Massa believes he is getting closer to Alonso

2012 F1 season

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Felipe Massa says the gap between himself and team mate Fernando Alonso has come down since the start of the season.

In a Q&A published on Ferrari’s website, Massa said: “I think that this year, the only race where there really was a big difference between me and Fernando was in Australia and then, in Malaysia the rain made it more complicated to get a clear picture.

“Starting in China, the difference in qualifying between the two of us was not so dramatic. Even in Barcelona, but for the traffic, my time in Q2 was in line with previous events and on Sunday my pace was not that far off.

“I think we must also take into account that, at the moment, Fernando’s driving is amazing: he is on super form, maybe even perfect.”

Massa lost time in Spain with a drive-through penalty after the stewards found he had gone too quickly while a yellow flag was out. Massa said: “I am bloody p***ed off.

“Even today, I still struggle to understand the reason for the drive-through and that was the point at which my race was ruined.”

“In Spain we made a significant improvement”

Massa admitted he is still finding the F2012 a handful despite the team’s progress with the car: “It’s definitely not a very easy car to drive and it’s hard to find a good balance.

“Many times I have found myself having to fight the car and, in these circumstances, it’s easy to lose a tenth here and there: with my driving style maybe I struggle a bit more, because I don’t manage to find a smooth way of driving.

“Then, it’s well known that we don’t yet have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are lacking in traction at the exit to slow corners, which could be the biggest problem.

“In Spain, we made a significant improvement, which could clearly be seen from Fernando’s performance in the race, but I too, when I had a clear track ahead of me, had a good pace. We also made a little progress in terms of top speed, another area where we have suffered right from the start of the season.”

Despite having only scored two points to Alonso’s 61, Massa says he still has the support of the team: “Absolutely, yes, I feel the whole team stands by me.

“Obviously, they are not happy with the results and neither am I: we all want is to get out of this and return to normal. It’s possible and for sure it’s what I want and I know that with the team’s help we will manage it.”

He also commented on the ongoing debate over tyres: “Their influence varies from circuit to circuit.

“In Bahrain and Spain we had high degradation and then the tyres played a decisive role, but at others, where degradation is more within the norm, then I think the quickest car in absolute terms will have the upper hand.

“Having said that, clearly those who do the best job of managing the tyres, have the best strategy and make no mistakes, will have the best chance of winning.”

2012 F1 season

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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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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64 comments on “Massa believes he is getting closer to Alonso”

  1. Sadly for him, the gap is still big enough for 12 cars to get between him and Fernando.

    1. Not sure if he’s delusional or got hit in the head again?

      1. That’s not a nice thing to say.

        1. maybe not nice, but still funny…

          1. Not very objective are you huh

      2. Well said mate.

        If you watch the quali in Spain and excluding his final lap where he came across “traffic”, he was on avg. 0.6 secs slower than Alonso (I have mentioned this earlier as well) and he says they were close?

        I really don’t remember a weekend since 2011 where he has been genuinely close to his team mate apart from Canada 2011.

        1. China and Bahrain 2012.

          1. China 2011 too.

  2. Qualifying in Spain suggests otherwise.

    1. Also didn’t Alonso lap him during the race?

      1. Maybe massa thinks if he can physically see Alonso on track, it means he is closer to him than before.

        1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

          Comment of the Day!

        2. Must be it @butler_f1!

        3. haha!! Indeed the COTD!

  3. Still getting no sympathy from me. To me, the gap between the two is measured in the thirty-fold difference in points, and that’s so dismal it’s hilarious.

  4. i think it would benefit massa to move to a midfield team, as at the moment he is being well and truly humbled by alonso, i think partly due to alonso being so ridiculously good and partly due to massa’s own doing, but also thanks to ferrari for somewhat “ruining” him in germany last year and it’s doing absolutely nothing for his confidence, morale and self belief. Frankly his ferrari career is over.
    I think he’d be a decent mentor to an up and coming driver and could provide a midefield team with plenty of experience and knowledge, as well as giving himself a decent confidence boost from leading a team.

    1. I’m pretty sure Felipe would do a decent job in a midfield team. The pressure would be off him to deliver; like Kubica at Renault 2010.

  5. on a lighter and more banterous note, have come up with an absolute cracker regarding massa.
    bit harsh, but, couldnt help but laugh…..

  6. What is massa smoking? He is no closer to alonso than Ralph Nader is to the presidency

  7. Massa believes he is getting closer to Alonso

    So they both are now staying in the same room on the Grand Prix weekends?

    While I think that the current competitiveness of the field makes Felipe look worse than he actually is, that doesn’t change the fact that the combination between him and Ferrari just hasn’t worked since Alonso joined the team. There have been a few flashes during this time (unfortunately Ferrari robbed him of the only GP win he really deserved) but far from enough. We’ve been hearing Felipe say I’m-not-that-bad for many times and I truly believe he is a very good driver but he should have admitted that the fairytale’s gone bad and left Ferrari himself already before this season.

    Talking about his drive-through penalty at Barcelona, I would also love to hear more detailed explanations from the stewards as for why Massa and Vettel were penalized.

    1. I believe the penalties were because they had their DRS open, therefore they were either going faster than on previous laps or possibly attempting an overtake.

  8. Seeing a driver justify his performances, race by race and compared to his team mate is a sad sight. Reading it felt like Massa was trying to convince himself, not those reading it. There is no doubt that Massa has the ability to be a very good driver as we’ve seen in previous seasons, it just seems like he’s in a very fragile place mentally, and Ferrari is arguably the worst place to be when you’re in this state. With so much focus understandably on Ferrari drivers, it seems a toxic place to be for Massa. If I were him I’d leave Ferrari at the end of the season, although it seems he’s going to get pushed rather than jump, and try do a Kovalainen. Go to a smaller team, get out the headlines and focus on getting back to form

  9. In the previous race, the Australian had said speculation about his exit was unfounded.

    “Everyone seems quite good at stories and making them up,” said Stoner at Estoril earlier this month. “I’ve said many times in the past that my career’s not going to go on much longer, I’m not going to keep going and riding until I’m in my 30s and things like this.


    Motorsport is a place where statements are political, indirect and often meaningless. I don’t believe that Ferrari aren’t looking for a viable replacement right now for Massa. I bet, if there comes an opportunity that works out as they please, they would replace Massa even now.

    I’m sure they don’t want a driver who can push Alonso on the other Ferrari (there are very few in the current grid to do that, and are very unlikely to end up in a Ferrari any time soon), but, I’m also sure they wouldn’t want a driver who is clearly underperforming – well below an average F1 driver’s std. – to just hang around for the sake of their relationship, sympathy, influence or whatever that made them retain Massa for 2012 after his dismal 2011 season (compared to Alonso).

  10. This seems like a fair admission from Massa though I’d have to see his times in qualifying to really see if I agree with him. I fear Monaco may be make or break for Massa for his future with Ferrari. After what Domenicali said the signs of frustration are there from both sides.

    1. To be honest, even a strong performance in Monaco wont change much for Massa. To retain his seat he would need a serious turnaround of form. Regular top 6 finishes and a few podiums might help him, but then again, on massa’s current form that is asking for way more than he is capable of.

  11. Average Points per Race:
    2010 – ALO: 13.3 MAS: 7.6
    2011 – ALO: 13.5 MAS: 6.2
    2012 – ALO: 12.2 MAS: 0.4

    In fact, they’re getting further and further apart.

    1. Ferrari is in a very delicate situation. The results are clear, and it is hard to understand why they didn’t replace him this season. But we might consider a few aspects:

      – They have the precise telemetry and can tell if he is just being unlucky or a bad driver
      – They have all information and to evaluate if this poor performance is related to the preference they give to Alonso regarding parts upgrades, pit order, etc.
      – Fiat is HUGE in Brazil, often the best selling car company. Making hasty decisions and firing the poor Brazilian can be costly.

      1. Mercapecih
        20th May 2012, 1:26

        Bro I don’t think the pit strategy is a problem (they can pit both in the same lap, they have done it)…and I don’t think is the upgrades (they have enough money to upgrade both cars, they have doing experiments in both cars..but the car wasn’t there until Barcelona)…For whatever reason Fernando is/has been a way better driver in that car so far. I think the team has not say anything (change driver) because they are aware of the car problems…the big guys in Maranelo have accepted that it is a car very hard to drive…so I guess you can’t blame Massa. I don’t think is as bad as it looks right now; I think if you put another driver instead of Alonso they’ll be pretty close to each other..I think

      2. I think Ferrari’s moto is “Ferrari must win”.
        As it is, Massa is not adding a useful number of points to the WCC, and if he was closer to Alonso he would be taking points away from Ferrari’s competitors, in Spain if Massa had go ahead of Vettel, Alonso would be leading the WDC on his own.

  12. In order for Ferrari to be competitive in the Constructor’s championship, they need a #2 driver who can offer in-race support to their #1 (Alonso) while scoring points for the team. Massa has not proven an ability to do that this season. With the Driver’s championship being a solo effort, Alonso is doing very well there himself. As a team, Ferrari are almost 50 points off the lead due to the teams above them being consistently able to finish 2 cars well up in the racing order.

    I like Massa on a personal level, but he hasn’t been the same driver since his accident. I’d like to see them take a whack at bringing Sutil in to fill his race seat or orchestrate a swap with Sauber for Perez.

  13. hahahahaha very funny!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Yes Felipe, we all believe you, honest!

  15. Massa is surely going to become delusional if he doesn’t get out of Ferrari. It’s hurting his career and everyone’s perception of him with these latest comments. He’s obviously not enjoying driving for Ferrari- (apart from the sheer fact that he wears Ferrari overalls and a big cheque which is probably diminishing after every race with his performances).
    Why doesn’t he just leave Ferrari (at the end of this season at the latest) and move to a smaller team which has a slightly easier car to drive and will probably make him the team’s No.1 driver due to his experience.

    I am in no way a fan of Massa, and think that Ferrari should have dropped him. However, Ferrari won’t because Massa will do anything that they want him to do (i.e. Alonso’s bitch). But to see Massa’s career go down the toilet makes me sad.

    1. I would question which mid field team would be interested in Massa… and which team on the entire grid (bar HRT) would make Massa their number 1 driver?

      I have a feeling that once Massa is dumped by Ferrari, he will retire and become a Ferrari test driver alongside Fisi & Gene

      1. Why not Caterham? By their standards, Massa is a very good driver.

        1. No his not. I bet Petrov and Kovalanien would have done better in the second Ferrari.

  16. What Massa is saying is true, when Alonso went across the line in qualifying I used to have enough time to go to the pub for a three course lunch and a coffee. Now that Massa is really closing in on Alonso I have to skip coffee.

    1. @robk23 I hope you still have time for the tip.

  17. On average Massa has been about half second off Alonso’s pace which isn’t actually that bad considering how good Alonso is.

    I sometimes wonder if the hate towards Massa is a way of making Alonso look worse in order to ignore just how much he’s been outdriving poor cars the past few years.
    or maybe just bitter hamilton fans still angry that a driver they consider sub-par nearly beat there precious hamilton to the 2008 championship.

    either way i don’t think all of the crap aimed at felipe has been justified as im not sure there are many drivers out there that could get much closer to fernando than half a second.

    also dont see people ripping into other drivers that have been half second off there team mate fairly consistently.

    1. Can’t agree, that is miles off. How good Alonso is well its not more than 0.2 – 0.3 than a decent team mate… and a decent team mate Massa ain’t as much as I like the Guy.

    2. either way i don’t think all of the crap aimed at felipe has been justified as im not sure there are many drivers out there that could get much closer to fernando than half a second.

      +1. Spot on.

  18. All I can say is…..HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAA

  19. I would’ve believed him if he had said this before Spain. Right now, however, he’s nowhere.

  20. @SteveA

    You should spill it already, admit it: you want to build Alonso a statue and you think he’s a god!

    Half a second in formula is not an ‘ok’ margin to be behind your teammate. its huge. Alonso has had other teammates you know, some of which he beat, some of which he didnt beat … but he never dominated them like he has Massa. So no, Massa’s performance is not a reflection on how good Alonso is, its a reflection on Massa’s performance.

    1. He dominated Fisichella just as badly & Piquet Jr.
      And Grosjean was on average half second off Alonso.

      many examples of world champions dominating team mates, over the years the gaps have been much bigger than half second yet i dont recall anyone calling for the various team mates to be replaced.

      as i said in prior post, you could stick 90% of the grid in the 2nd ferrari & they woudn’t get closer to alonso.

      1. @stevea – agreed, only ones I could think of that may come close are Vettel & Räikkonen

  21. Massa believes he is getting closer to Alonso

    Yes it is, that is because Alonso is lapping him.

    Massa, what a funny boy. :-)

  22. I feel sorry for Massa. He should be saying nothing and putting 110% into driving the socks off the Ferrari, even if he crashed at least he would be trying. Pretty sad state of affairs and puts his Hamilton comments into perspective from last season.

  23. His comment about still not understanding the penalty in Spain says it all for me. He’s not willing to accept that he’s in the wrong or made misstakes and so i can’t ever see him improving and getting back to where he was. If you look back over the past 2 seasons whenever there is a crash, a penalty or a poor result he never accepts any responsibility – it’always someone elses fault. Massa seems to be in a state of denial and that’s not going to help him overcome his difficulties. I think this will be his last race and we’ll see a new Ferrari driver in Montreal.

  24. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    19th May 2012, 0:53

    Is Massa racing the races? Come on, I still remember how the TV commentator emphasized the fact that Massa WAS LAPPED in Spain, so I don’t get his point when he says he’s getting closer. Sometimes if you can’t say something good it’s much better to stay shut. It’s time he starts thinking of the next team move he MUST get sooner or later,
    The other thing is if teams (or which teams) would accept Massa, No top team will receive him. Probably it’s a sensible idea, and a shame indeed, to think of retire in Ferrari this year. It would be decent for him and he could avoid the possible falling off deeper in a smaller team.

  25. From these comments it’s clear that Massa is already packing his bags. One can sense a bit of dispair in his words. In Monaco I expect a Barrichello-style speeches about how much he loves racing, how fast he still is, and only needs a good car to show it, a little criticism of Pirelli tyres maybe to explain his struggles… Ferrari of course will back him and firmly state that Felipe’s seat is safe. And after an ‘usual’ (disastrous) race for Felipe in Monaco Ferrari will be announcing their next No 2.

    1. He also blamed the Bridgestones in 2010 for his poor performances…

      I’ll give it until Valencia before he’s replaced by someone… Don’t rule out a Sutil/Alguersuari comeback, though my money’s on Perez.

  26. I seriously think that the Ferrari is only good for the back end of the top 10. Massa has not done a particularly bad job in that car. That he has not finished in the points is probably what goes against him. He is not helped by the fact that Alonso is grinding out those crucial 3-4 tenths which is placing him in the top 5 continuously. That, Williams and Sauber seem quicker on pace than Ferrari should say a lot.

    That being said, Massa may be replaced, although I really cannot see anyone doing a better job than him. Fisichella and Luca Badoer found that out the hard way. Oh and I was one of the 4% who believed Massa would maybe beat Alonso in the team mate challenge :) !

    1. I agree with you. About the team-mate challenge – can’t stop a feeling that it was the only time Ferrari instructed Alonso to give way for Massa so he (Felipe) doesn’t look that bad.

  27. And I believe in unicorns.

    1. But seriously now. I think we should stop thinking in categories of Alonso “outperforming” the car. We tend to forget it’s only a figurative expression and the reality is that a car has some finite level of performance, a limit beyond which it is physically impossible to go in the given circumstances. So, Alonso’s results are the more realistic benchmark of what the car can do. Massa’s are of what the driver can’t (whatever the reason – difficult handling, the car not suited to driving style, different set up etc.), provided of course he is given the same equipment. Alonso is not giving the Ferrari extra horse power or downforce. Alonso is just closer to the limit of this particular car. Much closer. And that’s the reason why Massa should be sacked – he’s just wasting the potential which, as we saw, is in the car. You don’t keep a worker who is not using the tools you gave him properly, do you?

      1. I was going to suggest that Alonso may not be getting his results from sheer speed, but racecraft. Of course that wouldn’t make sense after having done the same thing all season, so I have to concede that your point is fair.

  28. Mark (@marlarkey)
    19th May 2012, 12:41

    Massa believes he is getting closer to Alonso

    Really ? I don’t even…

  29. I don’t think making these comments was a wise idea by Felipe Massa, unless ofcourse he knows already that his career at Ferrari is finished and has nothing to lose. Its obvious that Fernando is wiping the floor with Felipe, everybody can see it even the most loyal Massa fans, and all this does is make Felipe look stupid.
    In all fairness, most drivers who have been paired off with Alonso have had their backsides kicked. It really is nothing to be ashamed of because Alonso is that good, however, I always thought Massa had more dignity than this.
    When he lost the title in 2008 to Hamilton, Felipe earned alot of respect for taking the defeat like a man. To lose in the way that he did, infront of his own countrymen in his home city, must have been a nightmarish experience. Yet he came away from it with his head held high and with alot of respect. He had beaten Kimi Raikkonen, his team mate, and was the only man throughout that season to cause Hamilton any real problems. My how things have changed!

  30. the only time when Massa ever got close to is team mate – it is when they are sitting in the team briefing room on race day

  31. The only thing poor Felipe is closer to is his team exit.

  32. Chris (@limitedslip)
    19th May 2012, 21:53

    And I believe in Fairies.

  33. Williams is missing another spring.

  34. Mr. Massa, it’s time to leave Ferrari;

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