SAO PAULO – Felipe Massa didn’t like to hear the suggestion he could take Sebastian Vettel out on purpose at the Brazilian Grand Prix to help his Ferrari teammate win the Formula One title Sunday.
Vettel has a significant points lead over Alonso and will start three positions ahead of him in the season-ending race in Sao Paulo. The Red Bull driver needs to finish fourth or better to become F1’s youngest three-time champion at 25 even if Alonso wins the race. But a podium finish will be enough for the Spaniard if Vettel doesn’t get any points.
Massa, who will be just behind Vettel on the grid, in fifth place, said that doing anything on purpose to end Vettel’s day would go against his principles.
“I’ve always been an honest person and an honest driver” he said. “And that will continue to be the case. My limit is the limit of the regulations, and I will stay true to this limit.”
Alonso also refused any notion that Massa would break the rules or race Vettel any harder than usual to try to take his rival out.
“There would never be any talk about that,” the two-time champion said.
He did admit, though, that he wants the Brazilian GP to be as out of the ordinary as possible so he can increase his chances of overcoming Vettel and winning his third F1 championship.
“If I am to have any hopes for the title, it’s more plausible to count on a retirement for Vettel rather than for him to finish in a position where I can get ahead of him in the classification,” Alonso said. “Obviously, I am therefore hoping for a chaotic race and so the rain could be an important factor even if, in the wet, it is riskier for everyone.”
Vettel, who has a commanding 13-point lead over Alonso, said he was not worried.
“I don’t expect anything,” he said. “I’ll prepare and react fairly quickly given whatever situation we are in down to Turn 1 and through the first lap.”
Last week at the United States GP, Ferrari intentionally dropped Massa five spots on the grid – by changing his gearbox and prompting organizers to give him a penalty – so Alonso would be in a better position to start the race.
Massa said that was a unique situation and would not happen this time in Brazil.