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)

  1. 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

  2. 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)

  3. 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.
        no

        • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

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

  10. 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!

  11. I thought something like this would be the most likely outcome, although I wouldn’t have been surprised if the fine had increased or some sort of suspended sentence had been handed out.

    I don’t think any punishment such as docking points or a ban was ever likely to happen.

    If Ferrari had been given a big penalty I would have thought they could have successfully appealed the decision.

    They could say that when they told Massa that Alonso was faster than him they were just keeping Massa informed of what was happening in the race just as they would do if it was any other driver behind him who was quicker, and that it was Massa’s decision to let Alonso through.

    • John H said on 8th September 2010, 18:04

      “They could say that when they told Massa that Alonso was faster than him they were just keeping Massa informed of what was happening in the race just as they would do if it was any other driver behind him who was quicker, and that it was Massa’s decision to let Alonso through.”

      Well, why were they fined at all then?

  12. DavidS said on 8th September 2010, 17:51

    If you aren’t going to enforce the rule with any serious form of punishment, you might as well not have the rule.

    Letting them off with no further punishment shows that the WMSC is a toothless tiger. Now it’s essentially given teams carte blanche to use team orders to adjust the result, and if they get caught, the punishment cannot be any more or less than what Ferrari received without showing obvious signs of bias.

    • John H said on 8th September 2010, 18:05

      I’m really hoping that Red Bull and McLaren come on the radio and say such things. Unfortunately, the chances of it being broadcast by FOM are minimal.

  13. What I hate most about the FIA is how inconsistent they are.

    In 2002 team orders was allowed, yet Ferrari received a $1million fine. 2010 team orders is clearly against the rules and Ferrari receive only a $100k fine.

    Go figure…

  14. Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 17:51

    The effort to make auto racing into some sort of a team sport is at the heart of what is wrong. Ferrari’s actions are just a symptom of a larger problem.

    The two cars on a team are not really on a team nor are they competing. The second car’s only purpose is to prop up the lead car, run defense for it, and finish races when it fails to.

    Get rid of two car teams. One car, one driver, one team.

    • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:06

      F1 is a team sport in 2 ways:
      1) The constructor develops the car for both drivers as a team
      2) The driver has a team around him for pit stops, strategy etc, which is separate from that of his “team mate”.

      When it comes to the race, it is not a team sport involving 2 drivers, it is a team sport involving individual drivers and their “team”.

      OK reading that back it may not be very clear, but I hope people get the gist.

      • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 18:10

        Point #1 has been shown to really mean:

        “A constructor develops the car for both drivers, but one receives all preferential treatments, parts, instruction, and support while the other driver is there to make sure the lead wins.”

        Point #2 has been shown to really mean:

        “The lead driver receives the best that the pit crew has to offer as well as time preference over the other driver, who is more of a nuisance unless he is helping the lead driver win.”

        There is no “team”.

        One driver. One car. One team. And that is how it should be.

        • I agree. For cost purposes, allow some limited chassis sharing so there aren’t 24 sets of engineers designing 24 distinct cars. But one car per team would be the only way around the farce that is team orders. Every driver should be able to drive with team assistance, but without team interference.

          • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 20:41

            “Every driver should be able to drive with team assistance, but without team interference”

            I like that!

  15. Bernard said on 8th September 2010, 17:54

    The WMSC are simply pathetic.

  16. Ferrari’s defense was that Massa elected to let Alonso by on his own decision.

    I feel that no additional “punishment” was warranted, a clear message was sent to all the teams; be discreet in how you manage your race results.

    After all it was 1-2 for Ferrari, let the team have some control over the finishing order if it helps in their driver’s championship chase.

    • John H said on 8th September 2010, 18:07

      “After all it was 1-2 for Ferrari, let the team have some control over the finishing order if it helps in their driver’s championship chase.”

      Totally agree. But that is for a different debate – whether to have the rule or not. This about what has happened with the rule in place.

      That’s why all that hypocrisy rubbish about Lauda was so misguided – there were no team order rules back then!

      • To be honest, in case Alonso does manage to win this WDC, and the difference will be 7 points or less, I will feel almost as bad with it as when Ferrari celebrated having their win in the WCC championship after McLaren was stripped of all constructor points in 2007.
        A hollow victory and no reason to celebrate.

    • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:08

      I disagree.

      If it was Massa’s decision alone, it was not team orders and the fine should be overturned.

      If the fine stands, they have been found guilty of team orders and the punishment should be harsher.

    • If Massa is even half the race driver he should be, he should never yield to anyone on the circuit unless a marshall is waving a blue flag at him.

      If F1 drivers are highly competetive, selfish, victory-driven atheletes, the suggestion that any one of them would yield ‘for the good of the team’ is complete rubbish.

      Let’s face it folks, we’re watching a sport where some economist manager person on pit wall is allowed the manipulate the outcome of a race ad go virtually unpunished.

      F1 and figure skating have more in common that any of us are comfortable enough to admit.

  17. qazuhb said on 8th September 2010, 17:56

    As I said earlier, it was too late to alter the race outcome, but I think a MUCH HEAVIER fine should have been imposed, along with a reprimand stating clearly that this is the last time this will be tolerated, and a rule clarification to make enforcement possible in future attempts to violate it.

  18. Die Hard 5 said on 8th September 2010, 17:58

    What do you expect with ex-Ferrari head honcho Todt at the FIA? He’s not going to screw his old team.

  19. Just what I thought. and the reason I think that it came to this is that it was too hard to judge. A point reduction or ban would have been more punishment than there was evidence. Basically, after Massa made it obvious, he kept his mouth shut and there was no was to PROVE that it was in-race team orders….

  20. “puts on his ********* helmet and ducks for cover”

    It wasn’t that hard to predict that Ferrari would “get away” with the stunt they pulled.

    WELCOME TO THE F1 CIRCUS!!!!!!!

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