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. 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!!

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

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

  3. 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)

  4. 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…

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Kelsier (@kelsier) said on 18th November 2012, 18:40

    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.

  12. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 18th November 2012, 18:43

    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.

  13. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 18th November 2012, 18:48

    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.

  14. Brace (@brace) said on 18th November 2012, 18:52

    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?

  15. Calum (@calum) said on 18th November 2012, 19:01

    Touche Ferrari, touche…

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