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

    Happy to hear (finally) this is a brit blog ….

    Alonso has been bitterly hit by FIA regulations in last races, with Hamilton escaping …

    As said, brit blog ….. bye bye and enjoy the championship and “your” blog.

    • Andrew S. said on 25th July 2010, 15:33

      What does the nature of this blog have to do with what happened in the race? hmm? did you enjoy Alonso winning like that?

    • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:30

      the co.uk could have been a hint?

      But I recall most people thinking Hamilton was let off easy for his Canada post-pole pushing, and the SC thing in Valencia, and agreed that Ferrari were unfairly hit there, and were unlucky with the Silverstone SC timing too.

      But I don’t think you can blame people not having Spanish or Italian media for not having been whitewashed with the tone of Ferrari whining about these things, even if in Silverstone they could have prevented it by just giving back a place and gaining it again when KUB pulled out three laps later; or for forgetting to race in Valencia after it happened. Ferrari were having some real points to make, but at the same time were overreacting and blaming everyone but themselves. Not very impressive.

      This race they finally showed the pace, had a great race, and then felt they needed to spoil the race for their WDC. Thanks guys, that’s not the way to show you are the ones that “follow the rules while others don’t”.

      I am Dutch, by the way, not British, and I wanted Alonso to win this, just not this way.

  2. Xighor said on 25th July 2010, 15:18

    Pityful podium, stacked by Santander. Looking at them I felt complete and utter disgust. They wasn’t even happy, neither Fernando nor Felipe. But well, Santander officials were present in Ferrari’s garage and Santander billboards were all over the place. How could not Alonso win?

    FIA have to do something with it.

  3. What a load of rubbish……DISQUALIFY BOTH CARS, BLATENTLY A CHEATING INSTRUCTION, SPOILT AN OTHERWISE GOOD RACE, FIA SHOULD BE PULLED BEFORE THE COURTS IF THEY DO NOTHING. I AM BECOMMING MORE INCLINED TO DESERTING A SPORT THAT I HAVE FOLLOWED FOR YEARS, WHAT A DISSAPOINTING ‘RACE’ . Eddie (Jordan) you rule and speak for the honest everyday guy, keep on rocking.

  4. AlexNK said on 25th July 2010, 15:18

    Teflonso strikes again!
    Seriously guys – if this is not a team order, as clear as they come, then nothing is. Therefore, if they let this one stand – then 39.1 is simply meaningless and is a joke, like today’s GP.

  5. Raj said on 25th July 2010, 15:19

    come on guys.. don’t make hullahbullah out of this. it is well known fact that every team gives some team orders in well disguised manner (but brits r good in framing words.. as rob smedley being native english..i thought he can frame it bit better unless he wants to expose this). what McLaren did to hamilton when they asked to back off in monaco & brings to pit earlier?? what redbull has done last week. it is blatant favor and i read some one said they are racing teams.

    I am ferrari fan..but i feel that they should have been more clever in framing that words. you need to see bigger picture.Massa is more than 30points behind alonso and nearly 3 race wins behind hamiltion. so it is lot tougher for him to catch hamiltion and provide some credible challenge for WDC than alonso.

    Bottom line is what Ferrari done is right but the way they have done should have been better.

    • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:33

      Well, it is a bit like with Barrichello, before, Smedley and Massa are the ones that clearly showed how it was – not the choice of the rest of the team, I would think. Since we have the WDC as well, and 30/200+ points isn’t all that big, favouring Alonoso over Massa for the win was not acceptable or me, especially with a fast Alonso that should have been able to go after Massa on track by himself.

  6. F1Ed said on 25th July 2010, 15:19

    Shame on Ferrari, shame for Massa cheated of a victory. Alonso spends so much of his time wingeing, bitching and moaning, he’s a petulant baby and it’s nauseating that Ferrari bow to this pre assure. I hope the FIA take decisive action and strip the team of points, demote Alsonso to second and give Massa the win.

  7. Laurent said on 25th July 2010, 15:19

    All the bad things I was thinking of Alonso have just been shown today. This uy is just a shame. He needs absolutely the other driver of the team to work for him to win a cahmpionship. Thank god his political tactic didn’t work with Lewis while driving for McLaren and Lewis dominated him completely during his first F1 season. There was no other issue for him just to escape the place because he just found a real fighter and competitor. This guy is really sadness. And I wanted to vomit as he seemed so staisfied to have robbed the victory. And Ferrari is just Ferrari: Politic & Mafia. Pff, I don’t understand why they have not been penalised. Jean Todt is there now at the FIA working hardly for Ferrari…that’s what we call “conflicrt of interrest”. L

  8. steph said on 25th July 2010, 15:20

    Remember when Mas held up Alo in the early races? There were a few comments then saying Mas should let him through..

  9. Rob said on 25th July 2010, 15:20

    Batumifune et al

    If your defence is that someone else did it too then you are admitting that something was wrong. In court you can’t say “I’m innocent because he did it too”. Ferrari should at least have the guts to admit it, and at least Alonso didn’t get Massa to stand on the podium in his place as what happened in Austria.

  10. Renato said on 25th July 2010, 15:22

    When you remmeber great races, you will probably remember great overtaken manouvres, not race results…
    Prove: Do you remember when Piquet overtook Senna in Hungry? Of course you do, do your remember who won that race?
    We all miss that time…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeemlgJkjUs

  11. statix said on 25th July 2010, 15:22

    i am waiting for a penalty for ferrari… there must be action taken by fia!

  12. F1Observer said on 25th July 2010, 15:23

    I think such team orders (on whatever level) ruin the credability of the sport. To me it’s like two football teams playing in the group stages of the World Cup only needing a draw to progress. Therefore, what they do is just kick the ball from end to end to ensure the result that’s most beneficial to them. F1 is about racing and there shouldn’t be any attempt to manipulate a result (regardless of whether it’s in a driver’s contract that they’re number 2 or not). It’s not either of the driver’s fault (although Alonso evidently wanted to be let past) but I think the following should happen:

    – Massa should be given the win,
    – Alonso given second and;
    – Ferrari docked ‘x’ amount of points in the Constructors’ championship.

    Poor show for F1.

  13. Andy (frome in somerset) said on 25th July 2010, 15:25

    DISGUSTED.
    Although i support jenson here in frome,his home town massa clearly should have won.2002 all over again.BAN CAR RADIOS,this should not happen.

  14. Christopher said on 25th July 2010, 15:25

    Team orders destroy a race when they require one driver to give way to another. The winner has to win the race by *overtaking* all of the other drivers, not because the people in front have been asked to move out of his way. In my opinion, the team order of “hold station” or “save fuel” is on the borderline of what is acceptable, because at least the eventual winner was originally ahead of their teammate. What happened today was just wrong – and the lack of any celebration on the podium, the dejection of Felipe in the press conference, and the ridiculous site of Fernando and the Ferrari team trying to spin it as a legitimate overtake just added insult to injury and left a bitter taste in the mouth. It was a blatant team order. It tarnishes Alonso’s win (and his championship if he goes on to win it), and it leaves me, as a fan, feeling robbed of a good race. This is so much worse than taking a front wing from one driver and giving it to another. Oh – and watching the red button now and seeing Ferrari try to claim that it was a driver decision – we are not idiots.

    • Sri said on 25th July 2010, 16:46

      Don’t get me wrong mate. I’m not trying to get personal with you, if you do feel that way, i’d like to apologize beforehand, as that was not my intent.

      I believe that in life there’s right and there’s wrong… acceptable is only when you’re willing to compromise… Fact is everyone in F1 pulls a stunt like this now and then… I also felt robbed as i was backing Button for championship and he’s routinely asked to hold station… To me, “hold stations” is not acceptable, as that disadvantages Button in the championship. He takes care of his car and he could easily run down Lewis towards end of the race, as he demonstrated. Honestly it was sad to see Felipe gutted, but can you really say that this was not in Ferrari’s best interests. Funny how things become “acceptable” when they are in our favour, or atleast in favour of what we want…

      Honestly now, i didn’t see many people complain when it happened in China in ’08. Certainly media didn’t whinge and moan when DC was robbed twice. I didn’t see media whip at McLaren posterboy for lying through his teeth. I didn’t see media flail McLaren for stealing from Ferrari, which is what they did. I think, most found it “acceptable” while i was disgusted and i thought it was wrong!

      I’ll be the first to admit, they could be a lot more clever with this. They did it in open and may be they’ll contest the rule with evidence that it doesn’t work. Hopefully, it will evolve into something better.

  15. William Wilgus said on 25th July 2010, 15:26

    Massa wasn’t told to let Alonso by, only that he was faster. While you can look at that as a ‘de facto’ team order to let Alonso by, you can also look at it as a sporting gesture by Massa to let him by. From a team standpoint, it made sense to have Alonso take the higher position because of his Driver’s Championship lead over Massa. Someone else commented about Massa’s tires, so the Ferrari radio message to Massa may have just been an ‘insurance call’ to have Ferrari win . . . a logical move on the team’s part.

    • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:35

      Keep telling yourself he wasn’t told to let Alonso past, the “let me know you understood the message” was clear or most of the rest of the world, I think.

      Team makes sense to do it, but it is not allowed, bad rule or not. Maybe they should have asked Whiting what he thought of it :-p

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