If you were going to ignore team orders, this is not the way to do it. Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix had Ferrari’s Felipe Massa leading teammate Fernando Alonso for several laps and the team eventually radioed Massa giving him instructions to move over. Alonso is second place in the driver’s championship while Massa languishes down the order.
In an act of defiance, Massa ignored the message and chose not to yield to his teammate. Massa has vowed to finish the season driving for himself and no one else. It’s a noble charter and one easily imagined as the Brazilian is seeking a drive for 2014 so his race performances mean everything at this point.
Many fans have serious issues with team orders and would love nothing else than to see drivers ignore those orders and go on to finish the race on their terms. Problem is, Alonso passed Massa anyway and it didn’t take team orders to show us why Massa is on his way out of Ferrari at the end of this year.
The team order in this case was a mere formality to make it as easy as possible for Alonso to pass but in the end, the Spaniard dusted his teammate and made quick work of it anyway.
If you’re going to defy the team and ignore team orders, best you have the muscle to back that up or look silly when your teammate passes you anyway. Is there any ramifications for Massa’s disobedience? Not according to team boss Stefano Domenicali:
“Felipe is trying to be as quick as possible, and I can understand his feeling,” said Domenicali.
“But of course he will find the team totally supporting him until the end of the season, no problem.
“At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on track.”
And that, as they say, is that.