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Massa's misery: Team orders row

2013-10-14 08:35

Alastair Himmer

DISGRUNTLED DRIVER: Felipe Massa is no longer a team player as he rejected team orders at the 2013 Japanese GP. Perhaps losing his seat at Ferrari in 2014 had something to do with it... Image: AP

SUZUKA, Japan - Ferrari's Felipe Massa ignored team orders during the 2013 Japanese F1 GP but team mate Fernando Alonso insists there's no rift in the team.

Race engineer Rob Smedley said: "Multi-function strategy A, now please" in the early stages of the race, believed to be a clear order for Massa to let Alonso overtake into fifth. Massa refused and Alonso had to battle past him on the home straight on lap 20.

Alonso eventually finished fourth to delay Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel a fourth successive Formula 1 title.

'DESTROYED MY RACE'

Alonso said: "We cannot make a big thing about it. I don't know exactly what happened but zero problems. We are trying to do our best, Felipe, me, the team and to score as many points as possible.

"Sometimes it's difficult, especially when the performance is not super. It's never easy when are fighting for seventh, eighth place. It would be nice to go back to the old days in Ferrari, fighting for first and second and deciding who wins the races, like Red Bull does."

Massa, being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2014 and looking to secure a seat, was still fuming after finishing 10th: "It was an instruction. We're never happy with instructions. We already discussed it. Whatever happened in the race was not over any instruction, he overtook me on the track. We fought on the track.

"The unfortunate thing was the drive-through penalty, it destroyed my race."

Massa's misery was compounded by a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits lane. Massa did say the orders row had been addressed after the race but was clearly still annoyed.

'TEAM WILL SUPPORT HIM'


Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali refused to criticise Massa for disobeying orders: "At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on the track. I can understand his feelings. The team will totally support him until the end of the season, no problem."

Domenicali was happy with Ferrari's weekend after the  team stretched its second-place lead over Mercedes in the Constructors' championship to 10 points. He said: "This is the target with four races to go. It's fundamental to keep our engineering staff with their heads up because we want to keep that position to the end."
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