Montezemolo: Massa “a number one driver”

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Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2010

Luca di Montezemolo has said Felipe Massa needs to give “the performances of a number one driver” in the final races of 2010:

Felipe is and will always stay a number one driver for Ferrari.

I expect the performances of a number one driver from him – both in the next four races and, with different tyres, next year. Those will be crucial to bring us wins next season and to take important points from our opponents in the battle for this world championship.
Luca di Montezemolo

Last week di Montezemolo urged Massa to support team mate Fernando Alonso’s bid for the championship by taking points off his rivals.

In a statement on the official Ferrari website today he added:

Fernando sounded very focused and determined, just like the whole team. It’s an important time and I’m sure that everyone will give everything they have in order to achieve our objectives.
Luca di Montezemolo

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    93 comments on “Montezemolo: Massa “a number one driver””

    1. let’s hope that he will be allowed to be a number one driver again next year. We’ve already seen that he has the potential to be world champion, hopefully he will have his chance again.

      1. now tat the season is abt to end, they have to say such stuff to massa! :P otherwise he’ll just leave if they ignore him n focus on alonso! :P

        1. You think Massa is bigger than Ferrari? and if Massa left, they will not find a driver :D

          1. The championship that Massa almost won was really down to the fact that everyone else was under performing or was in a non-competitive car. He also had some miserable drives in ’08 and is as responsible as anyone else for not beating Lewis.

            In fact, I would say Massa and Lewis are fairly similar drivers…

            1. Massa equal to Lewis? :S

            2. yes Lewis is equal to Yamamoto :)

            3. massa equals lewis? never! i remm tat race when i thot massa wud defend his position n lewis just drove into him into the turn n pushed massa out of the track. was in 2008 i think when lewis was hyper, rather more hyper than he is now. n i was all :-O Not even try to defend? lewis never does tat.

            4. No, really, Lewis and Massa are similar in that they are blindly quick in many conditions. I would say that Massa is less aggressive with his overtaking though.

            5. Really? He was robbed a sure win in Hungary, and a likely one in Singapore, whereas Lewis had to luck out on the last lap and sneak by Glock for the championship. I am not saying Lewis isn’t a deserving champ, he is, he is fantastic, but it is sad to see so many people deny Massa the respect he deserves.

          2. no the thing is, he is probably the only guy who lives under the impression that he isnt a #2 driver. so yeah they will have problems finding a new driver!

            1. @adam it isnt luck if timo plans to stay out on dry tyres. If he had pitted, lewis wudve passed him anyway in the pits.

            2. Well nobody wants to be a #2 driver, but everybody hopes to beat Alonso and be the #1. So, I think it would be easy for Ferrari to find another driver, and that driver would be a brave one ¿Kubica?

    2. Funny chap, that Luca. He wants Massa to drive like a #1 when he’s already made him a #2 for the rest of the year. Erm…

      1. Yeah, we’ll see what happens if he (Massa) gets himself in front of Alonso You can just hear it over the radio – “your driving like a number one driver but Alonso is behind you. Do you understand?”

        1. hahaha, so funny you made my partner laugh out loud. yeh thats true..

          1. LOL, me too very funny!

      2. Yeah, is Luca trying to break into the world of standup comedy?

      3. Well.. Luca just wants him to put in some good performances. By saying that he has an equal chance for the championship this year, Massa will definitely put in some strong performances and try to impress the president.

        I do believe that Ferrari will give bot their drivers an equal opportunity for next season, but they will end up favouring the impressive driver by the end of next season as well.

        Additionally, I feel its stupid for Massa to say that Alonso is not as good as his previous teammates. So far Alonso has destroyed Massa like no other teammate has… and with statements like these, Alonso will be back to destroy him again in 2011.

    3. I;m not sure if massas confidence will recover fully from the fiasco this year. Unless he goes to a new team and is looked after their then i cant see him being confident enough at Ferrari to go for titles in the future

      1. If Massa losts confidence just because this thing I think he doesn’t deserve the #1.

        He’s been outperforming this year and as said before by someone, he only was a #1 when his mates made it really bad.

        Exception last year, when he could save some race for Ferrari with a car that seems to be impossible to drive.

    4. Giving his expectation of No.1 driver’s performance from Massa, LdM must have written his 4 $100,000 checks for the next 4 races with the prospect of “No.1 driver” Massa overtaking by a certain Santander’s No.1 driver.

    5. Massa is not mentally strong enough, that’s his problem. He should have won the title in 08, to be honest, his only real competition was a Lewis Hamilton that threw a few good wins away. Massa didn’t throw the WDC away, Ferrari did.

      I’m not a big fan of Massa, the thing I hate about it is that folk like him out of pity, no becaus he’s a great driver.

      He’s not in the league of Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel. That’s a fact. I would be very surprised he ever gets close to another WDC….he’s probably end up like another Ruebens

      1. I completely agree. I just don’t see him leading a WDC again…

      2. I thought he was excellent in 2008, and, as you say, it was the team that let him down then, basically cancelling out Hamilton’s errors with their own. I can’t write him off yet.

        In 2007 Fernando Alonso went to a new team, did everything short of blackmail the director to make the other driver his footstool. Lacking prime-driver status, he was equaled by that driver, a rookie. Now in 2010, Alonso has gone to a new team, and has succeeded in procuring a fine Brazillian ottoman. Suddenly he looks like a driving genius again. Isn’t that a strange turn of events?

        1. on the list of “driving genius” qualities, it includes “being able to whine loud enough to make the team tell your teammate to move over.” Much farther down the list is “being able to overtake your teammate” since that’s really a trivial aspect to racing according to the teams.

          1. In all honesty, I’ve been really unimpressed with Alonso this year. I mean, just the other year he was effortlessly able to get his team mate to crash into walls at will, now he has to moan and whine just to get them to move over for him. We might have seen Alonso’s powers peak.

            1. i guess alonso is like a girl who likes attention! :P no offence!
              I’ve always believed alonso is a good driver. A bad person, but a really good driver. ofcourse my beliefs dont account his this yearz driving cause he was quite poor. but otherwise hez the driver who passed michael, then another guy, then had to give up the 2 positions for illegal passing, then pass the 2 guys again. was it suzuka in 05? he is a good driver. maybe bad person, but a really good driver.

        2. Alonso allways was a driving genius. He can make mistakes and also the rest. He was beaten by a rockie because Hamilton is a very good driver, but that’s not Massa’s case.

          A driver must demonstrate he’s the #1 to his team. Because when the team is with you is when you get the real chance to win (despite false equally). He couldn’t do that in Mclaren because of Hamilton, but now in Ferrari everything has been very easy.

      3. In all fairness I just can’t agree with this, he had 6 wins that season, could have easily had 7. He destroyed Kimi, when Kimi should have been at his peak, 6 wins to 2. He kept Lewis honest all season and didn’t make the silly mistakes that Hamilton did. Why do people think that in order for someone to become a WDC that they have to be a selfish *****? Massa has as many wins as Rubens in only half the amount of time, get another good car under him and he will win again, hopefully in Brazil next month.

        1. Adam, Massa has had a very good car or the best car for 4 years (except last year). I think he would outperform with McLaren or with RBR. I think he’s a Sauber driver. Not more.

          1. He’s shown over the past few years that he’s improved since 2004. He’s taken a backwards step this year but is still better than a Sauber driver.

            1. He hasn’t improved anything. He is just fast sometimes

      4. I don’t believe his loss in ’08 shows he lacks mental strength – I think his yielding to Alonso in Germany showed this more so. Thoughts?

        1. Can you really say no to ferrari?

          1. When you’re staring at the TV screen, easily. When you’re staring at a huge check in their hands, probably not quite as easily.

        2. I would like to see Massa in the McLaren with Hamilton. Massa needs to be nurtured a bit and you can see him prospering under the hand of Whitmarsh; rather than from the back of the hand he now gets at Ferrari. We know that he is very quick when he has the car to his taste and has the team’s support.

          I don’t know if he lacks mental strength. He is dealing with the schoolyard bully of the paddock now, and Massa is not cut out for this.

          Recall Nurburgring in 2007 and that amazing scene of Alonso getting in Massa’s face in the weigh-room before the cameras and berating him. Massa’s whole demeanor was that of a bullied schoolboy. Like any great athlete in any sport, Alonso knows how to mentally dominate the rivals on his team as well as the opposition.

          Hamilton has showed how to deal with Alonso. Being quick enough in 2007 was not enough. Hamilton was ruthless and devious and goaded Alonso into losing his composure, which is what bullies do when challenged. Ruthless and devious are not words come to mind when you think of Massa, but he needs to find his inner Machiavelli now.

          McLaren may be off the table of Massa but I would recommend he take Luizzi’s seat. He could build his brand by beating Sutil in a decent car and position himself to replace Button or a retiring Webber.

    6. “I expect the performances of a number one driver from him”

      I think that’s a key sentence. If Massa can prove he’s a number one driver on the track – which this year, generally, he hasn’t – then he’ll be treated as one, which is the way it should be IMO.

      It’s very important that Massa is right on Alonso’s pace next season otherwise the same will happen again. Massa has generally had a strong head so I don’t think the prospect of having to give way to Alonso this year will have damaged his confidence, but if it happens again he’ll have to jump ship and go somewhere else whilst a top team still wants him because realistically I dont think he can beat Alonso in the same car.

      1. I agree with you. I’ve always believed that Ferrari will back the drievr who looks more likely to get the title whether it be Alonso or Massa rather than the notion that Alonso has taken the team over.

        I agree I thnik he’s mentally strong enough to cope. He came back from injury to find a new team mate, he sounds insistent that he won’t be a number 2 driver, he had all the pressure on him at Brazil 08 and delivered and before that there were calls he should be sacked but then he started beating Kimi. I could easily see him bounce back next year and be as quick if not quicker than Alonso the problem is Fernando is so much more than a quick racer. I honestly think Massa could beat him in a season but it’s such a tough challenge compared to what he had against Kimi.

        My main concern is the tyres. He better not take too long to get used to them again :P

        1. I agree with both of you.

          “he had all the pressure on him at Brazil 08 and delivered”

          Oh I miss the good old days! 2008, return in an even better version in 2011 please! ;)

        2. The tyres… The tyres is his problem. Alonso also had new tyres in McLaren 2007, never used by him, while Hamilton used them for years. No one talked about it when comparing both performances.

          It could be a reason but not an excuse. I think Montezemolo talks right and in Ferrari’s allways way. No hipocrisy.

          If you are first #1 if your not #2.

          1. Everyone used new tyres in 2007, so Hamilton certainly hadn’t been using them for years. Bridgestone became the sole supllier for F1. And they had a different specification to the Bridgestones used the previous year.

            1. Yes, 2007 tyres were different to other years, but despite the year Bridgestone tyres haven’t got anything to do with michelin tyres. They work in another manner. So, Alonso had tyres with a new performance that he hadn’t seen never.

              The same problem had Kubica, in the same situation. For them, Bridgestone tyres were just something strange.

    7. In order for Luca to cut any further checks, Massa has to be in front and he hasn’t been close since Germany where he benefited from Vettel’s aggressive move on Alonso at the start…

      Another article out quotes Massa saying that he’s not a Barrichello, would quit if he felt so and hasn’t been as fast because even the soft tires this year are too hard for his driving style, so let’s see what happens…

      He’s paid like a number one -I hope he comes to grips with the car, because he’s certainly not helping the team at the moment.

      1. So Massa makes three alongside Schumi and Button complaining about this year’ tyres.

        1. Liuzzi’s also complained about tyres. There was a quote from Brawn that this year’s tyres were made for high fuel and kers which may explain why quite a few are struggling with them.

          1. So Massa, Liuzzi, Schumi and Button are all critical of the tires? Sounds like pirelli couldn’t be coming on board at a better time. Think how different the season could be if these guys had tires that better suited them. We’d probably have an even tighter championship battle on our hands.

            1. Come on now those are three guys who would bash the tires when they dont do well and then praise them when they won.

      2. “He’s paid like a number one”

        For any team but Ferrari, where his teammate always gets about 3 times as much.

        1. Well he’s free to leave Ferrari

        2. Could it be because his teammates are always World Champions and he’s not? ;-)

          1. Well that’s how you deserve to be a Champion. Beating another one.

      3. That’ll be this one?

        Interesting quote:

        Fernando is very good, definitely. But he is not better than my other team-mates. It’s just myself not being as good as usual.

        1. Probably, but he beated MS and KR during his two World Champioships… Renault against Ferrari and McLaren respectively.

          1. He clearly didn’t beat MS.

            1. Sure? didn’t he?


              Perhaps 2006 Championship was won by Michael and I’m wrong…

            2. I made the mistake.

          2. Oh my bad, I thought you were talking about FM in 2006.

            1. Then I completely agree with you! ;-)

    8. Looks like Hispania have some serious competition for once. Maybe not on the track, but I’m sure the title of Press Release That Didn’t Fool Anyone is highly sought-after, in a masochistic kind of way …

      1. Ferrari does have a standard to keep up with in that competition, and afer first having got beaten by RBR after Turkey and Silverstone and then only distantly having trailed backmarker HRT, albeit with their evidently capable Dr Kolles, must have hurt Monti! ;-)

    9. “Felipe is and will always stay a number one driver for Ferrari”

      Give it a rest!!!

      How do they expect us to believe this rubbish. BBC touched on the main reason people were so annoyed over the team orders debacle. It was because they completed denied everything and showed absolutely no respect for the fans whatsoever. Do they really think we are this gullable and stupid?!

      1. Well, I can’t paste here many team chiefs saying silly things just for some fans or for the sponsors (or just to support their drivers, like Luca). Many things that you would say that their not lying as I can say Luca is not lying.

        F1 is not a real sport, but it’s really true that is not a place where the peole says what he thinks. They’re allways lying.

        There are a few drivers that don’t lie and then everybody criticies them.

    10. correction: “don’t win, but take points off the other drivers.”

    11. Very Funny indeed, he is the number one & then on raceday he becomes number two. If I were Massa then I would have been trying to get that Renault seat if Kimi is not showing up there, I don’t think he will ever become a WC when there is Alonso in the team. I rather be in a team which can get me in the top 10 in every race & let me fight other then in a team where I will always become second.

    12. If Massa is the number one driver at Ferrari it would be Alonso being ordered to let his teammate through in races not Massa.

      1. “A number one driver” not “the number one driver” meaning he has the quality of a top driver but Alonso is the focus right now because he stands the better chance I think that’s what he means anyway but with Luca who knows.

      2. The irony being that if it weren’t for Renault’s crashgate, helping Alonso win in Singapore 08′ Massa would have likely been WDC, seeing as he was on pole and quickly pulling away from Hamilton.

        Even further irony that Alonso is the one who bust the whole spygate scandal wide open and now he’s working for the team, he and McLaren used stolen data from.

        I like Alonso, a great driver, but atleast Massa is honorable.

        1. I think working for a team that has stolen info to other team and was using it, and colaborate with FIA (he was required) is very honorable.

          Massa hasn’t got honor, because he agreed with the thing of the race pace but at the end, when he had to make his part on the agreement he sold the team to FIA. Where is his honour? Why he agreed on the breefing and later he acted like that?

          Hamilton has honor. Webber has honor. Button has honor. Kovalainen has honor. They didn’t surrender to the team or if they did they assumed their role on the team in that moment.

          If he was honorable and he’s so disapointed with the team then leave the team. But no, he prefers stay and cry and throw rubbish to Alonso. That’s because he knows in Ferrari he’s allways been treated as “A” #1, when he’s been better than his mate. Beginning with the detail of the #7 in his car. Which is just a detail, but it is something to begin.

        2. I agree in part with Adam, Alonso does not have honour. Claiming he does after his attiude this year, in 2007, and the forever questionable antics of Singapre 2008 is just ignorant.

      3. Well if you want the team to order your mate to pull over, the first thing you have to do is stay just behing the mate.

        Massa has never been behind Fernando. When it happend Alonso putted allway 3-4 second distance.

        But Alonso has been for 3 races just behing Massa, clearly stopped by him.

        Ok, he couldn’t pass him, but who can? Did anyone passed his team mate with out any other intervention. RBR had to invent a problem with fuel in turkey, probably they invented a problem with something to Vettel in Monza.


        If Ferrari has his own way and you don’t like it, ok, criticize, but don’t say easy opinions.


          Hamilton passed Button at Melbourne.

          The Force India drivers passed each other about three times in Canada.

          The Mercedes drivers passed each other twice at Spa.

          1. Button has many problems in his car in melbourne, maybe beacuse the hit with Alonso on first turn. Even Alonso with a broken car almost passed him.

            Mercedes drivers passed each other at spa in both cases in a riot with a third car.

            And I have to admit that Force India cars are allways passing each other all the races. I cannot explain that.

            For sure (I love to use this expresion), the only chance is to wait for a mate mistake. When the drivers are good and they don’t make mistakes, there’s no way to do it.


            Turkey 2010 slipped your mind. So did all the other examples given to you which can’t really be brushed off because you made such a broad statement.

            1. Response to RaulZ.

            2. turkey? both tries to overtake then were because McLaren a RBR teams said something to their drivers that I’m not going to repeat again. Something about the fuel.

              The examples gave to me by Keith are answered.

              And this statement is not my invention. Everybody knows that inside F1. Most of changes in F1 comes from that statement, and I putted it in caps because sometimes people forgets.

    13. Ferrari don’t care about names. Massa need to prove that team should support him and he will be number one like he did with Kimi in 2008. He need to do it again and Ferrari will make Alonso to support Massa like Kimi did. But I don’t see this happening.

    14. Massa is no longer improving. We’ve seen all his skills, good driving when his in front but boring and no overtaking skill when on the mid or back of the grid. Ferrari should give the sit to Kubica.

      1. I think that is it in a nutshell. Unless Massa starts from the front, his races are usually pretty lame, even with Smedly coaching him through every corner…

        1. @chaos001: i dont think ferrari wants 2 no.1 drivers. anyway looking at WMSCz verdict, itz pretty much sure that team orders are coming back next season.

      2. I don’t know why I still bother but I think I’m addicted to sticking up for him :P

        Anyway overtaking/ starting nowhere and having a decent race-

        Canada 05, Malaysia 06, Aus 07, Silverstone 07 was just pure overtaking from him, Japan 07, Canada 08 at the hairpin double overtake, nailing Lewis at Hungary in 2008, Monza 2008, China 09, Canada 2010 etc etc

      3. oh! i’d love it. Kubica-Alonso. that would be a real Senna-prost and not the 2007 fight.

    15. I would give Massa one more chance (year) in Ferrari.
      I seriously think he can be as fast as Alonso but he got to be mentally strong and should be able to drive around problems which he isnt doing curretly whatever the reason be.

      I think he is too keen to be a Ferrari driver than being in a team with which he can be a no 1. Massa has been in focus as much as Alonso despite not producing these many good results. I think Ferrari management has decided to move away from him post 2011.

      1. Massa can be as fast as Alonso or even faster during some laps or in qualifying, but he is not able to maintain his pace during a whole race without making any mistakes as FA has done these two past races and that’s what is making the difference IMO

        1. Currently, no Massa isn’t capable of flawless races. In the last few years though, yes he was. You don’t win 10 races by not having the pace to win.

          1. No doubt he has raw speed and he’s isn’t running around in a car that is usually at the back of the pack…

            But you win championships by making the most out of every opportunity, something that Massa doesn’t seem to do well.

          2. Of course… winning ten F1 races is not a joke. I meant, from my point of view, he cannot match FA pace and precission under the enormous pressure that JB and SV put him under during his last victories.

    16. “Luca DiMontezemelo is and will always stay a number one condescending bullplop artist for Ferrari.”

    17. “Felipe is and will always stay a number one driver for Ferrari.”

      “…except when we need him to be number 2 driver or when he performs like a number 2 driver… so basically he’s a number 2 driver that could have been a number 1 driver, but we don’t need that anymore, so he’s a number 2 driver full time now.”

    18. I’ve found them! The missing words!

      “Massa (was) a number one driver (at the end of 2008)!”

    19. I think Massa is a second line driver. He’s have a good car most of the time. He’s done it well if his mate wasn’t in his best. But at the beggining of the year he was #1 in the team, with the #7 in his car, with the team with him because Alonso was just a feeling and not a fact in Ferrari.

      You must demonstrate your capacities and this year Alonso has beaten him in pace and results clearly. Of course he had very bad luck in some races, like Canada, but everybody had problems this years and the thing is that he’s not in de 5 to the DWC.

    20. So, is he asking him to finish ahead of Alonso?

    21. Montezemolo is a clown

    22. No guys! Luca is just saying that too boost Massa’s confidence on the track. Obviously, we ALL know Masssa is not fast enough to beat his teammates unless Ferrari sign a sub par driver.

      We have all seen that Felipe needs encouragement all the time from his engineer. He’s not as tough as say Alonso. So he needs to hear encouragement to do well so Alonso can take the championship.

      2011, will be the same thing. Alonso i going to destroy Massa again.

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