Alonso's & Fans' Expectations When Behind Massa In A Grand Prix

Been meaning to write about the Ferrari team mate situation and Alonso's, broadcasters' and fans' expectations if/when Fernando is directly behind Felipe in a Grand Prix. So, I figured today would be the day because of some commentary by Brundle during the telecast and some of the fans comments on CTA, like:

I like to see team mates allowed to race each other, but if Massa hadn't held up Alonso that much Alonso might have been fighting for a podium and Massa would likely have finished in the same position.
...it did cost Ferrari dearly. Alonso was clearly a lot faster. If he wasn't held up by Massa in the first stints, he would have been further ahead and probably about halfway in the race somewhere in between the Hamilton-Webber-Button scrabble instead of catching it at the end. He did have the pace to follow them, while Massa clearly hadn't.
Presuming there was no Team orders, Then it is also Alonso's responsibility to get past Massa. Perhaps a little unfortunate to be behind Massa when Massa was within 1sec of another in the DRS zone.

But yeah, looking at the pace in his final stint. Alonso was really hindered and perhaps could of even been second. And ,more questions about Massas race pace, and weather he is good enough for Ferrari.
Notwithstanding Felipe being generally the slower driver overall in this pairing, the fact of the matter is that today Alonso himself publicly admitted that he wasn't fast enough on the tyres during the first two stints. I don't get BBC "Forum" but this from Vortex:

Yup, on the forum when asked about the subject Alonso said that Massa wasn’t holding him up on the first two tyre stints, this looks the case once they cleared Rosberg as Massa then pulled away from Alonso. Once they were on the third sets Alonso was then the quicker of the two, he said he didn’t know why but they would look into it.
Regardless, this is more about over-all "racing" philosophy and Alonso's, broadcasters' and his fans' overall expectations as opposed to one event in particular.

What is to be expected when Alonso comes up behind Massa in a "race"?

On the one hand, they (including Brundle on the BBC) would argue that Massa's not as fast and, so, should move over when Alonso comes up behind him so as not to "slow Nando up" and so "Nando can get more points", etc...

On the other hand, if Felipe's always going to be behind at the end of a stint, he's always going to get second (usually the less optimal) call at the pits.

You can't have it both ways.

You can't have Massa subjugated and then judge him like a driver in another more 'equal' pairing.

Either let him "race" (and let Alonso finish where he may) ... Or don't judge him like you would Button v Hamilton or Rosberg v Schumacher or Webber v Vettel.

It wouldn't be a fair comparison.

Massa visibly and notably has moved over or left the door wide open for Alonso at Australia, Hungary and Japan...and provided a tow for Alonso down the front straight at Monza during qualifying. He also entered the meeting at Korea this weekend without the new Front Wing upgrade which Alonso ran.

Imagine the uproar with the press had Webber been Alonso's team mate and not also gotten use of the new development?

Massa has now out-qualified Nando for the 4th time (all over the last 6 meetings) this year. Not a good record...but not a bad trend either. Massa's only hope of a decent F1 career after his Ferrari contract is out is to qualify within 1 to 1-and-a-half 10ths of Alonso - on average - and occasionally beat him in races. That would be a good achievement for someone benchmarked against 'One Of The Top 3 Drivers On The Grid', etc.

But if Alonso's and his fan's expectation is that Massa is to simply move over and "stop holding him up", then how is Massa to be judged by other Team Principals for future employment?

In addition, philosophically speaking, why should Alonso have a "free pass" with his team mate when the likes of a Hamilton has to fight like a Dog with Button at places like China, Canada, Hungary and Italy whilst, at the same time, Webber does Vettel no favours of any kind whatsoever.

Why should Alonso have it so easy?

Lastly, what would Alonso do in the case where a Webber or a Button or, heck, even a Hamilton or a Vettel was his teammate in 2010 or 2011?

I could argue that Alonso's points haul would be actually worse for 2010 and for 2011 had one of these other four - as opposed to Massa - been his team mate.

I have tried to write a balanced thread topic...and I'd love to know what CTA members think of this situation.

Regards,

Ray
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
Great post Ray.:thumbsup:
I think that they should just be free to race. In the end (as you said), it is up to Alonso to get past Massa, and,with all the toys available, if Alonso truly is faster then he should be able to get past him (and the only reason Nando got ahead of Massa was due to Massa hitting unpitted cars). If Massa was asked to move over in a race to let the Ferrari 'royalty' come through, then he may as well be asked to hold other cars up, or even crash into them (a bit far-fetched, I know). Imagine how demoralising that would be for Massa. Surely Ferrari, as a respected (many will disagree) team, couldn't tell one of their drivers to move over week in, week out even when the championship is decided?
 

Andy Karter

Rookie
For me team-mates should work together. It may be an idealistic notion but clearly if the following car is being held up the other should let him through. Neither car is then being compromised and both should benefit on the basis that time is not being lost defending a position. The arrangement needs to be reciprocal and if once passed no progress is being made the positions should be reversed.
 

Wombcat

Podium Finisher
For me team-mates should work together. It may be an idealistic notion but clearly if the following car is being held up the other should let him through. Neither car is then being compromised and both should benefit on the basis that time is not being lost defending a position. The arrangement needs to be reciprocal and if once passed no progress is being made the positions should be reversed.
Yeah, that was my point with my remark. And my observation was based on the fact that during the second stint Alonso was suddenly a lot quicker when Massa was no longer in front of him. He was at that time quicker than Massa who had just pitted for new tyres. Which nowadays is very peculair.
If Alonso said he struggled during the first two stints, I should probably take his word for it, but it's strange that he was putting out fastest laps at the end of the second stint. So at least at the end of the second stint he was no longer having problems.

And in general Alonso shouldn't have it easy, but if one teammate is quicker than the other, they should swap positions if it benefits the team. Which it does if the quicker teammate can gain positions due to the switch. It makes sense from a team perspective.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I don't like the current situation, I am a Massa fan, and can't say I am too pleased, however today I am somewhat happier with Massa/Alonso/Ferrari today than I usually would. It's not the fact that Massa gets treated than a number 2 he seems to get treated worse, he usually gets called at the worst possible times for his strategies, usually they leave him out for a few laps longer than Alonso, if Alonso's ahead, why does it matter if Massa pits straight after? It would increase your chances of points for the constructors.

Also, when they were allowed to race "freely" in 2010 for the first half of the season if you give Massa the win in Hockenheim after Spa, the points table would have been Alonso: 135 Massa: 116 less than a win behind, and that's even two races after Massa got demoted.

I hope he gets the same treatment next season for when he did for the first half of 2010 but for the full season unless Alonso is in for the title hunt by some margin and Massa's not, then I completely understand. However, this season Alonso's been nowhere near the title hunt and still gets preferential treatment until well you can say to this race, even then Alonso wasn't happy about it, and it seems Ferrari are bending over backwards for Alonso and trying to look for a "leader", I don't think Domenicalli is a "leader" but Todt was, and that's what they are missing, a driver can only do so much, but he can't effectively "lead" a team the way they expect him too. You can see Ferrari's trouble, ever since 2008 it's not been the drivers, it's been the Team Principal in my opinion who's been letting them down, and that's been shown lately since their results haven't improved, as they used Raikkonen as a scapegoat, they used Aldo Costa as one, who's next?
 
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Andy Karter

Rookie
Yeah, that was my point with my remark. And my observation was based on the fact that during the second stint Alonso was suddenly a lot quicker when Massa was no longer in front of him. He was at that time quicker than Massa who had just pitted for new tyres. Which nowadays is very peculair.
If Alonso said he struggled during the first two stints, I should probably take his word for it, but it's strange that he was putting out fastest laps at the end of the second stint. So at least at the end of the second stint he was no longer having problems.

And in general Alonso shouldn't have it easy, but if one teammate is quicker than the other, they should swap positions if it benefits the team. Which it does if the quicker teammate can gain positions due to the switch. It makes sense from a team perspective.
I think it also benefits the lead driver too as firstly he's not losing time (and possibly track position to others) and he can no doubt benefit from being in the tow and therefore faster than otherwise would be if running alone.

It's funny how we don't see it being played that way though isn't it? It's a no brainer for me.
 

Wombcat

Podium Finisher
Also, when they were allowed to race "freely" in 2010 for the first half of the season if you give Massa the win in Hockenheim after Spa, the points table would have been Alonso: 135 Massa: 116 less than a win behind, and that's even two races after Massa got demoted.
The thing in 2010 (imo) wasn't so much the difference in points with Alonso, but that there were 4 more drivers way ahead in points. So in my opinion Massa hadn't a realistic shot at the title at that time and the teamorder made perfect sense to me (I posted that already in the discussion after the 2010 German race).
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
As a fan, I'd prefer to let them race each other in all situations.

In Stefano Domenicali's shoes, I'd tell the slower driver (whichever it may be) to move over if he is holding the faster one up.

Why should Alonso have it so easy? Because life isn't fair. Ferrari signed him because they thought he was better than their previous driver, which he has proven to be. Alonso was happy to sign for Ferrari because he knew that he'd get the opportunity to become the de facto team leader there.

I don't think Ferrari 'owe' Felipe anything, any more. He'll have to try to impress prospective new teams without getting special treatment from his team, that's all.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
The thing in 2010 (imo) wasn't so much the difference in points with Alonso, but that there were 4 more drivers way ahead in points. So in my opinion Massa hadn't a realistic shot at the title at that time and the teamorder made perfect sense to me (I posted that already in the discussion after the 2010 German race).
I know it made sense, but I think you are missing the point, my point is when they were allowed to race freely it was close between the two, not that Massa moving over for Alonso in Hockenheim made no sense. It did, but I feel that they could have been much fairer this season, which they were not.
 
In Stefano Domenicali's shoes, I'd tell the slower driver (whichever it may be) to move over if he is holding the faster one up.
I was at the circuit watching them in Montreal. Looked to me like Alonso was holding up Massa there in the Canadian GP. How did it look to you on the BBC feed?

Why should Alonso have it so easy? Because life isn't fair.
Yup. It isn't. :D

Tough for Felipe'. Tough, too, for Hamilton when he comes up behind Button like in Canada or in Hungary.

It's nice to have a pair of loaded dice in life, isn't it? :)

But let's not kid ourselves about the idea that Alonso's a superior driver to Hamilton simply because he's got "more points" on the board. It's hardly a like-for-like comparison, not that people are making it to be one. ;)

I don't think Ferrari 'owe' Felipe anything, any more.
Quite.

I suppose they should run a one car team only for Nando and forget about the WCC. It's the 3rd year in a row they've been beaten in the Constuctors' by Red Bulls and McLarens.

Don't see it changing next year...not with a weak, subjugated Number 2 in the "other" car.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
But let's not kid ourselves about the idea that Alonso's a superior driver to Hamilton simply because he's got "more points" on the board. It's hardly a like-for-like comparison, not that people are making it to be one. ;)
I think you've given yourself away there, Ray. Nobody is making that comparison for that reason.

Don't see it changing next year...not with a weak, subjugated Number 2 in the "other" car.
Ferrari won five WCC in a row with a weak, subjugated no.2 in the "other" car. If I was to list the things Domenicali needs to do to achieve a world constructors' title in 2012, worrying about Massa would be well, well down the list. A quicker car might be more important, possibly?
 
Ferrari won five WCC in a row with a weak, subjugated no.2 in the "other" car. If I was to list the things Domenicali needs to do to achieve a world constructors' title in 2012, worrying about Massa would be well, well down the list. A quicker car might be more important, possibly?
There's a number of points there.

Ferrari won those 5 WCCs in a non control era and under unusual circumstances.

We're in a control era now (control tyres, homologated engines, severe restrictions on testing and money, restrictions on interesting new designs like DDs, F-ducts, EBDs). Even Martin Brundle said today that the cars will get even closer next year.

Yes, a quicker car would be important but it would help if they had a consistently fast and competitive teammate to Alonso who was free to race, got the same equipment and also got service that was almost as similar.

I can tell you what Domenicalli needs to do to win the constructors in 2012 and it's only a list of two things:

1. Build a car that's co-fastest over the entire season on average;

2. Have a very fast and consistent driver alongside Alonso who was free to race and got the same equipment and service. A guy like Vettel or Hamilton or Button (who they had a chance to sign within the past month).

In my scenario, you wouldn't need to construct the fastest car...just the co-fastest car.
 

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
My expectation as a fan of F1 is that Massa will do whatever his team tells him to when Alonso comes up behind him.

He made his decision to stick with Ferrari knowing full well that Alonso was going to take control of the reigns there. It's been said to death but it is abundantly clear that he is indeed the "Rubens, Mark II" at Ferrari now - content to take the pay cheque and race that nice red car, knowing that he'll never really get another fair shot, ever again.

It's a shame. I used to have a great deal of respect for the guy, especially after Brazil 2008.

A shadow of his former self, he's become a whingeing, whining patsy who'll forever be remembered as Alonso's footstool.
 
Well he surely didn't think he'd be there to win WDC's once Alonso joined did he?
I believe that might only have registered in Felipe's mind when he got the call to give up the win at Hockenheim about mid season last year! ;)

Actually, Alonso needs to start out-qualifying Massa again. He's started lower in 4 of the last 6 races. That's not a good trend.

It would be interesting to see how many times Nando would be out-qualified by Vettel or Hamilton if either replaced Massa...and how easy he (Nando) would find passing them if he came up behind him.

That would be an interesting prospect indeed! :thumbsup:
 
Could you imagine a former WC being a No2?
The idea was to win the WCC in a co-fastest car scenario.

BTW, Ferrari have said that they don't have a Number 1-Number 2 situation when they start the season...but if one of them has established dominance in the earlier part of that season, then the other driver has to help him in the WDC if there's a realistic chance of the faster driver winning the title.

Button going there would be subject to that scenario and, presumably, wouldn't be starting the year as either Number 1 or Number 2.
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
Maybe he still thinks he can win the championship for Ferrari,and that's why he has stayed. I'm sure plenty of other teams would want his signature.
 
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