Massa ordered to hand win to Alonso

2010 German Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

Ferrari controversially instructed their drivers to change places while leading the German Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa allowed Fernando Alonso by into the lead on lap 48 after receiving a coded message from race engineer Rob Smedley.

Before the change of places Smedley was heard to say:

Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?
Rob Smedley

Not long after the message was broadcst Massa slowed at the exit of the hairpin and Alonso went pass. Afterwards Smedley told Massa:

OK mate, good lad. Stay with him now. Sorry.
Rob Smedley

The BBC’s Ted Kravitz reported a “flurry of discussion” in the 12 laps leading up to the change of position.

Ferrari clearly orchestrated the change of position and could find themselves in trouble with the sports’ governing body. Article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations says:

Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

The rule was brought in when Ferrari did the same during the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix – when current FIA president Jean Todt was in charge of the team.

Two years ago Ferrari instructed Kimi R??ikk??nen to let Massa by for second place in China.

But significantly, that order came when R??ikk??nen was out of the running for the championship. Massa is not.

It’s a clear sign of the status of the two drivers at Ferrari, as it now seems Fernando Alonso is the favoured driver within the team.

Ordering Massa to give up the win today is especially poignant as it is one year to the day since he was badly injured during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Update: Ferrari have been summoned to see the German Grand Prix stewards.

Should Ferrari get a penalty for ordering Massa to let Alonso pass?

  • Yes (78%)
  • No (21%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 2,662

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409 comments on Massa ordered to hand win to Alonso

  1. adam23 said on 25th July 2010, 17:11

    Are we to understand that, in Hungary, if Alonso leads from Massa, and Massa is quicker, and a Vettel or a Hamilton is gaining at an insignificant rate, Alonso will be informed of this and will make a “driver decision” to let Massa through, ensuring a Ferrari wins the race?

    Maybe somebody should have asked Stefano this question.

    The fact is, Massa held off Vettel, if Alonso was faster than Massa he would surely have been able to do the same. Ferrari are lying through their teeth, they know it, we know it, the FIA know it.

    Ferrari manipulated the result, they broke the rules, they must lawfully be given a penalty, end of, surely?

  2. David BR said on 25th July 2010, 17:16

    Ferrari fined R$ 100,000 by stewards and referred to WMSC: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/85552

  3. Alexf1man said on 25th July 2010, 17:17

    So far all Ferrari have got for today is a $100,000 fine, chances are they’ll just get a slap on the wrist and move on. With Todt as a potentially biased President we’ve no hope of having this injustice dealt with.

  4. hawkfist said on 25th July 2010, 17:18

    If I was Massa I’d have pulled my car into the garage and stopped, and say “I thought I wasn’t allowed to race. If you’re not gonna let me drive to win a race, I’m not gonna give you any constructor points.”

  5. enka said on 25th July 2010, 17:19

    only a fine? it is up to World Motorsport Council (WMSC)now,http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/239713/ferrari-fined-100-000-for-team-orders/

  6. Alexf1man said on 25th July 2010, 17:20

    I said it would have been ironic for Massa to win today, and I was almost right.

    However Ferrari weren’t going to let such a brilliant turnaround (from near-death crash to victory in 12 months exactly) happen. Very disappointed for him.

  7. Ian D said on 25th July 2010, 17:21

    In my opinion, a blatent breaking of the current rules, i watched the BBC forum after the race & have read quite a few of the comments on here, so understand the various relevant points made.

    It was totally Ferrari shooting themselves in the foot unneccesarily, not just the move itself but their response to questions afterwards. I think they deserve, at the very least the loss of team points for this race, post race neither driver seemed happy about the situation, so i think it would be a shame to penalise either driver.

    I was intending to go to todays race, but finances spoilt my plan, until the incident i was feeling sad that i wasn’t there, now i’m glad i didn’t waste my money.

    I also have a mate who’s going to Hungary next weekend for his first ever GP, when i spoke to him yesterday he was really looking forward to it, asked me a few questions & i told him not to miss today as it would help him understand a few bits. I’m sure its put a downer on what should have been a great experience. I’m sure he’s not the only one going to their first GP who’s going to be dubious after today about the upcoming race(s).

  8. Every team has it’s orders, they spend millions of dollars to take their name to top spot in f1 . It would be stupid to see two team mates fight it out and the team loses in the end.
    It’s only when Ferrari does it everyone has a problem.
    Wat was disgusting was the way alonso celebrating the victory as though he had overtaken him on track and as if he earned a victory. I ve really lost that bit of respect I had for him for sometime now.

  9. Marcello said on 25th July 2010, 18:15

    rob smedley: sorry?!?! tut —– how about a bit of discretion like the other teams…. then u dont get found out!

  10. sid said on 25th July 2010, 20:27

    I think if Felipe was ahead in points, Ferrari would not have asked him to let Alonso through.
    Felipe let Kimi through in Brazil when no one could have touched him, Kimi let Felipe through the next year…

    It happens all the time – in the context of a race its not nice, but in the context of the entire season – maybe more justifiable.

  11. Gustafa said on 25th July 2010, 21:53

    I am surprised at where this is escalating to. I have been watching F1 for decades as have many of you here. If I could get you all into a room I would ask you all to raise your hand if you’ve never seen this before. The only problem I have with this is that maybe it wasn’t late enough in the season to ask Massa to give up his race win…and even then i’m not sure as all the other incidents (in 2008 and 2007 especially) had more direct and instant influences on the drivers championship.

    We can’t vilify this instance and not vilify all the others. There was Lewis and Heiki a couple times in 2008…Lewis went on to win by 1 point. There was a gift from Massa to Kimi that enabled Kimi to win by a point in 2007. ‘Hold station’, ‘save fuel’, ‘Jenson will not pass you’…its been happening all the time. We all know it, the FIA knows it, all the commentators mention it. If you don’t see it as being the same then you’re probably just blinded by your affinity to your preferred team. The only thing Ferrari are really guilty of is being stupid about how it was done. Smedley was as inconspicuous as a military tank in a supermarket parking lot.

  12. Bino said on 25th July 2010, 22:01

    Why did Massa let Alonso pass?

    He should had answered to the question:
    “I understood, but I’m good with it”

    He shouldn’t slow down and continue and now he would be an hero for not complying with the given information. Because that was not an order, that was just information and Massa did what he wanted with it.

  13. Gustafa said on 25th July 2010, 22:13

    I would really love for somebody to really tell me whats so different today (Smedley’s comments aside) from all the other times when we’ve seen team mates yielding to each other blatantly or questionably. As bad as I feel for Massa, I remember him almost winning in 2008 because of Kimi’s ‘gift’, so he is not the victim we all want to make him out to be.

    In my mind, the worst thing I’ve seen in F1 is having 2 drivers in the thick of the fight for the world championship and ordering bits off one man’s car onto the other’s (New Slogan: Red Bull Gives You Wings…Then Takes Them Back).

  14. gaz said on 25th July 2010, 22:16

    ok first the passion in me…and alot of anger.

    massa….no pride nor self respect.shame on you
    alonso…joins your singapore crime sheet..atleast no one would ever get hurt today.
    ferrari..you are a disgrace to your country, your history and to f1 fans who “go racing” either via an armchair, stand or cockpit.

    the reality..
    massa…you will never now be a f1 drivers champion and will end uo like rubens…bitter
    alonso….really, i’ve been on here fighting your corner – the senna of the generation a great driver a proper racer…it’s gone today for what is a few points, very litle when looking back.
    ferrari – everything good about f1 you seem to destroy you will not turnthis sport ito a joke again.

    • menzo said on 28th July 2010, 4:06

      gaz…alonso was never the senna of the generation,u need 2 be able 2 overtake people 2 get an accolade like dat,and as we saw last weekend he hasnt got dat in his repetoire,lewis is the senna of this generation,balls of steel,unflinchingly aggresive,overtakes 4 fun,thats wat its all about!!!

  15. Regis said on 25th July 2010, 23:20

    I think everyone should chill a little, this is not new, just let it go, Felipe has no chance in the championship, there is a lot of money for the title.

    I totally agree with what happened, this is a team sport, did you all forget?

    • Damir said on 25th July 2010, 23:36

      Maybe i’m idealistic, but i happen to think this is a race…and that racers should be racing…then again i could be mistaking, this could be pure business, but then we don’t need any regulations, any ethics, let’s strap them in a cars and let them kill each other with rockets and lasers, that will be more entertaining than watching one red car slow down to be overtaken by another red car…

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