Scuderia Ferrari or Team Alonso?

2011 F1 season preview

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

Halfway through 2010 Ferrari threw its weight behind new driver Fernando Alonso in his pursuit of the championship.

The notorious switch of positions in the German Grand Prix last year eventually ended an eight-year period in which the FIA tried to prevent the use of team orders.

It began after Rubens Barrichello handed victory in the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix to Michael Schumacher, and ended when the rule forbidding team orders was cut from the 2011 regulations.

Much ink has already been spilled on the rights and wrongs of it – what’s of interest here is what it means for Ferrari in their post-Schumacher era.

Alonso is the team’s favoured son and it’s equally clear he operates at his highest level when he doesn’t feel under threat from his team mate. This raises obvious questions over Massa’s role in the team.

If Ferrari were content to use team orders halfway through the 2010 season when they were illegal, how much earlier will they be prepared to use them this year now they’re legal again?

It’s in Felipe Massa’s hands to keep himself from being relegated to Barrichello status. To do it, he needs to keep Alonso in sight. But he often struggled to do that last year.

I’ve made the error of writing Felipe Massa off once before and I’m not going to make that mistake twice. But he has a long way to come if he’s going to recover from the pummelling Alonso dished out to him last year.

Massa repeatedly said throughout 2010 was that he couldn’t get the tyres to work. He wasn’t the only driver who struggled with the narrower front tyres on the Bridgestones – Schumacher had the same problem.

Ferrari showed their faith in Massa by extending his contract to the end of next season. But that’s no guarantee they’ll keep in him in the car if he fails to perform this year – after all, Kimi R??ikk??nen had a contract for 2010.

But that brings us back to where we started. If Ferrari really are now Team Alonso, then a Massa who’s not quite quick enough to beat his team mate, but isn’t going to rock the boat, could suit them quite nicely.

The 2011 season should tell us a lot about the new balance of power at Ferrari.

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103 comments on Scuderia Ferrari or Team Alonso?

  1. rob said on 6th March 2011, 13:57

    Ferrari will support their best driver in the last part of the season. Massa proved in the past he can be the best Ferrari driver. I wish him all the best.

    There is no need to compare him to Barrichello who was beaten 6 times in a row by Schumacher. Massa was beaten one single time by Alonso, making his comeback after an injury.

    If Hamilton can equal Alonso, Massa can too if all goes well.

    Unfortunately people tend to forget quickly.

    • Patrickl said on 6th March 2011, 14:07

      In his whole career Massa only bested his team mate once.

      Even that was mostly because they took Massa’s car changes as opposed to supporting the driver who was actually leading the championship at that moment.

      If they had stuck with Raikkonen instead of helping Massa overcome his problems, Raikkonen could have had a fair chance at prolonging his title.

      It doesn’t make much sense to support both drivers equally. Especially if they have such different driving styles.

      • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 6th March 2011, 14:40

        You must also remember that Massa has had stronger team-mates than probably anyone else in the field.

        He’s been up against 4 WDCs, a 3-time GP winner, and a driver who many think is the best in the modern era not to win a race.

        • RaulZ said on 7th March 2011, 14:29

          Yes, they were champions as Alonso is, but he lost. And well I think this year would be the same.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 6th March 2011, 15:00

      Many say that Massa proved he can be the best driver in the team but do me it looked more like Raikkonen failed instead of Massa succeeding.
      Ferrari is a team that likes to have a strong personality driver and have him as a leader guiding them. In return they give him all their attention, giving him the advantage over his teammate from before they hit the track so he can perform at ease at the best level he can against the other teams.
      That was what Schumi had and that was what Raikkonen was suppose to have and now Alonso has. Raikkonen lost it all by himself because of his personality and along with that he lost the track advantage while Massa got a boost against him.
      They wanted a leader and someone to order them around telling them what to do like they were used with Schumi but Kimi simply hated that role and refused to settle in it. The guy hates to even speak, playing the leader and bossing people around was beyond him. He just wanted a fast car to drive.
      Since their mighty leader was nowhere to be seen in Kimi, they turned to Massa who at least could speak and give a few orders when he had do.
      But now in Alonso they have found the guy that will push them around and kick them in the ass when his displeased. The guy that will demand things and act like a king. That’s the kind of guy they like to have so they can feel motivated and cry tears of joy.
      Now that they finally found him, they can stop paying attention to that temporary phony replacement they used(Massa) when their last leader failed them.

  2. Faraz said on 6th March 2011, 14:28

    I think just to early to assume that Alonso will get all the backing last year it was clear before Germany that Massa had no shot of the title only Alonso did.

    Massa can do well when it is his day so don’t write him off yet.

  3. Sass said on 6th March 2011, 14:33

    Team Alonso… and with a reason! As long as Massa does not get his S together… there is no other way

  4. Fernando_Ferrari_ said on 6th March 2011, 14:43

    I think it should be Scuderia Ferrari.

  5. Fernando_Ferrari_ said on 6th March 2011, 14:45

    Einarai whatabout hamster?

  6. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 6th March 2011, 14:46

    Im sorry, but who is Carl? I can’t find any driver who’s name could possibly be Carl. Is it a alt. name to Lewis? A nickname? Argh the confuzzlement is making me mad! And what exactly is the “foggy island”? I know, stupid question, but I live in the U.S, and I’ve never heard the term foggy island.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 6th March 2011, 16:37

    Two points…

    1) I can’t see any team employing team orders any more than they may or may not have done in the last few years. Ferrari set the precedent with a $100,000 fine, but for many that didn’t go far enough and nor did the regulations. Just because team orders are now legal doesn’t mean they come without morality or ethics involved. People won’t accept it any more this year than they may or may not have done last year.

    2) As much as the majority of us are gunning for Massa to give Alonso a fright, his potential lack of performance does suit Ferrari well. Ultimately, he could be seen as the better of two evils.

  8. McG (@mcg) said on 6th March 2011, 16:48

    It’s pretty simple, Alonso is better than Massa.

    We know Ferrari favour the better driver.

    • Mike said on 6th March 2011, 23:21

      Yeah and so is Kimi right?

      Stop saying better, Alonso is better than Keith, at driving an F1 car anyway, (Or maybe Keith is really the new stig, who knows right?)

      But how a driver does will depend heavily on circumstance. For instance, Alonso and Massa have had one season in the same team and you say Alonso is better. Massa by that logic is better than Kimi, seeing as he beat him two out of three.

  9. Luc said on 6th March 2011, 18:20

    Hello has all, it is the first time when I come here, I am French, fan of Ferrari, and I espere that the translation will be correct. I think that the problem is not Alonso, but rather Santander. In my opinion, we can consider Alonso as a paying pilot(driver), thus, as long as the big check of Santander will not be exhausted, Ferrari will be grateful(inescapable) to cherish his(her) customer.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 7th March 2011, 2:40

      Welcome to f1fanatic Luc…and yes your translation is fine.

      I’m not sure I would call Alonso a “pay driver”. Yes he brought Santander to Ferrari but he’s being paid to be the top driver. And so far I think that Santander and Ferrari are getting their moneys worth.

  10. joe said on 6th March 2011, 19:59

    no.

    I’d like to see ferrari go 100% alonso, for example use Massa in q3 to give alonso a slipstream down the main strieght to gain a few tenths (they do it in touring cars)

  11. Nick Grant said on 6th March 2011, 21:32

    “That’s racing. Alonso did nothing wrong.”

    I agree and it really is massa’s fault for going slowly, he would not have been able to pull that pass off had it been Hamilton or Schumacher in

  12. SeattleChris said on 6th March 2011, 22:03

    I hope Massa gets his confidence back and just wrecks Alonso, in higher finishes, this year.

    Massa is much quicker than folks say! It would also be something if Massa could return the pit stop favor Alonso gave him and make the same statement. “This has always been my team mate! Get lost Senior Talking Hands Clapper!”

    • Regis said on 6th March 2011, 22:11

      If he is quicker than people say, he should prove it ! So far he hasn’t showed it… At all !

  13. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th March 2011, 0:46

    Massa’s a very emotional driver and I think all he needs is confidence. If the confidence and belief is there he can turn that passion into decent results. I think we all saw this in 2008. I also think he’s very vulnerable in this respect and as a result inconsistent.

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th March 2011, 2:27

    It will still be team Alonso. The fact is Alonso is always faster then him,he is a better driver & 2 times WC so the team will listen to him more then to Massa. But with new tyres will Massa learn quicker then Alonso? Will Massa be able to out perform him? There are many question then answers in this team. Only time will say what will happen. I am having a feeling that it Massa don’t go up to the expectation then he may be replaced by 2012.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 7th March 2011, 2:51

      Massa really needs to focus on one thing. Taking points off of RB and Macca. If he goes gunning for Alonso he’ll end up on the short end of the half shaft.

      • RaulZ said on 7th March 2011, 14:44

        I think Massa just need to focus. He have to run and outperform his team mate, and nobody will be talking about it.

  15. sumedh said on 7th March 2011, 3:26

    I think it will be Scuderia Ferrari at the start. But it will switch to Team Alonso or Team Massa before any of their rivals switch.

    Ferrari aren’t going to wait till one driver is mathematically eliminated. They did that mistake in 2008 and it cost them the title.
    Ferrari will decide on their own about whom to support for the title and stick to that. I would say it is 75-25 in favour of Alonso now.

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