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?

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  1. Yiannaki said on 21st October 2008, 13:25

    The problem is how to define team orders & how to define oh I let him pass as I have no reason not to. That’s the real problem – As for the examples given, well they happened so much earlier in the season that it was imposible to say 100% that they let him pass as at the time it was not obvious of the outcome. Here we are 1 race from the end of the season & it was damn well clear what happened.

    That’s my opinion & anyone may agree or disagree.

  2. The reason they did not receive a penalty was due to no evidence of any team orders.

    The drivers acted on their own free will.

  3. Mosley make that law to avoid another Austria case.

    The unwrited law now is that team orders are allowed ina same cases as when you have less points then the leader.

    For sure you need to switch the law or give the penalty. There was plenty of time for a competent lawier like M.Mosley to do it.

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