F1 Was Felipe Right to Stay Put?

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There’s been a rosy vibe in and around Williams so far this year. A quick car, a well-received title sponsorship deal with the iconic Martini brand, and the welcome addition of Felipe Massa to their ranks has left the Grove-based team brimming with confidence.

With the unwelcome ‘team orders’ debate wading in however, is their time in paradise coming to a premature end?

Felipe Massa’s ignorance in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix is an intriguing one. The radio call for the Brazilian to let teammate Valterri Bottas past for 7th place, with ten laps to go, has sent the F1 fan community into a frenzy. It wasn’t the order itself, but the resemblance to that message Massa received during his Ferrari days, at the German Grand Prix in 2010; “Fernando is faster than you.”

And we all know what that meant.


Never Again: Massa and Alonso in the 2010 German Grand Prix (Photo credit: Ferrari Media)


It was that order that provided the seed of Massa’s breakdown in relationship with the Prancing Horse. Gone was the exuberant, light-hearted, bouncy, and ultimately quick Brazilian F1 driver – replacing him was a straight-faced, repressed, unhappy, mediocre performer. A mere shadow of his former self.

It’s those events in Germany, and the profound affect it had on Massa, that now threatens to unsettle H.M.S Williams-Martini after such promising start to 2014. OK, so race results haven’t gone to plan, and that’s largely down to rain-affected qualifying sessions and a questionable grid-drop decision by the FIA for Bottas (at least in Malaysia) but the pace, especially in race-trim, is clearly there.

Nonetheless, the post-Malaysia debrief must have brought an unwelcome atmosphere to the team. One that in hindsight, probably matched that of the “Multi-21″ fiasco at the same race last season.


Mass being chased down by Bottas in Malaysia (Photo credit: Williams F1/LAT)


So, was Massa justified in his stance? From a team perspective, certainly not. Felipe was holding up a BOTTAS TURBO CHARGE*, and the Finn had the upper hand with his newer Pirellis, and almost certainly would have been in a better position to launch an attack on Jenson Button’s McLaren for 6th. That being said, a big name driver coming into a team halting itself from a state of free fall; can he really be expected to make way for his relatively inexperienced teammate? I’m not so sure.

Felipe Massa personally excused his ignorance by claiming that the superior traction of the McLaren would have meant Bottas wouldn’t have been able to get past regardless. And then there’s always the argument that if Bottas could have indeed overtook Button, he’d have been able to overtake Massa in the first place anyhow. The ifs and buts go on, and will probably continue to do so.

Here’s food for thought: would ‘Felipe Baby’ have yielded if his ole’ buddy Rob Smedley had been the one telling him to back down? If anything, Malaysia has proved that Massa is a reinvented racing driver at Williams. A driver tiresome of the politics and other external interference that ruined his Ferrari career, and which threatened to impact in only his second race with Williams.

However stronger Massa may be though in Williams-clad overalls, his refusal to play devil’s advocate in Malaysia may well point to trouble further down the line for the Brazil-Grove partnership. Only time will tell.

*Badger GP trademarked

Do you have a different take on whether Felipe Massa should have moved aside or not? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joe Diamond
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This article "Was Felipe Right to Stay Put?" originally found on Badger GP

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Stormy_be

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In my opinion it was a mistake of Massa to block him.
IF he would have let Bottas go by, and Bottas wouldn't be able to overtake Button, he could have radio-ed in to have bottas slow down on the last lap and let him pass by again.
If bottas would have been able to overtake, Massa would now have a "you-owe-me"-card from bottas.
It would have been a win-win situation.

Now it will have put a less atmosphere in the team.

IF in the future, the same would happen the other way round (it's not unlikely Bottas will end up in front of Massa) ...do you think Bottas will let Massa by after this??
Massa has created a lose-lose in the long run.

My vision.

Regards, Koen
 

t-tony

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I just wish they COULD outlaw team orders but as we all know that's almost impossible.:bashhead:
 

Stormy_be

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It's even more then "team order". Your have "sister"-team etc, too.
Impossible to outlaw something like that.

When a driver likes an other driver, he may let him pass easier then some other that he has had trouble with in the past.
Where is the difference between a driver making that call or the team?

Also outside of the race: outlawing team orders, does that mean that mechanics from 1 driver can't talk to the mechanics from the other driver and pass information? It can also be very valuable info.
The same goes for different teams with the same engine.

Racing-drivers might have become too ego-centric.
They are not the only factor that makes them get good results or bad results.
In the end, the driver works for his boss.
He get's paid to do what his boss tells him.
When my boss tells me a certain job must be done by my colleague, I might not agree, and I might argue with him for a minute, but it's my bosses decision.

So, although I like Massa, I hope the team could give Massa a sanction like keeping part of his pay-check.
 

hard top

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Could the Team Boss not slow down Massa's car from the pits...ha ha.
 

t-tony

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It's even more then "team order". Your have "sister"-team etc, too.
Impossible to outlaw something like that.

When a driver likes an other driver, he may let him pass easier then some other that he has had trouble with in the past.
Where is the difference between a driver making that call or the team?

Also outside of the race: outlawing team orders, does that mean that mechanics from 1 driver can't talk to the mechanics from the other driver and pass information? It can also be very valuable info.
The same goes for different teams with the same engine.

Racing-drivers might have become too ego-centric.
They are not the only factor that makes them get good results or bad results.
In the end, the driver works for his boss.
He get's paid to do what his boss tells him.
When my boss tells me a certain job must be done by my colleague, I might not agree, and I might argue with him for a minute, but it's my bosses decision.

So, although I like Massa, I hope the team could give Massa a sanction like keeping part of his pay-check.
No, what I mean by team orders is falsely controlling the race by manipulating their drivers during the race or even as hardtop mentioned by controlling the cars from the pit wall as they used to via telemetry. By and large drivers do have massive ego's so not any one of them would let his rival, let alone his team mate,against who he is ultimately measured overtake for no good reason. Just my opinion on overpaid prima donna's.:ymdevil:
 

hard top

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Williams' Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas resolve team orders row
By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Bahrain

Bottas added: "We discussed it. We have clear rules for the future."
Massa claims the team have apologised to him.
The 32-year-old former Ferrari driver added that he agreed with the concept of team orders.
He pointed out he had allowed Kimi Raikkonen to win the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2007 so his Ferrari team-mate could claim the title that year.
"I'm not against team orders," Massa said. "It is part of our sport.
"I don't think it damaged my relationship with the team,"

Massa v Bottas in team-orders battle



 

Woody100

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My view is a simple one !
They are racing drivers and want to win that's why they are where they are.
They all have a passion to be the fastest and win at any cost so if Bottas was faster than Massa then why did he not use the tools available and overtake him like he wanted to with Button ?? After all he had 10 laps to do it !

Racing is racing so let them race !
 

Stormy_be

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IF they would be funding their own team, their own car, their own everything, then you are completely right: THEN they should/could fight for every meter.

The ego's of the racing drivers you describe his leaded to multiple cases where team mates crash into each other.
Even in current employement, you see that more and more people only have one agenda: their own personal agenda/career. The company they work for, and that company that pays them only comes second.
 
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