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. Disappointing to hear, as this remains in line with the council’s previous dealings regarding team order allegations. Way too lenient, in my opinion, regardless of which team exactly had been investigated.

    If the direction taken would now turn out to be officially legitimating team orders, at the very least the teams should then be required to communicate transparently when and why they are picking one of their drivers as a favorite, so viewers or fans can at least be surely aware of when not to expect open and unhindered racing.

  2. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th September 2010, 1:33

    Scratching my head over this one:

    Ferrari said there were no team orders. WMSC finds that there were in fact team orders and upheld the stewards’ decision. So Ferrari lied to the stewards. No punishment. Hmmm…

    No matter how you feel about team orders, the actual decision itself seems to be riddled with more and more holes the more you analyse it.

  3. Barry S said on 9th September 2010, 1:55

    Its time for a palace revolt! A different perspective.

    I’ve spent the last few evenings reading all of the comments that many passionate F1 fans have submitted. All good stuff. But… reminiscent of watching lawyers argue points of law, missing what we the public would consider values of fairness, and ethics, and morals, these arguments fall into the same category.

    What we the viewing public object to about the WMSC decision is that the WMSC have totally ignored the Drivers Championship and have placed the Team championship as being the focus of F1.

    As the 4th largest economy in the world, F1 has just proven that it is a government with no respect for its constituents, its fans. Its sponsors must be getting very nervous about associating their hard-earned corporate brands with such childish whining and a lack of ethics and fair play.

    I first followed F1 as a kid in England, reading about Fangio, Mike Hawthorn etc. My first F1 race was my home race at Mosport in Canada in 1961. I’ve probably followed 98% of all F1 races since then and watched most of the televised ones. I’ve seen a LOT of races, a lot of bad driving and a lot of bad politics. Sorry, but FIA/WMSC, you are quickly losing me as a fan.

    This has been one of the best seasons in a long time for great races, but the commercial side that has the Team taking priority over the Driver has gone too far. Those of us with many grey hairs have always followed the driver, pointing out who they drove for. In the USA, I note that they talk about the ’24 car’, rather than the name of the driver in the car as if the car has a soul, a racing spirit. This is distressing. If the Team is to take priority over the Driver, then the Driver’s championship should be eliminated, because to continue it, under the current guise, is a sham. Today’s decision only supports the Team concept, not the Driver concept. Keep this up, and you will lose me as a fan permanently. We expect FAIR racing, not POLITICAL racing.

    In my mind, F1 is now rising to the stature of wrestling and other ‘fixed’ sports where success is measured by the number of viewers and readers. This is not what F1 founders had in mind. Its lost is purity, its raison-d’etre, overtaken by a governing body that appears to be suffering a lack of vision and ethics.

    So WMSC, if you think that you won’t lose this 65 year old viewer, think again! There are many other forms of 4 wheel racing that still offer pure, un-rigged racing. Golf is still as much fun to watch without Tiger just as F1 has become more interesting without Schumi winning week after week. Car racing can be just as much fun to watch without F1. Maybe the breakaway league should have been formed, because the WMSC are about to break up the sport with their lack of vision in just the same way as Tony George broke up the original Indy Car series (which by the way was often a better viewer sport and offered better racing than F1). But, as Tony found out, fans didn’t want his vision of IndyCar. The now distilled format is poorly watched.

    In baseball, a strike in ’94-’95 over player salaries let the Commissioner become sacrosanct, to the point that in ’94, the owners reduced the Commissioner’s power to act in the best interests of the sport. But it was too late, and baseball lost its lustre lost so many fans that stadiums are now usually 75% empty. Cricket is now facing a scandal over ‘rigging of the game’.

    In F1, its bad enough that these new ‘Tilke’ circuits are boring while iconic circuits like Spa are suffering under Bernie’s revenue regime. I don’t want a return to yesterday, to the crashes and the deaths. That was a tragic time in F1. But driver’s like Jackie Stewart said that racing can be exciting, and safer, and made it so. But now, money and politics have taken over, with a governing body that makes silly decisions because it has no frame of reference for making decisions as it has ignored its charter, the rule book, and now makes decisions based on what? A committee who are not team owners or ex-drivers?.

    So F1, Bernie et al, this may be the last season you will have me as a viewer. Clean up your act or become another dinosaur. To Ron Dennis, Eddie Jordan, Peter Sauber and others, its time for you to step up to the plate and lead F1 down a better road. Re-think the breakaway league. Fans will follow you, with or without the Tifosi, Todt, Bernie et al.

    Thanks for reading.

    ps. To Fernando … in my day, if you thought you were faster than your teammate, then you passed him. You didn’t whine and ask Mommy to ask Johnny to move over. Your driving talents are being diminished by your whining.

    • MacaNut said on 9th September 2010, 2:19

      Your arguments would have more merit if you hadn’t gone through the elaborate ruse of inventing a 65 year old persona; the first Canadian Grand Prix was held at Mosport in 1961 but it was for sports cars, it did not become an F1 race until 1967. After this fabrication the value of the rest of your post is greatly diminished.

      • Barry S said on 9th September 2010, 2:23

        In those days, it was considered a Grand Prix! The interest it generated resulted in open wheel cars quickly coming to Canada. And I am 65!

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 9th September 2010, 2:46

          Barry’s right – as much as it pains Bernie, the term “Grand Prix” isn’t exclusive to F1. There has even been a Monaco Grand Prix that was run for sportscars instead of F1.

          That said, when F1 was founded, although there was no WCC yet, it was when team orders were most rife. If you looked at Ferrari and Mercedes of the 1950s, team orders was everywhere. Why? Because the drivers always had to work for the greater good of the team. And those championships coexisted just fine then, as they will now.

          And a breakaway would be an even bigger mistake. That may just end up dividing a disinterested TV audience. Like it or not, people forget quickly. This scandal isn’t even anything like previous scandals (see: Spygate). People will forget and will continue to watch F1. Always the case in the past, and will be the case again. Because even if there are other series out there, F1 is still unique. Have a breakaway, and you lose that uniqueness.

          • MacaNut said on 9th September 2010, 2:58

            “I first followed F1 as a kid in England, reading about Fangio, Mike Hawthorn etc. My first F1 race was my home race at Mosport in Canada in 1961.”

            And your right of course Journeyer, F1 in the Fangio, Hawthorn era was way more about drivers working together for the good of the team (even without a WCC) than it is now.

          • Barry S said on 9th September 2010, 3:20

            i don’t have a problem with the Team concept. I do have a problem with the lack of respect shown by teams for the Driver’s championship. The media and fans don’t talk as much about Ferrari or McLaren winning a world championship as they do about Schumacher or Button winning a championship. The driver’s championship is very important. The rule book and its interpretation doesn’t seem to support a drivers championship.
            I agree, that all of this will be quickly forgotten. But… that doesn’t make it right or a good strategy for the future. Mature major sports don’t like things being ‘fixed’ either with graft, or drugs or bad policing. Look at hockey in North America.
            F1 needs to respect its fans more, and I think, its sponsors.

            I’m curious that you already think that the audience is ‘disinterested’. F1 is not unique because of its regulatory body. Its the drivers and the cars that make it unique. So, which ‘council’ they run under is somewhat immaterial. So my question to you is… is it not worth fixing, this driver’s dilemma? Do you love the sport as I have done for 50+ years. Do you not want to see it mature? People divorce their spouses, even though they often still love them, because they can’t live with their spouse. I love F1, but I’m ready for a divorce.

          • Journeyer said on 9th September 2010, 9:13

            “I’m curious that you already think that the audience is ‘disinterested’. F1 is not unique because of its regulatory body. Its the drivers and the cars that make it unique. So, which ‘council’ they run under is somewhat immaterial. ”

            I think you missed my point. F1 IS unique because of the drivers and cars. No one else is providing it ATM. Have a breakaway and you have 2 series providing the same thing. And therefore you lose the uniqueness of it.

            Bottom line – When I started watching F1, I always knew team orders were part and parcel of the sport. I love it anyway. All I ask of the teams is that in applying it, they shouldn’t make the fans look stupid. I completely understand why Ferrari asked Massa to move over for Alonso. So many points down with so many races to go (not to mention so many people ahead in the standings), so they had to do something. They could just be a bit more… creative in pulling it off.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th September 2010, 10:00

            So what do we imagine teams will do in future? Put out press releases saying “from this point on Massa will have to support Alonso’s championship bid”? Albeit dressed up in PR-speak.

    • Great, great post.

    • Tiomkin said on 9th September 2010, 12:00

      I agree 100% Barry. I’m not looking forward to this weekends race. I’m not that interested on who wins anymore. I like the community and the live blogs. That is what interests me now. I have said it many times, F1 is the new pro wrestling with its flexible rules, false podiums and stupid fines. I will get bored one day and loose all interest in this ‘sport’. I doubt I’m alone. I do watch wrestling and take it for what it is, entertainment. Rick Flair attacking the boss and still being employed? Yeah, believable. The Nexus Slamming and beating up The GM and being handed contracts? Mr Alonso on the top step? It’s all real. NOT.

  4. Vincent1972 said on 9th September 2010, 2:07

    I am a Ferrari Fan and I voted “Far too soft”. I am expecting a punishment at a certain degree but with the result, I feel disappointed with the decision. I still remember the my feelings hearing the radio message and eventually the “pass”. As a fan I do not want this to happen again and hope for the FIA to immediately revise the rules more clearly and state it with no holes for any teams to take avantage of.

  5. I don’t understand how the fine and court expenses can remain but no further punishment given? Either they did nothing wrong, in which case Ferrari get their money back + profuse excuses from the FIA and fans OR they were guilty and receive a punishment withing the sport (ie points, grid penalties or whatever).

    There is no middle ground possible.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 9th September 2010, 2:51

      From what I understand, Carlos Gracia says a punishment today would’ve been, for him, a second punishment for Ferrari. As Ferrari had already been punished with the fine, they couldn’t have been punished twice.

      There are holes in this logic, but if he persuaded the WMSC to see things this way, then that’s how we could’ve ended up here.

      • BasCB said on 9th September 2010, 6:35

        If it shows anything, it shows the urgent need to really reform the FIA judicial system.
        These guys that are in the WMSC are not the right ones to judge on infringements. I must say i am very disappointed with the FIA and Todt for allowing this to happen.
        The proposed step of forming some kind of tribunal for it might work out, but i will be very sceptic indeed until it’s proven its better than the joke they have now.

      • Dr. Mouse said on 9th September 2010, 11:58

        That argument is bovine excrement.

        Ferarri received that punishment because it was the max the stewards could hand out. They referred it to the WMSC, not to add to the punishment, but to define the correct level of punishment.

        If a person is sentenced to a fine and community service, say, for committing a crime, that is not 2 punishments. It is one punishment consisting of 2 parts.

        • HewisLamilton said on 9th September 2010, 15:55

          I believe the WMSC defined the 100,000 fine as the correct level of punishment. Thus, no further punishment given.

  6. F1natic said on 9th September 2010, 2:59

    Its nothing new…revising the championship would only due more damage…

    I think the revisions made to 39.1 should be revised to include some kind of mathematical rule. In that way, teams would be prohibited from issuing orders if drivers are: a) mathematically still in contention for the championship or b)within a certain range, difference, or percentage of their teammate. Yes I prefer to see drivers duke it out on the track, but F1 is also a team sport. If you dont want any kind of involvement then we should ask for a one car per team rule to avoid such “acts of controversy.”

  7. Pablo said on 9th September 2010, 4:09

    As a Ferrari fun that im, im totally disgusted. alonso deserve loose all the points and the same for Ferrari. F1 becomes a lie. They think that we are stupid? Like i said, im a “tifosi”, but, like i race driver and a F1 fun im totally disgusted with this. Team orders is for loosers. Forza Villeneuve (Father & Son), Forza Fangio, Forza Senna and all the real race drivers)…. not forza Ferrari this thime (Don Enzo is suffering into his grave)

    • RaulZ said on 9th September 2010, 9:38

      Enzo invented this, so he’d be happy now.

    • Right, the FIA should review all the past (long term) history to apply the same punishment, that way all past championship result would be changed according to your very logical proposal.

      Yes, from my point of view you are absolutly right.

  8. chris said on 9th September 2010, 6:32

    what should be reviewed? its very clear ferrari broke the rule. what a shame and what a waste of time. maybe ferrari already knew this thats why they told their drivers not to appear at the hearing. at least they could have swap the places and ill be happy for felipe. so this is what happens if ferrari broke a rule, no punishment at all and then review the rule, what about michael who still got the penalty on monaco which there was clearly a flaw in the rule. im not defending michael, i just want consistency.

  9. Team orders have and always will be used in F1. You’re kidding yourself if you dont realise that. Sometimes your driver wins them, sometimes he doesnt

    • Dr. Mouse said on 9th September 2010, 12:03

      People have always and will always:
      * Steal
      * Cheat
      * Lie
      * Murder
      * Rape
      * Assault

      The list goes on. But if they are against the law (or rules in this case) and they are caught, they should be punished.

      • HewisLamilton said on 9th September 2010, 15:57

        The thing is, Ferrari was punished, 100,00 for it’s “crime”. I am having trouble following your logic….

  10. Alan Reid said on 9th September 2010, 6:44

    This whole sorry debacle stinks – what is the point of rules if they’re disregarded by both the participants in the sport (the Teams) AND the Rulemakers (WMSC) when it comes to the crunch.

    Something we don’t know about is going on here…maybe Ferrari ‘pulling weight’ by threatening to pull out of F1 completely (nothing new) if they were punished?

    Ferrari are whingeing like Alonso in the first place….GET A GRIP AND GROW UP!!!!!

  11. Absolutely disgraceful verdict (but of no surprise what so ever).

  12. Now, the teams should hide the same as until now and if they say “do you understand the message?” then they will have a 100,000$ fine, as the rule already hasn’t changed.

    So, we are now in another impasse thanks to FIA. Until they change the rule, team orders are allowed only in some cases not very clear, but now there’s a new case even less clear.

    I’d like that they had only warn ferrari but from now and for the rest teams then it won’t be allowed, as FIA has done with some regulations this and last year.

    FIA is really sad.

  13. Tiomkin said on 9th September 2010, 12:09

    The way things are, any teams using team orders will not be guaranteed a $100k fine. It will vary like all the punishments handed out. I think the logic works by how big the fan base is and what race is next on the calendar.

  14. I have read almost all the comments posted and what is shocking is that no one is asking what can we do ( as fans ) to improve the situation.

    Ultimately, as the people who watch the sport have a very big power in our hands, CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

    I personally feel the FIA and Ferrari are “beyond repair” and so are their fans. This could be the last straw, I have seen countless ridiculous decisions going against so many team but very rarely Ferrari.

    Take power in your hands, if you feel so strongly then lets start an online petition which they cannot ignore.
    F1 is a “billion dollar industry” which has lesser integrity than most bookies.

    Another interesting fallout can be reaction of “Formula 100″ for banding together and supporting race fixing while trying to ( apparently )shove Marlboro down our throats.

    My personal action list.
    1. I will never buy \ use any products or services associated with Ferrari in anyway.
    2. I will wait to listen to the comments of the remaining team and the stance taken by them. If everyone falls in line with the decision then I will completely boycott F1. Probably will concentrate on “SPORTS”

    I know that I alone cannot make a difference but at least I am trying to do my part.

  15. Todt, by saying that there was not enough evidence to prove using team orders by ferrari at the German Grand Prix, is just trying to say, that the WMSC is occupied by half-minded imbeciles? Isn’t he?

    Whole world has saw and heard, what happen and what was said by than.

    I’m getting sick. It is RED-FLU.

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