‘I wouldn’t have kept Massa’, says Horner

2012 F1 season

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he would not have made Ferrari’s decision to retain Felipe Massa for 2012.

Commenting in the Official Formula One season review 2012 book, Horner said: “No, I don’t think I would [have kept him].”

“Unfortunately, it’s a tough business, and results-based. You’ve got to look at what the guy in the other car, which we must assume is equal equipment, is achieving.”

Asked if he was surprised Ferrari had decided to keep Massa, Horner replied: “Yes and no.

“They obviously had a good look at other drivers – at least one of ours! – so they were obviously concerned about his form, but their options seemed to become limited.”

“They took their time over Perez who, at the early point of the year, seemed to be a shoe-in [sic] for that drive. He’d shown real progress, he was a member of their junior academy, and then McLaren announced him.

“Then Felipe obviously picked his form up in the last third of the year. They were obviously deliberating – the messages coming out of Maranello confirmed that – and probably when the music stopped they realised that the option they had was best for them.”

Ferrari announced they would keep Massa following the Korean Grand Prix. His points score relative to team mate Fernando Alonso’s has fallen each year since they became team mates in 2010, and is the lowest of all the team mates in the top four teams during that time.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo spoke about Massa during the team’s Christmas lunch last week, saying: “I don?óÔéĽÔäót know where you went in the first part of the year but I am very pleased you came back, both because it meant we were able to finish ahead of major teams in the constructors?óÔéĽÔäó classification, but also because it is important for next year.”

Twelve months ago Montezemolo said Massa needed to “prove himself” in 2012 and the team expected “great things” of him.

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118 comments on ‘I wouldn’t have kept Massa’, says Horner

  1. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 17th December 2012, 10:27

    Those be fightin’ words. Arrrrrrr

    • Kiril Varbanov (@kiril-varbanov) said on 17th December 2012, 12:06

      Tough words, but this is how it works – he [CH] will love to have one motivated opponent less.

      Massa’s obvious problem is his mentality – he was under pressure and cracked, and as soon as the contract was signed, he picked up the pace.
      This is normal sporting psychology and rarely there are concentrated racers like Alonso – Massa just had the bad luck to compete to one of the best races. He would have looked somewhat good next to more mediocre team mate.
      On the other hand, retaining Massa was the best choice around that time, having in mind that money are not concerned and the time he spent with this specially-crafted team.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 16:33

        I think FM’s ‘obvious’ problem is that he is on a team that is only really interested in the one ‘rooster’ on the team. And it’s not FM.

        • Gridl0k said on 17th December 2012, 17:29

          I think he suffered a major head injury…

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 18th December 2012, 7:43

            I think he suffered a major head injury…

            … back in 2009. That is not a valid excuse for keeping a driver who can’t performing at the top level. I agree with Horner, but I also agree with Luca.

            Felipe wasn’t brilliant for the last three years and he was simply terrible for over the first half of this season. I wouldn’t have kept him either. But I’m also glad that he picked up his form in the last few races and I hope he doesn’t suck next year. It’s important for him, for Ferrari and to a lesser extent for Formula 1.

      • socksolid (@socksolid) said on 18th December 2012, 17:34

        I think it is the exact opposite. Massa just shines under pressure. The more pressure you put on him the better he performs. I’d assume a racing driver will feel extra bit of pressure in these kind of situations for example: a) in their home race, b) when his job is at stake and c) when being chased down by someone else on the race track or being in the lead, or in the race starts. In those pressure situations Massa has always done well.

        a) On home races in brazil massa has always been really strong. And I’m sure for massa to race in ferrari in brazil adds some pressure. b) The latter part of this season also proved that when massa’s seat is really under pressure massa will improve. It happened. c) Massa is great wheel to wheel racer and has never made mistake when being chased down by someone else. I don’t remember even one instance where he would go off, spin or half spin because of pressure. With some poor drivers like fisichella for example they simply crumble as soon as the slightest bit of pressure is put on them. But not massa imho. Massa is also great starter and the start of the race is defenately one of the biggest high pressure situations on a go weekend.

        This season when Massa finally realised (or ferrari put the foot down) his performances skyrocketed. Whe he finally realised he may not be driving for ferrari next year and understood he was under pressure he immediatelly improved. Once ferrari put him under pressure he improved. I think it is fairly good chance Massa has been treated too well on ferrari. Maybe he was not put under the pressure to deliver after the incident? Maybe it was a simple question of when you do not put any expectations on a driver he will not feel the need to perform. When you do not demand anything other than the most basic results a driver will not only become “too comfortable” but also lazy and uninterested.

        What massa needs on the next season is relentless pressure from ferrari. Demand him to drive well enough to challenge for the win. Demand him to driver better than alonso. Just like they demand alonso to driver better than massa. I don’t think massa is as good as alonso but massa is not this bad.

        I don’t think massa should have retained his seat at ferrari. His performances have been too bad. But massa’s ability to handle pressure has never ever been a problem. I think the problem maybe was that there was no pressure at all?

  2. I think Ferrari were right to retain Massa, it would have been very hard to find a driver who can let go track position by changing gearbox which was working perfectly ok only to allow your teammate gain a position / and be at the clearer side of the starting grid. Which top driver would want to join team Alonso? when it is certain that the car designs, race strategy, car upgrades & his own role would be to help Alonso win WDC. Only second rate drivers, pay drivers & rookies would be interested in such a role.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 17th December 2012, 10:35

      it would have been very hard to find a driver who can let go track position by changing gearbox which was working perfectly ok only to allow your teammate gain a position

      Have to agree with you on that. If they were to have gotten Webber, i think he would have told them where they can stick it if they tried that on him.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 10:37

        Because he totally stood up for himself when the team took the front wing off his car and put it on Vettel’s at Silverstone in 2010 …

        • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 17th December 2012, 10:44

          Webber responded to that by winning that race. “Not bad for a Number 2 driver”.
          That wasn’t clear tampering with the result, and if it were their aim, then it dearly backfired on them, even though they got 25pts out of WEB.

          Ferrari clearly, and admittedly, tampered with the result to try and get a better result for Fernando (I probably would have done the same, had i been in their position).

        • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 17th December 2012, 10:47

          Also, Webber was clearly not pleased with his FW being taken, and rightly so.
          He was out spoken about it.

          Felipe, was just being a team player so he had to keep his mouth shut, and just get on with it, because i fear that if he had complained, then Ferrari (had they not renewed his contract before USA) probably would have dropped him.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 17th December 2012, 11:16

            The only thing Webber did at Silverstone 2010 was drop a glass on the table hard and let a few drops spill out. He didn’t do much more than Massa did.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 11:29

            Webber was clearly not pleased with his FW being taken, and rightly so.
            He was out spoken about it.

            Outspoken, maybe, but that didn’t do much to help his case. Vettel still started the race with the newer front wing.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 18th December 2012, 7:14

            @prisoner-monkeys

            Outspoken, maybe, but that didn’t do much to help his case. Vettel still started the race with the newer front wing.

            And Webber won the race. What else should he have done to satisfy your definition of “standing up for himself”. Throw a public hissy-fit about it? He wasn’t happy about the decision, he said so publicly and I’m sure he opposed it within the team, but ultimately he isn’t a team boss.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th December 2012, 8:58

            He only won the race because Vettel got a puncture at the start. It’s not like they had a race-long battle and Webber emerged in front when the chequered flag fell.

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 18th December 2012, 20:13

            Isn’t it odd that ever since that “nr2″ remark, Webber never even came close to the performance he demonstrated before.

            If anyone beleives that Webber wasn’t demoted to a Nr 2 driver right then and there is deluding themselves. It’s the same that happens to Massa and Schumacher’s partners. Less support, less telemetry, no choice over development direction, no choice in strategy calls. It all adds up an really renders the 2nd driver powerless to really battle the nr1. Which prevents Webber being in Vettel’s way.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 19th December 2012, 21:30

            @patrickl

            Isn’t it odd that ever since that “nr2″ remark, Webber never even came close to the performance he demonstrated before.

            What performance? He won a few races in 2009 and 2010, but never beat SV, even in 2010 when Vettel bore the brunt of the RB6’s unreliability.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 17th December 2012, 11:19

          Come on PM. You know Webber would be a completely different kettle of fish.

          Besides, @tophercheese21 is right, he responded on track by winning the race and then publicly highlighting his own perception of the affair on team radio, probably much to the dismay of Horner et al.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 11:33

            tophercheese21 is right, he responded on track by winning the race

            Because Vettel – who had been faster all weekend – got a puncture at the first corner and was forced to make an unscheduled stop straight away. Unless you think Webber somehow psychically caused his tyre to explode, his victory didn’t come about because of some brilliant move on his part. At best, it was the universe correcting a karmic imbalance; at worst, it was just sheer blind luck.

            and then publicly highlighting his own perception of the affair on team radio, probably much to the dismay of Horner et al

            He later denied that his comments had anything to do with his position within the team. It was only interpreted that way by fans who were angry at the decision to give Vettel the front wing. And no doubt fuelled by the Australian commentators, who probably do believe that Webber can psychically cause his rivals to develop punctures at will.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 17th December 2012, 11:45

            He later denied that his comments had anything to do with his position within the team. It was only interpreted that way by fans who were angry at the decision to give Vettel the front wing

            You believe that! Blimey.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 17th December 2012, 17:00

        @tophercheese21, and others, one of the things we like about Webber is his habit of being candid backed up by an intelligent assessment of the facts, he knows he is in the autumn of his career and despite his comments to the contrary he knows he has to give position to SV if it is necessary for SV to win the WDC. As CH said Webber is smart and knows what he has to do, he would know what he had to do if he went to Ferrari also, in these days of drivers paying tens of millions to drive every year Webber gets a contract that pays him millions to drive is a victory, and Ferarri pay well, so I imagine will Red Bull.

      • 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 17th December 2012, 20:20

        Are we talking about that Front wing which Webber only wanted after he realised that Vettel wanted it. He had no benefit from it, yet when Vettel’s breaks, Webber suddenly needs it.
        OK

    • Francuis (@francuis) said on 17th December 2012, 11:47

      Dev (@dev) it would have been very hard to find a driver who can let go track position by changing gearbox which was working perfectly ok only to allow your teammate gain a position / and be at the clearer side of the starting grid. Which top driver would want to join team Alonso?

      Unfortunately Ferrari does not have the luxury and the money to race a B team to get that kind of advantage. Nor did break the RRB agreement to out develop other teams. But this is war again and they probably will through more money now this year after they left FOTA.

    • Under the circumstances that were facing Alonso and Ferrari, any driver would have accepted the decision and those that wouldn’t would be pretty childish and self-absorbed. I’m amazed fans continue to bring this up.

      Of course no driver wants to be in that position, and Massa didn’t want to be in that position, but his driving over the course of the season put him there and at least he was in a position to positively help the team – if he had qualified behind Alonso that wouldn’t have been an option.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 16:39

        I would just like to add that neither MW nor any driver has control over which radio communications are ‘made public’ for us to hear. Those are selected specifically by F1. They let us hear the ones they want us to hear.

        • Teams apparently have some say on what goes out – I heard this on The Flying Lap when Windsor was talking with Kimi’s engineer (iirc) after Abu Dhabi. Teams probably just don’t bother trying to monitor it with everything else that goes on during a race.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 17:20

            Teams of course can control what they say to their drivers, and maybe some drivers are self editting (and we know sometimes not) but I highly doubt that within a minute or two of something being said, a team can tell F1 what they want them to put out to the public and what they don’t.

          • What the engineer indicated was that teams can veto any team transmissions that go out. I agree with you that in practice it’s near to impossible to control, but at least on paper, that is still the team’s call.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 19:02

            And I doubt that Red Bull would have wanted the world to hear what MW said about ‘not bad for a number 2′ when they like to make it seem like there is fair racing going on at Red Bull.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 10:36

    Of course Horner wouldn’t take an under-performing Massa – he already has an under-performing Webber.

    Webber’s second and final win of 2012 was at the British Grand Prix. In the next eleven races (Germany through to Brazil), he scored 63 points. In that same eleven-race stretch, Felipe Massa scored 99 points.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th December 2012, 10:52

      @prisoner-monkeys I’ve already presented the statistics in full in the article linked above which makes this attempt to cherry-pick ones that support your point of view rather transparent.

      The period you’ve arbitrarily chosen is a poor run of form for Webber versus Massa’s best run of the season, plus several car problems for Webber including gearbox change penalties and a retirement in America.

      As the recent statistics article linked above shows, when you look at the full picture it’s indisputable that Webber’s points haul compared to Vettel’s in the same period is considerably better than Massa-versus-Alonso. In the last three years Massa has had 47.5% compared to Webber’s 73.1%.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 11:23

        @keithcollantine – I’m not going by statistics. I’m going by Horner’s comments:

        “No, I don’t think I would [have kept him]. Unfortunately, it’s a tough business, and results-based. You’ve got to look at what the guy in the other car, which we must assume is equal equipment, is achieving.”

        Horner is making it pretty clear that he doesn’t think that Massa’s results were good enough to justify staying with Ferrari next year. Ergo, Massa was under-performing. But Webber’s results were nowhere near as good as what Vettel demonstrated the car was capable of. The final points difference between Vettel and Webber might have been smaller than the final points difference between Alonso and Massa, but there was still over a hundred points’ difference in both cases. Compare that to Hamilton and Button, who finished the season separated by just two points.

        I’m just trying to highlight that I don’t think Webber performed very well this season – which was a shame, because he started out as the most consistent driver on the grid when the results were so tumultuous. On a certain level, I think Horner might be reconsidering the decision to re-sign Webber and only referring about Massa on an analogous level, because whether by accident or by design, Webber’s results dropped off almost as soon as he announced that he had re-signed with Red Bull.

        • Webber and Massa can’t be compared, Webber is not a number two driver for RBR… he was ahead in the championship battle in 2010 till the last race. Webber has won 7 races in last 3 years compared to none by Massa.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th December 2012, 14:39

            Webber has won 7 races in last 3 years compared to none by Massa

            That is the point , he was driving 2 of the most dominant cars in the history of the sport for two years (RB6&RB7) and a very good one (RB8) that’s nothing compared to the F10, F150 and the F2012

          • ” .. 2 of the most dominant cars in the history of the sport for two years (RB6&RB7) “

            That’s taking some liberties with the English language. Neither the RB6 nor the RB7 were among the most dominant cars in F1 history. The RB6 came closer to the mark, the RB7 less so. But neither car was an MP4/4 or FW14B, or even an MP4/2. Dominant cars finish one-two. You might as well argue that the Renault R25 and R26 were dominant cars just because they won back to back WCC’s and WDC’s.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th December 2012, 16:35

          @prisoner-monkeys

          I’m not going by statistics.

          Yes you are:

          Webber’s second and final win of 2012 was at the British Grand Prix. In the next eleven races (Germany through to Brazil), he scored 63 points. In that same eleven-race stretch, Felipe Massa scored 99 points.

          That is the statistic you quoted to me and I told you why it’s selective and unrepresentative.

          If you used a more representative statistic, such as the one I quoted to you, you’d see why the reality satisfies Horner’s reasoning.

          In other words, you’re deliberately misinterpreting the facts to try to make Horner look like a hypocrite.

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 18th December 2012, 8:49

          Horner is making it pretty clear that he doesn’t think that Massa’s results were good enough to justify staying with Ferrari next year. Ergo, Massa was under-performing.

          And he is right. Massa was under-performing for the first half of the season, but then, as Horner says:

          Felipe obviously picked his form up in the last third of the year [...] and they realised that the option they had was best for them.

          In my opinion it’s undeniable that drivers like Webber or Button were doing much better job than Massa.

      • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 17th December 2012, 12:29

        Why let the truth get in the way of a good wind up?

      • @keithcollantine performing better against your teammate than another driver against their teammate doesn’t mean you are not underperforming. Mark did have mechanical issues that impacted his results, but he also horribly under performed when RB needed him the most, e.g., Abu Dhabi with that horrible start, even by his own standards of mediocre starts. To be harsh about it, he choked. You could toss Japan in there because if he had maintained his position on the grid, Grojean would probably have hit Kobayashi instead.

        Whereas, Massa came good and more importantly, stayed good, when it was needed most. Look at the difference between Webber and Massa in Brazil. Massa did everything he could to help Alonso. Webber compromised Vettel’s start for his own, and his restart after the SC was questionable. Sometimes it seems that Webber loses the thread of what’s going on.

        I know in some respects you like to treat each race as one of 20, and each carries the same weight as others. But that’s only true statistically. It didn’t matter where Alonso or Vettel finished in regards to each other in Australia, but it meant everything in Brazil. If Webber loses 3 places at the start of a Spa, that’s not good for him, but the same start in Abu Dhabi, not only is it bad for him, it’s bad for the team and his teammate. In that regards, “not good for a number one driver. Not good for a number two driver.”

        [it's also why I think you have Massa far too low in your rankings, because when he needed to perform to save his career, then again to step it up even more, with sustained solid performances in the heat of a very intense driver's and constructor's championship, that was impressive, especially compared to someone like Perez, who performed inconsistently (brilliantly sometimes) with no real pressure, but fell off a cliff once he signed with McLaren and there was real pressure to prove himself at every race.]

        • Metallion (@metallion) said on 17th December 2012, 16:36

          I disagree, no race is more important than another during the season. If good results were important in Abu Dhabi for his team and his team mate it’s only because they didn’t get the results they needed earlier in the season. Which is why Massa deserves his place in the rankings, he cost the team a lot with his sub-par performances in the first half of the season.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th December 2012, 16:42

          @uan

          Whereas, Massa came good

          Massa “came good” by the standards of his performance earlier in the season, which was abysmal. And by the standards of his 2011 and, to a lesser extent, 2010 campaigns, which were also poor. Taken as a whole, Massa’s entire performance in those three years has been considerably poorer than Webber’s, as quantified above.

          It didn’t matter where Alonso or Vettel finished in regards to each other in Australia, but it meant everything in Brazil.

          This is just wrong. Swap Vettel’s second place at Melbourne with Alonso’s fifth and do the arithmetic if it isn’t obvious why.

          And trying to give Massa credit for his performance “in the heat of a very intense drivers’ championship” when he was never in contention for the title is more than a little too generous.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 17:15

            I think FM’s performance, be it early or later in the season is moot. I’m not convinced Ferrari were genuinely going to replace him. I’m not convinced they genuinely expected FM to do better. They may have hoped for better, so that FM could have robbed some points from some of FA’s competitors, but…I think the talk in public from Ferrari about him having to up his game, job on the line, blah, blah, blah was just meant to perhaps pressure FM, and moreso to make it sound like there is racing going on at Ferrari. There isn’t.

            Realistically, I don’t get how a team can have the attitude that there is only one rooster on the team, by design, through contracts that ensure one driver is the more likely WDC potential guy, their go-to guy for the title from race one of the season, which means they likely built the car with FA in mind, which even he struggled with most of the year, throw in some tires that offered more questions than answers, and expect the non-rooster to excel. I don’t think FM had the physical equipment, especially at the start of the year, nor do I think he had the psychological support, and the lottery tires just amplified it for him. He is told he is the non-rooster, and the world is told his job is on the line…now go out and perform.

            The beatings shall continue until morale improves.

            FA didn’t even have that kind of downtrodden treatment at Mac and yet was claiming less than equal treatment, no fair, if I don’t get treated at least equally to LH I’ll blow the spygate doors wide open.

            I think FM has been very composed and I’m sure has done his best, all things considered. If that wasn’t good enough for Ferrari they wouldn’t have re-signed him, and would have simply found another non-rooster. But it can’t be easy to find someone to be a lapdog, but a better lapdog, but still willing to be subservient. If they found someone better than FM, someone good enough to challenge some of the top drivers and rob them of points and therefore help FA, they might have to tamper with his car to hold him back. It can’t be easy finding the right stooge. Much easier to re-hire the same engrained one.

          • @keithcollantine

            This is just wrong. Swap Vettel’s second place at Melbourne with Alonso’s fifth and do the arithmetic if it isn’t obvious why.

            Of course it’s important cumulatively at the end of the season. Vettel’s reaction to NK in Malaysia and 12 pts lost speaks hugely to that. (and watch Johnny Herbert’s deconstruction of the pass on Sky to see why it was NK’s fault entirely).

            But if those results were swapped then all subsequent races would have been different as well. For instance, if Vettel’s wins Valencia, and is leading the WDC, he probably doesn’t force the pass on Button in Germany, etc. Also, if you did swap those points in Australia and kept everything the same until Brazil, Vettel being 5 points in front of Alonso, then we don’t know how different Vettel/RB would have approached the race. We do know in Abu Dhabi 2010 that when he needed to win it to have a chance at the WDC, he went out and won; when all Webber had to do was win it, he melted; and when all Alonso had to do, when he was hitting podiums like a metronome, was finish 4th, Ferrari melted.

            It’s all about the Pressure. And how one deals with it. That’s the point. Of course at the first race you want to maximize your points, but your season isn’t over if you finish poorly, nor is it a guarantor of success if you do well (ask Button). If it was, Fernando would have just curled up in a little ball. Or he would have done that after Spa or Suzuka. But he didn’t.

            The pressure is hugely different at the end of the season then the beginning. It’s also hugely different where you line up on the grid an what your potential is for that race. For instance, do you think Webber had no pressure, if not just from himself, at the start of Abu Dhabi? He knows he has a great chance to win. He also knows with Vettel starting in the pit, he can race 100% for himself with no little nigglings he’ll be asked to sacrifice his race for his teammate. And even by his own standards, he blows the start.

            I may be a little generous to Massa (and I don’t claim that he hasn’t woefully under performed, this season or the last 3 seasons), but I think you’re much to generous to the hard realities of your stats.

            If we went strictly by stats, your number one driver this year should have been Vettel. He scored the most points. He had the most wins. It really doesn’t matter the “circumstances” that lead to that, those are the stats.

            There is also a lot of judgements on which stats are meaningful and which aren’t. For instance, we look at the pace of the car to say which is fastest. Yet we completely overlook the calculus of car development over the season, reliability in the race, and operational performance of the team. We can even look at how cars perform in certain conditions – the Ferrari wasn’t good at the beginning of the year in the dry, but hands down was the car to have in the wet, and rain impacted several of the early races in the season. The Redbull was faster than the Ferrari, but how do we quantify car development (won by RB), reliability and operations (won by Ferrari)? Or (I believe this was from Gary Anderson) that Fernando would have been faster without the upgrades in the last couple of races (is this a driver’s error, development error, operations error)?

            The most recent Autosport issue took a look at the operations and reliability of teams/cars and if you took those out of the equation for the year, Vettel would have been leading Hamilton by 13 points going into Brazil, not Alonso. How different would Brazil have been? Especially if it’s RB going up against a car they know can win a race under any circumstance, not a car that can only win under the most bizarre circumstances (which it almost got?).

            I’m a big fan of stats, but they aren’t the end all and be all.

  4. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 17th December 2012, 10:36

    Oh, Horner takes up some fight. Obviously, his aim is to make Ferrari weaker, thus it is safe to assume he will communicate things, which are the exact opposite of what he thinks will make Alonso more competitive.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 10:41

      Or, Horner says “I wouldn’t have kept Massa”, to which Ferrari say “You know, he has a point” and promptly sign up someone like Lewis Hamilton.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 17th December 2012, 11:13

        Believe it or not. Ferrari have a bit more brains that that to fall in such a simple-minded trap.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2012, 11:27

          Oh, I believe it. I’m just trying to debunk Atticus’ suggestion that Horner is some kind of B-movie villain who has mastered psychological warfare by pointing out that Horner’s master plan could easily backfire on him and result in a stronger Ferrari rather than a weaker one.

          • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 17th December 2012, 12:44

            That assumes Ferrari would be stronger if they replace Massa with someone like Hamilton.

            I think part of Alonso’s excellence since mid-2010 is in a huge part down to him having a clearly inferior teammate. I think he visibly dislikes teammates as strong as him – see Hamilton. When he implied he would have liked to retain Massa for 2013 in Belgium/Italy (before Massa improved significantly) was a sign of that.

            On the other hand, of course, Ferrari want Massa competitive – I mean a certain level of competence is naturally expected after all, something like the second part of 2012.

            And I do think Horner is adept in psychological ‘warfare’ as are most of those in F1 – it is part of the game.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th December 2012, 11:30

      I think most team principals would answer that question in the same way. And I think they are right.

      That Ferrari picked Massa again was probably more down to not being able to get Webber, and then having things move faster than they had expected on the driver front. And off course Massa then found some form again (he got good only AFTER they signed him anew), so he was a safe pair of hands.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 16:50

        Are you sure Webber was willing to be the ‘non-rooster’ at Ferrari? I think that LdM spelled out very clearly that he did not want someone on the team that was going to give FA a hard time by racing for themselves, so that limits the number of drivers available to him to the ones who are willing to go to an amazingly resourced team with an extremely rich history, which looks great on the resume, only to forgo their personal lifelong dreams of winning a Formula 1 WDC to help someone else win another WDC to add to his 2.
        At least at Red Bull, Horner talks like MW has a WDC shot, even if many are convinced it is no different there than at Ferrari. At least Horner doesn’t call MW a non-rooster to the world.

    • brny666 said on 17th December 2012, 23:12

      Or. Maybe. And call me crazy but just maybe what he is trying to say is that he wouldnt have kept Massa… I know right? BOOM! Unbilivable! From where did I come up with such obvious nonsens?

  5. Bernification (@bernification) said on 17th December 2012, 10:42

    I could never understand how Ferrari picked up Massa.

    He was inconsistent and error prone at Sauber. Not only that he never showed great speed or any overtaking ability. To me, he is one of the mysteries of the grid.

    I can only assume he brings a lot of personal sponsorship and that a latin american driving for Ferrari brings them into that market sales wise.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 17th December 2012, 11:11

      Well. He did beat Kimi Raikkonen with equal cars and was world champion for some 25 seconds. Therefore, clearly Ferrari did see something in him early which nearly paid off.

    • I don’t know – he may be going through a blip in the last few years. I’ll admit I would have dropped him mid-2012, but I think he has talent. I would sign a pre-accident Massa over a 2012-spec Webber anyday.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 17:26

        “I could never understand how Ferrari picked up Massa.

        He was inconsistent and error prone at Sauber. Not only that he never showed great speed or any overtaking ability. To me, he is one of the mysteries of the grid.”

        Sound like the perfect guy to be the non-rooster at Ferrari. I think Ferrari expected KR to be much more of a rooster for them. I don’t think they expected he and FM to end up so close to each other by the end of that season.

      • George (@george) said on 17th December 2012, 17:56

        Massa was at his best in ’09 before his accident, before that he was still pretty error-prone though.

    • Ben (@scuderia29) said on 18th December 2012, 0:21

      considering he beat kimi raikkonen in the same car and came agonisingly close to winning the world championship…i dont think he was a bad pick at all

  6. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 17th December 2012, 11:02

    Seems like Red Bull are doing a bit of “sniping” of their own…

  7. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th December 2012, 11:45

    Only in 2013 we may know that Ferrari’s decision to keep Massa was right the decision or no.It is true that Felipe was nowhere in the first half of the season when the F2012 was really undrivable at least for him and that was also a factor that emphasizes Fernando’s talent of putting that car into positions that doesn’t belong to, i can’t see any driver on the grid delivering in that car except Fernando,Lewis and of course Kimi
    In the second half of the season with the updated F2012 Felipe scored points in almost every race sometimes he was even quicker than Fernando i can’t assume that he learned how to drive an F1 car at the age of 31

    • Surely Vettel would be in that same league of drivers with Lewis, Kimi and Alonso? Remember the RBR wasn’t in a class of its own like 2011.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th December 2012, 12:41

        I’m not saying that Vettel is not a Top Driver i said that the drivers who are capable of delivering in bad cars are Lewis, Fernando and Kimi after all they showed that it is illogical to compare the RB8 to the F60 or Mp4-24 or the F2012 pre_Spain or the R29 and R28 specs

        Remember the RBR wasn’t in a class of its own like 2011

        But after the introduction of the DDRS it was unstoppable until Mclaren responded with their updated Mp4-27 in Austin and in that period Vettel got 4 wins in a row which secured the WDC

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 13:09

          The RB8 isn’t comparable to the R29, but the STR2 and 3 is- and Vettel delivered. I agree that the others were also impressive in the cars you mentioned.

          • Don’t forget though when he was at STR they were receIving technical upgrades from red Bull

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 13:58

            @aledinho – A Red Bull that was 7th in the WCC.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 13:58

            @aledinho – True, but a Red Bull that was 7th in the WCC.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th December 2012, 15:14

            I think Sebastian Bourdais (who????) qualified 4th at Monza so i think that Torro Rosso is hardly comparable to the cars i mentioned

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 16:03

            @aledinho – Vettel still went above what was expected. Comfortably 8th in the standings, with a car that was 6th fastest (behind the 3 frontrunners, Toyota and Renault). With 2 cars per team, he shouldn’t have been in the top 10, demonstrated by his teammate. That was my point- he was in a midfield car (and the team started the year struggling for even that), and he put it in unexpected places.

            @tifoso1989 – I could say that a massively underperforming Kovalainen was on the front row in Valencia in the MP4-24, or that Piquet Jr. was 4th in Fuji then. STR were roughly the 6th best car that year, and so, it is comparable.

            I actually agree that the RB8 is not comparable to those cars, since Vettel won the title in it. But this constant overestimation of Toro Rosso, just isn’t right.

          • davidnotcoulthard said on 17th December 2012, 16:06

            @tifoso1989
            Red Bull did well in qualy but the Senior RBR guys didn’t stay where they were, and neither did the STR3(the car) of Bourdais. But in the other races, Surely Sebastien wasn’t that close to Sebastian, right, like in Brazil where he almost took Hamilton’s title only to have Glock 4 Dry Toyota Tyres to lose grip? Depends on how one sees it…

          • @tifoso1989
            Yes he qualified it 4th ONCE. What else did he do in that car?

          • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 17th December 2012, 16:53

            A lot of people forget Vettel scored 35 points in 2008, whereas Bourdais scored 4 (I think), and ran the car in the top 8 for the majority of the season, in a car which should not have been there in most cases, and the one case it was, he won from pole, beating McLaren, Renault, BMW etc.

          • In 2008 in his first full season in a Torro Rosso he scored 35 points ( his team mate scored 4 points) and finished 8th in the championship and took Torro rosso to 6th- [ Pls dont say they got ideas from Red Bull which Adrian Newey designed and Mark Webber scored 21 points and David Coulthard mere 8 points.]

            1)Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel had a fifth place finish, after qualifying 17th.
            2)Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel Finished 8th after starting from Pit Lane
            3)German Grand Prix Vettel was fending off Fernando Alonso to Finish eighth.
            4)European GP in valencia he finished 6th.
            5)Belgian GP he finished 5th qualifying 10th
            6)Italian GP he won in Torro Rosso – [ Red Bull had not won a race so far and Torro Rosso Since then]
            7)SGP Grand Prix – Finisehd 5th [ When Alonso Won we all know how !!!]
            8)Japanese Grand Prix He finished 6th.
            9)brazilian Grand Prix he finished 4th [ Giving a Hear Break to Lewis and Heart Beat to Massa ] [ BTW in 2009 in brazil he drove from 16th to 4th ]

            Lets Put it this way. Since 2008 his first full season in F1 Mark Webber has never outscored him :)

            I am sure someday people will ask him to walk on water to prove that he is a good race car driver.

        • Vettel is a top driver but I’ve yet to see him drag results out of a bad car that seemed impossible like I have with Alonso and Hamilton. The difference is that vettel when he has a car that he can put on pole is great at dictating the pace of the race, this doesnt necessarily make him inferior to Alonso or Hamilton as he does that particular skill better than they do. he can come through the field as proven at Abu Dhabi and Brazil. For me though Spa was more impressive with the staight line disadvantage he had it was very clever weay to get around it.

          What i’d love to see next year though is Ferrari produce a car that can match the red bull so we see a proper fight between Alonso and vettel, sadly I cant see Hamilton being up there just yet but I hope so,

          Button wont be consistent enough unless the Mclaren is the best car on the grid all season long.

          • wiry11 said on 17th December 2012, 14:13

            when did hamilton had a bad car? In 2009, the first half of the season, the car was bad, and so did hamilton. When the team heavily upgraded it on 2nd half of the season, the car was one of the best.

            i failed to see how people keep overhype lewis

          • @david-a true yes…but also the STR had a ferrari engine in it too. The STR was probably 5th or 6th fastest car by the end of the season, so it was a hardly a backmarker, that was my main point

          • davidnotcoulthard said on 17th December 2012, 16:09

            @aledinho
            Though not a BGP001 or FW14B either (as you said, 5th or 6th).

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 16:09

            @wiry11 – I think Lewis Hamilton did well. He came 4th in Bahrain early in the year, and his results in the 2nd half of the year were very good.

          • @aledinho re Vettel: how about Brazil. The RB8 wasn’t the class of the field compared to the McLarens, nor set up for rain like the Force India. Nor was it set up to pass other cars, as folks like to say about Abu Dhabi to diminish his drive there. After the 4th corner collision, it had lost rear downforce (the RB8/Vettel strength) and power due to the exhaust issue. Also lost his radio costing if not an extra pit stop, at least an extra 15 seconds on the last one.

            Still finishes 6th in what was at that time a “dog” of a car (and while Michael’s gesture was nice, it was a gesture – Vettel would have passed MSC that lap anyway, as Kamui almost passed MSC the following lap).

            as @wiry11 mentioned, when did Hamilton have a bad car? For part of 2009. And in 2010, two 4th places instead of silly DNFs from Hamilton in 2010 (Italy and Singapore) and he would have been WDC.

            Alonso has consistently got good performances out of not great cars (Renault 2008 and 2009). In fact, 2008 and 09 really showed the true mettle of Alonso – clearly in cars not able to win WDCs but he drove each race as if he could win the WDC and had some pretty good results in them. (Regardless of the NPJr thing).

          • The STR was probably 5th or 6th fastest car by the end of the season, so it was a hardly a backmarker, that was my main point

            Then it’s a fair point – but I don’t recall Alonso or Hamilton ever getting top six finishes in a backmarker quality car either. And we would not necessarily expect a driver in the 5th or 6th fastest car to finish 5th or 6th – having the 5th fastest car means that there are eight drivers on the grid with a car faster than you.

          • @uan @wiry11 @jonsan you’ve all made valid points. I think it’s quite simplistic to say if you have on average the 6th fastest car your maximum should only be 11th or 12.

            I never said Vettel couldn’t race either, I said that he’s disproved that myth. What I said is, in my opinion, he’s not as good at dragging results from a not great car (just because a car isn’t on the back row of the grid doesn’t mean it’s a great car)

            I’m yet to see Vettel win a race where you could argue very strongly that he had to pass a better car (His first win was from pole in the wet so that always evens things out a bit – but that was an outstanding win I’d never dispute that) But I’ve seen Alonso and Hamilton do them said things. I’ve seen them drag podiums out of cars that didn’t seem possible before the race. You can argue these things all day long and not get anywhere.

            My point re Vettel was that when it comes to leading the race from the front, he’s the best in f1. But when it comes to perhaps just picking up the maximum points the car can get – say a 3rd or 4th place he tends to lose his rag a little (Malayisa, Germany this year as cases in point)

            2010 was close in the championship more because of red bull throwing it away than the others having good cars. the Red Bull was the better car quite comfortably.

            I’m going to leave it at that or we will be going back and forth until the new season starts!

          • @aledinho

            But when it comes to perhaps just picking up the maximum points the car can get – say a 3rd or 4th place he tends to lose his rag a little (Malayisa, Germany this year as cases in point)

            Abu Dhabi? Show me one person, one F1 commentator or former driver prior to that race who thought he could get it on the podium. And these are people who knew was starting from the pit lane and had altered his race set up (and it’s not like even with that set up they were the fastest car). We can talk in circles about the two safety cars, but Vettel was already up to 12th position before the first one and ended up at the back after it, so it’s not like that did him any favors (probably a different story if he didn’t need to pit). Without the second safety car, he still finishes 4th. Hamilton managed 8th in Spain after being excluded in a car that was clearly the dominant car that weekend, as seen by the monster pole he should have had.

            In Spa, Vettel started 11th and the first corner shunt actually put him even further back. DRS was pretty useless for him (and Webber) and he relied on some ballsy driving around Blanchimont to set up passes on Massa and Webber. Finishes 2nd.

            You mentioned Malaysia, but that was entirely Karthikeyan’s fault. Johnny Herbert who was the driver’s steward there explained why NK was given the drive through (using multiple camera angles on Sky’s skypad): Vettel gave NK 1.5 meters and NK jinked to the right into Vettel while looking in his LEFT mirror. Gobsmacked. There’s a reason NK is listed as the 24th driver out of 24 in the rankings. People say Vettel could have given NK more room. More than 4.5 feet? This is F1. I don’t think there was more than a 1.5 cm between Raikkonen and Schumacher in Brazil.

            Monaco – in 2011, he should never have won with the tires he was on. Brilliant defending and it was a shame the race was red flagged it as he more than likely would have held off Button and Alonso and gotten the credit he deserved for that drive.

            Monaco 2012 he comes from 11 to 4th and if it had either rained or had not threatened to rain, may have actually won the race. At one point he was close to 19 secs in front of Webber and needing to pit. If RB really favored Vettel, they could have had Mark down to give him the gap he needed to pit and come out in the lead.

            Of course Brazil 2012, with a the RB8 severely compromised with lost rear downforce and reduced engine mapping, so definitely not the class of the field, comes from last to 6th (and he would have passed Schumacher easily without MSC letting him through, heck Kamui should have passed MSC but got impatient). Like Alonso and Hamilton, Vettel’s is a monster driver in the rain.

            I’m going to leave it at that or we will be going back and forth until the new season starts!

            but we all need to stay in race trim for when the season starts! :) But it’s all good. We have different views and there’s no real right or wrong, and in the larger scheme of things, it’s not too important.

  8. Girts (@girts) said on 17th December 2012, 12:06

    It’s obvious that Massa’s poor performances have harmed Ferrari’s position in the Constructors’ Championship but actually a stronger number two driver might have made Alonso world champion in 2010 and 2012.

    Yes, Massa helped Alonso score some extra points in the final races of this season but he often didn’t manage to take points away from Vettel when the car was good enough for that. For instance, if Massa had finished between Alonso and Vettel at Hockenheim and Abu Dhabi (or at Monaco and Silverstone) and all the other results had remained the same, then Alonso would be the champion. The same can be said about 2010.

    So it’s possible that Ferrari’s one rooster policy have made them lose more eggs to Red Bull’s henhouse than it seems at first sight.

    • “So it’s possible that Ferrari’s one rooster policy have made them lose more eggs to Red Bull’s henhouse than it seems at first sight”

      I have no idea about farming but your analogue tells me: RBR=henhouse therefore needed no rooster and so all eggs are artificial. So, all trophies of Vettel are not real? Just asking …

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 17th December 2012, 13:29

      It’s obvious that Massa’s poor performances have harmed Ferrari’s position in the Constructors’ Championship but actually a stronger number two driver might have made Alonso world champion in 2010 and 2012.

      +1

    • And if Webber had been able to finish ahead of Alonso in Abu Dhabi and Brazil. And so on. If you go back to 2010, Vettel had to contend with a teammate who was leading the WDC at one point and was ahead of him at the last race. Very comparable to Massa.

      The problem with this kind of logic is that it’s always a case of “stronger, but not strong enough”. And it doesn’t matter who the driver is, too many Germany 2010’s where a driver is constantly asked to swap positions with their teammate will make that driver much much weaker overall – it kills the mentality that gets them into that strong of a position to begin with.

  9. AlonsoMcLaren (@alonsomclaren) said on 17th December 2012, 13:04

    Ferrari has to retain Massa in order to buy his support for alonso’s championship in the second half of 2012

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 17th December 2012, 13:36

      I truly believe that Alonso’s doesn’t need that kind of support, and Ferrari are making a mistake.

      • wiry11 said on 17th December 2012, 14:16

        really?? alonso wouldn’t had got 3rd place in Monza without Massa.

        3rd place in korea without massa.

        3rd place in austin without massa sacrifise grid position.

        2nd place in Brazil without massa

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 17th December 2012, 15:47

          1st place in korea without Webber.

          3rd place in Abu Dhabi without Webber, Vergne Richiardo.

          6th place in Brazil without Webber, Vergne Richiardo Shumacher

          • @tifoso1989

            1st place in korea without Webber

            I beg to differ: Vettel was unlucky to have lost out on pole (but credit to Webber for putting in a brilliant lap) so he made up for it by dominating Webber from the moment the lights went out. You can hardly say it was “team orders” or anything of the such: no team would be stupid enough to impose team orders at the start.

            In Abu Dhabi he passed Webber legitimately and he would hardly have gained hugely from the Toro Rosso’s not putting up a fight: he was vastly quicker than them and one could even argue Ricciardo cost him when he lost his front wing in the safety car period.

            In Brazil fair enough but Webber was out of championship contention so Red Bull would’ve been mad if they hadn’t asked Webber to let Vettel by, especially given Alonso’s position.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 17th December 2012, 18:01

          really?? alonso wouldn’t had got 3rd place in Monza without Massa.

          I see you ignored his anti-roll bar failure in qualifying, which cost him a potential pole to flag victory.

          3rd place in korea without massa.

          Alonso was ahead the whole race. Simply because Massa was very close at one point means nothing.

          2nd place in Brazil without massa

          Alonso was ahead before gambling to stay out another lap on slicks anyway.

          • @kingshark – I agree with all you have said bar one: in Korea Massa was clearly catching Alonso very quickly indeed and was actually told on the radio in English to not overtake Alonso. Whereas I guarantee you if Webber had happened to be in the same position he would’ve been allowed to try and pass, with warning obviously.

  10. adri005 (@adri005) said on 17th December 2012, 13:34

    Totally agree with you Christian!

  11. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 17th December 2012, 13:35

    Is Massa the best choice for Ferrari?

    Probably, because he’s easily the best choice for Alonso.

    • Roald (@roald) said on 17th December 2012, 13:57

      No way, someone like Webber would probably not beat Alonso either but would take away a lot more points from their rivals than Massa ever could the past 3 years. Sure he’d complain more than Massa, but why would Ferrari care if it makes Alonso champion…

  12. Anele (@) said on 17th December 2012, 14:00

    Well having a doormat for a team mate makes Fernando happy so it’s the right decision for the moment. How I wish to see Fernando sweat like in 2007 against a rookie(Lewis). hopefully massa will show some improvement and rediscover some of the form that made him world champion for a few seconds:-)

    • Roald (@roald) said on 17th December 2012, 14:09

      @anele-mbethe Can everyone please stop repeating Massa was a champion for 25 seconds? He never was, the championship isn’t decided until everyone crosses the finish line. Was Alonso the champion for a certain amount of time this year because he crossed the finish line ahead of Vettel in Brazil? Of course he wasn’t and neither was Massa.

  13. Brace (@brace) said on 17th December 2012, 14:56

    Is it just my impression, or are the same people who are talking how Massa sucks and how he should be sacked, also condemning Ferrari for not supporting his few random decent performances at the expense of Alonso’s title challenge?

    It’s ironic that it’s often Vettel’s fans who are saying how Ferrari is “unjustly” favoring Alonso just because Luca likes his eyebrows, not because he earned his position, when it’s actually Red Bull who were obviously biased towards Vettel, because he is graduate of their young driver program, even before he won the title.

    Also, Ferrari don’t seem to be doing things behind Massa’s back. He is in on everything, even a gearbox seal thing.
    On the other hand, I can’t feel that there’s nothing going on behind Webber’s back in RB.

    • davidnotcoulthard said on 17th December 2012, 16:13

      It’s ironic that it’s often Vettel’s fans

      How did you actually judge that?

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 16:30

      It’s ironic that it’s often Vettel’s fans who are saying how Ferrari is “unjustly” favoring Alonso just because Luca likes his eyebrows, not because he earned his position, when it’s actually Red Bull who were obviously biased towards Vettel, because he is graduate of their young driver program, even before he won the title.

      I’m not sure how it’s Vettel’s fans in particular that think that.

      But for what it’s worth, Alonso and Vettel have their current positions with their teams because they have outpaced and significantly outperformed their teammates over the period they have been together. Simple as that.

      And doing stuff behind their backs? Why employ a driver to drive your car at all if you’re going to do thing behind their back?

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 17th December 2012, 16:35

      It’s ironic that it’s often Vettel’s fans who are saying how Ferrari is “unjustly” favoring Alonso just because Luca likes his eyebrows, not because he earned his position, when it’s actually Red Bull who were obviously biased towards Vettel, because he is graduate of their young driver program, even before he won the title.

      I’m not sure how it’s Vettel’s fans in particular that think that. But for what it’s worth, Alonso and Vettel have their current positions with their teams because the 2005-6 champion and the youngest GP winner have outpaced and significantly outperformed their teammates over the period they have been together. Simple as that.

      On the other hand, I can’t feel that there’s nothing going on behind Webber’s back in RB.

      Why employ someone to drive your car if you’ll intentionally disadvantage them?

  14. Kelsier (@kelsier) said on 17th December 2012, 16:03

    I think also that Ferrari was afraid to take even a proven talent and put him in after what happened with Fisi in 2009. They we’re only going to do it if they could find somebody that they really wanted for the future.

  15. I think that Horner’s opinion is different from Montezemolo’s because Red Bull and Ferrari’s team structures are different. Clearly Ferrari have a number 1 driver policy: whoever’s fastest gets the help of the no.2, a role that Massa appears quite happy to fit, so retaining Massa seemed like a sensible, dependable option.

    In comparison, Red Bull favour the constructors’ title over the drivers, so having two competitive drivers is a necessity. It has fared them well over the past three years evidently as they have wrapped up the constructor’s title in each before the seasons’ end. It doesn’t do them many favours in the drivers though, as they take points off of each other. So Massa wouldn’t be a favourable option for their constructors’ ambitions.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th December 2012, 17:39

      I think you have spelled out very well the two team philosophies and their potential consequences, but I’m not convinced that Red Bull favours the WCC over the WDC. I think Red Bull just understands fully that in almost all cases the WDC winner had the WCC winning car.

      And I don’t think at Ferrari is is whoever’s fastest that gets the help. It is FA who is the no. 1…full stop. He is the designated rooster so the design of the car and the support of the team is geared toward him, thus ensuring that the designated no. 1 will almost always be faster.

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