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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Ferrari didn’t order Massa to back off. So FIA can’t proof anything.

    1. Well why were they fined $100,000 then… for a laugh?

  2. So if jenson happens to be leading a mclaren one two this weekend all mclaren has to do is ask jenson whether he understands that lewis is lapping quicker than him and let him pass. $100k fine and lewis increases his champs points lead. brilliant!

    1. No sorry mate, if that was the case it would be race ban, disqualification, and £10 mill. fine……..

      1. Not if the blaze up on “hypocrisy, and oh, we will sue FIA over this”, or McLaren have a valid case for sueing FIA for discriminating them in favour of Ferrari, bringing up past precedents where they were harshly punished and Ferrari were let of easy … please not that again.

    2. I fully expect this to happen with Jenson & Vettel just to embarrass the FIA

  3. Whether or not the law subsequently requires modification, surely it stood and was clear at the time of the blatant offence.
    I don’t see a logic by which the $100k fine remains in place. Surely if this merited penalty, then that penalty should have rather more severe, or if the council has decided that the offence was not in fact worthy of punishment then they should have stood by their convictions and the $100k should be returned. This indecisive middle ground doesn’t satisfy me as a fair and just outcome.

  4. I will just have to accept F1 is now simply a very loud, contrived,choreographed corporate event. And no longer the pinnacle of motor sport.

    1. I concur, to call it sport is a joke. And for me to continue to watch it means the joke is on me. I’m outa here.

  5. Ferrari have won, can you confirm you understood this message? Just kidding!

  6. Alonso is a lucky duck. He is in every scandal there is and somehow never gets caught.

    1. There was a man, no scandal, no matter how hot or sticky would stay attached, no matter the circumstances no matter the evidence, he always came out with nothing on him.

      His name:


      1. Teflonso the guy who is above all.

  7. The issue isn’t really Ferrari’s non-punishment, it’s the precedent the decision sets.

    First of all, the WMSC found that Ferrari breached 39.1, otherwise they wouldn’t have upheld the fine – legally, they couldn’t, in fact.

    So Ferrari broke the rules. The WMSC’s next step was to indicate that breaking this rule doesn’t really matter to them, because the fine isn’t even pocket money to the teams.

    They then indicate that they’re going to “review” the rule – which basically means they’re going to weaken or abolish it altogether, or at least hope that the Working Group does so (which it will).

    So to recap, a rule is broken, the authorities acknowledge it was broken, and then do everything they can to minimise the fact and pave the way for its abolition. Leadership of the most cowardly and lacking kind that signals the end of Todt’s honeymoon at the head of a “new” FIA. It might be structured differently, but it does the same thing in the end that it always does: wash its hand of responsible management of the sport it likes to interfere in more than anything else.

    And the question really should be asked: if it wasn’t Ferrari, would there have been a different result? Given that breaking 39.1 immediately breaks 151c and given what happened to Renault and McLaren for breaking that rule, this decision must stand as the blackest day for F1 since the Singapore scandal broke out.

    Today, F1 has completed the slide out of being a sport. It is merely a set of rules that can be changed and bent depending on the player and the situation. At least there are still 11 other teams who have the decency to be sneaky enough about back-room decisions to make us poor naive fools believe it’s something more.

    And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the cheats stuffed on their own home ground. I hope their fans enjoy tainted titles, because that’s all the ones they’ll be cherishing for a while yet.

    1. “The issue isn’t really Ferrari’s non-punishment, it’s the precedent the decision sets.”

      I don’t believe it does set a precedent at least not yet, because the rule is going to be clarified.

      Also, Icthyes I have a lot of respect for you, you’re one of my favourite users on here and I always look out for your comments but not all us Ferrari fans think the same. I would have liked a harsher penalty myself and I’ve said from the beginning that whoever wins the title deserves it but if Alo wins it this year I won’t cherish it the same way as I did with his 05 and 06 titles.

      1. The precedent is rather that rules are there to be challenged and broken, rather then comply, if you don’t like them. At least, if you are a big team with lots of fans and a big name that has been receiving perhaps more than its fair share of bad luck in strategy with respect to race control.

        In other words, again fueling the “Ferrari International Assistance” paranoia – not something we needed at all.

        I guess they couldn’t charge Ferrari with bringing the sport into disrepute, as they could do it way better themselves with this verdict, contrasting rather finely with, for example, the lying to stewards that got Hamilton justly disqualified from Aus’09.

      2. Sorry Steph, I meant no offence to you personally or any other Ferrari fan in the minority.

        The team has been found to have cheated and it’s them I mean by the insult. As for tainted titles, well it will be one if Alonso wins it, as are previous ones tainted by their former #1 policy (and yes, I supported it at the time, but I make no claims to being a mature individual back then). When applied to fans like you, it’s more a pity than anything; that Ferrari should drag its reputation through the mud when they have true F1 fans like you as their own fans too.

        1. PS: If Massa wins this weekend in a Ferrari 1-3 and in doing so ends up denying Hamilton the championship, it’ll almost be okay by me (sorry that’s as much as I can give ;-))!

          1. Oh I know you didn’t mean any Ichtyes you’re one of the nicest guys on here!

            There’s been plenty of generalisations from the Ferrari fan side too (I’ve became very weary of the whole British bias thing and that’s just one example) and I’m a Massa lunatic myself so I didn’t mean much by it but I just wanted to say that some of us really aren’t proud at all by this episode so don’t think too badly of us! I really appreciate your comments though.

            I think it’s a pity for everyone involved really esp the fans no matter what side they’re on. I don’t like team orders myself but I’ve always sort of understood them but when it comes to breaking rules I do believe there should be punishments. I’m a fan of the sport first and Ferrrari second so if Ferrari had lost constructor’s points I wouldn’t have whinged at all.

            That’s good enough for me Icthyes although that would mean Alonso would have once again relied on Massa to help his own title challenge to some extent:P

  8. This looks really bad on the FIA (once again). If Ferrari break the rules and embarass the sport, absolutely minimum punishment. No disincentive to break the rules in the future.

    Oh, and because Ferrari never really liked the rule, we’ll have to review it.

    What a joke.

  9. I can hear them laughing all the way from Maranello……

  10. I think I’ll create a website for people, who want the money back, they have spend, so far this year, watching F1. Then we try to claim the money back from FIA and WMSC because they don’t deliver a sport, following the reasonable rules written, but they deliver a farce instead.
    I went to Spa and enjoyed it a lot, but I’m glad I didn’t know Ferrari wouldn’t be punished deservingly at the time of the Spa race. But I feel somehow the show gets money from me watching it on false conditions. A rule is a rule and other teams have proven not to be using team orders, as to change the result of a race.
    The teams who are against this verdict should deposit 100.000 $ with the FIA before every race, just in case they feel the need of issuing a team order affecting the race result.
    I haven’t read their arguing for the non-punishment, and frankly I couldn’t care less – the result of their verdict is the worst case of “bringing the sport in disrepute” I can recall…

  11. Interesting not a word in the statement about Article 151c Bringing the sport into disrepute. The stewards refered that as well to the WMSC, it’s almost as if that was ingnored. Also the wording of the limited statement sounds as though the FIA were treating this as an appeal, it wasn’t, Ferrari never appealed, and had admitted guilt by not doing so, it was to consider additional punishment.

    Perhaps the result is fair, perhaps it’s not, but one thing is for sure the FIA in both the length of time it has taken to hear this case and the way they have handled it have not covered themselves in glory.

  12. I’m a massive Ferrari fan but tonight I feel embarrassed if i’m honest. Regardless of whether people agree with team orders or not. There was a rule there and it was broken and so they should have been properly punished.

    1. Charles Carroll
      8th September 2010, 20:53

      See mango gets it, why can’t everyone else?

      1. The rule was broken before by other teams without punishment wheather you like it or not!, If ferrari were found guility so would Mclaren. No one seems to understand that.

  13. Slightly too harsh for Ferrari. Why?
    1 The team order rule is totally ridiculous. Pretty much every team breaks it every race. It is quite unenforceable. The only reasonable thing to do is to revoke the rule and to condone the 50.000 $ fine, even if it is only pocket money. The alternative is to change the results in just about every race since 2002.
    2 The disrepute rule does hold water. The problem in Hockenheim 2010 were not the team orders but the ugly job Rob and Felipe made of it. But neither Ferrari nor Fernando were to blame. So the second 50.000 $ fine is OK, but Ferrari should make Rob and Felipe pay it from their pockets

    1. Charles Carroll
      8th September 2010, 21:04

      “The team order rule is totally ridiculous. Pretty much every team breaks it every race. It is quite unenforceable.”

      Well, in THAT case…because EVERYONE’S doing it, its OKAY then.

      What are we, 9 years old?

    2. “But neither Ferrari nor Fernando were to blame.”

      I agree that Fernando was not to blame, but to think that Ferrari were not involved is just ridiculous. Who do you think it was who told Massa and Smedley to lie to the press after the race? Come on.

    3. “The disrepute rule does hold water. The problem in Hockenheim 2010 were not the team orders but the ugly job Rob and Felipe made of it.”

      In my view, you have contradicted yourself there.

      If they had been subtle, hidden their cheating (yes, cheating. Even if ‘all the teams do it’ it is against the rules hence cheating), it would not have brought the sport into disrepute because no one would know.

      As it is, they DID bring the sport into disrepute, PURELY because it was so thinly veiled.

  14. I’m absolutly disgusted.

    I you don’t think it’s all wrong, your wrong.

    Whats the point in any of it if it’s just made up as we go along?

    Right now F1 has got about as much integrity, and is as much of a sport, as American Wrestling.

    1. Don’t shame American Wrestling, at least the WWE know that it’s a show and not a sport.

    2. Peteleeuk, your just another person who doesn’t get it, the rule was broken in the past therefore Ferarri could not have been punished.

      1. “the rule was broken in the past therefore Ferarri could not have been punished”

        There are many people who keep saying this, and it doesn’t work as an argument.

        Say my car gets nicked. A miracle happens and the cops catch the guy. Is it a valid defence for him to say “all my mates do it and they’ve never been punished”?

  15. I can see the good arguments for not having a rule against team orders, as the teams pay the drivers and own the racers.
    But as of now the rule is there and thus a severe punishment must be given, even if they want to get rid of the rule…
    Ferrari did a bad job of hiding that they broke this rule, instead of giving the fans a fair show of battle between their two drivers with the inherent risk of a collision between them, which would then have been costly. Other teams would have had more points and their competitors less, if they had too used team orders where useful. Other teams and drivers have been punished hard for other types of breaches to rules this year, so why the soft hand in this case?

    1. Not that we can vote, but COTD – everything in a nutshell.

  16. I completely agree that it was incredibly disappointing to see Massa let Alonso win in the way it happened. However there are a number of reasons why this kind of thing happens, one of which is the  unavoidable tension between multiple-million pound businesses and sport that is F1. 

    All teams want one of their drivers to win the drivers championship. In 2007 mclaren allowed their drivers to race for the title. Earlier this year we saw Vettel nearly take webber out, because red bull allowed their drivers to race eachother. Had mclaren given even one team order during 2007 they would have won the drivers title. Ferrari tried to avoid that. It’s just good business sense.

    Once there are business and sporting interests operating in the same arena you will get these kind of outcomes. 

    1. Remember MW the McLaren team order in 2007: ” we were racing Alonso ” ( ron dennis words in China)

  17. bernie: “that’s team tactics, and it should happen, obviously. what’s wrond is when two teams get together to fix the result. then it’s criminal.”

    martin brundle: “like we had in ’97, with williams and mclaren working against ferrari. maybe.”

  18. Oh dear Lord!

    At some point in the future, Ferrari is going to do it again.

    1. This weekend if necessary.

      1. If necessary yes they will.

        What about Red BUll or Mclaren in a few races, by the end of the championship??????

    2. Of course they will, its a TEAM sport ! Remember?

  19. “Recently, the sport’s broadcasting officials gained access to the radio feeds, but the pit wall retained the ability to press a button to censor certain messages. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that, as of this weekend’s Hockenheim event, all radio broadcasts will be eligible to for the worldwide television feed.”

    Ferrari was just a victim of this. Normally they would have cut the message halfway (like all teams do when they know something harmfull has been said) and we would just have heard “Alonso is faster CUT AWAY”. Then there was no problem. Ferrari was a victim of this new concept

    1. Just a quick note. I found it quite obvious during the German GP weekend that we heard alot more messages then in other races.

    2. Ferrari was no victim, they broke a rule plane and simple. They cheated and got away with it.

    3. This link makes me think that maybe FIA is trying to cover up a big scandal: FIA has for years been listening to a number of team-orders affecting the race result without punishing it. Now Ferrari’s offence was suddenly public and they had to react somehow or at least make it look like they reacted.

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