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.”