Rubens Barrichello has predicted a volatile relationship between Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year. According to a report in The Guardian, Barrichello said, “Alonso and Massa will be a Latin partnership and we will see a few more sparks than if they were two Finns. Felipe has shown the talent he has and in my point of view he is better than [his current team-mate] Kimi [Raikkonen]. But if I had to choose the best driver nowadays, it’s Alonso. He [Massa] has already given everything and I think he can battle Alonso, but in my opinion it will be more difficult than with Kimi.”
Massa has already created a stir this week by making an allegation to the Brazilian press that Alonso could not have been as innocent in the recent Crashgate scandal as the Spaniard has claimed. In this, Massa has echoed fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet, Sr by alleging that it simply stands to reason that Alonso was aware of the race-fixing scheme, although both Massa and Piquet have admitted they have no direct evidence of this. The FIA has officially exonerated Alonso of any wrong-doing in the matter.
Some observers have suggested gamesmanship on Massa’s part, with respect to his remarks on Alonso. They suspect he is merely trying to rattle the two time champ, as a means of defending his own turf within the Ferrari camp. Alonso has brushed aside any suggestions of a psychological battle brewing, however. As reported in The Guardian, Alonso said, “There will be no psychological war. Maybe it was a misunderstanding with Felipe or the media, so it’s difficult to know what is true and what was said because later he said a different thing. It’s not very important for me. I made it clear I had nothing to do with what happened in Singapore last year. I was not involved in anything, I didn’t know anything, so there were no doubts. I didn’t pay too much attention.”
As to how all of this might affect their future partnership at Ferrari, Alonso added, “It will not affect anything, me or the relationship. I actually think we will be great. At Ferrari the group is more important than the individual, where everyone is part of the team, a big family. I think it will be a good group and we will be very strong next year.”
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