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

Loading ... Loading ...

Ferrari team orders in Germany

Advert | Go Ad-free


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

  1. I’m gonna start watching wrestling less chance of a rigged result.

    • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 1:06

      What F1 needs is some competition from another World Series of single seater race cars. In many ways, it’s a shame that IndyCar is nowhere near as popular as it was in the early-mid 1990s. If fans had a credible alternative, that listened to them as the American series do, then Bernie might have some cause for concern…

    • hehe, great comment

  2. This is nothing compared to all the crap that they have let Lewis get away with and even the drivers are shaking there heads as to how he has been able to escape…. Had they enforced those rules he would not be leading now…. Which by the way is a JOKE…

  3. I hope people remember US Grand Prix 2007, if not let me refresh your memory.

    FA wants LH to move aside. FA does not get his way, and we all know what happened next. Mclaren lost WDC that year because they let their drivers race. Had Ron forced Lewis to step aside FA would have won WDC 5 times by now and would still be at Mclaren and Lewis may have gone off to some other team and we would have seen another Schumi\Ferrari like era. Thank Ron that it did not happen.

    This is the same FA now at Ferrari, shouting on the radio “This is ridiculous” the same way he punched his hands towards the team pit box.

    US GP 07 was the turning point.

    My wish is a breakaway series( aka GP1 ). No FIA, no Ferrari, No Fernando Alonso, No Vettel.

    Ideally FOTA minus Ferrari, Mercedes and some loose change.

    GP1 rights are held by Bernie ( unlike F1 heald by FIA )

    Come on Bernie make it happen!

    • anthony said on 9th September 2010, 0:01

      no ferrari no f1 get real will you

      • Thats the whole point. It wont be F1 and it wont have Ferrari. All problems solved in one fell swoop. FIA and Ferrari can continue the excellent international assistance, IDK. We get to watch a good open series which would listen to fans. Ferrari fans wont moan about the website user demographics and the world will be a better place. Time for ;)

      • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 1:00

        F1 doesn’t need Ferrari. Many fans may forget that they were somewhat of a laughing stock before the then ‘dream team’ turned their fortunes around. Besides, there are many other big (though not as big, granted) names in F1. F1 would survive quite happily sans Ferrari.

    • DaveW said on 9th September 2010, 0:05

      Well, it was the turning point for Hamilton, in driving Alonso from that team—and in making way for Hamilton to claim the title the next year, with only Kovalainen to deal with. Hamilton was young enough to care nothing that a 2X WDC was waving his fist and swerving around behind him, and was so unchastened that he maliciously shut the older man from his agreed last lap turn in Hungary later that year. Hamilton didn’t care that it cost uncle Ron a trophy.

      Massa needs to have his Indy moment. Is he as good as Alonso? Nope. Probably neither is Hamilton. But Massa is good enough to top anyone else Ferrari could bring in. If you want your title you must take action in your self-interest, and at this point unless Massa can run Alonso off or jump to RBR, he will never win a title.

      • I think the interest of the sport is far greater than than those of drivers. Massa will never have any Indy moments but he will have many Austria moments. If you think you have seen 2007 season and still say that FA is better than LH, well then nvm. I am looking forward to a final solution to this “Ferrari” problem plaguing motorsports.

      • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 0:55

        ‘Is he as good as Alonso? Nope. Probably neither is Hamilton’.

        ! Lewis beat Alonso when Alonso was the reigning double-world champion and Lewis was a rookie who didn’t know half the tracks. Look how much Lewis has matured over the last few years since his debut: the few mistakes he used to make, mostly through impetuosity, he makes no longer; his driving is much calmer; he looks after the car and tyres much better; he’s much more relaxed. Lewis is already better than Alonso. But Alonso has (probably) passed his peak; whereas, Lewis, at 25, with just three years experience of F1 under his belt, is nowhere near his peak. A scary thought for his competitors!

  4. Anyone interested in supporting an Online Petition
    supporting a new “Formula” which is not controlled in anyway by the FIA and does not include Ferrari?

  5. manatcna said on 8th September 2010, 23:21

    Well, this is the result I expected, (and predicted)

  6. Travis said on 8th September 2010, 23:22

    No. No. No.

    I can’t believe I woke up to this news this morning.

  7. Obviously Todt is still Jet setting on Mclaren money, seriously though this sets a bad example as we are in the midst of a Cricket betting scandal, Betting syndicates talk, fair play walks.

  8. Richard said on 8th September 2010, 23:36

    Massa should go study barrichello’s career, his is going to be the same now.

    • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 0:47

      Clearly, Massa should never have moved over for Alonso. To do so was to capitulate to Alonso and Ferrari in front of the world. So long as Alonso drives the other Ferrari, Massa’s hope of winning a championship and even a race, in many circumstances, is dead. So are his dreams of being regarded as one of the very best; for one of the very best would never have acted as he did. Even Damon Hill apparently said he would have Ralf off the track if he tried a pass at Spa 98. That’s how you do it!

      Rubens now says that his decision to move over for Schumi at Austria was the worst decision of his career. I wonder how long it is before Massa thinks the same, mutatis mutandis?

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th September 2010, 1:30

        Didn’t Massa blame Alonso for losing the world title in 2008? I think Keith had an article on it very early in the year. Then he gave Fernando’s hopes a boost his year.

        Massa should have called Ferrari’s bluff; Ferrari would not be allowed to fire him (any basis to do in his contract would be an illegal clause) and by the time his contract was up another op team would be waiting for him and his services.

  9. sulzerpower said on 8th September 2010, 23:48

    Someone said they expected 300 comments, well, here is the 300th. Couldn’t resist when I logged on and saw ‘299’ mentioned.

  10. dragon said on 9th September 2010, 0:13

    Now i definitely hope Alonso wins the WDC this year (after Webber, that is) – just to see the reaction on this site :D

    • Im sure Mr Todt is working hard to make your dreams come true. LOL. A sad day, I wonder what Senna would have to say all about this. If only, :-(

  11. mitchibob said on 9th September 2010, 0:20

    As a Ferrari fan, who particularly feels that Felipe is owed a World Championship for his 2008 performance, Team orders, once one driver is mathematically out of the runnings, SHOULD be allowed. Before that time, it’s up to the stewards to decide whether it spoilt the show, or kept the show running until the end of the season. As it turns out, Ferrari’s orders in Germany have back-fired on every level, because Alonso, rather than maturing, is becoming more of a child. He’s a great driver, but doesn’t deserve anything this year.

    • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 0:38

      Given how comprehensively Alonso has outperformed Massa this year, and how well a rookie Hamilton matched up to Alonso in 07, one finds it hard to avoid the conclusion that Massa simply had a superior car to Lewis in 08: that and the record number of penalties dished out to the Brit and his team. Unless the accident he suffered at Hungary has reduced his speed significantly, Massa was simply flattered by his car in 08; and by his lazy team-mate who had nothing left to prove in F1.

      • dragon said on 9th September 2010, 6:55

        Thank you for that, Mrs. Hamilton. It had nothing to do with the Ferrari being faster than the McLaren – if anything, both cars were perfectly matched, you just saw a season where Massa was absolutely on top of his game. Drivers are allowed drops in form, you know, and anyone can see Massa has had an average 2010.

  12. Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 0:26

    This momentous decision warrants a lengthy post!

    That Ferrari received no (further) punishment has set a dangerous precedent that team orders are now allowed in F1. For, the FIA had the opportunity to punish a team for blatantly using team orders, following the rule that they’re banned; yet it did not do so. The only way for the FIA to be consistent, now, is to likewise not punish any other team who uses team orders. The FIA might as well formally renounce the ban: it’s the only action that makes sense; it would at least provide clarity.

    With the dangerous precedent in place, teams will now be able to employ team orders without fear of reprisal. So Ferrari will do this again, much to the annoyance of the fans who want to watch a genuine sporting contest; the fans who bankroll this sport: directly, through TV money; indirectly, through sponsorship. Whether the rule is sound or not is irrelevant: the rule exists and must be followed. By analogy, I can’t just declare that a law, such as those governing speed limits in a built-up area, is silly and choose to flout it without fear of sanction. Ferrari broke a rule (regardless of the merits of the rule) and should have been punished accordingly. There must be rule of law: Ferrari cannot be above the law. With the dangerous precedent in place, Red Bull, to be sure, and perhaps others, though not McLaren, will follow suit: much to the fans’ further annoyance.

    And don’t think that the ban on team orders is ‘unenforceable’. The stewards and the FIA have access to all the telemetry on the car: they will know if a driver makes a suspicious move in the car. They have driver advisors, too. Moreover, they have all the radio conversations to police. A team will find it very difficult to get away with a team order. A further important point to note is that team orders will almost always be executed clumsily. For drivers have egos. They want to win. So if they’re told to cede a position, they’re going to make sure the whole world knows that they did this because of a team decision and not because of their own error. Hence, I further dispute the contention that team orders ‘happen all the time in F1’. I challenge anyone to cite eight instances (just eight for such an allegedly commonplace phenomenon) of team orders in the past eight years – since they were made illegal. And I suspect most, if not all, examples will be from the last few races of a season, when team orders have always been accepted by all involved. So much for that contention.

    One final point: Ferrari did lie to the stewards. They said that there were no team orders! Every fan watching the German Grand Prix knew that a team order had been delivered. Namely, that ‘Fernando. Is. Faster. Than. You’ is tantamount to ‘We, Ferrari, are telling you, Massa, to move over for Alonso’. There is no difference, in substance, between that message and once such as: ‘Massa, this is your boss speaking! You are to move over for Alonso, now’. Any such message, howsoever phrased, of course leaves the decision up to Massa: he’s driving the car! But there can be no doubt that Massa was given a team order. Ferrari categorically denied to the world that there had been a team order (it’s not a good defence to openly admit to your breaking the law). Ergo, they lied. In the interests of consistency, a vital component of law, they should have received the same punishment as Mr Hamilton: all points from said race to be deducted.

    (M)assa; (A)lonso: (F)errari (I)nternational (A)ssistance Inc.!?

  13. After SPA 2008 when rules were VERY CLEAR when LH was at fault is it surprising that FIA find 100k sufficient this time around for breaking rules? Coincidence?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th September 2010, 7:56

      The difference is, in this case there is a rule saying “team orders that interfere with the race result are prohibited”.

      In your example, there was no rule saying “if a driver gains a position by going off the track and gives it back to a driver he can’t then pass that driver again at the next corner”.

      Nor did Ferrari, like McLaren in that example, ask the race director if what they did was within the rules and were told (falsely, as it turns out) that it was.

      These are clearly two very different sets of circumstances.

  14. This is ridiculous.
    First, I want compare to this to when a fine officer of the law pulls up my dad for speeding considerably over the legal limit, and then my dad avoiding punishment because he manages to debate with said officer about the validity of that law, mainly because “everyone does it”. I havn’t seen this in practice yet, and I won’t hold my breath either.

    Maybe I’m being to strict, Maybe this is like the Pirates code in Pirates of the Caribbean, Maybe 39.1 and 151c are more of, guidelines than actual rules.

    Whether you agree with this or not, it has to be noted that clearly, their was enough evidence. If lack of evidence was an issue, I doubt any rule will be enforceable again. Let me ask you this, Have you ever seen a murder trial end, with the innocent verdict, Because the murderer said, “I didn’t do it?”. No? Well now you have. So that is where we are now. A guilty verdict does in fact, for the WMSC at least, require the respondent to admit they did indeed do the crime. I am also concerned by the lack of information about how they actually came to their decision, The Proceedings section in Keith’s article, is clearly, how to put it… .. Lacking. And this raises my concern that political pressure and underhanded dealings may have infiltrated the WMSC. Surely not.

    This ruling sets a VERY dangerous precedent, because it suggests that RULES are only enforceable if the WMSC is willing to use lawyers to fight it. Which leads me to be worried that any semblance in my mind that what I am watching is indeed still a sport, is almost gone, sadly. I think it needs to be noted, that if Formula one isn’t actually a sport, that it is indeed a business. Then I will go and watch NASCAR, And it pains me to say it, for more than one reason.

    It is clear now, that Team Orders are completely fine in F1, I think poses a problem for some of you, in fact, myself as well. Remember the outrage after Austria in 2002? Well, not only was that not against the rules, but now it was also in the modern spirit of the sport. So I don’t want to hear anyone criticise Schumacher using that line anymore. Because, that’s what the sport is about.
    For the team!
    Forza Ferrari!

  15. fishingelbow said on 9th September 2010, 0:57

    So the FIA has decided to go with Ferrari’s notion that the team’s all important and the drivers mere pawns. But then, if the FIA is coherent, shouldn’t it eliminate the Driver’s Championship immediately and only keep the Constructor’s Championship?

    • Alistair said on 9th September 2010, 1:18

      No one can credibly deny that there was no team order at the German GP. Nor can anyone deny that team orders are banned. So either Ferrari is guilty for giving the team order or Massa is guilty for acting on it. Either way, there is guilt; and there should be a penalty. But there was none…

      Now, I can see the next race and those after it: ‘Markie boy, Prince Vettel. Is. Faster. Than. You. Can you confirm you understood that message? Or do we have to turn down/blow-up your engine? You know we’ll do it’

    • BasCB said on 9th September 2010, 6:42

      Is it possible this desicion is because of the guys sitting in that world motorsport council? They are the regulars who sat there under Mosley as well.
      Bernie nor the italian representive would want a hefty penalty for Ferrari, who knows about the other.

      Very disappointing and a bad day for the FIA as governing body witch does not enforce it’s own rules.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.