• Indian Grand Prix

Only Hamilton and Massa can resolve dispute - McLaren & Ferrari

Laurence Edmondson at the Buddh International Circuit
October 30, 2011 « Webber blames tyres for fourth | Qatar-backed bid to buy Silverstone »
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton collided for the sixth time this season at the Indian Grand Prix © Sutton Images

McLaren and Ferrari team principals Martin Whitmarsh and Stefano Domenicali believe it is up to Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa to sort out their differences.

The pair have clashed six times over the course of the season, with the latest incident occurring at the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton and Massa collided while entering turn five on lap 24, wrecking both drivers' chances of a decent finish.

Asked after the race if it was now the time for the teams to get involved in the dispute, Whitmarsh said: "I think they are young drivers, but they are not that young, they're men and they should figure it out for themselves. It would be nice if we get a situation where they are not drawn magnetically towards each other on the circuit and we don't get those incidents.

"I have discussed it with Ferrari but it's got to come from within them. I think it's not the time for us to say we want them outside the garage at the next race to shake hands - you [the media] would all take a picture and have a laugh about it. They have to sort it out between themselves. I think underneath it all they've got a certain amount of respect [for each other] but it's been just one of those years where they've been coming together too frequently."

Whitmarsh said both drivers are under pressure as they have been outperformed by their team-mates in recent races, but it was still in their interests to make up.

"I think Felipe's under pressure within that team and that causes him to react," he said. "I think, in truth, Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances of Jenson [Button] at the moment. I think they are two young quick drivers that will remain stars of Formula One for many years and will be around racing each other for many years. So I think they've got to sort that out themselves. A staged handshake or conciliatory gesture outside the garage at the next grand prix isn't what you guys really want - apart from to take the Mickey out of it - so they've got to sort themselves out.

Domenicali pointed out that Massa attempted to make up with Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix but was met by deaf ears.

"I think that you will recall that at the last grand prix in Suzuka, Felipe went to see him and Lewis decided to do other stuff," Domenicali said. "I think with that Felipe showed the way he wanted to speak with him - that's fact - but of course we need to overcome this position because it's not good for anyone."

He added: "We can sit down together and play cards, but it will not solve the issue. One thing that is crucial, in my opinion, is that we need to make sure there is a coherent approach from the stewards with all the things that happen on the track. On that there is a lot of discussion. Then of course we cannot avoid that there were a lot 'kisses' between them on the track. So I think that this shouldn't become bigger than what it is, because then it comes on the head of the drivers and that is not good. I think that we will solve it with those things and maybe a little bit of time also."