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

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.

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

  1. However, “team orders” is an emotive subject, and one that is very difficult to police.

    e.g. Hamilton & Kovalainen, in most people’s books (mine included) a fair team order, but nevertheless a team order.

    e.g. Button & Hamilton, “hold station” is an often used team order, and again most think is fair, you can fight but whoever is ahead in the closing stages stays ahead. Again though, it is a team order.

    But, where the order is used to switch positions when the team were already in a 1-2 situation, and both drivers still mathematically able to challenge for the championship, that is extremely bad for the public image of the sport and should be punished accordingly.

  2. Jay M said on 26th July 2010, 9:27

    Ferrari, its just not cricket.

  3. Sandman said on 26th July 2010, 9:28

    What i’m really wondering, is how much to do with how things unraveled Massa had.

    Don’t get me wrong, i love Felippe and i was mad to see what was going on. Clause in a contract or not, it was a team order and Massa couldn’t be happy about it.
    My question is: how much impact on HOW the team order is carried out did the driver have?

    He could pose it as a standard driver vs driver fight and leave Alonso gap big enough to squeeze in. How very probable is it, that mad at the team, Massa decided to do it in so obvious way, “three gears same time”, to put them into trouble deliberately?

    If that was the case, kudos to you Felippe. They well deserved it.

  4. Simone said on 26th July 2010, 9:37

    Just wanted to register disappointment at yesterdays race!

    F1 seems to be more about coniving and money making than sporting competition if results are decided by team bosses rather than actual racing.

    I know that people might say its a team sport and there are team orders whether people like it or not, but if teams arent going to stick to ALL the rules then what’s the point in pretending that it’s actual sporting competition rather than ‘sports entertainment’?

    EJ was on the radio earlier saying he doesnt think that Ferrari will be punished any further.

  5. I’m sorry to say this but after hearing Massa say that the reason for allowing Alonso to overtake him was due to tyre wear which was making him go slower but if that’s the case, why did he get the ‘fastest lap’ some 10 laps later??

    Ferrari should have all their constructors points removed & fined €100m as that is what happened to Mclaren when they got done for cheating a few years back under the same rule ‘article 151c of the International Sporting Code’ so lets see if the WMSC have the same gonads they had beck then!!!

    I’m also concerned that lots of people on here are saying Alonso never asked for team orders! Now how do you know what he asked for unless you were able to listen to all the radio chatter between him & his team, because as like the rest of us, we only listen to what is broadcast on the TV, which btw isn’t every communication between the teams & drivers, it’s only a small percentage….

    I believe both Alonso & Massa should be disqualified for their part & that the team members involved should also serve some sort of punishment for this transgression as it’ll only get worse if any of them are allowed to get away with breaking this rule!!!!

    • The difference between this and Spygate, regardless of how far you think this incident brings the sport into disrepute, is that this only affects the result of one race. Spygate affected McLaren’s performance throughout 2007 and probably 2008 as well. A fine anywhere near the region of what McLaren got would be ludicrous.

  6. WelshChris said on 26th July 2010, 10:23

    *groan* Here’s my tuppence worth: There is a clear pecking order at Ferrari with, obviously, FA at the top. Ferrari gave Massa the order to let FA pass and neither Massa nor Rob were happy with it. I think Smedley needs to watch out for his job after making such a public display of his unhappiness – I imagine at the very least there’ll be a private ticking-off for him. What did Massa do wrong? He followed what we all believe to be a team order. Is this such a bad thing? Is he more culpable than the team itself for, we presume, writing orders into his contract? To what degree is FA to blame? He surely knows the pecking order and made it clear that he wanted to pass Massa but without having to fight for the position. Is it his fault that the team ordered Massa to yield? My personal view is that team orders exist and that a clear, distasteful, order was given yesterday. If anyone should be punished for bringing the ‘sport’ into disrepute then it should be Ferrari themselves and not the drivers. But how to punish them? Disqualification from the race result seems fair to me although the rule book needs to be clarified/strengthened to avoid a repetition of this. How about no coded instructions allowed, instead all the drivers having a set of phrases that are common to all the teams?

  7. Torg said on 26th July 2010, 10:34

    Ive heard some crazy opinions on here about who should get fined/docked points etc.. If you disect it all down theres lots of different ways of seing the situation and ways that you could punish ferrari/the drivers. I say keep it simple to deter them from doing the same in the future.

    Just disqualify both drivers from the race. Therfore no Drivers points for either and no constructor points.

    I dont think you can fully keep team orders out of the sport (esspecially when it comes to ferrari) but the teams have to be a lot more clever about it and have orders predetermined before the race if certain situations occur.

    • MEmo said on 26th July 2010, 22:55

      Torg, totally agree with you! Keep it simple: no points for the team, nor for the drivers. End of story.

  8. David said on 26th July 2010, 10:44

    Well, once again we see that Fernando Alonslow can only win by foul means. He is a ridiculous person who is totally devoid of credibility. Vettel’s incensed expression during the press conference as Alonslow was bumbling through his lies and excuses painted the real picture. Next time Massa is ahead I have no doubt that this will happen again, or perhaps a deliberately slow pitstop or perhaps Alonslow will just park up in Massa’s pit box like he did with Hamilton in 2007. He should hang his head in shame! His brattish behaviour at Mclaren which continues at Ferrari, his cheated victory in Singapore which he must have been party to and now this. He is making Spain a laughing stock. I find his sense of entitlement utterly bizarre and innapropriate. Why on earth does he feel that his team mate should pull over every time he’s shown a clean pair of heals? What an absolute baby, he should just put his foot down and duke it out on the track or he will forever be remembered as a spoilt child!! I say throw the book at them. Article 151c has been breached which if precedent is followed they should rightfully be thrown out of the championship and fined £100,000,000.00. The sheer arrogance of the entire team is utterly sickening. they must think we are all totally stupid to think they could pull the wool over our eyes. Domenicali, bare faced liar that he is should be an embarrassment to the Ferrari corporation but I bet he is revered all the more for this by that perverse organisation of cheaters! Ferrari would not know fair play if it ran them over in a race transporter!! I feel for all those race fans who aren’t wealthy enough for paddock passes. You know who I’m talking about, the real fans who fill the grandstands having saved long and hard to buy their tickets and who in my opinion deserve a refund after having been robbed of a bona fide race outcome. Maybe Montezemeslow had a bet on Alonslow to win?

    • Torg said on 26th July 2010, 11:19

      Yes because throwing Ferrari out of the championship would obviously be good for Formula 1!!! I think not.

      All this driver blaming is very boring to listen to. At the end of the day its the team that makes these decisions, not the drivers. And if in a situation where say Alonso does have a say in the outcome then surely this is still ferrari at fault for allowing him to dictate procedings! I dont personaly like Alonso and he whines way to much for my liking, but its not his doing!! If he asked to pass Massa then so be it, cant blame him for asking. It should be ferrari that takes the decsion not to allow it!!

      • tota said on 26th July 2010, 15:19

        Well, third race on the row, and THIS driver, is in the middle of the controversy. How he behave, is really pathetic for this level of competition. And what is sad, he really don’t care for his teammate, pushing him out of truck, not once this year. And what is saddest, Ferrari don’t care. Poor Felipe.

  9. Paul said on 26th July 2010, 11:03

    I think a 15 second penalty for each driver , and the team then also reducing it’s point count as a consequence would let everyone focus on this in future.

  10. bianchiamaranto said on 26th July 2010, 11:29

    Massa didn’t do anything wrong, he was conserving fuel and he was struggling on the harder compound. Alonso was on a fast pace at the time and Massa was conserving fuel, he would have pushed when he was ready. It wasn’t a team order, if it was a team order Smedley would have said: “Let Alonso through.” He didn’t say anything like that! He just said: “Fernando is going faster than you, can you confirm?” and Massa just let him through. He didn’t tell him to pass. To be fined is bias, if we get banned or docked points the sport has pretty much lost the plot. Lewis Hamilton on the other hand cheated by passing the safety car, did he get a massive fine? No, they let him off lightly with a drive through 20 minutes after the safety car. The stewards should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Owl said on 26th July 2010, 12:51

      Ahh, well it’s good to see the Ferrari propaganda machine has managed to convince at least one person.

      How Smedley’s slow, deliberate message could be taken to mean anything other than ‘let Alonso past’ is beyond me. It was obvious to me from his tone of voice he was being pressurised from the management to act in Alonso’s favour. In doing so his words and Massa’s subsequent show of discontent by going to half throttle to let Alonso past of truly indicative of team orders.

      Whether or not the FIA decide to punish them, well I can see suspended race bans as a minimum.

    • Matt Hubbert said on 26th July 2010, 13:02

      I cant believe what i am reading!!

  11. Chris Goldsmith said on 26th July 2010, 12:06

    It is sad that things like this happen as they do, but I think we should be encouraged that the FIA has decided to punish Ferrari in the first place. With everyone at Ferrari singing from the same song sheet, saying that it was totally Felipe’s decision, it would have been easy for the stewards to simply let it slide. Even a token fine (which I think is actually the maximum penalty available to them) sends out a message that you can’t simply make team orders and get away with it by effectively exploiting a loophole.

    I don’t agree that either driver should be punished. They drive the cars, they don’t give the orders. Responsibility for orders given by the team should always rest with the team, not with its drivers. Even if Alonso had been screaming from lap 1 very clearly that he wanted Massa to move over for him, it’s still the team which yeilded to his requests, and they should be the ones to accept responsibility for it. Alonso isn’t the team principle, and it’s not his decision to make.

    But I think what this also highlights is that the rules aren’t really practical in the way they are worded. There are so many decisions taken by a team over the course of the weekend which influence the outcome of the race. For instance, decisions with regards to fuel strategy, or pitstop timings. Plus, if we were to be realistic for a second, Massa and Alonso are teammates, and as such they should be supporting each other. The fact is that Alonso is fighting for the title, while Massa isn’t. Since they are teammates, why shouldn’t Massa help out Alonso? If it was the last race of the season, and a driver missed out on the championship because his teammate who was out of contention prevented him from gaining the points necessary, you’d say it was ridiculous and that he should have helped out his teammate. Why should that be the case at the end of the championship and not midway through?

    I don’t turn on my TV to watch an artificially influenced race, but I do appreciate the nature of the competition, and this has actually thrown the WDC wide open and made it a five horse race. Which is surely better for the sport than seeing Ferrari’s drivers take points off of one another?

    It’s easy to be annoyed at Alonso, as he can be petulent and can come across as unsporting. The same could be said of any number of ‘great’ drivers through the years who have employed questionable tactics to win championships. Unfortunately a highly competitive nature and a warm, pleasant personality seldom go hand in hand.

  12. tota said on 26th July 2010, 12:12

    What is sad, is Fellipe’s situation. He is not, some driver. He was charging for titles, when Fernando was nowhere, and yesterday race, has just shown, that he is not worse, in any way, than his mate. And the way, Ferrari decided to go, should be clear signal for him, to go away from that team, because he has nothing to do there, any more. This is not the place for driver with such a capacity like him. And other sad thing, Ferrari shown no respect for the sport, for fans and other competitors. Nothing has change. Yuck.

  13. Nick said on 26th July 2010, 13:05

    No need to punish anyone. Let Ferrari keep the points they made, but allocate all other drivers with 7 points – the 7 points which were stolen by Alonso.

  14. Walter W said on 26th July 2010, 15:06

    Both drivers as well as the Ferrari team should be disqualified, i.e. no points for either driver nor any constructor points. Furthermore they should be banned from the next race as well. We have rules and they decided to brake them and they broke them for everyone to notice. An insult on every fans, teams and officials intelligence. They brought the sport into disrepute and that needs to be punished severely! Not one single team is bigger than this sport!!!

  15. BigB said on 26th July 2010, 15:53

    First off…. It was a boring race. Worst after Bahrain. But not because Ferrari won and the Team order. It was just bad.
    But it was clearly heard by the World, that the TO was given and executed. And the Rulebook says that TO’s are forbidden. So DQ Ferrari from the race. Drivers and Team. They knew it was coming. Rules are Rules. Otherwise they could just start putting parts on the cars wherever they want and test as much as they want.

    DQ and done. If it happens again… take all points away from the team.

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