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. I am 100% in favor of team orders, which have been practiced since the beginning of the sport. The only reason why this is an issue now is because the FIA enjoys reserving the right to meddle with race results and judge things right or wrong. Also, I would blame it on the commercial exploitation of Formula One which caused viewership to expand, making them more accountable to newer/casual fans who don’t understand that 2nd drivers used to have to jump out of their cars for the 1st driver. I believe Formula One has traditionally been a race between different machinery, not just drivers. With or without Raikkonen moving over, McLaren demonstrated they had the quickest car in China, and Ferrari came 2nd. But the FIA is bowing to a very new idea that machinery doesn’t matter–it’s all about the driver–hence the rules about team orders and turning Formula One and everything else into a spec series.

  2. 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!

    18th of March 1998 – http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/1964457264__18_03_1998_WMSC.pdf http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns01513.html
    But the FIA forgot all about that by 2002, when they banned them again after the Austria incident.

  3. Mahir C said on 19th October 2008, 17:31

    Massa saying he passed Raikonenn was clearly funny, but I guess he had to make that comment to make sure there was no inquiry. Mclaren were investigated last year in Monaco only because Lewis complained about it.

    Also when were teams orders banned exactly? I remember watching 98 Austrian GP, at the last stages Schumacher was 4th and Irvine was 3rd. Martin Brundle and Murray Walker was chatting about how ferrari can move MS up to 3rd without making it so obvious. Martin Brundle said Irvine having brake problems was a good excuse and Ferrari said in the race that Irvine was having brake problems. If teams orders were banned in 2003, why then Ferrari would be thinking of excuses at that time?

    About teams orders, I have no problem with any form of teams orders, blocking, moving aside etc.

  4. antonyob said on 19th October 2008, 17:41

    its a team sport. end of story.

  5. beneboy said on 19th October 2008, 17:44

    Kimi did the decent thing & let Massa get the maximum possible points, I’ve got no problem with it.

    It’s understandable at this point in the season.

  6. again, its a team sport. end of story.

  7. Keith – There’s little point in pretending it’s anything like what McLaren did in Hockenheim for the sake of appeasing Ferrari fans. Just say it was a team order but you totally understand why they did it.

    In my opinion, even as a McLaren supporter, there’s nothing wrong with what Ferrari did today. The no team orders rule was created in the wake of Austria 2002 when Rubens Barrichello, mathematically a championship contender himself, slowed on the last lap to let Schumacher breeze by not withstanding the fact that Schumacher was really under no real threat for the drivers championship that year. Austria 2002 WAS wrong. Today wasn’t.

  8. Piquet said on 19th October 2008, 17:56

    It is illegal!
    It was blatant!
    It was undeniable (Kimi admitted to it during the interview)
    It affected the outcome of the race!
    It’s targeted to affect the outcome of the Championship

    I’m for limiting official involvement in general but this is just unacceptable.

    I’m a Ferrari fan and was offended and ashamed.

  9. Team orders have been here since the start of F1 and they will continue to be there right up until the end of it. What’s the difference between a team pressuring a driver at the before the race and them getting on the radio 20 laps before the end of it? If they tell the drivers explicitly or by implication the outcome is the same.
    What kills me is how the press and the British go on about McLaren being absolutely fair to both of their drivers. You people have short memories. They may draw the line at a different place but they still use the same chalk.
    Lets get one thing straight. There is only ONE FASTEST way around a race track and only one driver can have it. Even if it comes to what driver comes in on what lap to pit. The other will be denied the optimum strategy because of it.
    Hamilton has great speed but in this day of F1-on the fly-rules. He will be victimised as was Schumacher and others before him.
    Before you Lewis guys guys say he’s not Schumacher, who DELIBERATELY flew up the inside of a Ferrari in Japan knowing full well he couldn’t stop?
    And that’s just a start.

  10. Shahriar said on 19th October 2008, 18:26

    well… the ******** law needs to be changed
    there sud not be any ques of a penalty
    its for the team

  11. DG: flying up inside cars in Japan is a trick up Senna’s sleeve, and Hamilton already pointed out that he is no Senna;)

  12. Shahriar said on 19th October 2008, 18:35

    rule 39.1 >>> sud be fixex

  13. Jian: Whether he said he’s no Senna or not is irrelevant. He still did the deed. He must be judged upon his actions.

    Whether a move is blatant or subtle if it’s deliberate it’s still wrong. Watch for more of the same during his career. I’m don’t hate him for it I just think he and F1 supporters in general need to get real and see something for what it is. It can’t be unacceptable only when the opposition does it.

  14. I think the BMW case is completely different. In that instance, the 2 drivers were on different strategies, the drivers weren’t directly racing each other for position. If Kubica hadn’t been let past Heidfeld, he would have finished behind several other cars, not just his team mate. So, the swap was done in the interests of the team as a whole, not just one driver. It gained them several constructor’s points, not just their chosen driver a few driver’s points. So they weren’t directly “interfering with the race result”, they were giving Kubica the chance to maximise his strategy, and the team’s constructors points total. The swap didn’t automatically mean Heidfeld finished behind Kubica, it simply allowwed the drivers to race each other, which is meant to be what the rule is all about.

    So while the McLaren case is comparable, the BMW case is a completely different situation, so should not be mentioned as a precedent.

  15. @ apostrophe ” ‘ ”

    Great comment man. I never looked at the BMW incident from this angle. It was vital that Kubika passes Heidfeld so that both could race each other. Infact; if Kubika hadn’t passed Heidfeld may be that would have passed off as a team order.. hmm.. A big controversy saved there.. Thanks for that insight..

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