Belfast Telegraph

I’m not a number two, raps Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa has said he will walk away from Formula One the day he becomes a number two driver.

Just four days after the team orders controversy that dogged the German Grand Prix, Massa was again in the spotlight on his return to the Hungaroring where last year he almost lost his life.

Via coded messages from race engineer Rob Smedley, Massa was forced to hand victory to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim after leading for the majority of the opening 49 laps of the 67-lap race.

Ferrari were found guilty of a breach of the rules that prohibits teams orders and were fined 100,000 US dollars.

Ferrari's decision has effectively ensured Massa will now have to play second fiddle to Alonso for the remainder of the season.

But a defiant Massa said: “The time I say I am a number two driver I will not race any more, and I am not (a number two).

“I will fight for the victory here, whatever the conditions.”

Asked what would happen if he found himself in the same situation, with himself in the lead and Alonso second, he replied: “I will win.”

Massa claims he has assurances from Ferrari, stating: “I've spoken to everybody inside the team.

“I'm not just here to race, I'm here to win, and that's my point.

“Yes, I am working for the team. We know how important that is. I want the best for the team, but I am professional.”

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher has revealed he held a private conversation with Massa about the controversial events that unfolded on Sunday.

“He is experienced enough not to need advice from me,” said the seven-times champion at a Mercedes-Benz event in Budapest.

“But I definitely had a little conversation with him, which was naturally of a private nature.”

The incident has led to a great deal of debate this week as to whether the rule on team orders should be dropped.

Formula One supremo Bernie

Ecclestone believes team principals should be allowed to run their organisations as they see fit.

But Mercedes motor sport vice-president Norbert Haug believes it is not as simple as that.

“It is definitely not a black and white decision. It's a difficult one,” said Haug. “If you allow it then the consequence will be you see overtaking manoeuvres that probably are not expected.

“And if you do not allow it then you have some issues with hidden strategies, or whatever, so we will not solve this problem today.

“You could say be very strict and punish everybody, but then it needs to be the same for everybody in the whole field.

“So it needs to be very carefully thought through, and a solution should be found, which would be the wish of all of us.

“We have to think we are racing for the spectators, for the guys who are interested in the sport.

“We have to accept the most important guys are those in the car because if they are not fully focused then they will not achieve anything, and that needs to be kept in mind.”

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