Alonso moves forward as Massa takes penalty

2012 United States Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Fernando Alonso will start from seventh on the grid for the United States Grand Prix after Ferrari decided to change the gearbox on Felipe Massa’s car.

Massa will take a five-place penalty for changing the gearbox, dropping him from sixth on the grid to eleventh. Alonso in turn will move up from eighth to seventh.

Significantly, both will now start from the clean side of the track, which is expected to confer a significant advantage over those starting off-line.

Ferrari issued the following statement: “We’ve decided to accept the penalty normally associated with the gearbox change on Felipe?s car which means that he?ll get a five-place grid penalty.

“The reason for this was for strategy considerations, with the objective of maximising Alonso?s start potential given that he?s still in with a chance to win the drivers’ championship.

“We saw yesterday that starting from the dirty side of the track would have been penalizing: there was a significant risk of finding ourselves too far behind the leaders at the end of the first lap.

“It was a decision agreed by both drivers. We?ve always maintained that the interests of the team come before that of the individual drivers and this has always been our very transparent policy. Felipe has fully comprehended the reasons behind this decision and so he?s once again proven his total dedication to the team – something for which we would publicly like to express our gratitude.”

The FIA confirmed Ferrari “broke one seal on the gearbox of car number six, driver Felipe Massa. The seal was applied on the [right-hand side] cross shaft cover.”

See the updated United States Grand Prix starting grid.

2012 United States Grand Prix

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161 comments on Alonso moves forward as Massa takes penalty

  1. PaxJes (@paxjes) said on 18th November 2012, 17:23

    this is bad karma.
    if there’s no problem with Massas’s car then it goes against the sporting rules and fair play.

    The championship gets decided today, you just watch.

  2. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 18th November 2012, 17:24

    Great strategy? They learned well from Machiavelli…

    Come on Maldonado, take one for F1 and crash Alonso out on the first corner!

  3. Axl2000 said on 18th November 2012, 17:26

    Might seem like a sensible thing to do and not technically cheating but what about the other drivers who now switch to the poor side of the grid. Ferrari doing this has penalised them and I think both cars should be sent to the back of the grid. Was actually rooting for Alonso up to now but now hope Red Bull finish it off today.

  4. lluismf said on 18th November 2012, 17:27

    Massa will lose any remaining self-respect for this, if I was brazilian I would be ashamed of him. Too bad we have to wait yet another season to get rid of this puppet.

    • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 18th November 2012, 17:39

      I don’t think Massa had a choice, Domenicali has the final say.

    • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 18th November 2012, 17:46

      As a Brazilian I’m not going to say I’m ashamed of him, because I’ve never been a fan of his and nationalism has never been my thing, but deep inside I hoped Felipe would just stick his middle finger to Ferrari and quit already. He may not be the great driver he was before 2009, but he’s certainly greater than this kind of treatment. Stuff like this didn’t even happen between Schumacher and Barrichello (not that I can remember at least!).

    • Postreader said on 18th November 2012, 17:48

      Pray tell, would you consider yourself a puppet if you employee asked you to do something along these lines? Would you really prefer being fired?

  5. claudioff (@claudioff) said on 18th November 2012, 17:28

    I think Ferrari should put this kind of ingenuity on their next car.

  6. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 18th November 2012, 17:29

    It’s very unsportsmanlike. Brilliant, and exactly what we would all do in that position, but unsportsmanlike.

  7. OOliver said on 18th November 2012, 17:29

    This is what I like about Ferrari, they are always thinking. Going backwards to move forward is innovative thinking.
    Ferrari need a WDC, Mass winning the race is of no use if Alonso losses the championship.

  8. NickV (@nickv) said on 18th November 2012, 17:32

    This is just Ferrari making use of a loop hole in the rules, just as Red Bull did in Abu Dhabi, starting Vettel from the pit lane so he could change to a more favourable set up for the race. Teams do this sort of thing all the time in different ways – F1 is all about exploiting the regulations, right from the first pencil stroke of the car design.

  9. StephenH said on 18th November 2012, 17:35

    All of this reminds me of the days of when they used to have the Sunday morning warm-up in F1, when particularly at dusty tracks like the Hungaroring, the drivers would deliberatly run thier cars down the ‘dirty’ side of the grid to clean it up before the start of the race proper.

    One wonders if they would re-introduce it to prevent this twisting of the rules Ferrari have done. And I’m sorry, but now I really hope Vettel wraps up the title today.

  10. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 18th November 2012, 17:41

    It’s not against the rules, but it is against the spirit of the rules. It’s not exactly an honest or honorable thing to do.

  11. HoolyF1 (@hoolyf1) said on 18th November 2012, 17:43

    Well at least this Luca chap just admitted it. Now if Red Bull do this I won’t be happy, and Mark will be raging!!

  12. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 18th November 2012, 17:45

    “Hello, Ferrari International Assistance? How can I help you?”

  13. ka (@ka12) said on 18th November 2012, 17:47

    It is a logical move. Just imagine: if they use Massa to knock some frontrunners down to move Alonso up at the start, it is even worse for the sport. (Sorry, I just remembered what happened to Alonso in Singapore 2008)

  14. Reminds me a bit of the badminton players at the Olympics. They didn’t want to win because it would have been a disadvantage – same here. just that those players were banned from the games…

  15. Cant believe everyone was complaining about sebs pit lane start… This is much worst.. he gains a place and starts from the cleaner side..atleast seb didnt gain but lost when starting from the pit lane at the start. This means that webber can crash into alonso or hold him which would be legal.. this is a joke

  16. geekracer2000 (@geekracer2000) said on 18th November 2012, 17:59

    How is this different from that badminton affair during Olympics. I will love to see them fail even more now I guess.

  17. dev_IanT (@dev_iant) said on 18th November 2012, 18:00

    It’s (legal) cheating and the reason why many of us would rather *anyone* won rather than Ferrari.

  18. What happens if alonso loses 2 pos from the cleaner side aswell by making a mistake. I wonder what the commentators will say

    • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 18th November 2012, 18:32

      That would be embarrassing. But in hindsight everything is 20/20

    • sumedhvidwans (@sumedhvidwans) said on 18th November 2012, 18:35

      Look, Alonso has nothing to lose now. he is behind in the championship and with a slower car.
      That Alonso loses 2 positions, yes, it can happen. Will he lose the championship today, yes, it can happen too.

      Atleast he can be happy he tried his hardest and then some before losing it. No shame in losing after knowing that you have given your very best.

  19. Monosodico (@monosodico) said on 18th November 2012, 18:16

    wouldn’t it be funny that Fernando’s gearbox fail in the race?.. oh the irony

  20. Guys, how amazing is this? Alonso is getting so ‘much’a’da’maxeemom’ out of the car that he’s ACTUALLY getting ~20% out of Massa’s car too! There is quite literally NO LIMIT to Fernando’s talent.

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