Controversy as Alonso wins manipulated race (German Grand Prix review)

Fernando Alonso claimed his second win of 2010 in the German Grand Prix – but only after team mate Felipe Massa was ordered to give him the win.

The change of positions has already drawn widespread criticism and both drivers were clearly subdued on the podium afterwards. The stewards are investigating what happened.

The pair took the lead at the start as both overtook Sebastian Vettel. But Vettel’s attempts to keep Alonso behind let Massa through into the lead ahead of his team mate.

Pinched between the Ferraris, Vettel slowed held up Jenson Button. That allowed the McLaren driver’s team mate to pass him as well as Mark Webber.

Vettel was the first driver to pit, his team smartly taking advantage of a small gap in the traffic behind.

Alonso reacted, pitting before Massa, but after his team mate pitted Alonso was still behind. Lewis Hamilton came in too and was briefly stuck behind Robert Kubica when he came back out.

But Mark Webber came off worst in the first round of pit stops, ultimately losing fifth place to Jenson Button. Button stayed out late and came close to getting ahead of Hamilton as well as Webber.

That left the Ferraris first and second, with Felipe Massa struggling to begin with after he switched to hard tyres.

At first it looked as though Alonso might be able to pass his team mate. He made a concerted effort when when was briefly held up behind Bruno Senna but Massa held the inside line for the hairpin and Alonso’s attempt to pass failed.

After that Massa began to pull away, building up a gap of over three seconds over his team mate. Later Alonso began to bring the gap down again and came within range as Massa hit more traffic.

It was at this point that Rob Smedley got on the radio to Massa with a message that has already become infamous. It was clearly a coded instruction to Massa telling him to let Alonso by.

Later Ferrari’s press officer Luca Colajanni defended the decision saying the team were concerned about the threat of third-placed Vettel:

If Felipe would have struggled more Vettel could have joined Fernando and that could have been a danger for the team.

When you are on the pit wall you have to think about all the potential scenarios. Vettel could have joined them and maybe in last ten laps of the race we could have been in trouble.
Luca Colajanni

However he denied Massa had been told to let Alonso by, saying:

We didn’t let Fernando pass. It was a driver decision. We inform the drivers about situation. We didn’t give any instruction at all to what they have to do. It was his own decision.
Luca Colajanni

Even when Massa slowed after being passed, Vettel wasn’t able to do anything about the Ferrari, and followed him home in third. But afterwards the stewards summoned Ferrari to explain themselves raising the possibility that Vettel may yet gain more places.

The McLaren drivers had a quiet race to fourth and fifth. They might have been pushed harder had Webber not developed a problem with high oil temperature, meaning he had to drop back from them.

Kubica took seventh ahead of the Mercedes duo, Nico Rosberg leading home Michael Schumacher after getting past him via the pit stops. Vitaly Petrov claimed the final point ahead of Kamui Koabayashi’s Sauber.

The two Williams drivers fell out of the points having started in the top ten and came home 12th and 13th.

Pedro de la Rosa ran a long first stint on the hard tyres but ultimately finished where he started in 14th.

The two Force Indias finished 16th and 17th behind Jaime Alguersuari after a terrible race for the team. Both cars were in for repairs at the end of the first lap.

The only two drivers of the new teams to finish were Timo Glock and Bruno Senna.

Alonso’s win means he is still fifth in the drivers championship but is now within 13 points of the Red Bull duo – assuming the stewards allow him to keep his win.

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275 comments on Controversy as Alonso wins manipulated race (German Grand Prix review)

  1. ADZ23 said on 25th July 2010, 17:02

    keith i love this site,my best f1 site ever….
    ferrari this,ferrari that,mclaren have broken plenty of rules in the past,the comment said to massa alonso is faster than you………….i dont remember hearing massa move out the way cos your know where in the title,people believe what they want to,fact is there not running a billion pound team,it was a good race,

  2. miro_007 said on 25th July 2010, 17:06

    poor Alonso… he doesn’t have a chance to prove how much faster than Massa he really is… don’t you think he also had orders, not to attack. how many times he was stuck behind teammate this year, but for the sake of the team he followed patiently. too bad ferrari screwed/was unlucky too much this year not to let drivers decide on the track who is faster (clearly Alonso). Felipe was lucky today on the start that Vettel held up Fernando and he took generous chunk of runoff tarmac (Kimmi Spa style) to take the lead

    • Paul McCaffrey said on 25th July 2010, 23:18

      This is a good point. There should be a penalty (not from the stewards, but a physical penalty, like grass) for running off the track. There used to be sand pits with deep ruts that ended drivers’ races. But no more!

  3. Andy (frome in somerset) said on 25th July 2010, 17:09

    Just heard on sky sports news,ferrari fined $100,000 result stands.DISGUSTED

  4. iaTa said on 25th July 2010, 17:10

    Ferrari fined $100,000!

  5. rampante (@rampante) said on 25th July 2010, 17:11

    The correct result for Ferrari and the FIA. No other team benefited or lost any position as a result of their stupidity. Without being stupid about a penalty there was no other option.

    • No other teams have been affected YET.

      If Alonso wins the Championship at the end of the year or another driver fails to beat Alonso at the end of the season because of a few points, then someone will be affected by this.

      $100k fine is a joke.

    • Patrickl said on 25th July 2010, 18:10

      The real verdict (and possibly penalty) is still to come

  6. pSynrg said on 25th July 2010, 17:11

    Such bull from absolutely everyone at Ferrari. Alonso for being such a blatant hypocrite, Massa for not having the passion and guts to stand up for himself and then Smedly towing the company line.

    What the hell is Massa saying when ‘he did it for the team’? How did letting Alonso through benefit the team anymore than him not letting him through? A 1 2 is a 1 2 regardless of which driver is where.
    If anything this has severely damaged the team by injecting venom into its make-up.

    I’ve wanted to enjoy Alonso for such a long time. His antics with McLaren/Lewis tested that to the n’th degree but as a driver he is spectacular and I could accept his passionate desire to succeed.

    But this just stinks – giving it a run-around that would do a conservative politician proud just smacks of a total disregard for anyone but himself, regardless.

    A horrible little man…

  7. iaTa said on 25th July 2010, 17:12

    Referal to World Motorsport Council so more sanctions may follow…

  8. ADZ23 said on 25th July 2010, 17:12

    i even think the fine is wrong…….

  9. Sam said on 25th July 2010, 17:13

    No ones denying its team orders, but to call it manipulated is a strong word. I dont see how it would be “manipulated” if it was a 1-2 in the bag anyway. Ok, so next time the director should come up with a better code than that. surprised they didnt just hold a meeting before the race discuss the situation, and say ok felipe, if he comes up behind you and you hold him up let him pass. Saves alot of contreversy and fighting.

    • the word “manipulated” is a term well used by Senor Alonso recently.

      • pSynrg said on 25th July 2010, 19:09

        Yeah, a bit like a certain bit of other manipulation sin Singapore 2008. He’s nothing but a two faced hypocrite.

  10. DCP84 said on 25th July 2010, 17:13

    As a Ferrari fan, I feel let down by this result.

    Team orders do exist, we all know this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the rule outlawing them should be removed. Transparency is always preferable.

    My distaste over this incident, and I think the public outrage caused, is simply a reflection of people’s innate sense of justice and fair play. It simply seems un-sportsman to award the victory to Fernando when his title chances are slim at best.

    This distaste is only compounded by the fact that Massa is one of the team’s grafters and it would have been poetic justice to see him get a race victory on the anniversary of his most frightening accident.

    As a passionate racer who is made or broken by his confidence and emotions, this incident will now be the nail in the coffin of Massa’s season.

    Team orders to decide a title are one thing; team orders when your fifth in the championship, have a slow development curve in comparison to the other teams and have been on the back foot since the second race of the season are completely disgusting.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th July 2010, 21:15

      I am not a Ferrari fan, and them going back to their winning strategies of the 1997-2005 makes me even less so.

      But otherwise i think your pretty spot on.

      OK let them have team orders, but only in a limited set of circumstances. And it should be done openly, stating the intention even before the race and not with “saving fuel” or “brake/tyre problems” or pitstop strategy.

    • Maksutov said on 26th July 2010, 0:50

      I used to support Ferrari together with number of other teams. But no more after this. After all this time, Ferrari have simply shown that they are better at manipulating instead of competing. There is no justification as why they should switch winners given that Massa still has a chance on title and clearly it would have been a one-two anyhow.

      Once again, it is very likely that these decisions are probably being enforced by Montezemolo himself, or somebody higher on the ladder, and its getting old.

      • kriyuk said on 26th July 2010, 7:13

        in term of sports, i do not like this team order done by Massa/Alonso. In term of fairness, I really liked it since it raised this issue even higher. Previously everybody is just happy to see McLaren/RedBull doing team orders from pit strategy/ fuel saving. Disgusting…

  11. Marc Pearson said on 25th July 2010, 17:15

    ferrari fined 100,000 dollars but result stands

    • Jack Holt said on 25th July 2010, 17:18

      They’ve been referred to the WMSC, so there may be more to come.

      The saddest part from this debacle is that no-one took pleasure from the result. I’ve not seen a sadder podium ceremony since Austria 2002. Ferrari should have just let them race, Felipe was still a championship contender until they decided to cut short his season this afternoon. Bad decision.

  12. Keith, I don’t see the article about Ferrari being fined $100k and referred to WMSC yet :)

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/85552

  13. Gentleman Alonso lol said on 25th July 2010, 17:21

    Coulthard, whilst playing devils advocate, mentioned the bygone era of Gentleman racers swapping cars etc… Doubt Alonso will ever be known as a gentleman.

  14. so the FIA fine Ferrari $100,000 and let the result stand? What for? They admitted that Ferrari broke the rules. So what happens in the future if another team break the rules? Give them a fine and let the results stand? Rubbish!

    • iaTa said on 25th July 2010, 17:23

      “Fine $100,000. The case will also be referred to the FIA World Motorsport Council for further consideration.”

    • Manu said on 25th July 2010, 17:25

      Remember in Canada when Hamilton got a fine but kept his pole position? You get the idea.

  15. Eddie Irvine had a “bad brake clause” in his contract when he was at Ferrari. He had to yield to Schumacher if he was leading. Massa’s contract has no such clause, apparently.

    • Maksutov said on 26th July 2010, 0:53

      We will never know that. you can be rest assured that the clause is, “do what the teams says, or you are fired”.

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