Montezemolo defends driver switch

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has defended his team’s decision to change the order of its drivers during yesterday’s German Grand Prix.

The stewards of the meeting fined Ferrari $100,000 for the move. The World Motor Sports Council will investigate whether the team acted improperly by giving a coded instruction to Felipe Massa telling him to let Fernando Alonso past.

Montezemolo said:

I am very happy for all our fans who finally, yesterday, saw two Ferraris lead from start to finish as they dominated the race. The result is down to the efforts of all our people, who never give up. Now we have to continue working like this, to improve the car so that is competitive at all the circuits we will encounter.

Alonso and Massa also did very well, giving their all throughout the weekend. The polemics are of no interest to me. I simply reaffirm what I have always maintained, which is that our drivers are very well aware, and it is something they have to stick to, that if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual. In any case, these things have happened since the days of Nuvolari and I experienced it myself when I was Sporting Director, in the days of Niki Lauda and not just then??

Therefore enough of this hypocrisy, even if I can well believe that some people might well have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another, but that is definitely not the case for me or indeed for our fans.
Luca di Montezemolo

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182 comments on Montezemolo defends driver switch

1 2 3 4
  1. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 26th July 2010, 18:32

    Whatever Luca. Niki Lauda doesn’t agree.

    • macca77 said on 26th July 2010, 18:49

      He doesn’t agree with the team orders now that he is retired, but I bet when he had the number 1 status in ferrari in the mid 70′s he loved them.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 26th July 2010, 19:49

        That’s probably true.

      • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 20:31

        but back than they were allowed …

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th July 2010, 8:04

        You’r spot on there. It’s easy to say Boo now, so many years after. EJ is doing it as well (due to it being illegal now) but a lot of (ex-)drivers still think the same, but add under the current rules they should have done it less obvious

        • Mike said on 27th July 2010, 9:09

          “but add under the current rules they should have done it less obvious”

          shouldn’t that be…

          “but add under the current rules they should not have done it”
          ?

          considering the rules say it’s illegal…

          • Ronman said on 27th July 2010, 10:55

            When the title is at stake, i surely support temmates helping each others. i like selfish drivers, but there is a limit. Massa and Kimi wrote the books on that in 07 and 08. ironically they were at Ferrari. so they know how to do it right, it’s just that last Sunday they chose the wrong way, and the wrong timing, and this i think is what pushed Massa to make it so obvious.

            but what is worth is that Alonso doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that Massa gifted him the race, and i think this will put more pressure on their intra-team relations…

            in austria 2002, Schumi at least gave credit to Bar, by pushing him on the top step of the podium, and getting fined for it…Alonso is just a new definition of Low scum

    • Las Vegas said on 28th July 2010, 3:03

      .

      May I, please ;

      Luca and Lauda .. minor impact !

      Luca and Ferrari-owners who are ashamed to drive the Team-Order cars .. that’s major !

      Will that ever happen ?

      Not likely, but it’s in your MIND now !

      LV.

      .

    • PT (@pt) said on 28th July 2010, 8:35

      Who’s Niki Lauda? The Chairman of F1 or the Director of the Archives of F1 Races? He’s one of the best drivers of all time, but what he or any other retired driver says is on no value. It’s just some jarring noise. The hypocritical arguments of him or Eddie Jordan don’t count for anything.

      If at all any sensible remarks are ever made by former drivers it is by Sir Jackie Stewart, a man who has coached Francois Cevert and done so much for the sport.

  2. sumedh said on 26th July 2010, 18:34

    It is curious that he points out Niki Lauda here. Just when Lauda himself has made a stinging attack on Ferrari.

  3. Victor. said on 26th July 2010, 18:37

    Of course he does.

  4. hawkfist said on 26th July 2010, 18:44

    Lauda is probably part of the hypocrisy he is referring too

  5. Interesting choice of words from Luca there. Did he learn the meaning of the word hypocricy when someone pointed out to him his post-Valencia comments?
    In some ways, what upsets me the most is the blatant lying. Not even a tiny little effort to dress it up.

  6. Invoke said on 26th July 2010, 19:00

    if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual

    …not to mention any rules and regulations too.

    • xabregas said on 26th July 2010, 19:05

      You must have forgoten what Maclaren did back in the spygate. All teams has glass roofs.

      • Invoke said on 26th July 2010, 19:17

        I have not forgotten at all, but you have left me a little confused by this reply, what should I be remembering exactly?

        • xabregas said on 26th July 2010, 19:26

          weren´t you trying to say that Ferrari does everything to be in front of the others even if necessary to cheat.
          Just tryed to show that the others do that too.
          If i didn´t understand your coment, than i apolagise.

          • Bernard said on 26th July 2010, 19:40

            Alonso was at the center of the Spygate debacle – and Crashgate. What does that tell you about cheating, any patterns starting to emerge? ;)

      • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:27

        @Bernard: Alonso was one of the people trying to expose the cheating. Remember the threatening email? You cant blame one driver without blaming the other (lewis).

        • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 20:34

          Alonso was the one actually doing the cheating (posing questions for the mole).

          Then he decided to blackmail the team to gain first driver status in return for acting like “he didn’t know a thing”.

          Yeah Alonso was the hero in spygate. Really.

          • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:50

            My point is that Lewis also knew and said nothing!

            Cheating is cheating and both drivers were knee’s deep in it equally.

          • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 22:32

            No, Lewis did NOT know.

            NO, the were not knee deep in it equally. Alonso was ASKING questions that the mole should answer (ie actively engaging in spy gate)

            While Hamilton knew nothing and thus didn’t participate at all.

            If Hamilton was involved they would have found mail from or to him on his computer or those of other people. They didn’t. Plenty e-mail from Alonso en De La Rosa though

          • matt90 said on 26th July 2010, 22:36

            @steven

            Lewis may have been aware, but you can’t say he did for sure. Would Hamilton purposely get involved with cheating in his first ever year in F1? Would the people aware of the cheating try include somebody who has no experience of F1? Maybe. But not necessarily.

        • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 20:50

          @ Steven

          Any evidence for the allegation you’ve made that Hamilton knew about the data theft?

          As for Alonso, he was threatening Dennis with going to Mosley to ‘expose the cheating’ he himself had been directly involved in. Dennis – who claimed not to know the extent of the data theft within the team – then immediately defused this blackmail by telling Mosley himself. This had two effects: enormous fine for McLaren, end of McLaren contract for Alonso.

          Fact is trouble follows Alonso around. Draw your own conclusions. I make mine.

          • bananarama said on 26th July 2010, 22:27

            Why would they tell Alonso about the cheating but not Hamilton. Or is Alonso just so dedicated to his job (in comparison to Hamilton) that he works so much harder, talkt to the engineers, tries to understand everything .. asks unpopular questions ..

            (I’m not a fan of Alonsos just so you don’t come around telling me I am one)

          • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 22:40

            @ bananarama

            I can reverse the question: why would they need to? As I remember Hamilton was specifically exonerated from any involvement. Maybe a degree of scepticism is always healthy. But asserting without evidence he was actually in the know seems a cop out to spread the blame when the people involved were specifically named.

            Hamilton was also a rookie. He seems fairly decicated to his job to me. Maybe you know better. Unlikely though.

    • SPIDERman said on 26th July 2010, 20:13

      IF drivers only race for the team honers then we should scrap the world drivers champion title and only have the manufacturers titles only…PERHAPS THEN FERRARI can even employ the faceless stig from top gear to drive for them

      IN hindsight montezii….molo? seems to belong to the musieum by coming up with such comments
      FIA should throw the kitchen sink at ferrari on this one occassion.

      • Ronman said on 27th July 2010, 11:10

        Teflonso was the dude taking the most advantage of the mole in spygate, he was that unknown Mr.X in the trailer agreeing and benefiting from Piquet’s scheme for Singapore, he could not, not, have known about it… he was complaining , when in fact he should have been shutting the hell up and trying to get past his teammate the proper way…

        he weaseled his way past Massa while diving into the pits, he literally asked the team to get him out of the way in Germany, the guy is a git, I’m really despising him… he doesn’t even bother do anything with class.

      • LewisC said on 27th July 2010, 14:00

        Why would Ferrari want the Stig?

        Barrichello is faster and they sacked him. ;)

      • sasbus said on 27th July 2010, 17:07

        Actually they did didn’t you see Shumi in his outfit? :)

      • Las Vegas said on 28th July 2010, 9:09

        SPIDERman’s ” … IF drivers only race for the team honors then we should scrap the world DRIVERS champion title and only have the manufacturers titles only… ”

        This probably IS the Highest-Sense posting, ever.

        But you know what, SPIDERman, that there will be a whole bunch of disagreements. Some with valid & solid arguments, some with knee-jerk reactions.

        Perhaps we should all start the discussion matter by look at the ultimate reason for being ; Is F1 for the public or for the interest of the one who sign the cheques ?

        The answer is obvious.

  7. steph said on 26th July 2010, 19:08

    “I am very happy for all our fans who finally, yesterday, saw two Ferraris lead from start to finish as they dominated the race”

    That’s ironic as I don’t think any fan could say they were truly happy or satisfied with yesterday.

    “even if I can well believe that some people might well have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another, but that is definitely not the case for me or indeed for our fans.”

    He’s bang on there. In all my year’s watching this glorious sprot I’ve never once seen a successful overtake that hasn’t ended in a crash. They’ve all had to be fiddled, Bernie radioed Sutil in Silverstone to let Vettel through but to look like he’s defending to make it realistic.

    Sorry, I’ve stuck up for Luca when he has said things this year and I know he’s going to defend what happened but I can’t help but feel he’s adding fuel to the fire by talking down to people and dismissing their feelings on the issue.

    • John H said on 26th July 2010, 20:16

      Spot on Steph.

      If Luca’s that worried about them running into each other, then perhaps he’s hired the wrong drivers?…

      and referring to the ‘days of Niki Lauda’ doesn’t really wash if the rule that Ferrari so clearly contravened was introduced in 2002.

      • bananarama said on 26th July 2010, 22:32

        Maybe he was only referring to it because Lauda was moaning so loudly about it that he coud hear it down in Italy without even turning on the TV. He went on and on and on complaining about what the team did.

        “Niki, how did you find Vettel today?”
        “Ferrari are cheaters”
        “And Hamilton?”
        “Cheaters I’m telling you, Ferrari are cheaters …”

        • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 22:43

          Read more carefully and you’ll realize Lauda was empathizing with Massa a year on after his near-death crash, which explains his anger. Formula 1 isn’t all trivial politicizing between the teams, some real stuff happens too.

          • Mike said on 27th July 2010, 9:28

            Makes a lot of sense for Lauda to support Massa, considering what happened to Lauda.

            Your band on with that one steph.

    • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:29

      I was happy. I’m a loyal Ferrari supporter and to me the team always comes first. If giving Alonso the win is in the best interests of the team, then thats what matters.

      • DGR-F1 said on 27th July 2010, 9:13

        What? Even the head of Ferrari admits that they are employing two drivers who cannot overtake without crashing into each other and the Tifosi here agree with him?
        Somebody is crazy, and it isn’t me!

      • Maksutov said on 27th July 2010, 13:28

        In that case lets bring the one car rule. One team can only have one car. Otherwise, there is no point in having two cars per team because those two cars are never effectively racing against each other.

        If you think its fine to give orders in the best interest of the team, then every team is going to start doing the same, and believe me you wont be very happy when you see that happen.

        • Las Vegas said on 27th July 2010, 14:00

          .

          Yes in deed.

          I can’t agree more.

          BTW, in other sports , they called this sort of actions as ” FIXED ”

          If FIXED is found in horse racing ; fined to the owner, suspension / ban to the driver

          If FIXED is found in Las Vegas ; FIXER may be guided to the desert, and may get lost

          Let’s wait for words from Jean Todt. No, he only told Rubens to ” Let Michael pass for the championship ! ” that was when he was with Ferrari, and now he’s FIA’s President !

          Wait !

          LV.

          .

    • Las Vegas said on 28th July 2010, 9:15

      steph’s ” … I can’t help but feel he’s adding fuel to the fire by talking down to people and dismissing their feelings on the issue…”

      Hmmm…somehow I have the same feeling when I see a brand new 458 Italia…in the servicing bay…..

      Thanks, steph!

      Hmmmmm

  8. PeterG said on 26th July 2010, 19:12

    Only one sentence possible: Ferrari loose all points in world championship including the one-two in Bahrain.
    Then they will never ever do it again.
    The counsil must ruin the entire season for Ferrari.
    Plus 50Million in fines. I cannot believe the 100.000 fine.

    • John H said on 26th July 2010, 20:17

      It’s likely that Ferrari will lose there constructors points with the drivers retaining theirs.

    • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:30

      Yeah, thats fine as long as they hand the same punishment to McLaren for their drivers orders.

      • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 20:36

        If McLaren had given illegal team orders i’m prett sure they would get punished too.

        but the haven’t so … what’s your point?

        • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:47

          They have. Last year when Hekki. In the last race they told Jenson to defend when he was on the butt of Lewis’s car(so that he didnt attack lewis).

          But ofc, you didnt notice that because they aint driving in red.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 21:05

            Last year when Hekki. In the last race they told Jenson to defend when he was on the butt of Lewis’s car(so that he didnt attack lewis).

            In Germany, you mean? When did they tell Button not to overtake Hamilton?

            Someone brought up the Kovalainen thing elsewhere, possibly in a different thread, but I’m not aware of any audio confirming it was a team order. Besides which, we should take into account the fact they were on different strategies. Look at the ease with which Hamilton passed Massa, for example. If he was a sitting duck, what chance had Kovalainen?

            But ofc, you didnt notice that because they aint driving in red.

            Your repeated insinuations that everyone else is somehow biaised have not gone unnoticed. Please show the other users of this site a little more respect.

          • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 22:36

            Steven,

            Could you try writing in english? I don’t have a clue what you are trying to say.

            Last year when Heiki what?

            Last race was Abu Dhabi. Hamilton’s car broke down. Why would anyone tell Jenson not to attack Hamilton?

            Honestly no sense at all.

          • TomD11 (@tomd11) said on 26th July 2010, 22:47

            He’s referring to this GP where Jenson was defending from Webber in the early stages rather than having a go at Lewis. That doesn’t really work as an argument for McLaren preventing them from racing though, because as soon as Webber dropped back they radioed Jenson to tell him that he was one of the fastest on the track i.e. you don’t have Webber to worry about now, you can have a go at Lewis.

    • almanac said on 27th July 2010, 0:22

      you are absolutely right
      the only solution is
      1) ferrari gets everything you saying
      2) ferrari lives this cicus run by the british clown name bernie ecclestone and his friends
      then you will understand what formula 1 without ferrari means

      • Mike said on 27th July 2010, 9:53

        Formula one with out Ferrari means two less cars.

        I think you need to consider the seriousness of what Ferrari did last race, before you accuse people of not being fair.

        It’s bad for the sport, it’s bad for the fans, and in the end, it makes the team look bad as well.

  9. Jim N said on 26th July 2010, 19:13

    Luca is incredible.

    Stripped to the essence all this says is “It’s ok for Ferrari to cheat because that’s what we have always done”…. I’m astounded!

    • Maksutov said on 27th July 2010, 13:47

      Luca has effectively admitted that Ferrari has given the order and believes that it is perfectly fine to do so. Which is actually not true.

      All Luca has done is made a naive attempt to get to the minds of F1 fans, by trying to prove to people that his team works together, and his team comes first and it is more important than team orders. While at the same time completely spitting on the very meaning of the sport itself, which is racing. All that F1 means to him is business and ability for him to advertise his brand to make Ferrari more popular around the globe. The only reason he responds is to protect the business and their image, otherwise he would not bother.

  10. rampante (@rampante) said on 26th July 2010, 19:17

    Lauda was a 2 times WDC with Ferrari and was respected for that but he has not been able to let anything happen in the sport without throwing his hat into the ring. Since he gave up racing he has had a go at nearly every team,track,driver and everyone else involed with the sport. Sadly unlike many past WDC’s when he speaks very few listen. Ferrari have always maintained that the team is bigger than any driver and outwith one or two the very best have driven for the team under those circumstances.

    • RandomChimp said on 26th July 2010, 19:54

      “Ferrari have always maintained that the team is bigger than any driver”

      Then why does it matter which way around the drivers finish?

      • Todfod said on 26th July 2010, 20:21

        Because they want to atleast win the WDC. The constructors seems highly unlikely.

        • Steven said on 26th July 2010, 20:31

          Precisely. WDC means more than constructors considering the amount of hype around it.

        • Patrickl said on 26th July 2010, 20:37

          Indeed and that is why the WMSC needs to take Alonso’s points away. Don’t give Ferrari the spoils of the crime.

  11. Jedi James said on 26th July 2010, 19:19

    To do what is best for the team is to maximise the WCC points. What they did was maximise the WDC points for Fernando, that is manipulation of the WDC.
    Taking that into account Ferrari have manipulated the WDC when they were in the strongest possible team position, so to make excuses about it being best for team is absurd to the point of arrogance.
    Want to improve the show, make teams go for the WCC and let the drivers settle the WDC.

    • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 20:57

      At last someone making this point!

      How was Massa letting Alonso past helping the team? The points were the same. The consequence likely to be demotivating Massa and *losing* the team future points this season.

      The ‘team order’ phrase is misleading people: the move was done solely to benefit Alonso’s championship bid and possibly the big sponsors he’s brought in, who knows? Maybe the team’s *corporate* interests, but that’s somewhat different.

      I think Brundle’s double think on this question sums it up: he argues for banning team orders, but suggests any driver with any ambition should ignore them! Maybe he’s right.

      • David BR said on 26th July 2010, 20:58

        sorry, allowing team orders…

      • Las Vegas said on 27th July 2010, 14:14

        Brilliant…David,

        Regardless of whoever that’ll be …

        Winner gets 25 points
        Second gets 18 points
        total 43 points

        …as Forrest Gump said…

        Oh. BTW, if those clowns have done this in Vegas, they may be led to the desert and ain’t coming back !

        LV.

        .

    • TomD11 (@tomd11) said on 26th July 2010, 22:53

      I had an idea a while ago that while isn’t, I don’t, think practical and is rather a departure from what F1 has historically been, I though I’d share:

      2 races, first in spec cars provided by the FIA with points counting for the WDC and the result setting the grid for the second race, in which they race cars provided by their team, with points counting for the WCC.

      • LewisC said on 27th July 2010, 14:04

        It’s an interesting idea. Unfortunately, what happens if the driver gets injured while at the wheel of the “spec car” and can’t drive his “manufacturer” one?

  12. Carl said on 26th July 2010, 19:24

    “In any case, these things have happened since the days of Nuvolari and I experienced it myself when I was Sporting Director, in the days of Niki Lauda and not just then…”

    This was in the past before there was a rule, there is a rule now and they broke it..

    • mateuss said on 26th July 2010, 20:18

      F1 was built on amateur drivers, very uncompetitive teams, drivers, second placed drivers finished many laps downs (this now doesn’t even happen in Le Mans 24h) ,no safety – drivers were killed on average every GP weekend, and a lot of team orders and car swapping between team mates!!!

      Does that make all this OK in current F1, or Motorsport or sport in general? No!! And I think DC’s arguments on Sunday were ridiculous, newer mind Ferrari lying about something which is cristal clear for every one!

      I agree that that was the past, and we can look in amusement and interest at it, BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THAT IS THE PAST! Not present.

      • beneboy said on 26th July 2010, 21:25

        I was thinking along similar lines mate, could you imagine someone saying they weren’t going to adhere to the crash test rules this season because drivers dying on track is all a part of the sports history and traditions ?

        There are so many things that could be justified by saying it’s all part of the sports history but the fact remains that the rules are the rules and you either abide by them or you get disqualified.

        The debate about the suitability of the rules is a different issue, all that matters is the rules as they’re written today.

  13. GeeMac said on 26th July 2010, 19:25

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t on. Top teams (and I’m not singling out Ferrari here, because we all know that McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Williams, Jordan, etc etc etc) have done it in the past) can’t keep on justifying team orders by essentially saying “well, its always happened, so what are you complaining about?!?” We F1 fans have the right to expect more from the top teams. More technical innovation, more exciting racing, more development of young drivers and yes, more sportsmanship.

  14. rashid hasan said on 26th July 2010, 19:29

    go somewhere else luca. u don’t belong in f1.

  15. LSL said on 26th July 2010, 19:30

    when hamilton overtook the SC, he didn’t lose any points, the main opponents did

    in this case vettel or hamilton didn’t get less points

    so it’s nothing like valencia or silverstone, just blind mclaren fans would think it
    and still, no idea what SAVE FUEL means?
    you guys are all hypocrits
    brit blog, and mostly mclaren supporters reads it.
    still by far the best f1 site in the whole wide word, but english, why should they cheer for ferrari
    and it’s just an opinion

    • Mark said on 26th July 2010, 19:44

      In the context to which you are refering SAVE FUEL means don’t race, hold position (since you may run out of fuel).

      This definitely does not mean SWAP POSITION!

      Silverstone was just another example of Ferrari thinking that the rules do not apply to them.

    • ADZ23 said on 26th July 2010, 20:17

      well said dude,i kinda get the same feeling

    • mateuss said on 26th July 2010, 20:46

      So you are saying that Hamilton’s main opponents lost points because he overtook the SC?

    • Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 26th July 2010, 20:51

      Anyone else getting sick of this sort of argument coming up?

      The vast majority of people who read this blog are F1 fans first, fans of specific teams and drivers second, and nationalistic morons a distant last.

      We all want to see what’s best for the sport. And in this case it’s hard to argue that letting Ferrari get away with this is good for the sport.
      Look at the coverage this has got in the wider media.
      None of my friends or family have much interest in F1 yet today I had loads of people talking about how Ferrari were up to their old tricks. Just like loads of people wanted to talk about Renault’s cheating in Singapore, and Mclaren’s cheating in Australia, and Mosley’s twisted personal life.
      It really doesn’t matter who you support, this sort of thing gives a very bad impression of Formula One to the wider public.

      • mateuss said on 26th July 2010, 20:54

        100% agree with you Mark!

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 21:09

        Couldn’t agree more.

      • LuvinF1 said on 27th July 2010, 3:01

        Thank you for your comments, Mark. Right on the “mark” as far as I’m concerned. Didn’t Keith once provide an article which outlined the geographic distribution of his site users not so long ago? If anyone can direct me, I would like to read it again.

      • chow said on 27th July 2010, 5:13

        Just because they don’t realise that F1 is a TEAM SPORT as well. Massa was number 2 in his MS years, but his good performance in 08 earn him number 1 over defending champ Kimi. This season so far his performance is relatively bad compare to FA, Ferrari has the RIGHT to maximize the dirver’s title to FA. Keep it up Massa, next year is your turn.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th July 2010, 10:19

        Fully agree. It was even in the main news here on Sunday!

      • Sharon said on 27th July 2010, 10:52

        Excellent post.

      • Mike said on 27th July 2010, 10:53

        Well said mark.

        chow,

        First, there is a specific rule against ordering one of your drivers to cede to the other, so Ferrari do not have that right.

        Second,It is a team sport, that’s why Massa and Alonso should have been very careful not to hit each other when Alonso should have been attacking him.

    • Ilanin said on 26th July 2010, 21:21

      At Silverstone, McLaren told Button to hold station and not attack the car in front, because he’d run out of fuel if he did.

      At Hockenheim, McLaren told Button to hold station and not attack the car in front, because he’d run out of fuel if he did.

      Why does the fact that the car was Rosberg in the first case and Hamilton in the second make a difference?

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