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

2010 German Grand Prix

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182 comments on Montezemolo defends driver switch

  1. drezone said on 27th July 2010, 9:30

    alonso could’ve just made a move on massa and taken them both out like vettel did to webber in turkey and have the team blame massa saying he was in the wrong for not allowing room and defending his race lead. LOL.

  2. The key word, nonetheless, is hypocrisy.

    Let’s just take one example: China 2008. Raikkonen slows and lets Massa past. It was as blatant and obvious an example of “team orders that interfere with the race result” as you’re likely to get.

    Where was the universal condemnation of that move? It was every bit as illegal as the one we saw on Sunday, yet there was no stewards’ inquiry, no penalty, no WMSC involvement and – more to the point – no hysterical reaction from “fans.”

    Hypocrisy is absolutely the word.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th July 2010, 10:45

      I don’t agree at all. It’s a completely different matter when a team has two drivers in the running for the championship (as was the case on Sunday) and only one (as was the case in your example).

      It’s not hypocrisy, it’s a realistic appreciation of the state of the championship.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 27th July 2010, 16:03

      I condemned it at the time. In fact, most people at the time knew what was going on. And to use Ferrari’s own reasoning, it was because everyone knew it really didn’t matter how much Kimi was compromised; the anniversary of Massa’s crash just made it that much worse than simple “he’s practically out of it” argument.

      But the crux of your argument comes down to that if something wrong takes place once and goes by, no-one ever has the right to question a more severe repeat of it. An argument weaker than Bud Light.

      The joke justification of the situation by some Ferrari fans has been as ridiculous as Luca.

  3. East Londoner said on 27th July 2010, 10:30

    Oh God. Now Ecclestone is supporting Ferrari’s driver switch and says that the rule banning team orders should go. Really it must be time that he goes from F1 for good.

  4. invoke said on 27th July 2010, 12:21

    All i meant was that Ferrari broke the rules, and no argument over the history of the sport and previous decisions can deny the fact that a rule was broken, thats what it comes down to. I am aware that all the teams will gain an advantage if they can get away with it, and it needs to be stopped.

  5. xrs said on 27th July 2010, 13:08

    some people are talking about, $100000 is an unfair penalty, worthless victory etc.

    it is all ok if you ignore and pass safety car on track and get unfair points from other teams drivers but it is end of the world if you pass your team mate with team orders.

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 27th July 2010, 15:59

    “Meanwhile those who didn’t follow the rules were penalised by the race officials in a way that was less severe than the damage suffered by those who did respect them.

    “That is a very serious and unacceptable event that creates dangerous precedents, throwing a shadow over the credibility of Formula 1.

    “We are sure that the FIA will fully analyse what happened, taking the consequent necessary decisions. Ferrari will watch this with interest.”

    Yup, that was Luca after Valencia. And he has the gall to talk about hypocrisy. We all knew he was a joke, but he’s gone even lower this time; he’s a pathetic joke.

    Ferrari and Luca should be banned under Article 151c for this season’s antics. Never have I known a team to so consistently bring the sport into disrepute so many times and so severely over half a season, let alone after having a history of blatant disrespect for the rules again and again over the years (yet McLaren and Renault only have to do one thing and the FIA is after them). But like that’s ever going to happen.

    • xrs said on 27th July 2010, 22:31

      yes when luca said that he was very right, a driver ignored the safety car and walked with it. they applied a very light punishment which had no effect at the end of the race.

      nothing have done about that action also after the race, so why you are moaning now i didnt understand. if the punishment for passing safety car on track is an useless drive through than i think $100000 is very suited for team orders.

      also when hamilton changed direction more than once in front of petrov nothing have done, again when he pushed his car to the pits after his fast lap during the qualifications he didnt lose anything. i think it is useless to remind all these actions were against the rules.

      consider that at least ferrari didnt stole any point from other teams, it was between ferrari drivers.
      when hamilton ignored safety car he stole points from other teams drivers as well.

      no need to mention what mclaren achived by using illegal ferrari data during the 2007 season and what renault team did during the 2008 season is more meaninless to compare with team orders.

  7. Oliver said on 27th July 2010, 17:21

    I will have to eat the humble pie and agree with Luca here. Ferrari is a team and a team has its objectives.
    For Ferrari, that objective is the Driver Championship and not the accumulation of points.
    We are already in the second half of the season and Ferrari cant be sure of dominating all the remaining races. So I cant really blame them for trying to maximize the opportunity of a driver closing in on the lead of the championship.

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