Obviously I don’t actually mean that a video has killed someone! Just as Felipe Massa’s race engineer didn’t mean the Hamilton must be destroyed!
The lack of good stories must really be beginning to bite some quarters of F1 journalists. With the lack of action in the drivers market and the drivers title being wrapped up, a juicy headline must be hard to come by. Rob Smedley and his relationship with Massa over the radio during races has a cult following in Italy, Ferrari fans have his messages downloaded to their phones to use as ringtones. During the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix he sent “Felipe baby, stay cool” to Massa as he was distracted by the wrong type of visor at the re-start of the rain affected race. The following year, he was once again in the headlines after his infamous message “OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?” At the German Grand Prix, shortly after, exiting the hairpin, Massa let Alonso through to take the win. For all that heard the message, it was clear the Smedley didn’t want to instruct his driver to move over, but the fact that the team gave the message had far wider consequences for them. Ferrari were found guilty of flouting the bad on team orders that could influence the outcome of a race and were fined $100,000.
At Singapore last week, Hamilton and Massa’s irresistible attraction to each other saw the pair touch at T7. The Formula1.com race edit included a message to Massa from Smedley where he told his driver to “wreck Hamilton’s race” which has been the trigger for this week’s sensationalist headlines in the press in the UK as it was deliberate against Hamilton. Ferrari have had to take the step to deny any wrong doing on their website, posting the following: “It might not have been the most politically correct choice of word, but it definitely carried no malicious intent, especially when you take into account that Rob is a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred!
“It is also true that this exhortation to Felipe came at the exit to Turn 5 on lap 11 of the race, at the end of which both the Ferrari man and Hamilton were due to come in to the pits together. In other words, it had nothing to do with the collision between Felipe and Lewis that happened on the following lap.
“It would not have taken much to avoid this misunderstanding, but that’s what happens in the frenetic world of Formula 1. When all is said done, as the Bard of Avon himself might have put it, it was all much ado about nothing.”
For me, it was no more that a motivational kick up the back side for Massa in Robs unique way and I hope this latest batch of headlines doesn’t make him change his wonderful style.