Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari’s Massa treatment

F1 Fanatic round-up

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2012In the round-up: Martin Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari sacrificing Felipe Massa’s qualifying position to benefit Fernando Alonso.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Whitmarsh: I don’t agree with Ferrari’s call (The Telegraph)

“McLaren’s Whitmarsh stressed that he was ‘not criticising’ Ferrari, but added that it was not the way he believed race teams should be run. ‘I don?t think so,?? he said. ??I think it was quite a tough thing to do personally. I?m not criticising anyone for what they do. Team principals have to decide how they run their teams and it?s very clear that Ferrari are very focused on Fernando.'”

Alonso ‘proud’ of Ferrari (Sky)

“I am very proud of the decision and very proud of the team for telling the truth. Not many teams when they made that decision would have done that.”

United States GP – Conference 4 (FIA)

Sebastian Vettel: “I think you misunderstood. I wasn’t complaining about Lewis, obviously. I wasn’t too happy send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I obviously had to go through Karthikeyan and he was basically right behind at the DRS zone; to do a big difference within one corner is hardly possible and then he took that opportunity – fair enough – down the straight and passed me. I tried to defend, I moved to the inside but I knew that he would have so much more speed that he can pick either side, so it didn’t really matter what I was doing and after that, I was obviously not too happy, because on all the laps before I tried to manage the gap to him, tried to manage the tyres until the end of the race, to be able to attack towards the last couple of laps. We had, I think, something like 20 laps, 15 laps to go at the time. It was not targeted at Lewis, it was more targeted at the backmarker which, as I said, gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis.”

Alternators ‘a worry’ for Red Bull (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “I think the new version has raced on other engine cycles [at other teams], so hopefully that is what we will have for Brazil.”

Red carpet, choppers champagne greet Formula One in Texas (Reuters)

“[Mario Andretti] said although the track has the best design for spectators that he has seen, he doesn’t expect a ‘big wow’ from foreign visitors. ‘The Formula One contingent is very used to being in the Taj Mahal,’ said Andretti, a Circuit Of The Americas ambassador. ‘Nothing is going to impress them.'”

F1 Races Into America and Austin Keeps It Weird (The New York Times)

“The first year of a new grand prix always attracts more people than the subsequent years. The US Grand Prix at Indianapolis had 225,000 in its first year, in 2000, but never again. So the real test will come not just this weekend, but next year and in the following years. For the moment, it still feels pretty weird.”

Mexican fans flock to Texas to cheer on Perez (Chicago Tribune)

“More Formula One visitors are expected to come to Austin from Mexico than from any other foreign country, said Steve Alberts, communications manager at the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. Four charter flights from Mexico were set to arrive in Austin carrying about 500 fans, said Jim Halbrook, a spokesman for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and more Mexican fans are flying to other Texas cities.”

Kevin Garside: Vettel may have the best car, but he’s also blessed by genius (The Independent)

Kevin Garside: “Alonso has enhanced his reputation this season by the brilliant husbandry of an inferior car, nicking a win here and there. That is precisely what Vettel did until Newey found something on his drawing board in the latter part of the season that worked.”


Comment of the day

@PaulT praises Pirelli’s appropriately Texan headgear:

The Pirelli Stetsons on the podium were a small but inspired touch and will certainly have helped make the race (and F1) memorable to US fans.

I can?t remember if this has been done before (I mean swapping the traditional baseball caps for some other headgear with a local flavour).

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Ten years ago today Bernie Ecclestone denied a report claiming he was about to bring the interactive F1 Digital + television service to an end. A few days later he admitted the story was true.

The subscription service was only offered in the UK for one year in 2002. After it was wound up many of its features began to appear in free-to-air broadcasts.

Here’s an advert for the service from the 2002 season:

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

Advert | Go Ad-free


150 comments on Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari’s Massa treatment

  1. John H (@john-h) said on 19th November 2012, 9:04

    While I would usually agree with Whitmarsh, this time I do not. Massa is no longer in the title hunt, and therefore its a completely different kettle of fish IMO.

    I wonder if he would still agree with it if Alonso wins the title next week? I’m all for playing above board, but the problem lies with there being a dirty side of the grid more than anything else. More support races please!!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th November 2012, 9:21


      More support races please!!

      It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because the circuit has plans for MotoGP, V8 Supercars, the World Endurance Championship, American Le Mans and Rolex Sports Cars. So there should be plenty of rubber on the circuit a year from now – and that’s without counting individual support races and grassroots events. It wouldn’t surprise me if they push for Indycar, NASCAR, World Touring Cars, FIA GT Sprint/Blancpain Endurance, Pirelli World Challenge and World Superbikes in the future as well.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 16:03

        True but will there not still be a relatively dirtier side of the track, such that a team like Ferrari looking for any advantage they can possibly get may still do the same thing next year given the same circumstances?

        As was pointed out by one of the commentators, might have been DC, other non-F1 races would have laid down rubber, but it wouldn’t have been the right rubber to help the current F1 Pirellis work better for the teams this past weekend.

  2. Ben (@benchuiii) said on 19th November 2012, 9:29

    People taking the moral high ground and insist Ferrari shoudn’t have done so because it was unsporting are way too idealistic. Alonso is their only chance of a championship and logic dictates that he needs to start in the best possible position. Massa only gets this kind of treatment because of his terrible start to the year. I doubt Ferrari care if they are 2nd or 3rd in the constructor’s championship if they are not champions. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to understand their decision.

    Was it sporting? No. Was it logical? Yes. Did it disadvantage others? Yes, but remember Hulkenberg and the others would have been on the dirty side anyway if not for Grosjean’s penalty. Martin Whitmarsh can disagree all he wants, after all, McLaren’s equal driver policy has won them many championships…

    • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th November 2012, 11:07

      Martin Whitmarsh can disagree all he wants, after all, McLaren’s equal driver policy has won them many championships

      1989 was the last time mclaren drivers had equal status and took a title. dc moved over for mika, and heikki moved over for lewis. there’s no shame in it – all great drivers, but only 1 gets to be the winner, and management made the decision.

      is anyone else getting sick of whitmarsh’s after-the-fact passive-aggressive complaining? “i hope lewis regrets moving to mercedes” really, did that need to be said by the guy that let him walk? “i’m not criticising…” LIAR!. whitmarsh, your team has looked absolutely miserable at times since you took the big chair. man up and right your ship.

  3. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 19th November 2012, 9:47

    In addition to the unsporting action by Ferrari what also grates with me is the insistence that this was ‘discussed with both drivers’ and Massa ‘took the penalty with good grace’ – Ferrari talk about being open on this matter but this is blatantly not true. Any ‘discussion’ with Massa was most likely him simply being told that it was happening whether he liked it or not, and Massa’s ‘good grace’ most likely his resignation to the fact that his opinion wasn’t going to have any effect on the outcome.

    It would be interesting to know the timeline of when each driver knew about it – my guess is that Massa would have found out a long time after Alonso and others had made the decision – possibly after the seal had already been tampered with?

    • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 19th November 2012, 13:27

      Felipe Massa is an employee of Ferrari. They pay him a wage. His involvement in the team is limited to driving. Ferrari do not ask sponsors from him nor do they expect him to do any technical work. He has signed a contract outlining that he will be sacrificed for the benefit of the championship. For this, he is a world famous driver, paid millions and in probably the greatest racing outfit in the history of motorsport. Ferrari owe him nothing. He doesn’t have a choice in the matter because his past performances have proven that he is not capable of driving at the top standard. It doesn’t matter at which point he found out (although from twitter I understand it was several hours before the seal was broken) because he either has to accept it or retire from racing given how few other teams are about.

      • John H (@john-h) said on 19th November 2012, 14:06

        It doesn’t matter at which point he found out

        It’s just good manners as human beings.

        Contracts contracts contracts, employees rights and responsibilities, blah blah blah (quote). How about just common decency to others?


        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 16:17

          I just think that given the ‘rooster’ philosophy as described by LdM several weeks ago, nothing should have come as a surprise to FM, and if they didn’t do this voluntary gearbox penalty, I think FM, without anything further needing be said to him, has known for weeks and weeks based on his points standing vs. FA that it was not his job to race FA and give him a hard time this weekend, or these recent race weekends.

          “He doesn’t have a choice in the matter because his past performances have proven that he is not capable of driving at the top standard.” This is a comment of the type I struggle with because I’m not convinced FM has been given a fair shot to prove otherwise. Some say he has changed since the team order in Germany 2010 and was psychologically destroyed from then onward, having had it made fully clear to him his role vs. FA. Realistically, FM likely knew his fate on the team going back to his very first knowledge that FA was coming to Ferrari. They didn’t hire FA for FM to win the WDC, and I wouldn’t be surprised if FM muttered an ‘oh crap’ the minute he knew who his teammate would be at Ferrari. Not because he thought he couldn’t compete…just that he wouldn’t be allowed to.

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 19th November 2012, 18:24

            @robbie Massa out-qualified Alonso in Bahrain and was leading the championship after Australia. Alonso jumped the start in China and overtook Massa in the pit lane. Alonso seized the opportunities, they weren’t given to him. His drives put him into the top seat as Massa fell away. We must remember that every Alonso win had Massa on the podium (bar Singapore where Felipe broke down in qualifying).

            @john-h imo, they should have, but if Felipe hadn’t worked it out he must be seriously deluded. We need to stop seeing this as a formula 1 problem. Its a society issue. People are geared to be more competitive these days. Winning is given higher significance.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 19:37

            Yeah fair enough but I think in terms of the overall atmosphere on the team. You are talking about the beginning of FA’s first season at Ferrari and they had no data on him initially and a ton on FM. So FM initially did well but FA adapted very quickly. Nothing you have said here has convinced me that FA wasn’t favoured as soon as he was signed. Upon FA’s signing FM had every reason to believe based on his knowledge of Ferrari’s philosophy that they didn’t hire FA to help him win the WDC. FM made a valiant attempt that year but by race 11 in Germany the math wasn’t quite strong enough and the circumstances of that race saw them with an opportunity to promote FA, and FM was furious and claimed he was ‘no Reubens’ (his words), but in reality is was the proof that was in the pudding all along. He may have objected, been disappointed, mad, demoralized etc etc, but he needn’t have been surprised.

  4. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 19th November 2012, 10:10

    I will tell you just 2 things, friendly and I want you opinion for this.
    1) When Vettel went out of parc ferme in Abu Dhabi, the boys in Red Bull were GODS and all the people were saying ”Fantastic idea”. Ferrari do the same (helping their driver get the championship, using parc ferme rules) and they are unfair.
    2) Vettel is forever crying. He nearly stops just in front of Button in Singapore and he says ”we had a little moment in the restart, but it’s OK”. Ricciardo warms his brakes and Vettel says ”WHT IS HE DOING? HE IS STOPPING ALL THE TIME”. Kartikeyan is in front of him he can’t go anywhere, then Hamilton overtakes Vettel, Vettel is crying again, he can’t afford his loss.

    • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 19th November 2012, 10:56

      And you never had heard Alonso complaining for the same things?
      One of the many times was here in Q1 or FP behind Schumacher with stefano saying the same thing over the radio every time “yes yes we saw it” after Alonso whining because MSC didn’t move aside.
      Alonso is complaining more often then any other driver. Its ironic for ferrari fans to accusing Vettel for doing the same think.

      • the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 19th November 2012, 12:07

        Do you know where did Vettel stick behind KAR? Do you remember were did Alonso find MSC? Also, KAR was doing his race, he also races in F1, even though you don’t care about him, while MSC was returning in the pits. However it’s your opinion and I respect it.

    • Alonso THE Great said on 19th November 2012, 11:17

      Excellent post The_Sigman

      When vettel and RBR do things people accept it. When ferrari does something it generates huge story and needless controversy

      Massa is too slow and not good enough (In my view he his not worthy enough to drive along side alonso)

      Why webber always have faulty kers ? Dodgy pit stops ? Poor Clucth or starts ?

      Vettel is a complete joke of a driver he showed his sulky face in malaysia, germany, Italy, Abu dhabi, Hungary and even in US GP when ham overtook him

      Vettel has made far too many mistakes through out the season. Yet people praise him

      • RedBullRacer (@redbullracer) said on 19th November 2012, 11:48

        When vettel and RBR do things people accept it.

        Vettel has made far too many mistakes through out the season. Yet people praise him

        I don’t know what websites you’ve been looking at, but I like the sound of them ;)

  5. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 19th November 2012, 10:12

    http://vimeo.com/f1fangr will upload the race in the next 24 hours possibly.

  6. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 19th November 2012, 10:37

    I don’t know why some made themselves believe Alonso did not need this kind of assistance from Ferrari.

    OK, those on the dirty side of the grid did not fell some three- or five-some places behind – but did not gain a single place either, as far as the five affected drivers in the top ten of the grid is concerned. I think it is fair to assume even Alonso could have managed a 7th-8th at the first corner at best. From then on, we would have had problems. Consider how many factors played onto his hands yesterday: Schumacher and Hulkenberg held up Raikkonen in the beginning, who had a quicker car, judging by clean air lap time diffs on mediums. Raikkonen also messed up his pit stop, and got traffic right after it. Only one thing missing and Raikkonen would have been ahead of Alonso after the pit stops. Grosjean – who had an even better setup than Kimi, once again judging by clean air lap time diffs of the two – wrote himself out of contention will childish errors. He may have finished third as well, but a lot less likely, I think.

    I think Ferrari’s move can be best described with the word ‘desperate.’ It reflects their philosophy perfectly, one of its most extreme demonstration. It is traditional: think of the driver swaps of the 1950s. It is tough for the drivers, but they sign for that as well. I want to believe Alonso would have been forced to do the same in a reverse situation. Of course, I doubt we will see something like that.

    I want to emphasise that I think this is a philosophical debate, its arguments from both parties challenging the others most profound views on the nature of and attitude towards racing as a team sport.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 19th November 2012, 13:06

      @atticus-2, the thing with Raikkonen being held up felt for me as “again Lotus, somehow you need better way to get kimi ahead of those guys” – ie. not luck for Alonso, but a failure of Lotus to for once take Schumacher into account.

      I do agree with you that Ferrari are being a bit desperate. In a way, you’d wish McLaren were equally willing to go all the way, than likely one of their drivers might still be in the fight for WDC (and who knows WCC).

      I still found it a good illustration of why I’m not a Ferrari fan, though I sort of admire their dogged determination to win this.

  7. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 19th November 2012, 10:41

    How can a driver be proud because he gain an unfair advandage over his teammate and the other people that had to switch sides ??
    Thankful yes , but proud?because they favorite him?
    I don’t blame Ferrari for doing this, since its not illegal but imagine what would had happen if the same were done by Redbull….. now its not only ok , he is also proud!!! WOW

  8. Alonso THE Great said on 19th November 2012, 11:00

    What massa did from Australia to this point. Massa did nothing and pathetic to watch all season long. Hs slept nicely from australia to this point throught out the season with the exception of 2 races.

    Alonso’s brilliance and talent only keep Ferrari still in tight contention. Had alonso performed the way massa did ferrari would have been in 6th place (WCC).

    Alonso has saved ferrari from massive embrassment and keep many people still in the job at ferrari. Otherwise ferrari can be only seen as midfield team

    You people here may not like alonso fine. However have a reality check

    The amount of alonso bashing here and in many other sites are unbelievable. Despite the man is Genius and maestro

    • Drop Valencia! said on 19th November 2012, 12:29

      while Webber has robbed plenty of points from Alonso this year, Massa has not stolen a point from Vettel, indeed copping this penalty is the only thing Massa has helped Alonso with all year, an incredibly weak #2

  9. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 19th November 2012, 11:01

    A bit dozy this morning after staying up for the BBC highlights. They didn’t show any interviews on the podium. Sounds like it was Mario Andretti, were they any good?

    I hope they close the loophole on that stupid rule. How can they change the gearbox (or pretend to) but keep the car in parc ferme? If the penalty had been to send Massa to the back, maybe it would have deterred them.

    But a great bit of lateral thinking in the F1 tradition, and Ferrari raced hard and got the best result they possibly could. More importantly, Massa’s back to his best, so he could be in among the title contenders in his home race – that’ll add a bit extra to the decider.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 19th November 2012, 13:08

      They didn’t show that @tomsk? aww, I recorded BBC highlights to watch it all later, but that is sad to miss. Yes, it was Mario Andretti, and yes, it was good. He asked good questions, took his time and the drivers were making all the right noises. As usual it wasn’t the most enlightening interview you’d see with them, but still, good for what it is.

  10. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 11:46

    “Come here boy, come here Massa…Sit Massa… I SAID SIT!!! Stay…Now take a five place grid penalty for Alonso…There’s a good boy ” Said Domenicali, as he sat in his favourite rocking chair puffing on a blunt made from and by jelly babies.

    Massa was plagued by terrible nightmares for weeks. He was convinced that the mysterious Boogieman they call “Senor Teflonso” was living under his bed…
    This is an excerpt from my new book entitled: “But seriously, does Filipe Massa have ANY self-respect?”

    It’s available to buy for £1,000,000 (Gift vouchers and Euros NOT accepted)

  11. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 19th November 2012, 13:13

    Well, I’m sometimes thinking that maybe Whitmarsh should take a bit of the determination of Ferrari to win the WDC (and/or WCC), and maybe one, or both of his drivers might still be in the WDC fight and his team in the WCC one, but I agree that this isn’t what I’d like to see all teams do.

    Just a few days ago, I thought about changing my avatar, but I guess I’ll keep it here. I think the grid difference was made a bigger issue than it was, and I think Alonso might still have made a good start, maybe to 5th instead of 4th, but he would have gotten third anyway. Remember, it would have kept Massa ahead of him, so easy switch later in the race, and until then Massa could have done some holding up of his own (RAI for example).

  12. lubhz (@lubhz) said on 19th November 2012, 13:39

    “Starting on the dirty side ruined my race” said Bruno Senna.

    http://tazio.uol.com.br/f1/largar-do-lado-sujo-acabou-com-a-minha-corrida-diz-senna-10o (in Portuguese)

  13. Green Flag (@greenflag) said on 19th November 2012, 15:50

    Brilliant move by Ferrari, using the rules to their advantage. It’s a professional foul and it’s used all the time in team sports. To win at the highest level you need to use every trick in the book and this one was in the book.

    • blutto said on 19th November 2012, 16:33

      I guess its ok then for Ferrari to ask Massa to “accidentally” t-bone Vettel in Brazil. Its all part of using every trick in the book (your book of tricks more likely)

      • the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 19th November 2012, 17:25

        The stewards will see from the telemetry if this was accidental and why do you not think of Red Bull asking this to WEB? Also it was legal. Do you know what legal means? From the moment on Massa took the RIGHT amount of penalty, it’s legal.

        • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 19:20

          Also it was legal. Do you know what legal means?

          Tax avoidance is legal…doesn’t make it right though, does it? Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it should be embraced, accepted and/or encouraged.

      • Green Flag (@greenflag) said on 20th November 2012, 1:23

        This is for Blutto – I didn’t say it’s okay to cheat; quite the opposite. The rules allowed what Ferrari did, they were clever to figure it out, and it worked. The FIA can close this loophole if they want; it’s all part of the game.

  14. If it only effect Massa (there team) I wouldn’t have such a problem with the unsporting behavior.

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