Fernando Alonso's relationship with Ferrari was back under the spotlight following qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, after the Spaniard apparently slated the team as 'idiots' over the radio.
The comments came in the final phase of qualifying, when Massa and Alonso failed to run suitably close in tandem, the latter then missing out on the all-important tow, required to give him precision tenths to challenge the Red Bulls for pole.
“Felipe is too fast,” Alonso said on the radio. “Felipe is too far away...”
He then spoke in Italian, adding: “You're really idiots! Mamma mia guys...”
Quizzed on the messages after Q3, and after securing fifth on the grid – one spot behind Massa, Alonso insisted the messages had been 'misunderstood'.
He also added that his final radio message, when he praised Massa and the team, was not broadcast, although given he was warned by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo about his conduct
after the race in Hungary, this latest episode is unlikely to ease any underlying tensions.
“The radio messages have been misunderstood, as is often the case when you don't experience something first hand,” Alonso said.
“The word 'genius' refers to the fact that we could have got out before [Nico] Rosberg had gone by on his quick lap, but this should not raise any doubts about the impeccable job from the whole team.
“Here at Monza the slipstreaming strategy is often used: having a car three to four seconds ahead of you allows you to gain a few tenths and for that I must thank Felipe, especially in Q3 when I came up behind [Jean-Eric] Vergne's Toro Rosso and he waited for me."
Meanwhile, despite only qualifying on the third row, Alonso insisted he was happy with the performance of his Ferrari: “Today, we were able to run competitively in all three sessions and get closer than ever before to the rear wings of the Red Bulls: for the first time, there are not so many cars between them and us, apart from [Nico] Hulkenberg who was very strong in Q3.
"We will have to try and pass him on the first lap so they don't get away from us. Of course, we weren't at the same level as Red Bull, who yet again here have gone well all weekend, but the race is tomorrow and we start from what is all the same a good position.”