Felipe Massa says team orders should be used in F1 but only when the circumstances are right.
The Ferrari driver has been subject to team orders a number of times in the past, most notably back in 2010 in Germany when he received the infamous radio call from engineer Rob Smedley of 'Fernando [Alonso] is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?' shortly before he allowed the Spaniard through into the lead of the race.
Team orders have been thrust back into the headlines following the Malaysian Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel ignored his team to take the lead from Mark Webber, and while Massa said he believed team orders did have a place in the sport, he said they had to be used in the right circumstances.
“I approve of the intelligent use of team orders and by that I mean those that come at key moments of the championship, not in the second race of the season,” he said. “They must be taken with the good of the team in mind. I have helped many drivers, for example with Kimi when he won the championship with Ferrari and again last year with Fernando, when he was fighting for the title. I have no problem with team orders that fit these criteria.”
Massa heads into the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend seeking to build on an encouraging start to the 2013 season and the Brazilian agreed with technical director Pat Fry that an improvement in qualifying
was one of the key aims for the weekend ahead.
“Our aim for this weekend is the same as always, which is to work to keep improving the car, especially in qualifying,” he said. “If we manage to do that and at a rate a little bit quicker than the others, then we can be more competitive in qualifying and even in the race too. The key is to work in the right direction throughout all the championship.”
Massa also said he wasn't thinking about the fact that if he were to out-qualify team-mate Fernando Alonso in China, he would be become the first team-mate to qualify ahead of the double champion in five successive races.
“Honestly I never thought about it,” he said. “All I can say is that I'm pleased with my start to the season and want to continue in this fashion. That statistic isn't what gives me pleasure. What I like is to go well and to feel confident in the car. These sorts of figures only give you problems. I just want to get on with doing a good job.”