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 (2%)

Total Voters: 2,662

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409 comments on Massa ordered to hand win to Alonso

  1. Seysel said on 25th July 2010, 15:26

    Typical Ferrari, win at any cost!!! never mind the drivers they are only paid employees – rediculous!!!

  2. 49man said on 25th July 2010, 15:27

    I’m am absolutely bitter at Ferrari for this insultive move!!…Felipe still has an argueable chance of winning the championship!!…How dare you order him to move!!…Nah!…Had I been Felipe, I would Ignore by claiming the radio wasn’t working!!….SHAME ON FERRARI…I hate this soooo much!…

    FIA should step in…either give Felipe the win or..NOTHING!!

    Same would happen in Hungary for sure because determined Felipe would be ahead of Alonso come turn one in 7days….GEEZ!

  3. SPIDERman said on 25th July 2010, 15:28

    i predicted a ferrari one two….but did not expect such live cheating….MASSA has been hit below the belt by this decision and i am just thinking may it is true that that singapore saga of a manufactured win for Alonso while at renault BY HIS TEAM MATE may now come back to haunt him
    FERRARI have ruined my sunday …but thanks to mclaren ..we have a light at the end of the tunnel…ferrari will need to win three times while mclaren failling to finish in order for them “ferrarti” to win the championship….which is highly unlikely…

  4. Alonso said he didn’t know what happened. He’s a poor guy. He always know anything what happens within his team.

  5. F1Ed said on 25th July 2010, 15:30

    Nothing to so with being British BatuMifune, Massa is’t British and this has nothing to do with Mclaren. This has to do with millions of spectators being cheated of a of a decent race. At least when Webber and Vetel race they really race like the start of the last GP and when they actually crashed into each other in Turkey.
    Sport is sport and Alonso isn’t a sportsman.

  6. lord sauron said on 25th July 2010, 15:30

    ferrari shouldnt pulled this crap!its bad for spirit of F1.Never control the race ferrari.
    Hey! by the way my fav won. great job fernando. just wasnt getting enough of you

  7. peter said on 25th July 2010, 15:30

    To be frank, it is a team order, but there is no way to prove it… I mean, how can the FIA prove that?

    Sadly, no way. But to be honest, this ban on team order is also silly…. why?

    Simple… F1 is a team sport…. the driverS are just part of the team… its like the Tour de France or WRC…

  8. rampante (@rampante) said on 25th July 2010, 15:30

    Massa was not ordered to let Alonso past he was told that Alonso was faster and he let him pass. It is a team sport where the team result is more important.

    • Maciek said on 25th July 2010, 15:39

      I think people are making too much of this – but seriously, Rampante, he wasn’t told to let Alonso pass? Please!

      • rampante (@rampante) said on 25th July 2010, 15:46

        I don’t agree with it but at no point was he told to let him pass. Smedley told him Alo was faster. if the ‘do you understand’ was the code to let him pass it would still have been wrong.

        • Tango said on 25th July 2010, 16:03

          And where did the “sorry” come from? I cannot see it comming from anything that guilt. Smedley assisted in cheating his own protégé to such a meaningful win.

  9. Whether it was the best for the team or not, the rule is quite clear:
    “39.1 Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.” (Outta the FIA regulations).
    Besides, they are both still in the running for the championship. Who knows what can happen in the next half of the championship?
    In 2,007, both McLaren drivers were mathematically and realistically able to win the title in the last race of the year. Kimi Räikkönen took it. Maybe McLaren weren’t such smartasses as Ferrari, but that was fair play.
    I’m sorry if any of you like opportunism, but fair beats smartass.

  10. ErikF said on 25th July 2010, 15:31

    1998 – Coulthard was a second driver
    1999 – Coulthard was a second driver
    2000- Barichello and Schumacher…
    2001 – Barichello and Schumacher…
    2002 – Barichello and Schumacher…
    2003 – Barichello and Schumacher…
    2004 – Barichello and Schumacher…
    2005 – Fisichella was a second driver
    2006 – Fisichella was a second driver
    2007 – Massa became a second driver in end of the season
    2008 – Kovalainen was clearly a second driver
    2009 – Barichello was a second driver

  11. Jeng Wei said on 25th July 2010, 15:31

    Disgraceful act! Ferrari u guys are disgusting to say the least

  12. Manu said on 25th July 2010, 15:31

    I must say that I’m really disappointed by the author of this blog. After the Turkish GP, I don’t remember seeing anything like “Hamilton wins as Button is told to stay behind”. It seems that Ferrari is the only team giving orders to their drivers, when it is obviously not the case.

    It’s true that it must be massively disappointing for Felipe, but what was the team supposed to do? Alonso was faster and Vettle was coming close.
    Maybe it would have been better to let them fight and see them crash into each other like Red Bull did in Turkey? I don’t think so.

    Also I don’t remember anyone complaining when Massa let Kimi pass in 2007. But hey it’s Alonso, so it’s okay to bash him. The MacLaren fans shouldn’t be talking to much, because there is a great deal of chance the team will be confronted with the same kind situation by the end of the season.

    As Schumacher ans Coultard said after the race: It was the right thing to do. Ferrari is a professional team. The drivers are professional drivers. In the end the objective is to win the championship, full stop.

    Oh yeah and Horner saying what Ferrari’s done was wrong: that was priceless. After what happened in Turkey and in Britain he’d better keep his mouth shut.

    All I see here is just hate and a awful lot of frustration.

    Anyway congratulations to both drivers, they’ve done a fantastic job this week end. Can’t wait for next week’s GP.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th July 2010, 15:44

      There’s a big difference between telling two drivers to hold position at the end of the race and telling a driver to move over for an equally faster team mate 2/3rds into a race.

      One’s understandable, the other is less so.

      • Owen G said on 25th July 2010, 15:54

        You’re right mate, there is a big difference. One is legal, the other isn’t!

        • Manu said on 25th July 2010, 16:05

          Both are team orders. Both are illegal.

          • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 3:39

            Actually, both are NOT illegal. There is precedent where FIA have ruled that giving holding orders such as ‘conserve fuel’ are legal (not to mention the fact that the drivers overtook each other twice!)

            Telling one driver to slow down and let another past is against the rules. It is also illegal under European Law and could be considered ‘fixing’ (ask any number of Italian football referees!)

      • Manu said on 25th July 2010, 16:04

        True. But if you consider the situation from a logical point of view, this decision makes perfect sense. I admit that what happened is really unfair to Felipe and that he doesn’t deserve that. But let’s face it: as much as I like the guy, there’s no way he’s going the win the championship this year. Ferrari couldn’t afford to take any risks this week-end.

    • edugg said on 25th July 2010, 15:47

      Is it a manipulated race or not????
      Stop defending everything about Alonso!!!!

  13. mateuss said on 25th July 2010, 15:31

    I feel a DQ for Ferrai is appropriate, because no one can deny that this was a team order that interfered with the end result.

  14. Arioch said on 25th July 2010, 15:32

    The Alonso-Massa manoeuvre has reminded me the 2008 German GP in this circuit. Kovalainen did the same with Hamilton. I don’t remember any controversy (like some sites are saying) after that.

  15. calski1 said on 25th July 2010, 15:32

    I have never wanted massa to win a race so much! fully deserving! massa was robbed poor kid :(

  16. Kris H. said on 25th July 2010, 15:33

    The no team-orders rule is totally out of place in F1. Without it, it would be in the team’s best interest to keep both drivers happy somehow.

    And is Ferrari favoring Alonso? Duh. Massa has less points than Rosberg and Kubica. Thats the only reason for the decision.

    • edugg said on 25th July 2010, 15:49

      If Ferrari doesn’t let him win he will never recover from the position of the championship

  17. Nick said on 25th July 2010, 15:33

    I simply feel ashamed for the sport.

    Terrible terrible day if they get away with this.

  18. f1yankee said on 25th July 2010, 15:35

    asked, not ordered. big difference.

  19. Alonso, “I don’t consider F1 a sport any more.”

    Yeah because of guys like you Alonso.

    And on the side, what about those of us who took a punt on Massa to win and lost money! Also interesting to see how Massa will mentally approach the rest of the season.

    • 49man said on 25th July 2010, 15:40

      same here..really wonna see how he’d approach the rest of the season!!..I think it would affect him positively though!!

    • bosyber said on 25th July 2010, 16:42

      The betting thing is a good point – clearly the reason that, for example, horse racing doesn’t allow any sort of team orders (provided they are discovered, of course, and I guess they do happen).

  20. avegaille said on 25th July 2010, 15:35

    i think as much as the race winner has been manipulated by Ferrari, they could just get away with this one.

    They didn’t really tell Massa to “let Fernando pass”.
    It was disguised (but quite obviously), we know what it meant, but Ferrari can come up with a lot of reasons. They can tell that it was a suggestion for Massa to let Fernando pass, but not actually an “order”… In the first place, they would not have had that radio conversation of they didn’t have a good explanation for the FIA…

    • mateuss said on 25th July 2010, 15:40

      In 2007 there was less evidence supporting the ”Spygate”, so I will be (and many others) very, very disappointed if Ferrari gets away with this one.

      • Sri said on 25th July 2010, 17:42

        If you call a design document with several hundred pages being photocopied less evidence… then may be yes… If you McLaren systems running Ferrari data and being caught lying at it, then yes, perhaps there was less evidence mate…

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