Should Ferrari get a penalty?

Comment

A lot of discussion went on during the live blog about the Ferrari drivers swapping positions in the closing phase of the race. Kimi Raikkonen clearly backed off his pace to let Felipe Massa past.

There were some who felt this deserved a penalty. Team orders are supposedly illegal under article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations which reads:

Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

However, as I wrote a few weeks ago, many teams have gotten around this rule in the past simply by not issuing their instructions over the radio.

What Ferrari did today was no different to how Lewis Hamilton breezed past Heikki Kovalainen at Hockenheim, or how Robert Kubica passed Nick Heidfeld at Montreal. Just as they went unpunished, so should Ferrari today. Raikkonen was merely returning the favour Massa did for him at Interlagos last year – which also went unpunished.

It seems to me that the FIA simply cannot enforce the rule banning team orders. Should they scrap it then? Perhaps, but at least the rule in its current form may prevent teams from more overt and unsporting team orders in some situations – blocking rival drivers, for example.

The only thing that struck me as odd about the Ferrari swap was how blatant it was. At Montreal and Hockenheim the chasing driver (Kubica and Hamilton respectively) was much quicker than his team mate. Today Raikkonen surrendered a lead of almost nine seconds to let Massa past.

All the same, I don’t think Ferrari deserve a punishment. Today’s race was pretty dull. The last thing we need is the stewards getting involved yet again.

More on team orders: F1?s unwritten rules: team orders edition

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123 comments on Should Ferrari get a penalty?

  1. cyanide said on 19th October 2008, 12:31

    No, obviously not.

  2. Oliver said on 19th October 2008, 12:41

    No penalties, even if, the FIA won’t do that. But Massa’s post race interview was funny, he said, I caught up with Kimi and overtook him.

    @Shostak.. it appears you didn’t read the article.

    Although this article is sort of pointless, like punching the air to bring down a high flying aircraft.

  3. Ferrari should have the book thrown at them without question. Team orders are illegal and it throws the sport into disrepute yet again.

    The cases you site above, as I recall, are quite different in that Kubica was on a different strategy to Heidfeld in Canada, and the same goes for the Lewis and Heiki incidents. Therefore it is my opinion that there is room for manoeuvre.

    With today’s blatant Ferrari antics and rule transgression, it is clear to see that Ferrari are brazen and have no fear of repercussions. Kimi and Massa where on the same strategy today. It’s disgusting appalling and it’s a travesty. The rule should not be scrapped but simply enforced. Kimi as much conceded, all be it inadvertently in the post race conference, he had to move over for the team as he had nothing to loose or gain. And if Ferrari deny this, then both their cars data and pit radio should be made public. Lets face it the drivers looked embarrassed.

    Perhaps another “booo Ferrari” is in order!

  4. Robert McKay said on 19th October 2008, 13:19

    The FIA should scrap the rule banning team orders, on the proviso that any such swappings are examined on a case by case basis.

    I think it’s hard to argue that in a situation to keep a title fight alive or as close as possible a team switching its drivers (without the need for the embarrassing way Ferrari did it today) is completely 100% understandable in the final few races of a season.

    Likewise I think regardless of where you are in the season if you have one driver on a heavy fuel strategy (or is just plain slow) and is holding up the teams other driver directly behind then the swap is absolutely fine – the team should not have to cut off its nose to shoot itself in the foot, if you see what I mean.

    The rule was introduced because Ferrari went too far, and in a season when they were absolutely dominant and already had a huge points lead with Schumacher more or less untouchable, even though it was still pretty early in the season. To switch the drivers then was just taking the mickey a bit, even though it was Ferrari’s prerogative to do what they wanted.

    To ban the first two because of this is not only silly, it’s proven impossible to do. I know then you get into problems of grey areas and it being a decision by some faceless stewards, but I think it would be better than what we have currently – these “nudge nudge wink wink” team orders that are banned and yet circumventable.

  5. From the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7678482.stm

    Massa says:
    “I was strong enough to catch and pass [Raikkonen] and that was the best part of the race for me – but it was not enough.”

    Who, exactly, is he kidding?

    Great race for Hamilton. Flawless execution from McLaren. That car must be a pleasure to drive.

  6. I think some people are upset with todays “team order” because Kimi is not one that would fake like an Italian football player and pretend to brake to late, going wide, or something like that. He is Finnish, and this is how he do it. He wouldn’t do anything to destroy Massa’s chance for WDC, but at the moment he don’t give a rats *** about Ferrari’s reputation. He would do it like this even if it could cost him the next years seat.

    And for those who cry about team orders. F1 is a team sport. Every team has to have two cars. Of course there will be team orders. Anything else would go against all form of common sense.

  7. Massa really needed the points as obvious by the race pace…he was actually lighter than Kimi. If only Ferrari had fixed Kimi’s problems earlier in the year instead of focusing on Massa.

  8. wescanada said on 19th October 2008, 14:58

    No penalty should be given, because its a team sport, but at the same time you cannot make a rule then apply it whenever you feel like it.

    Lets keep the racing alive!

  9. Rohan said on 19th October 2008, 14:59

    If people want to talk about blatant team orders, why not talk about how McLaren decided who would win 2 consecutive races at Jerez 1997 and Melbourne 1998? It seems that the anti-Ferrari, pro-McLaren group conveniently forget these incidents, which happened way before Ferrari’s Austria 2002 farce (as did Senna letting Berger past at the Japanese GP fwiw).

    Having said that, all forms of team orders should be allowed imo.

  10. ceedas said on 19th October 2008, 15:18

    No.

  11. kimi had to go so slow for massa to catch him, that i thought at one ponit he would have to park the car and have a nap while he waited for massa.

    if massa is that off the pace in brazil, then he can forget it!!

  12. Oliver said on 19th October 2008, 15:25

    Nick, you mentioned the fact that Ferrari didn’t fix Kimi’s problems aarlier. Well fact is Kimi hates testing. Ferrari made the mistake of believing Kimi was a driver in the same mold as Schumacher, and then allowed him too many liberties. I think they have learned that he must drive the car during tests and have put him on a very busy test schedule for the coming year.

    @Rohan
    Ferrari have always had a number one and two driver all their years of racing.

  13. TOM f1 said on 19th October 2008, 15:33

    I don’t think it deserved a penalty, but you expect a defending world champion to at least make massa desrve the points, even if raikkonen isn’t in the title hunt himself.

  14. If people want to talk about blatant team orders, why not talk about how McLaren decided who would win 2 consecutive races at Jerez 1997 and Melbourne 1998?

    As far as I know team orders were not disallowed then. They are now.

  15. Navs

    Massa says:
    “I was strong enough to catch and pass [Raikkonen] and that was the best part of the race for me – but it was not enough.”

    He must say fake stuff to press; otherwise Ferrari would have been investigated after the race ( Although, Ferrari being investigated is unlikely, Why take a risk??)

    Remember Monaco ’07 Lewis’s comments led to Mclaren being probed

  16. @Oliver : “Well fact is Kimi hates testing.”

    Is there an interview or article where this is made clear? I’ve seen him admit that he is “lazy,” but I’d like to see something concrete on your specific claim around him hating testing. Thanks!

    @Sumedh
    Point. But I think comments similar to what RAI made would have been ok.

    RAI himself could have been a little classier and made the move a little more subtle, but can’t really blame him.

  17. Interesting series of intelligent comments, Keith, the site gets better and better.

    You are never going to stop two-car team drivers manipulating results to their own teams advantage if the situation is as it was today. No matter what rules apply to such behaviour. Nevertheless, it is interesting to speculate that had highly questionable punishments like those against Hamilton at Spa and more particularly Bourdais at Fuji not taken place, Hamilton would already be champion.

    This years championship will go down as one of the most controversial ever. Just like 2007.

  18. Im a Mclaren supporter so i obviously wouldnt argue if ferrari got punished. However i do think that its a silly rule in this case as of course there are going to be code words or agreements before the race to avoid getting penalised. After all thats what “team” is all about and why shouldnt they be able to work as a team?

    I did a have a little smile when Felipe claimed all credit for passing Kimi in the press conference to cover their backs.

    No penalty. Not that the FIA would anyway..

  19. I forget, so maybe someone can help. What date exactly was the team orders rule ban brought in? Keith’s previous blog mentioned 2002, but is there a more precise date? Therefore, lets try keep the passionate allegations and counter allegations to incidents after 2002. This makes sense don’t you think!

  20. I had to get up at 2.30 am to watch the GP live. It was obvious to me once the grid positions were known, that Raikkonen would concede his position to Massa. What was so appalling was the blatant way in which he did it. Ferrari may deny there were explicit team orders (and I don’t agree with this rule) but there was very obviously an ‘understanding’ and the manoeuvre was undoubtedly a breach of the current rules.

    I agree with some commentators that had the same manoeuvre been carried out by any team other than Ferrari then there would have been a Stewards Enquiry. It’s not surprising that the FIA are now known Ferrari International Assistance.

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