Why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters”


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Ferrari ended speculation over their 2013 driver line-up one week ago when they announced Felipe Massa would keep his seat for another season.

The team’s president Luca di Montezemolo indicated the move was coming 24 hours earlier when he scotched rumours Sebastian Vettel would join Fernando Alonso at the team, saying: “I don’t want to have two roosters in the same hen house”.

Ferrari’s resistance to having two ‘number one’ drivers in the same team is not new. It’s a contentious talking point, and the arguments for and against their position are well-worn.

But recent changes in the sport should lead Ferrari to consider whether the policy is still in their best interests.

Finding a hen that will fly

Ferrari’s driver hiring policy would work perfectly if they could sign the two best drivers in F1 and one was always content to finish behind the other.

But racing drivers are competitive beasts – and the best of them do not want to spend year after year being ordered to finish second behind their team mates.

The best Ferrari can realistically expect from a number two is someone who is reasonably competitive, unlikely to end up in front of their lead driver, and prepared to pull over on the rare occasions that they do.

Go back ten years and this was the situation Ferrari had with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. The F2002 was the class of the field, Schumacher racked up the wins and Barrichello played the dutiful number two.

Ferrari no longer have a car advantage that allows them to win races by half a minute or more. But nor does any other team and, with the technical regulations becoming ever tighter, nor are they likely to.

This has made it more important for Ferrari to maximise the points haul they get with both their cars. And changes to the points system have made that even more crucial.

Why two numbers ones is horse sense

Ten years ago points were only awarded to the top six finishers and were heavily weighted in favour of the winning driver.

That began to change when a new points system appeared in 2003. With the latest points system, introduced in 2010, the pendulum swung even further towards spreading points out more evenly between finishers.

This table shows what proportion of the total points available each weekend were awarded to the top ten finishing positions in 2002 and 2012:

200238.46% (10)23.08% (6)15.38% (4)11.54% (3)7.69% (2)3.85% (1)0% (0)0% (0)0% (0)0% (0)
201224.75% (25)17.82% (18)14.85% (15)11.88% (12)9.9% (10)7.92% (8)5.94% (6)3.96% (4)1.98% (2)0.99% (1)

The value of finishing in the top three has been reduced compared to finishing elsewhere in the top ten. Ten years ago a one-two finish gave a team 62.4% of the available points, 35.6% more than anyone else could score in the same race. Today a one two is worth 42.5% of the available points and just 15.9% more than the next-best team can score.

For Ferrari, as with any team, their chance of scoring a one-two finish is higher if they have the best two drivers available. If they don’t, and another team’s drivers beat Ferrari’s number two, then a one-four finish is worth little more than a two-three (37 points versus 33).

This shows how an under-performing number two driver will hurt a team like Ferrari much more now than it did ten years ago. When we look at Massa’s performance over the last three seasons, it’s clear that’s exactly what’s happening.

Snail’s pace

The top four teams in F1 at the moment have had the same driver line-ups for the last three years. Out of those, Ferrari’s second driver has performed the least well compared to his team mate:

Felipe Massa’s points as a % of Fernando Alonso’s57.1%45.9%38.7%
Mark Webber’s points as a % of Sebastian Vettel’s94.5%65.8%70.7%
Jenson Button’s points as a % of Lewis Hamilton’s89.1%118.9%85.6%
Michael Schumacher’s points as a % of Nico Rosberg’s50.7%85.3%46.2%

*Up to and including the Korean Grand Prix

Ferrari have re-signed Massa for another year despite his contribution to the team’s points tally being in steady decline over the past three seasons.

There are several reasons why this is the case, but a key one is that Massa has been more slow compared to Alonso than other drivers compared to their team mates.

The same lap time data gathered for the car performance analysis published here yesterday was used to work out how far each driver has been from the quickest lap time at each race weekend, and the gaps between them and their team mates:

Average gap to best lap timeAverage gap to team mate
Felipe Massa1.31%0.56%
Jenson Button0.67%0.31%
Mark Webber0.77%0.20%
Nico Rosberg1.05%0.09%

The three charts above spell out why Ferrari’s driver hiring policy is increasingly holding them back: it forces them to hire a driver who is slower relative to his team mate than their rivals have, who then fails to score as high a percentage of the available points as he should.

Ten years ago this might not have affected them so badly. But points are shared much more evenly between the teams now. What more, the performance difference between the top teams has shrunk, making it even more important for teams to get the most out of their cars by hiring the best available drivers.

The elephant in the room

The assumption behind this is that Ferrari are equally interested in championship success as the other teams are. Which is to say, all the teams want to win the constructors’ championship and want one of their drivers to win the drivers’ championship.

However everything about Ferrari’s approach indicates they prize the drivers’ championship far above the constructors’ championship.

This is not entirely surprising. Mention the ‘F1 championship’ to an average fan and it will be taken for granted this means the drivers’ title, not the teams’.

In Ferrari’s case, this view may be a product of history: they are the only active team whose have been continuously involved in Formula One since before the constructors’ championship was created in 1958.

But perhaps there is a more mundane reason why the constructors’ championship simply doesn’t matter to Ferrari. For their rivals, constructors’ championship success alone determines how big a slice of F1’s vast prize fund they receive.

That is a less pressing concern for Ferrari because they automatically receive a special payment from the prize fund. This can be worth more than the different between two places in the constructors’ championship, as was the case last year.

But as we’ve seen, things change in Formula One. The distribution of F1’s prize money is likely a key point in the ongoing debate over the new Concorde Agreement which governs the sport.

Perhaps this is the final thing that needs to change before the Prancing Horse gets itself a pair of roosters.

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Image © Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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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104 comments on “Why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters””

  1. Thanks for again putting some analyses behind the debate @keithcollantine, nice article. I do hope Ferrari reconsider and do get Vettel and Alonso for 2014!

    1. Okay then, if Ferrari can treat them equally.

    2. why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters”? LOL, Just how could Ferrari would do worst?

      1. They would take points off of eachother and end up like Mclaren this year…

        1. Your assumption is so flawed you can’t have read the article. ow would having a driver better than Massa hurt Ferrari? Can you show where having faster 2nd drivers than Massa has hurt Mclaren or Red Bull, or is getting more points not the aim of the game?

          The 2nd Rooster doesn’t have to be faster than Alonso just better than a pretty poor Massa.

          1. Having Alonso win the WDC is the goal. The WCC can be ignored because this is Ferrari we’re talking about.

            And I did read the article, but the article is not fact, it is the writers opinion ONLY.

            Drivers have tracks they are good on and tracks they are not good on. The faster driver is the one who is better on the most tracks. So when you have two quick drivers, they will take points off of each other when at their respective good and bad tracks.

            That is not ideal when looking at the bigger picture.

          2. Traverse Mark Senior
            23rd October 2012, 16:16


            How would having a driver better than Massa hurt Ferrari?

            Does the 2007 Alonso Vs Hamilton saga not ring a bell?

          3. @infy Yes but, you’re forgetting that having two quick drivers also mean they take points away from rivals. If Massa could have finished higher up during the season, he could have prevented competitors from gaining as much on Alonso or he could have helped Alonso to further increase his lead. Too many times has Massa been outside of the points to be of any help at all to his team mate.

            On a side not I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to ignore the WCC. This is F1, a series where constructors from the beginning have built their cars to show their abilities to build the fastest car of the field. The driver really, is only a tool to showcase the speed of the car.

        2. But this year it seems that only in the first few races did the McLaren drivers compete with one another for good points @infy (partly due to team mistakes), after that JB and then the car slumped, and when it got competitive they didn’t finish in the same races, making it even more vital each finishes as high as possible when they do finish!

          1. Ferrari do think most for the WDC. They create driver legends within the team in order to be what they are: SCUDERIA Ferrari!!!

          2. The legends to me are the ones who won their WDC(s) without the help of a non competitor on the track, and all the resulting benefits that spilled out from that, particularly done to the extreme in the MS/Ferrari way. The one driver who, when they dominated, had the car to do anything about MS, but instead we got processional non-racing, with the result fixed between the two Ferrari drivers, and as paying fans we were robbed of thrilling racing, in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing globally.

    3. I would love to see Vettel move to Ferrari, get outclassed by Alonso and then see someone like Kobayashi who has taken his seat at Red Bull win the championship :P.

      Ok maybe thats too much of a dream, but I do believe the only way to bring him down to earth would be to see somebody giving him a thorough wupping in his former seat. I don’t believe he realises how good Redbull have been these last 3-4 years.. Unrivaled for much of it.

      1. Well, Mark Webber hasn’t even finished 2nd in any WDC behind him.

        And the only year Red Bull were unrivaled was 2011, where Hamilton threw away numerous chances to challenge, and Button wasn’t fast enough to do what an on-form Hamilton could have done.

  2. What people seem to be missing is the fact that Vettel could go to Ferrari and be substantially worse than Alonso. We’ve never seen Vettel go against a world class team mate and at times he has struggled to keep Webber behind him. Theres no real evidence to suggest that Vettel wouldn’t be a good number 2 at Ferrari.

    When Massa had the best car he could drive pretty comfortably of into the distance too. It was only Ferrari’s errors and mechanical failures that cost him the 2008 title.

    1. It was only Ferrari’s errors and mechanical failures that cost him the 2008 title.

      I think Massa had a great 2008 season and it’s a pity he didn’t win the title that year (on the other hand, Hamilton didn’t deserve it less). But he made mistakes himself as well, see here:


    2. @infi24r
      But do we have any evidence that it might not go the other way?
      Vettel could just as well prove to be a lot better… We don’t know until they try.

      Theres no real evidence to suggest that Vettel wouldn’t be a good number 2 at Ferrari.

      I think, if you look at the Vettel vs Webber situation in 2010, then I think that it is quite clear that Vettel would NOT let him self be that.
      In any case, why would a double world champion be ready to play rear gunner for who is ‘just’ another double world champion?
      And if Vettel is worse then Alonso, then that would only hinder his chances of future success. It would be a lot better to be in another team and hope that they can deliver the car for him that he can win another title in, with a team mate, who he can handle.
      From Vettel’s perspective, I just can’t see why on earth he would do that. He has a long time ahead of him in the sport, if he want that Ferrari seat then he can just wait it out until Alonso is gone and then he can make Ferrari his own. It would only make it worse for him later if he agreed to be Alonso’s dog this early in his career.

      1. well said, exactly what I am thinking.

      2. From Vettel’s perspective, I just can’t see why on earth he would do that.

        – Why does Hamilton go to a team that is worse than his current, why did Button want to go up against Hamilton?
        Its a natural thing that a driver looks for new challenges when they are good at something for a longer while.

        1. @bascb
          That is not what I am saying. Yes he might go to Ferrari, even with Alonso still there, but for the love of god not to be Alonso’s rear gunner.

          1. Ah, right @mads, i failed to get that from your post. Yeah, surely if Vettel goes to Ferrari he will do so with the intention of making it his team and beating Alonso.

        2. (@bascb) (@infi24r) You’re right about Hamilton and Button challenging themselves, but Vettel doesn’t strike me as the type to want to challenge himself, his ego just doesn’t seem up to the task.

          This is just a personal observation, but he seems like the type to want to keep sitting in a Newey car beleiving himself as the best on the grid, because deep down he’s aware the throttling he would get in an equal car by Alonso would be too much for him to handle. That’s just my opinion though.

      3. Traverse Mark Senior
        23rd October 2012, 19:48

        why would a double world champion be ready to play rear gunner for who is ‘just’ another double world champion?

        You’re spot on @mads , and when you consider that Vettel will probably win this years WDC, it would be inconceivable that a (soon to be) 3 time consecutive world champion would yield to anyone, let alone Alonso.

    3. @infi24r I must disagree with your notion that Vettel has “struggled” with a non”world class” Webber. I doubt there’s much evidence that Mark Webber is a much worse driver than Button, yet Vettel has been more convincing over him than top driver Hamilton has been over Button, as evidenced by the 60 point gap this year, 130 point gap in 2011, and beating of MW even with the majority of bad luck in 2010 (where the bottom line is, he delivered the title, whereas Massa couldn’t quite). Felipe also didn’t win it in 2007, when Kimi did.

      Vettel has proven himself a rooster, and there is no way he would be a number 2.

    4. Personally I doubt Vettel would play second fiddle to Alonso; he’d leave before that happened. Anyway, he clearly has speed, he is perhaps not as quick as Alonso but he is still one of the top 3 drivers on the F1 grid.

      1. I agree that without question SV will never play 2nd fiddle to anyone for the rest of his F1 career. He’s way past that.

        But I think of it differently than has been mentioned above. It’s not a question of if he would go to Ferrari and be 2nd fiddle to FA. SV may end up with one more WDC than FA this year. So why would it necessarily be FA’s team? Might as well ask would FA play second fiddle to someone with one more WDC than he. But really my point is that the culture at Ferrari would have to revert back to how they have done it in the past (at least pre-MS and maybe you could argue for 07 and 08) to an honest and genuine effort to support both drivers equally.

        I think the audience deserves to see SV and FA at Ferrari, but it would only ever happen if Ferrari could convince SV that they have totally changed their ways. Given LdM’s words of late, the opposite in fact has just occured and they have told SV and the world that they aren’t looking for another rooster and that there is no reason for a teammate of FA’s to think otherwise than he is there not to compete.

        There’s nothing more I would love to see than Ferrari turning their philosophy 180 degrees around, and that’s what it will take, convincingly, for SV to even start to think of Ferrari when another WDC is already there.

        It is exactly the same phenomenon that happened at MS/Ferrari. Any drivers at the time (JV, MH, KR etc) who were asked if they would join Ferrari and go head to head with MS said yes they would love to…they just couldn’t trust that they would be treated equally.

  3. I think it’s noteworthy that two ‘roosters’ could increase Ferrari’s chances to win a drivers’ title as well, something that they haven’t managed to do since 2007. Yes, two great drivers take points off each other but they also ‘cover’ each other. When one of them under-performs, there is always the other. Alonso might be the most complete driver on the grid at the moment but he has weaknesses and occasionally makes mistakes as well and there is no guarantee that he will be as perfect as now in 2013, 2014, 2015 and so on. I think Ferrari understand that, which is probably why neither Luca di Montezemolo, nor the Horse Whisperer have closed the door to Vettel by clearly stating that he would be unwelcome at Ferrari. Instead, they have chosen a more careful and ambiguous wording.

    1. I was thinking the same, 2 good drivers actually help each other (except if they finish 1-2 regularly but that’s an exception). We see with the actual point system that the n°1 driver would not lose much points if his team mate is ahead (except once again in a 1-2 situation) but would take a lot of points out of other drivers, and it would be even more interesting in the team point of view.

      Keeping Massa definitly a strange choice, hasn’t finish ahead of rival’s car enough times this year to justify to keep him. Wouldn’t be such a big risk to take anyone else in that car, some gambles could be well worth. The best example is probably McLaren which took sometime drivers quite inexperienced (for F1 standard) and that works pretty well : Raikonen and Hamilton would just be 2 recent ones

    2. I wonder this, too. We rarely see two team-mates on an equal footing, racing wheel to wheel for large chunks of the race. However, I have also considered another possible advantage: DRS.

      Let’s say you have 2 drivers on the team who are evenly matched, performing equally on the track. They get 1-2 in qually, and are within a second after the first couple of laps. What would stop them playing DRS Yo-Yo? It would give both of them a performance advantage over the rest of the field and/or save fuel. I am actually surprised we haven’t seen it, yet.

      1. We haven’t seen it therefore it must not be viable, or practical for the teams to do this. If it somehow gained them an advantage I think we would have seen it by now. Are you suggesting that a lap in which you DRS someone is a faster lap, or one that consists of better fuel economy? I’m thinking that’s not proven. And what about the disadvantage a rearward car has in dirty air when within a second of the car ahead. The rearward car would have to linger in that zone to be able to deploy his DRS to begin with which would impair the lap time wouldn’t it? At least, I can’t recall any announcers saying…”and of course so and so just got fastest lap because he DRS’d so and so.”

        1. I just took a logical step. DRS reduces drag, therefore could be used to save fuel. Also, if DRS helps overtake, it can improve lap time.

          Of course there are disadvantages to being behind another car to be considered. But the main disadvantage comes from the fact that the car in front is defending their position and the car behind is trying to find a way past, which will negatively affect the lap times of both. If this is not happening, it could be used.

          Personally I think the reason it hasn’t been done is that there hasn’t been sufficient opportunity, plus it would need practicing (it would be like flying in formation). I still think that, if done well, it would work.

  4. I don’t think they need another “rooster”. I think that it would harm Alonso’s performance, and equally so the new contender.
    Massa is a bad example of a nr 2 driver, because he is not only slower then Alonso, but his confidence also seems to have been scraping the ground for a couple of years, which I think is why he has been ‘that’ slow, and very inconsistent.
    They don’t need a driver who is light-years behind Alonso, just someone who is consistently a a tenth or two off, and more importantly someone who doesn’t have the “rooster” attitude.
    Vettel is very displeased with getting beaten, and so is Alonso. Neither of them will let the other win, and both would probably rather see none of them winning then the other.
    If you par those two together, then I am sure it wouldn’t take long before we would see another McLaren in 2007 type of complete meltdown.
    I have for a long time thought that Rosberg would be the perfect choice. He is reasonably fast, but not enough to challenge Alonso, he is very consistent and is quite good at extracting performance from the car even if the car isn’t handling perfectly.
    But he doesn’t feel like that super competitive, win at all costs, type of guy.
    They don’t need to nail him to the floor as a nr 2. Just let Alonso beat him on merit, and if its really necessary they can order him to move over, and I think that he is the sort of guy who would understand and accept that. I think that is what Ferrari needs.

    1. The problem with what you are saying, and the problem Ferrari has here is finding that driver who is theoretically just a shade slower than FA and is compliant (a non-rooster).

      You say FM lacks confidence. If that is so, don’t you think it might be because he doesn’t think of himself as anything but a rooster, since he nearly won a WDC, and is having to accept something that in his heart of hearts he knows is unacceptable. He knows he didn’t grow up dreaming of some day helping someone else win the WDC. Go back to his comments of disgust after Hockenheim 2010 when he says he is ‘no Reubens’. Yet of course this is the hand he has been dealt as things have evolved at Ferrari for him, and it should have been of no surprise as they didn’t hire FA so that he (FM) could win the WDC. FM was around to see the MS/Ferrari era of course, and was even involved in it.

      So that’s LdM’s problem. Find a driver who will sell out his dreams and still be just a shade below FA in what is likely a car built with FA’s likes in mind.

      I think it is far easier and far more honourable to themselves and the viewing audience to give us two gladiators and let them duke it out on the track.

      And NR, I think you are wrong on him…I think he has already gone very well against a 7-time WDC over 3 seasons…I’m not so sure at this point NR will ever accept the designated number 2 role, other than in the way we all understand is fair…when the season winds down and the math just might dictate that he shouldn’t take points off his WDC potential teammate whenever possible. That might happen and I suspect NR will only be honourable in that situation and would expect the same treatment in return. For now, I think NR is probably feeling rather rooster like these days. Next year is going to be a blast to see at Merc. NR has another great chance to show himself and probably elevate himself going head to head against another WDC.

  5. Kimi Räikkönen
    23rd October 2012, 10:23

    I reckon they should have two great drivers and alternate number one status. As in, ok this year the team will be geared towards securing the title for Alonso while next year the other driver would be favoured. This way each driver has a fair chance to win the title. If they don’t then they at least have one less excuse! :D

    1. It’s a great idea in principle, but there’s only one time in recent memory that Ferrari have looked like they might have done that, with 07-08 Raikkonen/Massa, and if you watch the season closely, it’s more that Massa excelled and Raikkonen faltered at crucial stages in the championship rather than the team suddenly throwing their focus onto the no2 car

      1. Kimi Räikkönen
        23rd October 2012, 10:43

        Oh yes, I agree, I expected Kimi to do very well that year but unfortunately not :( But if they said before the season that this is whoevers year then, I reckon they’d be extremely motivated because this is their chance!

    2. As in, ok this year the team will be geared towards securing the title for Alonso while next year the other driver would be favoured.

      I don’t think this would be workable. I don’t believe any of the top drivers would be happy playing 2nd fiddle when they are competetive, even knowing they’d get that treatment next year.

      The only way I could see it working is to set a point, say half way through the season, and say whoever’s leading at that point get’s the special treatment. The other driver wouldn’t be happy about it, but would probably accept it because they were beaten up to that point.

  6. astonished (@)
    23rd October 2012, 10:39

    You will never know if Montezemolo says what he thinks…
    If he indeed believes in the theory of “two roosters is bad business” he might say so, but if he does think the contrary he will say the same to be in a better bargaining situation with the second rooster, assuming that most of them (roosters and would-be-roosters) want to drive Ferrari t a given point in their careers. Conclusion: we know he says but we don’t know if he minds it.
    I also think that, if a pre-agreement has been signed or reached at any level for 2014, Vettel will be the most interested person in Ferrari sticking publicly to the #1#2 policy to ensure a peaceful 2013 at RBR, so interests are aligned for both parties.
    Having said so, the ultimate question remains…. is it good or bad to have two roosters?
    This I think, is more a question of how capable and skilled the management is. Racers are, as Keith points out, competitive beasts, as much as any other top sport person. Some play individual but some others play team sports and the balance in the team is to be maintained by the coach, other technical staff or in larger teams by “cohesive” personalities.
    Mathematically, there is no doubt, two #1s do better. Independently of the points allocation method, if they always end up 1-2 they will win both championships (plus the drivers sub-championship for whatever it is worth).
    The reality might be somehow different as Lewis/Fernando proved at McLaren.
    Thuis, the decision has to be based on a risk analysis that every team has to perform considering many factors. The main one might be the drivers but is not the only one. And the addition of other factors might be weighted higher…
    Managing companies for many years, this is what I would do, but since I don’t know how this particular business is run and indeed that I don’t know the strengths and weaknesses of Ferrari I can not say what option is better for them.
    Perhaps somebody else can, but I doubt that anyone outside of a small group in Maranello can really know well enough.

    1. I think you are right that a lot might depend on the overall management of the team, the management of each side of the garage, and the attitudes of the drivers.

      You could have an overall effort to have two gladiators combat in a dog eat dog manner, each side of the garage trying to outdo each other, each driver disliking the other, certain data not being shared etc etc.

      Or there could be a spirit among everyone that they are all there to progress the team in a co-operative way.

      Or any manner of atmosphere on the team in between those two scenarios.

      Both ways can end up with the team progressing to the ultimate goal. And they both still carry the problem of dealing with the drivers when the math dictates one mustn’t rob points form the other if that is what is prudent as the season winds down. The hardest thing being if their points are very close and someone else can come up and split between them as perhaps a lone wolf on another team. It’s hard, but I think it is what the viewing audience deserves, and I think that if all the teams are using their best drivers available in a fair and equal manner, then there shouldn’t be a lone wolf coming up to split a couple of drivers that are thrilling us with a season long rivalry. We should end up with seasons coming down to 4 or 6 potential WDC winners near the end.

  7. Great piece of analysis Keith.

    But as we’ve seen, things change in Formula One. The distribution of F1′s prize money is likely a key point in the ongoing debate over the new Concorde Agreement which governs the sport.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion, “Perhaps this is the final thing that needs to change before the Prancing Horse gets itself a pair of roosters.”

    But as long as Mr. E is CEO of the commercial rights holders, I can’t see a number of things changing like the Ferrari special payment – and this Concorde rather depressingly is for 8 more years.

  8. I respect Ferrari’s purist pursuit of of the WDC. Team’s like RBR and McLaren are too interseted in providing “The Show” for it’s fans. This is too contrived for my liking.
    There’s an aggression and a commitment in Ferrari to spearhead their efforts through 1 driver to win the more important championship.
    I like that.

    1. I like that too.

      As long as the number 2 driver’s competitive, happ and their careers not ruined, then it’s the ideal way to win the most important championship.

      I just hope that if somehow Massa is dominating Alonso 3/4 through the season next year and the only one with a chance of winning the WDC then Alonso would do all he can to help Massa.

      1. Lol, ya why would teams want to actually show us racing in the pinnacle of racing…it’s much less contrived when only one driver at Ferrari is there for the spoils. It’s much less contrived when we know that FM is not there to compete. In the pinnacle of racing. It’s much better to know that the winner at Ferrari has been predetermined in the boardroom before the season begins. That’s much less contrived.

        So as long as FM misses the board meeting, maybe he can dominate FA next year. And maybe Bernie Ecclestone will be FA’s teammate for 2014.

  9. I just know Felipe has it in him to be one of two roosters (the Raikkonen days) so I think it’s Ferrari’s attitude rather than their current driver choice that needs to change.

    But it’s a bit late now and I think the damage is done to Massa’s confidence.

  10. As Keith mentioned, Ferrari are less concerned about the Constructors as it is not as much a monetary benefit to them as it is to the other teams.

    I think what Massa has demonstrated after the summer break (5th in Spa, 4th in Monza, 2nd in Japan, last to 8th in Singapore, 4th in Korea) is exactly the second driver that Ferrari is looking for. And if Red Bull hadn’t taken such a brilliant step forward in terms of race-pace, we would have looked back at these five races and said, “Ferrari’s one rooster policy works. Alonso is consistently scoring points and Massa is always backing him up taking points off rivals even when Alonso is retiring from the race”.

    1. That’s what I don’t like about this team, they don’t seem to care about the WCC even though they have all the Tifosis around the world which are NOT fans of their drivers but the team itself, by the way I think the Constructor’s battle is just as interesting as the drivers’ but maybe that’s because I’m an engineer hehe.

  11. didnt schumacher said in an interview that the reason for 2008 incidents was due to the car development heading towards massa as kimi didn’t get himself involve at all??

    Fernando would definately take over 100% of the car development and make sure it wont be affecting his driving.

  12. There is something wrong with the way Ferrari approach Formula 1. Being very naive and idealistic here: Formula 1, or any other form of motorsport for that matter, is about a set of drivers that battle throughout the season to figure out which one of them is the best (or alternatively: which driver-team combination is the best). I feel like this spirit has been burried long ago, but Ferrari are now digging it up and murdering it all over again.

    Ferrari, by hiring a good and a mediocre driver, are letting the fans down tremendously. Their working method reminds me of how corporations work: it does not matter how, but we are going to get the title. Formula 1 is much more than that.

    I also think that you cannot put the blame on Ferrari entirely: the cash flow in Formula 1 nowadays is astonishing. So of course teams do things that at first glance don’t seem to be in spirit of the sport, as their prior attention is to make money. This is just sad.

    1. I think it’d be very boring if all teams had the same approach to the championship.
      Make no mistake about it, it is every teams primary intention is to make money.
      The sport wouldn’t exist if stakeholders didn’t make money.
      Ferrari’s approach is, in my view, at least interesting and less contrived than the rest.

      1. Make no mistake about it, it is every teams primary intention is to make money.
        The sport wouldn’t exist if stakeholders didn’t make money.

        Well, then isn’t that what’s wrong with the sport today? If the sport would shrink, so the amount of fans is 10 times less, the money teams make is 10 times less etc, wouldn’t the championship be much more fun to watch? By the way, I’m not saying Ferrari is the only team.

        1. @andae23 ya you’re right, it’s called GP2 or Reno 3.5 :)
          But people want to watch the best drivers driving the best technology using the best possible TV coverage.. Tou need big investment for that and that’s what we have now with F1.
          The rules imposed by the FIA should ensure that the sport remains watchable and is not ruined by it’s financial drive.

          Therefore I think Ferrari are right to back one driver for the WDC. And it’s good to watch too.

          1. I would love to watch F1 with worse TV coverage and a less sophisticated car, if that would mean we get to see the best drivers compete for victory. I also think we have a unsolvable disagreement here :)

          2. @andae23…I’m with you 1000%.

            The sport would not exist with the fans, who are the ones paying to be at races and the one’s who must be buying the sponsor’s products, because if they weren’t the sponsor would have learned long ago that being in racing doesn’t pay, and they wouldn’t.

            MW has it completely backwards, and Ferrari are by far the most contrived team when they rob the paying fans of true racing in the pinnacle of racing. There’s is a formula all right. And it can gleen them numbers. But it isn’t honourable imho. And it isn’t sporting. And it isn’t the point of why we watch. A far far better show is one that has all 24 drivers out their performing their best. Not some of them out there to not compete against certain other drivers. That is glorified race fixing under the guise of ‘team play.’

          3. Of course that should read…’The sport would not exist without…’

            And…’Their’s is a formula…’

            Must be getting tired.

  13. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    23rd October 2012, 11:36

    Perhaps a comparison to Red Bull would be in order? It’s quite evident that Red Bull do favor one driver over another (Vettel over Webber), albeit to a lesser extent than Ferrari.

    The difference is that RBR have their drivers on a more equal footing, that is, they still allow Webber to race for results. At the beginning of this year’s F1 season, for instance, did Red Bull back one driver at the clear expense of another? No, they simply supported whichever driver happened to be ahead on pace. The statistics are telling – Webber has been able to bring in his fair share of points when compared to the team’s de facto lead driver.

    Whereas Ferrari have tended to sacrifice one driver for their de jure leader. It’s clear that they’ve thrown the majority of their resources behind Alonso as their sole championship contendor, and to a certain degree, have used Massa as a sort of test driver. Massa apparently trials Alonso’s car setups in FP, and was recently the “guinea pig” for Ferrari’s new exhaust system. Twice this year (Monza and Yeongam), they’ve explicitly slowed down Massa for the benefit of Alonso. Again, the statistics reflect this – Massa has pulled in a meagre amount of points.

    Why has Ferrari faltered in their lead driver/second driver system when compared to RBR? Perhaps it’s Massa’s relative lack of pace. I don’t really think so, considering Massa was winning races before Alonso joined the team, and was in contention for wins and podiums even after his injury.

    More likely, in my opinion, is that they’ve put too many of their proverbial eggs (rooster/hen pun not intended) in the Alonso basket, and as a result neglected Massa’s. In 2010, Alonso’s first Ferrari season, Massa was winning podiums. In 2011, Massa was regularly hauling in points. This year, Massa is skirting the midfield. The more the team focuses on Alonso, the more Massa has slid down the running order.

    I’m not a Red Bull fan, but it seems that the RBR version of the rooster/hen system is far more effective than Ferrari’s. What I think Ferrari need to do is go back to 2007 and 2008, when they ran Raikkonen and Massa along the same lines as Red Bull currently run Webber and Vettel. Those were the days when the Scuderia was a regular challenger for both drivers’ and constructors’ championships. If they did a change of strategy, they could very well regain that position.

    1. astonished (@)
      23rd October 2012, 11:40

      The comparison is in order, but he car is too much of an influencing factor to be a fair one…

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        23rd October 2012, 11:44

        The car is a factor when looking at raw performance of both teams, but my argument is based on comparisons between teammates in identical cars.

        1. astonished (@)
          23rd October 2012, 11:56

          It is a factor, still. With an extremely dominant car, Alonso and Massa would have scored 1-2 all races with a point difference between 0% (both drivers wining same number of races) and -28% (the same driver wining all the races).

          Anywhere from “all the cars are same” where you comparison would be fairer to “extreme domination” as above, the car is a factor when you compare team mates.

          Then more subtleties as “fitting driving style” for one or the other or both might have a role, but it is more subjective to discuss, in my view.

          1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
            23rd October 2012, 12:24

            With an extremely dominant car, Alonso and Massa would have scored 1-2 all races

            Therein is my argument. No matter what car they have, by lavishing manpower and resources on Alonso, Ferrari don’t support Massa enough for him (Massa) to function effectively as a second driver.

            Even with a dominant car, 1-2 finishes are unlikely if one driver doesn’t have as much support from the engineering team – the car doesn’t get tailored to his driving style, his setups aren’t as effective, et cetera.

  14. Ferrari ended speculation over their 2012 driver line-up one week ago

    I think you mean their 2013 line-up :)

  15. Considering Ferrari put the WDC above the WCC, their policy makes absolute sense. Their choice of their support driver is where the problem is. Massa seems unable to support the team consistently.

  16. Contrary to common belief in this column Ferrari are not less interested in the constructor’s championship than in the pilot’s. Montezemolo has publicly stated that Ferrari comes first. Not the pilot. But in most cases you don’t need sacrifices. With very few exceptions the pilot championship also secures the constructor’s title.
    If it were true that Vettel will join Ferrari in the near future it would really be a major departure from their current point of view which I believe is really too old fashioned! After Austria 2002 it became clear even on tv that the fans did not accept what happened there. Schumi was booed at in several circuits. McLaren has showed that it is possible to race 2 winning pilots without compromising the constructor’s title. Having 2 roosters in the hen is acceptable for as long as the title is not decided by flipping a coin like Todt used to do in his pre-F1 years.

  17. I don’t think Vettel would fit in at Ferrari for a much simpler reason: I just can’t see him fitting in with the culture of Ferrari. Ferrari are very particular about the drivers they hire – every driver they hire. Alonso has been called “the most complete driver on the grid”. He is intelligent, indomitable, and can rally the team about him. It’s why he has spent most of the season leading the championship in a car that could barely qualify in the top ten at the start of the season. Hit fits Ferrari to a tee, possibly even moreso than Michael Schumacher did.

    On the other hand, Vettel has an immature streak about him. It’s not to the point of unprofessionalism (I doubt he would post telemetry read-outs on Twitter), but it is there. He’s a double-World Champion, but there are little things about his personality that I just can’t see fitting into the culture at Ferrari – like his fascination with form guides and his need to set the fastest lap just so that the history books can say he did, or his finger-pointing when he qualifies on pole and/or wins the race, or the infamous “yabba-dabba-doooo!!” over the radio. They’re the little things that make Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel, and I just can’t see them being encouraged at Ferrari. If Vettel was told to back off and he ignored the isntruction so he could set the fastest lap of the race, then I imagine Luca di Montezemolo would be enraged by it. And if he shouted “yabba-dabba-doooo!!” over the radio, then the world feed would probably cut to Stefano Domenicali, his face redder than his cars with the embarassment.

    That’s why I think Vettel is being sized up as Alonso’s successor, not his team-mate. By the time Alonso leaves, Vettel will have had a few more years’ experience to his name, his immaturity will be quashed, and he will be much closer to the kind of driver Ferrari employs.

    This, naturally, leaves the question of who Ferrari might take in Massa’s place if they wanted a “second rooster” in the team. It’s a difficult one to answer, because most of the drivers are fairly established in their teams (like Jenson Button), have already had experiences with Ferrari and are unlikely to go back (like Kimi Raikkonen), are too young to truly and reliably assess (like Romain Grosjean), or simply don’t have the X factor that sets about the great drivers from the merely good (like Bruno Senna).

    In all honesty – and this is probably going to be controversial, to say the least – the only driver who I can think of who might fit in is Pastor Maldonado, of all people. Yes, he has his “you utter pillock!” moments, but when he gets it together, he’s on fire. I’m beginning to suspect that the Williams FW34 is actually much further down the order than it once was, which makes some of his recent drives (particularly Singapore) all the more impressive. If you’re willing to look past his embarrassing moments and focus on his highlights – qualifying on the front row in Barcelona and Singapore, qualifying in the top three in Valencia, and, of course, winning in Barcelona – there’s an undeinable turn of speed there. If his recklessness could be hammered out of him, he’d be a force to be reckoned with, because I believe he might just have the ability to drive a car beyond its limits. Perhaps it is not as pronounced as Alonso’s, but I think a smarter and sharper Maldonado might just be the kind of driver Ferrari could take. If they could hammer out his insolence and his rough patches.

    1. Not controversial PM. The most sensible choice of what’s our there and looks to be available for 2014 – unless we do the Massa dance all over again next year.

      Maybe Kamui would have been a possibility if they’d replaced Massa for 2013, but he’s probably out of F1 in 4 races times.

      If Perez has a good year for McLaren, they’ll not want him out – and if he’s poor Ferrari wouldn’t be interested.

      Unless Di Resta has a good Indian GP, he is starting to look decidedly second best to his team mate, who could be worth a shout for Ferrari in 12 months – but the catch 22 is if the ‘Hulk’ has a good 2013, is he going to want to play ‘Red No.2’?

      However I beg to differ over Grosjean. At the end of 2013 he may be perceived quite differently from the Grosjean we have now. His present profile is not too dissimilar to Maldonado and a good 2013 – read… do roughly what he did this year without the DNF’s – may persuade both him and Ferrari that a couple of years under Alonso may leave him in prime position (I avoided the obvious) with the team thereafter.

    2. No offense but I can’t say Seb wouldn’t fit in team Ferrari (professionally or personally)…
      Remember Alonso’s weird birdlike poses he made when he got out of his winning Renault some years back? Every race another funny pose.
      I’ve seen drivers move to more ‘professional’ teams often and they completely changed their style to their new team’s policy (in the media at least). Red Bull Racing just have this ‘open/young/fancy’ image they want to put out there, like the hip/cool drinks, drivers are surely reflecting that. For instance if Lewis Hamilton was driving/partying for Red Bull you’d see him in quite another light I think, although McLaren embraced the media a bit more (since Dennis left).

    3. @PM…interesting choice of wording ‘second rooster’…are you suggesting PM could be number 2 but more effective than FM has been in the supporting role for the sake of the WCC?

      I agree with your assessment in terms of SV not being ready for the Ferrari culture, but I don’t think that is a high priority in any thoughts, if any, LdM or SD might currently have about SV. ie. I don’t think they were considering SV for 2013 at all, let alone due to a maturity level or a stage in his personality. I think if they genuinely wanted SV to partner FA, and FA ok’d it, which might be part of his agreement with the team, SV would strongly consider it but more likely not want to leave the comfort of Red Bull yet anyway, such are the WDC’s he is gleening by being there and not on a 3rd place team with a 2-time WDC.

      I agree completely that they could have already talked to him about the future, post-FA though…I just don’t think they are really watching his maturity all that much. When the time comes, that won’t be a problem, imho. MS had the fist pumps and the leaps on the podium. And other behaviours far more embarassing.

      I’m just unclear as to what you would expect Ferrari to do with a PM. You say he could be refined by them, but do you envision him fighting for wins at a changed Ferrari? Or are you asking PM to play the dutiful number 2 but stronger than FM has been for FA? What does it say about this driver you have eloquently analysed and his character, if he goes to a place that ensures he will have no WDC’s?

  18. As Joe Saward pointed out, if Ferrari come second in the WDC, they’ll still earn more money than Red Bull (and if Jean Todt implements his points-based entry fee, will pay substantially less to compete next year).

    Coupled with the profit from their road car sales margins, I think it’s obvious that Ferrari prizes keeping the #1 driver happy over the race teams bottom line, especially compared to their historic spending when testing was unlimited.

    re: the prize-based fees, it will certainly be interesting if manufacturers start strategically gaming the championship to offset their budget for the next year.

  19. Couldn’t agree more with this article, Ferrari are trying to live their season out how they would have done a decade ago. I’ve long thought that they’re not bothered about the Constructors for the financial reasons laid out, plus there is so much more ‘romance’ to Ferrari bagging a drivers championship than perhaps any other team.

    Ferrari have been honest in their difficulties this year with their own wind tunnel. The car did not have a very good base but there’s everything to suggest that they will be stronger in Australia come 2013. They’re making use of the tunnel in Cologne and given their highly praised damage limitation with Alonso this year there’s a lot of promise for them next year. Ferrari just have to hope that the other teams aren’t too far out of touch so Massa can’t hold them up when needed.

    1. so Massa *can hold them up

  20. The thing is though, winning the WDC and winning the WCC are not mutually exclusive goals. They both rely ultimately on having a combination of a fast car, good teamwork, and a driver capable of extracting the potential of the car on a regular basis. Even prioritising one shouldn’t necessarily harm your chances of winning the other. And even, to an extent, tactics which maximise the potential for one driver to win the WDC can help to win the WCC; if you have a good driver in the second seat then he will take points off of the number 1 driver’s rivals. The problem for Ferrari is that Massa has failed to support them in both the WDC and the WCC. When Alonso has had a good result, Massa hasn’t been there with him taking points off his rivals, which means that the difference in points between Alonso and the other drivers hasn’t been as great as it could/should have been. This in turn means that Ferrari hasn’t gained the maximum number of constructors’ points available.

    This is the big problem for Ferrari; when the tactic of having clearly defined number 1 and number 2 drivers works well, it pays off, but when one of your drivers is as poor as Massa has been, questions about driver status become irrelevant. No amount of tactics and strategy will make up for the points deficit he creates by driving so poorly. Ferrari’s problem then, is not that they have a rooster and a hen, but that they have a rooster and a lame duck.

    1. @mazdachris

      the tactic of having clearly defined number 1 and number 2 drivers works well, it pays off, but when one of your drivers is as poor as Massa has been, questions about driver status become irrelevant

      But this is partly what I said in the article: if you have a policy of a clear number one and number two driver, you’re not going to be able to attract a sufficiently talented number two driver. The maths show they need someone quicker than Massa, but would someone quicker than Massa put up with being Alonso’s lapdog?

      1. @keithcollantine

        It’s a difficult question to answer since we can’t be sure exactly who on the grid would be faster than Massa. I’d imagine someone like De La Rosa would be happy to get into a Ferrari, even if it did mean being subordinate to Alonso. But that’s the problem Ferrari have; who would be faster than Massa while still being happy to play second fiddle? Webber decided it wasn’t a job he was interested in (despite the many people here who seem to believe he’s in exactly the same position in Red Bull).

        However, it’s worth asking just how sincere Luca really is in what he’s saying. When Raikkonen and Massa were teammates, it appeared that they were allowed to race each other fairly at the start of the season, and preferential treatment was only given when one driver appeared to have a significantly greater chance of securing the championship. This seems at odds with how his hen/rooster comments have been interpreted. Interpreted being the operative word; in actual fact, all the statement implies is that they would be after a driver who they didn’t think would clash with Alonso. It doesn’t necessarily follow that they would prevent the ‘number 2’ from racing Alonso at the start of the season if they turned out to be a match for him. The only times they’ve used team orders on Massa have been when he’s effectively been out of contention for the championship, so it’s hard to assess exactly what their policy is. Remember as well that at the time Raikkonen was replaced with Alonso, Ferrari had no reason to think that Massa’s performance was going to drop off; the were looking at the pre-2009, championship contending Massa. They effectively put Alonso alongside someone they considered to be a genuine championship contender. Who knows how that might have panned out had Massa not had his accident.

        Certainly though, I’d say there’s enough evidence to suggest that Ferrari haven’t had a policy of a clear number 2 who is always obliged to get out of the star driver’s way since Rubens Barrichello left. They may prefer to have a driver who is naturally slower than their ace, but it doesn’t necessarily imply that they wouldn’t be allowed to race them at the start of the season. They certainly haven’t said that directly, at least, and Stefano has openly said that they think they could manage two top level drivers side by side at Ferrari. That’s a more direct statement than anything involving poultry!

        1. @mazdachris, @keithcollantine, can I throw a name out there and suggest Timo Glock as Ferrari driver no 2?

          I think he is the most under rated driver on the grid, and has done a cracking job in the Marussia over the last couple of seasons. Unfortunately he is in such a slow car few people notice.

          While I agree that there is a difficulty in attracting a sufficiently talented driver to be Fernando’s lap dog, surely even that would be better than trundling around the back of the grid race after race?

          1. @mazdachris … I think that there is a chance they didn’t expect KR to lag as much as he did vs. FM that one year…they may have thought KR was going to be the rooster but he just couldn’t get it together for them to make that come to fruition to the degree they expected. Still won the WDC but not by stamping his authority on it or his teammate.

            And I think that since 2010, certainly mid-way, if not by the very hiring of FA in 09, it can be said that the policy, as now confirmed by LdM in his comments, has been in place to some degree for 2 decades. I just think KR wasn’t the rooster for them that they and many thought he would be. And FM never was but it was to KR’s weaknesses that year with the car moreso than they expected or even wanted FM to be a rooster.

            Do I think that there might be more leaway at the start of the season for the number 2 to actually be allowed a win? For sure, I can imagine several scenarios that might allow that, one of them being to make themselves not look so heartless to the non-rooster to the viewing audience that obviously has a sensitivity about this sort of thing, while there is still a full season of points ahead and plenty of time to mould things the ‘right’ way.

          2. I think to Keith’s excellent article and point, the math no longer makes sense to have a clear number 2, and it is so hard to find a ‘foggy’ number 2, one who will be within tenths of seconds of FA yet willing to forgo that potential to be a lapdog to help someone else win the WDC, that they should just hire two gladiators and let them have at it.

            Imho, they’ll not only give themselves a better chance at both Championships, they’ll thrill the paying viewing audience who are trying to enjoy a sport, not a fixed business.

            So, firstly, why would anyone so close in performance to FA give that up by agreeing to subservancy, and secondly, if as Keith suggests others who are not so close to FA don’t any longer make sense to be hired to partner him, then I think it is high time they started to rethink their policy, for themselves and everyone else to benefit.

          3. In fairness to FM… he did have an accident, he did have a team order that proved what everyone suspected was possible (they didnt’ hire FA for him (FM) to win), the tires have been a greater challenge, they did change the car dramatically over last year’s likely to FA’s liking given LdM’s confirmation of the ‘pecking’ order, he is not the rooster on the team. And he may have adapted anyway if present races are any evidence.

            I think FM is bigger than most give him credit for. I think he, like LH did, needs a change. Not saying he’s at LH’s level. Not saying I know to where, but I think he has the potential to show us much more, once unencumbered in a freer team philosophy. And I don’t discount how his experiences have been shaping him for when it does happen. I think several teams might jump at the chance to have FM, and I think a Ferrari powered team would have access to a lot of data on him to help in that regard. Or maybe he needs to move furher away from the roost than that…you know…spread his wings.

  21. On the first page of your Ferrari-carrer
    The future seemed so bright
    Then this spring turned out so evil
    I don’t know why I’m still surprised
    Even angels have wicked schemes
    And Fernando takes that to new extremes
    But you’ll always be my hero
    Even though you’ve lost your pace

    1. However I’m optimistic that Felipe can turn out to be a “rooster” next season, given how strongly he’s performing in the races right now.

  22. As a die-hard Alonso fan it probably comes as no surprise that I am in favour of one rooster. But my view of this has not been created from 2010 onwards but more from the mid 1980’s. (And I believe FA would beat SV over a championship in the same machinery.)

    My view stems from the fact that I believe that if the car is the fastest on the grid then the 2 roosters approach works admirably and should, in theory, be the sporting decision. Conversely, if you have 2 teams vying for the title, I believe a one rooster approach is better. The problem is, how would you know?

    If we go back to 1984, Prost and Lauda were able to fight each other because a McLaren driver was certain of the championship. Same goes for 1987, 88 and 89. 1992 started this ‘Ferrari Approach’ up until, realistically, 1998. IMO Hill should have done a more convincing job in 1996.

    1998 is a funny one. Coulthard was very much a top driver in 97 but in Jerez was ordered to move across to give Mika the win. Fair enough, but from race one in 1998 it was clear it was Mika who would be the serious title contender. As a Scotsman, I can’t say I was greatly impressed with the decision. In 2000, Ferrari could not afford to have a driver who took points from Michael, for the reasons Keith has stated above. Fisichella was signed to challenge Alonso but in reality that was a complete mismatch.

    Then in 2007, we had proof of why a strong team wins the title. McLaren should have backed one of their drivers earlier in the season. Its great to have hindsight but at the time there were many who said the same. Ferrari the next year completely backed Massa. Red Bull have always backed Vettel and although Horner does his best to make it seem like there is team unity and an even playing field, he always lays it on too thick. Silverstone and Turkey 2010 proved that RB back SV. And why shouldn’t they? If you’ve got one of the top drivers of his generation you must give him everything imo rather than scoring own goals. Germany 2010 left a sour taste at the time but given Massa’s form after that, could anyone really say that they wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing?

    As a fan of Alonso, I would not be scared to see Vettel next to him. But I would hate it if Hamilton won the title due to internal squabbling.

    1. @rbalonso

      Germany 2010 left a sour taste at the time but given Massa’s form after that, could anyone really say that they wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing?

      Given that Alonso failed to win the title, and that Massa’s performances have only got worse since the hammer-blow of being forced to give that win up, I certainly don’t think it was justified. And I think they were very fortunate the recent change of president at the FIA meant that instead of getting the punishment they deserved, the team orders ban was instead rescinded.

      1. I think that is a little unfair on Todt tbh, @keithcollantine. Team orders were unenforceable and were used by every team at one stage or another during the ban. There are always double standards with regard to them, everyone agrees that were it the final race of the championship that it is a no-brainer, but have moral issues if used before then. In the cut-throat nature of f1, I think it is a business decision.

        I also think that by that point Alolnso had justified himself as number one in the team, especially with the pit lane move in China. The real hammer blow I felt for Massa was in Bahrain. He outqualifed the double champion on his return, but lost the first corner to Alonso and when Vettel retired, the Maranello had a new poster boy. Things could have been very different had Massa won in Bahrain.
        You refer to Hockenheim as a ‘hammer blow’ but, in fact after Hockenheim Massa was on the podium again twice. His run of results was better after Hockenheim than before it.
        Before Germany he had 3 top 4 finishes in ten rounds.
        After Germany 4 in 8.
        Before 67 points in 10.
        After 59 in 8.
        Ferrai then had the option of ditching Massa for his below par performances and hire Robert Kubica, but he was rewarded with a Ferrari race seat in the following 3 seasons.

        My point is, if Ferrari had won the title by one point, history would justify the decision. Massa’s form only really fell apart on the Pirelli tyre and since his accident he has been no-where near Alonso. His performances did not noticeably fluctuate after the incident.

        I think that it is a little unfair to infer that Todt would have acted differently had it been Red Bull. It is his job to remain impartial and I have no reason to question Todt on Ferrari bias. This coming from an Alonso fan who watched the FIA go out of their way to punish him and Renault in Monza and Hungary.

      2. astonished (@)
        23rd October 2012, 22:58

        what a great opportunity to remain silent is lost….

  23. I will enjoy delving into this topic when I have a bit more time, but for now suffice it to say I’ve enjoyed this analysis of why the MS/Ferrari way doesn’t mathematically make sense any more.

    I’ve had to quickly scan the article and some responses but when I have more time I’d like to collect my thoughts further. I don’t know if anyone has said it, and I don’t think Keith has mentioned this in his article, but with the lack of testing nowadays there is more incentive to have the two very best drivers you can get on your team to help advance the car more quickly and efficiently…therefore there is big potential in both drivers squeezing out competitors by more quickly solving problems with the car that perhaps a weaker driver pairing may not arrive at as quickly.

  24. The problem is that too much focus has been put on felipes poor performances this season and it true their has been a couple, australia, maylasia and spain in particular(these were before felipe found a setup on the f2012 that worked for him in monaco)

    I was surprised by the hooha around massa’s performance in korea when he was close to alonso like it was the first time this season, something which couldnt be further from the truth. Korea was the 8th time that massa had finished a race within 10(often less) seconds of alonso this season. Not bad considering the plaudits alonso has been getting this season.

    The problem ferrari face is that if they put a driver 2 tenths of a second quicker in the second ferrari they wont only get closer to fernando they will reguarly start beating him.

  25. Sem (@05abrahamsemere)
    23rd October 2012, 19:23

    I’ve already said that Vettel is overrated…I ‘ll repeat again, put Button there if you want ‘two roosters’. Vettel is a spoilt brat who can only win when he has the best car and in the right conditions. The wise experienced heads of Alonso-Button are a much better combination than Alonso-Vettel.

    1. @05abrahamsemere
      You can say it as many times as you want and it still wont make it true.
      Backing it up with facts and analysis will help you a lot more then repeating:

      Vettel is a spoilt brat who can only win when he has the best car and in the right conditions.

      even a billion times.

    2. @05abrahamsemere 25 wins, 34 poles, 2 world titles and leading another one. Without anything to back your “opinion” up, you can say all you want, but you’ll still be laughed at.

    3. @05abrahamsemere Not remember how Button managed to have such a huge performance advantage in ’09? Double diffuser ring any bells?

      Now, I’m not saying that Button’s win was down to the car, not in the slightest, but you can’t argue Button is a better option over Vettel if you’re going to use that rubbish argument.

  26. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    23rd October 2012, 19:58

    This was the idea behind McLaren getting Button and Hamilton. We all know what happened there;-) It’s a great strategy if you have the fastest car throughout the whole season. If you don’t have the fastest car then the team has to focus on 1 driver. If RB has a #1 driver which no one can deny, then any top team that chooses to support 2 drivers is at an automatic disadvantage. The only way to offest the #1 driver advantage is a much faster car, higher reliability and better strategies, plus tons of luck. Just a lot easier to go with a #1 driver and a competitive car – it’s a no brainer.

  27. I have other interests that I’m much more knowledgeable about, but none that I enjoy more than F1. Articles like this are one of the reasons why. Great job, Keith!

  28. At the end of the day Alonso has had it easy with Massa. I have always believed an on form Massa to be more than a match for Alonso something he is proving lately, and i hope it continues just as Barrichello started to pressurise Schuey. But you cannot compare a driver whoefully underperforming as Massa has been over the last two seasons with a guy who is cosseted by the team and at the top of of his game.

  29. Anthony Swift (@)
    23rd October 2012, 21:21

    Vettel and Alonsowould be awsome

  30. In the light of this discussion, can someone tell me what was the best, strongest and most succesful driver pairing in F1 (ie. that they didnt want to kill each other like 82, 88-89 and 07, and that they were winning)??

    1. I would say Mansell and Patrese in 92. My history of F1 in the 1950’s is not great but I think Fangio got on well with Moss

  31. If they kept Kimi with Alonso, they paid his salary anyway. 2010 would have been done and dusted – both WDC and WCC, 2011 would have been a much better year. 2012 WCC and WDC contenders.

    Money talks at Ferrari, hard too see how they deserve a Championship the way they act. Makes me sad for hundreds of people working behind the scenes at Ferrari, while LdM and Santander playing fantasy football.

  32. Nevertheless, despite Keith’s data-driven analysis, Ferrari signed Massa for 2013. Why is this then?

    1. Because they have FA right now, and the team is set up to favour him, and they aren’t about to read Keith’s excellent analysis and change their whole team philosophy that goes back at least 2 decades. This is the mode they are in right now, and while it would be awesome to see SV go to Ferrari after FM is gone, I think it is unlikely and they will replace FM with another driver who will play the number 2 role, likely one just happy to actually be at Ferrari, knowing the only way he is there is because he has agreed to their philosophy.

  33. Barichello played dutiful number 2 to Schumacher in 2002?

    Errm no, never before has team orders been so painfully pointed out by the number 2 driver as they were at Austria 2002. Hardly “dutiful number 2”. Rubens made sure EVERYONE knew what was happening that day, imagine if Ralf Schumacher had made such a fuss about the team orders at Spa 1998… but did Ralf even mention this in the ost race interviews? No.

    Actually I was watching quite alot of 2002 qualifying etc replays & one thing is clear. Rubens was always allowed to race Schumacher for qualifying position, & my guess is that once MS had outqualified Rubens all the eggs were thrown in his basket for race day so to speak.

    Sure Austria 2002 was clar team orders, but again so was spa 1998, so was singapore with alonso etc & bout 100 other examples by a variety of teams (red bull front wings at silverstone anyone?) so I find it strange to simply single out Ferrari as doing what they always do. From what I see they merely appear to be doing what ALL the teams do, with the possible exception of Mclaren

    1. No the big difference is that Ferrari uses a number 2 from race 1 of each season in reality. They gear the car toward the number 1 which immediately puts the 2 on his hind foot at the start of the season. The whole atmosphere on the team is about the 1. From race 1. The other umpteen examples you cite are more like one-offs when they are prudent at the time, and overwhelmingly the bulk of team orders come when the season is winding down and one driver on a team has a better mathematical WDC shot than the other. That’s the way it should be, and that’s why you have seen orders used often, but nobody has ever used them anywhere near like Ferrari has used them from race 1 of every season, season after season.

      In Austria 02, RB played the dutiful number 2, but the difference was that for a change he owned the weekend, outqualified everyone, and lead the bulk of the race, and combined with the fact that MS already had a comfortable lead in the standings, he was still told to pull over and it was like a straw that broke the camels back. I think he was convinced that in spite of his contracted role, he had earned that one. And all the fans who reacted in disgust obviously agreed.

      Sure RB was allowed to outqualify MS on occasion (keeping in mind RB was always driving a car built for MS) because it is harder to hold a driver back for quali without making it look so obvious, but MS had the luxury of knowing that no matter where RB qualified (usually behind MS due to being in MS’s car) he would still have the upper hand over RB in the race by contract. MS had no psychological or physical concerns about a teammate throughout his career at Ferrari. So it was never a matter of MS having to earn the ‘eggs’ for Sunday by outqualifying RB on Saturday. RB had to do his best in MS’s car on a team designed for MS only to succeed, and if he happened to occasionally outqualify MS, that was like a bone they would throw him, a pat on the back, ‘way to go RB, but of course you will remember your role on Sunday…it’s in your contract.’

  34. Look at Vettel’s all teammates LOL

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