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. xabregas said on 8th September 2010, 18:15

    Now that´s over, FIA should ban this rule that only brings controversy to our sport.

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

      No the rule ain’t what brings the controversy, that would be the team orders. Think, if there hadn’t been a rule banning team orders, would this race have been any less controversial, answer of course not.

      • xabregas said on 8th September 2010, 18:26

        The problem is that, all this will happens again, with Ferrari, most certainly, but not this year, but can happens still with the others, and then what ????
        We will be here discuss the same all over again and again.( not that i don´t like ).
        This has to stop.

        • hawkfist said on 8th September 2010, 19:49

          How about introduce some harsh penalties? That would stop it as well, getting rid of the rule isn’t the only option.

          I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t see it again and again if they got their points taken off them and a more meaningful fine

    • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 18:22

      Let us ban all rules in the sport. I am positive that will solve everything.

      While we’re on the topic, I’ve always enjoyed driving blind drunk, naked, and in reverse on busy highways. I believe laws that ban such behavior are controvesial and difficult to enforce (since I am an excellent drunk and naked driver), and henceforth shall be banned.

    • Ferrari had the biggest laugh on F1’s behalf, precisely by taking the “sport” part out of the equation. That’s what brought the controversy. Regardless of there being a rule or not F1 fans won’t put down with being treated like idiots as was proven in 2002 already. Just a little something for you to think about…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 18:34

      There was plenty of controversy at Austria in 2002 without the rule.

      What offends people isn’t the rule, it’s the sight of one driver being ordered to give up his championship chances for his team mate.

      Not only that, but seeing the championship devalued when it is won by drivers whose team mates are forced to support them instead of being allowed to compete for the championship themselves.

    • The controversy existed (Austria 2002) before the rule was created. The rule exists because of the controversy. They need to clarify and amend the rule so that ‘our sport’ remains a sport… so that it doesn’t simply become ‘sports entertainment’ like the WWE.

  2. I guess Ferrari haters won’t be happy until the fine is so big, or a points deduction costs them so much prize money at the end of the year, that the top brass start laying off innocent employees to ensure that their Christmas bonus isn’t affected.

    • Yes say if Mclaren did something like this no one would be saying anything

      • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 18:28

        Again, if this were the Yam and Senna with Horrible Racing Team (HRT), we would all feel the same way.

        I would watch this sport if neither McLaren nor Ferrari were in it, provided the racing was good.

    • Yes, non-Ferrari fans lie awake at night in fury that the Maranello factory janitors have not been turned on the street with two-weeks’s severance—because as we know FIAT hasn’t got two nickels to rub together and would shut down the F1 factory for want of 1/3rd the MSRP of the cheapest Ferrari. Give me a break.

      Besides, everyone knows it is legally forbidden to fire anyone in Italy.

      • RobR (@robr) said on 9th September 2010, 7:31

        I wasn’t suggesting $100,000 would set them back very far… I was saying the frothing-at-the-mouth Ferrari haters wouldn’t be happy until the penalty was big enough that they did.

        It’s amazing how much more fulfilling an experience this can be when you actually read comments instead of just skimming them.

  3. Its a shame, but there’s no evidence of a direct order being given for Massa to move over. Without evidence you can’t give a punishment. The intent of the “Fernando is faster than you” message is crystal clear, but unfortunately you can’t punish for intent.

    They should just throw out article 39.1 or change it or something, because as it is its unenforceable. Teams will always find a way to get around it.

    • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:25

      “there’s no evidence of a direct order being given for Massa to move over. Without evidence you can’t give a punishment.”

      Yet another reason this result perplexes me. If there is no evidence, why have they been punished? $100k is a slap on the wrist, but still a punishment, which implies there was enough evidence to “convict”.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 18:30

        This is the most confusing aspect at the moment. Hopefully the reasoning for the decision will be published soon and go some way towards explaining it.

        • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:34

          Fingers crossed… I’ll be keeping an eye on this site (while I should really be working…)

        • MacaNut said on 8th September 2010, 18:45

          I suspect that the reason behind the WMSC decision is that there was simply no proof that team orders had been issued by Ferrari.
          But whatever the reasoning of the WMSC, the fine levied by the stewards would stand because Ferrari chose not to appeal it. The WMSC meeting was about further punishment as referred to them by the stewards.

          • Still they might have handed a million EUR fine for bringing the sport in disrepute. That is something very easy to prove when looking at any poll on any motorsport site in the world.

  4. DGR-F1 said on 8th September 2010, 18:24

    Where’s that list of who is on the WSMC? Lets contact them all individually and ask them what justifies not making any decision at all on this?

  5. Not particulary in favor of team orders, but something you can not police properly, you have to leave it open.

    It has been in F1 since long time ago and there’s no way you can control…
    Any team can adopt a simple “how’s your oil pressure?” sentence to mean “let your team mate pass you” and nobody will know…

  6. rob from inverness said on 8th September 2010, 18:28

    For folk like me who have watched Grand Prix races for decades, I have never had a problem with team orders. It is a natural part of racing for a team of up to a thousand people, focused one winning this race or that WDC.Look at Tour de France bike racing for similar organisation. Two things have changed. The first is the present rule which was a knee jerk reaction to the ugly sight of Barri. ceding his lead to Schumacher. There is a legal axiom that “sad cases make bad laws.” In other words, introducing a new law in reaction to a nasty case
    often looks ill thought out in the long term. So it has been in F1. The natural requirements have re-appeared in ” go into fuel saving mode” etc etc. Time for the FIA to get real. For the second change, I risk sounding snobbish but here goes. While the British F1 fan is better informed than any other in the world, there has arrived a new type of fan, probably more used to football. This new fan has a limited mentality, as evidenced by the “fan-boy” internet traffic, and is ill equipped to understand the subtlety of F1. In their wake has arrived the daily newspapers who have ignored Grand Prix racing for decades. Their F1 correspondents stay with F1 for a few years before being moved off to football or cricket. The new “fan boy” audience feed off the red-top journalists. ( I have to include the “I want overtaking every lap”constituency in this new audience) Let’s hope that the Ferrari Scandal gets things back into a proper perspective. Let’s hope that the 2002 race orders rule gets kicked into the long grass at the edge of the race track.

    • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 18:31

      Well, as much as you may not like new fans like myself who want to see fair competition and lots of overtaking, we’re not going anywhere yet.

      That, and you and Formula One depend on us for money and the existence of the sport.

      If F1 wants to keep only its cult of aging and elderly fans who care not for rules, overtaking, and excitement, it will not last much longer with those same fans occupying space in local cemeteries.

    • Thank you finally someone who is not biased Thank You Rob from Inverness

      • Charles Carroll said on 8th September 2010, 18:33

        Said Faraz, the Ferrari Guy.

        C’mon man. Save us the “bias” talk. How much red is in your closet?

        • LoL Im a Mark Webber fan I just feel a lot of us British fans here are hating Ferrari because they are Mclaren fans they are not being logical. You hear our commentators all the time when do they ever say anything bad about Lewis or Jenson or Mclaren? Are they perfect? But they are quick to criticise other teams and drivers. See biased. :)

        • xabregas said on 8th September 2010, 18:47

          I, like you, am a F1 fan ( old one )and i miss the excitment and overtaking in this sport of older years, that´s why i watch other racing series, you should too, try watch Nascar, it´s a lot of excitment and overtaking
          and less politics.
          But if you only like open wheels try indy, it´s fun too.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 18:41

      It is a natural part of racing for a team of up to a thousand people, focused one winning this race or that WDC.Look at Tour de France bike racing for similar organisation.

      The last place F1 should be looking for inspiration is that contest, forever tainted by association with another form of cheating.

      Teams have the constructors’ championship to win. Drivers have the drivers’ championship. And teams should not be interfering in the drivers’ championship.

      I’ve also been watching F1 for decades by the way. I respect its history.

      But I respect sporting principles as well. Which is why I think ‘team orders’ as a by-word for ‘race fixing’ should not be allowed.

      • Maybe we should look at bycicle racing, i.e. Tour the France Keith.
        In the last few years the organizers have gone to any lenghts of trouble to crush down any suspicion of drug use.

        Todt’s FIA changes were looking hopefull for improving the governance of F1 as well, only to stop here! Look at the Tour organisers Todt, and don’t stop with enforcing the rules to the best interest of the sport, not any single team.

      • “Teams have the constructors’ championship to win”

        But the teams care more about the drivers’ championship. Does Ferrari winning the 2008 constructors’ trophy make up at all for losing the drivers championship at the last corner for Ferrari or its fans? I seriously doubt it.

        Sometimes I wonder if teams should just run one car and one driver. It would save money for the teams and save fans from the grief of team orders.

      • It’s interesting that you see ‘team orders’ as ‘race fixing’.

        I see it as strategy. It may not go the way the fans want, or the way individual fans of individual drivers want. But it is a reality of the sport, and will never ever go away.

        Trying to ban team orders in F1 is like trying to make prostitution or religion illegal.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2010, 19:03

          I don’t want to get into quibbling over semantics, but it literally is “race fixing”. One driver is in the lead, the team tells him to pull over and let someone else win. That is fixing the result of a race.

          • I can see your point. And was merely intrigued that you see it that way.

            Sure in its worst form it could be used to manipulate the result of a race. Perhaps even to the extent that a lower order team may be bribed to run interference, or a number 2 could be used to “take out” a team’s rival.

            But the problem is it seemed very legitimate to me on both occasions that Massa and Kimi swapped places in recent years. The racer, the fan, and the purist in me wanted to see them fight it out, on both occasions – despite my leanings towards Kimi.

            In a perfect world perhaps we shouldn’t have team orders. But I don’t see it as race fixing in the way that cricket has recently been ensnared.

            I see it as an extension of team strategy. A much needed point can on occasion (if the right situation comes into play) be shuffled around inside a team to benefit them against other teams. That is all part of the surreal and wonderful multifaceted mix of all the different aspects of F1 IMHO.

            For the record, in my own racing career I have both received and given away places, and compromised my strategies to benefit the team, myself and my teammates. And on some of those occasions the race craft involved was comparable to that of some of my hardest won races.

          • MacaNut said on 8th September 2010, 19:20

            Drivers cannot win the WDC without the team.
            Teams cannot win the WCC without drivers.
            The two are inextricably intertwined and cannot be separated.

            A team invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually in cars, organization and drivers. A driver invests his talent, experience, title hopes and life (fortunately, more and more rarely nowadays) and limbs in a team. The one difference in the equation is that the team pays the driver who is a part of the team. The driver signs a contract with a team that neither you nor I are privy to, we do not know what Massa agreed to do for his reported $17.5 million annual salary but if he did not like the terms he could have gone elsewhere, perhaps for less money. I am pretty sure that there would be a clause in it (and Smedley’s) about bringing Ferrari into disrepute, which they have plainly done.

          • xabregas said on 8th September 2010, 19:35

            And how are you going to fix that problem.
            It can´t be donne.
            What happened in Germany was a well donne strategy with a bad character ( Massa ).
            What happened in Austria 2002 was race fixing with a bad character ( Jean Todt ).

            I´m more worried about what will happen in the future, seems like were´re going to watch more of this with good or bad characters, and we will be here to witness and discuss.

      • Keith, you have nailed it.

        And let’s not let history get in the way of progress. Historically present or not, team orders are a wart on the face of fair competition. Team orders are a distortion of the truth, where truth is ‘may the race be won by quickest and most capable driver in the quickest and best engineered car’.

        Anything less than an expression of that truth falls short of a fair sporting competition. And the opposite of fair is ugly…

    • Dr. Mouse said on 8th September 2010, 18:43

      I’m a relatively new fan. Being only 28, I wasn’t old enough to appreciate F1 until the mid 90’s.

      Personally, I could never be called a “fan boy”. I don’t support any driver or team in particular, although I enjoy watching Lewis racing. A bit more overtaking would be welcome, but it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all.

      What counts for me are 2 things.
      1) The technical developments. I’m an engineer and love following the team’s work on the car, even though most of it is beyond my limited understanding of aerodynamics.
      2) Seeing an good race. This doesn’t mean it has to be wheel to wheel every lap, but there should be a few good spatterings of action throughout the field.

      What ruins a race is the thought that the race has been fixed. This incident was one of those times.

  7. Chippie said on 8th September 2010, 18:35

    Anyone else noted that the BBC have just pasted a long section of yesterday’s article onto their ‘new’ article about the ruling? Poor show Auntie, they haven’t even changed it into past tense!

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 8th September 2010, 18:41

      That’s because the Beeb, like a lot of traditional media, are trying to keep up with the likes of Keith – and losing. They’re slower, and less interesting. For long term analysis a couple of days after the event, they’re excellent.

    • hawkfist said on 8th September 2010, 19:54

      It’s called collating information. If someone wants to find out about it in a year’s time they can go to one story and see the premise and the aftermath all in the one place.

      It’s a far better solution than having to find multiple archived articles to get a full picture of what happened.

  8. This is an appalling and cowardly decision. Absolutely gutless. Spineless. At the time and place this blatant action occurred the rules were clear and unambiguous.
    They may well be altered later, but at that time, in that place Ferrari conducted a fraudulent exercise in pure cynicism and they got away with it.

  9. daykind said on 8th September 2010, 18:47

    Ferrari International Assistance is no more. Yes, they’re unpunished, but look at what has happened to them this season. Valencia, Silverstone anyone?

    • Dan Newton said on 8th September 2010, 19:59

      Talking of Silverstone, I’ve just been watching it and was surprised to see, on around lap 40, Massa over cook it (Piquet style – without hitting a wall) alowing his team mate through. Now if that’d happened after Hockenheim…..

  10. Whichever side of the team orders debate you’re on the result of this ruling is to make the team orders rule completely untenable and I fully expect them now to repeal it. It seems unless Ferrari had actually said “let Fernando past for the championship” the evidence is insufficent to punish them.

    Personally I think its better that way. Perhaps the rule should be dropped but teams have to be public about any team orders that way people will perhpas understand the team nature of the sport a bit better. If teams are being too unsporting them fans and sponsors will vote with their feet.

  11. Massa got cheated from a win that he clearly deserved. Will the record books show that Massa had to relent to Alonso????????? If a driver knows that he will be asked to move over for another driver why should he put his life on the line knowing that he will just be used for cannon fodder. What is to prevent one team like Ferrari to buy a pull over / slowdown by another team to put their driver in a better position or a win……….. The 3 newer teams could surely use a couple million bucks/sterling/euros to keep them in the game and the biggies could easily afford this kind of activity……….. This is not so absurd considering all that has happened in the last few years with under the table money, car specs info from McLaren, etc. Seems kind of strange that most of the questionable activities have involved Alonso.. R & R

  12. Slightly soft. They can’t punish Ferrari massively without going through every past case and they couldn’t banm them for Monza because it would spark off a political war for nothing. They can’t punish the drivers because that would be just as ridiculous when technically Alo didn’t do anything, Massa actually moved over and they can’t turn back time.

    Ferrari should have lost constructor’s and a possible race ban. I can’t say I’m satisfied but at the same time, I can’t really think what more could have be done. Clearly the ban on team orders means nothing more than a slap on the wrist and is barely worth the time someone typing up then rule which is the really sad part.

  13. Here is the reasoning:

    Luca calls Todt – ‘Alonso needs those points’ ‘do you understand’

    Todt says – ‘yes boss consider done, reminds me of old days’

    Luca says – ‘yup, i knew you will fall in line’

  14. 100% the correct decision. I pointed out a couple of days ago that when a rule is unclear, what the FIA has tended to do (this season at least) is let the original offence go unpunished, but clarify the rule for future occasions. See, for example, Hamilton’s “low-fuel run” in Canada qualifying, or the Vettel/Hamilton pit shenanigans in China. Given the tendency of F1’s rules to be very ambiguous, I think that these are positive steps.

    As written, 39.1 is pretty clear, but in practice it is not, since many examples of “team orders that interfere with the race result” have gone by without punishment. Given the reaction of the fans to the Hockenheim incident as opposed to other such occurrences, I would say that the majority would agree that the rule needs clarifying.

    So, the FIA accept that the rule needs changing and alter it accordingly. I can’t agree with those who suggest that this will set a dangerous precedent, because next time, the rule will have been clarified and everyone should know where they stand.

    • Sorry to disappoint you Andy but once again I agree with you. I like the new style of seeing what needs to be fixed then fixing it by the FIA although this year seems to be exposing the flaws of certain rules.

      Maybe I would have been slightly harsher but in the end addressing the rules has to be the most important thing.

    • The low fuel run was not a breach of the rules. There was no rule there, but rather an MOU among the teams on the issue. The pit issue was not a lack of clarity, but a case of off-setting blame. In this case, they simply declined to apply the rule. They didn’t say that it was not relevant to these facts, or that it was breached but there were mitigating circumstances, they just said, “pass.”

      I would have been happy with a suspended ban. I don’t really think the practice will go away, but the sport needs to stop teams from turning this into a farce with drivers basically stopping on track to give way to another car for position.

      Now the burden of the new non-rule is really on Felipe Massa’s shoulders. The next time he is called upon to give way, will he snark it up on the radio or place his head calmly upon the block?

  15. They should have stripped Ferrari of constructor’s points from the race and then switched the driver’s points earned from Alonso to Massa. Possibly taken Alonso’s points away too as he initiated the orders.

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