Ferrari deny Alonso-Massa rift

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Ferrari insist their drivers have not fallen out after the Chinese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso passed team mate Felipe Massa on the way into the pit lane during the Shanghai race.

Ferrari claim quotes from Massa after the race were taken out of context by some media and used to present a false impression that Massa was unhappy with Alonso. A statement from the team read:

Some news outlets used some statements by Felipe Massa after the Chinese GP, which were somehow taken out of context: obviously someone is trying to create bad blood between the two drivers after Fernando Alonso’s overtaking manoeuvre of his team mate at the pit lane entrance on lap 19. Furthermore both drivers were very clear after the race: this episode won’t change anything at all regarding the relationship between the two. Felipe and Fernando are travelling back to Europe on the same flight, together with the Scuderia’s technicians.

A spokesperson for the team from Maranello said on the phone from Shanghai: ??What happened yesterday with Fernando overtaking Felipe was just an episode in a race and I should be treated as such. Our drivers know how to behave on the track and they have shown it also this time. Naturally both want to win and they both bring fighting spirit to the races, while respecting a very simple rule: the team’s well-being is of more importance than the individual’s well-being.??
Ferrari statement

Given Alonso’s track record with his team mates it’s hardly surprising to see such speculation.

But it is surprising that the team have bothered to deny it – doing so only keeps the story alive for another day. And if things do blow up between the two drivers in the future, Ferrari’s insistence that everything is hunky-dory right now will be viewed very differently.

Read more: Pit lane pass hands advantage to Alonso (Chinese GP team-by-team: Ferrari)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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63 comments on “Ferrari deny Alonso-Massa rift”

  1. The Nude Wizard
    19th April 2010, 21:40

    It’s more suprising to me you’re reporting that theres nothing to report :P

    1. I think Keith is reporting this under the maxim of never believing anything until it has been officially denied.

      1. this is something that applies more to F1 than other walks of life

  2. I’m really surprised at Ferrari coming out and denying it. I suppose it tries to nip it in the bud but it probably will do the exact oppositie with some questioning the need to go to such lengths.

    In some ways though it is fitting, Ldm hasn’t hidden from this issue and he even said he spoke with Stefano hundreds of times about the issue and that the two will race for Ferrari so this clarifies things esp when there are some who believe Felipe should be doing a number 2 role with team orders.

    Fernando has generally had the upper hand; Felipe got off to a good start at quali in Bahrain but even that wasn’t enough to stop Alonso. The start of that race set a precedent and was a subtle but crucial act. Felipe’s had lead the championship but it was never convincing, he has been shaky and it’s just heightened by no matter what wrong Alonso does, the Spaniard still outclasses him. Alonso sent a message in China that he would not wait for his teamate and nor should he. He won’t risk anything completely stupid and Felipe was fair too -they both know what’s at stake with the team- but it showed Alonso taking the iniative.
    This was a more personal, closer and unexpected move that Felipe has ever had from Kimi. He was fine with Kimi beating him, well not fine as he is an f1 driver but he accepted it, he isn’t going to be stupid when his seat is up for grabs and Alonso is being a cheery chap at the minute.

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall and know if this was to stamp out any problems now and be a slight warning to the drivers or that there really isn’t any problems. I’d say it’s more the latter; both are too wise and have came too far to start kicking up a fuss now over such an incident.

    Ps sorry for spelling and grammar, very quick and rambling comment as net is about to cut out!

    1. This is perhaps where Ferrari’s insistance that the Glorious Scuderia is bigger than the individual drivers begins breaking down. The Scu were screwed until they brought in the Schu and gave him undisputed #1. They expected Kimi to naturally outshine Massa, but clearly didn’t understand the Finn at all.

      Alonso’s a more natural racing animal to Ferrari, it will just be interesting to see if they are prepared to go back to admitting that they need a #1 driver as much as the driver needs them. Massa dealt with a Schumacher who was reaching the end of his time, who was possibly stung by the outgoing Barichello’s criticism of him and therefore less thorny towards the New Boy. Then he dealt with the mercurial Kimi who would easily outstrip him in one race, only to dawdle through the next. Now he’s got to deal with Fernando, who’s a very very different animal. Interesting times ahead.

    2. BeyondThePale
      19th April 2010, 22:51

      It was about time for Fer to make a move, he has spent far too much time this year covering F-baby’s behind, and that should be appreciated too.

      1. D*mn jump start!! OK nobody is denying that Alonso did it, although it is barely appreciable in real time. But anyway both Red Bulls had a rather slow start, and by the first turn the advantage of Alonso was huge, a lot more than what jump-starting gave him. What kills me it that Alonso could perfectly have started legally and still leave both RBs behind. And we would have seen quite a different race. Shame, shame, shame. Forza Ferrari!!!!

        1. Bigbadderboom
          20th April 2010, 10:29

          You do not really believe that the jump was negligable enough not to matter? He was moving before the lights went out, and when a car accelarates from 0-60 in 1.7 secs then I’m afraid that barely perceptible is in fact massive in terms of spinning the engine up, gaining traction and momentum through the gears. It is very unlikely he would have passed the red bulls into turn 1 without either causing an accident or outbraking himself wide.

          1. Part of winning races is keeping driver errors to a minimum. He made a mistake, violated a rule, and paid the price.

        2. Praveen Titus
          22nd April 2010, 15:01

          This jump start seems like a schoolboy error. Surely a double World Champion should know better than to get tensed up and jump the lights only to be penalized and having to climb up the order again.

          The race clearly was Alonso’s to lose. Had he made the right but quick start he could have had a measured race and won it! It was a great opportunity lost. Even Luca di Montezemolo was unimpressed by this silly error, as Autosport reports.

          1. Then I dread to think what Montezemolo made of the guy in the other car who Alonso beat even with a drive-through penalty.

  3. And btw the blatantly biased tone of the posts each time a certain driver is mentioned is kinda tiresome

    1. Which driver? Care to give an example?

      1. tralfamadore
        20th April 2010, 0:13

        “Given Alonso’s track record with his team mates it’s hardly surprising to see such speculation”…

        and many more like that, I’m not in the mood to search for them now. Anyway it’s your site, you can write what you d*mn please, and shut up whomever you want. Fair enough. But don’t pretend to be unbiased. You aren’t.

        1. “…an unbiased opinion is always valueless” (Oscar Wilde)

        2. What? The rift between Hamilton and Alonso was notorious. Piquet wasn’t happy either. Its not bias its fact- he DOES have a track record with team mates and therefore IT IS hardly surprising that there’s speculation. The site hasn’t reported this speculation, its reported the denial. There is nothing biased in this article at all.

        3. I don’t see what your problem is. It’s not in dispute that Alonso has had issues with his team mates in the past.

          He hammered Fisichella in 2005 and 2006, right? But even then on the few occasions Fisichella beat him, whether it was on merit (Indianapolis ’06, for example) or luck (Sepang ’06, for example), Alonso made his dissatisfaction plain.

          And the point hardly needs to be made that there was a little tension between him and Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

          Since then he hasn’t had a competitive team mate. Now he does.

          don’t pretend to be unbiased. You aren’t.

          I don’t and no-one is ‘unbiased’.

          1. Fernando’s only weakness, he loses it when balked by teammate. 2005 Canadian GP is a good example. Whined and then put it in the fence.

        4. @tralfamadore- as if whining like a baby with tourettes is going to make you get taken seriously.

          And if you don’t think Alonso has a notorious record with team mates, you’ve not done a great job of following F1 over the last 5 years.

    2. @ tralfamadore:
      If you are soo tired by Keith’s first class reporting, why are you reading this site at all? If I were you I’d hang around those unbiased Spanish F1 sites. Mabye those keep you happy and awake?

  4. Ferrari deny a rift, but they also deny reliability problems, despite Alonso only having 6 engines left.

    1. ha very true! just wait and we’ll see a few more similar moves.

      1. Does anyone know how many engines the Sauber drivers have? Ferrari power aswell.

  5. It doesn’t really surprise me that they’ve made a statement about it. People will always speculate that there is an Alonso-Massa rift, with or without statements being released.

    What surprises me is the length they are going to, to deny any rift. They even go as far as saying that both drivers will be on the same flight – just to stop any speculation. I don’t think it was necessary for them to go that far just to deny a rumour – especially one that will always be circulating.

  6. I’ve heard that one before……….07 comes to mind with McLaren and look how that turned out.

    But none the less good to see that Massa and Alonso are not pulling punches with each other and doing the same thing as Jenson and Lewis.

  7. “Our drivers know how to behave on the track and they have shown it also this time. ”

    If they consider this to be acceptable behavior from Alonso, then Massa has a very long and frustrating season ahead of him. We dont know what Domenicalli said to Alonso and Massa privately, but on the face of it, it looks like they’ve chosen a number 1 driver.

    1. Felipe is an awfully nice guy. Fernando isn’t. But nice guys finish last. The fact is, Fernando is consistently faster, a better overtaker, and an abismally better defender than Massa. It’s only natural that he must eventually become the #1 driver. Which doesn’t mean of course that Ferrari shoudn’t allow Felipe to fight for his ground.

      1. You obviously have a close personal relationship with both drivers to be able to say what they are and aren’t like?

        1. No, but there’s plenty of footage around, both on- and off-track. You can judge by yourself

          1. So basically you’re saying you have no idea whether Alonso is a nice guy or not.

          2. I have seen plenty of Alonso footage too, and I do believe he’s a lot less of a nice guy than Massa, but a better contender for the WDC.

  8. Nothing today will become into an egofight soon. The overtake was a great move for Alonso, changing completely the history of the race for him and his teammate. In my point of view, that’s what burocratic Formula 1 has being missing for so many years in the 2000’s, nobody had the will of doing such thing for a win, apart of Michael Schumacher and Montoya in a few moments. Schumacher teammate at the time, Rubens Barrichello, use to do nothing but complain.

  9. Alonso obviously had little to say about this.

    Ferrari has had little to say.

    Massa blamed himself for spinning his wheels out of the hairpin that leads into pit entry.

    Must be Alonso’s fault.

  10. It was Massa who wasn’t aware that his Alonso can overtake him.So there was nothing wrong with that move. & we shouldn’t make an issue of it.

  11. I’m just glad to see the old ruthless spanish matador being back to his self…after watching the previous two races i was begin’n to wonder if he had lost his ruthless agression..but now i’m happy that he has not…this is the same guy who took on the ol’ schumi head -on and defeated him

    1. Praveen Titus
      22nd April 2010, 15:19

      But if he makes errors like the jump-start (and the slow start at Melbourne that made him easy prey to incidents) and loses great opportunities…

  12. personally i would be dissapointed if alonso hadn’t taken the chance when it presented itself, but maybe that’s just me

    1. Precisely. I think in this case Alonso just proved he’s 100% focused, Felipe divvied about slightly and Alonso took the quickest race option. I suspect Massa’s problem won’t be Alonso’s aggression so much as his alertness and race instinct: that marks him as a number one driver. Can he (Massa) match that? Felipe proved he can get a lot out of a good (maybe the best) car, but sadly for him this season looks like a dog fight between 4 or 5 teams who’ll be mixing up the best track times. Alonso is much more suited to that.

  13. Massa made a mistake at the last corner and Alonso passed him. End of story. If anyone expects a driver not to overtake his team mate they have been watching another sport. Least of all a 2 times WDC.

  14. What I don’t understand is why Ferrari would stack the cars in the first place. This incident took place under a green flag did it not. Behind the safety car sure but why surrender all the time and position when the trailing driver could simply do another lap before pitting.This seems like another cock up by Ferrari and they’ve made several in the last few seasons.

    Also, both Hamilton and Alonso had what appeared to be dodgy pit lane entrances. Lewis actually took turn one and then cut across the astro turf on the first occasion. Is this legal, I thought the entrance was defined by the white lines same as the exit. Clarification Keith???

    1. why surrender all the time and position when the trailing driver could simply do another lap before pitting.

      They would have wasted more time sending one car around for another lap on the wrong tyres, plus the risk of having one of their cars go off.

      1. Well said Keith, I think I said exactly that yesterday. Massa would have lost at the most 6 secs.

    2. “Is this legal, I thought the entrance was defined by the white lines same as the exit. Clarification Keith???”

      I thought both moves should get a penalty

  15. Some people are just waiting for any signs of tension between Alonso and Massa, the same with Hamilton and Button.

    I think it is just a case of Ferrari trying to nip it in the bud,

  16. This comparison between Massa and Alonso is entertaining. To read that Massa is a ‘nicer guy’ than Alonso, and to read that Alonso is far more aggressive is comical.

    The way I see it, when Massa gets beaten, he comes up with all kinds of escuses as to why he didnt get the results needed. Alonso’s feedback when he has’nt come up trumps are far more logical in his remarks and is far more level headed.

    As for Alonso’s apparently aggressive driving ?? Have anyone seen the way Hamilton weaves through the pack ? His a genius, and I would go as far as saying more savvy than Alonso in his overtaking. But…His also ridden up Alonso’s back side in (forget which race) 2008, and also ran a red light and rammed the rear end of Raikkonnen did he not ? Alonso’s overtaking ability may not be the best in the field, but he makes up for it in his uncanny ability to almost never make mistakes. He is, to me, the most complete driver out there. He may not be the quickest, or the slickest, or the ballsiest, but he does everything well, and in my opinion does it best.

    1. Why so defensive about Alonso? There’s general agreement that he’s an excellent driver and as good as anyone in the sport. I don’t really see much criticism in the preceding posts. I will say this much, however. It wasn’t very “canny” to start the race ahead of the other guys, and that move at the entrance to the pits looked pretty dicey to me in such slippery conditions. If he had taken out both Ferraris and blocked the pit entrance, there would have been hell to pay. Still, he’s one of the greats, and I enjoy watching him, as well.

      1. BeyondThePale
        20th April 2010, 23:17

        Two big and rather silly mistakes when starting this year:
        -Last Sunday’s jump-start in Shanghai (Well, he said it’s the first time it happened to him and as far as I can’t remember it’s true)
        -In Melbourne he put his left tyres on top of the white paint in the grid, which caused a serious loss of grip and a disastrous start.

        Add to that the problem in the quali in Malasya, which was partly a team mistake and partly his mistake, as he ackwnoledged himself. btw a really brave race with the broken gearbox… for 0 points and a broken motor

        This leaves only 1 race out of 4 with a non-disastrous star. Which btw he won, thanks also to Vettel’s breakup. And 3 races in which he put up a real good show coming up from the bottom.

        Real WDCs tend to win a lot of boring races straight from the pole instead of struggling all the time to recover from their mistakes. Sure, Ayrton Senna had more entertaining value than Prost, and Hamilton has more than Button. But more titles go to the likes of Prost and Button.

    2. “his uncanny ability to almost never make mistakes”

      Like his start :)

      I know what you mean though, but still Alonso does make a fair amount of mistakes too. He’s no Heidfeld.

      I think Alonso and Hamilton are pretty similar. Both racers, both taking risks and thus also facing the inevitable mishap due to taking risks.

  17. Not really being defensive. Well maybe ? But I was just giving my opinion on the Massa/Alonso saga, and also added a bit of extra with Hamilton lol.

    That move in the pits on Massa may have been risky, but the guy has been sniffing Massa’s rectum for the last 2 grand prix’s when he clearly had a speed advantage. He obviously had enough and finally made a move, because Massa wasn’t going to hand it to him that’s for sure.

    Alonso and Hamilton may be similiar in ability, but I think Alonso has a much cooler head on the race track when making decisions. And I think his track record shows it.

    Yes I may be biased towards Alonso, But…I was routing for Shuey back in 05 n 06 even though I own a Renault and am a Renault fan.

    Ive simply come to admire who I think is the best driver in the field. After all, it is and has always been about who is the best driver. The brand of car I believe is secondary in most peoples view.

  18. The Genuine Jim
    20th April 2010, 12:41

    Whether there is a rift forming or not, the media are quite pathetically desperate to create one aren’t they. ‘Bout what I’d expect though.

    1. Yes, I agree. At least Ferrari don’t force their drivers into blatantly fake public displays of “friendship,” like a certain other team I could name.

    2. Somewhat akin to what we’re seeing here, isn’t it?

  19. I like the phrase ‘somehow taken out of context’. Either they were reported in context or not, there can be no ‘somehow’ about it. Or is that maybe a bad translation of Ferrari’s spokesperson?
    This statement really does read as a dose of Italian double-speak, as the drivers can be on the same plane, but they don’t need to be sitting together or talking. Maybe the technicians are there to keep them apart?
    As for the drivers knowing how to behave on the track, Shanghai has made it perfectly clear that however good Massa does, Alonso will beat him!
    I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but that statement really is asking for it…… :-)

  20. I was hoping for something like this the minute Ferrari signed Alonso. Domenicali isn’t equipped to handle this situation. Here’s to a long, hot summer and lots of Ferrari blow ups!

    1. In Alonso’s defense, he took advantage of Massa’s wheelspin to gain the advantage into the pitlane. If Hamilton/button, rosberg/schumacher, vettel/webber or any other team pairing found themselves in the same position it would have ended the same.

      This event is just being blown out of proportion. I do not blame Alonso for taking advantage of the situation. Additionally, I think he would not want to be stuck behind a much slower teammate.

  21. what record with his team mates????

    he had no trouble with Fisi, Trulli, Piquet and, so far, Massa… it’s only the sparks at Mclaren (which wasn’t just because of Lewis, that’s for sure) that he’s now dubbed as a “bad team mate”?????

    can’t stand it. Maybe he’s not friends with them, but apart from Lewis he had little to no problems…!

    1. Alonso had problems with Trulli and Fisichella too. The thing is, Alonso only has problems with others if they beat him. Granted that didn’t happen a whole lot while he was at Renault.

  22. I listenned to a interview with Massa just after the race. He said “I commited a mistake on the previous curve and Alonso was side by side during the whole straight before the pit lane entrace”. He had not a normal voice. What I did feel was that he accepted the move. But what is really bothering him is the fact that Alonso is constantly racing better than him (apart the starts). If needed, he will even support Alonso to win the championship, as like he did for Kimi in interlagos (2007), just for the opportunity of keeping a sit in Ferrari.

  23. Ferrari are being far too defensive about this “situation” I really hope and expect to see Alonso out of Ferrari by the end of the season, the man brings nothing but politics to teams. Ferrari shouldn’t have touched him with a bargepole after what he did at Mclaren.

    1. Alonso can bring them championships. That’s what they hired him for. Don’t think they will really care if Massa gets upset.

  24. I hope Alonso stays that way, ruthless and nasty. The nice guy image in F1 dosen’t fit well, racers are like gladiators. But we’re here to watch racers not nice guys. Tell me if Ayrton Senna is a nice guy, go check him out, but fans loved him the most right? Massa has to up his game or else he will be left behind, F1 has no compassion for slower drivers within team-mates. In fact it’s a business, bring in the profits and you will be promoted. Harsh but true. Noticed how menacing Alonso looked with his unshaven image, machismo!

  25. Senna more entertaining than prost? only bcoz of his mercurial character probably. And if Kimi had pulled such a one on Massa last yr,it wud hav gone unnoticed.

  26. I’d like to hear those statements that were taken out of context and I would like to hear the team radio from both drivers and the team as I am curious to knowat what point the team knew when to change the tyres to Alonso’s for the pit stop…

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