Ferrari fined, World Motor Sport Council to examine Alonso’s pass on Massa

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari have been fined $100,000 for breaking the Sporting Regulations during the German Grand Prix.

The stewards of the race have also referred the matter to the World Motor Sports Council. The result of the race stands for the time being.

Fernando Alonso passed Felipe Massa to win the German Grand Prix after the team had been heard instructing Massa that he was slower than his team mate.

Massa admitted after the race he let Alonso past but said he did so of his own choosing.

The stewards found Ferrari guilty of breaking article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations which forbid team orders that influence the outcome of the race.

They additionally adjudged it to be a transgression of article 151c of the International Sporting Code, relating to bringing the sport into disrepute, the same section that McLaren were famously found in violation of in 2007.

2010 German Grand Prix

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362 comments on “Ferrari fined, World Motor Sport Council to examine Alonso’s pass on Massa”

  1. Will be interesting to see how this goes at WMC. McLaren certainly never enjoyed the experience, but then that was under different leadership…

      1. Fine Ferrari only. Only the team is responsible for T.O. If you blame Massa, that means he let Alonso pass of his own will, therefore no T.O.

          1. Alonso was a petulant child and instigated the decision to let him pass. How can you honestly say he should keep his points?

        1. They all need a good fine because they all stood in front of the world and lied about it. Hamilton was drawn over hot coals for lying. This lot should walk the same path.

          1. Unfair to punish Massa but Alonso contributed to bringing the sport into disrepute hence guilt! Massa was heavily leaned on and would probably be out on his backside for next season unless he complied!!!

      2. Fine Massa? Are you crazy? I don’t think he had much say in the issue even though he said it was ‘his decision’. Do you think he wanted to let alonso through? And if he had said no to the team, what might the repercussions within the team be? If anything, his decision to let Alonso through was done under duress.

        1. Massa and Smedly are the only ones to blame… whre did that happen in McLaren when they told him to “save fuel”?!?!?

          So the only two to blame are Massa and Smadley, the first should let Alonso pass more “life like”, while Smadly puprposly told the whole world they gave a TO.

          In my eyes they should both be sacked the first second the race finished

          1. Massa simply followed orders, as he should have done. Alonso has nothing to do with it either. He was the faster driver in the race, as he was all weekend. The team did what made sense. If they had let the drivers race, Alonso would have attempted overtakes on Massa, and although he would have probably passed him at some point, it would have been a very risky proposition, with lots of traffic in some parts of the track and also given that Massa and Alonso have never been on the best of terms. Ferrari simply chose to preempt a potential RBR-like disaster. It was the right call. Had they instructed Alonso to hold position, that would have been a team order as well.

          2. I think Massa made deliberately made it look obvious just so that people would know that he let Alonso pass. And by your nonsensical logic, all the other bosses who actually made the decision to let Alonso through are faultless and the 2 fellows who received those orders from their bosses and were probably the most reluctant to carry out the move are to blame? I fail to see where you get your logic from.

          3. In other words you’re saying it would have been just fine if the team had done a better job of flouting the regulations?

            The rules were changed to prevent exactly this kind of thing from happening. Both Ferrari’s should have been disqualified from the race, and Ferrari’s fine should be much, much heavier (whatever your views on gambling, consider the implications on that front, no doubt there were many big winners and losers as a result of this engineered result).

          4. @rok,

            I presume you comment was made simply to get an argument out of people as I can’t believe anyone would be thick enough to actually believe Massa and Smedley are to blame for this. They were given orders from Ferrari team management who would have been ordered to do so by Alonsos spanish mafia backup. Alonso was pretty much demanding that massa be ordered to let him past earlier in the race! Funny how alonso is always caught up in these things yet denies any involvement……..

          5. Lol, you’re joking right ? You’re fine with cheating as long as it’s made less obvious.

            No motor racing fan can stand up for what Ferrari did today.

          6. leave massa out of this, or else you might as well say barrichello was at fault with schumacher.

            ferrari should have no points for this race and alonso and massa should each be left alone. unless alonso was found to have asked to be let past massa and in this case alonso should be stripped of the victory and disqualified from the event.

          7. did yoiu expected that massa pretended he could stop alonso? THATS’S ridiculus, it should be even more clear, like barrichello did it, he couldn’t get out of the car and tell everybody ferrari told him to do it, so he let alonso pass in a way that he didn’t have to explain anything to anyone, it is there to be seen

      3. Fine Massa!??!?! He’s the least guilty in all of this. If anything he’s the VICTIM

        Alonso was calling for the team order and Ferrari gave the order. They should both be punished. If they don’t punish Alonso they effectively say that team orders are ok (since then Alonso would be able to keep his spoils of the transgression)

        1. I agree because I think Massa was more or less cajoled or bullied – well before the race – into accepting this scenario. Smedley’s ‘did you get the message’ was obviously ‘activating’ something discussed earlier (that Alonso knew well about, for certain). I just think he, Massa, expected this team order to cede place to occur later in the season. Alonso was frustrated he couldn’t pass, called it ‘ridiculous’ on the radio, which was ‘code’ for Ferrari to help him out by getting Massa to move over. That’s really what happened.

          But. But Massa gave way. He’s cupable of breaching the regulation. And again Alonso can feasibly plead innocence with no proof against him. That’s how this guy works.

          1. Exactly. It did definitely seem that there was an “understanding” already in place within the team. Very disappointing.

          1. @IDR,

            Did you actually listen to the race commentry and radio transmissions? Alonso was all but ordering the team to give the order. With the things I have heard going on internally at Ferrari regarding Alonso I am not at all surprised that this has happened.

          1. Aloso acts like a spoilt brat and is obsessed with Hamilton. He cries for everything and is acting worse than how Schumi was at his time with Ferrari.

          2. If your team mate suddenly slows, then you overtake.. not ask him to move over… or make the team make him move over.

            If you cant overtake then either you are slower than your team mate or you should drive a tractor.

      4. Yeah he did, since he was complaining to his team. Both Felipe and Alonso should loose their points, its race fixing and the FIA needs to make it clear to the teams and their drivers. If a team lets a driver out of the pit in front of a car it’s not the drivers fault but he gets the drive through. Ferrari and both drivers should be penalised to make it clear as unacceptable

      5. Ferrari should not be punished at all. If they had continued to tell Alonso to hold position, and not risk an overtake on Massa, that would have been a team order as well. So no matter what a team does, it can be perceived as a team order.

        McLaren did the same a couple of races ago, telling Button not to attempt an overtake on Hamilton. That’s a team order too.

        1. Well, the rules are screwed up. Some team orders are more significant than others, likewise, some are more acceptable and reasonable than others. I think there should be a line drawn at some point. Like for instance, Asking a driver to lower his revs and not push so hard to save the engine is an order, but no one would bat an eyebrow.

          1. I’d be fine with team orders if they weren’t against the rules. Team orders have existed since the start of Grand Prix racing, but they were made illegal in F1 in 2002.

            Team orders that influence the finishing order of their drivers are either illegal or they are not. If they are illegal then the drivers’ positions need to be swapped around to undo the ‘manipulation’, and a monetary or points fine levelled at the team (I can see a constructors points deduction as a likely outcome). If they are not illegal then take that rule out of the rule book. Simple.

        2. “So no matter what a team does, it can be perceived as a team order.”

          They didn’t have to make any team orders at all, just let them compete.

        3. Did they tell alonso to hold position ? I don’t remember that. The rule is about team orders that change the outcome of the race. Alonso probably wouldn’t have passed Massa on the track, so by telling him to back off, they’re not changing the result.

          I can’t believe anyone can stand up for what Ferrari did today

        4. @F1Fan

          I think you are confusing two different type of order. One order is to remind your drivers that they are members of the same team and not to take each other out when good points are on the table and the outcome of not giving the order is an unknown (ie no one can tell if the driver told to back off would ever have overtaken the team mate if left alone), the other is directly fixing the outcome of the race knowing exactly what the outcome will be. Red bull effectively gave a team order at silverstone by taking a part off webber to make vettels car better, however again the result of this would have again been an unknown and therefore just gave them a bad image rather than one of cheating. Maclaren from what I remember told button to back off and I am pretty sure that Hamiltons name was not mentioned or even inferred. He could have been told to back off for many reasons (fuel saving, break temp etc) just like Webber was told to back off Button today. Ferrari on the other hand pretty much explicitly told one driver to move out of the way to allow another past (something I think Massa and Smedley purposefully made more obvious than they needed to) and rather stupidly broke a rule that was brought in because of their own behavior 8 years ago! I hope they throw the book at Ferrari for this although I am not sure either of the drivers should be punished as although I truly believe Alonso called for the order to be given and that he would clearly have discussed his priority with the team, it, just like the Singapore incident would be almost impossible to prove so they should both be given the benefit of doubt and it should be assumed that the team gave the order alone.

      6. I can see why someone would say fine Massa as he did choose to back off. I can’t be a hypocrite after I said Nelson Piquet Jnr had a choice (very different circumstances though). However, he was the victim and it would be a bit daft.

      7. …eh? Alonso is a great driver and is no doubt at the top of the F1 driver talent table(i do think Ham has most natural talent but weak in strat area).However today alonso did his usual moan and Ferrari know they can influence the fia and hence broke the rule knowing a light punishment would apply.Any other team would have been landed in the crap heap and handed bans etc.
        Alonso is not a man worthy of F1 and time and time again has done what ever he can to win and has lost many fans in the process..including me!Ferrari are corrupt like they have always been and throw money at the law book to by-pass it.
        Let vettel,hamilton,weber,massa and button all rain on the dirty little dishonest,winging plank..go on fernado win on your own merit,for once.
        Thanks for listening

      8. I desagree! Massa, ALonso and Ferrari already had to be punisch in the WMC. BTW, both Ferrari have to receive a black flag during the Race.


        Fleetmaster – B R A Z I L –

      9. I think you are very nieve if you think that Alonso had nothing to do with this. He either gets his way or he throws his dummy away. Massa did what he was told and moved over to let Alonso pass, end of story.

    1. This is a valid statement, for a small fine like $100,000 is a dip in the ocean for a team like Ferrari. They will probably make that back in the TV revunue from the podium celebrations alone.

      If teams are to be punished, the punishments have to be ones that are actually deterimental to the team. With (relatively speaking) small fines, you might actually get teams breaking the rule because they know they can afford the fine that comes with it

      1. They probably damaged their brand value by a lot more today than this fine. But it seems the $100.000 fine is the biggest one the race stewards can award.

        I think this will prove to have been a breakthrough ruling. The Stewards now fully well, that team orders, while outlawed, are an integral part of F1 and its very hard to prove (that might be the reason for including the “bringing the sport in disrepute” as it is almost failsafe against appeal to safeguard the penalty given), but decided to act anyhow.

        Now the World Council / Todt will have to decide weather to enforce the rule and punish Ferrari or dump it/change it to clearly define what is/is not allowed and be actually enforcable.

      1. If Alonso wins the championship I hereby swear I’ll never watch another race.

        (To be honest, I reckon I’m on pretty safe ground with that however.)

        1. I made that same solemn oath after Spa 2008… but sadly, I could not stay away… so now, my eternal soul is bound for hellfire ;-)

          as much as I hate this, the fact is F1 will suck me back in… unless of course they switch to Tesla or Prius engines

          1. Does not really matter who screws the rules, being it Ferrari or the FIA. Still it is a disgrace.
            Actually Massa deserves an applause for keeping up the face after the race and the Stewards really impressed by actually handing out a penalty and calling for the World Council to rule on this.

          1. So in other words youre saying the ferrari is the only one doing it…

            So in that case, they should scrap the rule because everyone is doing it, the only difference is that Massa and hes racing engeneer cant get over that Alonso is just simply way faster… thats the truth

        1. The FIA under Jean Todt’s leadership has so far been swift and very impartial… I’d even go as far as to say Ferrari have gotten a harder time than most of the front running teams so far (if simply by bad luck).

          I’m curious to see how it pans out, but let’s not start blaming a rather well functioning FIA before the issue has even been dealt with by the WMSC.

          I mainly feel sorry for Massa at this point.

          1. I think Ferrari may have seriously miscalculated if they think they’ll get off with a slap on the wrist from the WMSC…I think the Jean Todt camp will be keen to show that they do not favour the red team!!

    1. And what good did this for the team exactly? Nothing. Only one to benefit is alonso. Ferrari got exactly the same amount of points they would’ve gotten otherwise.

      1. Of course Ferrari benefit more this way — Alonso had more points in the championship before this result, and now he is closer to the championship leaders. So Ferrari has Alonso closer to leading the championship than if Massa would be if he had won.

        Not that I agree with what Ferrari did, I’m disgusted.

    2. But how many people want to see manipulated races? It’s one thing a team telling its drivers to hold station near the end of a race, quite another for it to ask a driver to sacrifice his win for his teammate – the latter should only be allowed once a driver has publicly announced his title bid is over.

      We are only halfway through the season, and Massa was less than one race win from the top of the table – yet Ferrari effectively told him his season is over.

      The rule needs tweaking, but I’d hate to see it disappear entirely.

      1. That’s the thing though. How on earth do you fully enforce the ‘No team orders’ rule? By getting rid of team radios e.t.c? Which obviously you can’t do. If it is true all teams do it (or have done it) then how do they get away with it and how do you actually stop them? How do you prevent future offences? I think it’s always going to be a dubious rule but I wouldn’t want team orders to be allowed for various reasons.
        Maybe it would deter teams from doing them if there were massive repercussions i.e. disqualification although I doubt this would even stop them. They’d probably still find some way and risk it.

        1. Massa let Raikkonen win in Brazil because he’d conceded his own title hopes were dashed, I can’t see a problem with that. The problem with Germany is that Massa was still in the title hunt – and clearly quick enough to gain the victory (though I’d have relished the fight!). You’re right though, it’s a really tricky one to enforce.

          But maybe they could get rid of radios? Or, for safety’s sake, make it driver-to-team and FIA-to-driver only? It would certainly make team orders all but impossible.

          1. If I was going to give team orders I’d use a code word on the pit board. Nobody really looks at the pit board other than the driver, and it could be something as simple as displaying the gap to the driver behind in a different colour. How would you ever prove that?

        2. It’s easy to enforce such a rule — when a driver is mathematically incapable of winning the championship, the team can give him orders to change positions.

          Nelly you raise an interesting point about radios. I have long wondered if F1 would be more entertaining if there were no radio communication between the pit and the driver, except when the driver is in the pit lane. This would mean all on-track decisions are down to the drivers. I was mighty impressed earlier in the season when Button made his own tyre calls above the team strategy and it paid off.

          1. Well the thing with that rule would be that some would be left saying ‘Well… would Mr Blah really have won the championship if it wasn’t for Mr blah letting him passed?’ Then we’d probably be back to square one with team orders and say they should be banned completely.

            You have a point about the radios I just somehow don’t know if it would work and I doubt the teams would be pleased. I can’t imagine them being gotten rid of anyway. They live without in MotoGP though so who knows?

    3. I doubt the FIA will drop it. Rather give Ferrari a suspended ban or something next to another fine.
      AND define what team orders are allowed in what circumstances and draw a clear line as to what is to be deemed illegal.

    4. @rampante

      The problem is that it is not seen as a strictly team event by the fans (you know the ones that mean F1 can exist in it’s highly commercial form) Some of those fans bet on race results (in which case Ferrari could be accused of race fixing in the courts) and other fans pay a lot of money to go around the world to watch racing (yes that is two drivers racing each other for position rather than letting people past on team orders), many others watch on TV for the same reason which enables F1 and the teams to make a lot of money from advertising. Red bull were correctly criticised by the fans for their treatment of webber for this reason (even though it is not against the rules) but Ferrari have clearly and blatantly broke a rule that was brought in because of the uproar the last time they did it! I am not sure if they thought that they could get away with it due to their insider relationship with the FIA in the past, however what they seem to forget is that their relationship is no longer strong enough for them to get away with cheating anymore. I feel very sorry for Massa as he clearly was not happy at being asked to do that. Alonso has not improved his already poor image in this.

  2. So what kind of punishments can this Motorsport Council give?
    I find it interesting that it was not for 31.9 Team Orders but 151? Bringing Sport into Disrespute(Autosport)

    1. The Stewards used both, so even if the FIA decide not to push on the team order thing (hard to prove) the disrepute rule is so hard to appeal to, the fine will probalbly stand.

  3. $100k is nothing to Ferrari, I’m surprised Red Bull are not causing more fuss, after all they lost alot of points by allowing their drivers to race, something which may have happened today going by Alonso’s temper in this past few races.

    1. Don’t you think Red Bull would be the last to make a point of it?

      After all this was the scenario the team planned for Turkey when both their drivers were equal on points!

  4. do we talk about it only costing $100k for Alonso to win a race now???

    seriously, hope something a bit more serious happens, I was looking forward to the battle that we all knew would have happened

    1. Because ultimately that’s where the sport’s money comes from. And people want to see a sport. And not a team sport like cycling with a one-man ‘B-team’ helping the ‘team leader.’ And the drivers don’t want the latter either. Formula 1’s emotion frequently comes from a battle between drivers from the same top teams. If you introduce explicit team orders, that will be all but totally lost in most cases, maybe just McLaren risking a two lead driver setup for some of the season. The rest will back one driver all season.

    2. yer, and like Brundle said would anyone have cared if it’d been for 4th/5h? The outrage was disproportionate as well. Team orders are part of the game just Ferrari were daft enough to make theirs very public

      1. Nothing wrong with Ferrari as there are TWO championships that they are after. I think they are “honest” to let the world see that they are serious about that. Ferrari just want to maximize their chances for both championships. F1 is both an individual and team sport.

        1. Aside from the fact they would have scored the same team points either way round, how does the risk of demotivating Massa help Ferrari win the constructors championship? The assist for Alonso only makes sense from an ‘individual sport’ point of view – and, more cynically, in terms of Ferrari’s current major sponsors. Individual and corporate sport, perhaps?

  5. You see Keith this a chance to make alot of money here. Instead of making F1fanatic t-shirts, make f1 fanatic torches, pitchforks and rocks with your logo on the side.

    You would make a killing with all the british fans foaming out of the mouth at the moment lol…

    1. “make f1 fanatic torches, pitchforks and rocks with your logo on the side.
      You would make a killing with all the british fans foaming out of the mouth at the moment lol…”

      And would probably be arrested.. lol, but im sure he would make enough to pay the bail

  6. Surprise, surprise; Ferrari are punished in the one way that doesn’t hurt them. So now it appears that it costs $100,000 per face to use team orders – let’s hope Red Bull and McLaren are doing their maths and we will see how many Ferrari supporters are ok when it hurts their team.

    1. I’ve thought about it and the result benefits Mclaren as it stands, they don’t lose as much to a Vettel in 3rd as they would with a Vettel in 1st.

    2. The bringing spot into disrepute is ultimately what got McLaren that ridiculously hight 200 million fine and exclusion from WCC for 2007, isn’t it?

      Maybe not so cheap when all is said and done then.

      1. McLaren were indeed punished to a level it would be felt. Compare that with Renault over Singapore 2008 who let off lightly to ensure they didn’t disappear from the sport. I don’t think breaching team orders is anywhere near on that level – McLaren were rightly whacked for cheating and the Renault team members responsible should have maybe have seen criminal prosecution for inciting a potentially lethal accident – but neither do I think a fine is appropriate. I’d prefer to see FIA swap round the points (positions) for Alonso and Massa and dock these points from Ferrari’s WCC score (not the drivers).

  7. I may have got things wrong here or do most of you now want the death penalty brought back in Europe? Ferrari won the race and were 2nd. Any manipulation was wrong but within the team with no other consequences. All team bosses do not want the outcome RBR had and that wil not happen again. A fine was all the rules allow.

    1. I want to see them race each other, like the redbull boys and the mclaren boys. That’s why we all watch it, for the racing. Felipe and Alonso should loose their points as a clear message. If a jockey holds back his horse he is disqualified, its race fixing.

      1. There is a regulation. It was clearly breached – thus the ruling against the team.

        $100K is a joke. Ferrari probably spent that on their corporate entertainment this weekend.

        The result effects the championship results, thus the punishment should reflect that.

        As Ferrari were guilty as a team of manipulating the result, both cars (thus the team) should have been castigated by ejection from the result. Then the team should have been fined for not honouring the sporting regs they obviously felt they were above.

        The punishment should leave no wriggle room. The wrong message has just been sent out down the paddock – you can fudge the result, but do it quietly or you can expect to pay for the result you want.

        As a fan, I want to see racing. Red Bull and McLaren drivers have gone wheel to wheel this season and provided amazing entertainment for us all. But Ferrari decided today that they would decide who would win the Grand Prix. I find that unacceptable as a fan. I am surprised you do not.

        Hope the WMSC revise the result, but suspect they won’t. The prancing horse has bolted and a decision should have been forthcoming today.

        1. Dead right salty. This season has been great precisely because of incidents like the Red Bull and McLaren drivers battling between themselves. Ferrari propel themselves and their drivers into this action – and promptly deprive spectators of seeing Alonso have to fight his way past Massa.

          FIA and the teams can do what they like, it’s their sport, but a warning: if the Ferrari path is taken, the revival in interest in Formula 1 will plummet.

          1. ….by Salty that is.

            Also, if these results stand, Alonso and Ferrari had better hope that if they win the driver’s championship it is by more than 8 points…the difference between first and second.

            Otherwise we have the false or “manipulated” champion reigning (raining?) for a year.

    2. That was race fixing. That is against the rules in F1 as well as in boxing, horse racing etc and is illegal to boot. What about all those that had a bet on Massa at 16:1? Will the authorities in Germany investigate the race fixing? I hope so.

      And, it ruined the spectacle, bye bye F1 I’ll stick to MotoGP, roll on 10:00 tonight.

    3. To me it showed that Massa and Alonso are just about equal in ability in the same car. Alonso tried unsuccessfully to pass Massa through the race, and since Ferrari have absolutely no imagination, they allowed the pass in front of a worldwide audience.
      So, if the team think that these two drivers are unable to battle it out on the circuit without hitting each other, why are they in Ferraris in the first place? (Ferrari supposedly only taking the best drivers they can find)
      If Ferrari management is only going to races with the thought of making Alonso WDC, why haven’t they told Massa yet? (I think if he knew he was No 2 he would have allowed Alonso to take the lead in the first couple of laps).
      This also shows the lie that Ferrari treat both their drivers equally, they definitely have the Number One, and the the one who isn’t!

  8. Guys, too early to assume that $100k is the extent of it, perhaps that is the maximum the race stewards are allowed to fine up to, the heavy guns can come out at the WMC.

    Interesting too that it was under both 39.1 and 151c – nice to see them using 151c, it basically backs up the fans opinion – if we are all screaming about it then the sport has pretty much been brought into disrepute, it’ll be all over the morning papers…

    1. So true, i should be in bed since its middle of the morning here in Australia but im so annoyed I cant sleep. It spoiled the race. Disrepute, fine the team and take the drivers points. Make it clear to everyone

    2. The 151c also is a good safeguard for keeping up at least the fine, in case the WMC fails to hand out a more severe penalty for 39.1 or Ferrari appeals succesfully for lack of evidence (as 151c is easy to prove and almost impossible to appeal).

      It will be a real test for the WMC procedures and for how Todt will handle this one.

      1. Your right Elly, I should contain my frustration for the time being. While the WMC are at it though they should also consider installing an official in the team to oversee parity the remainder of the season, maybe the top 4 teams should all get one. :)

  9. Jean Todt’s in an uneviable position now as the Ferrari team boss who led to the rule being introduced in the first place. Think the most realistic punishment has to be taking their constructor points away for that race and settle at that and maybe an increased fine.

  10. Good work on covering this story Keith.
    You are giving us front row seats to what appears to be a massive storm of controversy…and it’s only just started raining.

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