SAO PAULO, Brazil
Felipe Massa caused an uproar by saying that his future Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso must have had prior knowledge of the 2008 Singapore race fixing scandal, but all went well as the duo met here in the Interlagos paddock.
“It was the (Renault) team and Nelson (Piquet), but Alonso was part of the problem,” Massa told local media prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix. “He knew. We cannot know it, (but) of course he knew. (It is an) absolute certainty.”
Massa later toned down his remarks, and Alonso said all was well between them.
“It is not very important for me, and I was not too worried,” Alonso stated. “In the World Council it was clear in the statement that I had nothing to do with the Singapore 2008 (events). I was not involved in anything and I did not know anything.”
Still, isn’t this a bad way to kick off their teammate relationship?
“Maybe it was not true (what he said,)” Alonso said. “It will not affect anything on me or our relationship.”
Rubens Barrichello reckoned that Massa was out of the loop being away from the day-to-day F-1 activities.
With his trademark mischievous grin and friendly demeanor, Massa made a prominent and welcome return to the F-1 paddock after some eight weeks since his accident in Hungary.
“The recovery was really great,” he said. “In the last three weeks, which was after the second operation, I started to do fitness and I have to say now I am really the same I was before the accident, in terms of the physical side.”
After spending time in Ferrari’s simulator and driving a 2007 F-1 car, Massa said he was up to speed on the track. But it makes no sense for him to race this year.
“Now I can do everything, like I was doing before,” he said. “The only big issue is that everything needs to be 100 percent ready as our sport is a risk sport. We can have another accident. I hope not, but we can. It is better to be 100 percent ready than to recover from another accident. That is why we are waiting a little bit more and it will be better to wait until next year.”
And speaking of next year, Kimi Raikkonen, whom Alonso will replace at Ferrari, still doesn’t know what he will do in 2010.
Will Red Bull Racing shunt Mark Webber down to Scuderia Toro Rosso to make room for Raikkonen? That was the rumor filtering through the paddock. Webber has a contract with Red Bull for 2010, and his teammate Sebastian Vettel is inked until 2012. It would be a nasty move by the team if it dumped Webber after the performances he has turned in this year, but the Aussie is certain he isn’t going anywhere.
“It is normal that there is a bit of fun and games in F-1,” he said. “Kimi is trying to find a drive, and Red Bull of course would be a perfect fit for him. But unfortunately there are two drivers here already.”
Raikkonen has options in and out of F-1 and is no hurry to make a decision.
“For sure, if I want, I can do F-1,” he said. “But there is no point to make any stupid contracts, so I will see what the best option is.”