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Ferrari downplay Massa's snub

Monday 14-October-2013 08:23

Felipe Massa will continue to receive Ferrari's total support despite ignoring team orders in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Fighting with team-mate Fernando Alonso for position on lap eight, Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley was heard telling his driver: "Multifunction strategy A. Multifunction strategy A. Now please."

However, nothing happened.

12 laps later Alonso eventually overtook the Brazilian and went onto finish in fourth place while Massa, who was hit with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, recovered to 10th.

Later asked about Smedley's message, Massa, who is in the hunt for a 2014 drive after announcing he would be leaving Ferrari, admitted it was a team order - and one he chose to ignore.

"It was an instruction," he said. "I am never happy with an instruction.

"We already discussed it, but for sure it was an unfortunate race because of the drive-through.

"It was not an instruction when he overtook me on the track. The instruction came much earlier."

Despite Massa admitting to ignoring team orders, Alonso insists it won't cause a rift between himself and the Brazilian.

"We cannot make a big thing about this," he said. "We are racing and whatever we do we finished more or less in the same positions because we could not achieve anything more. I don't know exactly what happened, but there are zero problems.

"It would be nice to go back to the old days of Ferrari, where we were fighting for first and second, and then decide who wins. Or do what Red Bull does, when one car does two stops and one car does three stops, and they finish first and second. This is a much easier life.

"In our position we are always trying to do our maximum. I am trying to do my maximum, Felipe is trying to do his maximum and the team is trying to do its maximum. Let's try to do so at the next four races."

Meanwhile, team boss Stefano Domenicali has revealed that Massa won't face sanctions for disobeying the team as he "understands" what his driver is going through.

"At the end of the day Fernando overtook him on the track," he said. "For sure Felipe is trying to be as quick as possible and I understand his feelings. He will find the team totally supporting him up until the end of the season with no problem.

"We brought home what was the maximum and there is no story to create around these things because there are other things we need to focus on, including how we are going to improve the car up to the end of the Championship."

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