Massa: Red Bull’s team orders not “intelligent”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Sepang, 2013Felipe Massa has criticised Red Bull’s use of team orders in the Malaysian Grand Prix, saying it was too early in the championship to use them.

“I approve of the intelligent use of team orders and by that I mean those that come at key moments of the championship, not in the second race of the season,” said Massa. “They must be taken with the good of the team in mind.”

“I have helped many drivers, for example with Kimi [Raikkonen] when he won the championship with Ferrari and again last year with Fernando [Alonso], when he was fighting for the title. I have no problem with team orders that fit these criteria.”

Alonso said it was “difficult to comment or have an opinion on what Red Bull and Mercedes did in the last race, without knowing what discussions they had beforehand”, but believes the interests of the team should come first:

“When we come to F1, we enter an agreement with our team and we have a professional obligation towards that team and sometimes people confuse team orders with the obligation to do one?s job.”

In 2010 Massa was ordered to allow Alonso to pass him for the lead in the German Grand Prix at a point when Massa was still capable of winning the championship.

Last year Ferrari deliberately incurred a gearbox change penalty on Massa’s car at the United States Grand Prix which had the effect of moving Alonso forward one place on the grid. At this point Massa had long been out of contention for the championship.

That was the first of four consecutive races in which Massa has outqualified his team mate, but he denies he has drawn any particular satisfaction from that:

“Honestly I never thought about it. All I can say is that I?m pleased with my start to the season and want to continue in this fashion. That statistic isn’t what gives me pleasure.”

“What I like is to go well and to feel confident in the car. These sorts of figures only give you problems. I just want to get on with doing a good job.”

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43 comments on Massa: Red Bull’s team orders not “intelligent”

  1. Nice to see Felipe not on the receiving end of the mind games for once.

    • Yappy said on 11th April 2013, 14:02

      If the Ferrari’s were running 1 & 2 I would bet they would have been told to hold position except if Alonso was in 2nd then race on.

  2. spacák (@spacak) said on 11th April 2013, 12:38

    Jews say Chutzpah on what you`ve just said, Felipe.

  3. A Ferrari driver criticising Red Bull’s use of team orders: who foresaw that?!

    • Nomore (@nomore) said on 11th April 2013, 13:23

      He is not criticsising the use of teams order. He is ctriticising the use of them in the second race of the year.

      The article is well structured, and says that clearlybut some people don’t even take time to read it and when the article is about teams or driver that they don’t like ( @vettel1 ) or hate …these people jumps immediately in wrong and pointless conclusions.

      In the past, me too have done this kind of errors but i learn to change and not to jump in wrong conclusions, so I invite you @vettel1 to do the same.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 13:26

      do not change the subject or read another time the article, he is not criticizing the use of the team orders he is criticizing the time Red Bull made it

    • I’m sorry @nomore & @tifoso1989, how have I misconstrued what Massa said? You have chosen to interpret my comment the way you have, yet it was a general comment on the fact few people will have foresaw a member of Ferrari criticising Red Bull using team orders at any time.

      Whether that was at race 2 or race 18 is irrelevant.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 11th April 2013, 15:09

        @vettel1

        Well Max, the thing is that your comment is somewhat hipocritical just as Horner was hipocritical about the whole Hockenheim 2010 issue.
        I for one, have not criticized RBR´s use of team orders or if it was early or not, I criticize the fact that a member of that team did not obey his own team.

        And another thing, I remember reading in this forum, a discussion a guy that got banned recently had, about why Ferrari´s approach in 2010 was sooooo bad. Most of the forum members said the same thing, it was too early and Massa still had a shot. Horner was soooo hipocritical condemning that action… and all I can say is: How the world turns!

        So basically, to sarcasticly say that who would have forseen a Ferrari driver criticizing RBR´s use of team orders to me, is just double standards. You were on the bashing bandwagon when Ferrari used those orders in 2010 and now… it seems you are whistling a different tune. Basically, nobody should talk about other team´s use of team orders but it becomes something inevitable when it´s one´s team being bashed on.
        RBR has receive a lot of heat in recent times and it seems RBR fans can´t handle that and ultimately come out with torches and pickforks and all that stuff defending their team (which is ok) but please, learn to handle the heat (not only you, RBR fans in general), it just comes with being succesful. I have seen a thread in the forum and that guy got banned for having an educated discussion with another member who did call names, and was very aggressive defending RBR yet, the other guy got banned, got his comments deleted and the RBR fan keeps posting in the same thread and actually made the thread his own crusade. Those are the issues here, it´s ok for an RBR fan to be confrontational and offensive at times and have the backing of the community yet others get banned when they try to do that? Double standard. Same as team order opinions. No team can actually talk about them because they have all used them yet they tend to forget them and act hipocritical.

        Massa´s comment is spot on and he might have taken out a thorn on his side because it was his case in 2010! Did you ever think about it that way ? ;)

        • @karter22 – what? I think I made it quite clear I strongly dislike team orders and strongly disagreed with Red Bull’s use of them, as I strongly disagreed with Ferrari’s use of them in Hockenheim or indeed Mercedes use of them in the last race.

          It was a tongue-in-cheek comment based on the very fact Horner criticised Ferrari’s use of team orders, so I really don’t see what your gripe is.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2013, 14:28

      People (@nomore, @tifoso1989), maybe I am mistaken, but I really think that comment from @vettel1 was at least in part “tongue in cheek” there.

      I think its true enough that before Malaysia really not many fans would have thought to hear Massa say something like this and be taken seriously and complimented on having a solid and well received opinion on it, like he just did.

  4. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 11th April 2013, 13:07

    Sensible stuff from Massa. While we all remember the times he’s given up places to others in the name of team orders, we can’t forget that he also benefitted from team orders, in China in fact, when Raikkonen let him take second place in 2008.

  5. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 13:32

    In 2010 Massa was ordered to allow Alonso to pass him for the lead in the German Grand Prix at a point when Massa was still capable of winning the championship.

    Even if Ferrari let Massa win that race, he would have been still 65 points behind the leader of WDC Lewis hamilton(157 pts vs 92) at that time

    • Imre (@f1mre) said on 11th April 2013, 14:10

      And he would’ve closed the gap to 24 points(less than one win) behind his teammate…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2013, 14:29

      Yes, but Alonso was not that much closer, and eventual leader Vettel was almost just as far away!

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 14:32

        @bascb,@f1mre
        This is not the point, maybe the points that you have raised are true but i’m talking about Massa’s chance in WDC after that race

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2013, 14:40

          Now you’ve lost me @tifoso1989, can you explain it a bit more into detail?

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 15:04

            I have raised a point when i read that Ferrari made team orders when Massa still have a chance of winning the WDC,We all remember that after Silverstone 2010 Alonso was 47 pts(if i remember) behind the leader in WDC and the comeback was almost “Mission Impossible 4″ giving the fact that Ferrari have the 3rd fastest car, at that time the team has made a decision to support Fernando who with that decision will be 34pts behind in WDC, if Ferrari didn’t made that decision Massa would still be 65 pts behind the leader
            so let’s be realistic with Massa’s performance in 2010 and the F10 competitiveness and Alonso strong performance saying that Massa has a real chance for winning the WDC is irrealistic

          • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 11th April 2013, 15:44

            @tifoso1989 2010 and Vettel was not leading the championship at any point but I don’t recall red Bull saying “make room for Mark”, especially in Brazil 2010. If they had ordered that in Brazil (a la Ferrari), Alonso would have become 2010 champion.
            So when he disobbeys the Malysian order, even beng childish, brat, etc etc, he’s just pushing for the championship. Because sometimes team orders can be wrong too.
            It’s like saying that parents never make mistakes on us. That’s unreal

    • Alonso would’ve been 41 points behind: they would’ve been fairly close as @f1mre has pointed out and both still firmly in contention.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 15:12

        Ok Let’s suppose this is true, Alonso still got 3 wins after that and Massa was nowhere near Alonso’s performance after Hockenheim 2010, so the decision to support Alonso was the right decision

        • @tifoso1989 – who was to say that would have been the case before Hockenheim though? It’s easy to say things like that in hindsight.

          Besides, what is also to suggest that Massa wasn’t adversely affected by Ferrari’s team orders: it must have been soul destroying for him.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 11th April 2013, 15:33

            Alonso was the man behind that comeback the team was to going to focus on 2011 car but he convinced them after the Silverstone to develop the car until the last race

          • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 11th April 2013, 16:02

            @vettel1 I agree. Remember that at that time, it was almost an exact year since the flying-spring accident. Massa’s victory would have meant a way to bring him back to the top game. instead, he just went down the spiral, and look how long it has taken for him to recover. (I think Massa DOES love the qualifying 4-0 but won’t say it)

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 11th April 2013, 16:28

          While I agree with you saying that Alonso was definitely the better driver during the whole 2010 season, I think the team order in 2010 basically crushed all of his hopes for that year. We have seen in 2012, that when the car goes into a certain direction he’s well capable of beating Fernando in both qualy and race, but when the team after half a season basically tells you stop racing, it will have quite an impact on your motivation, don’t you think?

          That said, I too find it unlikely that he might have had the upper hand, but I’m saying this in retrospect, not during the 2010, when Massa might have just been recovering from his 2009 accident, after being a championchip contender until the last corner of the season before.

    • Nomore (@nomore) said on 11th April 2013, 15:41

      @bascb , @f1mre , @vettel1 , @tifoso1989

      In my opinion “points” were not the only reason why Ferrari gave the order.

      2010 German GP was the 11th race that year ( 19 races in total ) so let’s say already 55% of the championship was done. So Ferrari had in their hands 10 (+1 race weekend from friday to the key point of the “order” in the German gp) races to evaluate drivers performance.

      If Massa would have matched Alonso’s performance ( not only points ) in these 10 races no one would have asked Massa to move back. If Massa would have been as fast as Alonso in these races but more unlucky than him ( so less points )…i don’t think Ferrari would have gave an order…and to be fair, the one that was more unlucky in those races was Alonso but still manages to be in front of Massa in points.

      Ferrari took its own decisions based on: performance, points and perspective of winning the WDC ( mathematically even Karthekeyan had a chance to become WDC ).

      But i can understand why people says it was too early…and it was too early… but i think that Ferrari work more in pragmatic way than we think.

      • @nomore – I can see why they did it, but I think personally it is wrong to enforce team orders at all until one of the drivers is out of title contention, which was far from the case at round 11.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 11th April 2013, 15:56

          @tifoso1989

          after Silverstone 2010 Alonso was 47 pts(if i remember) behind the leader in WDC and the comeback was almost “Mission Impossible 4″ giving the fact that Ferrari have the 3rd fastest car

          I’d say that after Silverstone, Ferrari had the 2nd fastest car in 2010, ahead of McLaren.

  6. I agree with Massa’s opinion, but wonder at what point he would consider the use of team orders to be acceptable… round about the German GP?

    • Nomore (@nomore) said on 11th April 2013, 14:42

      I bear you in mind that in the 2010 German GP Massa do not agree with that order. In the penultimate race of the last year ( US ) Massa agreed with the order.

      So @ladym this indirectly tells you when for Massa team orders are acceptable.

      If you replay me by saying that why in the 2010 German GP Massa didn’t act like Vettel in 2013 Malaysian GP… there are two main reasons why this didn’t happen:

      1. Massa does not have the luxury of Sebastian Vettel that even when he deliberately disobeys an order (in a form of agreement) he still can drive for that team, he still can get the salary in the end of the year and he still will have all the support of the team with him. No Massa does not have all these tricks. If Massa disobeyed the order ( like Vettel ) in the German gp 2010 he would have watched the 2013 Malaysian gp in front of a TV instead of driving a Ferrari in that Gp.

      2.Ferrari is not Red Bull.

  7. Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 11th April 2013, 15:01

    That was the first of four consecutive races in which Massa has outqualified his team mate, but he denies he has drawn any particular satisfaction from that:

    “Honestly I never thought about it. All I can say is that I’m pleased with my start to the season and want to continue in this fashion. That statistic isn’t what gives me pleasure.”

    Yeah, all right Massa. If I was in Massa’s position prior to his recent success, that particular statistic would have given me a huge psychological boost. Could be the first teammate to out-qualify Alonso 5 times running as well. I wonder what that would do to Alonso given the mental stress last season must have inflicted on him. I know he went all zen over the Winter break to prepare himself for 2013, but I wonder if he even considered that he might be behind Massa coming into the 3rd race.

  8. karter22 (@karter22) said on 11th April 2013, 15:21

    Everybody is reading into this article as Massa bashing on RBR (which is fair) but, they fail to see it as Massa´s chance to throw a dart at his own team. Nobody takes into consideration that maybe, that is what he tried to do with his comment.
    RBR fans just see something negative being said about their team and they immediately all come out with pitchforks, torches, etc. defending their team yet they don´t look at things from other angles. Take your time and don´t look at it as black and white, sometimes it might actually be red! Chill out guys!

  9. “I approve of the intelligent use of team orders and by that I mean those that come at key moments of the championship, not in the second race of the season,” said Massa. “They must be taken with the good of the team in mind.”

    I think that’s obvious to most people. Which raises again the question which should have been asked but has not been – what on earth were RB thinking in ordering Vettel to remain behind Webber from lap 24 onwards?

    • @jonsan

      what on earth were RB thinking in ordering Vettel to remain behind Webber from lap 24 onwards?

      Quite honestly that is beyond me, which is why I’m so confused Vettel has become public enemy number one and not Red Bull! They were the ones robbing us of excitement, which deep down is what every fan wants irrespective of what drivers are involved.

  10. Jorge Lardone (@jorge-lardone) said on 11th April 2013, 22:46

    “I approve of the intelligent use of team orders and by that I mean those that come at key moments of the championship, not in the second race of the season,” say Massa.

    “In 2010 Massa was ordered to allow Alonso to pass him for the lead in the German Grand Prix at a point when Massa was still capable of winning the championship.” say Keith.

    What do you say?

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