Felipe Massa says Ferrari were ‘splitting in the middle’ when Alonso was his team-mate

Michelle Foster
Massa: Fernando Alonso is as talented as Michael Schumacher

Massa: Fernando Alonso is as talented as Michael Schumacher

Teaming up with three World Champions during his eight years at Ferrari, Felipe Massa says Fernando Alonso was “for sure” the most difficult to work with.

Joining the Scuderia in 2006, Massa spent a single season as Michael Schumacher’s team-mate before Ferrari brought in Kimi Raikkonen to replace the retiring German.

After Raikkonen left, it was Alonso who donned the red race suit, Massa’s team-mate for four years before the Brazilian left to join Williams.

It was, says the former F1 driver, four years of watching the team “splitting in the middle”.

Speaking to Polish publication swiatwyscigow.pl he was asked if Alonso had been his ‘most difficult team-mate’.

He replied: “Yeah, yeah, for sure.”

Pressed as to why, he said: “First of all, he was an amazing driver, there’s nothing more you can say there.”

“But,” he added, “it was quite difficult to work together inside the team. Actually, the team was splitting in the middle.

“And in the end, it was not good for the result of the team. And also, for me, I didn’t feel strong enough to work, to make the team listen to me. That was quite hard.

“But anyway, it was also some learning around as well.”

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Alonso beat Massa in all four of their seasons together as team-mates, the Spaniard bagging three runner-up results in the championship.

He was the second double World Champion that Massa had worked with, the former driver spending his first year at Ferrari learning from seven-time World Champion Schumacher.

That, he says, was “great”.

“It was a great experience. It was a great time to be able to be team-mates with Michael Schumacher. I learned a lot from him. He was an amazing driver. The way he was working…

“We were very close as well. In the end I was lucky to be part of that experience.”

Massa, however, fell short in his goal of turning those lessons into a World title.

He came close in 2008, World Championship for some 30 seconds before Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix to win the title.

The wild celebrations from both the driver and his family ended abruptly when both he and Ferrari were informed of Hamilton’s finishing position.

Today he still has the media reminding him off his close call.

“It’s not difficult, to be honest,” he said. “That message, it was normal.

“I mean, for sure, it was not the message I was expecting to receive but with everything that was happening in the race, it was raining at the end, I thought everything could have been possible. And I understood that.

“I mean, Lewis was in the middle of the fight, so maybe it can be good, it can be bad. Then, when he said that message, I was disappointed, but I won the race.

“It was not depending on myself; it was depending on the position behind. I couldn’t do anything. I did my job in the perfect way I could.”

And that’s why he says he wouldn’t change anything about his career.

“I don’t need to change anything,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot. Anything that happens, it happens for my learning. I’m really enjoying many moments.

“I learn with the difficult moments. I enjoyed many good moments, and I think it was a great experience in my life. Nothing really I can change.

“For sure, if the only thing I can ask to change is one more point in 2008. But that didn’t happen for a reason, and in the end, it didn’t really change my life.”