“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. The Limit said on 4th August 2010, 15:09

    This is all abit pointless. Most of us do not need to hear this communication between Alonso and his team as we already know what went on in Germany. All it does is prolong the story long enough for the FIA hearing which, I believe, will be a whitewash anyway.

  2. IffNav said on 4th August 2010, 15:13

    First of all, good afternoon. This is my first post, so I’d like to say Hello, and naturally thank Keith. Wonderful site, thanks for the analysis and devotion. I’ve been reading it for months now and like the debates and options.

    Well, caveat emptor: I am a confessed Ferrari and Alonso tifosi, having had a professional relationship with Ferrari for 8 years and being Spanish myself. Nobody’s perfect…;-D

    Now, my 2 cents. I did not like what happened, but to me three things are pretty obvious:

    A) Alonso wants to win. Period. He has never hidden that. Neither has the Scuderia.

    B) Poor Massa…he must be the only one who still says out loud he is not the #2 driver. He acts as one. He’s been the de facto #2 after the second curve of the first GP of the year. As Keith says, he’s never proven otherwise. Ferrari mistake: I was among those (check the GDS forums) who thought SF should have dropped him and kept Kimi but…poor guy. I pity him…quoting Sara Palin, he’s no Webber, he does not have what it takes.

    C) Di Montezemolo is right: Enough of this hypocrisy. Just three links for us all to remember Germany 2008:

    Go to 01:50 at

    http://vimeo.com/1402201

    then read the third paragraph at…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7516115.stm

    at even more blatantly here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/jul/21/formulaone.motorsports

    Does this make it right? No! But grow up people, ****** happens, aka feces occur.

    Just my opinion, that tries to be fair but acknowledges it could be biased…:-D

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 4th August 2010, 17:58

      Alonso was challenging Massa for the win and he was drooling over the additional 7 points that would bring him. He – and Ferrari – had no right what so ever in stealing those 7 points from Massa.

      The 2008 German GP is nothing like what happened at this year.

      Lewis had won 3 races that year prior to Germany and had double the points of Heikki (with this year system the gap would have been even bigger), he was also on a different fuel strategy and won the race over 15 seconds ahead of his team mate.

      Team ‘orders’ in this instance did not cost Heikki the win nor did it force him to concede against his wishes as was clearly the case with Massa.

  3. shostak said on 4th August 2010, 15:42

    @Keith Collantine: James Allen wrote an article in his blog that explains what happened in Hockeheim with Scuderia Ferrari. If you want to continue the confusion you can write more articles like this but this will not be the true.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2010, 16:15

      What are you confused by? The quotes in this article are taken directly from the footage – you can listen to them yourself if you follow the link in the first paragraph.

      • shostak said on 4th August 2010, 16:55

        There was a agreement before race in Scuderia Ferrari: to avoid collision between teammates the two drivers must show who was faster than the other, and the faster driver wins the best position in race. The method was simple: 3 seconds delay and if the driver can reduce this gap in a few laps then it shows he’s faster than other SF driver. If you remember there was a moment in which Alonso was 3 seconds behind Massa and Smedley told brazilian he had to drive as fast as he could to win the race. He did it, but Alonso was clearly faster than him and reduced that 3 seconds gap. He showed be clearly faster and he gained the first position in race, but Massa didnt accept it and he made all possible to show people there was team orders when it happened was a team agreement before race. This is the true.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 4th August 2010, 18:17

        I think what he’s saying is that perhaps the whole story isn’t being told. With the agreement that appears to have been in place at Ferrari since Melbourne it puts the use of the team orders in a different light. Of course it was still a clear breach of the regulations but I think people would be more understanding of the decision if they were more aware of how it was come to and that it wasn’t simply a knee-jerk reaction to Alonso’s radio messages.

        Such an agreement also shows that the race wasn’t fixed as many have claimed, since the switch was not inevitable. If Massa had driven faster he would have been allowed to lead the Ferrari 1-2 home.

        • dyslexicbunny said on 4th August 2010, 18:47

          I was unaware of this. Was it announced somewhere or just something in private that later was mentioned? I only read a couple of F1 sites so it’s likely I could have missed it.

          Honestly if Ferrari had just brought this agreement to light, I would at least been less peeved about it. They still broke the rules but at least the drivers were aware such a thing could happen.

          • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 4th August 2010, 18:52

            James Allen highlighted it on his post race analysis and I presume its been covered a lot more in the Italian press.

            The thing is if they admited to the agreement they would agree to breaking the rule and thats why they’ve forced themselves into the silly situation of denying they used team orders.

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

            Jordi Gené, ferrari test driver, told about this agreement before the race on Spanish TV.

            But it doesn’t matter because people was just waiting for a chance to attack Alonso just because he says big truths.

            For example, someone said that he attacked everybody at hockemhein. That’s not true, He only attacked FIA, who is guilty in every case, even in this one. FIA has allow team do what they want and gave space to all this kind of interpretations. And now everybody has his own point of view of something that should be clear.

  4. DaveW said on 4th August 2010, 15:47

    I think quzhub sums it up: Less graphically, don’t make a farce of the race. Which, by the way, is the key distinction between Hockenheim and this. Kovalainen giving way to Hamilton did not rob the race of a spirited battle for position, much less the lead. And, of equal importance to the analysis, Hamilton dealt with Kovalainen, with his cooperation or not, with about the same fuss required to dispatch Massa, who was faster than Kovalainen. This latter point basically disproves the idea that McLaren’s move somehow cast a pall of manipulation over the race. Thus, there is no parallel between these situations beyond the most formalistic. In fact, examined in relevant detail, they contrast perfectly what we will call traditionally permitted teamwork, in which Ferrari has justifiably engaged in innumerable times, and the kind of manipulation the sport found unnacceptable in Austria in 2002 and which occured in materially the same fashion this year in Hockenheim. You can consider it more simple terms: did the teamwork irrevocably alter the race outcome and quell a meaningful battle for position? The latter outcome, because it matters to the “show,” is what has put the bee in the FIA’s bonnet.

  5. TMFOX said on 4th August 2010, 15:49

    Yep it’s all wrong but things are not going to change.

    If Massa wants to prove that he’s not a number 2 then he’s going to have to grow a pair and disobey his team.

    In other words do a ‘Pironi’

  6. Danny said on 4th August 2010, 15:52

    If drivers need only communicate how fast they are as a way to influence track position and ultimately race result, at the next driver’s meeting they should compare their lap times, discuss their strengths and weakness for that track, explain how they might pass others and each corner, then reach a consensus on the race result and save having to wave any green flags.

    That would very much be in the spirit of cost savings. :-)

  7. IMHO the WMSC should kick alonso out of F1, this is their third chance..they must take it! the guy is nothing but a cheating moaning scumbag. Ferrari should have learnt the lessons from Mclaren & Renault.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2010, 16:19

      That’s ridiculous. The FIA aren’t going to kick a driver out just because some people don’t like him.

      • they can kick out a cheat.

        • RaulZ said on 4th August 2010, 16:59

          Then, FIA should kick many people out and kick theirselves out aswell.

        • Ilanin said on 4th August 2010, 17:53

          I’m not sure how many drivers would be left in F1 if they did. Or how many teams.

          Obviously Ferrari and McLaren (spygate, if nothing else) are both out. Mercedes are probably gone too for the reserve fuel tank thing back when the same team was Honda. Red Bull…I don’t recall them doing anything illegal, just somewhat unethical. Renault obviously banned over Singapore ’08, assuming the team got that far and wasn’t kicked out for the various things it did as Benetton in 1994.

          I could go on, but I think you get the point.

          • They should go too. Ferrari were cowards to give into Alonso and Santander. Ferrari should be banned for the rest of this season and subsequent F1 championship races.

          • RaulZ said on 5th August 2010, 7:47

            jh,

            Ferrari is who has given team orders. I don’t understand why you speak about Alonso and why do you think that ferrari is cheating just because they joined Alonso and Santander.

            Thats you fantasy story.

    • tharris19 said on 4th August 2010, 17:58

      This isn’t about Alonso. This is about Ferrari and to a lesser degree, Massa. They made a decision manipulate the race and Massa agreed to execute the plan. A simple no on his (Massa)part would have made this a none issue.

  8. circumstantial evidence is not proof of guilt and never has been.

    Despite the fact that on the face of it all it is close to certain that a team order was issued in some way shape or form through a coded message. There is not actually a shred of evidence that actually has Ferrari telling Felipe to “move out of the way and let Fernando past”

    The council hearing will result in nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and rightly so, at worst they will try to take the constructors points away, which mean very little to Ferrari anyway as their history dictates they are clearly out for the drivers title.

    Hopefully this story, that has been driven by the Ferrari hating british press and bbc will go away so we can focus on the rest of the season.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 4th August 2010, 19:54

      The stewards have already stated that Ferrari did indeed tell Massa to concede victory to Alonso. So, even if Ferrari have claimed otherwise the stewards – based on the evidence – don’t believe them.

      The WMSC will be under no illusion that Ferrari are judged to have manipulated the race and will have access to the same materials that lead the stewards to their conclusion.

  9. shostak said on 4th August 2010, 17:09

    I repeat my message:

    There was a agreement before race in Scuderia Ferrari: to avoid collision between teammates the two drivers must show who was faster than the other, and the faster driver wins the best position in race. The method was simple: 3 seconds delay and if the driver can reduce this gap in a few laps then it shows he’s faster than other SF driver. If you remember there was a moment in which Alonso was 3 seconds behind Massa and Smedley told brazilian he had to drive as fast as he could to win the race. He did it, but Alonso was clearly faster than him and reduced that 3 seconds gap. He showed be clearly faster and he gained the first position in race, but Massa didnt accept it and he made all possible to show people there was team orders when it happened was a team agreement before race. This is the true.

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 4th August 2010, 18:00

      Pretty much spot on really and its the kind of team order that if Ferrari had been open and explained would probably have been accepted my a lot of fans. But because they felt they had to sidetrack the team orders rule the party line post-race was just embarassing and was what angered people most.

      Also though that series of events indicates that Massa would have been allowed to win the race had he driven faster, as a result the result was in no way ‘fixed’ or predetermined.

      • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 4th August 2010, 18:22

        “Also though that series of events indicates that Massa would have been allowed to win the race had he driven faster, as a result the result was in no way ‘fixed’ or predetermined”

        I get why Alonso done it but that just says that there was an agreement in place which influenced the outcome of the race so was predetermined that the quicker driver would win and therefore = team order :P

        • RaulZ said on 5th August 2010, 8:09

          Well, I dont’t say it’s not a team order, but if we think we can punish team agreements as team orders there’s no space to teams in F1. And if we think that teams decitions as changing a front wind are team orders as well, then this topic is clear now.

          The question is why two weeks speaking about it when it happens everyweek to everyteams? The FIA video about turkey pointed out McLaren radio chats, also with written comments to understand everything they want to show. FIA are pointing the same thing out (YES, THE SAME THING), and nobody spent no many time critizing.

          Someone told in here something important : There are differences between team orders (not allowed but allowed if you do it a little, very polite, ore it’s the last race of championship) and driver favoritism, which is allowed but not ethic. I think the bad thing of this is not the rule of team orders, or if Ferrari must be banned. I think the point is that ferrari has chosen Alonso to win, wich is legal but nobody likes to see it because its not ethic.

          As Vettel said it’s better not to say anything that could come back in the future. I suggest everybody here not to talk too much more because this situation is going to happen again this year in other teams.

          Maybe it doesn’t happen again and then you must thank to ferrari who stop this hipocracy with a really really bad acting of it.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th August 2010, 8:14

            The question is why two weeks speaking about it when it happens everyweek to everyteams?

            Because Ferrari are the ones about to face an investigation by the FIA.

            I’m not indifferent to your concern that this has been pursued and other potential cases haven’t, in fact I wrote about it here:

            Why the team orders rule must stay

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2010, 18:20

      And if that’s true it would constitute a team order which affects the result of the race, which is why Ferrari have been fined and are being investigated.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 4th August 2010, 18:31

        Nobody is denying it was a team order in breach of the regulations as they stand. It just provides an important background context to how the decision was come to.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 4th August 2010, 19:58

      The was also an agreement in place at Renault in 2008 just before the Singapore GP…

  10. I think the wsmc should strip Ferrari of the constructors points and reverse FA and FM points from that race don’t know if they can do that but it’s the fairest way IMO. It’s no good banging on about bygone championships they won’t change them now.and as for the race the worst part for me was FA attitude after he’s so far up his own backside that he believes it’s all down to his great driving he was the same after Singapore even shuey was ashamed of the way it went between him and Rubens hence him pushing him on to top run of the podium if your going to take a win in that way at least show some remorse he could win wdc but he won’t deserve it. You can’t just stamp your feet and cry let me past he had one half ***** rookie attempt at an overtake then give in and spat his dummy out if he wants to be ferraris #1 and wdc go out and fight for it just like vettel n webber Hamilton n button shuey n rosberg and all the other drivers out there grow a pair alonso and stop crying about being faster just be better at what your doing what happend to believing in yourself.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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).

  15. 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).

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