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. Rob said on 25th July 2010, 15:06

    Can any of the people claiming that British drivers and teams carry out team orders blatantly provide any examples? Or are you just trying to defend Ferrari by pretending that “everyone else is worse”? Perhaps it was always Luca Di Montezemolo that was the poisonous influence in Ferrari rather than Todt, Schumacher or anyone else…

  2. Sirko said on 25th July 2010, 15:06

    I sincerely hope that Mark will make the right conclusions.

  3. Damir said on 25th July 2010, 15:07

    Massa…always the bridesmaid, never a bride :)
    This is why he will NEVER be F1 champion, no ego, no self respect, no killer instinct.Was there a team order? NO.They simply told him he’s not good enough to win, and he believed them…

    • Andrew S. said on 25th July 2010, 15:22

      “Simply told him he’s no good enough to win?” Could you seriously be more naive??
      Do you really think it wasn’t an indirect team order but some misunderstanding or misjudging by Massa? geez.

      What puzzles me is, if Fernando was faster than Massa, why couldn’t he just get past him. He was stuck behind him all race long. Massa deserved to win. Even his team apologized to him.

      • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:11

        Yes, that is clearly the problem with this line of reasoning: why couldn’t Fernando do it himself on track if he was so much faster! And if not, well then maybe that is a sign not to do this?

      • Damir said on 25th July 2010, 21:45

        Is driving for ferrari worth this humiliation?He almost died in their car and this is how they repay him?

        • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th July 2010, 6:15

          Sure you are right, they didn’t pay him back the way he would have dreamed.I hope he gets a win in the Hungary GP & also hope he stays ahead of Alonso before the end of 2010 season.

  4. DavidS said on 25th July 2010, 15:07

    Should they get punished?

    Yes, absolutely.

    The rules are there to stop teams from doing this, particularly Ferrari…and they’ve blatantly broken them.

    Stripping all their points for the race is probably too lenient.

    • David BR said on 25th July 2010, 15:20

      It really is the basic point here. The rules exist. The team order was obvious. Penalty needed.

      Even the TV coverage showed ALL the evidence needed, as the Brazilian TV commentators noted: Smedley’s ‘talk’ to Felipe, team talking to Alonso, big clear graphic showing Felipe only half-accelerating after the turn. In fact Brazilian TV *predicted* what was about to happen… So the subsequent cover of it being a missed gear is ridiculous.

      For me it brings back Singapore 2008. No idea why, of course, since Alonso knew nothing…

      • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:15

        No, even that is the same, listen to Alonso not knowing what happened in the press conference. But still managing to say he had been worried about risky situations and people getting to close on track.

        Vettel was clearly realizing how it was for all of us being on the other side of the Red Bull drama in Turkey, seeing how talking it away didn’t sound very believable.

      • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 2:36

        The same happened on Star Sports Asia commentary. The fact these guys usually miss the most obvious stuff (like entire overtakes, mistake team mates etc) yet they managed to spot this as clear team orders tells you everything.

        The telementry shows you that Massa didn’t ‘miss gears’ and only accelerated at half speed.

  5. steph said on 25th July 2010, 15:09

    I’ve gone through this a thousand times and I’m still not sure what to think.

    Brazil 07, China 08 and 09 the slower Ferrari driver let the quicker one through and/or the one ahead in the title which is the same as today.

    It was the anniversary of that accident which makes it worse. Massa is still in it and let’s be honest, we’ve all been waiting for this from Alonso because of his reputation whether it’s even right or not.

    The racing should always be done on track so this was wrong but it’s not the end of the world. People saying they hate Ferrari need a history lesson as this has happened before. Fine, hate Ferrari today but don’t pretend they invented this.

    I don’t know what to think of Massa either. He’s a team player and as a Ferrari fan I love that but looking solely at a driver maybe today (although under pressure) he showed just why he isn’t the double world champion in the team. Massa could have gone quicker or just said no. I don’t agree in principal but in a competitive world I’d probably do the same as Ferrari to win. I suppose it’s working out whether it’s first you can win and then make it fair or be fair then see if you can win.

    Ferrari should be investigated. If anyone has complaints they should be but they won’t get done for it or if they do I’ll be surprised. They didn’t blatantly say. We think we know what happened but Ferrari can wriggle out of it as it wasn’t a clear cut message. I actually feel sorry for Ferrari today. They’re the most passionate team for racing but they lost that today and it was all about winning and God, everyone will hate them now.

    • David BR said on 25th July 2010, 15:14

      @ Massa is still in it and let’s be honest, we’ve all been waiting for this from Alonso because of his reputation whether it’s even right or not.

      That’s true. I really admire the post Steph. One thing I agree on is that Felipe shouldn’t have relented. It would have been better for him, Ferrari AND Alonso – whose reputation will suffer from this. But that’s blaming the nice guy. And Smedley realized all that. Really sad how this great Ferrari performance – which it was until the overtake – was blighted. Even on the podium they all looked miserable.

      • nelly said on 25th July 2010, 15:53

        @Steph I couldnt agree more with your statement. All my thoughts in a post!
        Just why oh why oh why did they have to do it! They were doing brilliantly and I would have loved it if Alonso could have just gotten passed Massa on his own accord. It’s happened before, but this has more or less ruined their credability.
        Did the right thing for the team but at the end of the day, it is against the rules. Regardless of whether the rule is obscure, they just shouldn’t do it. No team should if it’s in the rules. However it’s probably the least applicable rule in Formula 1.
        I think though, this has just really exposed the sport. Mike Gascoyne said after that all teams do it just much more discretely.
        Heard Ferrari have been summoned to the stewards though. If they punish anyone it should be Ferrari, not the drivers. They gave the order.

    • Antifia said on 25th July 2010, 16:20

      When Smeddley came on the radio and asked him if he understood, he should have said something in the lines “sorry I can’t hear you well, my radio is broken”..If Ferrari wished to fire him afterwards, then so be it. It would have been even uglier for Ferrari and Alonso. I can only think Felipe needs the money, because, lets be honest, as a real F1 contender he is now finished.

      • David BR said on 25th July 2010, 16:25

        Sadly true. I feel really sorry for Felipe. He was betrayed by Ferrari today, a year after his accident. I’m sure he accepted the team order precisely because of their support to him after the accident. But he’s there racing because he wants to win and he’s entitled to be allowed to race – under FIA regulations, if not for any ethical principles Ferrari may or may not adhere to. Really sickening to watch.

  6. According Alonso, European GP was a “manipulated race”. I’d like to know what he is thinking about today’s race…

  7. ivz said on 25th July 2010, 15:10

    F1 is all set up anyway, people just have to live with that! Mark Webber asked the team to tell Vettel to back off in Turkey, as he knew that “conserving fuel” was going to compramise his position with Vettel. Then what happens? Vettel gets told to “use your push to pass button” I mean come on! Might as well say “Mark we don’t really give a sh#* that you are leading, but we would like our young lad that we have invested heavily in to get in front of you, as we want him to win the championship, so if you could please do the right thing by us”.
    Its so obvious, every team up the top has their No. 1.
    Ferrari = Alonso, McLaren = Hamilton, RedBull = Vettel. Its very EASY to see that!
    The only way you are going to get real racing is if each team only has ONE car!

  8. Electrolite said on 25th July 2010, 15:12

    Alonso had the chance to finish ahead of Massa when he started AHEAD of him.

    He then failed to pass him later on, and Massa pulled out a three second gap.

    Sure, for the most part Alonso was marginally quicker. Marginally. Before the team order it was like a hundredth of a second, so not much.

    But on lap 48, Massa still had the lead. It was going to be a fairytale victory and Ferrari robbed it from us.

  9. poshus said on 25th July 2010, 15:12

    I am disgusted by what I saw. One year to the day after Massa’s terrible accident, and they take this win away from him?
    Alonso did not deserve the win, and his celebration on the podium and comments in the press conference treat all fans of F1 with contempt. No-one with even half a brain is in any doubt about the circumstances, and to talk like it didn’t happen shows what kind of a man he really is.
    By the way, I’m not British, I’m an one-eyed Australian Webber fan, so my opinion is not from any anti-Alonso/Spain sentiment.

    • poshus said on 25th July 2010, 15:19

      And what is this nonsense about having to let your teammate past because he is faster? By this ridiculous logic, every time a car catches you, you should let him past? You don’t let cars past just because they are faster. That is why it is called RACING!
      Imagine poor Trulli (of the Trulli Train fame) if this were the norm. He would spend the entire racing letting people past!

      • Andrew S. said on 25th July 2010, 15:28

        Yeah, that’s exactly how i see things too. Massa should’ve just said ‘if Fernando really is faster, then i wanna see him overtake me’. I really feel sorry for him.

  10. rampante (@rampante) said on 25th July 2010, 15:13

    The only person to lose out was Massa, it would still have been a 1-2 and while Ferrari have not done this properly it is the same as saying to a driver to save fuel when only the pit wall knows what fuel is left. When Button was told today to hold station is that not team orders?

    • Michael said on 25th July 2010, 15:22

      Yes. Eddie Jordan agrees in that he classified his instructions to Hill and Ralf Schumacher at Belgium 1998 as team orders.

      Ferrari obviously manipulated the result to maximise their outcome in terms of increasing their chance of winnning the WDC. Its a gamble as they might be penalised if they are not the gamble has paid off.

      Having said that Massa would have gone into the race knowing he would be supporting Alonso’s title bid as his gap to Hamilton, Button, Webber and Vettel and Alonso was too great to overcome all of them.

      The ends always justify the means in sport!

    • j3sei said on 25th July 2010, 15:24

      exactly, when they said “save fuel” all I heard was “Button is not going to push so don’t worry” and then they told him to push…

      • Electrolite said on 25th July 2010, 15:27

        I’m sure 9/10 people would completely disagree though. How anyone could defend Ferrari today is frankly laughable. And 9/10 people can’t be wrong.

  11. Nick said on 25th July 2010, 15:13

    Of course the result will not stand. And guess what ? Yet another schoolboy error (and behaviour) by Alonso. He really is IMO an average driver compared to the top drivers, and needs the result to be manipulated for him to win and needs a strong contract to beat the best. He did not get it at Mclaren in 07, he clearly got it at Ferrari.
    Cheaters eventually get punished.

  12. Jared404 said on 25th July 2010, 15:13

    Massa is a door mat.

    • David BR said on 25th July 2010, 16:29

      Massa has a sense of loyalty that was exploited by Ferrari and indirectly by Alonso, whose ambition exceeds his talent (which is high) and makes him unnecessarily desperate to win. He should have accepted 2nd with good grace, acknowledging Felipe did well, or at the very least blaming Vettel’s mad lunge (again) at the start for screwing them both.

  13. matt88 said on 25th July 2010, 15:15

    Although I’m a Ferrari fan I hate team orders, especially when they’re made so openly. However, as Alesi pointed out, other teams like RB or McLaren are hypocritical when they blame Ferrari about these facts. In Turkey Horner ordered Webber to “save fuel” when he was ahead of Vettel…

  14. Bartholomew said on 25th July 2010, 15:16

    This is no big deal. Everyone does it. The whole team should have practised beforehand a more subtle way of doing it. Alonso was much faster anyway.

    LOL Ferrari: The Three Stooges Team
    If something happens, Lou diMonty will step up to the microphone
    GO FAST FRED !!!!!!

  15. Ady said on 25th July 2010, 15:17

    So with Alonso having criticised the FIA for not punishing Hamilton enough for breaking the rules, what will his opinion be now.

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