Should Ferrari get a penalty?


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. sujesh said on 20th October 2008, 16:40

    DG , if FIA comes with such a stupid decision , f1 losts its charm…its just not a drivers championship is the place where technology and innovation plays a key role.

    I hope FIA wont make such a decision

  2. Livio Oricchio, Brazilian insider has said that Ferrari has get some boos from the crowd because of Ferrari drivers swapping positions…

  3. Hey sujesh, I think it already has. I watch F1 because I love cars. But over the years the governing body has taken all the innovation away from the teams. I don’t think Colin Chapman would recognise it as it is today.
    I mean Active suspension, ground effects are the main two, traction control has been throttled and ABS is not allowed I don’t think. Apart from ground effects these are all options and sometimes standard fit on a lot of mainstream cars. Having the teams perfect them can only be a good thing.
    Anyway we’re a little bit off topic here, my fault I know so back to the matter at hand. I shall summarise it thus: What a farce!

  4. MadMax said on 20th October 2008, 17:16

    All the time the current rules apply to F1, with Teams running two cars and competing for a separate Constructors Championship, there will be Team Orders. Otherwise why are they there?
    But, we can all guess from previous articles on the blog, and from comments elsewhere, that by the time F1 has mutated into GP1, Bernie and Max would have done away with the Constructors Championship, and the current Points system, and that all the focus will be on the drivers, and away from the cars and the teams.
    Under those conditions there will be no place for Team Orders, and it will be more like ‘Every Man for Himself’.

  5. charlla said on 20th October 2008, 17:59

    Let it be Guys, Massa will do it next year! NO TEAM ORDERS

  6. Macademianut said on 20th October 2008, 18:09

    I don’t think team orders are wrong; particularly when this is clearly a team sport. The FIA rule on team orders must be eliminated.

  7. Kenti said on 20th October 2008, 18:20

    Let me just put it in this way for the satisfaction of all you Hamilton fans-Formula 1 is a team sport.If it werent a team sport,then we wouldnt have had two drivers
    in one team or for that reason the constuctors championship.There was a mutual understanding between both scarlet cars and Kimi did what was good for the team.Even Lewis said that if he had been the same position,then he would have done exactly what Kimi did

  8. P5ycH0 said on 20th October 2008, 18:42

    As anti ferrari as I am, I have to say NO.
    First of all, you cannot prevent this. Raikonen could also have faked a wheel lockup and slide a bit off track.
    Besides that it still a team sport. And if you cannnot be bothered to act on that you don’t belong in that team. (Example: Alonso @ McLaren last year.)

    B.t.w. Alonso really outshines everyone else this year.

  9. Agreed that the “Switch” was executed in most clumsy manner by Ferrari and even though I have always been Anti-Ferrari person, I wouldn’t blast Ferrari for trying to Retain “Both” the titles.
    Kimi returning Massa’s Favor is not bad at all.

    And well now because “Lewis’s” Championship is in Question there is so much hue and cry about the “switch”

    When It was clear in 2005 after Montoya returned from Two race injury break, he had pretty much limited to play Second fiddle to “Kimi’s” campaign.
    Only when Engine Penalties forced Kimi to start race at back of grid did JPM go for wins, not to mention If you had seen his lap times, he did everything possible to hold the field back and let Kimi gain ground as much as possible. Obvious event was in SPA when McLaren Pitwall effectively helped Kimi to assume race lead by cutting 30+ second lead that JPM had. That Antonia Pizzonia took JPM out further helped Kimi.

    Nick Heidfeld’s contribution to Kubica’s maiden win is well documented so , won’t reiterate that. but given that Alonso Broke down ultimately in that race.If Nick had played Selfish and blocked Kubica as Long as possible it could have been he breaking his duck finally. The look on his face on podium told the complete story. Don’t remember Nick/Robert being grilled by Peter Windsor at that podium about the pass , nor remember Nick Whining I have number two on my car either

    So Team Rules come first Period.
    Its Only Certain Blessed Souls Break those repeteadly (Monaco, Hungary ’07), and still get all sympathy from all sectors media and fans

  10. What difference does it make if the command to give up position is made during the race or if its made before hand, a week prior, in a team briefing?

    The rule is really in place to prevent the kind of BS theatrics Ferrari did at races ends when they were totally dominant. Those were objectionable for being obvious and late. But I also question how obvious it is for Kimi to drop almost nine seconds to do a switch.

    Massa has received his penalty in the form of the shame. I think this result will have an important result: even if Massa wins the title, Kimi has shown that he is still the faster driver. And if Massa cannot cleanly beat his teammate in Brazil on speed, after his swoon in the last 3 races, he will give up any claim to being the lead or co-equal driver in the team in 09.

  11. Oliver said on 20th October 2008, 21:36

    Yes wrongly accused, I scrolled back up while typing my post and picked the wrong name.

    Its still amazes me people are still venting posting on this matter. I must admit the stewards have made it rather an uneventful race for us,so there is some frustration as we have nothing much to write about.

  12. What a penalty for Ferrari, that is not permitted

  13. Deeza said on 21st October 2008, 0:08

    I really can’t believe some people actually think Ferrari should be punshed.

    Bravo I say to Raikkonen for supporting his team mate and his bid to become World Champion.

    Like antonyob said, its a team sport.

  14. zerogee said on 21st October 2008, 0:46

    lewism made a really good point about pit-stops etc.

    When you look at the pit strategies, they are effectively team orders – the driver the team is ‘supporting’ gets the better strategy. In Schumacher’s day, he got the better *everything*. That’s team orders.

    Felipe was lighter and still didn’t outqualify Kimi so the team orders (in the sense I outline above) were broken before the race even started. Felipe is completely overwhelmed, in my opinion, and certainly will be in Brazil.

    Anyway, the whole subject is moot – if the FIA didn’t punish McLaren for it (ref Germany) they won’t be punishing anyone. Fine with me.

    As for the clumsiness of the switch – Fangio changed cars for goodness’ sake. Nobody moans about that. All we focus on now is the job he did to get that car back to the front. Anyone here wish to decry Fangio? Probably not! :-) Point being that the FIA have no interest in banning ‘team orders’ because team orders are such a nebulous thing unless teams are caught on the radio saying ‘move over.’ If memory serves, Williams did a deal with some team or other in at Jerez in 97, letting somebody past Villeneuve to make sure Villeneuve finished (I could be making that up). Nobody heard a peep.

    The team orders thing really came up because of a high-profile team, high-profile driver made a high-profile switch that angered bookies. Frankly, if you bet on F1, you need your head read.

    The debate here is interesting – a number of Hamilton fans don’t have a problem with the switch, so I don’t think that it’s particularly clear-cut…

  15. I dont follow either ferrari or mclaren, but am sick of their whinging fans. The FIA should get rid of both teams to give everyone else a little peace & quiet

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