Massa is revving his engines for the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, declaring that he is not the No. 2 driver
Felipe Massa said on Thursday that he has no intention of letting Fernando Alonso go past him again if the two are fighting for the win at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.
“I will win,” Massa said when asked about a possible repeat of last week’s scenario at the German GP in Hockenheim.
Ferrari was fined $ 100,000 after Hockenheim when stewards determined that the Italian team had sent Massa radio messages instructing him to let Alonso take the lead from him on the 49th lap of the race. Massa seemed to comply and finished second while Alonso went on to win the race.
Massa, who suffered a season-ending crash here in 2009, said he would quit racing if he was considered a team’s No. 2 driver.
“The time they say I am the No. 2 driver I will not race anymore, so I am not (No. 2),” Massa said ahead of Sunday’s 25th edition of the Hungarian GP at the Hungaroring track.
Massa said he had learned from the Hockenheim experience.
“I’m very strong and I’m looking for the victory,” Massa said. Two-time world champion Alonso, who has two wins this year, brushed off questions from reporters about the controversy, insisting that he was focused on the upcoming race.
“Hungary is our main target right now,” Alonso said. “(We are) completely concentrated on this race.”
While Alonso insisted that Ferrari’s interests were the priority, he avoided saying whether he would let Massa pass him if that was preferable from a team standpoint.
“Every race is different, with different circumstances and possibilities, and we will decide what is best,” Alonso said. “We are privileged to drive for Ferrari and we know what we have to do.”
Alonso picked up 25 points for winning at Hockenheim, while Massa collected 18 for second place. The extra points for the Spanish driver could prove critical in what is shaping up to be a tight drivers’ championship.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton leads the standings on 157 points, with teammate Jenson Button second on 143 points. The two Red Bull drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, each have 136 and Alonso is fifth with 123.
Alonso dismissed criticism that he would be a “dirty” champion because of the manner of his victory in Germany.
“I don’t think anything has changed. I’m still the same and I will fight always ... for the team and the sport,” Alonso said.
“Naturally, I have not been affected at all. If we lost even one percent of our concentration because of what’s been said, we’d be finished.”
Williams driver Rubens Barrichello was more supportive of his fellow Brazilian Massa.
“I was very sorry to see what he had to go through. It was such a bad thing ... and I wished he didn’t go through that,” Barrichello said, ahead of his 299th race in Formula One.
In 2002, Barrichello was involved in a similar situation when he was forced by Ferrari to let teammate Michael Schumacher pass him for the win on the final straight at the Austrian GP. Barrichello was also ordered to concede second place to Schumacher at the same track the year before.
Schumacher won the 2002 championship with twice as many points as second—place Barrichello but since 2003 teams have been banned from giving drivers orders which determine race results.
“You should be allowed to race,” Barrichello said, although he added that teams still had ways of letting their drivers know if they were expected to back off or let a teammate pass them.
“If you don’t win the championship by one point, so be it,” Barrichello added. “If you win the championship because somebody let you win, what’s the point? “If I have to be a bad guy to be world champion, I don’t care for that.”
Massa said he met on Thursday with members of the rescue team who lifted him out of the cockpit after his crash last year but that the accident would not affect his performance on Sunday.
“I don’t remember a single thing from the accident,” Massa said. “When you close the visor ... you just think about doing your best.”
Barrichello, whose car lost the spring which hit Massa on the helmet and caused the crash, said Massa had moved on from the accident, and had even used it to his advantage while the two of them were playing poker earlier this year in Brazil.
“He put the helmet in which he had the accident on the table and it completely destroyed my night,” Barrichello said. “I started losing money and he just had fun with it. I think he’s going to drive flat-out.”
Massa was hospitalized for nine days in Hungary after suffering multiple skull fractures. He was placed in an induced coma and later had plastic surgery in Brazil.