Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has dismissed Felipe Massa's apparent disregard of an instruction to move aside for Fernando Alonso as a 'non story'.

The Brazilian, having out-qualified his team-mate by three spots on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix, was running ahead of Alonso in the early stages of the race when he received a coded call from engineer Rob Smedley that was widely interpreted as the instruction to move over and let the Spaniard through.

There were only eight laps on the board when 'multi-function strategy A, multi-function strategy A - now please' echoed in Massa's helmet, but the Brazilian chose to ignore the order, forcing Alonso to muscle him aside some twelve laps later.

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Despite the delay causing Alonso to drop behind the stubborn Nico Hulkenberg at the first round of pit-stops - an obstacle that wasn't overcome until a few laps from home - Alonso still managed to salvage fourth place from Suzuka, something both team and driver admitted was the best they could have expected anyway.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali said Massa's display of disobedience would not change the way the team treats him during his final four races as a Ferrari driver.

"At the end of the day, Fernando overtook him on the track," Domenicali told the media, "For sure, Felipe is trying to be as quick as possible and I understand his feelings. He will find the team totally supporting him up until the end of the season with no problem.

"Today we brought home what was the maximum and there is no story to create around these things because there are other things we need to focus on, including how we are going to improve the car up to the end of the championship."

Massa subsequently confirmed that Smedley's call had been an instruction to move over but, with his Ferrari career now limited to four more outings, he admitted that he was not prepared to heed the order.

"It was an instruction and I am never happy with an instruction," he explained, having been on the receiving end over the years.

The Brazilian's race was effectively scuppered when he was caught speeding in pit-lane and had to serve an drive-thru' penalty that restricted him to tenth place, and the final point, at the chequered flag.

"It was a really difficult day, with the drive-thru' wiping out any chance of having a good race or bringing home more points," he confirmed, "When I came down pit-lane, I didn't realise I was going too fast. It's the first time it's happened to me and it's a real shame because, in the first stint of the race, I had a good pace.

"Having taken the penalty, I was stuck in traffic and the cars that had made a third stop towards the end of the race were able to pass me easily on new tyres. I am disappointed, because I'm sure that, without that mistake, I could have got a good result."

Alonso, meanwhile, admitted that being stuck behind his team-mate had not affected his result at all, lamenting the lack of performance that would make team orders more of a necessity.

"We cannot make a big thing about this," he insisted, "We are racing and whatever we did today, we finished more or less in the same positions [as we would have] because we could not achieve anything more. I don't know exactly what happened, but there are zero problems.

"It would be nice to go back to the old days of Ferrari, where we were fighting for first and second, and then decide who wins. Or do what Red Bull does, when one car does two stops and one car does three stops, and they finish first and second..."