Alonso moves forward as Massa takes penalty

2012 United States Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

161 comments on “Alonso moves forward as Massa takes penalty”

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  1. If you dont like this you should be angry with FIA and Charlie Whiting its their job to make the rules just. Its a hole in the regulations just like there where a hole in Redbulls floor in Monaco.

  2. I’ve never seen Ferrari so desperate. It’s sad that they have to make up for their development failures with such tricks. On the other hand, you have to remember that they are not the only ones playing dirty, so It would be extremely hypocritical to condemned damn without remembering several dirty tricks of their main rival. This maneuver is not ethically ok, but it’s legal and does not pose any harm to anyone (for those who try to compare it to Singapore 2008). I find it to be in the same line as RBR’s ‘stealing’ front wing from Webber or telling Vettel to stop the car before the end of Italian GP just to “save the engine”. Unlike effectively breaking technical regulations on several occasions.

  3. Understand their thinking and I don’t blame them, it’s a good idea – but what will the American audience think of this? Really bad image to present in the first race back.

  4. Anyone else having a feeling that it would turn out that both sides are pretty much like on any other track regarding the difference in grip?

  5. Touche Ferrari, touche…

  6. Talk about taking one for the team…

  7. Ferrari behaved like gangsters on this one.
    Whatever it takes…

    1. Or should I say the Mafia :D

  8. If anything this is another reason why the 5 grid penalty for gearbox changes is a bit stupid…

  9. Please spare me the tears for Massa.
    Felipe and Rubens were, maybe, Championship quality drivers that turned whore and sold their racing spirit and souls to Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.
    Refusing to win a race or give up a position for the benefit of another driver, i.e. “for the team” is not true racing and it doesn’t befit a true racer.
    Neither deserves the respect of an honest racer.

  10. Smart move from Ferrari and respect to them for doing it.

  11. Whether fair or not, the fact remains that Ferrari were not as fast on Saturday as Red Bull. If they had been, then obviously they would not have reacted this way. The real winner in all of this is Vettel and Red Bull. Imagine the satisfaction they must have felt seeing their main rivals resort to such desperate tactics, and at such a crucial point in the season.
    Ofcourse it is hard of Felipe Massa. He has had without doubt the hardest of seasons of any of the top team drivers, ridiculed by the media and fans alike, Felipe has recently come back to the fore with some good performances. Then this happens! Saying that, this is not as bad as Hockenheim two years ago. Back then Massa was leading a grands prix, the season still had a long way to run and the championship was still far from being decided. Massa to me has always seemed vunerable once his head drops, once his confidence is gone. The events in Austin won’t help, but this is Formula One and every driver has to face this possibility potentially. They all have to be mentally tough to survive, so in that instance Massa is lucky to still be at Ferrari. His comments about being ‘the only driver to take this’ says everything. He knows he is not there on performance but more because he ‘takes’ knocks like Austin and Hockenheim without running to the press and causing a fuss. In essience, he is too much of a nice guy!
    As for Ferrari, dubious tactics have never been a problem for the Scuderia. Having said that, I doubt Christian Horner would have minded pulling a stroke like this if Vettel had been in Alonso’s grid position. As others have suggested, Red Bull might have gone about it a different way but the net result would be the same. Lets not forget that the Constructors Championship alone is worth $100 million just by itself. A sport this maybe, but its not conkers and the stakes are almost obscenely high.

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