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. 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?

  2. 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. 

  3. f1yankee said on 8th September 2010, 21:28

    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.”

  4. alejandroX said on 8th September 2010, 21:36

    Oh dear Lord!

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

  5. robbertmd (@robbertmd) said on 8th September 2010, 21:37

    “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

    • robbertmd (@robbertmd) said on 8th September 2010, 21:38

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

    • tharris19 said on 8th September 2010, 21:52

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

    • 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.

  6. msugea said on 8th September 2010, 21:39

    I just can’t seem to find the right words to describe this farce.

    You break the rules, you get punished ACCORDINGLY.
    How hard can it be?

  7. Drowsy said on 8th September 2010, 21:41

    I can’t understand why most of you in here are so upset about this decision today! MANY of you here have a VERY VERY short memory in terms of formula 1 regulations in the past 11 years.

    First of all, those saying ” why did they leave the £100,000 fine then?? ” Well very easy, there was a rule and it was broken, you can’t revert the fine, plain simple. Secondly, ” why are they going to revise the rule? Is it becuase it’s FERRARI again? ” NO, simply because the rule is stupid, dump, useless and nonsense.

    For those of you have a very very short memory, may I remind you that after the 1999 championship ended with McLaren Fans celebrating and pointing fingers at how Ferrari had yet to win the drivers championship after 20 years, from 2000 till 2005 they all got their answer, thus urging the FIA to change rules because the sports NEEDED it they said. Not because other teams couldn’t catch up! All teams were angry with themselves because Ferrari had done what others never dreamt of; they made ferrari look like it was their fault the sports was becoming monotonous, not becuase the rest of the 9 teams were out of ideas and out of resources. They even tried to make ferrari look bad when Michelin tyres weren’t good enough to comptete in the US GP, now that’s really Ferrari’s fault! Yeah what ever, they tried to stop the race…but useless, so let’s again blame Ferrari. None the less, after 5 years of total dominion by the Ferrari’s, the FIA started messing with the rules, aerodynamics, teams orders crap and stuff we all know about but we don’t want to be reminded about. All these problems about the lack of show, the lack of overtaking, the testing ban and the lack of sponsors wanting to enter F1, is because the FIA messed with the rules after a 5 year total domination from Ferrari to try and put ferrari down.

    Today F1 is seeing the end of the tunnel again, we hope for a better F1, with stupid rules like the team orders to be eliminated. It’s a team sports, why no team orders? Why blame Alonso if he had more points then Massa and the championship is a 5 way battle? You seriously think Massa can do something this year? Its obvious Ferrari will count on it’s best driver of the season, so what if he needs help? IT’S A TEAM SPORTS. You don’t like it? Stop watching F1, plain and simple. By backing team orders we might even see more fun in the track, more holding up rivals, more overtaking…so let’s just wait to see what the revised rule will say. As I said before, you don’t like the rule? Stop watching F1, but in any sports with TEAMS, there should be team work. If you don’t like Ferrari, it’s not the FIA’s problem.

    • To me it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it was Ferrari, who did it…
      When I watch F1, I evaluate what I see from a frame of reference, which is primarily the rules.
      It is fair to demand that the sport is regulated according to the rules, everything else is a scandal. When those who regulate the sport can’t find out how to issue a fair punishment for a breach of the existing rules, then they do not full fill their “contract” with the audience. If they want the rule to go away – fine, do that, but not before next season, and punish Ferrari accordingly.
      Alonso gained an advantage by cutting the corner on Kubica – he was punished according to the rules, fair enough. But by issuing a direct team order Ferrari gained a risk free 1 – 2 victory with most points to the driver, they believe can win the title, and Alonso gained 7 points and a rival of his lost 7 points. For this they got a fine, not a fair reduction of points.
      I strongly suspect that the FIA knows about several more cases of team orders, which are not known to the public and maybe therefore they can’t punish Ferrari as they should. Like if the International Bicycle Union knew about EPO but didn’t act on it unless it got public…And this is definitely bringing the sport in disrepute – it is a farce.

  8. F1 Dave said on 8th September 2010, 21:44

    Going back to past examples.

    Since the team orders ban we’ve seen.

    Fisichella letting Alonso past at Istanbul in 2005, Massa letting Schumacher past at Suzuka in 2006, Kimi been helped past by Massa at Brazil 2007, Heikki helping Lewis past at Hockenheim in 2008, Kimi letting Massa past at China in 2008, Heidfeld letting Kubica past at Montreal in 2008.

    Plus many others I’ve forgotten,

    Hockenheim 2010 was not the 1st time since 2002 team orders have been used in a fairly blatant way, It was however the 1st time we heard tha radio comms as it was the 1st race FOM had permission to broadcast any radio traffic they wished to.

  9. aNT366 said on 8th September 2010, 21:58

    If alonso he should receive more points, surely would have sanctioned.
    The FIA continues to be the Mafia

  10. diseased rat said on 8th September 2010, 22:00

    Thank Christ for that. Trying to ban team orders is like trying to ban drugs – that is to say it is an utterly futile exercise. Clearly the only way forward is to embrace it in a form that is acceptable rather than attempt full prohibition.

  11. Woffin said on 8th September 2010, 22:16

    Don’t shoot me down here, but just a few observations. Alonso has been involved in a fair few controversies in his career so far and in each one, he has walked away without any direct punishment. The spy scandal, the deliberate crash and now the free victory from Massa. Not to mention all the smaller incidents such as deliberately running yellow flags (Brazil 2003, Japan 2009) etc.

  12. I think its time for Mclaren and Willams to step-up and really work on a “GP1″ series for 2013. ALL current contracts run till end of 2012, so its the most obvious thing to do. F1 = Ferrari, Mercedes, FIA, Schumi, Kubica, Vettel. GP1 = Mclaren, Willams, Red Bull, Bernie, Webber, Hamilton, Button, et. al.

    This would be perfect. Ron, are you listening?

  13. Martin said on 8th September 2010, 22:36

    The team orders ban should be removed. Instead the FIA should make it difficult for team orders to happen during the race. Pit-to-car radios should be banned. This would mean the only teams orders that are given are before the race or via the pit board. Both of these would have their big limitations on affecting the result of the race. For safety reasons e.g. debris on track, the FIA could use the standard ECU to display pre-set messages to the driver.

    I think this would work and may also improve the racing as a result because the drivers will have less information. For example the instruction to the driver from his race engineer to save fuel at the end of the race would be gone. The drivers would also have to make more decisions themselves during the race which would open up more room for mistakes or master strokes by the driver. Imagine it starting to rain during a race the driver alone would have to decide when to come in.

    All of these could go towards improving the overtaking during the race.

    • This could be a good idea, but can’t remove the stains from a failure to regulate the sport according to the set rules for this season…

  14. Dgilles said on 8th September 2010, 22:43

    I hope smidley and massa quit the team after causing this problema with their child’s behaviour

    • This could be an internal Scuderia perception, but if You are just a Ferrari fan, how would You think of it, if it had been RedBull doing it in Turkey?

  15. Mr JoeBlack said on 8th September 2010, 22:44

    Thank you FIA for your efforts to disappoint F1 lovers all over the world. The big question is why? Why one more time FIA’s decision is unfair? What are the purposes and what for?
    well, what FIA did today well let the door open for all the teams to show us their politics skills rather than racing!
    One more time I’m very sorry for the F1. Sorry and sad!

    • Why did Mclaren never get punished for their orders? why are you so mad? This is a win for comon sense, this is a team sport mate !

      • Mr JoeBlack said on 8th September 2010, 23:24

        i am a fan for ferrary from early nineteens, although this a team sports, it was humiliating for messy and ferrary! there is no comon sense, after all Alonso is fighting for nothing, he nave no chance to win or to fight this season, it wasn’t worth it!

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