Site logo

Williams seeks to defuse team orders row

NEWS STORY
30/03/2014

Williams faces the difficult task of placating its drivers after Felipe Massa finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Malaysian Grand Prix, seemingly ignoring team orders.
Both Williams drivers enjoyed strong races which resulted in a double points finish for the Grove outfit, but in the latter stages there was a chance one or both could gain a place over the McLaren of Jenson Button. For a time Massa and Button went wheel-to-wheel, the 2009 world champion coming off better, before Bottas joined in the tussle with just a handful of laps remaining.

With five laps to go, Massa's charge seemingly halted, trapped in the turbulent air of Button's car and making no real impression. On slightly newer tyres it was thought perhaps Bottas may succeed where Massa could not, the team instructing the Brazilian to step aside. "Okay Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you. Do not hold him up," was the instruction broadcast to Massa. Simultaneously a similar message reached Bottas, advising the Finn to pass his teammate.

But Massa, who was frequently on the receiving end of similar team orders during his time at Ferrari, refused to cede his spot and for a time defended his position from the pursuing Bottas. The ensuing squabble allowed Button to pull clear, defeating the very purpose for which the instruction was made.

Speaking after the race Massa was unrepentant, believing he was right to stand his ground.

"I was fighting Jenson until the end," he insisted. "That was my target, to score as many points for the team and for me as well.

"I tried the best I could, and Valtteri couldn't pass me so it was going to be difficult to pass Jenson as well,” he continued. “So I don't think things would have been changed at the end."

It's a view not shared by Bottas, who chose his words carefully so as not to spark a war of words with his teammate.

"I don't want to really comment," he told reporters. "We should really speak with the team first to see what happened there, and what messages they gave to Felipe.

"There was a really good chance for me to get Jenson; I was approaching really quickly. But, like I said, we need to speak with the team."

With two contrasting sides to the story, and the radio dialogue broadcast for the world to hear, deputy team principal Claire Williams was left in a difficult spot when asked about the situation by Sky F1. "He didn't ignore them," she rather liberally claimed when asked about Massa's lack of reaction to the radio instruction. "Both cars were getting really hot at the end of the race and they were both told they needed to make sure they got both cars across the line rather than overheating them. Valtteri was also told to cool it off as well.

"It's a team sport, and that's what we are here to do, to maximise the points for our team in the constructors' championship," she added.

Whatever it may be saying publicly there is no doubt that behind closed doors the team will be making rather more sure that its message is heard and understood by both drivers. Quite loudly, one would imagine.

Mat Coch

Check out our Race gallery, here.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hardliner, 31/03/2014 9:01

"Absolutely cringing naivety all round
In Claire William's shoes I would have ordered them simply not to crash on pain of death, anything else was out of order"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Dreadnaught, 30/03/2014 21:09

"Very naive message, everything taken into account.
As he had already showed Jenson would not have been a pushover.
How to destroy trust and harmony in one simple foolish moment.
Too much inexperience showing. After last year they should be playing the long game."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2014. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  terms  |  privacy & security  |  rss