Massa’s Ferrari catches fire during testing

2011 F1 testing

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Felipe Massa had a dramatic start to testing in Valencia when his Ferrari caught fire in the first hour of running.

As this sequence of pictures shows, Massa went off, and smoke and flames appeared from the back of the car as he rejoined.

He carried on for a few more corners before spinning to a halt on the oil coming from the back of his Ferrari.

The session was red-flagged while the F150 was recovered and marshals worked to clean up the oil.

Ferrari explained what happened:

As he was coming to the end of his first run of laps, the Brazilian had to park at the side of the track, with an oil leak caused by a broken clamp.

Unfortunately the lubricant ended up on the exhausts which led to a small fire breaking out and that caused some damage to the car.

The mechanics immediately set to work on repairing the damage, but it is unlikely that the car will be back on track much before three in the afternoon.

Images © F1 Fanatic and Julien Leroy / If you wish to use these images please contact F1 Fanatic to request permission

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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126 comments on “Massa’s Ferrari catches fire during testing”

  1. That might put a stop to them topping the KMS

    1. What is KMS?

      1. I presume it to be kms as in kilometers?

  2. Wow, I guess it’s all part of testing to iron out the problems. Massa doesn’t get any luck though.

    1. Alonso ran 200 laps or so without problems. Now, when Massa is in the car, this simply has to happen. Weird.

      1. maybe the connection tube finally worked itself loose after 220 laps?

        1. @ BasCB

          You are completely wrong. Connection tubes don’t work that way. Its just a mechanical failure.So let it be it. Stop your conspiracies BasCB

          1. conspiracy theory? HUH?

            Sounded more like a reasonable assumption to me… Pipes can work themselves loose, and when that happens its called a mechanical failure, because the mechanics of the clip clamp holding the pipe in place failed, and that happened after the car had been running for about 220 laps.

          2. Don’t see a conspiracy, but since I don’t often work with such connection tubes and thus have little clue how they work: could you enlighten me please how they would fail, and what is wrong with the idea that it could get loose with time and running/vibration? That might help me understand the impact of this better.

            Looks like this might not be Massa’s lucky year though.

          3. Tubes come loose all the time….the world is an imperfect place.

          4. LOL connection tubes “don’t work that way” – from the Ferrari Connection tube specialist 2011 no doubt… too funny.

      2. Conspiracy theories!! lol

        I think it was just bad luck… Alonso jinxed him by praising its reliability though

        1. That’s not what I ment! I mean, Ferrari need all data they can get, I can’t imagine they would do anything like this on purpose. What I mean is Felipe’s luck needs to change to get ahead of Fernando. Just rememder Singapore qualifying last year and you see what I mean. Now I read my old comment I realize it can be read in another way. Lol.

        2. To be fair, did Alonso run wide? I mean, if an oil tube or pipe was exposed enough to get damaged in an off, they might want to redesign that bit if at all feasible. But F1 cars aren’t exactly designed to go off-track, are they.

      3. Well, Felipe is unlucky but also a worse driver than Fernando. It’s better his car catches fire than Fernando’s.

    2. Seriously, when will Massa get a break. The poor guy has had the worst luck of anyone on the grid the past few years. I hope the F150 is a good one and can help him turn it around.

      1. I think this is Massa’s Karma coming back at him for his discusting antics in 2008 and even 2009 against Kimi.

        1. What disgusting tactics?

          1. blocking him in races, stealing setup information, stealing strategy information, taking trash about him, having his entourage at every race to get ferrari garage to focus on him & have ferrari changing car to suit him only, complain when kimi beats him that kimis car had better balance, takes better fuel strategy & qualifying strategy, all around a disgusting human being.

            anyways, now its coming right back at him…too bad since he never got his championship other than a made up 30second title by luca. now without this, he is back to being a midpack driver.

  3. Poor massa. Alonso yesterday was chatting about how amazingly reliable the car was, the most reliable they had ever had just out the box, and then poor old massa gets the short straw.

  4. His team mate clocks the fastest run and does 100+ laps in two days, Massa runs wide and lights up within the hour.

    Great start to a new year in F1. :/

  5. asfandyar afridi
    3rd February 2011, 9:28

    first he should change his helmet livery,we have bored from it,,,,,,

    1. No, I think it’s great that some drivers keep the same basic design over their whole career rather than changing at every race like Vettel.

      1. Vettel has already changed design during these test, using 2 different ones. I think he’s exaggerating.

    2. Totally disagree. Helmet design should be for life.

      1. Seconded, I forget who said it, possibly Brundle, but a helmet is like a signature. You don’t change it.

  6. Im not expert, but thats not good news.

    Along as Massa is fine, thats the main thing. Machinery can be replaced after all.

  7. asfandyar afridi
    3rd February 2011, 9:31

    ya but will he able to come again today

  8. Ferrari 458s have been doing this of late as well … coincidence?

    1. maybe they are trying to replicate the problem in testing?

      1. @ BasCB

        you are completely wrong. They are no trying to replicate the problem in testing.

        1. jesus guy, give it a rest…

        2. @unipart

          Are you aware of Humor?

          “The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd”

        3. I’m not sure who’s missing the sarcasm here, me in unipart’s comment or unipart in BasCB’s comment.

          1. If you read uniparts first comment in this thread then it will all become clear who is serious and who is being sarcastic.

          2. Don’t worry, I gathered that. I was being sarcastic. :)

          3. dyslexicbunny
            3rd February 2011, 13:59

            Now I’m just completely confused.

        4. I love you :D

        5. MagillaGorilla
          3rd February 2011, 20:09

          @ unipart

          Is it your goal to harp on BasCB…?
          Why not just take his sarcasm for face value and let the guy be.

    2. lol. I think after Alonso’s comments yesterday, saying that it was the moest reliable test car he had driver, they thought their customers would be frightened that Ferraris are becoming boring (shock horror!) and so decided to inject some unreliability, spice things up a little ;)

  9. So if this happens to a Renault, would I be right in saying the smoke and flames would come out the front of the car, much closer to the driver?

    Could this be a potential safety hazard of these new exhausts?

    1. No, because the oil would still leak out the back, so if anything it might be even safer in terms of not catching fire.

  10. Thats Massa’s way of setting track on fire :)

  11. These image stamps are getting annoying, why are they so big?

    1. Because people keep copying images from here and using them on their sites without permission. This discourages people from doing that. I realise it isn’t ideal, but hiring a photographer and getting them out to a test in Spain is expensive (see here) and neither they nor I wish to see their hard work stolen by other people.

      1. Julien Leroy is doing a fine job.

      2. Ahhh ok fair enough. I guess there are a lot of image thieves around.

      3. And what is the point of doing this big effort and then publish the pics with a watermark ruining all the work?

        may I suggest julien leroy to visit Daren heath web page and see other effective watermark that doesn’t ruin the work.

        1. Please appreciate the difficulties involved here. An effective watermark needs to both discourage people from copying an image and cropping it to remove the watermark, but also let people see the image properly. Not an easy balance to strike. I’ll keep your feedback in mind, though.

          1. WHAT DO WE WANT: non water marked pictures!
            WHEN DO WE WANT IT: next post will just fine thanks!

            yea yea ungrateful i know but thats how the internet made me

          2. I don’t really see the problem – if people want non-watermarked quality photography they just need to spend some money – oh wait, I get it now; they want to have great resolution, up-to-the minute, unblemished photos for free. Ah, well if you put it that way, I understand now that people have put in the very difficult position of not getting what they want without getting off their backsides. Man, life sure is tough.

          3. Exactly.

          4. I can understand your problem Keith.Great work. Usually i will check news websites first then if i have time will come to f1fanatic. But during this testing you are the go to person. Its truely live.

          5. more and more online content websites use flash-build picture viewers preventing from simple linking or copying.
            that’s the direction to follow, and obviously not this above. my 3 cents

          6. @d-d

            If it can bee seen on screen then it can be captured and copied flash or no flash. Plus flash is overkill to display simple pictures when HTML does it just fine and far more lightweight and accessible.


            I understand your need to watermark and as a photographer I do the same, but I agree with one of the above posts that a less intrusive watermark would be better (ie much thinner font text and much more transparent).

            Good work though, I am loving all this testing news.

          7. Keith

            great pics, and thanks for going to the trouble of taking a photographer down there with you.

            Your pics and site have been the best I’ve seen over this test, and if people have problems with watermarked images, perhaps you can setup a paypal account for them to contribute to Juliens pay :-)

            Keep up the excellent work.

            P.S I’d heard the mclaren does not actually have the front exhausts that everyone is expecting. Have you heard any gossip on what it does include?

          8. perhaps you can setup a paypal account for them to contribute to Juliens pay :-)

            Thanks, there already is one, you can donate here:

            Donate to F1 Fanatic

            I’d heard the mclaren does not actually have the front exhausts that everyone is expecting. Have you heard any gossip on what it does include?

            There were a lot of rumours about that going around but they seem to have been quashed. This time tomorrow we should know, though!

          9. Im guessing that means an email to ask for an unblemished dopy for a desktop background then. Not really asking the earth really, seeems a fair trade-off.

      4. I understand and agree, but is it possible that you could place the stamp where it isn’t blocking the reason for the pic. Thinking more of the pics you put up of the Renault exhaust where the stamp covered part of the exhaust.

      5. Yeah, the watermark isn’t ideal, but I have seen a lot of great pictures of testing over the last few days, and quite a few were pictures made by Julian Leroy, no doubt taken from here.

        Yesterday at least I saw several of them mention they came from, and some of them just linking to the site, but no doubt people aren’t always giving credit.

        I am very happy to see the pics, great work for having them commissioned Keith – the great Renault exhaust pics for example clearly deserve to be credited to the source.

      6. Everything on the internet should not be free. People work hard to earn a living taking those photos. Unfortunately, it seems the norm to assume you can copy and paste anything these days without permission.

        Greed is not good

        1. I agree, but sticking a watermark like that partially ruins your work, for yourself and others. The purpose of the photos is to see clearly the car, not cover it to hide it. Doing like that no one will copy these photos on their site and no one will look at them, so you have 2 choiches:
          1 – Leave the photos withou watermark: people will use them privately and some will steal them.
          2 – Cover up the photos: nobody will use them privately and no one will steal them.
          Of course I prefer the 1st option, but I’m not for stealing them.

          1. In the last couple of days I discovered that an image I created (not a photo) was being used without my permission. It’s not something I aimed to make any money out of so not a great hassle. But I’m also a photographer and unless I specifically licence an image for use my images belong to me.

      7. The images are superb no question, the watermarking however is not necessary as the same copyright protection exists in them regardless – plus the copyright statement at the foot of this site is more than sufficient. Even so…

        In an ideal world, the images would be blemish free and all infringements would be pursued but I understand Keith cannot go chasing every F1 site on the planet to check up on his/Juliens IP and that makes watermarking a worthy compromise.

      8. Maybe You could make a CD with photos from Valencia and sell it f.e. on eBay? I am completely fine with the pics here, but that maybe would shut the mouths of the malcontents…

        Thank You for all the work, I am dreaming all day I was You and had the chance to experience all these emotions by myself…

        1. I mean photos without watermarks on the CD ;)

    2. Give it a rest – you expect Keith and Julien to just give away their hard work for free??

      1. Just making constructive suggestion. Maybe some of you should chill out a little bit.

        All of us appreciate a lot the efforts Keith is doing to keep this site in the top, but some times is good to hear also opportunities for improvement.

        One of the great things of this blog is the quality and the size of the pics Keith publish here regularly and always have been “right free” giving us (readers) the opportunity to use the pics for our personal purposes.

        I would not like to loose this in the future, if you allow me to say that (without any bitterness of course, and thanks in advance…)

        1. I am with you. I have always kept the photos for myself. People who don’t and don’t cite the author have to pay for their theft, not us.

  12. haha i like the way they try to cover up the car in the same way Ferrari does with its road cars, so no-one see’s a Ferrari on a recovery truck

    why bother. we all know what it is.. and we’re all probably laughing :D

    1. It’s standard procedure whenever an F1 car stops during testing, to stop other teams from getting a close look at parts of the car.

      1. Especially with the undersides showing. If Ferrari has some magic card up their sleeve, everyone could have sneaked a peak if they hadn’t covered it up.

      2. things like that also make me wonder if teams have internet nerds browsing the net for websites like this, looking at some of the close up and detailed photos available..

        1. Oh, definitely! They’re not missing any tricks there.

          1. Internet nerds on the payroll of the teams, show yourselves! And then, tell me how you got that job, sounds fun.

          2. I hope they donated some money for those pics, seems to me they could spend the money a lot worse!

  13. The Santander logo in picture #4 is fitting.

    1. Haha yeah nice spot.

  14. This used to happen to barrichello when he used to be a ferrari driver. So no conspiracy here.

    Massa is the official number 2 driver for ferrari.

    1. Becoz Ferrari want to waste valuable testing time, they sabotage their 2nd driver?

      1. YES. The F150 is being built & tested to suite Alonso’s style of driving. Masssa’s input is of no use to Ferrari. He had his chance in 08 & he blew it.

        1. Sorry to burst you bubble. But on the third day of testing they really aren’t looking for a lot of information on how to further develop the car. They are more concerned with testing tyres, reliability and gathering useful data. Any loss of track time in the initial testing days really does pinch.

          But I guess there is no stopping Ferrari conspiracy theorists. Last year during pre season testing, Alonso had more car problems than Massa. So according to your theory.. Massa was the number 1 driver last year at Ferrari?

          1. Did Ferrari purposely pushed the car to the limits to test the reliability? very possible, because it has happened on the final day of testing. Sorry this is my opinion only. No conspiracy behind it :)

          2. Push the car to the limits??? Did you see his lap times?


          3. Push the car to the limits??? Did you see his lap times?

            Gee… Sorry dude didn’t check the timings.My mistake.Bad omen for Massa.

        2. I agree with mumbaikar. Massa is de facto número dois.

          1. Thats kind of obvious.. considering that you came up with the conspiracy theory.

        3. That’s putting it a little harshly don’t you think mumbaikar? Massa didn’t blow his chance in 08, Ferrari did with the pit stop blunder in Singapore while he was leading and with his engine letting go while he led with just a handful of laps to go in Hungary. Take just one of those away and he would have won the championship. Under older points systems he would have won, he led the most number of laps that season too, and by a lot, check Keith’s stats. Give the guy a break, it must not be easy to be Alonso’s team mate, but so many people treat Massa as if he should be driving an HRT. He has earned his place at Ferrari and deserves your respect.

  15. Well I’m hoping Massa just uses up all of his bad luck in testing then things will go right in the season :P:)

    1. Oh! so sweet :P

    2. Just in time to give Alonso the position he’s earned ;-)

    3. I would love it.

    4. @Steph It’s funny to look back on comments like this. Don’t worry; 2012 should be better for him. :)

  16. Wow! Just noticed that Massa’s hairline has receded so dramatically.

    1. Massa and Kubica are neck to neck on this one (or better yet, forehead to forehead).

  17. massa, Bad Luck ? i dont think so, it happens in F1 a lot, where a team mate is not as good as the other driver, they then have to over drive the car to make up for their skills as a driver, and then KABOOM. I like massa, but alonso he aint.

  18. Even with that watermark I’ve seen most of this pictures on a Facebook fan page. Not sure if they have permission or something, but the watermark doesn’t appear on them at all.

    1. Have you got a link?

          1. this angers me, they even dare put their own site logo on it. Keith you should also put the F1 fanatic logo on your pics!

    2. The new photoshop has a tool to intelligently remove blemishes, o even whole items from pictures.. so, a water mark may not be too hard to remove. However, we do appreciate the pics Keith, you got one of the best blogs, and easily the most active in F1

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        3rd February 2011, 20:56

        I just tried that in CS5. It’s not that easy when the watermark goes across junctions of very different backgrounds right across the pic.
        I think the F1 watermarks are reasonably secure given that they are ‘news’ pics which have a very limited length of attraction to other sites.

  19. I wonder if we get this same detailed coverage of a mclaren going bang next week?

    1. More than likely, but they very rarely do that these days.

  20. That is a big blow for him things like this tends to happen a lot must hope that he get some time today to be friendly with the car.

  21. Keith,

    Don’t tell me all photos are gonna carry this watermark? PLEASEEEEEEE……..isn’t there any other source where we can get them ? It’s useless having these photos with a bloody watermark covering such beauty !

    1. Yes, you’ve payed the guy to take good pictures not to doodling around. And that’s the price of internet. It’s not just about images, it’s all the content. If it’s good people keep coming back. Doing pics like this is nonsense and not worth to pay for them. And hey I’m a photographer too, been stolen a lot but that’s life, I get payed evenly.

  22. Anselmo Coyote
    3rd February 2011, 12:02


  23. Not really as big a deal as people are making out.

  24. since watermark isn’t f1fanatic, i thought at first that f1fanatic had stolen them … oops :p

  25. What I appreciate is that montezemolo said that , since no progress in term of performance was allowed, they particulary took care of increasing realability….

    I love this Italian barbecue, cooked from barbe to the queue

    Hope to see more and more pictures like those from the tomato

    Chris :-)))))))))))

    1. What happened to Massa isn’t actually a problem of reliability…read carefully and we’ll see who’s car will be the first to blow up this season my friend!

      Ferrari must really be up many people’s a&& since everyone hates it so much. Which only comes to a conclusion that Ferrari has been the team to fear for many years since 1997…looking to be a really good season this one!

      1. A friend of mine told me that the F 150 just look like an old F1 from 10 years ago

        Just look at the MP 4-26 how ambitious she is…

        Chris your friend :-)))))))))

    2. What is that supposed to mean? It’s young car and young cars do have problems. Better now than later on in the Championship.

    3. instead of writitng b.s. and make a fool of yourself try to do more research and understand what really happened

  26. Julien posts the same photos on his site, with just a small, easyly removable tag. no hi res, tough. Do you have exclusivity?

    Julien his own enemy?

  27. I like to choose a good pic and use it as my desktop, but maybe that’s stealing too – but you’re right, nobody would bother stealing these.

  28. i tell you something, its bloody annoying having your mate “julien leroy’s” name all over the photos. It was better when you took them. Its like you dont have permission to use them so he stuck his name all over them.

  29. I really don’t get all the complaints. You folks want hi-res photos with no watermark, you’re welcome to hop a flight to Spain and take your own.

    Neither Keith nor the photographer are here to be your personal servants. The photog makes a living out of selling his pics, not out of supplying you all with free desktop backgrounds. And Keith makes a living from this site, not from giving things away.

    I truly cannot believe the attitude of some people. You are not at all entitled to perfection for free, nor are you entitled to perfecrly clear hi-res photos, nor are you entitled to determine how this site is run—unless you begin paying the bills, and then I’m sure Keith won’t mind if some things get done your way.

    Until then, lay down and rest ya neck. And try showing a little gratitude for having access to the best F1 coverage on the internet!

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      4th February 2011, 9:46


  30. Any F1 team must try to increase reliability. When all the theoretical work is done, You have to test it on track. To really test the reliability You have to run the car bonehard on the kerps, and make a few run-offs, because that will then expose any weak spots, joints, hoseclamps, connectors, and so on.
    That kind of hard shake-down running of the car doesn’t necessarily give You fast laps on the track, as a run-off takes a lot of time out of your lap.
    It is important to find and fix any weak spots during testing, i.e. before point-giving race sessions.
    That said, my experience with hoseclamps is that You should stick to the original BMW ones and stay away from the cheap FIAT ones, hehe. No, seriously You can as a mechanic overtighten the hoseclamp to a level where the metal of the lock is overstretched (over the limit of its flexibility) and will break after a while. If You had tighted it a little bit more it would break straight away. Any speculation about the internal quality control of the Ferrari team in all work processes I will leave to those who are much better at this field than I;-)

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