Ferrari escape further punishment for German GP team orders (Updated)

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

The FIA have announced Ferrari will not be punished any further for using team orders during the German Grand Prix.

However the World Motor Sport Council upheld the $100,000 fine imposed by the stewards after the Hockenheim race.

Update: The FIA have said they will review the ban on team orders (article 39.1). See below for their full explanation for the decision and Ferrari’s reaction:

On 25 July 2010, at the Grand Prix of Germany, the Stewards of the meeting found an infringement by the Scuderia Ferrari to the prohibition of team orders interfering with a race result and then decided to impose a fine of $100,000 and to forward the dossier to the World Motor Sport Council for further consideration.

The Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council held an extraordinary hearing in Paris on 8 September 2010 to examine this matter.

After an in depth analysis of all reports, statements and documents submitted, the Judging Body has decided to confirm the Stewards? decision of a $100,000 fine for infringing article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations and to impose the payment of the costs incurred by the FIA.

The Judging Body has also acknowledged that article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations should be reviewed and has decided to refer this question to the Formula One Sporting Working Group.

The full decision will be available on the website www.fia.com on 9 September 2010.

Proceedings

In March 2010 at Bahrain at the initiative of the FIA President, the World Motor Sport Council adopted a new transitional disciplinary procedure, in order in particular to ensure the separation between the prosecuting body and the judging body. At the General Assembly on 5 November 2010, a more global reform of the FIA judicial system will be submitted for approval, including in particular the creation of an International Tribunal which will exercise the disciplinary power in the 1st instance in place of the World Motor Sport Council.

In application of this new procedure, previously applied within the context of the US F1 case, the FIA President exercises the role of prosecuting body. As such, he has the authority to notify any person being prosecuted of the grievances brought against him and to submit the matter to the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council, chaired by the Deputy President for Sport, Mr Graham Stoker.

The Deputy President for Sport has the power to proceed with an investigation and, within this context, to designate a reporter from among the members of the World Motor Sport Council.

In the present case, the Deputy President for Sport designated Mr Lars ?sterlind, a member of the World Motor Sport Council, as reporter. Mr ?sterlind?s report was forwarded to the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro as the party being prosecuted.

Prior to the hearing, the members of the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council received all the documents in the case, including the observations submitted by the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

The FIA President did not attend the hearing but was represented by Ma??tre Jean-Pierre Martel from the law firm Orrick Rambaud Martel.

The hearing before the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council, assembled on 8 September 2010 in an extraordinary meeting, was chaired by the Deputy President for Sport and allowed the hearing, in person, of Mr Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, assisted by lawyers, Mr Henry Peter and Nigel Tozzi. The World Motor Sport Council had the possibility to join the drivers Mr Fernando Alonso and Mr Felipe Massa via video conference.

Ferrari released the following statement:

Ferrari has taken note of the decision of the FIA World Council, relating to the outcome of this year?s German Grand Prix and wishes to express its appreciation of the Council?s proposal to review article 39.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, in light of what emerged during today?s discussions. Now, all the team?s efforts will be focussed on the next event on track, when the Italian Grand Prix takes place at Monza this weekend.

The World Motor Sport Council's verdict on Ferrari is...

  • Far too harsh (3%)
  • Slightly too harsh (1%)
  • About right (19%)
  • Slightly too soft (14%)
  • Far too soft (61%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 2,435

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Ferrari team orders in Germany

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389 comments on Ferrari escape further punishment for German GP team orders (Updated)

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  1. Weak from the Council, very weak.

    Guess they’ll be removing rule 39.1 by the end of the season in this light, very disappointing as a keen fan.

    • Andy W said on 8th September 2010, 17:37

      They should also remove 151c so that teams can bring the sport into disrepute and not get penalised.

      Ferrari fixed the race and walked away with all the points and a measly $100,000 fine…

      Wonder how much it would cost to install a chain gun in the nose cone to shoot cars in front….

      • Younger Hamilton said on 8th September 2010, 17:43

        $100,000 is what they pay Alonso every day

      • Yeh have them remove 151c and see how long it is before we hear Alonso on the radio asking for Massa to do a Piquet when he wants an early tyre change.

      • Or maybe ditch all rules the teams don’t like or just stop enforcing them if asked to.

        Now the FIA might just as well stop regulating.

        Surely this rule was somewhat problematic to enforce, as it was easy to find a way to do this without anyone being sure about it. But this is a bad moment for the fans.

        I suppose Todt is up for another disapprove this time around. And Ferrari will lose even more respect from me, let them continue with winning like this, but I am sure not to support it, or any team doing alike and being proud of it!

      • F1 does not count as a sport anymore. Thanks FIA.

        • Spectator said on 9th September 2010, 1:12

          I agree with the decision, cause i prefer to know what results were fixed what werent, anyway there are teams with or without team orders that try to hide team orders and arent succesfull ex mclaren and redbull

        • The sri lankan said on 9th September 2010, 1:28

          what the ***** is this? what a disgrace!

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 8th September 2010, 17:42

      I wonder how much the people on the council get paid.

      Here’s what they did today…

      “Ok, we need to decide on a 13th F1 team…” “How about not having one at all?”
      “Genius! Great idea.”

      “Right next… We need to think of a punishment for Ferrari”
      “Meh C.B.A.”
      “Yeah me neither, let’s just go home”

      • Sound_Of_Madness said on 8th September 2010, 18:55

        Υοu forgot:
        -And what about the calendar, we have to decide where will the championship close…
        -Throw a dice. 1-3 is Abu Dhabi, 4-6 Interlagos…
        *sound of rolling dice*
        -How has that happened?! 4?! I used the fake dice!!!!!

    • Kutigz said on 8th September 2010, 18:15

      Think fellas…should this had been Mclaren? Well, i guess we all know the verdict! Or don’t we?
      :-)

      • bosyber said on 8th September 2010, 20:36

        Well, in the new non-Mosley era, I am not sure. But they sure did eithe3r chicken out about doing something about it just before Monza, or they just didn’t care. Either way, stupid. I guess from now on every threat of a harsh punishment will be countered with a “we will sue FIA while making a lot of hot air” and it will go away?

    • Alec
      Just look at it as team sport and you will find the decision a right one for the future of F1. Tradition remains intact…

      • The day the constructors championship is more important than the drivers is the day I’ll look at it as a team sport in that sense.

        As far as the future holds F1′s future is in it’s fans and it’s worldwide image which go a long way to paying for F1 via it’s sponsors. F1′s already 7 years behind in terms of getting HD coverage and spends half the season at venues in front of no fans, PR disasters like this that bring the sport into disrepute do not help.

        So much work has gone on in changing the spec of the cars trying to reduce downforce, power and electronic aids to “improve the show” and the same people then say that in contrast to the general public’s opinions that pulling over for someone else to take the win is legal. I’ve no problem with many so-called ‘team orders’ but I draw the line at hearing one driver have a hissyfit because he cant get past and then 5 laps later the driver pull over and let him into the lead. There goes the spectacle of the battle that we tuned in to watch.

        Tradition? Since when has anyone in F1 gave a smoking crackpipe about tradition?? Do you think they race at Turkey in front of 15 fans because it’s a traditional venue for racing or because their government will pay more than the French? If F1 is to lead motorsport from the front it has to be progressive in it’s thinking but as long as the Old Boy’s Network are still building their pension fund there’s no chance.

        Cant wait to hear from Horner and Whitmarsh, I’m sure they’ll have a quip or two :)

      • Looking at it as a sport (of any kind) makes this look like the wrong decision. However, the FIA was forced into this by forgetting why team orders of this kind were so bad in the first place…

  2. rampante (@rampante) said on 8th September 2010, 17:20

    Whether fans like it or not it was the correct result. The FIA would have to have investigated every result in the last few years to ensure it was not a unique case. Time to hide now. My money is on 400+ comments.

    • adam mason said on 8th September 2010, 17:24

      yeah Im happy that Ferrari have escaped further punishment. Further punishment just would’nt achieve anything.

      • John H said on 8th September 2010, 17:47

        Yes it would. It would stop it happening again this season.

        It’s a dangerous precedent. So you can have team orders but it will cost you the measly sum of $100K. Any other team that does it now this season will have to get exactly the same punishment or it makes even more of a mockery of the council.

        Sad day. And sad that some Ferrari fans think that a $100K fine is sufficient.

        • rampante (@rampante) said on 8th September 2010, 17:53

          The problem is most teams at some point do it. Ferrari did it very poorly and I thought a suspended race ban and increased fine would have been the right choice. The problem is too many people don’t want to look at it rationally and accept how much of it goes on.

          • John H said on 8th September 2010, 18:14

            “The problem is too many people don’t want to look at it rationally and accept how much of it goes on.”

            Totally agree.

            But it was just all the blatant lies after the race that were the real problem. I guess we need to know if those lies were told to the stewards, but if they were fined $100,000 in the first place then they must have misled them.

            So why are they not DSQ just as McLaren were at Oz 2009?

          • As you say Rampante, it should have been a suspended ban and a more hefty fine. Ferrari acted against the rules, they did not even hide it and even less apologize about it.

            Not that the rule is very good, or that it has not been neglected in the past, now it will be totally without any effect.
            Personally i think if the FIA wanted to start using their own rules, they might have given a points penalty, but i never expected them to really do that.

            Our only hope for not having an abundance of team orders all over the place is “voting with our feet” and supporting teams that are very carefull not to use them.

          • David BR said on 8th September 2010, 18:25

            Exactly, the precedent set is appalling.

            I also really don’t understand how Ferrari weren’t in serious breach of bringing the sport into disrepute, since it’s confirmed (as far as FIA’s concerned) that they issued team orders and so all the post-race comments were a bunch of absurd lies from everyone in the team. That made Formula 1 look farcical, so I really don’t see how they escaped this.

          • sumedh said on 8th September 2010, 19:00

            Agreed.

            A suspended ban (which was given to Renault for crashgate) would have been appropriate.

            No punishment at all is a step too soft I think, and I say that inspite of being a Ferrari fan.

            What I fear most now is for the career of Felipe Massa. If Ferrari can get away with this at the 11th race of the season, now nothing’s stopping them from doing the same from the 1st race of the season.

            Teams like Mclaren will obviously continue driver equality – since they consider that a good quality, but Mercedez (Brawn), Ferrari are definitely going back to their 1-2 driver days. Sad day for Formula 1

          • OK Rampante. Give us some details of when an incident exactly like this has taken place to your priviledged knowledge over the past ten years….. ?

        • If a team, e.g. McLaren, wants to make a farce out of FIA and have $100,000 (or will my plan count as 2 incidents?), they can have one driver — in my example Hamilton –letting Button pass and 1 lap after that have Button let Hamilton pass, each time with that “he is faster than you, can you confirm you understand that message?”.

          Then again, why not do it for the whole race… hahaha… would that count as 1 overtake each?

        • Kimster said on 8th September 2010, 20:22

          > So you can have team orders but it will cost you the measly sum of $100K.

          So you can buy pole position for a measly 50K ;)

        • Dipak T said on 8th September 2010, 21:12

          It is a sad day, but the conclusion is entirely correct. The rule only deals with literal orders, and says nothing about the implied or intended meaning of a piece of conversation being an order. Technically, what we heard wasn’t a literal order, just an implied one, and the rule says nothing about that. Therefore the law is an ass in this case.

          • Jack Peekoc said on 8th September 2010, 21:23

            Unless Ferrari came out and said “We ordered Massa to let Alonso past”, there is no proof. There is only speculation. No hard facts to base any ruling on.

            If they had done anything more, they would have been forced to look at the past incidents as well. Such as when Hekki let Lewis past.

            The only thing Ferrari did wrong, was make the team order obvious. And no where in the rules does it say “we will only punish you if its obvious”.

            Overall, the real culprit is Massa. He made it obvious on purpose, instead of allowing Alonso overtake him under braking. The fans would have accepted it the same way it was accepted when hekkie let lewis pass him under braking.

          • David BR said on 8th September 2010, 21:50

            Kovaleinen would have been passed by Hamilton within a few corners maximum. The reason he let him past quickly without a struggle (and why the team wanted this) was for LH to have time at the end of the race to make up *other* places and win the race, which he did. Remembering the reason he was behind HK anyway was a McLaren botch up. There’s no real comparison. Alonso was unable to pass Massa, lap after lap.

        • mischa said on 8th September 2010, 22:15

          So Alonso’s chanches for the title are effectively gone now, Ferrari have shot themselves in the foot.
          Whenever Alonso comes close, both Red Bull and McLaren just have to cough up 100,000 dollars to get their desired finishingorder and get the extra points!

          Bye Alonso! Nice work, Ferrari!

        • Adam Tate said on 8th September 2010, 22:31

          A $100,000 fine to Ferrari is literally like taking a penny from the average person. It’s a joke. Todt did the wise thing letting his deputy handle this, but the WMSC and the FIA really dropped the ball today. The ruling is pathetic, and on top of that, they didn’t accomplish anything else with the rest of their agenda!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 17:28

      At the moment we only know the verdict, not the reasoning. Let’s see what they say.

      • You expect there to be “reasoning”? At best we will see a recitation of the rule and the invocation of discretion.

        However, if they do not issue any further warnings or elaborate on the underlying prohibition, they will have invited Ferrari to continue to slap all of us in the face with continued, brazen, obvious team orders—followed in each case by volleys of brickbats from Luca in defense of Ferrari’s prerogative to do as it pleases in all things.

        What we know now, and what doesn’t need the reasoning for clarification, is that that the team orders sporting regulation is of no moment. The council has made new law for the sport, and the teams should adjust their behavior accordingly. Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel take note.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th September 2010, 18:07

        I’m inclined to hold my judgement as well, but this doesn’t sound good so far…

      • Kutigz said on 8th September 2010, 18:22

        Really Keith? Are you seriously expecting a “Mathematically Modeled Reasoning” of some sort? Well, maybe if Todt wasn’t FIA President!!

    • My money is on 300+ but I would not bet any coin with you!!!

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 8th September 2010, 17:54

      Why would they have to do that? This was referred to them by the stewards of the race. If there was any evidence to support a team being prosecuted under either of the articles in question, then the stewards in Brazil 2007 were free to do it. The stewards saw clear evidence of a breach of the rules, and referred it to the council for punishment.

      “It was corrupt before” is no excuse, even if there was evidence to back it up. It’s the same excuse used by cyclists about the rampant cheating and doping that went on (and no doubt still goes on) in their sport. If we accept that point of view, then we accept that the sport as a whole is a joke, it’s not a real competition, there’s no basis for any of the results to be considered genuine, and none of the drivers or teams has actually achieved anything.

      This is not an anti-Ferrari thing. The stewards’ judgement that the rules had been broken *was upheld*. That the sport has been brought into disrepute is beyond question. Why is there no punishment for it by the FIA itself?

      So as far as the FIA have told us:
      1) A driver can request that his engineer steal secrets from another team and get away with it. (Alonso & Pedro de la Rosa)
      2) A team can cause a serious accident a couple of feet away from spectators and marshalls on a closed track to rig the result of a race and get away with it.
      3) A team can rig the results of a race by telling one driver to pull over, and get away with it.
      4) A driver can run his rival off the track to ensure he wins a championship and get away with it. (Prost, Senna, Schumacher)

      Anybody got any more?

      Why exactly are we supposed to waste time and money watching this farcical crap again?

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 8th September 2010, 18:12

        Todt has been a marked improvment but the WMSC continues to disapoint, I mean nothing? After all the outrage and fury expressed by the fans they do nothing? It’s ridiculous, an there are posters essentially saying being annoyed by this ruling is silly.

        Ferrari deprived us of a sporting contest and essentially fixed a race to their liking and thats not hyperbole, it patronising and wrong to claim this hasn’t damaged the integrity of the sport and worsened the veiwing experiance for the fans.

        The fans have made it clear, we don’t want team orders, now the FIA must act independently of the lame duck that is the WMSC and make the rule stronger and clear.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 8th September 2010, 18:24

          So the conclusion is that the FIA will issue licences to specific individuals so they can be punished, but have decided never to punish them for anything that they ever do.

        • I feel very much the same. The stewards made a brave move by actually punishing it, but felt more was needed after the uproar.

          It is brought before the highest governing body of the sport and … nothing. Very disappointing, seems those changes made by Todt add up to nothing much.

          • bosyber said on 8th September 2010, 20:40

            Yes I agree. Keith might have some point in saying we don’t know the reasoning, but there is no valid reasoning that is adequate to address the main point: they were let off for a clear violation, a case that closely resembled exactly what got the rule instated, and got away without any real punishment.

        • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 18:49

          Not all fans are clear on this as you suggest.
          I have no problem with team orders, it is an intregal part of the F1 history and philosephy of F1 racing. It is one of the things that make F1 truely unique to other open wheel series. A true “team” concept in racing.

          • Jack Peekoc said on 8th September 2010, 21:34

            Agreed. All other sports have team orders. Management is there for a reason.

            I also wish people would stop talking on behalf of the fans. We all know the majority of this sites readers are british. Its a british site with a british domain. So of course the fans will all support their home side (Mclaren). Any surveys and polls will undoubtably be in favor of the home side.

            You might find that the reality of things are completely different. Here in South Africa, a radio host ran a poll on the situation and the majority of the votes were pro-ferrari.

            The fans were not out-raged. The media was outraged, because by being so, they made plenty money. The only reason the stewards even gave the $100,000 penalty was because of the BBC commentators who were demanding action.

            The way in which they then went about it was correct. They gave the small penalty to please the immediate media storm. They then set a distant court date, to give the media time to change subject and forget about it all. This worked well as even Eddy Jordan (who was the most out-raged of all) changed his view over time.

            So overall its all good in the hood. The fans are happy that the championship battle was not destroyed by punishing Ferrari, and everything can now get back to normal. An extra added bonus is that we might see that stupid rule done away with.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 8th September 2010, 21:59

            Ugh.

            “British Site”
            By that logic, it’s a “British Sport”, since 85% of the teams are based in England. And the guy that runs the sport is British. Clearly, then, *only* the views of British teams, fans and commentators should count, right? Nonsense.

            “Home side”
            Does not equal McLaren. Again, 85% of the teams are British. And McLaren didn’t lose out on a win in Germany as a result of Ferrari’s race fixing. So being against the FIA’s decision does not mean that someone is pro-McLaren. Nonsense.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 22:02

            I also wish people would stop talking on behalf of the fans. We all know the majority of this sites readers are british. Its a british site with a british domain. So of course the fans will all support their home side (Mclaren). Any surveys and polls will undoubtably be in favor of the home side.

            The domain suffix does not reflect the nationality of the readership of the audience. As you might expect it’s more closely related to the language the site is written in and Britain is far from the largest English-speaking nation. As I’ve pointed out whenever this topic comes up, the site’s readership is just under one-third British (32%).

            After the German Grand Prix 78% said Ferrari should be punished and at the time of writing 75% feel the punishment was too soft. So I reject your suggestion that the voting is swayed entirely by nationality.

      • Its Time said on 8th September 2010, 20:49

        Its time for the breakaway series which we know was in the works last year.

        I can see it becoming a FOTA vs Ferrai + FIA ( and maybe Mercedes ). I think this would be the best option for everyone concerned.

        “F1″ would be the same as before and we would finally get a series ( GP1, i think ) which would be what we wanted F1 to be always.

        Safe to say I would watch GP1.

    • Adrian said on 8th September 2010, 18:03

      ” The FIA would have to have investigated every result in the last few years to ensure it was not a unique case.”

      Not if they punished them under Article 151c for bringing the sport into disrepute. Too late now, but they could have argued that while Team Orders have occurred in the past, it was the blatant way in which Ferrari went about it which brought about the punishment rather than the actual team orders themselves.

      They could have followed this up with a clarification to the team orders rule to allow team orders when one driver is mathematically out of the running for the WDC.

    • I think it’s about high time mclaren starts paying button to crash into webber now! :-P obviously, $100000 fine for deciding race events per race is not much a price to pay, if the outcome is a world champion!

      Really dissapointed with WMSC’s decision.

      • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 18:54

        There is a difference between team orders and taking out another competitor on purpose.

        • bosyber said on 8th September 2010, 20:41

          How so, they are just FIA rules, if you moan about it enough, and have most teams not willing to counter you, you get nothing from it.

          • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 21:17

            Well, yes and no. For example, in Italy, you may be facing criminal charges for an intentional crash, especially if there are any injuries as a result.

        • I didn’t see Red Bull get fined in SPA :)

    • Like good civil system jurists, the FIA, by its own standards of process, does not rely on precedent. And yes Keith’s server will explode at some point tonight after people have got home from work in Europe and learned of this travesty.

    • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 18:43

      It was the correct ruling.

      It was actually a no win situation though, had Ferrari told Alonso NOT to overtake Massa…team orders! Instead, Massa was instructed to move over, team orders!

      If you think Ferrari is the only team issuing similar orders to their drivers, you are mistaken. Ferrari just didn’t try and hide it.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 18:45

        People keep saying that, but I’m yet to hear an example of another team swapping the positions of their drivers this year using team orders. Anyone?

        • One can argue that Red Bull tried it in Turkey, albeit with a little more subtlety. Perhaps too much, as it turned out.

          • I don’t think they did use team orders then… I think people were making something out of nothing with that… To be honest I’d like to see evidence that really suggests it.

        • Christian said on 8th September 2010, 19:28

          How about McLaren’s “save fuel” mode at Turkey??

          Button and Hamilton start fighting each other and suddenly they get the magic “save fuel” warning. Undeniably a team order.

          • This is not a valid example, when they emptied the tanks after the race Hamilton’s car had less than a lap of fuel on board and Button’s had only a fraction more. ie, they actually needed to save fuel in order to finish the race…

        • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 21:41

          I am not aware of any team orders from this year that would be considered as blatent as the Ferrari team orders. There are a couple of arguments to be made from this year regarding team orders, but I would be hard pressed to acknowledge anyone being as blatent as Ferrari were. They didn’t leave much doubt, which I applaud them for, they could have been more stealthy but it would still have been team orders.

          But my line of thinking goes back, not just this year. ….many instances of team orders in F1 history.

      • Kimster said on 8th September 2010, 20:57

        There can be not punishment because Ferrari never ever told Massa to let Alonso through, they only told him that Alosno was faster. So there were no teamorder

        • Jack Peekoc said on 8th September 2010, 21:39

          Exactly.

          Spot on.

        • Anagh said on 9th September 2010, 6:38

          and wat was, “ok lad, now hang on, sorry?” cross connection? :P

          No offence to ferrari fans, but I fear his will only encourage more team orders.

          btw, the whole button n hamilton fighting scenario, lewis was asked to slow down, but he did fight back for his position and got it back, didnt just sit there when button passed, waiting for a sorry msg from the pits.

        • Naive, do you think if I said I wish someone were dead then shot him in the head I’d get away with manslaughter??

          Clearly the stewards, and the WMSC by upholding their decision, thought Ferrari were lying through their teeth by finding them guilty of breaking the rule.

  3. It does nothing to stop them (or other teams) doing it again, which is ridiculous.

    The race damaged F1′s credibility, and this does nothing to reverse the damage. F1 fans don’t like manipulated races like Austria 2002 or Germany 2010…

    • David BR said on 8th September 2010, 17:32

      This for me is the main point. I’m not fussed about Ferrari being penalized further, but I am fussed about the Italian outfit and other teams using blatant team orders in the remaining races of the season, paying the fine, and turning the competition into a farce.

      So the question is: is there a behind the scenes agreement that Ferrari won’t do the same again? Or will FIA issue a change to the regulations or a rewording to discourage them?

    • Jack Peekoc said on 8th September 2010, 21:43

      Punishing Ferrari just to make a point would be wrong.

      Instead they should either do away with their rule, or clarify it. At the moment the rule is very grey. Ferrari never actually issued any orders. So technically, according to the rules, they did nothing wrong.

      • David BR said on 8th September 2010, 22:20

        Or more precisely, Ferrari didn’t issue any *uncoded* team orders. But just about the whole planet understood the coded message between Smedley and Massa, which is why they were penalized and the penalty upheld.

        Having read FIA’s sorry excuse for a statement, there’s a real likelihood of the situation repeating itself more than once to the end of this season given how close the WDC is. Given the dissatisfaction with which Ferrari’s switching of its drivers was met globally, you’ve got to wonder what FIA are going to do if the team orders escalate and are openly admitted – because if the teams go that route, it’s going to be deeply unpopular as a spectacle.

        Cynically I presume all the contending teams have agreed to mask any team orders as best they can – we’ll get an idea of that from their responses to FIA’s decision.

      • Todfod said on 8th September 2010, 23:07

        True. There are loopholes in the law passed by the FIA, and Ferrari just exploited them. All teams are capable of making several decisions regarding tyre,pit stops,and setup strategy, that favour one teammate over another. These decisions can also have an effect on the race outcome.

        Ferrari showed blatant disregard, but every team has done it on some level. I think a slap on the wrist is justified.

        Additionally, the championship stays more interesting with no penalty awarded to the Drivers.

        • Anagh said on 9th September 2010, 6:43

          “Ferrari showed blatant disregard, but every team has done it on some level. I think a slap on the wrist is justified.”

          Completely agreed. Itz the same like, blocking the opponent too many times while defending a position. there is no rule, that you shld not block an opponent by swaying your car, it’s just customary to change ur line once, n then stay there.

          Same way, just because the rule isnt clear you cannot exploit it. Sad, formula 1 is becoming more a drama than sport now. :-(

  4. Any other outcome would have been hypocrisy.

    Hypocrisy because motor-sports, and particularly F1 always has had and always will have team orders.

    And hypocrisy because any other sanction would have had more effect on the World Championship than the “crime” Ferrari committed.

    • For a sport so determined to “improve the show” this is an absolute disaster. After the fallout of Austria 2002 the powers that be decided to ban the use of team orders to the effect of pulling over to let another car win.

      In it’s first test case the WMC has totally flopped when asked meaning it’s totally open game again and to be removed from the rulebook.

      Personally I dont see much difference in Alonso asking Massa to pull over so he can win the race or Alonso asking Piquet to cause a safety car to win the race, and we all go on about Schumi winning at all costs…

    • Andy W said on 8th September 2010, 17:38

      Sorry but isn’t the idea of competing in any sport to do it within the rules?

    • John H said on 8th September 2010, 17:50

      hypocrisy? Not that old chestnut.

      Hypocrisy because motor-sports, and particularly F1 always has had and always will have team orders.

      So, it’s quite alright to brake the sporting code then is it?

      What I want to know is if they lied to the stewards or not, because they certainly did to the press after the race.

      • There’s the code. And then there are rules which are so stupid that they are unrealistic. At that point people ignore them.

        I am happy for them to either enforce the rule in every case, ignore it completely, or get rid of the rule.

        Makes no difference to me, as long as they do it consistently.
        In the last few years the FIA, and the WMSC have shown themselves to be almost as disorganised as Ferrari’s team strategy generally is.

    • patrickl said on 8th September 2010, 18:25

      There have only been 3 cases of drivers letting the other past for the WDC points:
      1) Massa being passed by Raikkonen in Interlagos 2007
      2) Raikkonen letting Massa past in China 2008
      3) Massa ordered to let Alonso past in Hockenheim 2010

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 8th September 2010, 21:29

        4) Barrichello ordered to let Schumacher pass in Austria 2001
        5) Ditto in in 2002
        6) Escapes my memory which exact race, but there was one where Barrichello or Irvine was a few places ahead and they dropped him back to give Schumacher 1 more point

        I suppose you can counter with Germany 2008, in which the “favoured driver” passed 2 other cars and the other guy passed none. Wait, that wasn’t a “there’s no point, so don’t crash” order, was it?

        • David A said on 9th September 2010, 2:59

          6) For all you actually remember, they could have simply suffered a mechanical issue or some sort.

          Patrickl must have meant after the team orders ban anyway.

      • Jack Peekoc said on 8th September 2010, 21:45

        What about when Hekki let Lewis past?

      • WHAT? Schumi on Barrichello? Does this not ring a bell for what was maybe the most famous of them all?

        One could also argue that Hamilton’s pass on KOV a couple years ago on his charge back to the front was a team decision because HAM was faster and didn’t need KOV holding him up. He went on to win the race, if I recall after passing what…Massa and Piquet as well?

        • The Kov situation is clearly different, Hamilton was clearly faster and there is a point where ruining Hamilton’s race wasn’t worth it for Kovalainen.

          In this instance, Massa clearly had been able to keep Alonso behind and clearly was on a similar level of pace, Also, 2nd would not have been a disaster for Alonso by any means.

        • David A said on 9th September 2010, 2:57

          He was referring to after the team orders ban.

        • Jack Peekoc said on 9th September 2010, 11:31

          The situation on track be as different as you like. At the end of the day teams orders are team orders are team orders. You cant say “but lewis was much faster” because it makes absolutely no difference.

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 9th September 2010, 16:01

            It does matter. You cannot penalize every change of position between two team members.

            Massa never intended to let Alonso past. Only when he was told to do so did he let him past.

      • Cacarella said on 9th September 2010, 2:36

        Heidfeld being passed by Kubica in Canada 08

      • Selective memory?

  5. Far too soft that’s my words! They made us wait so long for no reason, PR!!!!

  6. giorgio said on 8th September 2010, 17:21

    I got a feeling that in this month’s Jean Todt Poll he’ll take some serious criticism (although he is not the one who took the decision). I, personally, am happy with this since I’m a Ferrari fan. Yet i think they should’ve done a little bit more than just a fine.

  7. Good to see that the Ferrari International Assistance is still very much alive and kicking!!! A very weak decision from the FIA IMO

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 8th September 2010, 17:45

      Yeah weak, very weak. My prefered would have been docking constuctors, that at least would have sent a message. The majority of fans felt cheated, and feel the rule needs improving not crushing. I hope that at least is what comes from this. Team orders are back on then it seems, Renault and Ferrari will be using them without doubt from this point on, an very probably next year.

      I wish they’d taken the constructors, it would have left Alonso with a chance and sent a message, or a suspended ban that would have crushed all further team orders and basically left Ferrari alone.

      I don’t feel it’s a return to Ferrari Internacionale though, the revamped FIA has made mostly the right decisions and Todt was probably right to stand back on this one. He’d probably have gone harsher, the rest of the FIA is weak, weak, weak though, they’ve been walked all over by Mosley and there used to letting teams ride loose if the president doesn’t lead them otherwise, I can’t belive they couldn’t raise the backbone to clear up a long established, supported and abused rule.

      I’m so disapointed by this, FIA must now confirm and establish better team orders rule, it’s not a technical issue and the fans don’t want to see it, the argument the fans don’t really know best has no relavance is such a case, this a veiwers preferance rule and the veiwers don’t want team orders.

      Now the FIA has spectacularly failed to lay down the law, it must find a way to improve the rule, make it enforcable and above all keep it in the sport. No one but the teams want it back, an if they want us they need to give us this one, a return to the dark old days is not in the interests of the sport.

  8. Daniel said on 8th September 2010, 17:23

    FERRARI INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE!

    DISGRACE!!!!!!!!

    Atleast a hefty sum of money, pathetic!!!

  9. Pingguest said on 8th September 2010, 17:23

    A very weak decision. A penalty of US$ 100,000 means nothing for a Formula 1 team.

  10. Joey-Poey said on 8th September 2010, 17:23

    in an ideal world, they would have given Massa the win. Alas, it’s not an ideal world and it’s probably not feasible.

    • Flibster said on 8th September 2010, 17:43

      How can they give Massa the win?

      He’s the one guilty of following team orders and letting his team mate past.

      Far too lenient imo.

    • Maksutov said on 9th September 2010, 0:43

      In an ideal word:

      What we know for sure, from this incident, is that Massa let Alonso pass. So based on this visual and recorder evidence the first person who should be interrogated (within the jurisdictional rights of WMSC and FIA) is Massa himself. If Massa is found to be guilty of purposely changing the outcome of the race, then his license should be revoked. Unless Massa himself gives a statement against Ferrari. If the statement includes that Ferrari gave him the order, then and only then can Ferrari team be held 100% accountable.

      Although we know exactly what happened (and we all hate what happened including me) there is no clear evidence to prove it and possibly why this turned out to be a weak decision. As sad as it sounds, pasting words between Massa and his engineer (“sorry”, “good luck” and all that) and Alonso with the team, does not give sufficient evidence of team order.

      These things happen all the time, even outside of F1 in real world. Rapists and murderers get away with crime every single day because rules get twisted and because “you are innocent until proven guilty” applies. To prove something without a shadow of a doubt is no easy task.

      • Dr. Mouse said on 9th September 2010, 10:35

        “To prove something without a shadow of a doubt is no easy task.”

        Unless there is an admission of guilt.

        As far as I am aware, Ferarri did not challenge/appeal the stewards decision. They chose not to contest the “conviction”. In my mind, that is an admission of guilt and, as the fine stands, they are officially “guilty” of issuing team orders.

  11. Bogenbroom said on 8th September 2010, 17:24

    Further damage to Formula one credibility

  12. Far too soft. That almost condones cheating, and invites more.

    It must also mean the end of the road for the rule banning team orders and, effectively, bringing them back into the sport.

  13. Will be interesting to see what the next Todt Approval Rating will be on here, I suspect a quite enlargened dip…

    • Joey-Poey said on 8th September 2010, 17:33

      There seems to be a fair amount of Ferrari supporters on the site as well as people who felt the deserved to be punished. So I suspect it won’t be a dip so much as a divisive moment where there will be fewer “no opinion” votes.

  14. Jelle van der Meer said on 8th September 2010, 17:26

    A #$*^*&^@ disgrace for the F1 sport and enforcing of set rules.
    They might as well have stricken team order rule at same time if they do not plan to enforce it.

    I REALLY REALLY hope Alonso does not win championship this year with less than 7 points difference.

    • HewisLamilton said on 8th September 2010, 21:27

      It appears as if striking the team orders is exactly what is going to transpire.

    • So, you hope Alonso win championship this year with more than 7 points difference..

      • Jelle van der Meer said on 9th September 2010, 0:13

        No absolutely not, Alonso for long time already is WAY WAY down the list of drivers I like, looking at season performance it should be Webber or Hamilton.

        Al that I say is that just in case Alonso would win, I hope it is with more than 7 points to avoid all the discussions, like Massa crying he lost 2008 championship because of Piquet.

  15. That is the right decision in my opinion. Considering teams get away with team orders all the time. What the FIA need to do is to rewrite rule 39.1 to make it more clear on what’s acceptable and what is not.

    • The fact teams do it is fair enough, but how many get found guilty? If the rule is there and it is broken then there should be a big punishemnt.

      The fact ‘everyone else does it’ doesnt hold up in court so why should it in this case? Its almost a childish reason, you know the rules so either stick to them or dont be stupid enough to get caught.

      Another ridiculous desicion that puts the sport into more disripute than Ferrari originally did

      • This whole saga only ended up in court because their was a big outcry from the fans and media. If they didn’t complain, we wouldn’t be discussing this.

        • So its wrong that the fans concerns were heard?

          I agree that if the fans werent so disgusted than no action would have been taken but the fact action was taken was a great step by the FIA. They just did have the balls to follow through.

          Whether we would have been discussing this or not is not important, the fact is if you find someone guilty of breaking a law you punish them otherwie you’re left with egg on your face.

      • Ryan M said on 8th September 2010, 19:44

        everyone does do it. It was the fact that ferrari (massa & smedley) made it so obvious. turkey comes to mind for other teams that may have done it but because it was subtle no one really noticed

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 8th September 2010, 17:49

      While I still think this is a lost oppourtunity to lay down the law on the rule, which became unenforcable only because the FIA let it. Now the WMSC has made this useless descion the FIA must improve the law.

      An the law must stay team orders must be banned, they damage the intergrity of F1 as a sporting contest. This is a fans preferance law and the fans hate team orders.

    • Someone from the BBC put on their twitter page that the FIA are going to discuss the team order rule. I don’t know how they know that already, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were going to look at it and I’m hoping they do. There’s no way they can fully enforce the ban on team orders though for various reasons.

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