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 on 9 September 2010.


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)

  1. matt88 (@matt88) said on 8th September 2010, 17:30

    i’m a ferrari fan, i consider the punishment slightly soft, maybe they could cut part of their points or give ‘em a grid penalty, but not much more.

  2. Richard Brown said on 8th September 2010, 17:31

    I feared this would happen. I’m not a Ferrari fan. But this forum will now become bursting to the brim with casual, headline-interested-only F1 fans screaming “Ferrari International Assistance” this and “scam outcome” here, when the only examples of team orders they know are probably this one and the infamous example from Austria 2002 (and actually, more of the $1m fine for that was for the podium debacle…)

    There was no feasible way you could do something ground-breaking as a punishment, as some of the wiser heads have dared say already, this would mean about 15 races since the 2002 example would need to be vigorously investigated.

    Ferrari have simply carried out something that all teams have done, and will continue to do, poorly, making fools of themselves in the process.

    Ideally, I think a heftier fine would have just made good measure for the the lack subtleness, but ultimately I hope this culminates in the ridding of rule 39.1

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 8th September 2010, 17:58

      Disagree, the but look what happend in the past argument is an unhelpfull way of looking at the problem.

      Partly because the generall bad governance of the Mosley era ment madly inefficient, inconcistant and poor application of the rules was routine, an partly because it’s not about what happened in the past but about how f1 wants to be in the future.

      So the team orders rule hasn’t been well enforced, lets not agonise over past infractions that can’t be changed, lets look at what can be done now and change that, lets have a proper ban on team orders, lets make the bounderies and punishments clear.

      Team orders are bad for F1 in the modern world, they make a mockery of the sporting contest, they anger the fans like little else, rule 39.1 needs improving, getting rid of it would mean a return to the bad old days. Part of the reason for the fun we’ve had this year is te top teams now need to top drivers to win both championships, hence the number of drivers competing for the titles, back to one driver teams an we could face the Schumacher era all over again, team orders must stay banned.

      • Exactly, just the same as doping is a traditional part of cycling and buying the referee is pretty much business as usual in Football does not mean it should not be stopped.

        Todt has started to make the FIA work like a governing body instead of just a Max power organisation. This is an opportunity lost to start enforcing the rules with punishments fitting the crime instead of just politics defining the penalty regardless of the actual crime (compare Renault and McLaren spying cases)

  3. Team orders have been part of F1 for years, and it’s hard to stop that.

    But if you do it as a team, make sure it’s NOT too obvious that you’re doing it. It really, really damages the sport for the fans, sponsors and viewers worldwide!

    Afterwards, Massa could have better ‘braked too late’ in a corner so he would slide off the racing line for a few seconds…

  4. lynnduffy (@lynnduffy) said on 8th September 2010, 17:36

    It’s simple. If they are guilty then they lied to the stewards and need to be punished as McLaren were for Oz last year. If not then the fine would have been withdrawn.

    The WMSC needs to grow a number of pairs…

  5. Philip said on 8th September 2010, 17:39

    The FIA Ferrari Performance Enhancements Price List 2010

    1.1 Allowed to break “No team orders” rule. Cost: $100,000

    1.2 Allowed to start race from 2 metres beyond grid slot. Cost: Free

    1.3 Allowed flexible front wing. Cost: Free

    Please feel free to add to the list…

    • dyslexicbunny said on 8th September 2010, 19:38

      1.4 Getting away with all of it and having tons of free PR. Priceless.

      There are some things Ferrari can’t buy. For everything else, they’ve got MasterCard.

      – Too tempting

  6. barkun said on 8th September 2010, 17:39

    very much expected… after all in a couple of days there is the Italian GP and further sanctions against the beloved Ferrari would have had a negative impact on gate money.

    .. having said that, I think that F1 needs much clearer rules

  7. So basically you can corrupt the result of a race, virtually ruin one of your driver’s chances for the title, a driver who has been with the team since 2003 over someone who has just joined, insult the intelligence of the fans by doing this, lie about it, and most importantly, break the rules, and get away with it?
    You know, I always found the whole ‘ferrari international assistance’ thing a bit stupid and annoying but now I think i’ve changed my mind. Oh, and whoever voted ‘far too harsh’ on the poll obviously has a zany sense of humour…(sarcasm)

  8. almanac said on 8th September 2010, 17:41

    how in the earth ppl were asking more punishment?
    how could you expect no team orders in f1?
    they invest 800 million dollars and some puppet like massa and his engineer be cocky and ruin it?
    the last time I checked they are on ferrari payroll and the reason that they are there is because they are expected to behave according to team interests not because they think they are unreplacable when there are plenty of others to replace them. The way they carried it was disgusting like they were working for maclaren not for ferrari

    • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 17:47

      “how could you expect no team orders in f1?”

      Erm… because they are against the rules?

      I agree that team orders have been part of F1 as long as I can remember, but you should be able to expect teams not to break the rules.

      • almanc said on 8th September 2010, 17:51

        the only ferrari wrong doing was doing them a little too honestly
        should they pay for they honesty.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 17:55

          I don’t think they were “honest” about it. If they’d been honest they’d have told Massa something like what they told Barrichello at Austria – “let Alonso past for the championship”, something like that.

        • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:00

          “the only ferrari wrong doing was doing them a little too honestly”

          No, the only Ferrari wrong doing was BREAKING THE RULES!

          Added to which there was no honesty. They have spent every moment since the incident denying that there were any team orders.

    • John H said on 8th September 2010, 18:00

      “they invest 800 million dollars and some puppet like massa and his engineer be cocky and ruin it?”

      Jeez. This is an objective post.

  9. I was expecting something like 1.000.000 fine. That would be fairer (if we consider Ferrari’s budget), show desaproval and wouldn’t change points already given to pilots.

  10. Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 17:41

    I can see peoples’ points about team orders always having been part of F1.

    BUT they are against the rules. It is like saying “people have always stolen”. You are right, they have, but it is against the law and should be punished.

    This has been the first BLATANT use of team orders. I guess the possible reasoning behind it is that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that it was a team order rather than a driver decision by Massa, but if that was the case the fine should have been overturned.

    I would like to hear the FIA reasoning behind this decision, but in my opinion it is a poor one. It appears to basically nullify the rule, as a $100k fine is a slap on the wrist. If the rule is to stay, it needs enforcing, and a harsh punishment was needed.

    I will wait for the FIA to give some justification, but it will need to be a good one to allow them to keep some credibility in this case…

  11. Tiomkin said on 8th September 2010, 17:42

    It pays to break the rules. $100K, the price to fix a race. Cheap. I can’t take F1 seriously anymore. Hulk Hogan for president.

    • And a lot of Ferrari fans complained Lewis got of cheaply with a fine in Montreal. What would the same people say about this!

  12. alexf1man said on 8th September 2010, 17:42

    They did the switch and got away with it? We all know it WILL happen again, although I don’t think they would do it in the opening race. Time will tell.

    As for the punishment, they should have received a multi-million dollar fine, lose the 43 points (or even all) from the constructors’ championship, and not be allowed to score constructors’ points for the rest of the year.

  13. John H said on 8th September 2010, 17:43

    Methinks Todt’s approval rating my take a turn for the worse.

    • alexf1man said on 8th September 2010, 17:45

      It definitely will, no question about it.

      1) Ferrari getting away with team orders

      2) FIA haven’t said whether the Korea GP is definitely going ahead yet, with 46 days to the race (not sure if anyone else has though about this one).

      • Don’t forget the handing out of the 13th spot. First delayed beyond a point where it was impossible to actually get funds, as everyone knew no team would have a car capable of making the 107% rule and then letting us wait another week or two before just cancelling it.
        Why not say up front, that they would want to give it some time and let somebody in for 2012 or 13 (with the new rules).

  14. will that mean team orders can now be heared from all the teams.

  15. Ben bailey said on 8th September 2010, 17:49

    Pathetic! What is the point in no team oders rule. stewards already found them guilty. therefor they lied to stewards too. Far worse than austria 2002 as at least then it wasnt against the rules!!! I will not watch Italian GP and see Alonso gloating. Massa you should quit Ferrari with some digity!

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