Massa defends decision to disobey team orders

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Williams, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Felipe Massa defended his decision to ignore orders from Williams to let his team mate overtake him in the closing stages of the race.

Massa was leading Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages when Williams repeatedly told him to let his team mate past.

Among the messages given to Massa were “Valtteri’s got better tyres we need to let him go” and “Felipe you’re slower than Valtteri, let him past”. Meanwhile Bottas was being told “You’re faster than Felipe, overtake him.”

However Massa refused to give up the position and finished the race ahead of his team mate.

“I think I did the best I could with my race,” he told reporters afterwards. “I was fighting to the end and my target was to score as many points for the team and me. We’re only in the second race.”

The pair were following Jenson Button and Williams wanted to release Bottas so he could go after the McLaren.

“Valtteri couldn’t pass me so it was going to be difficult to pass Jenson as well,” said Massa. “I don’t think that would’ve changed.”

Bottas disagreed, saying “I think there was a really good chance for me to get Jenson”, but did not comment on Massa’s refusal to let him by.

Williams eventually told both drivers to cool their engines and instructed Bottas to hold position, telling him: “We really need to cool the car, no overtake.”

Asked whether it had been unfair of him to disobey the team’s instruction Massa said: “Is it fair to do the best we can?”

“We have two championships, I respect my job, we need to respect each other.”

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

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155 comments on Massa defends decision to disobey team orders

  1. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 30th March 2014, 14:24

    Well done Massa. Delighted to see him refuse to move over. Bottas couldn’t pass Massa so why would he have been able to pass Button?

    It’s sad how many people are saying he should have let Bottas past on here though. I didn’t realise F1 Fanatics liked team orders. Or is it just because everyone prefers Bottas? :)

  2. terrence said on 30th March 2014, 14:41

    I’m shocked as I read that someone defends williams and bottas.
    I’m more of a bottas supporter. I rate massa as a slave-driver(let alone 2007-2009) but come on…
    massa did good. period. I respect williams as a team, but I don’t like manipulation and fake results.
    if bottas was much faster he should have passed massa without needing a team order. and if he couldn’t challenge massa, how could he challenge button?
    this episode reminds me of raikkonen-grosjean last year.
    get real and admit team orders are ridiculous and discredit f1 as a sport.
    team orders are one of the biggest disgrace in this “sport”. One should win or pass using his own talent, but talent is not the main feature anymore in this “sport”.

    why did fia give penalties to ricciardo while they have never done anything to prevent ridiculous team orders?
    of course you are a team, but your driver is someone who struggles for points, not a robot who can be manipulated as you please.
    williams, ferrari, rbr, mercedes…shame on you for discrediting f1… and fia thanks for crucifyng ricciardo and doing nothing for such aberrant episodes.

  3. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 30th March 2014, 14:52

    Just listening to Tim Kravitz’s interview with Claire Williams… haha I love it.

    Kravitz: “How could you do that to Felipe – to impose team orders”
    Williams: “Well, that’s racing”
    Kravitz: “It’s not racing if it’s team orders”

    Good lad!

    • Gordon (@) said on 30th March 2014, 22:56

      Love the bluntness of his question(s).

      Did anyone else notice the way Claire Williams quoted Massa when Kravitz asked if Felipe had replied to that message? A mocking tone of voice which saying what he said in reply.

    • vuntoosree said on 30th March 2014, 23:16

      F1 is a team sport

  4. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 30th March 2014, 14:55

    While I somewhat respect Massa for not moving over, I think it is laughable to claim that it was in the team’s best interest not to let Bottas have a go at Button.

    • vuntoosree said on 30th March 2014, 23:19

      @kaiie why? we could have seen a battle bottas v button. We the spectators didnt get to see this because massa was selfish and forgot he is part of a team. Maybe the team should send him out without wheels and tyres for the next race? it would remind him of a few things

  5. Andrei (@crandreico) said on 30th March 2014, 16:00

    Looking at the lap times, Bottas would’ve overtake Button on the last lap if Massa would’ve let him pass.

    • Oople said on 30th March 2014, 19:41


      Implying that Button is a pushover to pass.

      Button knows how to fight… Hence why Massa couldn’t overtake him earlier in the race, when Massa had multiple opportunities to.

      Bottas could have gotten close, but to say for dead certain that he would have passed is a naïve assumption.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 31st March 2014, 6:14

        Button knows how to fight…

        Yeah rrrrrrright!!!!!!!! Just like that time that alonso took him on the outside of a corner in Brasil one or two years ago??? Even Brundle said “come on Jenson!!” as in: really, Jenson??

  6. Akshat (@t17115) said on 30th March 2014, 16:18

    Massa did right.
    He had been told for the half of his career to yield positions to Schumi and Fernando. So, him being told that Valteri is faster than him and allow him to pass would be the last thing Massa would want to hear.
    At least now Felipe should be allowed to race.

  7. Fixy (@fixy) said on 30th March 2014, 16:33

    Massa made the right call. He was told not to hold Bottas up, not to stop in the middle of the track to let him through. Bottas only came within reaasonable distance from Massa on the last lap, when it was too late for either of them to catch Button, therefore Massa had no reason to gift Bottas two extra points.

    • Cole (@cole) said on 30th March 2014, 19:02


      Had exactly that feeling while watching the race, and was about to post the same comment.

    • vuntoosree said on 30th March 2014, 23:25

      @fixy @cole and we the spectators missed out on a battle bottas vs button…well done

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 31st March 2014, 15:26

        I have no time to take you seriously, but I won’t deny I’m happy to prove you wrong. Bottas couldn’t even catch a “slow” Massa, how on earth could he have fought Button who was a further second ahead? And being there only a couple of laps, Bottas would’ve stayed behind and Massa would now be four points further behind him (Bottas +2, Massa -2).

  8. fractal (@fractal) said on 30th March 2014, 16:37

    Did anyone notice that Williams were the only team spending too less fuel at any point of race? I reckon their fuel usage is suboptimal which could probably explain the reason why they lack a lot of pace relative to other teams.

  9. Bruno said on 30th March 2014, 16:54

    Well, now we cant deny that Felipe its a renewed person! Felipe did the right thing, and i hope he makes it everytime it happen! Great job from both drivers, btw! Cant wait next circuit!

  10. f1freek (@f1freek) said on 30th March 2014, 17:29

    I see Bottas as the stronger of the two. He had really good pace throughout the race. He shouldn’t have disobeyed and I do think this is going to bite him sometime later in the season.

  11. leonGTV6 (@leongtv6) said on 30th March 2014, 17:58

    What kind of racing spirit is that? If the team mate has better pace, letting him pass? No, if you have far supperior pace, overtake..Congrats to Massa for his move. Team orders destroy the spirit. Let your drivers fight each other, and if they crash, punish them. Or tell them not to risk anything..Don’t ask from anyone to pull over.

  12. GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 30th March 2014, 18:21

    massa was alonso’s carpet and now should understand that being bottas better than him the brazilian must be bottas carpet!
    im against team orders, but in this case williams should punish him hard, punish him good! massa destroyed the chance of getting buttons place, which bottas could have fought for! massa is a liar and a person with too many inferiority complexes! in ferreri he never complaint, now he disobeys orders from the get go. williams shouldnt have hired him!

  13. UTBowler0407 (@utbowler0407) said on 30th March 2014, 18:52

    I always had sympathy for Massa when he was at Ferrari, when he kept playing #2 driver to Alonso. Not moving over for Bottas, however, was selfish and childish. The difference here is that no one is asking him to be a permanent #2 driver for the team. Remember earlier in the race, where the team told Valtteri to back off? Had this been Ferrari 2.0, they wouldn’t have told Bottas to back off there. The point is that Button was less than 2 seconds ahead of them, Bottas had the fresher tires, and the team obviously felt that he had a shot at passing Button, whereas Massa did not. Someone really needs to have a long talk with Felipe about this, or it’s going to be a long season for them….

  14. Matt (@mattf1f) said on 30th March 2014, 20:32

    I am going to have to blame Button on this. Had he driven quicker we would have not had the DRS train or any team orders. If Massa had not been able use DRS when behind Button am sure Bottas would have passed him easily on those straights using his DRS when Massa had not been allowed to use his. So this Artificial Passing Device = team order to stay behind your teammate when he gets to use his own APD during the Trulli Train. Being a bit sarcastic but without APD Massa had been nowhere near Button, and maybe we would have had Felipe and Bottas fighting for the following places.

  15. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 30th March 2014, 20:59

    Good! I’m very glad Massa did not take team orders.

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