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. BARRY said on 25th July 2010, 19:39

    Hi Guys

    Has anyone ever considered the fact that maybe smedley was instructed to give the order, of which he was reluctant and unhappy about and decided to make so blatant an order there by saying to his bosses ”now dig yourseleves out of this one”……..smedley is a pro he knows a thousand and one ways to relays such tactical coded message but this one certainly did not require a morse code breaker

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th July 2010, 10:24

      We do saw him tearing his hair cause of frustration & may be a little bit of shame.
      But he can’t do anything else as he is paid by Ferrari so whatever the management teams said they both Rob & Massa have to follow them.

  2. Charles Carroll said on 25th July 2010, 20:00

    Massa should have stated, clearly on the radio, that Alonso is a two-time champion and can EARN his way past. Alonso probably would have anyway.

    This is why many Americans cannot watch F1. Let the “greatest drivers on Earth” race. We get enough politics in everything else, and it makes us sick.

  3. renzo said on 25th July 2010, 20:05

    it’s a scandal!!

  4. Stubie said on 25th July 2010, 20:24

    I am really proud of my twitter reply to @InsideFerrari

    @InsideFerrari: GER – A dominant one-two for the Scuderia
    @stuminator: surely you mean a dominant two-one

    ;P

  5. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 25th July 2010, 20:38

    Can someone remind me when Massa’s contract expires?

  6. RaulZ said on 25th July 2010, 22:17

    Marc Gené, Ferrari’s test driver, said on spanish TV before the race that it was agreed in Ferrari that the driver before with worse pace would let pass the faster one. He told this naturally so I think Ferrari knew that it was perfectly legal.

    The problem is that Massa decided another thing later: First, he said ok, then he didn`t let Alonso pass, then he did it, and later he looked like scammed.

  7. Haggis said on 25th July 2010, 23:09

    Firstly, I should say F1 is one of my top two sports.

    However, if this was considered a real sport by the political powers in the world, there would be a criminal investigation for race fixing, much as there are fairly regular criminal investigations for horse race fixing and football match fixing. Its the equivalent of scoring a deliberate own goal.

    I almost never bet on F1 because of this kind of debacle. Once again F1 looks more like WWE than a sport.

  8. Regis said on 25th July 2010, 23:47

    I don’t understand why this is a “scandal” !! ?

    Every team has done it, especially Mclaren, was it a Scandal then? a Manipulation? no.

    Ferrari does it and all of a suden its a disgrace?

    I wonder if it would be a “Manipulation” if the same would have happened to Button and Hamilton in the same circumstances.

    I think not…

  9. kriyuk said on 26th July 2010, 2:17

    I thought there was something about ‘flexible wings’ yesterday with Red bull. was that right?

  10. Arild said on 26th July 2010, 2:32

    Lies and more lies from Ferrari, and to deny it after also? It was so open, they need to get punished and more than just a fine. Points taken away and 3 race ban atleast. Or even better, all point from todays race and all constructors points removed! Alonso screamed and cried about Hamilton overtook the safetycar and how he follows the rules and finished 9th, Hamilton 2nd. Well, now then…. Who follows rules? Not Alonso or Ferrari! And all the other crap he has been involved in? Racefixing with Renault? Spy scandal with McLaren? Threaten Ron Dennis? Blocking Hamilton in the pits in 2007? The list goes on and on! Was a Alonso fan until his McLaren days, he lost all respect after that. He should just leave the sport.

  11. Asha-D said on 26th July 2010, 2:43

    People may very well have bet money on Massa to win this race. How do you think they feel. This is akin to match fixing in other sports.

    • kriyuk said on 26th July 2010, 2:50

      they should not bet on Massa when Alonso is ahead in championship. it is very clear. And from now on, I suggest everybody not bet your money on Button and Webber. Put your money for Vettel and Hamilton.

    • Maciek said on 26th July 2010, 8:45

      Maybe they can find better things to do than bet money on sports, or anything, for that matter.

  12. happy said on 26th July 2010, 5:59

    i find it amusing that lots and lots of people panned Webber for not allowing Vettel to pass a few races ago and now lots and lots of people are complaining about Massa letting Alonso pass :)

    for me who cares, it is a rare occurence and it is circumstance driven plus it is a team sport, the teams are fronting all the cash, look at the tour de france for example

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th July 2010, 6:11

    SHAME ON FERRARI

    If they would have swapped the place for the podium that’s OK if they would have swap the places for the race win in the latter stages of the season (Massa & Kimi in China 2008) that’s Ok but to robbed someone’s victory is something they shouldn’t have done at any cost.

    I think F1 can continue without FERRARI!!!!!!!!
    I feel like crying to see Massa in the press conference answering to the question thrown at him.Very poor.

    I hope neither Alonso or Ferrari wins the WDC & WCC.
    I hope Massa gets back his confidence back & he wins in Hungary.

  14. simon. said on 26th July 2010, 6:47

    So, whilst Schumacher may currently be languising with the ‘also rans’ his old legacy remains – drivers swerving off the start line or wanting to win the title by having other drivers give way – neither are the signs of a genuine world champion. And if Alonso wins this year it wil be yet another case of ego usurping talent making the title irrelevant. Very sad indeed.

  15. Dragos said on 26th July 2010, 7:16

    I think this gives a better clue to what happened to Massa when Rob said “Alonso is faster than you”

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1rlThKe1qo

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