“I am much quicker than Felipe” – how Alonso urged Ferrari to use team orders

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Hockenheimring, 2010

New video of the German Grand Prix published by FOM reveals how Fernando Alonso urged Ferrari to order Felipe Massa to let him pass.

Alonso said to the team “I am much quicker than Felipe” and was told “we got your message”.

Because of the editing of the video it’s not clear how much time elapsed between that and the infamous coded instruction to Massa ordering him to let Alonso pass.

When Alonso tried to overtake Massa on lap 21 Rob Smedley told his driver, “he’s pretty close, he’s going to go, you’re going to have to defend.”

Massa was later advised, “you need to pick up the pace because Alonso is faster.” After the race Massa sounded thoroughly unimpressed when he told them, “so, what I can say? Congratulations to the team.”

Ferrari were handed a $100,000 fine for using “team orders that interfere with a race result” and “bringing the sport into disrepute”. The World Motor Sport Council will decide next month whether they will face further penalties.

The move was widely condemned by fans, with 78% on this site calling for Ferrari to be punished.

This is not the first time material published by FOM online has shed new light on the discussions between teams and drivers during a race. After the Turkish Grand Prix FOM published a new portion of McLaren’s team radio showing Lewis Hamilton was advised Jenson Button would not overtake him, shortly before Button did.

Ferrari team orders controversy

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315 comments on “I am much quicker than Felipe” – how Alonso urged Ferrari to use team orders

  1. mastakink said on 4th August 2010, 17:56

    “True team-mates do these things because that’s the way they are”

    …Domenicalli said? NO, R. Dennis

    • Patrickl said on 5th August 2010, 9:18

      I guess that means you feel that Massa isn’t a “true” team-mate?

      • RaulZ said on 5th August 2010, 13:12

        Massa isn’t a true team mate because he had to defend his position in the team briefing and not in front of FIA and TV. He could have said something before to the team or just don’t obey.

  2. Steph90 (@steph90) said on 4th August 2010, 18:21

    I’m not at all surprised by this. Probably a gentle reminder of the agreement they had. I understand it, I don’t think of Alonso any worse because if there is an agreement in place it has to be honoured and I didn’t expect him to just settle for 2nd. He’s a winning beast.

    It was a simple and easy agreement by Ferrari and probably best to manage the situation but the idea that all teammates crash whenever they race is ridiculous. Any agreement before the race is still a team order.

    However, I can’t admire or like this way as much as I understand it. It isn’t racing. It just comes down to two different takes; whether winning is all that matters or whether it is how a race is won. Senna said the second person is the first to lose and many of the most successul and ambitions racers have that attitude. It’s a little cold for my liking. I always want to see Ferrari win and I expect there are many fans who are almost as ambitions as the teams and drivers but I personally didn’t celebrate that win like I cheered for Massa when he lost in 2008.

    If Alonso wins the title this year and is really happy then good on him but it’ll mean a little less to me than the titles when he took on Schumi and Kimi even if he is now in a red car.

    I still think the issue has been blown up because it’s a damn good story; it’s Ferrari, Massa and Rob made it so obvious, Stefano hid behind Rob and couldn’t assume the team leader rule when he needed to the most, some maybe expected this sort of thing from Alonso and it was the anniversary of Massa’s accident. I’m glad it has been blown up though if it means team orders will be addressed now.

  3. I don’t believe for 1 second that alonso had no idea about the events at Singapore he knew all about it and was as much to blame as the rest of them as if a team conspire to cheat and the driver they want to win knows nothing I don’t think so once a cheat always a cheat Ferrari saw that and said there’s our man sign and we can cheat our way to another championship

  4. sumedh said on 4th August 2010, 21:03

    Aah, the pangs of being a Ferrari fan. Honestly, one cannot fight against the world. I am a Ferrari fan myself, and it pains me to see what they have done. Yes, Ferrari has faults, just like every other team. Ferrari uses a 1-2 driver policy which sometimes makes them take decisions like Germany 2010, Austria 2002.

    But if one were to look at history, and see who have been the World Drivers Champions over the last 22 years (since Senna defeated Prost in a straight fight in 1988), the WDC has always been won by a driver who had clear number 1 status within his team (for the debatable years: 2008: Look at how many times Heikki was given lower fuel load than Lewis, 2009: Change of Rubens’ strategy at Spain. Again, qualifying fuel loads between Jenson & Rubens).

    It is just how the sport is. There is nothing we can do, and honestly, do you want anything to be done? It troubles me to see Felipe giving way to Fernando like that. But it would trouble me a thousand times more to see Felipe and Fernando crash into each other (like Red Bull) or one driver push the other off-track (Alonso to Hamilton, 2007 Spa).

  5. Paul said on 4th August 2010, 21:14

    I do not remember any opinion when Button was given the team order “Keep fuel” at the very end of the race!! ordering him not to try to overtake Lewis.

    Oh jea but there is a big difference they are British. Keith a little b. of fairness would very much appreciated.

    And by the way team orders? Does any “rational” person denny they exist?

    Come how did Kimy win his championship?

    Do you hate Alonso, fine, try bodoo techniques but stopo pushin FIA for your own benefit.

    And by the way even Eckleston said team order should be allowed (because every body does)

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 4th August 2010, 22:46

      Button was given the team order “Keep fuel” at the very end of the race!! ordering him not to try to overtake Lewis

      Clutching at straws by any chance?

      McLaren unwittingly disadvantaged Hamilton by suggesting Button would not overtake, which he did. This and the subsequent ‘fuel is critical’ messages were not orders to ‘hold position’, they were saving fuel before the overtake even happened.

      Ferrari made a calculated decision to disadvantage Massa, both Smedley and Massa made that abundantly clear.

      • AgBNYC said on 5th August 2010, 12:49

        “Mclaren unwittingly… suggesting”… in other words – they botched the TEAM ORDERS!!!

        I didn’t know there were Macca insiders on this board privy to their “orders”? Why would they say “fuel is critical” not “save fuel” and then attack a teammate that was told he wouldn’t be attacked?

        I guess they could argue “well yes, fuel is critical for an internal combustion engine, is it not?” if brougt to an FIA hearing!

        Ferrari didn’t disadvantage Massa they told him to drive faster (this is racing after all) and told him further – your teammate is still faster! Massa and Smedley chose to rub Ferrari’s nose in it by laying over.

        Ferrari were caught breaking the rules and were fined. We’ll see what happens further… But to say they cheated, or acted differently than other teams is pure folly…

        • Bernard (@bernard) said on 6th August 2010, 1:37

          Why would they say “fuel is critical” not “save fuel” and then attack a teammate that was told he wouldn’t be attacked?

          Because they were in ‘fuel saving mode’ not ‘don’t overtake mode’, and attacking/defending eats fuel. What part of that don’t you understand?

          Ferrari didn’t disadvantage Massa they told him to drive faster

          They stole 7 points from Massa and gave them to Alonso, Massa was clearly disadvantaged.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2010, 22:50

      I do not remember any opinion when Button was given the team order “Keep fuel” at the very end of the race!! ordering him not to try to overtake Lewis.

      Oh jea but there is a big difference they are British. Keith a little b. of fairness would very much appreciated.

      What happened in Turkey was covered here extensively at the time. Indeed, before several other sites even bothered to pick up on it.

      This article is about what happened at Hockenheim. Something new has emerged about it so I wrote it up.

      • Paul said on 5th August 2010, 7:42

        Oh, I am sorry, I did not see the irony in the title.

        ““I am much quicker than Felipe” – how Alonso urged Ferrari to use team orders”

        According to you when Alonso said “I am much quicker than Felipe” it means that Alonso urged Ferrari to use team team orders.

        I just checked the english-Alonso dictionary and, yes you are right, we can see the translation:

        I am much quicker than X: Appart this car from my f… way, stop it just now.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th August 2010, 8:11

          Sorry I don’t understand the last sentence of your comment.

          But, given what happened in the race and other comments that were made between Ferrari and their drivers, it’s clear that by saying “I am much quicker than Felipe” he was encouraging them to intervene and tell Massa to let him by.

          Do you have an alternative interpretation?

          • Paul said on 5th August 2010, 13:15

            Yes, that he was much quicker than Masa?

          • Paul said on 5th August 2010, 13:20

            The last sentece was just a joke, what I was trying to explain is that your interpretation of Alonso’s comment goes much further than the real meaning, and we can have the same conclusion of the comment made by McLaren engineer to Button in Turkey (before and after taking the lead of race and coming back to the 2nd postion). In both cases it should not be punished cause no team should be obligated to risk both cars and the championship in a team fight (like Red Bull stupidly did).

  6. I hope Alonso is also quicker than Massa to disappear the F1 scene. Quicker than Massa and everybody else.

    • Paul said on 4th August 2010, 21:38

      It just sound really sportive, really.

      When Hamilton was trying to win the championship with McLaren for the first time (Kimi won) at interlagos (first chance) all the british media was guessing if Alonso would follow team orders and let him pass if he was ask to.

      At that time nobody gave any opinion similar to the ones I can read today.

  7. JLuis said on 4th August 2010, 21:26

    So it was Alonso’s fault… Same old story. Don’t you get tired of it?

  8. judo chop said on 4th August 2010, 21:40

    What happened in the past is irrelevant because there’s no debating what’s happened in this instance. At this moment team orders are against the rules and Ferrari were caught red-handed breaking them. All this “others have cheated, so we should get away with cheating too” bleating is pathetic.

    • Paul said on 4th August 2010, 21:47

      What happen in the past is irrelevant when it is against Lewis or McLaren (you should say).
      Team orders are against the rules, yes And they where against teh rules when Button was asked not to try to overtake Lewis too.

      Oh jea I cacht you this is irrelevant.

      is hipocracy irrelevant too?

      Come on you want flexi-wings to be baned cause Lewis will have mor chances, you want Alonso to be punish cause it will benefit Lewis.

      Who is talking about tricks? You wanna win in the FIA office desk.

      Does Ferrari have to lose a championship just because of a winning of a car of it own team?

      No inteligent person would do that.

      • judo chop said on 4th August 2010, 22:46

        If the team orders rule had been introduced at the start of this season and this was the first instance of an infringement what would you consider fair punishment? I haven’t read every comment on the matter but nearly every ferrari fanboy keeps blathering about “so and so did this so we should be able to get away with this”.

        “Come on you want flexi-wings to be baned cause Lewis will have mor chances, you want Alonso to be punish cause it will benefit Lewis”

        I’ve written nothing of the sort. You fanboys always chuck in something irrelevant – and baseless – to take the debate away from the simple matter a hand.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2010, 23:08

    Several comments have been removed – abusive and insulting comments will not be tolerated.

    See here for more: F1Fanatic Comment Policy

    • CLK_GTR said on 5th August 2010, 6:01

      Keith,

      It is not great to host a FA bashing thread. More of the comments in the 3 pages are insulting to either FA or thread contributors.

      • RaulZ said on 5th August 2010, 8:21

        Maybe the next time Keith try to be less controversial.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th August 2010, 8:34

          I haven’t written anything controversial above – it’s just what was said on the team radio and a recap of some of the salient facts.

          At some point between now and the hearing I will write about what I expect from the outcome and what the verdict on Ferrari should be. Now would be be too soon because, as this article shows, relevant facts are still emerging. I can tell you now that, as with everything else, I will write what I think with no degree of self-censorship to appease anyone who might be upset by it.

        • Alex Bkk said on 5th August 2010, 9:13

          There is nothing wrong with controversial topic. It’s a good thing when people can share intelligent or honest opinions regarding a passionate subject.

          What is not OK is posters insulting one another and that’s why there are moderators.

          I’ve been hanging around F1 Fanatic for about 3 years now and I’ve never considered Keith’s articles to be biased in any way (and I’m not suggesting that you are suggesting that either) even when I disagree with them. So no matter what I’m muttering under my breath… it never comes to print.

          I’m a Ferrari fan and an Alonso fan and sometimes it’s “OUCH!”, but I’m sure the Hamilton and Seb fans share that same pain from time to time. However, most of the posters here can handle the controversy so there is no real need to avoid it.

          Cheers, Alex

  10. I’m British and a fan of racing not teams or individuals to be honest all I want to see is who’s the best in the current season and I’d be more than happy to see FA win the wdc if he can do it by his own skill which he has pleanty of he doesn’t need to cry let me past he has got skill to overtake so there was no need for it and the argument of you can’t overtake on that track is rubbish a true champ would have pressured FM into making a mistake and capitalise on it and as for all this British press nonsense give over they don’t hate FA they hate Ferrari tactics which are shady an underhand

  11. Paul said on 4th August 2010, 23:26

    It was the first time it has been punished (Lewis should be treated the same way, but everybody know he will not).

    Regarding flexi wings I was talking in general not about you in particular.

  12. Keep up the good work Keith

  13. Boz said on 5th August 2010, 0:20

    I visited ferraris website after the race in question on alonsos blog there was about 150 messages saying well done on massas blog there wasn’t any messages whatsoever how’s that for biased I’ll bet if they showed all comments it would show that most true Ferrari fans were disgusted with what they had done.

  14. You don’t see footballers tackling their team mates so they can score, why should team mates in F1 be forced to fight for position?

    It’s a bizarre state of affairs, why shouldn’t team mates work together?

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed to race if that’s what the team wants but they should also be allowed to work together openly as it has been in the past and as clearly happens now secretively.

  15. I missed Kimi Raikkonen … “Fernando, I like Kimi more, do you understand that message?”

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 5th August 2010, 2:48

      Then Alonso will have bigger trouble because you can’t make him let his team-mate pass him,he won’t listen.

  16. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 5th August 2010, 2:46

    No matter whatever what they say it was clear that there was team-order. Now the question is how do they play the rest of the season for the team.

    It showed very cleary that Ferrari were the quickest car to challenge Red Bull so if they can carry this momentum into the next seven races then it’s OK.But even if Alonso becomes the WC which I don’t think happening by 7 points will the F1 fans all around the world accept that?

    • CLK_GTR said on 5th August 2010, 5:59

      Then how do you accept Kimi as a world champion in 2007.

      I do not understand how it is ok in the last few races but frowned upon if it earlier? The way the drivers are poised Ferrari may not have a chance to run in formation in any of the upcomming races.

      I also wonder if there will be an outcry in this forum if at this stage only SV and FA were fighting for the chamionship?

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th August 2010, 8:28

        I do not understand how it is ok in the last few races but frowned upon if it earlier?

        It’s a question of whether both or just one of the teams’ drivers are still able to win the championship.

        I also wonder if there will be an outcry in this forum if at this stage only SV and FA were fighting for the chamionship?

        I very much doubt it, because when Ferrari used team orders at the end of the 2007 and 2008 championships, when only one of their drivers was able to win the drivers’ championship, there was very little criticism of them here. As I mentioned in this article:

        Why the team orders rule must stay

        • CLK_GTR said on 5th August 2010, 10:31

          Keith,

          I hate arguing on this subject with you but there are questions being raised in this situation where the worthiness of the WDC is questioned when the points gifted by team mate (at any stage) hands you the championship as in the case of 2007.

      • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 5th August 2010, 11:15

        Kimi won the championship when Massa was no longer able to fight for it. Massa retired in the Italian GP in 2007 so the momentum was with Kimi for the last four races of the season. Now the German GP was 11th race of the season & at that stage mathematically Massa was or still on there. But I don’t think it will even happen even in my worst dream.

        • CLK_GTR said on 5th August 2010, 13:53

          How does it matter when the team mate gifts the points it is still gifted.

          If F1 is not a team sport then drivers should race everyone in every race. There cant be hypocrisy in it by saying if one driver is out of the championship he can help the other. In that case more than half the field which does not have a chance can help their personal favorite driver or with teams having affiliations.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th August 2010, 15:03

        “I do not understand how it is ok in the last few races but frowned upon if it earlier? ”

        In the last few races, it’s just common sense to apply team orders. And even in 2007, it was done through the pit stops. A far less obvious means of swapping the two cars around.

  17. Derek said on 5th August 2010, 3:06

    The author has taken one Alonso comment out of context and spun it into a web of anti Alonso venom.

    Regretful

  18. alex said on 5th August 2010, 3:18

    Sounded like “congratulations to the king” to me.

  19. Ignoring all the playground arguments about which driver we like, what is interesting here is that FOM have edited a video & sub-titled it in this way. They are choosing to highlight the incident in an extreme manner, clearly suggesting they are not taking Ferrari’s side on this.

  20. If anyone of you saw the race edit carefully, Alonso had a clear chance of taking the lead on the track (even without team orders) .. he simply should have moved on the inside after being ahead of Massa for the hair-pin, sure, he would have missed the apex, but there isn’t quite a big run into the next corner and the track gets quite narrow going ahead, so by all means he would have taken the lead.. Under normal circumstances Alonso would have closed the door had it been any other driver, but he is not too sure if Massa would have yielded which could have resulted in a crash (maybe Alonso is being a bit too careful now) having squandered good point scoring opportunities due to ill luck in the races before this
    Hence, he got the team to do it for him – but the team aren’t too good at giving subtle orders, the kind others have been good at, hence the fiasco :)

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