Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012

Massa to get new chassis for Malaysian Grand Prix

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012Felipe Massa will have a new chassis for the Malaysian Grand Prix as Ferrari tries to get to the bottom of its troubles with its new F1 car.

In a statement on their website Ferrari said: “Work has already begun in the Sepang pits to prepare chassis number 294, which replaces the number 293 and will be used by the Brazilian in the second race of the season.

“This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park.”

Massa qualified 16th in Melbourne, a second slower than team mate Fernando Alonso. He failed to finish the race after colliding with Bruno Senna while running 13th.

Ferrari added: “Felipe knows he can count on the team to do everything, both from the technical and the operational point of view, to put him in a better state to show off his talents ?ǣ even at the cost of extra work in these few days that separate the Australian race from the one in Malaysia.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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149 comments on “Massa to get new chassis for Malaysian Grand Prix”

  1. “This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park.” In other words, if he has another performance like Australia he can’t blame the car and he’s on his way out the door.

    1. you beat me to it…

      1. scary how so many people can read an article and instantly think the very same thing

        1. omg it works with comments too.

    2. junioR - Tubarão SC
      20th March 2012, 17:48


    3. He has been dreadful around Albert Park for past couple of years. He tries to overdrive the car their and it is a sign of desperation as he tries to beat his team mate. It’s sad though because it makes him go slower not faster.

      Ever since he came back from his accident he hasn’t been the same driver, he just seems to be a magnet for incidents and scrappy racing. Possibly he was always this way though, and the Ferrari’s he had been driving were previously so good they were masking his abilities.

      1. Patrick Traille
        20th March 2012, 18:25

        I think you hit the nail on the head. The 2007/2008 Ferrari was the most derivable car on the grid.

      2. It sure has not been a track he seems to get on with.

      3. Agreed, he was never very good. He could competently drive a fast car around in an average way and score points with it but he would never really pull anything special out of the bag.

        I have been saying he should go for many years… Now as people have said, the writing is on the wall.

      4. Forotherruns
        21st March 2012, 7:47

        Just a point. What would we have had to say if he had collided with Hamilton???

        Massa is sometimes too harsh in defending and it was evident in his collision with Perez at Melbourne. Because most of the incidents last year were with Lewis, most of us here were quick to blame Lewis as a reckless driver, which I feel has affected his killer instinct and makes him seem too restrained.

        As long as it doesn’t involve Hamilton, then its just an incident. I think we have been too critical of him in the past when the responsibility probably lies equally or even more with the other driver. It just seems like Lewis is the best guy to blame, and the rest of the drivers know this and capitalize on it (see Jenson Button in Canada 2011 – Just think of what we would have said if Lewis was in front and pushed Jenson to the wall: LEWIS RAMS JENSON OFF THE ROAD; BLACK FLAG IN CANADA; etc). I think we need to evaluate the way we make comments especially when it comes to Hamilton.

        1. kenneth Ntulume
          21st March 2012, 9:50

          Couldn’t have put it any better.

        2. I’ve said here before that Lewis seems afraid of critics, he doesn’t force overtakes because if it goes wrong all the negative comments will come back, I think he “sees” Lauda every time he has to get past someone.

      5. The 2009 car was a dog, though, as demonstrated by Badoer and Fisi’s performances substituting for Massa once he’s injured.

        And, while Kimi did get a win in Spa, before Massa’s injuries Massa was actually outscoring him. So either Kimi is even worse in a badly-handling car, or with Massa it’s more about confidence — witness all the coddling he gets from Rob Smedley.

      6. In 2010 he beat Alonso at Albert Park. Wouldnt call that dreadful.

        1. So in two season since his comeback the only thing to say in Massa’s defence is one result in a race where his team mate spun at the first corner?

          That’s a long way from convincing.

        2. dreadfull cause Felipe gad 3 faster cars behind him and he was sooooooooooooo slow

          1. had***

    4. The sad part about all this is traditionally Ferrari have had one driver who has to play second fiddle to the other. With Schumacher it was Barrichello, and with Alonso playing lead Massa gets the second fiddle spot.
      If you set up a person to fail, and they fail, are they the ones to blame, or are you the one to blame?
      Unless Ferrari have had a change of heart they won’t be interested in anyone who could beat Alonso.
      If they do dump Massa then I think Massa won’t be unemployed for long, and when he’s back his times will suddenly be as good (or better) than Alonso’s.

      1. Why do you say that Ferrari are setting Massa up to fail? It’s not like they’re sabotaging his car. There is a difference between prioritizing and taking sides. As for Massa suddenly matching Alonso’s times in a different car, I think that is highly unlikely.

        1. +10

      2. I wonder why Ferrari will waste their time in providing Massa a new chassis @ this time of crisis and as per you setting him to fail again… does not make sense at all…

    5. The writing really is on the wall now isn’t it. Crikey.

    6. he can’t blame the car and he’s on his way out the door.

      as a Ferrari fan I take offence to that, Montezemolo is petitioning to have 3 doors for firing drivers, and what beautiful doors they will be.

    7. You are always finding your own interpretations you keep saying Ferrari treats Massa bad, Im starting to think that you guys believe that he isnt worth it.

    8. I think the writing between the lines, was in caps lock. How clear was that? And what an effort to go through in order to make sure there are no excuses. Interesting.

  2. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1)
    20th March 2012, 15:46

    Basically a covered up, not true but confidence boosting excuse for why he was so abysmal against Alonso.

    1. Well.. it’s not unusual for Felipe to get outqualified by an entire second by Alonso. 13th seems to be quite an average and expected result for Felipe as well. So I really do not know what the big fuss is about.

      It’s going to get even more embarrassing for Felipe when he repeats a similar performance at Malaysia next week.

      1. My guess is the Massa is contracted to have worser lap times than Alonso, so I can’t see why Ferrari is pretending Massa isn’t doing his job.

        1. Even a blind man can see how blatantly anti-Ferrari you are, Stephen C. It’s always good entertainment to read your foaming-at-the-mouth ‘Fernando is faster than you’ comments when it comes to Ferrari or Luca or Alonso (or Massa in this case).

          1. No, I don’t hate Ferrari, they were the team that got me interested in F1. Alonso is an exceptionally good driver, and he is very clever with setting up cars as well.
            Massa is also an extremely good driver. It just seems to me Massa’s car is expected to run second to Alonso’s, so I can’t see why there is all this hand wringing.
            If Ferrari had an “equal driver” policy then it would be different, but they don’t. Massa was second to Alonso: job done.

          2. @Stephen. I dont think it’s fair to say that Massa is getting paid to perform that poorly. It just doesn’t make sense. Sure, if there was a situation where they had to support one driver, I’m pretty sure anyone’s logical choice would be Fernando. But you cannot honestly believe that Ferrari pays Massa for not finishing in the points, and adding no value whatsoever to the team.

          3. @ Stephen move on now 2008 is gone 4 years back… we are in 2012… the fact is that fernando is MUCH faster than Massa… can you pls confirm you have understood this message… ;)

        2. @ Stephen

          Maybe you don’t hate Ferrari but while everyone can see that Alonso is their numero uno, Massa has never done a thing to challenge Fernando speed-wise except for Germany 2010, and even then he was struggling. No one contracts their driver 2 have ‘worser lap times’ than their driver 1. Don’t even think for a moment that Ferrari wouldn’t rather Felipe be giving Alonso a run for his money or at least posting times that are competitive.

          1. If the number 2 driver was contracted to have slower lap times than his team mate then if the number1 driver had a puncture or damaged front wing, the number 2 driver would have to go really slow not to get a better time than his team mate which would work out badly for the team. which obviously if he got a faster time he would be in breach of contract.

            Your more likely to see Bernie ecclestone drive an F1 car than you are to hear of a contract to drive slower than a team mate.

    2. Well it worked for Vettel in 2010!

  3. “Felipe knows he can count on the team to do everything, both from the technical and the operational point of view, to put him in a better state to show off his talents – even at the cost of extra work in these few days that separate the Australian race from the one in Malaysia.”

    I.e. “Felipe, look what you have done! We have to work when we could relax! You’d better be quick in Malaysia…”

    1. I would guess people are probably ****** off they have to rebuild a whole new car because felipe cant drive. i wonder if the new car will be worse due to the fact people will hate him even more.

      1. Why on earth would anybody “hate” him (Massa)? Please don’t use this kind of language in F1 – save it for your football…

        Christ almighty, are y’all so perfect?


        1. I’m perfect……….ly flawed ;-)

        2. poor Felipe. He is better than what most people think IMO.

          1. Agreed @kyle

            and I also don’t rate Alonso as the best of the field. Vettel and Kimi are every bit as good, with Hamilton, Button and old Massa not far behind.

          2. +1 Agreed 100% @kyle and 101% @Adam Tate

          3. People base their opinions of fact. The facts are that since 2010 Felipe has been abysmal. He did not even get a podium last year when his team mate got ten. His performance in the last race was unacceptable. He was well off Alonso’s pace and he was degrading his tyres quicker. These kind of performances lead to people to believe Massa is a poor driver. For most people it is obvious.

  4. Sorry to upset the conspiracy theorists, but maybe, just maybe, there might have been an issue with chassis #293?

    1. @Graham Shevlin…Yeah that is a possibility, and I would like to think this new chassis has a few new developments to it as well, although perhaps it is exactly the same, as they are still trying to learn about this car and aren’t ready to make changes willy nilly and risk getting lost as to what helped or hindered and when.

      Anyway…overwhelmingly it seems people think FM needs to go…

      That to me raises a few interesting questions…while I personally always wish for the best two drivers possible to be on a top team, duking it out fair and square, there are some who think the route to ‘success’ is to have a WDC level driver and a support driver, ala MS/Ferrari. So…if so many think FM needs to go is it because you wish to see FA challenged? Isn’t FA and Ferrari’s life easier if they don’t have to make a team order type decision? There sure was outrage in 2010 when FM was given a team order to let FA go. So do you want competition at Ferrari? I guess it seems so since their last team orders raised such an issue, and since FM seems to be slagged at every oppportunity now. So that is encouraging to me…if in fact the majority would rather see a better driver at Ferrari to challenge FA. I would like to think it is the minority that wish to see a top driver supported by a lesser one who offers little challenge to their man.

      1. But the problem is Massa isn’t even much of a support driver, he’s not getting enough points for the team, he’s too far down the grid. When he should be one or two places below Alonso.

        Secondly, I believe I’ve brought this up before but remember when Massa had his accident in 2009? And none of his replacements could drive the car as quick as massa could? It could’ve been the car was tailored to massa’s driving style rather than the replacement drivers. But they were still no where near massa’s lap times if my memory serves me right. So who would currently replace him now?

        Although that ferrari car this year seems worse than the dogs they had last year and the year before. Ferrari trends to start slow and play catch up during the season. IMO they should’ve evolved or revolutionized the car rather than scrap all their R&D for something new. I believe that’s what Mclaren did and that’s why they’re so effective this year. That’s what RB has been doing for many years and I personally think it’s the right attitude to car development.

        1. I take your point about FM being too far down and not getting enough points for the team.

          I think his replacement drivers just didn’t have the car time that FM had, nor did Ferrari have nearly the data on the replacements likes and dislikes in a car to go by in order to help them…that stuff takes time to accumulate and delve into.

          As to this year’s car, I personally think they had to do this based on where they were last year. As I’ve said before, last July or so when they would have started to design this year’s car, they likely figured there was no way they were going to tweak last year’s car and expect to beat what they would have had to assume as a worst case scenario (for them) that the 2012 Red Bull would be equally formidable as the 2011 one, and this while they were looking to only achieve 3rd in the WCC.

          And I think the jury is still out on the new car and it may turn out exactly as they seem to be saying…they need time with the car…and that is not the same as it being a dog. The speed may well be there, they just haven’t found the optimum setups for it. So I think for now THEY don’t even know what they have on their hands. Time will tell. I think they deserve that time. It’s what F1 is all about. It’s not easy. It’s more normal to struggle to find pace than to have it come at the snap of the fingers.

          1. THEY don’t even know what they have on their hands.

            I hope Ferrari gets it right, but they better get the hang of it fast. The root cause of Ducati’s flawed 2011 MotoGP campaign was the same reason as this. Even the great Valentino Rossi just couldn’t figure it out and the result was pathetic. I sincerely hope it isn’t the same with Ferrari this year.

        2. “that ferrari car this year seems worse than the dogs they had last year and the year before”

          What? people do have short memories dont they?

          Alonso won the first race of the season in 2010 and only lost the championship with a strategy mistake in the last race. Its amazing that someone can rate the 2010 Ferrari as a dog of a car. It won 5 races for crying out loud. They were championship contenders throughout the season. Its really hard to please you guys.

      2. Wow a whole paragraph until the MS bashing starts. I will point it out every time, you can count on it ;-)

    2. Why get rid of Massa if the guy is willing to work as a “test driver”? (no disrespect). Other drivers would be demanding equal treatment with Alonso.

      1. Are we all delusional ? Without the retirement of Schumi and Grosjean …and maybe a slightly better drive by Rosberg ……our great driver Alonso (no disrespect) ….probably places 9th …… at best. Is this what Ferrari is really aiming for. Massa did struggle this past weekend …..but let’s face it ….looking extremely bleak for Ferrari this year …no matter how good Alonso / Massa are !!!!!

        1. Excellent point! Alonso’s drive was definitely flattered by the high attrition rate of the race. It so easy for people to praise Fernando, but barring all the retirements and incidents, there would have been 2 Mercedes and possibly 2 Lotus(uses?) in front of him. 9th or 10th doesn’t sound so exciting now does it.

        2. some would say we have forgotten the old adage ‘to finish fifth, first you have to finish’. If we’re talking about ‘if’s’ here then we should include the if of Alonso not being able to qualify top ten because he spun off the track no? or do you expect Alonso will spin out of qualifying at every qualifying session and miss out on Q3? Please close that can of worms…I believe 5th was a fair reflection on number 1 Ferrari at Albert park

          1. +1. Without the spin in Q2, Alonso would have started further up and finished about the same.

    3. There was a huge issue with chassis number 293.

      It was located between the steering wheel and the seat.

      I don’t think Ferrari engineers fixed it for chassis n°294, though.

  5. “This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park.”

    “And to clear up that we give him the same equipment Alonso has, and it’s just Felipinho being rubbish…”

  6. Let Alonso have a burn around in the #293 chassis on Friday morning. Then we’ll see whats what

    1. @welshtom +1 on that.

    2. Exactly. The chassis was damaged, but he was already going slow before it picked up all the damage. I think Massa knows he’s on his way out, and is desperate to make any excuse.

      1. No one said it damaged.

  7. he suffered damage with that clash with Senna. Probably that must have forced him to bring a new chassis

    1. Doubt it – it takes a major impact to damage the tub. Most teams can make it a full season on a single chassis per driver – sometimes they even reuse the ones that were used for crash testing. HRT’s been using the same two chassis since 2009.

      1. You’re right. For example, Maldonado’s chassis was undamaged after his crash in Australia. I think many people mistake what the chassis really is. It’s got nothing to do with the bodywork, i.e the wings and other bits and pieces. The chassis is the frame of the car.

    2. That wasn’t even close to damage the chassis.

  8. Massa hasn’t been the same since losing to Lewis in 2008, must’ve been so hard to get over and then he get’s a serious injury at Hungry 09. Let’s face, he’s never been the greatest driver, who would really have thought he’d ever have a shot at a drivers title when he was constantly crashing the Sauber.

    Personally i think if it hadn’t have been for his accident he would have been dropped a while ago. He’s a nice guy but he knows he’s never going to get the chance to win the WDC again and is probably wondering if it’s really worth all the risk.

    1. I believe if any of us had that seat we would hang onto it for dear life and not voluntarily leave it. He needs to get himself turned around.

    2. Gibo is driving (@)
      20th March 2012, 16:35

      Now am hungry for another turkey 2008 performance by Felipe

    3. He was rubbish even against Lewis.

    4. Hey, he only lost to Lewis by 1 point!!!! On the last lap.
      Hardly what I’d call “stamping your name on the championship” they way Vettle did last year.
      Let’s see if Lewis EVER wins a second one – that may have been a fluke. If Alonso had been at Ferrari that year, I doubt Lewis would have won. We all know Massa is a tier 2 driver.

      1. because alonso would have won it? were u born after 2007 or did u miss the season Lewis schooled alonso??? in a car built for alonso?

        1. @Briant…In a car built for FA? As if…I hardly think FA would have ended up, whether he was right or wrong, complaining that the team was for LH, if in fact the car had been built for him (FA).

          1. But if, but if,…. this whole argument is silly. -.-

            Felipe was good, you can see this by him closing in on Schumacher, or Beating Kimi…. Ever since his crash he has never been the same. However, Alonso is like the old Schumacher in that he will never tolerate a team mate who can rival him. Felipe won’t be any worse than any replacement you can think of.

          2. What. Rubbish comment. That was the first and only season for Alonso in a mclaren. So how in the world that car was built for Alonso if he only drove it for the first time in January of 2007 and the first race was two months later. All the cars were planned and started to being built at least 5 months earlier and if you dkn’t remember Alonso was driving te Renault then. Also schooled by Hamilton? How could you say that, the end up tied in points even though Alonso had the entire team against him and he was racing dennis And the boys. You are a delusional Hamilton fan. Please keep in touch with reality.

          3. @Tete Alonso’s switch to McLaren was announced even before the 2006 ended and he also did a private test with McLaren in 2006. So, the car wasn’t built to suit Alonso doesn’t hold.

        2. were u born yesterday as i dont remember lewis schooling fernando. it was a close battle between 2 mega drivers. one of which was being pushed out of the team to quote ron: ‘we were only racing fernando’ ‘i dont speak to fernando’ ‘ i havent spoken to fernando for months’ and so on.

          they finished equal on points in what has been by far lewis best and most consistent seasons. if he could repeat his 2007 performances he would at least be a 2x world champion. but he hasnt.

          as for massa, well ferrarri are doing everything they can to help him. the worry for massa is if he continues to be slow, the fact that ferrari have bent over backwards for him he will further add the pressure. its a vicious circle which will only be eased by a podium or string of performances where he finishes on the back of alonso gearbox.

          tough times, when ferrari need to be concentrating on sorting out their car they are trying to sort out massa’s head. its something they could do without.

          1. well said!
            FA did a very good job on his own at the end of 2007 season when he was there by himself while LH was in the good graces of the team.
            Drivers need the team support and FA did not have Mclaren’s support at that time.
            I think there is no way around for FM. he does not have the strainght to fight for better results. the only thing he’s currently able to do is defending position agressively but ends losing it.

          2. being pushed out of the team


            Didn’t you forget a little something including the word “blackmail”?

        3. schooled alonso? ending up on same points as alonso in 07 is hardly schooled…the fact that he was a rookie was equaled by his also having Ron Dennis & the McLaren team on his side

    5. massa was more worthy then hamilton in 2008 to be champion but the last lap luck hamilton got proved the difference. if he had no talent like you imply, ferrari wouldnt have wanted him. dont forget he was also beating schumacher in his final year at ferrari.

      1. Aquatic Mammal
        20th March 2012, 17:04

        Massa was a good driver when he was competing for the championship and even when Alonso joined the team he held his own. He had that nasty accident and missed half a season then next year he seemed to be recovering really well. On the first anniversary of his accident he was back in full swing leading the race at Nurburg, wasn’t it, looking set to win. Even I wanted him to win, and I’m no Ferrari fan, when the team insisted he move over for Fernando. ‘Fernando is faster than you”. Remember that? After he moved over, the Brazillian press went for him, just like they turned on Rubens before. They don’t like him at home, they don’t respect him at Ferrari. Is it any wonder the poor boy never recovered?

        1. if it was a one off thing id understand it.

          but montoya jumped out of kimi’s way plenty of times in 05. massa helped kimi in 07, kimi helped massa in 08. kova helped lewis. and so on.

          Germany shouldnt of had such an impact. it was a shame, tho correct decision but was handled poorly by ferrari, massa, smedly, stefano and fernando.

          1. tho correct decision

            That’s wrong on so many levels.

          2. Aquatic Mammal
            20th March 2012, 19:33

            No, sorry. On the first anniversary of an accident that nearly killed him, to be leading the race and be told to move over for your team mate? That’ll destroy your confidence.

          3. of course it was the correct decision. fernando was fighting for the world title, massa was not.

            and as it was perfectly fine for montoya to let kimi win about 3 grand prix’s in 05, despite the rules saying otherwise then this was fine also.

            either both are ok or both are wrong. yet its interesting that mclarens team orders are forgotten about when the whole debate comes up.

        2. He was leading the race in the lap 20-25.so winning it far away at that point. I remember that race like yesterday and Alonso was going faster than massa, he tried to pass him at least two time but Alonso lifted it because he almost lost the car and he almost crab with massa. Last but not least while massa was holding Alonso up , vettel was reducing the distance with alonso and was getting close to him. Go watch that race again.

          1. In the pre-DRS days as it was, and on such a track, Felipe likely would have won.

            Him moving over wasn’t like when he helped Kimi, or visa-verse, it was the worst, cruelest and least sportsman like incident of team orders in F1 history.

            It was also the absolute worst decision Ferrari has made in a long time, it almost certainly lost Alonso the title, and has likely ruined Massa’s career.

          2. In your opinion :)

  9. I think ive watched f1 long enough to know there is a lot more to this sport than supposedly having the same car as your team mate. Massa’s car on sunday looked horrendous. Comparing drivers is sometimes very difficult when you dont know what is going on behind the scenes. Look at button at benneton he clearly wasnt happy and he was trounced by fisichella, but look at him now. Dont write Fellipe off, his talent is still there he just needs the enviroment to prove it. Sadly i dont think its in the shadow of Alonso.

    1. agree. It is so difficult to compare drivers. Even in the same team, in the same year. How can anyone explain Ham beating Alo in 2008, and Button beating Ham last year? And Schumacher beating them all (Kimi, Alonso, Button and… Newey, his greatest rival)? So many variables to consider….

  10. There is already gossip in the tabloids (entertaining if nothing else) that Alguersuari could be replacing Massa at some point during this season, I would like to see Helmut Marco’s face if this deal ever takes place!

    1. id love to see it. but 2 spainish drivers in the same team, both who can be loose cannons at times, might be a recipe for disaster.

      though reading it again im thinking bring it on!!

      1. albeit Mclaren 2007 for obvious reasons, when has Alonso been a loose cannon or more of ‘a loose cannon’ than any other driver? or is this just a generalisation for latin drivers?

        Dont think Alguersuari will partner Alonso as Jaime dosent like Alonso…Alonso wouldnt want someone that dosent like him as his 2nd driver would he? and Ferrari would never put a 21 year old as one of their 2 drivers. I think Adrian Sutil would be more suitable and or Sergio Perez. And what about Koba? I think he’s done enough for a call up

        1. Kobayashi in Ferrari would be something to see.

        2. “and Ferrari would never put a 21 year old as one of their 2 drivers”. Yeah because Sergio Perez is 22 that makes all the difference!

    2. That would be great, we’d finally get a decent benchmark on Alguersuari (and Buemi) too.

    3. He would make a great fit! Although I personally believe Buemi was better, but either one is miles ahead of Massa.

    4. I doubt strongly that will happen. Felipe’s position is stronger than that. He may be replaced for next season but I wouldn’t write him off just yet. He’s still a fast driver and he’s young enough to improve IMHO. He’s just had more than his fair share of bad luck.

    5. @jt46 Ferrari take on a driver that Red Bull just decided wasn’t good enough for them? That’ll take some pride-swallowing.

      1. Red Bull as in Helmut Marko decided. Pride swallowing hmmmm if you want. But you’ll sure as hell have a driver wanting to prove himself (partly to stick it up at Marko :)

      2. what would be pride swallowing is if Algersuari won a race for Ferrari beating Vettel and all the Red Bull drivers.

        I dont think he will get the drive though. A more probable option is Perez, or even Kubica, after doing some Friday running later in the season and with no drive for next year, Ferrari just might snatch him up. It would be a very popular move in Italy and worldwide probably. And it will take time for Robert to get up to speed which gives Alonso the security he likes in a team.

  11. They’d better give him some foam padding to put under his ****, then he might be able to see where he’s going, and not run off the edge of the road in the braking areas (same applies to Fred while they’re at it).