Ferrari face FIA World Motor Sport Council on team orders charge tomorrow

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari will learn their consequences of their use of team orders during the German Grand Prix in a World Motor Sport Council hearing tomorrow.

Ahead of the crunch meeting let’s review what happened, the likely arguments for and against Ferrari, who will decide their fate and what their punishment could be.

The race, the radio and the switch

The Ferrari drivers started from second and third on the grid at Hockenheim and at the start Felipe Massa moved up from third to lead ahead of Alonso.

Alonso stayed around 1-1.5 seconds behind Massa before making his pit stop on lap 14, followed by Massa on the next lap. Both switched from the soft to hard tyres.

Initially, Alonso was clearly quicker than Massa who ran wide on more than one occasion. From lap 15 to 23 he was within a second of his team mate.

On lap 23 Alonso took advantage of Massa being delayed in traffic to get alongside of his team mate at the straight approaching the hairpin. But he wasn’t able to complete the pass. He then dropped back, falling 3.4s behind by lap 27.

He began to catch his team mate again but on lap 35 he had a big slide at turn ten and dropped back. This meant he wasn’t close enough to make another attempt to pass Massa when he caught the next group of lapped cars a few laps later.

At some point – it’s not clear exactly when – Alonso told his team on the radio, ??I am much quicker than Felipe??. His race engineer Andrea Stella replied, “We got your message.?? Massa was warned by his race engineer Rob Smedley “You need to pick up the pace because Alonso is faster.??

By lap 39 Alonso was one second behind Massa again. Later Smedley came on the radio to utter the now-infamous words, “Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”

Shortly afterwards, on lap 49, Massa slowed at the exit of the hairpin and Alonso went by into the lead. Smedley was heard to say: “OK mate, good lad. Stay with him now. Sorry.” Massa was 1.8 seconds slower on that lap than he had been on the lap before.

After the chequered flag a depressed-sounding Massa got on the radio to say: “So, what I can say? Congratulations to the team.”

The stewards of the race fined Ferrari $100,000 and referred the matter to the WMSC. They found Ferrari guilty of breaking two rules – article 39.1 of the 2010 Sporting Regulations:

Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

And article 151c of the International Sporting Code:

Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.

Article 39.1 was introduced after the 2002 season, when Ferrari had ordered Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Michael Schumacher in the Austrian Grand Prix, to widespread condemnation. No team has been punished under this article before.

Article 151c has been used several times in recent seasons, notably in 2007 when McLaren were found to have used confidential Ferrari information.

The case for

After the race Ferrari claimed Massa made his own decision to let Alonso pass. The drivers stuck to this line in the press conference, with Alonso repeatedly denying Massa had been told to hand him the win.

Asked if it was his decision to let Alonso past Massa said “Yeah, definitely” and gave this reason for it:

Because I was not so strong on the hard [tyres], so we need to think about the team.
Felipe Massa

Ferrari said that Smedley said “sorry” to Massa shortly after the change of position as an expression of sympathy rather than an apology for the order to let Alonso by.

The case against

Massa’s explanation invites the question why he did not let Alonso pass on previous occasions when he was holding his team mate up – such as at Melbourne and Sepang this year.

The answer is at that early stage in the season Ferrari were not yet ready to sacrifice Massa’s championship chances to help Alonso’s. But admitting that would be tantamount to submitting a guilty plea on breaking article 39.1.

Massa’s remark that “we need to think about the team” was echoed by Alonso in the post-race press conference:

For sure we don?t have team orders, so we just need to do the race that we can and if you see that you cannot do the race that you can, you need to think about the team.
Fernando Alonso

And by Luca di Montezemolo later:

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.
Luca di Montezemolo

These remarks are odd because switching positions in the manner they did made no difference to the team’s points total – they would have scored the maximum 43 points whether Massa or Alonso came home first.

The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.

The Todt factor

FIA president Jean Todt will be breathing a sigh of relief that he reduced the president’s function on the World Motor Sports Council shortly after he took over the role last year. It has saved him from ruling on a matter where he could be said to have several conflicts of interest.

Todt, of course, ran Ferrari’s F1 team from 1993 to 2007. It was he who ordered Barrichello to make way for Schumacher – on more than one occasion.

Team orders were always part of how Todt operated as a team principal. While running Peugeot’s Paris-Dakar rally squad he once decided whether Ari Vatanen or Jacky Ickx should win by tossing a coin.

But even if his willingness to use team orders in the past might make him inclined to look more sympathetically on his former team for using them today, he does not have the same degree of influence over the WMSC that Max Mosley had in his day.

World Motor Sport Council

The following people are members of the WMSC (nationalities in brackets):

FIA President
Jean Todt (France)

FIA Deputy President for Sport
Graham Stoker (United Kingdom)

Vice Presidents for Sport
Jose Abed (Mexico)
Michel Boeri (Monaco)
Morrie Chandler (New Zealand)
Enrico Gelpi (Italy)
Carlos Gracia Fuertes (Spain)
Mohammed Ben Sulayem (UAE)
Surinder Thatthi (Tanzania)

Shk Abdulla Bin Isa Alkhalifa (Bahrain)
Garry Connelly (Australia)
Vassilis Despotopoulos (Greece)
Luis Pinto de Freitas (Portugal)
Zrinko Gregurek (Croatia)
Wan Heping (China)
Victor Kiryanov (Russia)
Henry Krausz (Dominican Republic)
Vijay Mallya (India)
Hugo R. Mersan (Paraguay)
Radovan Novak (Czech Republic)
Lars ?sterlind (Sweden)
Vicenzo Spano (Venezuela)
Teng Lip Tan (Signapore)

President of the International Karting Commission
Nicolas Deschaux (France)

President of Formula One Management
Bernie Ecclestone (United Kingdom)

President of the FIA Manufacturers’ Commission
Fran??ois Cornelis (Belgium)

Jose Abed was also one of the stewards at the German Grand Prix.

The team orders debate

The events of Hockenheim have led to a fresh debate over team orders which has divided fans, commentators and journalists. On F1 Fanatic, more than three-quarters in a poll of 2,600 readers wanted Ferrari to be punished.

There are, broadly, two points of view. One is that the article 39.1 cannot and should not be enforced, and that teams should be allowed to order their drivers as they see fit.

The opposing view is that races decided by team orders – particularly on occasions like Austria 2002 and Germany 2010 where both drivers were still in the running for the championship – undermine the sporting integrity of Formula 1 and attract great public criticism.

I lean towards the latter view. Teams have their own title to win – the constructors’ championship – and should not be allowed to interfere in the fight for the drivers’ title.

Yes, sometimes difficult decisions have to be made about which driver gets the latest upgrade first. But telling a driver to give up a win is a different matter. Team orders are deeply unpopular for a good reason – no-one wants to see a rigged race or a fixed championship. Witness the furious reaction to Austria 2002 and Hockenheim 2010.

I’m not convinced by claims a team orders ban is ‘unenforceable’. With refuelling and pit-to-car telemetry banned, and stewards able to monitor radio transmissions, it’s getting ever harder for a team to hinder one of their drivers during a race without being detected. The prospect of a swingeing punishment for anyone caught doing it would help.

The existing rule banning team orders also helps prevent much worse forms of team orders – such as the inter-team collusion seen at Jerez in 1997.

Since article 39.1 was introduced there have been other instances of a teams’ drivers swapping positions, possibly under the instruction of their teams. Some of these occurred when one driver was mathematically incapable of scoring enough points to become champion. Others involved drivers on different strategies where the overtaking driver might easily have passed his team mate without interference from the team.

None of them involved one driver who had clearly beaten his team mate being told to pull over. That is why the events of Hockenheim provoked such intense criticism and why the WMSC must punish Ferrari.


Ignoring all other considerations, what would be a suitable punishment for a team that interfered with the result of a race to improve one driver’s position in the drivers’ championship?

If the purpose of the punishment is to prevent other teams from doing it, then the drivers involved must lose points. Points deduction cannot be confined to the constructors’ championship, as has happened in the past (e.g. McLaren in 2007), for Ferrari’s actions were clearly designed to affect the drivers’ championship alone.

Stripping the team and drivers of all their German Grand Prix points would be a reasonable penalty.

Will the WMSC be swayed by other considerations? For example, is there a desire to teach Ferrari a lesson after their claims the European Grand Prix was “manipulated”?

Or might the FIA stay their hand and not hand down a points deduction to keep the drivers’ championship battle as open as possible? Expect these explanations to be invoked by anyone who finds the verdict too harsh or too soft.

One thing is clear: if the FIA really wishes to stop teams from manipulating races, giving Ferrari’s drivers anything less than a points deduction would be meaningless. It isn’t just Ferrari on trial, this is a test case for article 39.1.

Over to you

What do you think the WMSC should do? And what do you think their decision will be? Have your say in the comments.

Ferrari team orders in Germany

Image via Adam Cooper on Twitpic

321 comments on “Ferrari face FIA World Motor Sport Council on team orders charge tomorrow”

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  1. Vijay Mallya is on the WMSC? Isn’t that a bit of a conflict of interest being a team principle? At least in this case it seems to me that being head of a rival team he ought to recuse himself as should Todt for obvious reasons.

    I think if they’re serious about the team orders rule they should strip Ferrari of all constructors points and give Massa the 7 points he earned. If they’re not serious about team orders, they should leave the points and give a clarification of what is and is not allowed. I’m hoping they’re serious.

    1. Although i agree with you i am also scepticle that this will happen.

      Just before Monza??
      Ill be surprised if they get anything more than a smacked bum and told to go to bed early!

    2. I agree they should strip Ferrari of the points, but much as I love Massa and feel deeply sorry for him the FIA can NOT reward him for his actions… both drivers should have their points from Germany (at least) stripped from them.

      1. There are two issues, driver’s championship and team championship. The team outcome was going to be the same, regardless of which Ferrari driver won. Since Massa was not mathematically out of the championship, he should not have been ‘forced’ to give up his position. This is the best F1 season in a long time. Hopefully, the WMSC will not mess it up through politics. Take Ferrari’s, Massa’s and Alonso’s points away for that race only. Maybe it will stop Ferrari and Alonso from being chronic whiners.

        1. You think? They would probably whine all the more. From what I hear, if any of their points are taken away, they might even bring this case to court…

        2. I say take away their constructors points, and swap the positions of their drivers in the race order (and therefore their drivers championship points).

          This would completely remove the incentive to use team orders in the future.

      2. Soumya Banerjee
        8th September 2010, 9:20

        Keith says there was an attempt to “manipulate” the drivers’ championship. The so-called manipulation has not affected any other drivers of any other team. The manipulation only involved Massa ceding his position to Alonso. Since it has not hurt drivers of any other team,therefore the WDC points are sacrosanct.

    3. LOVE the photo by the way :D

      1. No punishment in Ferrari case!

        1. I agree with you. This is a complicated case and I think they should drop any punishment.

  2. The thing is ferarri have to be punished. They have been found guilty of breaking 39.1 and that rule stood at the time. If the wmsc decide to abolish the rule ferarri cannot get away with it.

    1. The problem is that they and the FIA have previously ‘clarified’ rules and then applied those clarifications to events which happened prior to the rules being ‘clarified’ – the punishment of Lewis at Spa in 07 being a classic example.

      I am just curious as to how the media will react if the WMSC let Ferrari off with a slapped wrist….

      1. I reckon taking away all of Ferrari’s points from that race, would hit the team hard in both title races, and send a strong message to all the teams. Without really damaging Ferrari long term because who lets face it recources must be focused mostly on next year by now, more so if they get take a knock from the WMSC.

      2. The way the rule read before Spa 07, Hamilton broke it. The same rule with the same wording applies in other categories, and I’ve seen people punished for breaking the rules in the same way as Lewis did in 07.

        The FIA needed to clarify that rule because some people complained that they didn’t think it meant that.

        Sure, the FIA have changed rules through ‘clarifications’ in the way you described before. But your example is actually a genuine clarification.

        1. What rule did Hamilton break at Spa in 2007?

          If you mean 2008 I think you’ll find the “if you pass someone having gone off the track you have to let them pass and then not pass them at the next corner” rule was not in any written form before that race. That was what the whole argument was about.

  3. Swap the drivers, give the win back to Massa and Alonso second. and then write a better rule.

    1. Maby even give massa win and take away alonsos points.

      1. I have never seen big changes to race results. If something other than a fine is coming, it will be stripping points, but massa will likely not be handed the win.

        1. I agree with you, if they will punish the drivers as well, it will be deducing points only, not swapping positions or something like that. Alonos will have won (if they don’t disqualify him from the event) but will have no or less points.

          1. And the problem is a bit that either both Massa and Alonso should then be DNQ-ed for being part of team orders or neither will be – Alonso is unlikely to be proven to have been the one to make the team use team-orders, so I don’t see how else one could punish him only, and not Massa. It is however possible that Massa gets punished and not Alonso, as Massa was the only of the two to have a clear action on team-orders – Alonso just drove on.

            Either way, Massa doesn’t profit -he should have stuck to his own race I guess. Maybe the team can be further punished for that somehow.

          2. And the GREEEAT ALonso excapes once more !

          3. He has been quite lucky with the rules hasn’t he? I know Schumacher worked hard on his reputation, but I think in Alonso, we may have the challenger!

      2. Sorry but that would be ludicrous… Massa was the driver who manipulated the race result by slowing and letting Alonso past… Massa CAN NOT be rewarded for that!

        Much as I love Massa and would have been jumping for joy had he taken the chequered flag as he should have done, he was the driver who broke the rules.

        The team and both drivers need to be punished for this.

        1. I agree, both. Let’s be brutality honest – everyone *knows* this was an arrangement agreed by Ferrari under pressure from Alonso, who had been complaining about Massa holding him back earlier in the season. It’s the only way to interpret the ‘coded messages’ nonsense (‘understood your message Fernando,’ ‘did you get the message Felipe?’). That agreement, worked out in advance and activated under particular ‘trigger’ circusmtances at Hockenheim, makes Alonso inextricably involved.

          Ferrari and Alonso need to grow up. What we saw at Hockenheim was a 2 times world champion unable to pass his team mate even though he was supposedly and probably faster. If he needs help, he can expect only criticism and derision from most of the world’s racing fans who want to see real talent proven on the track.

      3. Staffan, I think you’ve nailed it. I’d prefer a harsher punishment, as I really think they willfully and ham-handedly broke the rule (and hurt the sport, as a result). But given the balance of points in both championships and, as other have said, the upcoming race in Monza, Ferrari won’t get hit hard. Given that, I’d be happy with what you suggested.

      4. But Massa is the one that blatanly broke the rules!

        1. Only because Alonso made it known He wanted past.

          This wasn’t done to help the team it was done to help Alonso. The point haul was the same whoever finished first in the Ferrari 1-2. If Alonso wanted the win he felt he deserved he should have passed Massa properly.

          I’d be very surprised if ANY punishment is given at all. Imagine this was Lewis and Jenson in the exact same position, Mclaren wold be kicked out the constructors for certain and both drivers exluded from the champoinship.

        2. He did what his employer told him. Yes, he broke the rules. Maybe he should be punished for that. But what I want to know is, What would the FIA have done if Massa had disobeyed team orders, and his team had fired him? Can the FIA punish a team for wrongful dismissal?

  4. If Massa wanted Alonso to pass him and it was NOT team orders, quite an emotional guy would have been a lot more resilient in arguing this. Not just a feeble murmur in the press conference after the race.

    I hope it isn’t just another fine – they should strip Ferrari’s points for Hockenheim. Actually, they should really keep Massa’s points shouldn’t they? After all, it was Alonso’s points they wanted.

    1. I think Massa, Alonso and Ferrari should have all points from Hockenheim deducted.

      Massa is just as guilty as Ferrari or Alonso for moving over and letting his teammate through.

      Any argument in favour of Massa (ie. he had to do it because the boss told him to) would be no different to making a case for Piquet Jnr at Singapore as it stands, in my opinion.

      Throw the book at ’em.

      1. I think it has to be recognised that pressure was put on both Piquet and Massa, and that when considering their actions, you must look at this…

        But, They clearly broke a rule, by following the team order they are just as guilty of breaking the rules as Alonso or Alonso… (see what I did there?), or rather the teams.

        So I agree, Massa should be handed a penalty as well, with a note saying, “Feel sorry for you dude” attached.

        1. Spot on. While Massa is the innocent sheep in this, he still moved over to let Alonso through, even though the boss told him to. I am a Ferrari fan myself but do not want to see team rules in F1. I would strip Ferraris points for the round, manufacturer and drivers.

          1. Of course, the irony is that stripping the drivers and the team of points actually artificially alters the Championship standings more than Ferrari’s “crime” did.

            In effect damaging the very thing that the rule was setup to protect.

            Just sayin’…

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            7th September 2010, 6:11

            True, maybe a reversal of Massa and Alonsos points which would restore what it should be and still strip Ferrari of their points for cheating in the first place

          3. I think we can solely expect points deduction for the constructors championship.

          4. Massa is not innocent. He should have had the balls to not comply with team instructions that he knew were a violation of the rules.

            Was Piquet innocent in Singapore 2008? Different case. Different circumstances. But the same kind of guilt. Different degree of guilt, but the same kind of guilt nonetheless.

            The team ordered and Massa complied. The team should not have ordered. But also, Massa should not have complied.

          5. @spudw PK wasn’t punished for that, nor was Alonso, who benefited. Is that an omen do you think?

      2. I think that the only guilty is the team and not the drivers as we are thinking that the team has so power to make them (both) do what the team wants.

        If you have to get points from drivers then get Massa’s points as he was a important part of the maniouver. As Piquet, nothing would have happened if he hadn’t wanted to happen.

        Alonso don’t have any responsability apart of the fact that everybody thinks that he controlls everybody thanks to Santander. But there’s no evidence of that so forget it. Why should he lost the points if it was a team decision and Massa’s decision?

        1. Except if Alonso saying to the team that he is faster than Massa is considered an order, in which case, he is responsible too. Anyways, I shouldn’t be too afraid if I were you. Alonso always manages to escape the worst scandals of F1 in his time, where he happens to be unscathered while still in the middle of the eye of the storm. Nothing sticks to the guy!

          1. tango, that’s because he’s inocent in every case. He’s guilty only because you imagine things that you don’t know if they happen. For example, you think that Alonso was involved in Singapore, but he didn’t and if I were Briatore I wouldn’t say anything to Alonso about the plan. You think Alonso gave orders to the team, but there’s no orders, there was an agreement at the team wich it looks to be acceptable in this forum.

            Alonso is the man to beat, even without the right car, even by the FIA, everyone seems to get him involved. Of course, here everybody thinks different about him, but I can not change it. In Spain, many people also blame Hamilton for being aid by FIA, but Hamilton is not responsible of anything.

            We always look to the wrong place and blame the wrong person.

          2. You forget the Mc Laren scandal. He was completely guilty (the mails prove it!)

            I don’t know wether he knew for Singapore, but it is very unlikely that he wouldn’t be in the loop at least a posteriori. In which case he didn’t run to say anything against his team this time.

            As for the Hockenheim incident. I would be surprised his comment to ferrari wasn’t a begging for interference.

            Plus what I am saying, is that for a man who has been involved in the worst scandals of the 3 last years (and arguably of the last 10), he has suffered nothing. Hamilton got docked positions (Melbourne and Spa) for offences he did (and in Spa, it wasn’t clear), even Schumacher suffered for some of his actions. Alonso always comes out clean. It is a remarcable talent

          3. As I already stated, Hamilton has already been severely punished for some of his wrongdoings (ok, not all of them, but most).

            Alonso has never endured a negative ruling, even though he has been found guilty (at least at one of the 3 mega scandals he was involved in).

            Not saying that others are better, just that Alonso has always managed to escape punishment, which is a unique case. I can’t see your point really chemakal

          4. “Not all of them but most”?!?!?! I’ll show you my point with a video, Tango, and these examples only in 2.010 season: Racing twice in the pits lane (Vettel and Alonso), 4 times direction changed when Petrov was trying to overtake, safety car in Valencia (incredible!), no petrol finsishing in pole position with a monetary sanction. The video includes these and some of other years.

          5. And those examples are clearly on Hams hands. You are just speculating on what Alo might have known or not

          6. This is all nice and well, but yet you fail to tell me how Alonso gets through big scandals untroubled. Are you to say he was not guilty in the spy gate? (because he was guilty, he asked for imunity. And I don’t see what Hamilton has to do with this conversation, I could of used Senna, Alesi, Vettel or others for my demonstration)

          7. “This is all nice and well” and thats it! You don´t think is enough? With many of these manouvers Hammilton has put other drivers in risk. I have used Hammilton because in my opinion hes the one that gets away constantly with no sanctions and/or investigations, supported by intentional hidding by the british media and some of the F1 establishment (the British New Kid on the Car, programmed by simulators to be the new star).
            As I said in my previous comment, all media speculations about Alonso. Who was found guilty in the spygate? The only one proven was McLaren after a long and deep investigation, full stop.

          8. I have used Hammilton because in my opinion hes the one that gets away constantly with no sanctions

            This is just completely untrue. Magny-Cours 2008, Spa 2008, Fuji 2009, Melbourne 2009, Valencia 2010 – all recent examples of penalties Hamilton has been given, some deserved, some not.

          9. Completely untrue¡? Lets stick 2010 and tell me from those that Ive posted, which one is untrue, apart from the unfair and intentionally delayed sanction in Valencia. I say unfair because watching again carefully the images of Ham overtaking the SC: 1. Ham brakes when he sees the SC. Why? To clearly leave Alo behind th SC. 2. Speeds again to overtake the SC leaving Alo behind but ups! miscalculating, too late. 3. Race dir takes 20 laps time to sanction, enough to keep position. This an opinion but Im 100% sure this would have been food for many articles if Alo would have done it to Ham

        2. If I go into a McDonald and order a burger, the people who work there will make the decision by themselves to move about, make me a burger, hand it to me and so on. All those physical decisions is being made by them not by me, but that is logical because I can not go into someone’s brain and make a decision for them to move their hands about and so on, BUT does that mean its no longer an ORDER made by me?

          Of course not, so I think there is no way out of this for Ferrari because the ”Felipe made the decision” argument is invalid and irrelevant. So the way I see it, only decision to be reached in this meeting is what penalty Ferrari is going to receive.

          1. If someone asked you to jump off a bridge and you do it, should it be considered homicide instead of suicide then?

          2. If someone pays me to push somebody off a bridge, is it a murder or a payed/ordered murder – both, is the correct answer.

          3. You’re right, except Massa should not be a puppet for the team. He made a decision to comply with the team, and that is as much a transgression as the team having given him the order in the first place. He has the balls to drive the car quickly, but is completely flacid when faced with orders from some economist manager person sitting on pit wall. The whole thing stinks of manipulation and a repugnant sense that the Ferrari brand is above and bigger than F1.

  5. I’m wondering about the timing; the next race is Monza and the case involves Ferrari. If there’s punishment, there’ll be an uproar – if there isn’t any, there will be those who’ll question whether the FIA bottled it so the Tifosi would’t boycott the Grand Prix.

    The irony is Ferrari shot themselves in the foot. If Alonso was really quicker, they could asked Massa not to vigorously defend any new manoeuvre in case both of them crashed out. McLaren supposedly gave this reason for Monaco 2007 – whoops, Alonso again – so they wouldn’t have anything to fear from the FIA, albeit the reasoning was for a different order, to hold station. They used it again in the 2008 German race where Kovalainen was never going to win the race, and the FIA was fine with that. Didn’t they trust Massa not to crash into his team-mate? Though given some of his moves this year, perhaps it was Alonso they were more worried about.

    It’s clear Ferrari don’t give two hoots about faked championships (well, their own that is), so the question is if the FIA do or not, and that has to be reflected in their decision, whatever it is.

    For myself, it’s Ferrari’s antics over the whole year that deserve attention. The Horse Whisperer columns, deriding the new teams, the “unintended” suggestion of race manipulation in Valencia, Luca’s many rants; Hockenheim is just one piece of the puzzle in a wider disregard for 151c. At the end of the day, Joe Public doesn’t really care about any of this or any of the other mini-dramas that have been going on, but give them something that can be simply put to them – race fixing – and the damage is done. Look at what’s happening to cricket at the moment.

    Now personally, if Ferrari want a tainted championship that’s fine by me. It was good enough when I was a Schumacher fan, even if I have grown up since then. But this isn’t about what I want, it’s about what the FIA wants. The way the incident was handled was enough to be treading on 151c, let alone if it was race-fixing or not.

    The fact is the world smelled a manipulated race and it was Ferrari’s doing – that’s what I hope the WMSC focuses on in the case and acts accordingly. Even a suspended sentence with no other penalty might be enough to warn off others doing whatever it is Ferrari did that weekend.

    1. Personally, a manipulated sporting event is never fine by me, I thought the mega punishment meted out to mclaren for breaching article 151c, was supposed to deter others from similar breaches, clearly this has not deterred ferrari, who appear to think that they are above this rule, I feel that once ferrari have been punished properly, and publicly, by the FIA, that the ‘favoured team’ tag would evaporate slightly, and we ‘the fans’ will believe what we are seeing, instead of wondering whether the result is genuine….

      1. That would make sense if the drivers drived for separate teams.

        This is a team sport with a rule which outlaws teams for being teams.

        I dont really mind what happens, I just wish people would stop treating this situation as if its an exclusive Ferrari thing. The other teams have been doing it (while the rule has been implemented) and they were never punished – such as Hekkie letting Lewis pass him. Its double standards at its best.

        1. Apart from your false analogy, anything that has involved other teams has always been done much more on the hush. If others have broken 39.1, Ferrari has been the only team to disregard 151c in doing it.

    2. I’m wondering about the timing; the next race is Monza and the case involves Ferrari. If there’s punishment, there’ll be an uproar – if there isn’t any, there will be those who’ll question whether the FIA bottled it so the Tifosi would’t boycott the Grand Prix.

      If the FIA play their cards right, Ferrari won’t have a leg to stand on. If they punish the team – particularly in the form of a race ban – and make it clear that Ferrari have no-one to blame but themselves for their no-show at Monza, I’d say they could walk away quite clear. The timing of the decision isn’t lost on me: if they ban Formula 1’s most popular team from competing in their home race, it sends a message to everyone else on the grid: don’t use team orders!

      1. So you think its fair to make Ferrari a scapegoat, just so that other teams are informed that team orders shouldn’t exist?

        There is enough evidence to show that other teams have had team orders in the past few years. The article and sporting code is not defined very clearly, and if Ferrari were to argue their case well, they would come up with at least a dozen instances where competitors have issued team orders that have changed the finishing position of their drivers.

        The rule book doesn’t state any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ or disguising techniques.

        I think Ferrari deserve to walk away with just a warning… and the rule should be removed from the rulebook.

        1. I’m sorry, but that’s no defence…

          “Well he did it too and didn’t get caught” just doesn’t stand up as any sort of legal argument…for starters to argue that you would have to admit guilt…

          1. Not really. A skilled advocate would simply ask the court to discuss the difference between those earlier incidents and the one being prosecuted now.

          2. Actually it does. ‘Team orders’ is a vague term, and any half decent attorney can completely make the FIA’s case null and void.

          3. Team order, the FIA definition is team orders that directly interfer with the result of a race. Clear and legally thought out so that no layer hired by the teams would be able to make a mockery.

          4. What about “we know others do it as well but Masssa and his engineer have made it so obvious that Alonso will get his points off”. Is that the argument?

          5. @scribe. The definition you just quoted is as vague as it gets. Pit stop/Fuel strategy, tyre calls, as well as other different decisions taken for teammates during a race also alters the outcome of the result, and of the race.

          6. Usually, it’s why it’s so easy to hide team orders, however ferrari actions interfered with the result of the race, no lawyer could argue with that because we all saw it, and Smedleys consequent words proved it.

            Indeed the wordings easy to get round but Ferrari didn’t bother so their high and dry,

      2. HounslowBusGarage
        7th September 2010, 9:05

        I’m not sure about the legal niceties of that. If the FIA suspend Ferrari for one race – Monza – and if the Tifosi stay away in droves (which they will), would the oMonza organisers have a case for suing the FIA for loss of earnings?
        Another disconnected thought. If I had bet on Massa winning and lost my bet through the manipulation of the result by Ferrari, would I have a case for personal damages against Ferrari?

        1. On the second point – I hope not. If people are daft enough to bet on things then more fool them.

          1. spanky the wonder monkey
            7th September 2010, 11:46

            why? it’s a calculated risk, bit like ‘how fast can i cane it around this bend without falling off the road?’
            i take part in a fantasy f1 competition with paid entries and prize money on offer. i’m effectively betting on the entire f1 season. does this make me a fool?

          2. I agree that people are foolish to bet on things, but it is their choice, and the results of such a bet should be decided by the result, within the rules. Betting on sport (I don’t do it myself, but understand it) is as much about the thought process which goes into selecting the bet as anything else.

            For example, you bet on a football player to score the first goal in a game. He has a clear shot at the net, but passes to his team mate, who then scores. You later find out they had an agreement, maybe something to do with a sponsorship deal or some such. Whatever the reason, you would feel cheated, and would have been cheated.

            The same goes for this whole team orders affair. If a bet was placed on Massa to win, or Alonso to win, the results have clearly been affected by the team orders.

            In reality, it is more of a demonstration of the damage done to the sport. It allows a physical loss or gain to be shown with regards the outcome of the race. Others, including me, feel just as cheated, but have not lost out in a demonstrable way.

        2. Mark Hitchcock
          7th September 2010, 14:45

          The real issue with betting isn’t about people being “daft”, it’s about the results being rigged by the gamblers themselves.
          Look at the recent scandal in the cricket. Players were (allegedly) paid to bowl no balls at specific points in the game to win someone a lot of money.
          Allow team orders and you make it a lot easier to rig the results.

          1. HounslowBusGarage
            7th September 2010, 16:56

            Absolutely correct. And if Ferrari were proved to have broken the rules and acted in a dishonest way to unduly manipulate a result, would a punter who has lost money be able to sue them for consequential loss?
            I think they would.

    3. “they could asked Massa not to vigorously defend any new manoeuvre in case both of them crashed out”

      Icthyes, don’t you think that this was exactly what the team asked to Massa telling ‘Fernando is faster than you’? isn’t it race fixing in the same way? Don’t you see that the fact that makes it so ugly is massa’s reaction?

      Please, stop blaming Alonso. If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders. And if Alonso gives orders to his team mate, then there’s no article in the rules that says it should be punished.

      1. I don’t think Alonso can be said to be directly responsible for the team-orders, but he did urge for them by making a lot of noise to the team about supposedly being faster than Massa, while being unable to pass. This happened earlier in the season, and at first he kept quiet, then it happened again, and he protested that it was annoying, then he took action by making sure he got into the pits first, and now he is telling the team to not make him do it. He is the instigator, and wanted team orders, he is not blameless in this, even if it can’t, again, be proven.

        But it is still the teams fault for not telling him to suck it up and try the overtake on track as a true champion would, instead of leaning on a weakened Massa to move over for the big boy who couldn’t do it himself.

      2. If either of the drivers, or even just one of them had refused to do the move and just raced each other, then I would be happy to stop blaming either of them, but as it is, Alonso told the team he was faster, and the team told Massa, who slowed down. OK, its not directly Alonso ordering the team, but it is race manipulation.
        If Alonso really had been faster, why didn’t he just pass Massa by himself? Why did he need help to do it? Thats what the fans want to see after all, not a syncronised finish with the right driver in the lead.
        All the time there is an emphasis on the ‘team’ aspect of F1, there will always be a danger of race manipulation by any of the teams taking part, since they all want to give the most points to their ‘top’ driver. Now we are in the final phase of the season, all the teams are going to be doing what they can to keep their ‘top’ driver in the hunt for WDC, so theoretically they will all be doing similar moves as the points get more and more critical. Its what racing as a ‘team’ is all about, isn’t it?
        The only way to stop it happening ever again is to completely change how F1 operates and allow each driver to have a ‘mini-team’ around him and his own Pit-Box, so that ‘team-mates’ can run separate races. Put the cars in different colours too, to make them really separate, and ban the team owners and principles from talking to the drivers during the race.
        Its relatively easy, but I don’t see anybody from Jean to Bernie to the Tifosi wanting such a radical change, even if it would allow for better racing.
        I seem to gone on a bit, my point really is that any fine, race ban, or points deduction won’t make any difference to how any of the teams or drivers interpret the rules in the long run, its the rules and the racing that have to change if we don’t want to see any manipulation ever again….

        1. You hit on a good point. Some have suggested banning pit-to-car radio, I’m not sure if that would work or not but it could be tried. The mini-teams idea is intriguing and is effectively what McLaren tried to do after the bust-up with Alonso, but I still think you’d see team orders through backroom threats.

      3. Icthyes, don’t you think that this was exactly what the team asked to Massa telling ‘Fernando is faster than you’?

        So what was wrong with “If Alonso tries to pass you, make sure you don’t hit each other – remember Turkey.” and then say something similar to Alonso. It would be the perfect disguise, but Ferrari think they’re above scrutiny.

        Please, stop blaming Alonso. If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders

        Alonso was the one who first came on the radio (to Ferrari) saying he was faster than Felipe. To suggest he had nothing to do with it is laughable, no matter what it is you think happened.

        If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders. And if Alonso gives orders to his team mate, then there’s no article in the rules that says it should be punished.

        I hope Ferrari’s lawyers have a better defence than that. Ron Dennis could have asked Ferrari to swap their cars for all it matters – the fact remains that Ferrari told Massa and that’s a team order. Do you remember that the team orders ban came after Schumacher told the team to tell Barrichello to let him by? It was up to the team and they did it; it’s the same here.

  6. My guess is a slap on the wrist, although I hope I’m wrong – and Teflonso will keep the points he was gifted.

  7. Several comments suggesting Massa should be handed back the win. As much as I wanted Massa to win on the day, he shouldn’t get back the 7 points since he was the person behind the wheel who pulled over, after all.

    1. As an unlikely suggestion, declare there to be no winner of the race. No-one gets 25 points.

      1. Ah, but there will be winner of that race. It would still be Alonso, he just would get ditched the points for it

        1. Depends how they work it. If they dock constructors points, which is quite likley then Alo still wins.

          If they dock drivers points what they do about Vettle Hamilton etc is interesting.

          I suspect the best thing to do would just scrap the top to places for that race. Vettle and the McLaren boys don’t really deserve a lift for that race.

      2. actually that is less unlikely than you think.. i would say that deleting all points given to ferrari but leaving the others to have whatever points they got for 3rd, 4th etc is the most likely situation. It also is possible that Ferrari lose all their constructors points for this year.

        1. It’s all speculation really. Them doing nothing is the least likley option, suspended ban would be interesting, fine, docking points etc.

    2. Agree David A. I don’t think they can just reverse the decision and rewind back time

  8. Honestly, we don’t know for sure that Massa would have held off Alonso. So swapping points between Alonso and Massa wouldn’t be justifiable. The only fair punishment (Ferrari DID blatantly violated the rules) is a total disqualification for Ferrari from the German Grand Prix. (Including WDC/WCC points, 1st and 2nd place results, winnings and trophies.)

    Anything greater would be unjustified (like a total DQ from the 2010 WDC/WCC) and anything less would be too little.

    1. Part of the annoyance with Ferrari is they took away the most exciting part of the race. Because Vettle was being all impotent and useless Alonso’s battle to get round Massa was a truly exciting prospect, Ferrari deprived of us of a true sporting contest.

  9. No body should benefit from breaking a rule. They should lose all points from that race. The championship standings doesn’t come into it. Let us not forget the cover up afterwards, with the staged ‘photo shoot’. They lied and must be punished.

  10. Charles Carroll
    7th September 2010, 1:26

    Well, we could say that since the German GP is done and over, perhaps making Alonso and Massa start from the pits for Monza would be a proper punishment.

  11. Seriously, I can’t believe what Keith is suggesting!!

    To strip Alonso and Massa of all their points would be grossly, almost absurdly excessive.

    F1 is and always has been a team sport. As most agree the current rule shouldn’t exist. It’s also generally accepted that the rules are a shambles and change all the time (why on earth do they no longer close the pit lane during safety car period???? there is no reason not to now that refuelling has been banned – someone could have been killed the other week and they still haven’t thought to correct this simple issue). So, why are people like Keith being sticklers over this one? Dare I say the words “anti-Ferrari bias”?

    Also, what kind of precedent would Keith’s notion of justice set for the run in to the WDC? Hamilton is 1 point behind Vettel in WDC and on the last lap of the last race Button is not going to move over???


    Don’t usually comment but I really can’t believe you’re getting caught up in this media storm. As a result you’ve gone down considerably in my estimation.

    Changing race results retrospectively should be avoided.

    1. Even worse, imagine Hamilton does get past Button on that last lap and wins the WDC, but weeks later the FIA come across evidence that Button was asked to let him through. They would then have to retrospectively strip Hamilton of his points and his championship??

      All perfectly plausible under your suggestion, Keith…

      Not what I want to see.

      1. Well if Hamilton wins the WDC because he is handed it by the team, due to team orders then it is an illegal action and at minimum switch back the positions, but that wont be a punishment so stripping all the points from that race would be a good option. If you loose the WDC by one point, so be it. That just means that you and the team were not good enough that year. It can’t justify breaking the rules.

    2. “Also, what kind of precedent would Keith’s notion of justice set for the run in to the WDC? Hamilton is 1 point behind Vettel in WDC and on the last lap of the last race Button is not going to move over???”

      Use your common sense, and you’ll see that “last lap of the last race” is far more critical and later than “8 races left to run”.

      If everyone in the F1 world is so “anti-Ferrari”, and if the situation you suggest would happen, then Brazil 2007 would havee remembered as the championship won through team orders. But it isn’t, since with the championship situation so critical, having Massa move over for Raikkonen was simply (and rightly) seen as common sense. With 8 races left and only a 31 points between Massa and Alonso, using team orders was nonsense.

      1. Magnificent Geoffrey
        7th September 2010, 3:49

        You, sir, speak the truth.

      2. That’s not what the rules say. It’s illegal and should be punished…OR, it’s seen as “ok” by the teams. For rules and punishments, there cannot be a times when it is ok to break a rule because common sense makes the rule seem stupid. By this argument, Ferrari could say it’s common sense that started backing Alonso when they did.

        Anyway, everyone keeps saying this but I think it’s ridiculous. Rules can be broken sometimes and can’t be other times?? Based on this, I could see them just walking away with a big fine and a clarification of the rule for next year.

        1. Nail on head, mfDB. The rules have been the same since 2002 but we have seen numerous obvious transgressions go unpunished. Why are some offences more grave than others? They break the same rule.

          Either you punish all or you punish none. The FIA has already made its bed in this regard.

          1. Actually, one of the differences with several of those is, quoting from the article: “The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso” – the team trying to get the fastest car (maybe on a different strategy) ahead to overtake others to get more points – is one thing, making one driver give a win to another because you like his chances better, is a different story.

            And while Red Bull have been crying wolf over this, lets not forget why a lot of people were upset about their own Turkey incident (and eager to know what McLaren were trying to tell their drivers to do too!) is that they seemingly were doing just that: trying to get Vettel ahead of Webber, just because they wanted him ahead in the WDC. Had they not crashed, and had Button won, I think there might have been a similar arguments levied at those teams.

            And perhaps the fact that we did get to discuss such issues over Red Bull first, and rather thoroughly, where it became clear that most people didn’t like their favoring Vettel in such a way, made the later move by Ferrari stick out even more badly: Ferrari new how fans thought about this sort of thing, Massa wasn’t so far behind, and they still did it.

            And that is without taking into account the fact that their own earlier behavior was what got that rule implemented in the first place.

      3. Exactly. What would be absurd is letting Ferrari get away with blatantly ignoring the existance of this rule (back to Ferrari International Assistence) and not showing the FIA will enforce it’s own rules if needed.

        However bad i feel about Alonso dropping out, I feel the punishment should be losing points for both drivers (and the team) to make teams consider very seriously weather willingly breaking rules is a good idea.

    3. Excuse me? as “most” agree? I’d like to know who this supposed most is. Have you been running a poll? Do you have some stats for us? Otherwise just throwing around a phrase like “as most agree” means nothing other than you think everyone agrees with you.

      1. I for one certainly don’t…

        The reason the rule was brought in was because of Austria, this is the first time we have had a directly comparable situation.

        And my impression is that it has caused similar levels of disgust amongst many fans…

    4. The race was immdiately reffered to the WMSC by the stewards. Who found Ferrari guilty of serious rule infractions. Grave enough that they felt they didn’t quite have the authority to fully deal with the issue.

      Because Ferrari were considered by the Stewards to have broken the rules this badly, judgement has to be delayed and fully thought out in a proper hearing, not by a stewards room, as the punishment might be equally serious.

      1. hmmmm, or was it that it was too unclear. Before you say “but it was so obvious” think about it a bit. Ferrari was able to get the pass done by using “code words” and the only thing that even made this an issue was that Smedley and Massa made it so obvious and therefore everyone was upset. If they had done it in the pits or Massa wasn’t so obvious, then no one would really care.

        Based on this, the decision is not an easy one….compare it to a murder trial….everyone in the community thinks it was you and there are a lot of signs that are obvious, but proof of how/when/where/why it was accomplished doesn’t exist (no weapon or no body)……what, if any, is your punishment, should you be sent to prison for life…..

        Ferrari is saying that Massa did it on his own based on a previous agreement and you CANNOT use his body language and obvious on track move to punish Alonso and Ferrari….so how do you prove they are lying???

        Anyway, my point is that this is not a cut and dry decision….and Alonso might just be in the clear. The only thing for sure is that a rule change or major clarification is on the way and the sport as I know it will either return to its roots (orders) or be changed for the worse forever….

    5. Whether the rule should or shouldn’t exist is irrelevant. It DOES exist and Ferrari wilfully and ham-handedly broke the rule in a manner that would have a direct impact on the WDC standings. Rules are rules, flawed or not.

      F1 has suffered from too much politics in recent years, and Ferrari wilfully demonstrating disregard for the rules, particularly in a manner so easily apparent to the general viewing public (and notably much to their outrage) must be punished. Otherwise, F1 is simply reduced to “professional wrestling” where the rules mean nothing and the wrestlers beat up on the referees.

      And, by the way, the viewing public was robbed of exaclty the entertainment they paid to see: Alonso trying to legitimately pass his team mate.

  12. I Don’t think there can be any sort of point re-distribution, otherwise stewards or the FIA/WMSC would have done that previously (i.e. Schumacher in Monaco…)

    I’m thinking that both ferrari drivers will be losing points (perhaps just the points they gained for the race), and also the team will be stripped of their championship points.

    Having said that, i wouldn’t want to be on the WMSC for this decision. Either way you decide, you aren’t going to be a liked person!

  13. Magnificent Geoffrey
    7th September 2010, 1:58

    Fantastic article. I’m actually pumped for this! We should do a live-blog!

    1. A live blog would be interesting – a pity the meeting will be behind closed doors.

    2. A live blog would be great just to chat but I fear that the end result will be pretty dull and just a suspended ban or something.

  14. “Stripping the team and drivers of all their German Grand Prix points would be a reasonable penalty”

    You made me laugh ! you’re obviously an angry man.

    So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
    Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?

    Does that mean if you do at a certain time, a certain way, then its ok? if it is at the last race for the title then its ok as well?

    If they do get punished, then everyone who has done it has to get punished ! You can’t say “oh they did it too early in the season”

    Therefore Ferrari cannot get punished as at least one other team has done it without consequence, whether you like to admit it or not.

    If they do get punished it would be a disgrace for F1.

    1. “So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
      Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?”

      A) Lewis was on a different strategy to his teammate. Fernando wasn’t.

      B) Lewis had to get by his teammate to gain extra constructors points by passing Heidfeld, Massa and Piquet. He proved that he deserved the win on the track despite losing places due to a team error. The Ferrari switch didn’t gain any extra constructors points, and Fernando coasted along in 2nd place, unable to get past a teammate supposedly slower than him until he whined over the radio.

      1. A) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

        B) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

        1. C) He was miles quicker anyway and they didn’t want to risk a crash.

          But for fans of teams who manipulate races more than any others, it’s easy to see why they think everyone does the same.

          D) Most Ferrari apologists have tried to excuse what happened by saying “well, it make sense for the championship, etc.” So basically you’re saying Ferrari has no defence either.

        2. Finally someone who thinks the same as me :) Thank you Red Andy

          1. Look Regis, team orders is still wrong, Ferrari have proved they broke the rules, thus they must be punished. As well as the fact that rules of F1 have gone from entirley ad hoc in 08+09 to reasonable and well thought out this year due to the change in administration, punishing Ferrari meaningfully is still the right thing to do. Regardless of what has gone before.

        3. “A) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

          B) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.”

          It does matter. It’s been pretty obvious over the last few years that team orders are still allowed to exist. Illegal they may be, but but if done discreetly, and without affecting the spectacle, you won’t get caught and can’t be punished. In Brazil 2007 and Germany 2008, it was discreetly executed, hence why only a few people who are desperate to justify what was done for Alonso point the latter case out.

          1. …all of which elegantly illustrates my point about hypocrisy.

    2. Even if you would be right about that being a case of breaking the 39.1 rule (most likely not), this is NO reason AT ALL not to punish in this case.

      The rule is in place, the Ferrari team willingly and blatantly broke the rule and must be punished, otherwise the FIA can pack their suitcases as a governing body.

      Question is, what will be deemed sufficient to punish Ferrari and their drivers and give enough strong a signal, to anyone considering breaking the rules in the future.

    3. So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
      Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?

      I think I’ve addressed that in the “team orders debate” section.

      1. You did, and it was slightly different, but what I haven’t seen addressed is how many other teams have done this in the past and gotten away with it because people say “it was the end of the season”….most notably are Massa and Kimi in both 07 and 08. I understand why people don’t care about these team orders, but what I don’t get is how a presiding body and a rule are supposed to be taken seriously when they are fully open to interpretation and have massive amounts of gray area….and said rule was legal for so long until 1 stupid move made the presiding body over-react due to fans, who in reality were just sick of Shumacher winning all the time….

        Is there something in the rule that lets the fans and the teams know when it is and when it isn’t ok to use team orders?

        1. The point isn’t that it’s “the end of the season”, it’s that at those times (Shanghai 2008, Interlagos 2007) only one of their two drivers was able to win the world championship.

          It’s worth bearing in mind that without the Hockenheim switch Massa would only be 18 points behind Alonso with 150 left to be won.

          1. True, but my point is that the rules say nothing about when you can and cannot use team orders based on points and the rule was therefore broken in those races as well. There cannot be a serious rule that can be broken at times and not at others. I truly believe this is why Ferrari were not punished further and I agree with the decision. The rule needs major clarification or to be abolished….

  15. disqualify ferrari from the 2010 championship LOL

    Massa should lose all german gp his points because of letting Alfonso past, Alfonso should lose all his german gp points because of benefitting from team orders and ferrari should lose the 43 just by being idiots. they know those orders are banned, in fact, they invented this scam, yet they use it again.

    1. Charles Carroll
      7th September 2010, 4:59

      Major style points for referring to Alonso as “Alfonso”.

      Although you did not receive maximum points for failing to spell it “Alphonzo”, in reference to the Frank Zappa song, which would have been exquisite.

      1. Not just Alphonzo… that’s St. Alphonzo to you!

        1. We actually call him Alejandro now, in honour of the Lady Gaga song.

          I actually have a weird mental video of him mincing down the pit lane in time to the music.

  16. Good article Keith.
    However, I don’t agree that the change in driver position was not a benefit to the team. Alonso is Ferrari’s only real chance of a Driver’s World Championship this year, and was at that time. So switching places to benefit Alonso does indeed benefit the team. Having a Driver’s World Championship, rather than both drivers being 3rd or 4th at the end of the year is definitely a better outcome for the team.

  17. switching positions in the manner they did made no difference to the team’s points total – they would have scored the maximum 43 points whether Massa or Alonso came home first.

    The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.

    Yeah coz if Alonso wins the world championship, Ferrari will get nothing… Seriously! I wonder whats wrong with that statement.

    Personally the only crime Ferrari committed was not giving Massa and Smeadly acting lessons. It seemed like an amateur performance. For that they need to be caned.

    About the whole “team orders” debate, if this move was in the last race and meant Alonso had won the title coz of it everybody would be ok with it. That is double standards.

    A team can choose which way it chooses to function… if you want to control even that, then make it one driver per team.

    1. Exactly.

      btw I think Massa and Smedley’s actions showed very clearly that their loyalty is not to the team 100%. Their behaviour was basically doing everything possible to bring the infraction to the attention of the Stewards.

      In effect Massa towed the line but with bad grace. The same for his engineer.

      1. Your loyalty will dip a bit as well when your boss decides your co-worker deserves both the monthly bonus and the trophy saying he is the best employee…. Despite you being the most productive worker…

        1. Exactly Mike ! Of course, I agree Massa and Smedley should have orchestrated it a bit better, not professional at all. But they are human and Smedley has a great relationship with Massa, so it is understandable.

          Even if in Turkey Hamilton and Button received TO, at least the spectators got 2 laps of show out of it!

          1. @Mike

            Execpt that Massa is not the most productive employee, is he? As this sport has been for decades, if you’re too slow, you’re number 2.

    2. Jarred Walmsley
      7th September 2010, 6:19

      Actually, Ferrari don’t get anything, they only get rewarded for the constructors championship.

      And in your point about if it had been in the last race and Alonso had won the championship, and everyone being okay with that, It would ONLY be if Massa was out of contention, if he could have won it if he had won the race then no, people would be even more annoyed then they are now.

      If a driver is mathematically out of contention for the championship but is team-mate isn’t then it only makes sense for team orders to come in if it would allow his team-mate to get ahead in the championship.

      So while it may be double standards they make sense being that way.

      1. Do you really believe that having the World Champion does not benefit the team? If you do then you are being a little naive.

        And wrt to when a team decides to do it. Massa is out of contention for the Drivers Championship. Maybe not strictly based on the maths. But realistically he is. Ferrari have simply made a decision at a critical point in the season for them (when you take into account Alonso is also under pressure to deliver) to back their best hope for the Championship.

        1. If he had won Germany it’d be a helluva lot closer. There have been many cases in the past of drivers coming back from large points deficits to either win or come close to winning. Hill in ’94 being one point shy after something like a 30 point deficit comes to mind. Or Prost coming from 3rd in the points in ’87 on the final race.

          With 8 races left to go, Massa was not out of the running by that point. If anything, the fact that he was poised to win at Hockenheim just goes to prove his chances of vying for the championship were realistic if he continued the momentum.

          So no, your excuse of him being “realistically” eliminated are not a valid excuse for Ferrari’s behavior.

          1. Now this is a good post Joey.

          2. Your ’94 example is poor as Schumi was banned for a few races…not likely to happen to one of the top runners this year.

    3. MouseNightshirt
      7th September 2010, 7:52

      [blockquote]Yeah coz if Alonso wins the world championship, Ferrari will get nothing… Seriously! I wonder whats wrong with that statement.[/blockquote]

      Ahh, of course, that makes it all OK then! Let’s just hope the WMSC see your logic and wave them through! :/

      Personally the only crime Ferrari committed was not giving Massa and Smeadly acting lessons. It seemed like an amateur performance. For that they need to be caned.[/blockquote

      Except they broke the laws of the sport. You can’t get arrested for the police for doing something and get off because you hadn’t been taught how to lie properly.

    4. About the whole “team orders” debate, if this move was in the last race and meant Alonso had won the title coz of it everybody would be ok with it. That is double standards.

      I don’t agree it is double standards if, in the example you describe, Massa is mathematically out of the running for the championship (as at Interlagos in 2007).

      1. It’s kind of splitting hairs though.

        Any team order affects the outcome of a race.

        All Ferrari have done is decide that Massa is out of the running because he is the farthest from the lead in the team. The reasons for this are clear. Diluting points at this stage will make it impossible for either driver to make a run at the Championship.

        Nowhere in the rules does it say it is ok to have team orders only if one driver is mathematically out of the running.

        So either way you look at it it is against the rules. Period.

        1. What’s more team orders that allow a driver who is still mathematically capable of winning the championship leapfrog another driver who is not, *does* affect the outcome of the whole season.

      2. Yes but its still a team order, therefore the same, unless the rule is clarified

  18. Also one major fact you have skipped is that in the attempt Alonso made on Massa, Massa cut him on track to keep the lead. Alonso went on radio exclaiming something like “that is ridiculous”. Massa’s move could have been dangerous if Alonso hadnt yielded.

    If it was any other driver than Massa(and the car being a Ferrari) Alonso would have fought harder and even risked a bit to get the track position. I believe there is significant evidence that Alonso didnt put pressure on Massa coz it could have caused a major accident(remember the Red Bulls).

    When you drive for a team you do things like that… Period. Alonso clearly got the major benefits in the end of the day but he too was probably in a position he was not comfortable with and had to yield for the team.

    Put that in the equation and see if it matters.

    1. That’s Alonso’s problem then.

      It doesn’t matter as it’s not relevant.

    2. in the attempt Alonso made on Massa, Massa cut him on track to keep the lead.

      It was a perfectly legitimate piece of defensive driving by Massa.

      Frankly, I was amazed Alonso chose to try to go to the right of his team mate at that moment instead of trying to go left and get the inside line for the next corner.

      1. It was actually one of the first times this year that I was truly happy with a move by Massa – it was great defending, even if part of me was, at that point in the race, hoping that Alonso would find a way past soon.

      2. Keith, Massa was very in the left in a legitimate piece of defence (That he only shows when Alonso is behind, because normally Massa is passed by everybody who pretends it). So that, Alonso couldn’t find this way. Then he tried to pass through the right, but massa run to defence that side in a fast move.

        yes, its legitime to defend it but it’s clearly ridicolous to try it. isn’t it? If massa has the same car and he is going to do everything to defend, I won’t try to pass.

        1. I meant it’s ridicolous to try to pass him.

          1. Ridiculous to try on track but not ridiculous to phone home for help?

            Difficult to believe, I know, but Formula 1 has actually seem team mates successfully overtaken while both are trying to race.

        2. Just because someone has the same car as you doesn’t mean you can’t pass them. Hamilton passed Button at Melbourne, didn’t he?

          There were points in the race where Alonso was quicker than Massa and – particularly when there were backmarkers around – he might have been able to pass. And if Alonso hadn’t made his mistake on lap 35 he would have had another good opportunity to pass Massa in traffic.

          1. Or Schumacher and Rosberg battling it out as recently as Spa.

        3. “If massa has the same car and he is going to do everything to defend, I won’t try to pass.”

          Well then you’re not much of a racing driver.

  19. I think they should just get a warning and life should go on.

    1. @Oliver, No if they just give them a warning, it will only encourage other teams to try it as WMSC will let u go with a warning.

      1. Not really. Some teams and drivers have been “reprimanded” for obvious rule breaches and dangerous driving episodes this season, with a clarification that any further transgressions would get a much harsher penalty.

        Nothing stopping the WMSC from doing that. In many ways it would be better, as it would be a fair means of tidying up the rule (letting it be known exactly what is and isn’t tolerated, rather than the situation we’ve had up to now where various blatant team orders have been ignored by the stewards and FIA) and letting everyone know where they stand.

      2. Anagh, don’t think the other teams will try it, be sure that they will do it despite WMSC decision, because the championship is going to finish and every teams use team orders. The diference is if the drivers want to obbey.

        I want to repeat that the only way to proove if there are ferrari team orders is that Massa declares that. If he says that he wanted to let Alonso pass there’s no reason even to go to Paris.

        And massa won’t say that. He’s not invited to Paris, so I don’t believe in tomorrow judgement. FOR SURE, FIA is going to manipulate again and put sport?? in to disrepute.

        1. You think its the FIA thats putting the sport into disrepute? Seriously?

          The main issue with this whole thing isn’t the team orders, its that Ferrari have brought the sport into disrepute!

          1. I’m sure about FIA incompetence and arbitrariness that makes rules become a joke. When these things happen it’s allways because there is an unsolved problem with rules or the implementing of the law.

            Thanks to the “whining philosophy” of Alonso or Latin ways of being that you don’t like so much, sometimes there is a knock on the table for things to change for the better, leaving aside the hypocrisy of an Anglo-Saxon world that adapts to these bad rules to create a shadow of what it was the original spirit of the law.

            Of course, I blame the FIA and its ways to act because behind all these problems there’s allways a poor performance of FIA.

            In this case it’s about not applying correctly the team orders rule. You just have to see how confused is people about whether Interlagos-07 is different or not to hockenheim-10 due to “circumstances”. The only fact of being differenciating both cases gives you an idea of the confusion generated by the FIA.

      3. @Anagh

        I think it was wrong for the race stewards to impose a fine, they should have just sent the issue to the WMSC immediately

  20. I hope alfonzo does not walk away without any punishment, cause technically, he simply passed a slower driver in front of him to gain a position.

    1. That’s the truth, and the rest is just to speculate.

    2. A limited application of basic maths will show that until the point Massa moved aside, he was the fastest Ferrari driver in the race. That’s why he was in the lead. The *rest* (Alonso went faster for the rest of the race than Massa would have done) is speculation.

      As for team orders, Ferrari have already been penalized for breaching this regulation. Not speculation either.

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