Disaster for Massa (Ferrari race review)

Going into the Japanese Grand Prix weekend Felipe Massa had the words of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo ringing in his ears.

Montezemolo made various remarks to the effect that he expected Massa to drive quicker and continue to help support team mate Fernando Alonso’s championship bid.

Instead Massa had a weekend so dreadful it made you want to wince and look away.

Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Qualifying position 12 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’32.321 (+0.502) 1’31.819
Race position 3
Average race lap 1’42.454
Laps 0/53 53/53
Pit stops 0 1

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Felipe Massa

Massa blamed traffic for failing to get into Q3. Half a second slower than Alonso in Q2, he lined up 12th on the grid.

Having got away quickly at the start he inexplicably took to the grass in an attempt to pass Nico Rosberg at the first corner, lost control and slammed into Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India, eliminating both.

Afterwards he said:

I think I was really cursed today. This morning in qualifying, because of traffic, I failed to get into Q3. This afternoon in the race, I didn?t even manage to get through the first two corners.

At the start, Rosberg, who was in front of me, got away poorly and at first I tried to move to the left, but Sutil was coming there. Then I moved to the right, but in so doing I found myself on the grass and the kerb. At that point the car took off on its own, I was unable to make it through the first corner and I ended up colliding with Liuzzi?s Force India.

Felipe Massa

Compare Felipe Massa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Fernando Alonso

Fifth-fastest in qualifying, narrowly pipped by Robert Kubica despite having faster sector times than the Renault driver in Q3.

Hamilton’s penalty and Kubica’s retirement promoted him to third. His car never looked like having the performance to take on the Red Bulls, making Suzuka an exercise in damage limitation:

In the first part, we ran a defensive race, trying to keep the McLarens at a distance, especially Jenson, who was on a very different strategy to ours.

Then when we realised they were no longer a threat we tried to put the Red Bulls under a bit of pressure, but there was nothing to be done. Here they were perfect and when that happens they are really hard to beat.

However, experience tells us that it is not always like this, or they would have already won the championship. So we must try and make the most of every opportunity.

We are trying to improve the F10 with every passing race: here for example we had a new oil from Shell and other minor aerodynamic updates. We will have further new parts in the next few races: maybe not so big but put together they could give us a few tenths which is always useful.

We come out of this weekend with our heads held high, knowing that we must try and beat Webber in the coming races to close down the gap to the top.
Fernando Alonso

Compare Fernando Alonso’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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60 comments on Disaster for Massa (Ferrari race review)

  1. wat if Ferrari is slower than Mclaren in the coming races like they were in Suzuka ?

    • Alexi (@alexi) said on 11th October 2010, 17:45

      In the track that suit them? I doubt it. Give it up already, Hamilton won’t be champion.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 11th October 2010, 17:47

        lol, don’t tifosi all over someones dreams, dunno about Gill but I hold out hope.

        Whatever if he can’t be Hamilton i’d be fine with Webber and an actual decent car next year.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 11th October 2010, 17:48

      Yeh, (not too) surprised more hasn’t been made of this, Hamilton pulled 3rd on the grid despite doing the least laps of anyone all weekend and Button might have made it one place higher on the grid if it were not for choosing a different strategy.

      Given how Korea is as twisty as Japan but also has three long straights, McLaren have reason to be confident ahead of the next race. Then there’s Interlagos and Abu Dhabi which will be close but by no means guaranteed Ferrari territory.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 11th October 2010, 17:52

      Suzuka was going to be bad race for Ferrari, and they knew it. The Mclaren might be as fast as the Ferrari for the remainder of the season. I think Lewis will give Alonso a hard time over the last three races, but Button will just whine about the ‘lack of grip’ and finish behind Lewis or Fernando. What we need is a couple of slip ups from Webber and Vettel to make this championship even more exciting. Maybe a turkey 2010?

  2. DaveW said on 11th October 2010, 17:42

    If I were superstitious I would say Massa needs to visit some sicilian villiage to have his malocchio broken. I’m sure Luca was not impressed and I would not be at all surprised to see someone else in that car. That plunge under Rosberg was some very amateur GP2 stuff. Won’t be Kubica because Alonso will veto that, but maybe Heidfeld or Rosberg.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 11th October 2010, 21:26

      If he continues to have terrible races for the remainder of the season I think we’ll see someone else in the car. If he steps it up though I think we’ll see him as Alonso’s secretary again next year. Maybe Sutil at Ferrari?

  3. Scribe (@scribe) said on 11th October 2010, 17:46

    Eh poor Massa, heaping all that preassure on him was exactly the wrong thing to do. He’ll be there next year but he must be awesome to stay at Ferrari.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 11th October 2010, 17:56

      I guess it comes with the territory. He is a professional racer after all, and if he can’t handle the pressure of being a number 2 driver… then he probably doesn’t deserve that seat at Ferrari.

      • David BR said on 11th October 2010, 19:18

        It’s the new mantra – ‘Felipe is unworthy’. But a simple question: who do Ferrari/Alonso want there? A Kubica?? Or a reasonably performing number two? The idea that replacing Massa with someone ‘worthy’ like Kubica would be (a) acceptable to Alonso or (b) workable when Alonso proceeded to get beaten most of the time seems utter fantasy. But I defer to the Tifosi.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 11th October 2010, 19:54

          Alonso get beaten most of the time??? I think a lot of people underestimated Alonso’s potential before the season started by saying that Felipe would be quicker than him. I thought the critics should have got some sense knocked into them by now.

          There are maybe 2 or 3 drivers on the grid who would give him a hard time, but to say he would get beaten most of the time is just rubbish.

          My point was that Felipe isn’t even a reasonably performing number 2 driver. He is driving a car that was arguably the 2nd quickest on the grid this year, yet he is battling with Rosberg and Kubica for the coveted 6th spot.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2010, 20:00

            I think a lot of people underestimated Alonso’s potential before the season started by saying that Felipe would be quicker than him.

            Don’t remember anyone saying that. People would have thought Massa would be closer than he currently is though.

          • The reason people said Massa will be closer to Alonso than he is because he beat Kimi in 2008 and (2009) .
            But Kimi and Alonso are 2 different drivers.Enough said.

          • … I’d be surprised if you could name a better driver than Massa to take the seat…

            Btw… David BR does have a point, Alonso has never really had a team mate that was able to compete with him, except for that one time… And that didn’t turn out very well!…..

          • David BR said on 14th October 2010, 2:23

            Indeed, Alonso was consistently beaten by Hamilton in 2007. I’d rate him 4th or 5th on the grid, behind Hamilton, Kubica and Vettel at least. All three of them would beat Alonso regularly, if not easily, in the same car at Ferrari. Want proof? Wish Kubica there and we’ll see.

            It annoys me intensely the way Massa is being treated by Ferrari fans – and underlines the fact he should never have let the slower Alonso by at the German GP, since nobody, including the team, is the least bit ‘grateful’ he did so for ‘greater good.’

          • NoName said on 15th October 2010, 9:46

            “Want proof? Wish Kubica there and we’ll see.”
            So you have no proof either. Fantasy situations are not acceptable as proof anywhere.

    • Girts said on 11th October 2010, 19:37

      In the latest issue of German Motorsport Aktuell, Heidfeld is quoted as saying: “2010 tyres are very different from the ones we had in 2009. And they are not similar to the Pirelli tyres that I was testing as well.” So it looks like Pirelli tyres are gonna be at least different from 2010 Bridgestones. I think this statement gives some hope to Massa and Schumacher.

      • Wat if Pirelli are worse than this year’s Bridgestone.
        A driver should be able to work on any equipment given to him and that too in a season like this where the WDC and WCC are hung by a thread.
        He cant always complain abt the tyres every time he doesnt perform.

  4. Renzo said on 11th October 2010, 18:11

    I really want to see what will happen in Brazil.
    Just think if Massa it’s P1 and has to let through Alonso…
    Will he let Nando through destroying his reputation or will he keep his position?

    Anyway, regarding next race, Aldo Costa said to the italian television there will be a big step up on the rear of the car for the next race, and while saying that was smiling looking very confident on what Ferrari will bring to their singleseater.

  5. Hamilton and Alonso had almpost identical S1 and S2 times in Q3. I can say that coz they did their flying lap simultaneously. Alonso lost time in S3 and hence a reason for his P5 slot.

  6. f1yankee said on 11th October 2010, 18:40

    i’m sure he’s an excellent guy, but massa appears to have lost the fighting spirit. if he’s not willing to be number 2, then he has to be faster than his teammate, which he isn’t. lately, he hasn’t even been in the same race.

    let’s be honest here. was he faster than micheal? no. was he faster than kimi? only after kimi stopped giving a damn. is he faster than alonso? not even close. since he’s not number 1 material, is he willing and able to serve as a capable number 2? it seems the answer is no.

    if he can’t pull it together soon, i think the best thing to do is cut him loose. he’s in the 2nd best car and he’s achieving middle of nowhere results. the longer this goes on, the more damaging it will be to massa and the team.

  7. chaos001 said on 11th October 2010, 19:15

    Massa is damaging Ferrari’s chances in the Championship. Lack of motivation is not an answer. He’s not even as quick as his team mate since the start of the season. Ferrari should get a new driver.

  8. What do you expect from a number two driver? Do everybody a favor you over-rated ball baby and retire so a deserving driver can have a Ferrari seat!!!

  9. “Having got away quickly at the start he inexplicably took to the grass in an attempt to pass Nico Rosberg at the first corner”

    Hello? Have you actually watched the race? Rosberg didn’t leave any room to him, apparently he didn’t see Felipe so he turned right, and from this place Felipe had 3 choices: turn right to the grass, don’t turn and crash with Rosberg, or brake and get crashed by everyone behind him. What would you do…???

    • Journeyer said on 11th October 2010, 19:30

      It wasn’t Rosberg’s fault – Massa was still behind Rosberg before Massa moved to the right.

      Still, had he been further up the order, he wouldn’t have had to tussle for position in the midfield. In F1, you usually make your own luck.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th October 2010, 20:27

      Rosberg wasn’t required to leave room for him – he’d gone in too quickly and too close to the car in front. And I don’t accept that braking would have caused others to crash into him.

      • Nico and Felipe reached a point where they were almost side by side just before the first corner, so he should leave room. Ok, maybe braking wouldn’t cause others to crash into him, but Felipe was at the “dirty” side of the track, so he’d probably crash with Nico or, anyway, something nasty would have happened :)

  10. Elliot Horwood said on 11th October 2010, 19:32

    Hamilton will be World Champion and Win the next 2 races and 2nd in Abu Dhabi Webber and Vettel will get a 10 place drop with an engine change and alonso will fail to get a top 3 finish in the next 3 races.

    • Burnout said on 11th October 2010, 20:48

      My, you’re optimistic! Although with one engine to spare, and IIRC no Renault units failing this season, I don’t see that 10 place grid drop happening.

      Dream on.

    • Elliot Horwood . good story mate.

      Ur name should be Elliot HOLLYWOOD.
      Just a joke too. I know Ham is ur fav driver so nothing bad in wanting him to win.

    • Elliot Horwood said on 28th October 2010, 10:41

      im not too far off!

  11. Chris said on 11th October 2010, 19:44

    I just can’t believe that Petrov received a penalty and Massa did not. It is outrageous! Massa’s move and accident were way more dangerous than Petrov’s rookie mistake.

  12. AgBNYC said on 11th October 2010, 19:53

    I don’t know if Massa really got pinched as things happened so quickly (would Massa breaking simply run Rosberg’s right rear over Massa’s tires?)

    It’s is somewhat funny how opinion has turned – Ferrari don’t like or want Massa and Massa is simply “deflated”.

    Nobody can read Massa’s mind – but he is a paid racing driver! Please don’t bring up Germany. How did Webber react when they took improved parts off his car to give to his teammate?? He won the race and is leading the Championship!

    I like Massa as a good guy. Like Barichello, he has Italian heritage and is well liked (NOT despised) by the team. He is also getting paid $14 million to drive for Ferrari! Hamilton is getting $16 million and reigning World Champion Button $9 million. He is simply not fast enough and is not helping Ferrari or the tifosi in any way, shape or form…

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 11th October 2010, 21:36

      Nobody can read Massa’s mind – but he is a paid racing driver! Please don’t bring up Germany. How did Webber react when they took improved parts off his car to give to his teammate?? He won the race and is leading the Championship!

      Your comparison doesn’t really work though, because Massa’s not allowed to win races.

      • Santi said on 11th October 2010, 23:34

        You are totally overstating it.

        He’s not “allowed” if Alonso was 2nd behind him. But if Alonso were lower in the positions, no one would complain at Ferrari with Massa wining…

        • AgBNYC said on 11th October 2010, 23:54

          I would love to hear what Webber and Button think of their own situations…. They have already made comments that betray their own teams (RBR and Macca)…

          Webber “not bad for a number two!” and Jenson wondering why he was kept out so long before pitting (Horner’s “sacrificial lamb” theory)…

          I will defer to other “experts” as to how Massa is banned from winning, banned from performing etc. Yes, Ferrari (who put the TEAM above any driver) pay the ethnic Italian Massa more than any other driver, save Hamilton and Alonso… just to embarrass him and destroy Ferrari’s chance of a WCC…. makes perfect sense…

          • Regis said on 12th October 2010, 3:28

            He is not allowed because he had a bad year. He was allowed at the beginning of the season but just didn’t. Because he sucks :)

  13. Glenn (@glenn) said on 11th October 2010, 20:35

    To me Massa driving and qualifying was a deserved F U to Ferrari for blatantly putting him in the Reserve spot. I dont think Massa ever had any intention to get into Q3. I mean the week after the Ferrari boss calls for Massa to take points off other teams he goes and qualifies 12th and makes a quick exit with a very careless mistake in Turn 1? Seems like he is spiteful and trying to make Alonso earn it on his own. Truth be told, I dont blame him.

  14. Christian said on 11th October 2010, 21:03

    Massa cant manage his tyres this year its simple as that! Wait until next year guys! If he cant get his act together by then things are looking bad!

  15. DaveW said on 11th October 2010, 21:06

    Its a bit much to say Massa sabotaged his race to spite Luca. He made a dangerous move because his career is in a dangerous position. His narrative that he “found himself on the grass,” as if he awoke from a dream in the middle of turn 1, is sad. He should at least own up to a terrible error instead of talking about it like it was bad luck. He probably feels that his current position in the team means that further apologies are not welcome.

    • Regis said on 12th October 2010, 3:31

      I totally agree with you, his comment sounded like it wasn’t his fault. I know the starts are so fast but he could have tried to break. Jumping over the turn had to result in a disaster, even if he didn’t hit anyone he was going straight out. He is full of excuses.

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