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. MacLeod said on 26th July 2010, 8:41

    Force India were not luckly this time as i never seen a team mounting the tyres of his teammate twice on the wrong car. They fixed it fast after they discovered the mistake. But hell the teamboss for pitstop made a huge mistake and should be fired as he is the one seeing who is coming into the pits long before his team does.

    I missed the rain…

  2. Eric said on 26th July 2010, 9:01

    for those that dont understand and for those that missed it watch it again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJEPdGzSR7o

    team orders in play.
    makes a total mockery of what racing is really about.
    any other sport you would get suspended for fixing the results.
    i certainly hope they get done, a $100thousday fine is peanuts to these car manufactures, they need to be taught the fans are paying for them to race, and wont tolerate such crap from the engineers interfering in the race results.

  3. For me the biggest controversy was not the pass as that at least had some discernible reason. What was worse was Ferrari treating the media and fans like we didn’t know what they had done.

    It was plain as day guys, just admit what you did and move on.

    In my opinion if they had come on the radio and said “Felipe Fernando has a better shot at giving us both championships this year please let him through I would have had less argument”. The way they did it at the time and after the race was shocking.

  4. Andrew said on 26th July 2010, 10:55

    What a sad day for F1. Massa was absolutly fantastic today and deserved the win, especially after what he went through a year ago to the day. Ferrari had the chance to do the right thing this weekend, and what a story it would have been with Massa winning. Instead they resorted to their typical style and ruined it for all us true F1 fans. They should be ashamed of themselves and I hope they get punished further for this…but I’m sure Uncle Todt won’t allow that to happen!

    Also, has anyone noticed that since the rumours came out about Ferrari using the barcode as a hidden message on their cars to promote Malboro tabacco (which is illegal just like team orders), which they of course denied. Since then they have stopped using the barcode on the cars. Is this another case of Ferrari doing what they like in the sport and getting away with it.

    As you have probably guessed I am not a Ferrari fan and for exactly these types of reasons.

  5. Okay .. I’ve read all 220 odd comments and heres my opinion on this

    Team orders have always existed and rightly so – after all you do get awarded points for the constructors. About what happened yesterday – should Ferrari have done it? – I don’t think so .. Massa had a good start, good pace and deserved to win. Alonso could have come in second and pocketed points, but Ferrari are really thinking about which of their drivers is their future very much like RBR confirming Vettel as their future. We really don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, at the factory, driver and engineer interactions – maybe Alonso is the catalyst (something Ferrari have been missing since Schumacher) who can motivate the team and make believe that the World Championship is still very much within grasp.
    Obviously both drivers weren’t happy and we could see their body language on the podium. The important thing (as Fernando puts it) is that Ferrari now have a car that can allow its drivers challenge for more race wins

    • PT (@pt) said on 26th July 2010, 17:26

      Moreover, if Massa was closer to Alonso in the points standings this would never have happened. For the folks praising Massa, where was he all these races? Why was he so far behind Alonso in the championship standings till then? And as someone said somewhere, Massa should have refused. His failure to do so indicates his desire to be the number 2 in order to save his Ferrari seat.

  6. Jedi James said on 26th July 2010, 11:29

    Ferrari would still have got the same points with Massa winning, surely the team’s focus is the WCC, and then if their drivers fright for the WDC all the better? That way we have no team orders becuase it is a team focus. More focus on WCC…….

  7. Please, Keith, could you give some evidence in favour of these statements in the article:

    1) … as Massa hit more traffic.

    2) Even when Massa slowed after being passed…?

    Just to prove your unbiased approach…

  8. Horacio said on 26th July 2010, 17:38

    This was just shameful. As a Massa fan, I feel ashamed, and HE should too.
    To see the footage of Alonso ‘celebrating’ the victory was revolting. Absolutely absurd, as was Alonso’s complains to to the pit because Massa didn’t let himm pass in the first half.
    As nikki Lauda said about Alonso’s remarks after the race, about he being faster than Massa: “I never heard a pilot talking such ********”.
    Even as as Massa fan AND a Ferrari fan, I truly hope the whole team is severely punished, well beyond the cash fine.

  9. Jeferson said on 26th July 2010, 19:13

    I like Brazilian just have to say: total Indignation! In Brazil on Sunday woke up at 9:00 in the morning, rest day to see this farce …. while the FIA not to adopt the method by a pilot team that will not change.
    Santander boss at Ferrari, that is the question ….

  10. almanac said on 26th July 2010, 20:22

    I would have liked to see this title in this article of yours written in 10 May 2009 instead
    “Did Brawn deliberately give Barrichello a poor strategy to let Button win?” ( does thit suggest that you are implying team orders)
    the title could have been
    “Controversy as Button wins manipulated race (Spanish Grand Prix review)
    wasn’t that a team order?
    what do you think after one year Keith and after all this fuss the ferrari team orders are causing?

    • DCP84 said on 26th July 2010, 21:46

      To everyone who’s pointing to other situations where team orders have been used, I think this is somewhat missing Keith’s point.

      There’s the concept of team orders and their application.

      Clearly, in this instance they were applied unjustly.

      1) Alonso missed his chance to pass Massa’s through Alonso’s mistake and Massa’s defensive skill.

      2) While Alonso may have been a shade quicker, we’re not talking drastically faster by any stretch.

      3) Alonso’s chances of winning the title are very slim.

      4) If Alonso still has a mathematical chance of victory, by logical extension Massa still did too. They have completely killed Massas chances to boost Alonso’s.

      5) The chance to see their pilot win a race on the anniversary of his accident obviously means nothing to them.

      • 1) Alonso’s chances may well be very slim, but are the only chances of Ferrari. You must take that into account, I guess. “Logical extensions” are very very tricky.

        2) Anniversaries mean nothing to business people or, say, professionals.

        3) By now, everybody knows who is faster in Ferrari. Don’t you?

  11. ADZ23 said on 26th July 2010, 23:10

    still love ferrari,its motor racing,ferrari have one shot at this years title and it rests with alonso,if people really think massa can win this years title they really must be living in a dream land,massa is a brilliant driver but it means all the top 5 drivers need to all finish out the points or way down behind him for the remaining part of the season…ferrari aint the only team to have team orders,FACT,….fernando is faster than you can you confirm the message…where on earth did you hear alonso is ahead in the title now move over,maybe my tv missed that bit out then,i will admit it was not fair for massa but he let alonso pass,if he didnt agree i guess he didnt have to,if you was the big boss of your team and you was in this scenario most people would do the same but just not admit it,i think it would nice to see alonso fight for this title and even massa gettin in there,would make things more interesting near the end of the season….

  12. almanac said on 26th July 2010, 23:40

    all this happened because massa did what it did in a very thick way. it was thick like a 12 ” wall what he did and he wanted to make it known ” I am doing you a big favor alonso”
    don’t ever forget what ferrari have done for Massa. and this is the way he is paying back
    ferrari should get rid of him
    it wasn’t a team order.
    it was a driver choice executed very bad after a very polite suggestion from the team

  13. almanac said on 26th July 2010, 23:56

    if he did feel like the team was wrongdoing him he shouldn’t have let alonso pass
    or you do it properly or you don’t do it at all
    he is a jerk

  14. kriyuk said on 27th July 2010, 1:28

    The problem with F1 now is the marketing is more important than winning. Team orders ban was really a marketing, not a technical thing and really hard to force. Ferrari is better than McLaren and Redbull in term of their traditional vision of F1. Ferrari has a great brand image, they do not need a figure to help boost their sales. They only need good driver and good teamwork. Marketing is not priority since it take care itself. McLaren and Redbull need to work on figure too, and we can see that from their drivers now (yes they are popular and has good smiles and pretty girlfriend – compared to Massa and Alonso) – their drivers also good on press conference and diplomatic speech, of course you dont want to mess up with press and drop that popularity. It is way different with Ferraris, they are naturally competitive driver with less popularity yet direct in conversation. The team orders for Ferrari is basically to win the championship, while team orders for the others is also for increasing sales and popularity. For me it is not proper to compare Ferrari with these two teams since they are different in value and vision.

  15. Macca (@macca) said on 27th July 2010, 3:39

    just trying to work the quotes

    I hope it worked

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