to shine (im pretty shure i know who it is going to).

    • steph90 said on 2nd October 2009, 1:33

      I’m more interested in how my favourite team win rather than if they do, I took more joy from watching Kimi win in 07 and was very proud of Massa and Ferrari in 08 than I ever was of the team in Schuey years. Ferrari can still win, this is just a new era for them and a one I very much like. :)

1 2 3

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.