Felipe Massa left seething by 'unacceptable' drive-through penalty in Brazilian GP
Departing Ferrari driver thinks Alonso may have gifted him podium
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 25/11/13 11:23am
The Brazilian, competing in his 139th and final race for Ferrari, had enjoyed a strong opening stint to Sunday's Interlagos finale and from ninth on the grid was running just ahead of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in fourth place when the contentious penalty was issued.
In what appeared an unprecedented ruling, Massa was penalised for crossing the pit entry line, and it is thought principally the cross hatchings, when running down the circuit's undulating pitstraight.
After being informed over the pits-to-car radio by his race engineer Rob Smedley that he would have to serve the drive-through penalty, Massa sounded astonished and shouted: "This is unbelievable, it is unbelievable FIA, unbelievable."
Massa eventually finished down in seventh place and hadn't toned down his critical views on the penalty by the time he spoke to Sky Sports F1 after the race.
"I think it's pretty unacceptable to be honest. Why a drive-through for this? I'm sure I was not the only car to pass that line. I was the only one who got the drive-through for that," he complained.
"I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't overtake any cars on the outside of the track. But it's like that.
"They believe they have all the power, they believe they know everything they're doing and normally they are doing a lot of things which are not right, which are not correct."
It later emerged via Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn that his outfit's two drivers, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, had flagged up several alleged indiscretions from Massa over the radio.
"Our drivers had been reporting that Felipe was consistently crossing the white line at pit entry with all four wheels and when the FIA eventually took action, that obviously helped us," Brawn revealed.
Although under growing pressure from Hamilton for fourth position at the time, Massa believes he was on course to finish in that position had he not been penalised.
Furthermore the Brazilian reckons team-mate Fernando Alonso may even have gifted him the final podium place going into the closing stages, in what would have been apparent payback for the Brazilian's assistance to the Spaniard over the last four seasons.
"It's a shame," Massa bemoaned. "The race today would have been in the fourth place and maybe even third, Fernando was maybe going to back off at the end and let me by. The race would have been much better than it was for the result."
But while angered by the penalty, Massa said the bitter end to his season wouldn't cloud his emotions at his long Ferrari career coming to an end ahead of his imminent switch to Williams.
"Still very emotional for the team, for everything I pass [through] with Ferrari," he added.
"I need to get used to a different colour!"