NOVEMBER 24, 2016
Alonso caused Massa's Ferrari decline says Smedley
On the eve of the likeable Brazilian's final grand prix, that is the claim of Massa's long-time friend and engineer, Rob Smedley.
Massa was engineered by Smedley at Ferrari, where in 2008 they almost won the title. But the following year, Massa sustained head injuries and some believe he never recovered his full level of competiveness.
Smedley, who still works with Massa at Williams, says that interpretation is "bull----".
He told Brazil's UOL: "The team he left (injured) in 2009 was very balanced between him and Kimi. The team he returned to in 2010 was completely focused on Fernando.
"Everything revolved around Fernando," Smedley added. "That was his (Massa's) problem. It had nothing to do with him."
Massa, however, is more diplomatic, commenting: "If it was because of the accident, the car, the team, it is impossible to answer.
"But I felt good after the accident, just like I was before. I always kept giving the maximum and did many good things afterwards. Everything stayed the same, only the victories did not come," the 35-year-old added.
For its part, Ferrari marked its former driver's last grand prix this weekend with the message: "His (Massa's) competitive qualities and great passion have made him one of the Scuderia's most loved drivers by fans around the world."