Massa proves he will “work for myself” by refusing to let Alonso past

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Felipe Massa said he would “work for myself” after losing his seat at Ferrari in 2014 and made good on that promise during the Japanese Grand Prix by refusing to heed an order to let his team mate pass.

The Ferrari drivers ran fifth and sixth after the start of the race with Alonso less than a second behind Massa.

Ferrari repeatedly told Massa to let Alonso past using the coded instruction “Multifunction strategy A” which was heard on the team radio during the race.

However Massa refused to let Alonso by. Just three races ago in Italy, before his departure from Ferrari was announced, he had let Alonso by with little difficulty.

Massa famously gave up a potential victory to Alonso in the 2010 German Grand Prix when he was told to let his team mate past. Last year Ferrari deliberately incurred a gearbox change penalty on Massa’s car at the United States Grand Prix to move Alonso one place forwards on the grid.

Alonso eventually managed to pass Massa for the place, but not before Nico Hulkenberg had taken advantage of their delay to pass the pair of them. Following yesterday’s race Massa said: “It was an instruction. I am never happy with an instruction.”

Alonso was eager to play down the incident afterwards, saying: “We cannot make a big thing about this.”

“We are racing and whatever we do today, 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.”

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.