Did Massa hurt his reputation by following team orders?


There are a few interesting issues to be found in Martin Brundle’s take on the German Grand Prix’s Ferrari controversy.

The one that most raised by eyebrows was whether Felipe Massa wrecked his reputation. Here’s Brundle:

Massa should have either have said ‘no’, or done it with some conviction. After the stops on lap 23 Alonso was clearly quicker on hard tyres, but he fumbled his one chance of a genuine overtake by going the wrong side into Turn Seven.

I’ve seen a lot of this team strategy business and my strong advice to any established driver is to simply ignore the request, win the race, and handle the nuclear fallout afterwards. Otherwise you self-esteem and public credibility are finished. Mark Webber has a good handle on this, I would say.

That’s a pretty strong statement. He also adds some perspective on the difference between Massa and Fernando Alonso:

Millions of fans will adore Alonso, millions more will despise him, and he doesn’t give a fig.

He’s a winning machine who’s found his way from Asturias to already having two F1 championships in his pocket. Champion racing drivers are ruthless, selfish, complex people. If you’re looking for someone to love or take on holiday then it’s the wrong place to look.

I played the sportsmanlike and balanced role in my career because that’s my nature, like Massa, and I significantly underperformed my potential. I could have done with some Schumacher and Alonso unreasonableness.

That seems a pretty succinct way of summing both drivers up. (Maybe Alonso’s “ruthless, selfish, complex” nature is what I reacted to earlier.) It is hard to imagine Massa complaining over the radio the way we’ve heard Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, among others, do in the past. Alonso and Hamilton both are world champs. Pretty easy to piece that together, based on Brundle’s comments.

But back to Massa. Brundle really takes him apart, at least by my reading. Has this incident dramatically changed your opinion of Massa? Is his reputation shot?

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