Alonso and Massa will start 2011 as equals
19 December, 2010
Dec.19 (PVM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed that both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start the 2011 Formula 1 season on equal footing despite speculation that Alonso was now the de facto team leader.
During a recent press lunch at Maranello, Montezemolo said, “If I think one of my two drivers not in a position to win the championship, I will change it. But to start I want two drivers capable of winning.”
Alonso has largely impressed the team management, the tifosi and importantly the Italian media in his first season as a Maranello driver. His rise within the team has coincided with Massa’s loss of form, the Brazilian being put under increasing pressure to perform in 2011.
Massa will be comforted by Montezemolo who stated, “I do not want to have a person who is frustrated since the first race because he knows he has less power. Moreover, the races are unpredictable.”
He added, “In the second half of the season, depending how things have evolved in the championship, we will have to prepare differently. But the first part of the team’s interest is to let the two drivers compete under the best conditions.”
Alonso fought all the way to the final race in Abu Dhabi for the title and eventually finished second in the championship standings with five wins while Massa was sixth overall without a win.
Ferrari were universally criticised and fined $100000 by the FIA $ 100 000 for ordering Massa to be overtaken for the lead by Alonso at the German GP. But Montezemolo defends the team’s decision saying, “In the first race it would be ridiculous. But in Hockenheim it clear, more than before, because Felipe was not fast.”
The FIA have done away with the controversial team orders ban which was brought into place after another Ferrari incident which saw Rubens Barrichello relinquish his lead to Michael Schumacher during the 2002 Austrian GP.
Montezemolo commented on the 2002 incident, “For me it was a mistake, because it was the beginning of the season, but that is our team spirit, we win and lose together.”