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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Keith – I want your opinion on my post above
    Other fans can comment as well !

  2. Alonso and Mass… that’s opening a can of worms isn’t it.

    1. Why didn’t the fiery Spaniard didn’t try to pass a 2nd time?

    2. Why the passionate Brazilian who boasts that he’s not the #2 pilot let him go by?

    Hmmm… There is a bit of history between the two, but I think that Massa would have tried to take Alonso out. Hence the team orders.

  3. “I’m Faster than Massa”.
    Alonso simply say the truth.
    Can say all you want..

    But that was only the truth.
    Team order a that moment of race must be:
    ” Don’t pass your team matte if is dangerous”..
    Alonso try to pass Massa 2 or 3 times..
    But Massa deffend at a dangerous level.
    “that’s ridicolus”

    Maybe Ferrari will say to massa:
    ” Alonso will not attack you”..
    or best:
    ” Fuel critical, Felipe..”

    1. In fact the “this it´s ridicoulous” comment of Alonso came of a situation something similar. Alonso had tried to overtake Massa once and he failed. He was probably going to try again:

      Team to Alonso: “Do no try to overtake Alonso”

      Alonso to team: ¿Why?

      Team to Alonso: “Becouse it is dangerous”

      Alonso to team: “This is ridicoulous”

      We have learnt of this whole interchange recently. Probably Team was trying at this moment te rearrange the order of the race -according to a previous agreement that somebody has commented about been the fastest- without risking and accident.

      1. Team to Alonso: “Do no try to overtake Alonso”

        I think it’s disgusting that a team should forbid a driver to overtake himself :-)

        1. He would be able overtake himself ;) but it’s ridiculous :)

        2. Sorry for the mistake; I meant Massa, obviously

          Thanks, Keith, I have had a good laugh

  4. It is remarkable that Fernando used in Germany the same words he used in 2005 Canadian GP driving for Renault to urge the team order and get past Fisichella for first: “I am much quicker”.

    1. If you review the FIA videos you can see that it’s not the first time or the second time that smedley have to say Massa “Alonso is faster than you”.

      I think that the agreement of being passed if the other goes faster has been there since the beginning, and the team has given team orders when the half of the championship have passed.

      Hockenheim was the first race after the middle that was Silverstone. And everybody knows that Ferrari is a 1-2 team, so I don’t understand why everybody blames Alonso.

  5. Here’s what i think: A race is a race. You can’t just say “let him pass” to your driver, unless he has a problem with something. Race orders can’t affect the result of a race.
    Alonso whined about Felipe to the team, and they just attented to his demand. Ferrari could have backed up Massa since he is older on the team.
    On the other hand, Felipe can be loyal to the team, but he should be loyal to himself, to his career, and to his fans first. He’s a excellent driver, and could go to another great team like Mclaren, if Ferrari decides to fire him for not obey the orders.

  6. Forgive for not reading through all the comments and if this has been suggested.
    What if Ferrari have a standing team-rule forbidding the drivers from racing each other and taking chances?
    When Alonso is heard saying “this is ridiculous”, what if he is referring to the take-no-chances rule rather than being faster than Massa?

    This theory shines a much better light on both drivers, and as much as I want it to be true, I’m afraid it probably isn’t.

  7. Another point I forgot to make:
    We do not hear cycling fans complaining about team tactics in the Tour de France. How many times would Lance Armstrong have won without his teammates? ZERO.

  8. Slightly baffled by the comments “Alonso urged the team”,he may have said he is faster but surely its up to the team to decide,they have telemetry data and going by that agreed he was indeed faster at that point.
    Is there a radio transmission where Alonso asks for team orders,or allow him to pass Massa? Alonso was quicker all weekend and including the Friday practice sessions,and Ferrari wanted to gain maximum points which mean,t both drivers were expected to do just that,my own view is Massa felt he deserved to win being in front,for how long we shall never know,and made such an obvious move to allow Alonso through as a protest.
    Hungary showed again Alonso out qualified Massa,and was ahead at the finish.

  9. Great article Keith …. for a tabloid

    1. What makes you say that?

      1. First of all I´m not criticizing you or your blog, I love it, don´t get me wrong. But I think you´re not being fair in this articleand to Alonso in the recent past. It seems from the reading that only Alonso it´s to blame instead of blaming Ferrari( I was totally disgusted with that “overtake” too) It looks like Alonso brought the team orders to Ferrari and that they didn´t exist previously in the team. There is no way you can tell from the radio comments what really happen on that race unless you knew what was said by the team principals before the race to his drivers. Have you consider that maybe Alonso wasn´t allowed to overtake to avoid a collision with his team mate? That it wasn´t a so much repeated Alonso´s mistake but a back off? That´s why I think it´s a tabloidish article because you are taking a loose piece of information and making of it a fact.Your headline could also be “How Alonso urged Ferrari to let him race” Anyway I just hope you will give the same treatment to all the drivers in the future because we will see team orders again wether you like them or not.

        1. I appreciate the longer response! But, as I said to Feli below I don’t think this can be realistically viewed as anything other than a team order.

          1. It is a team order no doubt about that, but why do you blame Alonso???? Just consider that maybe he wasnt allowed to race against his team mate. BLAME THE TEAM NOT THE DRIVER

          2. joc, what you need to remember is that Keith is a closet Massa fan.

          3. @Stephen Northcott- It’s so childish when people accuse others like Keith of supporting a certain driver, whether it’s Hamilton, Massa, whoever…

          4. @David A How so?

            There is nothing wrong with supporting a particular driver, or pointing out another persons bias.

            It’s like reading a newspaper with the knowledge that a particular columnist has leanings one way or another politically.

          5. As long as it isn’t taken to the extremes I’ve seen before (like those who use bias, nationality or whatever to prove a point). That’s where it gets childish.

  10. I’m sorry Keith. I do believe your blog is the best F1 blog on the net and the level of comments is usually really high, but this post’s title is really tendentious as you are confirming without any possible doubt that FA has almost obliged Ferrari to do something illegal.

    I think that, as minimum, you should give him the benefit of the doubt as his track record is one of the most impressive of the last decade. You can like him or not, but his talent is bar none:


    Everybody can have his own opinion, but signing a guilty veredict without knowing all the facts is really unfair and this guy doesn’t deserve it at all.

    1. I don’t deny he’s an excellent driver – a while ago I referred to him as ‘one of the best in the sport, if not, the best’ or words to that effect.

      But that’s not relevant here. It was clearly a team order and the stewards said as much. If I pretended otherwise I’d be insulting the intelligence of the readers.

      1. Many thanks for your answer Keith. everybody agrees that all this stuff can be considered, as so many situations that happened this same season, team orders. What I was saying is that your title says it’s Alonso who almost gave the order which for me is only your opinion, very respectable, but not a fact.

        Stewards fined Ferrari, and it could be right, but they didn’t fine Alonso… For your title it seems that they should have done it because he urged the team to act illegally for his solely interest, which for me is quite hard to accept: Alonso, for sure, doesn’t manage the Scuderia.

        Don’t you think the title is insulting for Alonso? Blaming him without taking into account all the relevant facts is not fair at all. Time will put everything and everybody in it’s right place. Let’s wait and see what does the WMC say in a few weeks.

        1. that is funny Feli,
          get to know a few things first, one is the biggest fine the Stewards can fine anyone is 50,000 and they fined Ferrari 100,000, work it out yourself. 50,000 each which means the drivers where fined.

  11. I said this already here but, even feeling sick with Alonso’s moaning, will say it again: The idea that one driver needs to let another one to overtake him just because is faster, defeats completely the core meaning of racing.
    “I am faster, so let me pass”: if this is the trend, then Formula 1 is dead.
    Very dead.

  12. Even after the race, Hamilton seemed to be suprised that Button overtook him. But at least he took his position back, but this must have been a wired situation for Lewis.

  13. I can’t stand with all this hipocresy. Team orders are commonplace and we have seen in recent times with position swap (Interlagos ’07, Nurburrging 2008, China 2008…), and without it every now and then (look after your tyres, save fuel, etc…).

    Do i like it? No. Do I understand it? Yes, it just makes sense.

    Without team orders, Alonso would have won his 3rd WDC in 2007. I have never heard him to complain about that.

    1. That argument is wasted here as massa was out of the championship.

      So that is not hipocresy

      1. Like he is out now too.

  14. Rubbish Dave
    6th August 2010, 13:52

    If the quickest person was meant to be the race winner, then we’d have time trials (see: rallying, Also: Qualifying)

    It’s not. It’s a race. If Alonso could not get past Massa, then so be it, that’s the correct finishing order to the race. What we eventually ended up seeing between the two Ferrari drivers was not a race.

    For all we see people complaining that Team Orders were used at Turkey, at least the drivers were obviously racing one another. Sure, it was risky for the drivers, but that’s racing. What we saw at Germany wasn’t.

    Also: Newsflash. Button was told to save fuel because he needed to save fuel to reach the end of the race. It may have disadvantaged him in his quest to get past Hamilton, but so then did his lack of fuel at the beginning enable him to keep up with Hamilton. It’s not as if the fact that Cars are underfueled and need to save fuel at some point in the race isn’t common knowledge (Or perhaps Hamilton being told to save fuel while following Vettel at Germany was Team Orders)

    You say there were Team Orders? Play me the radio that told Button not to pass. Show me any evidence that shows Button knew he’d been told not to pass (Hint: Videos of him overtaking Hamilton do not count. Nor do videos of him looking confused after the race when asked if he’d been ordered not to pass)

  15. The Hungary race edit has been released now, and I must say – there are some more juicy radio transmissions.

  16. Hamilton was “told” Button would not pass,team orders? saving fuel? Or so we are led to believe,which ever way you look at it Mclaren used team orders as much as Ferrari did,regardless of fuel saving (don,t pass Hamilton) mode.

    1. Rubbish Dave
      7th August 2010, 2:04

      Team Orders would be telling Button not to pass Hamilton or Hamilton to let Button pass. We heard none of that.

      Given what happened on track, it’s hard to argue that Button was told not to overtake.

      Given what FOM have decided to put up in both the Turkey and Hungary edits, do you not think it odd that they’d only play what Hamilton heard if Button had been given instructions not to pass?

  17. Every team has team orders, so it’s better to stop all the hypocrisy and make them legal in every single way.

    According to the rules, asking your drivers not to overtake each other isn’t a team order.
    That is just wrong!

  18. All the FOM info does for me is show me that Massa was nursemaided yet again lap after lap by Smedley. He was given multiple opportunities to pick up his pace. He didn’t. So he was told to move over. End of story.

  19. “I am much quicker than Felipe”

    “Try and pass him if you dare”

    “this is ridiculous”

    “Yes we can see that you can´t pass him”

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