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GP Week : Issue 32
‘disrespectful’ Massa Bourdais slams SEBASTIEN Bourdais has blasted Ferrari’s Felipe Massa after contact between the two drivers in the Japanese Grand Prix resulted in the Frenchman receiving a post-race drive- through penalty and thus a 25s race result penalty. The incident occurred as Bourdais, who took his Toro Rosso to sixth position on the road, exited the pits following his second pitstop. Sticking to the inside line in order to avoid the Ferrari on the racing line down the straight, Bourdais held his line going into the first corner. But as the duo exited side by side, Massa made contact with the Toro Rosso and spun. “For me it’s very clear,”Bourdais stated after the race. “I exited the pits and yes, I’m supposed to be careful and I was. I stayed inside and I didn’t push him out, I didn’t overshoot the corner, I did everything I could not to run into him and he just squeezed and turned and basically behaved like I didn’t exist, like I wasn’t there. What am I supposed to do, evaporate? I don’t quite understand. I’ve been in this position many, many times and I’ve never had any incidents and it’s just a little bit of respect.” Massa has come in for much criticism this season after two pit-lane incidents in which he has failed to heed position to a car in the fast lane (Adrian Sutil on both occasions). When asked by GPWeek if he thought Massa lacked respect for his fellow drivers, Bourdais was forthright. “In that particular incident yes, for sure. For me, I’ve been in this position many times and especially in the position he is where he is fighting for a championship and you just don’t take unnecessary risks like this. You’ve got everything to lose and nothing to win from this. He was 28 going to pit in three laps, I was ahead of him, he was going to finish behind us anyway! It’s just like, why would even think about doing something like that? I don’t know. I don’t understand to be honest. It’s just as clear as that.” It was Massa’s squeezing of Lewis Hamilton on the second lap of the Japanese Grand Prix which resulted in the Brazilian’s drive- through penalty. Bourdais pointed out that part of showing respect for other drivers is fair racing and giving each other room. “You give each other room and everything goes right. If you don’t, for sure there’s going to be an incident.” That incident occurred twice for Massa in Japan, and yet for the second incident it was Bourdais as the seemingly innocent party, who received the penalty. Red cars, Nicolas Todt, and the Yo SPARE a thought for Nicolas Todt this morning. The Frenchman is the manager of both Felipe Massa and Sebastien Bourdais, and after the result of the stewards’ investigation into the racing incident between the duo, his emotions must be hugely conflicted. One of his drivers drove brilliantly at a point in the season when his team are weighing up their driver options for next year. He needed a good race, and outperformed the wunderkind Sebastian Vettel and drove with intelligence and forcefulness against his rivals. And then there’s Massa, who put in a highly contrasting performance. His move on Hamilton brought to mind his early season blunders, and the drive-through penalty he received was, in the opinion of most commentators, entirely just. He raced hard to make back the lost time, but then there was the Bourdais incident. When we saw the collision was being investigated, my colleagues in the media and I all assumed that it was Massa who would bear the brunt of responsibility … how wrong we were. Replays of the incident show Bourdais Will Buxton GPWeek Editor almost on the grass as he attempted to give Massa enough room on the track, and yet the Brazilian continued to squeeze until the pair touched. The decision to penalise Bourdais seemed so bizarre as to be utterly laughable. So there you go. One driver races brilliantly and ends up out of the points due to a patently ridiculous decision, and the other seemingly forgets that he’s fighting for a World Championship, makes two stupid manoeuvres and yet finishes seventh. I hopesthe duo weren’t sharing a hotel! The decisions of the FIA stewards in 2008 have been baffling to say the least. There appears absolutely no consistency, nor common sense in the application of the regulations. Hamilton’s move at the first turn in Japan was overly aggressive, I’ll admit, but cast your minds back to opinion