- Japanese Grand Prix
Ferrari will let Massa's team-order snub slide
Ferrari says Felipe Massa will not be punished despite ignoring a team order to let Fernando Alonso pass early in the race.
On lap eight Alonso was on Massa's tail and race engineer Rob Smedley came on the pit-to-car radio to tell his driver: "Multifunction strategy A. Multifunction strategy A. Now please". After the race Massa admitted it was a team order, but said he was not willing to sacrifice the place, even though both drivers later lost a position to Nico Hulkenberg at the first pit stops.
"It was an instruction," he said. "I am never happy with an instruction."
Massa said he had talked to his team about it after the race and that Alonso passed him fair and square on lap 20 anyway. He added that his race was ruined when he was caught speeding in the pit lane.
"We already discussed it, but for sure it was an unfortunate race today because of the drive-through. It was not an instruction when he overtook me on the track. The instruction came much earlier."
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said Massa's display of disobedience would not change the way the team treats him during his final four races as a Ferrari driver.
"At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on the track," he said. "For sure Felipe is trying to be as quick as possible and I understand his feelings. He will find the team totally supporting him up until the end of the season with no problem.
"Today we brought home what was the maximum and there is no story to create around these things because there are other things we need to focus on, including how we are going to improve the car up to the end of the championship."
Alonso also brushed off the incident.
"We cannot make a big thing about this," he said. "We are racing and whatever we do today, we finished more or less in the same positions because we could not achieve anything more. I don't know exactly what happened, but there are zero problems.
"It would be nice to go back to the old days of Ferrari, where we were fighting for first and second, and then decide who wins. Or do what Red Bull does, when one car does two stops and one car does three stops, and they finish first and second. This is a much easier life.
"In our position we are always trying to do our maximum. I am trying to do my maximum, Felipe is trying to do his maximum and the team is trying to do its maximum. Let's try to do so at the next four races."