The notorious Italian press and Ferrari directed varying levels of criticism at Felipe Massa after the Malaysian grand prix.
For letting both McLarens past at the first corner and then falling off the track in a battle with rookie Lewis Hamilton, the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport refused to mince its words in contemplation of the Brazilian’s form.
“Massa did everything wrong,” the editorial said.
La Repubblica, meanwhile – which is Italy’s major broadsheet – excused fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen for managing only third place because the Finn had to run a de-tuned engine for the Sepang race.
But the newspaper, perhaps recalling the Maranello based team’s disastrous 2005 season, nevertheless wrote: “Ferrari rediscovers its fears”. The Maranello fan club noted that the retired Michael Schumacher “would not have let this happen”.
Ferrari chiefs’ criticism of Massa, 25, was gentler, but nonetheless fairly plain.
For example, team principal Jean Todt made it clear that while Raikkonen’s engine was “compromised”, Massa’s V8 unit was “quite fresh” after a pre-race change in Australia.
Technical and strategic chief Luca Baldisserri expressed his disappointment by pointing out that mere “data” can not explain Ferrari’s apparent lack of performance last Sunday.
“We have to see what happened,” he said, “especially close to turn one where Felipe didn’t tuck into the corner.”
Todt continued: “We know we are facing very strong teams and quite simply, (in Malaysia) they were better and they deserved their success.
“Nothing to say. Next week, we will try to do a better job.
“We have a car that I think should be able to be competitive in Bahrain. Hopefully if we do a better start we should be able to race with our competitors,” Todt said.