Massa: “I am not a number two”

Felipe Massa denied he is now playing a ‘number two’ role to Fernando Alonso at Ferrari having given up a win for his team mate in the German Grand Prix.

Speaking in a press conference at the Hungaroring Massa added that he would not hand over a win to Alonso if he is in the same situation again this weekend.

Here’s part of what Massa was asked during the press conference:

Q: (Livio Oricchio ?ǣ O Estado de Sao Paulo) Felipe, after the last race, I asked you if you were not worried about your image in Brazil, and you said ??absolutely no.? And after almost a week, we realise what happened there. What?s your comment? People say that you betrayed the country.
FM: For sure not. I will always do everything I can for my country. For me my country is the most important thing. For sure, I have already proved many times in my life many things I did in my life, in my career, what I?m able to do for my country, and as I said, definitely whoever is thinking like that is completely wrong. I?m doing everything I can, I will always do everything I can for my country, which is the most important thing for me, because it?s my home.

Q: (Ian Parkes ?ǣ The Press Association) Felipe, welcome back here first of all. In the post-race press conference in Germany, obviously neither yourself nor Fernando (Alonso) would concede that team orders had taken place. Obviously what followed was that the FIA found Ferrari guilty and fined them, and the matter is now going before the World Motorsport Council. On that basis, can we get your reaction to the fact that the FIA found Ferrari guilty? And also you said that you were looking forward to fighting for victory here. If a similar situation to what happened in Germany was to arise here, would you be allowed to fight for victory?
FM: As I said, there?s no real point in going back to last weekend. We need to think about the present. I think we have spoken a lot about what?s happened in the last race. So yes, I will fight for victory here in whatever conditions.

Q: (Arianna Ravelli ?ǣ Corriere della Sera) So if you are in the same situation this weekend, you will react in the same way or not?
FM: I will win.

Q: (Anne Giuntini ?ǣ L?Equipe) Felipe, we understood that when you say that you are working for the team, at least when you said it last week, working for the team now risks to be working for your team-mate.
FM: For sure not. I?m working for the team and we know how important it is to work for the team.

Q: (Giuntini) But if your team-mate has to fight to be World Champion, it?s mainly himself??
FM: Well, I think you remember very well what has happened in the past, no? In 2007. You remember very well what?s happened in 2008, no? So I don?t think you really have to go through all the points. For sure, if the team really has the chance to win the championship I want the best for the team.

Q: (Sarah Holt ?ǣ BBC Sport) Felipe, have you had assurances from the team that you will be able to be allowed to continue fighting for victory? Have you spoken to them about that? It hasn?t affected your motivation?
FM: Sure, for sure I?ve spoken to everybody inside the team. As I said, I?m not here really just to race, I?m here to win. That?s really my point. As long as I am in the condition to win, we need to go to the end, to fight for victory. As long as the condition is different then I definitely want the best for the team. I work for the team, I?m professional and I think everybody needs to understand my point.

The other drivers present were also asked about Massa’s situation.

Rubens Barrichello, who famously handed over a win to Michael Schumacher in the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix while driving for Ferrari, was first to reply:

Q: (Holly Samos ?ǣ BBC Radio Five Live) This is a question for Rubens, Felipe, whoever else might want to answer: should the team order rule be scrapped? What?s your view?
RB: It?s not up to us to decide. Whenever they said team orders should not take place, other ways of telling the driver to back off were introduced. So in that respect, you should think, ??OK, so this should not take place? and then the team should decide to do whatever.

I just think that we should do something to stop this thing, because at the end of the day, it could get into a bit of drama here. When you are racing, you want to beat the other one, but I wouldn?t feel nice, I wouldn?t feel good if you tell me ??I?ll give you this which makes you faster than the other one? and then you win. I don?t like that, I never did and that?s why I had to make changes in my life and that?s why I changed teams and that?s why I moved on.

So I think it?s in the hands of the top people to change that because you should be allowed to race. What?s the problem? If you don?t win the championship by one point, so be it. You had your chance, you had to go, and then you win the championship by one point because somebody let you win? What?s the point? That?s my view.

If I have to be a bad guy to be World Champion, I don?t care for that. I will teach my boys the same way my father taught me and I?m happy with that.

Heikki Kovalainen: I don?t really want to get into this debate too much. I?m just here to race.

Robert Kubica: It?s not so simple, I think. We are all working for our teams. I think the most important??unless you like it or you don?t like it is the team. If there?s a chance or an opportunity to help the team to score better results or whatever in the final standings, it?s normal that you are asked to do it. It?s normal that you will do it, and that?s very simple. I know it?s not always easy to let your team mate by but sometimes it?s important for the team, and that?s how it was working, that?s how it will work for many years, so unless we say it?s not allowed to overtake your team-mate, because I think this is the only rule to stop it, but you cannot put it. It was like this ten years ago, it will be like this in the next ten years.

Heikki Kovalainen was later asked again about team orders but refused to comment on it.

Read the full press conference here

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139 comments on Massa: “I am not a number two”

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  1. Todfod said on 29th July 2010, 18:34

    I felt sorry for Felipe having to give up on that victory last week. Nonetheless, his number 2 status is a result of his lack of consistency, and speed, compared to Fernando. As much as he doesn’t believe he is a number 2 driver, his results speak otherwise.

    • Gentleman Alonso lol said on 29th July 2010, 23:36

      Dont worry Felippe, pretty much everyone thinks Alonso is a number two.

    • Spectator said on 30th July 2010, 2:41

      for some reason ferrari gave him a 2 year deal after so many dreadfull races or maybe ferrari were very kind and signed a contract with someone who didnt had th pace to be on any team but hrt please forgive but after his crash and all races this season im surprised he is still at ferrari i dont like brasilian drivers but massa is a nice one for me but on the performance side maybe ferrari just wanted someone that scored

  2. Manu said on 29th July 2010, 18:36

    Fore sure you’re a number 2 Felipe, for sure…

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 29th July 2010, 18:45

      Exactly. Don’t kid yourself Felipe. Anyone who has to pull over for their team mate with 8 races to go when they can still have a good chance at the title is number two.

      • SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 29th July 2010, 21:45

        for sure indeed ;) that is for sure!

        • For sure, I think Massa did a personal best with his ‘for sure’ count in that conference. For sure, he is so far ahead that I can’t see anyone being in a position to catch him, unless Ferrari orders him to let Alonso past. For sure :D

      • KNF said on 30th July 2010, 5:06

        Rubens used to call himself a “No. 1b” driver until 2005, guess he got tired of fooling himself and everyone…

        Puts his criticism of his team last year in perspective when he suspected something was up…

    • flossyblossy said on 30th July 2010, 10:43

      Haha….that ‘for sure’ malarky drives me around the bend.
      It makes me laugh that new drivers never say it but once they’ve been around for a season or so, they start saying it too!

  3. Steph90 (@steph90) said on 29th July 2010, 18:40

    I actually think with all these denails his new favourite phrase is “for sure not”.

    This is a difficult situation. I don’t like the stick Felipe is meant to be getting. He’s been called a coward which after everything he’s been through is a bit of stretch. He may say he’s not a number 2 but he has to really show it as the result at Germany says otherwise.

    • matt90 said on 29th July 2010, 20:36

      ‘for sure not’ is just about the only phrase worse than ‘for sure.’

      • MEmo said on 30th July 2010, 2:43

        Are you english? I´m not, but have always felt the expression was kinda wrong. But I´ve heard the “for sure” come from Hamilton and Button, so it must be alright, right? And that “for sure not” sound even worse!!!

        • spanky the wonder monkey said on 30th July 2010, 9:27

          for sure, the first time i remember noticing the ‘for sure’ epidemic was way back in the group b rallying days in the 80′s when markku alen (and most other scandinavians) seemed to say it in every sentence. no doubt (see, i resisted the urge to put in another lets-labour-the-point ‘for sure’?) it was around before then, but it hadn’t hit my radar until allen, vatanen etc repeated it in interviews.

          • RaulZ said on 30th July 2010, 9:38

            It mustn’t be good to see how everyone uses your language so badly, starting with my :D

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th July 2010, 20:47

      The only sufficient answer should be dominating the pace all weekend and leading Fernando home to a 1-2.

      If he’s not up to speed, then he might not feel a nr.2 but he is by being the slower one.

      • kowalsky said on 30th July 2010, 7:50

        he’s got the chance to be number one this week end. But to do that, he needs to outqualify and outrace alonso. Can he do that? we’ll see soon enough.

        • Lee said on 30th July 2010, 8:29

          @KOWALSKY,

          Well he has a chance of out qualifying Alonso but Ferrari have shown that he will not be allowed to outrace him. He was after all out racing him last weekend.

  4. Joey-Poey said on 29th July 2010, 18:40

    I hope he holds to what he says. I so badly wanted him to defy the team orders in Germany.

    • Jack Holt said on 29th July 2010, 20:31

      Me too. The poor guy’s kidding himself if he thinks Ferrari will let him win any races this year, I guess he now regrets obeying the order. I wonder how many races they’ll give him in 2011 before relegating him to a supporting role?

  5. Ads21 (@ads21) said on 29th July 2010, 18:40

    On a ligher note is that the most times in a single interview Massa has ever started a sentence with “for sure”? It must be some kind of record, if the For Sure world championship is still running he’ll have shot to the top of it.

  6. The Dutch Bear said on 29th July 2010, 18:49

    Well, Felipe, I’m afraid you are a number two. Ferrari has chosen for Fernando and he will make sure it stays that way.

  7. beneboy said on 29th July 2010, 18:51

    RB:
    If I have to be a bad guy to be World Champion, I don’t care for that. I will teach my boys the same way my father taught me and I’m happy with that.

    Quality quote from Rubens !

    Coulthard said a similar thing earlier this year and I would have to agree with them both, although they may have had a slightly better chance of becoming Champion than me.

    I’m still gutted for Felipe and only hope that the reaction to last weekend will make the team realise that they’re not going to get away with this sort of thing any longer. I’d also like to see him beat Alonso for the rest of the season.

    • That is probably the main reason why those that want to get rid of rule 39.1 don’t convince me much.

      Its existence acts to offer some protection to drivers that, who through no fault, suddenly find themselves under intense and clearly unjust pressure from team management and owners to sacrifice a race victory.

      With ‘no race-fixes allowed’ they at least have some meagre comeback to pitwall radio demands/threats and invidious contract terms. It gives them a legitimate out if they ever get ‘the call’.

      The teams already have way too many cards at their disposal in dealing with drivers, I think the individual, and the notion of fairplay, needs any little extra help we can somehow engineer into the rulebook.

      • HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 29th July 2010, 21:20

        Well, I’m not totally convinced by Rule 39.1, but I do see your point.

        • Mike said on 30th July 2010, 7:04

          Rule 39.1 is horrible, And it shouldn’t exist.

          But it absolutely has to, While there are unscrupulous people in Formula one who would take away from the racing, the sport and the competition for petty gain, it has to exist.

      • f1yankee said on 29th July 2010, 21:43

        “who through no fault, suddenly find themselves under intense and clearly unjust pressure”

        except that they are realistically out of championship contention, and slower that their teammate who is in contention.

        • Lee said on 30th July 2010, 8:38

          @F1YANKEE

          Massa was and still is not out of world championship contention. In fact he was much closer to Alonso than Alonso was to Hamliton so are Ferrari saying that Alonso has no chance of winning either? If it was impossible for massa to win then it is a little more understandable (However can you ever imagine an athlete slowing down to let a team mate win?) I hate seeing it especially when it is so blatant and especially when the driver in question clearly is not happy about it.

    • theRoswellite said on 30th July 2010, 4:57

      Felipe needs no one to defend him, I would however submit that his English is without doubt superior to all our Portuguese and that’s for……

      Also. his denial of the number two status within the team soundes as if he is referencing a very specific relationship, perhaps contractual in nature. It doesn’t sound to me like he is making a speed comparison with his teammate.

      Anyone who can question Felipe’s spirit, courage or determination should take a closer look at his record in F1.

      Ferrari seems to have a special penchant for creating havoc where there was none, and this is another instance of not only making a wrong decision, but making it in the wrong way.

    • Jay Menon said on 30th July 2010, 5:56

      See Massa will not beat Alonso for the rest of the season. If you’ve consistently been slower that your team mater for the best part of a second all season long, hard to imagine how Massa can beat Alonso.

      Alonso is a class above Massa, and everyone knows that. Its just that people hate Alonso because he is the evil scheming genius behind all the cock ups his team have done to benefit him.

      If you think about it, Massa should have the clout in Ferrari, since he’s been there for dog ages now. So why does it appear that Alonso has Ferrari around his finger? Because Ferrari realize that their best chance of winning the WDC lies with him.

      I havent seen any preferential treatment for Alonso until last weekend, he was just genuinely quicker all the time. Im a fan of Alonso, and I was upset that he won the way he did, he should have passed him fair and square, but who are we to say that it was Alonso who influenced Massa to let him pass?

      It was a Team Order..get it? TEAM ORDER. The team obviously didn’t want a Red Bull situation whereby both drivers take themselves out.

      I wonder if everyone would have just been happy if Ferrari told their drivers, “Save Fuel”, “Hold Position”, “Save Tyres”, “Save Engine”..blah blah. and just brough the cars home in 1-2 they way they stood.

      Now that would have been quality racing wouldn’t it? Just like how Mclaren brought home two 1-2s. I was on the edge of my seat because it was brilliant!

      Martin Brundle’s question has not been asnwered..”What would you have done if you were Ferrari Management?”…my answer – I would have done the same, but I would have managed it a lot better.

      In my view, Team Management will have very similar elements of Corporate Operations Management…if you dont understand that..I dont expect anybody to understand Ferrari’s deceision. No sentiments people, this is a professional sport, emotions count for nothing!

      • Splint3r said on 30th July 2010, 7:16

        couldn’t agree more.

      • beneboy said on 30th July 2010, 21:58

        See Massa will not beat Alonso for the rest of the season. If you’ve consistently been slower that your team mater for the best part of a second all season long, hard to imagine how Massa can beat Alonso.

        Remind me, which driver had to be given the win last weekend ?

        I wanted the drivers to race each other till the end, had Alonso beaten Felipe on his own then I would have been happy for him and the team.

        I dont expect anybody to understand Ferrari’s deceision. No sentiments people, this is a professional sport, emotions count for nothing!

        Wouldn’t adhering to the rules count as being the professional thing to do ?

        I want Ferrari to win but I want them to do it fairly and within the rules of the sport.

      • Martin said on 31st July 2010, 14:39

        Yes, if I had been Ferrari management I would have done it, BUT:
        I’d have let Alonso race for it first, at least get closer – THAT would be the point where you have to be able to count on your drivers’ good sense (as McLaren WAS able to do) – and after all, you may say “don’t do anything stupid” on the radio, may you not? After the fact I would have told Smedley that any more passive-aggressive crap means no job -

  8. Alexi said on 29th July 2010, 18:53

    Great comment by Kubica.

  9. CJD said on 29th July 2010, 19:28

    It would be good for the “old Fernando” to win a race from the greatness of his driving rather than this new one nagging the team with his tantrums.
    If we could only see that star that won two championships he would win back so much lost respect.

  10. tota said on 29th July 2010, 19:32

    Yeah yeah. Please, Felipe, convince me. You know what to do?

  11. brendan said on 29th July 2010, 19:35

    also kubica got his win only because Nick let him through. Nick was on a one stop and had he not let him through Nick would of won and Kubica would of finished out of top 3.

    just another example. of it happening.

    as well as every team stopping their drivers racing late in the race. despite in todays rules drivers like button will be quick late in the race for their skills of saving fuel. they are told to ‘bring it home’ for me that is just as bad. Time and time again button has been the quicker mclaren late on. but does he challenge lewis. no. he did once and was quickly told to back off. He had saved more fuel through driving smoother so had the right to use that fuel. but was told not to. thats just as unfair.

  12. BBQ2 said on 29th July 2010, 19:44

    In the event of the happenings at Ferrari, we totally forgot that Petrov’s race Engineer was threatening to switch off his car (literally) if he did not put up the laptimes he requested of him or something of that sort. I cant remember the exact statement but it was scary to me :-(

    • Eh, no.

      They were telling him to shift earlier into 7th gear.

      If he couldn’t do that, they would tell him to change to a more conservative engine map.

      There is no pit-to-car control, and hasn’t been for years. They were telling him how to get the car home in one piece, not threatening to switch it off.

  13. tharris19 said on 29th July 2010, 20:32

    I can’t feel sorry for Felipe because he is accountable for his own state of mind. He has to live with the decisions that he makes. He can defend his position by saying he is a ‘professional’ and the team comes first. He can deny that he is not the (2) driver in spite of what everyone has seen this year. But Felipe beinging mistreated is not the issue.
    The real issue is, so many in formula one think that it’s ok for these kinds of team orders; that the team not only come before the driver but the outcome of the
    race itself. And when a large majority of the fans complain they are told to get over it, get use to it or go find another sport. Unfortunately, on 10 September the WMSC will confirm this attitude with a minimal punishment to Ferrari for it’s behavior at the race. If that happens I will no longer watch formula 1 because it will no longer be a sport to me.

    • mel_drew said on 30th July 2010, 0:07

      Well said. I agree absolutely. The heart of F1 – Coulthard, Brundle, Schumacher, Ferrari management, and doubtless many others, regard this rule as an unworkable joke, and I say that if the will were there – and I don’t think it ever will be under the aging, benevolent, Old Boy eye of “Charlie” – then it could be made to work, to the benefit of all fans.

      In 2002 the FIA decided that team orders are not desirable and implemented the present rule. Nothing has changed since then to make such a rule redundant. The paying public still need protecting from race fixing. We still need to feel that we are watching a fair race. In this particular case the stewards decided that the statements from Alonso, Domenicali, Massa, et all, were lies. Maybe that approach should be used more frequently, on the more subtle messages used by other teams. Low fuel. Mechanical problems. All these excuses could be investigated by the FIA if necessary, with the amount of telemetry on the cars. A few disqualifications, a few multi-million dollar fines, and the teams would eventually realise that the rule is there to be observed, at your peril!

  14. Robert McKay said on 29th July 2010, 20:43

    I read the headline and thought of The Prisoner, initially.

    • Paper Tiger said on 29th July 2010, 21:49

      “I am not a number two, I am a free man!”

      • Gusto said on 30th July 2010, 2:14

        Lol, Do you think Ferrari have a giant white balloon to send out on anyone not towing the party line. Or like Eddie Irvine they just turn up with three wheels for the pit stop.

  15. Has anybody thought about if they just ran one driver teams, similar to superleague formula? This would mean that the team can design a car specifically to the one driver’s needs, and would eliminate the need for team orders.
    Obviously the downside would be getting 20-odd teams into the sport, but it could enhance the competition as it would be every man for himself. That said, it would stop team mate rivalries, which have been some of the most interesting battles of the sport’s history, and could increase possibility of a single driver running away with the championship a la schumacher.
    Still, worth a thought!

    • Albert said on 29th July 2010, 23:29

      Well, I love the situation as it is. I love the off-track drama, team-mate rivalery etc. I mean, it’s races like the German GP and Turkish GP that makes up very much of the F1-show. Let’s face it, we all love it, just look at the quantity of comments the blog gets in after races like that!

      • I know, i love it too, I was merely suggesting that as a solution to team orders.
        I didn’t think for one second whether it would actually work or whether I or anyone else would like it. As i said in my first post, team mate rivalries have provided us with some of the most dramatic and exciting moments the sport has ever seen: Senna vs Prost, Hamilton vs Alonso, Webber vs Vettel etc. I didn’t mean ‘lets get rid of it the way it is’, it was merely a suggestion. :)

    • Mike said on 30th July 2010, 7:09

      Personally I would like 20 teams, but, all having two drivers each. I’d like to see a return of pre qualifying, then we can do away with all this “FIA picks the new team rubbish”, because clearly, it isn’t a good system.

      There are groups who are convinced they can build an F1 car, if they can, and it’s safe, why not give them the chance to race it?

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