Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari’s Massa treatment

F1 Fanatic round-up

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2012In the round-up: Martin Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari sacrificing Felipe Massa’s qualifying position to benefit Fernando Alonso.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Whitmarsh: I don’t agree with Ferrari’s call (The Telegraph)

“McLaren’s Whitmarsh stressed that he was ‘not criticising’ Ferrari, but added that it was not the way he believed race teams should be run. ‘I don?t think so,?? he said. ??I think it was quite a tough thing to do personally. I?m not criticising anyone for what they do. Team principals have to decide how they run their teams and it?s very clear that Ferrari are very focused on Fernando.’”

Alonso ‘proud’ of Ferrari (Sky)

“I am very proud of the decision and very proud of the team for telling the truth. Not many teams when they made that decision would have done that.”

United States GP – Conference 4 (FIA)

Sebastian Vettel: “I think you misunderstood. I wasn’t complaining about Lewis, obviously. I wasn’t too happy send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I obviously had to go through Karthikeyan and he was basically right behind at the DRS zone; to do a big difference within one corner is hardly possible and then he took that opportunity – fair enough – down the straight and passed me. I tried to defend, I moved to the inside but I knew that he would have so much more speed that he can pick either side, so it didn’t really matter what I was doing and after that, I was obviously not too happy, because on all the laps before I tried to manage the gap to him, tried to manage the tyres until the end of the race, to be able to attack towards the last couple of laps. We had, I think, something like 20 laps, 15 laps to go at the time. It was not targeted at Lewis, it was more targeted at the backmarker which, as I said, gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis.”

Alternators ‘a worry’ for Red Bull (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “I think the new version has raced on other engine cycles [at other teams], so hopefully that is what we will have for Brazil.”

Red carpet, choppers champagne greet Formula One in Texas (Reuters)

“[Mario Andretti] said although the track has the best design for spectators that he has seen, he doesn’t expect a ‘big wow’ from foreign visitors. ‘The Formula One contingent is very used to being in the Taj Mahal,’ said Andretti, a Circuit Of The Americas ambassador. ‘Nothing is going to impress them.’”

F1 Races Into America and Austin Keeps It Weird (The New York Times)

“The first year of a new grand prix always attracts more people than the subsequent years. The US Grand Prix at Indianapolis had 225,000 in its first year, in 2000, but never again. So the real test will come not just this weekend, but next year and in the following years. For the moment, it still feels pretty weird.”

Mexican fans flock to Texas to cheer on Perez (Chicago Tribune)

“More Formula One visitors are expected to come to Austin from Mexico than from any other foreign country, said Steve Alberts, communications manager at the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. Four charter flights from Mexico were set to arrive in Austin carrying about 500 fans, said Jim Halbrook, a spokesman for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and more Mexican fans are flying to other Texas cities.”

Kevin Garside: Vettel may have the best car, but he’s also blessed by genius (The Independent)

Kevin Garside: “Alonso has enhanced his reputation this season by the brilliant husbandry of an inferior car, nicking a win here and there. That is precisely what Vettel did until Newey found something on his drawing board in the latter part of the season that worked.”

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Comment of the day

@PaulT praises Pirelli’s appropriately Texan headgear:

The Pirelli Stetsons on the podium were a small but inspired touch and will certainly have helped make the race (and F1) memorable to US fans.

I can?t remember if this has been done before (I mean swapping the traditional baseball caps for some other headgear with a local flavour).
@PaulT

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150 comments on Whitmarsh disagrees with Ferrari’s Massa treatment

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  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 19th November 2012, 1:41

    I understand what they did with Massa, I understand the motive behind it. The dirty side was very penalizing and they need to work for Alonso’s title charge.

    But it’s somehow wrong. Alonso has showed many times that he doesn’t need that sort of thing to finish much higher than we all expect him to be. I assume no one thought he’d finish so close to Vettel in India, for example.

    Felipe was not happy at all, he said so, and it’s the first time I’ve seen him so dissapointed. Not even after Germany 2010 he opened up like this. Sure he’d be happy to let Alonso go by (yet again), but to do this? I think it’s taking it a bit too far…

    That’s why Webber at Ferrari could’ve been so wrong for them. I don’t think Webber would’ve stayed that much quiet about these sort of thing.

    I’ve also heard that “this is no different to Vettel starting from the pitlane at Abu Dhabi”. Well, it is different. Vettel just chose to start on the pitlane, and change everything in the car, they’d still start last.

    At least Ferrari were honest about it. That’s a good thing… for a change, they said things as they are.

    • thejudge13 (@thejudge13) said on 19th November 2012, 1:48

      I have to disagree. Red Bull were awarded a penalty and they mitigated this by using the rules – I don’t think that should be allowed, neither the Ferrari opportunism of today. But its up to Charlie to change the rules. So I have no problem with the teams using the bad rules in their interests – this is not a game of bowls or croquet.

      I also wonder whether McLaren have gone soft. If the rules allowed it and they were in the same position, it is exactly what should be done. Whitmarsh’s comments don’t make sense.

      In fact, it would have been interesting if McLaren had done to Jenson’s car what RB did to Vettel’s in Abu Dhabi. He was starting 12th – dirty side – poss carnage – and in fact ended up 16th after the first few corners.

      With a longer 7th gear, Button may well have made even further progress than he did starting from the pit lane. Have McLaren gone soft?

      • thejudge13 (@thejudge13) said on 19th November 2012, 1:49

        By the way Grosjean started where Alonso should have been – he was still eigth after turn 1, Alonso was 4th.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 1:59

        @thejudge13

        Red Bull were awarded a penalty and they mitigated this by using the rules

        Red Bull did not forfeit the qualifying position of one driver to advantage the other. The two things are night-and-day different.

        • thejudge13 (@thejudge13) said on 19th November 2012, 2:03

          We hear all the time its a team event. “We win and lose as a team” bla bla bla – whether we like it or not.

          I’m simply pointing out both teams have used the rules (in what a number of people considered a less than satisfactory manner) to advance the cause of their driver fighting for the WDC title.

          The rules should be changed IMHO

          • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 19th November 2012, 9:24

            I don’t think that the point is about advancing the cause of their driver, the point is that they intentionally disadvantaged another driver in a sacrificial move. The most recent other examples of this are Germany 2010 and Singapore 2008.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 10:09

            @thejudge13

            We hear all the time its a team event. “We win and lose as a team”

            Except in Ferari’s case it’s more like “we win as Alonso and we lose as Massa”.

            The rules should be changed

            Agreed.

        • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 19th November 2012, 2:07

          @keithcollantine That, and also the fact that today Ferrari messed up drivers from different teams. If their decision only affected Massa, I’d not be bothered about it, but in doing what they did they did put Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Senna at a disadvantage at the start in order to help Alonso, and that, in my opinion, should not be allowed. I’m very surprised not a single word was heard from Force India, Lotus or Williams.

          In Abu Dhabi Red Bull’s decision to start from the pitlane didn’t affect anyone else’s race, it’s not even comparable.

          • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 19th November 2012, 2:09

            That and the fact that it came out quite late in the day, so the others had little time to react and arrange the strategy,

            Hulkenberg was not happy either… not sure if you saw Brundle’s grid walk.

          • stirper said on 19th November 2012, 2:50

            “I’m very surprised not a single word was heard from Force India, Lotus or Williams.”

            And what they are supposed to say?? if they want to do it they are free to do it…and look Ferrari can find 1 million reasons (like S.D says after the race) to justify this but they are being honest…and only a small nr of teams are honest and unfortunately Mclaren and Red bull aren’t in this group.

            Now imagine that 1 hour after the qualy session Ferrari announced that a mechanical X.Y problem had been captured in the Ferrari of Massa and they are obligated to solve that and unfortunately a penalty will penalise Massa.
            You like this scenario? This scenario i think is ok…isn’t it? Yes i know…but unfortunately this scenario is the scenario that most of the team have been used in the past, use now in the present and will use in the future…but not Ferrari their are honest but some of people here still don’t like this.

            “In Abu Dhabi Red Bull’s decision to start from the pitlane didn’t affect anyone else’s race”

            No Wrong, it affects the others driver also because in the race they were fighting a car that had been changed some hours before the race…with a better race setup and a better top speed…while the others were in the parc ferme.

            Both the decision were the right decisions. that’s unfair for the other drivers?? Yes true…but there isn’t a ferrari or red bull problem is a FIA problem.

          • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 19th November 2012, 2:56

            @fer-no65 I saw his interview with Natalie Pinkham. He certainly didn’t seem happy, but was at least composed in front of the camera.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 19th November 2012, 3:04

            @guilherme I think advantaging Alonso over the drivers that could hurt his chances of staying in contention was, I dunno, the whole point?

          • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 19th November 2012, 3:14

            @mike It’s not that they only advantaged Alonso over the others, they have disadvantaged the drivers I mentioned before in relation to a whole cast of odd starters. They have played with many drivers in many teams, and that’s the issue I have with Ferrari’s tactics.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 19th November 2012, 6:45

            +1.

            I was supporting Hamilton from race 1 until McLaren took him off title battle and I started rooting for Alonso to finally win his well due 3rd WDC but after that? It’s quite hard to feel good about it, if Alonso wins the title next week I’ll save a minute of applause to the good soldier Felipe Massa.

            #shame.on.you.Ferrari

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 8:31

            this scenario is the scenario that most of the team have been used in the past

            When?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 20th November 2012, 0:29

            @guilherme I hate to break it too you, but Ferrari isn’t in the business of advantaging other teams drivers, no team is.

            Ferrari, within the rules, can do what they want. It was not an act of sportsmanship, in that it was unfair to Massa, but as for the other drivers, well, they ARE competing are they not? The whole point was to make sure Alonso could get a good start, and get in front of said other drivers.

          • Asanator (@asanator) said on 20th November 2012, 14:13

            Nobody seems to have noticed that in reality, all Ferrari did was undo the disadvantage that was handed to them following RG’s gearbox penalty. All of the drivers started on the side of track that they were supposed to and some were even promoted 2 positions by it. Hardly cause for complaint!

        • Red Bull did not forfeit the qualifying position of one driver

          Red Bull did not keep a driver on its payroll long after he should have been sacked for his unacceptably poor performance, either.

          Could it be that the two are perhaps connected?

          A team chooses to hang on to a driver for much longer than would be reasonable, exactly because the team understands that down the road it will probably need someone who repays the otherwise unfounded trust by playing along with tactics like this.

          As a philosophy, the above mentioned rationale may or may not be to your liking; but within the framework of that philosophy this “trick” was perfectly legitimate.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 19th November 2012, 2:08

        I have to disagree. Red Bull were awarded a penalty and they mitigated this by using the rules – I don’t think that should be allowed, neither the Ferrari opportunism of today.

        Starting on the pitlane is perfectly okay, and it’s still penalizing, because you start much further behind that you would if you started last on the grid, and got the car moving as the lights go out instead of waiting in the pitlane until given the “go ahead”.

        Cutting the seals from one of your cars so the other starts one place ahead it’s massively different to what Red Bull did in Abu Dhabi.

        • thejudge13 (@thejudge13) said on 19th November 2012, 2:12

          Even Horner said, “Its within the rules, that’s their choice”.

          Its not acceptable that the rules allow it. I’m afraid the spot light needs to fall on a whole host of race management, marshaling and rules matters. Whether the present FIA appointed representatives are competent enough in all these areas is IMHO questionable.

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 19th November 2012, 9:21

          But how is it fair that they could say “right, we screwed up but lets modify our car so it can compete better”?

          It’s just like when they changed Vettel’s tyres (and repaired Hamilton’s wing) under the red-flag conditions during Monaco 2011. The rules have too many obvious grey areas.

      • mharker said on 19th November 2012, 18:46

        I totally fail to see how you can compare Red Bull’s decision to start Vettel from the pit-lane in Abu Dhabi to what Ferrari did at Austin. Red Bull’s decision could have worked against Vettel, they were taking a bit of a gamble. Vettel was not overly familiar with that entire setup and anything could have happened but he made it work. Besides Vettel couldn’t start the race till the cars were past the first corner which lost him more time than if he had started 24th.

        And if starting from the pit-lane is such an advantage as you say, every team has the opportunity to do it. Ferrari could have started Alonso from the pit-lane and changed the entire set up if they wanted. Starting from the pit-lane is not such an advantage as you think – unless maybe if you are starting way back on the grid. It is absurd to say that Red Bull were being unsporting or anything like that. Besides what happened in Abu Dhabi was not Vettel’s fault. At Austin it was Alonso who couldn’t qualify better, when even Massa was better than him.

        And Ferrari’s actions not only affected Massa (Massa doesn’t really matter as he’s Ferrari) but also other teams and drivers and well, and that is not right. Red Bull’s actions affected nobody, not even Webber.

        It is absurd this hate towards Red Bull and Vettel. If Red Bull had done what Ferrari did yesterday, all hell would have broken loose on this and other sites/forums.

    • codesurge (@codesurge) said on 19th November 2012, 5:06

      It’s not too different from what you see in another FIA world championship – the WRC. Competitors there often take intentional time penalties in order to prevent themselves from having to ‘sweep’ the stages of loose gravel for their rivals. Top that off with a hefty dose of team orders in that series (e.g. everyone affiliated with Citroen slowing down to let top dog Loeb back into the fold after an off) and what Ferrari did here looks like child’s play.

      • Flying Lobster 27 said on 19th November 2012, 10:02

        Absolutely. This is the first time I can remember a deliberate technical penalty in F1, whereas is was done all the time in the WRC, and by both works teams. I remember a comment on a rally in Jordan, something to the tune of “it wasn’t a race, it was all team tactics”. Not to mention the Spanish rally in 1995 in which McRae refused to heed team orders telling him not to fight team-mate Carlos Sainz for the win. McRae led until his crew of mechanics were told to let him out of service late, which meant he fell back to second…

        Ferrari’s alternative to avoid being Grosjeaned, Pastored and Quartered was to do what Valentino Rossi’s team did at the first Qatar MotoGP – do burn-outs on the start position overnight. On a side-note, Sete Gibernau’s team complained, Rossi was sent to the back of the grid and after falling in the race, Vale reportedly vowed that Sete wouldn’t win another race – twas the famous “curse”; indeed Sete never won again.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th November 2012, 8:00

        Exactly one of the things that almost everyone in rallying also feels is wrong and should be adressed in the rules to avoid @codesurge.
        I compare it with the olympics badminton tournament where 2 teams got disqualified for losing on purpose so they would have a better chance later on.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 19th November 2012, 6:34

      I couldn’t see that coming… oh my God.

    • Enrique said on 19th November 2012, 9:58

      How can Red Bull complain?? Think Abu Dhabi and how many things they did wrong:
      1) Vettel should have been expelled from the Abu Dhabi GP(not only they had no gas left, they lied to the stewards about the cause and almost got away with it),
      2) also the rules state the car should have been eliminated not start from the pitlane.
      3) changing the set up (isnt it bending the rules too, no noise there)
      then, more importantly Red Bull used its other 3 cars on the race to help Vettel progress.
      4) wasnt Webber asked to stop when Vettel catched up with him? has anyone bother to check what happened to Mark’s race after that? he was left in the middle of traffic ruining his race, is that better than what happened to Massa?
      5) what about the Toro Rosso, acting like lapped cars everytime Vettel was getting any closer, Riccardo yielding was pathetic. is that legal? does RB have 4 cars or 2? why nobody bothers to analyse it and make a bit of noise.
      To me Abu Dhabi was a big scandal, but given RB, Horner and Vettel are the golden boys the media doesnt even get there.
      But it is always easier to go against Alonso, it has more impact, pathetic

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 13:49

        While I truly dislike Ferrari’s philosophy about making it all about one driver, and I especially abhorred the MS/Ferrari way where the number 2 had no legitimate chance from race one of each season by contract, because it shows us that the number 1 needs the help and it robs the viewing audience of the very thing they are paying for, now that I know what Ferrari did this weekend to assist FA, I actually don’t mind, in the context of things.

        I think any team who has only one driver with a legitimate shot at the WDC with 2 races to go, could/would/should understandably consider this option. Ferrari were pretty much out of the Constructors chase by this weekend anyway, and so it has to be all about FA, just as any WDC potential team without the clear number 1 and 2 philsophy usually has to decide at least as the season closes not to rob points from the driver with the shot.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 19th November 2012, 19:20

        I’m surprised that no one has noticed Red Bull ordering Toro Rosso drivers to move over when Vettel is behind them.

        Everyone is quick to bash Ferrari even though Ferrari admit to using everything within the rulebook to help Fernando. Red Bull on the other hand, have orders coming from one team on the grid to another to move over.. how is that even permitted?

        People might not like Ferrari’s tactics.. but at least they are open enough to admit it. Christain Horner on the other hand will play holier than thou in front of the media, but will have Helmut instructing Toro Rosso drivers to move over

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 19:43

          Given Ferrari’s rooster philosophy on the team, I doubt the other Ferrari powered cars/drivers were giving FA much of a hard time either. If FA’s very teammate can’t race him, as if the other Ferrari engined guys can.

      • mharker said on 19th November 2012, 19:44

        Wow! Just Wow!! The hate towards Red Bull and Vettel is pretty amazing sometimes …

        • Giggsy11 (@giggsy11) said on 19th November 2012, 23:05

          To be fair coming from a Ferrari fan myself this can sound a tad bias, its just i would like to see a change in the title winner (noted the Schumacher dominance) i would just like to see a new team up there even if it has to be Mclaren. Yes Red Bull do a stella job with their machine every year and you cannot fault them at that i would just like to see a team or driver with a legitimate response to that.

  2. andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 19th November 2012, 2:12

    Keith, main title -> ‘disagrees’, instead of ‘disagres’

  3. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th November 2012, 2:33

    i see absolutely nothing wrong with what ferrari did. in fact, i describe it as “brilliant”

    • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 3:12

      Indeed, ingenious. Briatore would be proud!

      • @lhfan said on 19th November 2012, 5:42

        Gud one mate …
        Plus you have to think why didnt redbull do it to webber so that they cud put alonso back on the dirty side . Even redbull kept the team spirit . My sympathies for massa .

        • Marcos (@marcos) said on 19th November 2012, 10:56

          … RB didn’t do that because it was better to have Webber in front of Alonso to slow him down in case it was necessary. RB keeping the teem spirit??? COME ON!!! Do you really believe your words?

          And agree with @jaymenon10, the problem is that people can’t graps that this IS (and always was) a team sport.

    • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 19th November 2012, 5:22

      agreed, a stroke of genius!

    • AldoG said on 19th November 2012, 9:46

      How sad. How very sad.
      On top of that, F1 arrived to US trying to open up a market, and this is our way to introduce ourselves. I felt cheated, and ashamed. This was just a scam.
      This is just sad, unfair, disappointing, but hey, Alonso got all of us used to this kind of dirt. Such a brilliant driver, he doesnt need this kind of thing, but from a driver to allowed his own teammate to attack a concrete wall, that was expected. I had the hope that Ferrari would try to keep higher standards. How wrong I was.
      To be honest, it doesn`t matter if they can do that: there some lines that people involved in sport should NOT do it, even if they can.
      What a terribly shameful day for F1.

    • mharker said on 19th November 2012, 19:39

      Somehow I feel that if Red Bull had done this, most of the people saying Ferrari were right and it was a brilliant move would have had the opposite view …

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 19th November 2012, 3:13

    I think we are in the same situation after Germany 2010 where all the “moralists” were giving lessons & criticizing Ferrari for using team orders (it’s true that they were illegal at that time which is different from this case) to favor one driver to another and in fact all those “moralist” were doing the same we heard sometimes on the radio “Jenson save fuel, fuel is critical” & “Mark maintain the gap” (this was the legal but Horner himself said that he will never use team orders)

    Many know feel sorry about Felipe but Massa himself is the one that knows the most Ferrari politics & this year he was desperate to get his contract renewed so no one oblige him to stay at Ferrari

    I m 1000% sure that any of the top teams were in the same situation of Ferrari they will do the same thing & they will lie about it

    • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 3:26

      If a sport doesn’t possess a strong moral foundation, it can no longer call itself a sport. What Ferrari did wasn’t exactly very “Sporting” was it. After all, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, the Formula that others aspire to emulate.

      • Marcos (@marcos) said on 19th November 2012, 11:01

        Chess is a sport, and sometime you have to sacrifice your queen to win the game. It’s called tactics.

        • Ferrarista said on 19th November 2012, 14:28

          +1

        • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 18:47

          @marcos
          Sacrificing your Queen in order win a game of chess is an accepted tactic, and is widely utilized.

          A team choosing to purposefully hamper one of their drivers (and in the process negatively affect other drivers grid positions) by modifying his car to incur a penalty is neither an accepted tactic or widely utilized.

          I’m sure that next years regulations will be updated to prevent something like this from happening again, as this kind of behaviour is unsporting and brings the sport into disrepute.

          • Pelican (@pelican) said on 19th November 2012, 22:49

            If anything brings the sport into disrepute, it’s fuzzy penalties and ever-changing rules. Whatever isn’t forbidden is *allowed*, not up for protesting after the race.

          • Marcos (@marcos) said on 20th November 2012, 9:50

            I see your point. But as far as a I see it, for one driver to win the race, others need to lose it. For one driver to win the race, others need to be negatively affected (even the winner’s teammate). This can be applied to all sports. It’s competitiveness (whether it’s against others or against yourself). And it’s what makes sport interesting. They can’t all win!

            For me, what Ferrari did is not only allowed by the rules, but it doesn’t go “against the spirit” of the rules neither. Team orders are allowed. That’s it. End of the question.

            Now, you can argue that you don’t like team orders. But that’s another history.

          • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 20th November 2012, 16:55

            Now, you can argue that you don’t like team orders. But that’s another history.

            I have no issue with team orders. I have an issue with team sabotage.

      • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 19th November 2012, 21:48

        If a sport doesn’t possess a strong moral foundation, it can no longer call itself a sport.

        In that case Formula 1 has never been a sport. Lotus used team orders from the start of the season back in 1978.

    • brny666 said on 19th November 2012, 4:30

      As others mentioned it wasn’t a problem of helping Alonso but it put a number of other drivers who otherwise were entitled to the clean side if the grid onto the dirty side and that’s completely unacceptable. If you were Hulkenberg you would be utterly disgusted with what Ferrari did and rightly so.

      • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th November 2012, 4:51

        so when a car is moved back after qualifying, what do you want? special cleaning of the surface is right out, by the way.

        if you don’t like being promoted from 3rd on the clean side to 2nd on the dirty side, there already exist options within the rules:

        start the race from your assigned starting grid place

        prior to the start of the race, choose to take a penalty with an odd number of grid spots lost

        start the race from the pit lane

        withdraw from the event

    • Churaragi said on 19th November 2012, 9:28

      I m 1000% sure that any of the top teams were in the same situation of Ferrari they will do the same thing & they will lie about it

      Pretty hard to imagine Red Bull would give a penalty to Webber if he qualified on pole ahead of Vettel that race. Sorry not seeing it.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 19th November 2012, 10:05

        clearly you missed the 2010 British Gran Prix

        • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 13:59

          @tifoso1989
          The difference is Red Bulls actions (giving Webber’s front wing to Vettel at the 2010 British GP) didn’t result in a grid penalty for Webber. It gave Vettel an advantage, but at least Webber started the race where he qualified (2nd).

          • mharker said on 19th November 2012, 19:51

            +1

            And perhaps it was not the best move by Red Bull, but Webber had mentioned that he was more comfortable with the older wing, whereas Vettel was more comfortable with the newer one.

            And in the end the old wing worked pretty well for Webber as he was able to win using it.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th November 2012, 8:08

      @tifoso1989, I think we are in quite a different situation here. In Germany 2010 Ferrari blatantly got away with something that was illegal after they did almost exactly the same a decade ago. No surprise that Todt would not mind team orders, as he was the one who ordered them that time.

      Here, and in the situations you mentioned with other teams we have something that is clearly unsporting and unfair to one or more drivers. But its not against the rules (we can debate about changing them to prevent it in the future though).

      But I have to strongly object to your ignorant assumption about the “moralists”. It is true that many people absolutely abhorred what Ferrari did in 2010 (including many Ferrari fans). But most of the people that disliked this were also highly critical of what we heard on Buttons radio (although McLAren were able to show that it was really more about fuel levels than not wanting them to fight) and save for Die Hard Red Bull fans, most also called Horners hypocrisy when they did order Mark to slow it a bit and not attack, even if Webber himself said that it did not change the race’s outcome because he ignored that order anyway.

  5. PaulT (@pault) said on 19th November 2012, 3:54

    @keithcollantine Wow, COTD again – thanks. This time I had better not claim inspiration from a bottle of wine, because the podium ceremony coincided with breakfast time here in Oz………….

  6. MylesW (@mpw1985) said on 19th November 2012, 4:24

    Nice to see my hometown newspaper (Chicago Tribune) in the round up! Wasn’t expecting that. Anyway, I’m pretty damn proud to be an American right now. F1 came back to the USA as a roaring success, and I think it’s a great sign of things to come in America. See you next year, Austin!

  7. Pelican (@pelican) said on 19th November 2012, 4:56

    Ferrari found a loophole, they went through it. This is exactly how the F1 rulebook has always worked. I expect it’ll be outlawed the next draft, but that doesn’t make it wrong today. Didn’t F1 use to let teammates switch cars, if the leading driver qualified behind? Sure, it’s shoddy treatment of Massa, but that’s nothing new at ferrari. In the end, he finished as well as he possibly could have at 4th, since Ferrari would never let him finish ahead of Alonso, and hamilton and vettel were uncatchable. (If i were him, I’d probably find it all the more more grating that the ploy worked like a charm.)

    • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th November 2012, 5:16

      how grating can it possibly be to be a race car driver…in formula 1…for ferrari? if his treatment is so shoddy, why doesn’t he quit rather than extending his contract? i’m sure it was personally frustrating, but this is a team sport and filipe is a team player.

      • Drop Valencia! said on 19th November 2012, 5:22

        Massa is lifting big time now, and if by some freak occurance he continues lifting, and if he can beat Alonso in the first 5 races next year, Alonso may become his lap dog, that’s what Massa is thinking….

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 19th November 2012, 7:39

          He certainly out drove Alonso today, 11th to 4th is far more impressive than 7th to 3rd.

          Given his penchant for the home crowd, I say Massa is a potential darkhorse for victory in Brazil. If Alonso isn’t right behind and it will help takes points of Vettel, Ferrari may well let him finally win a race again.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 14:04

            “He certainly out drove Alonso today, 11th to 4th is far more impressive than 7th to 3rd.”

            Can’t say I agree with that. You are just using strict math, as in, making up 7 spots is better than making up 4 spots by the end of the race. The reality is that when you are starting 7th you are playing amongst a group of faster cars from the moment the red lights go out, and when you start 11th, especially artificially because of a voluntary gearbox change/penalty, you are starting amongst a group of cars that you had technically outqualified the day before, and even without that issue FM was still starting amongst a group of non-top-three cars. ie. FA started off by having to play with the big boys at the start…FM didn’t.

        • mixwell (@mixwell) said on 19th November 2012, 7:56

          and you think Ferrari are gonna let that happen? ain’t Fernando “faster”?

          i guess this is exactly what he meant when he said that their team is better. .

          Ferrari should hire Narain. that way they can get both backmarker advantage and if he qualifies in front, leave room for the champ.

          I’d love to see what the comments be like if McLaren or RB had pulled this move.

  8. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 19th November 2012, 5:09

    The people who think that Ferrari acted appropriately, are probably the same people who believe that a Football player diving in order to “win” his team a penalty is just fine and dandy. After all, winning a penalty is in the interest of the team right? Even if it does makes Football players look like idiots.

    Here’s a question for the F1F’s who agree with what Ferrari did. Why don’t they just employ this policy from the very first race of the 2013 season? If Massa out qualifies Alonso, just manufacture a problem for Massa and Bobs your uncle’s butler, Alonso magically appears in front of Massa.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 19th November 2012, 9:34

      It’s not as simple as that, since it would only work where Massa qualifies in front of Alonso but behind other contenders such as Hamilton, otherwise you are just gifting a position to your rivals too. In this case it also wasn’t so much about the one position gain, but the move onto the clean side of the track.

      We could call for the FIA to ‘close the loophole’ (though I can’t think how) but it’s unlikely we will get such a combination of circumstances as this again any time soon – I would have thought a disrepute charge would be a better way to deal with this.

    • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 19th November 2012, 10:10

      Not at all, @tmcs88. Pretending to be fouled or injured in order to get a penalty in any sport is abhorrent – it’s lying, playacting, not worthy of adults and sportsmen. But in this case the rules clearly allowed Ferrari’s actions legally and Ferrari were quite open about the process and their rationale. I am no Ferrari fan but I completely understand why they did this to keep Alonso in the hunt. He still finished miles behind the leaders – showing that it was the right decision, as Alonso could otherwise have got caught up in the battles behind and lost time and places.

      There’s no point doing this at the beginning of the season as teams usually want to maximise points for both their drivers, and for the constructors’ championship – until such time as they decide which is their lead driver, or they give up on one or both championships.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 14:28

        @tmcs88 … what you are speaking to is in fact the very thing that happened at Ferrari in the MS era. Sure once in a while RB outqualified MS (driving MS’s designer car), but MS never had to have one sleepless night thinking about how he was going to beat his teammate in the same car (his car) on Sunday.

        Why doesn’t Ferrari just do what they did in the US GP from race one of 2013? I think the answer to that is that they know it is not popular even if it is their philosophy and they admit it. They know it is demoralizing to the subservient teammate and to the fans. They know that even if they pat themselves on the back for artificially penalizing FM with a gearbox change in order to help FA and claim they are righteous because they admit openly what they did, the reality is that they always tried to shade the facts of the MS era to make it sound like there was actual racing going on within the team, and that it was simply up to his teammates to compete. eg. the last thing they wanted was for RB to string out his lead until there was metres to go in Austria 02, thus embarassing the team and F1 and showing the world, including RB’s admission in the post-race interview, that there was a contract and he was just obeying it.

        It’s about degees of blatancy. Ferrari has a clear philosophy but they know it is highly contentious and debatable, and they also bank on most teams not nearly being able to bring themselves to do this to one of their drivers to nearly the degree they do. That’s how they ‘succeed’ at it. If all teams had a clear 1 and 2 from race one of each season I shudder to think what F1 would look like, and most would no longer think of F1 as the pinnacle of racing. I think most teams get this and so thankfully don’t go the Ferrari way.

    • Pelican (@pelican) said on 19th November 2012, 17:10

      Ferrari did the crime and took the penalty. A diving player does the crime and makes the other team take the penalty. It’s more like a basketball team intentionally fouling in the last minute of a game to stop the clock and try to get the ball back.
      Each team is given 2 cars to use as they see fit. Favoring one might not be pretty, but it’s not necessarily unfair.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 18:18

        While it’s hard to argue with your well summed up wording, I will say that there is unfairness going on…that being toward the paying audience. I think that the audience deserves to see two top gladiators on the top teams, unencumbered to race each other until the math dictates the direction they need to go as the season winds down. I think that using one driver to not race his teammate from the beginning of the season diminishes the show that the paying audience is there to see. Basketball teams do no intentionally foul other than in the last minute of the game.

        Favouring one driver who has a WDC shot as the season winds down over a teammate that does not, is a scenario I have always understood as the way it should and has to work in F1. It’s the hanging out of one driver from race one of the season that I will never agree with. In this weekends scenario, I understand Ferrari doing this for FA, but all the while I can’t help feeling that the reason FM has lagged all season is that the team is simply not motivated to see him succeed. They didn’t hire FA so FM could win the WDC and they didn’t hire FA a top level teammate, and so the result is that we the viewing audience pay to see one driver not race another for 20 races a season in the pinnacle of racing. That becomes especially ugly if they happen to end up with a dominant car ala MS/Ferrari and then we see the one driver who does have the equipment to do something about the other driver who is running away with the Championship, unable to do so by a decision in the boardroom. And that is simply unfair to those who are paying to see racing, and if you go by the typical votes here on this forum for driver of the weekend, it is usually the driver that did something beyond what he should have been able to who gets the nod…it’s the driver who had a cakewalk of a time who gets less accolades for his achievement.

  9. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 19th November 2012, 5:46

    This seems totally wrong to me. I don’t agree with what Ferrari have done to Massa. There should be a rule, at least within the GPDA, to prevent this sort of treatment towards any driver without their consent.

    I respect that Ferrari were honest about it, as they could have easily made up the story and no one would ever know. But this still doesnt make it right. There should be an additional clause within the FIA sporting regulation 28.6, stating that seals may be broken for the sole purpose of “mandatory repairs” for which sufficient justification and proof must be given.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 19th November 2012, 9:36

      And when the team offers no such justification or proof (as would have been the case this weekend)?

      • RedBullRacer (@redbullracer) said on 19th November 2012, 10:56

        And when the team offers no such justification or proof (as would have been the case this weekend)?

        This is an interesting point. If the rules did state that the seal could only be broken for genuine repairs, and Ferrari had done what they did anyway, what would their punishment have been? A fine? A grid penalty? Disqualification? I don’t think the rules would ever suggest that both drivers could be disqualified for a team infringement related to just one driver, so even if it was against the rules it would probably have been Massa who’d suffer the consequences of the rule-breaking anyway.

        It seems to me that it would be impossible to adequately alter the regulations to make this sort of thing illegal in future. It’s like how team orders were legalised after Ferrari blatantly found a way around the illegality at Germany 2010 – if teams are going to be able to do it anyway, it may as well be legal.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 15:05

          Given the inconsistancy of the enforcement of rules in F1, I suspect that even if Ferrari did something wrong or illegal by not being able to prove there actually was a literal issue with the gearbox, I think in this case the stewards would accept a story from Ferrari something like that “while there was nothing wrong with the gearbox at the start of the weekend, we were concerned about it’s longevity to last through Sunday,” and since allowing this move would potentially help the season come down to the final race, which would mean millions upon millions more in revenues for F1, they would allow it.

  10. JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 19th November 2012, 6:44

    You cannot deny that Massa has improved since the Korean race and I do hope Massa will have a shot at next year’s WDC. It is possible for sure.

    So many team orders has happened in the history of F1, whether legal or illegal it has always been used to benefit the team or the driver. I wouldn’t tear my hair out over this.

    • AldoG said on 19th November 2012, 9:53

      In my view team orders are hideous. But what Ferrari did was NOT team order. They didnt hesitate to use a LIE to support one of this drivers. IMHO F1 should try to verify if Massa`s gearbox had indeed any problems and if they discover it was a LIE they should cancel all of Ferrari points in the race.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 19th November 2012, 10:27

        Ferrari openly admitted that they used a loophole of sorts to push Felipe back 5 places. They may have done something unsporting, but they never lied about what they did.

        • They broke the seal on the gearbox to change it when there was no problem with gear box. They later assumed it. But their confession don’t dissipate the responsabilty.
          As others pointed out, one thing is to look for loopholes in the rules when designing the car (Brawn double difusser, McLaren F duct). There ia some talent involved on this. Another thing is to find a place in the rules to park a joke like this.

          • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 19th November 2012, 15:13

            They later assumed it. But their confession don’t dissipate the responsabilty.

            I don’t understand. Are you saying that it was somehow implied that Ferrari had a problem with Massa’s gearbox and changed it? From the interview I saw with Stefano Domenicali after the race there was no ambiguity – he stated they were honest and incurred the penalty solely to benefit Alonso’s grid position.
            You seem to be angry that Ferrari used a technicality in this way. It’s a unique situation to be sure but the fact is that while they may have done something ‘unsporting’ they didn’t do anything illegal. Therefore they cannot and should not be penalised.

  11. infy (@infy) said on 19th November 2012, 7:05

    What happened t Massa was entirely his own doing. If he had performed better than Alonso at the start of the year then this would have been avoided.

    • Absolutely correct. Massa has always been a number two driver. He’s ok as a driver. Just not in the class of FA, LH or SV. He’s no team-leader.
      Any team in the same situation would have done exactly the same. Hats off to Ferrari for “thinking out of the box”

    • AldoG said on 19th November 2012, 9:57

      Then F1 came to this. How sad. This is the Nike mindframe, only winners matter, second is the first of the losers and so on and on and on. To order a driver to crash to help Alonso was also “out of the box”. For Brazil we can contact a hit man to shoot Vettel in the legs too, to help Fernando.
      If THIS is the new Formula 1 standard, I want to put distance between me and the sport I have been following since 1972.

      • RedBullRacer (@redbullracer) said on 19th November 2012, 11:05

        I’m no fan of team orders, although I must admit I don’t have a huge problem with what Ferrari did on Sunday as I see it as finding a loophole and taking advantage of it – something which many teams would do and, indeed, have done.
        My only real issue with it is the fact that it disadvantaged the other three drivers who were moved onto the dirty side of the grid – Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Senna.

        But can we please stop comparing it to Singapore 2008. In orchestrating a crash, Nelson Piquet Jr (not that he was the only one to blame) risked the lives of other drivers, marshals and possibly even spectators. It is a totally different situation and to suggest that what Ferrari have done this weekend is as bad as that is both ridiculous and insulting.

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 19th November 2012, 12:48

        Yes but sponsors do not invest millions of pounds to come second. That’s society these days not formula 1. There will never be another Hesketh or driver like James Hunt. If you don’t understand that this is a team sport engineered solely to win then you miss the point entirely. In the ’50s we had drivers giving up their cars for the team. Fangio’s career would be quite different without it. Even in the pit stops, for every team there is a target lap. Before the Pirelli tyres, many teams pitted their drivers on consecutive laps. There was always an advantage to staying out longer and the teams needed to pick which driver to pit. Same as under every safety car. I lost count of how many races Coulthard could have won but lost due to poor pit strategy in favour of Hakkinen for example. To act as though this is brand new and the first hint of it since 1972 is wrong. It’s nothing more than a tactic, which the neutral should enjoy. It’s given us a tremendous championship climax.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 15:17

      @infy …”What happened t Massa was entirely his own doing. If he had performed better than Alonso at the start of the year then this would have been avoided.”

      When we know the clear philosophy at Ferrari is to favour one rooster, are you sure this is a fair comment you are making? If the team is all about FA, I think it is highly possible that this year’s Ferrari, a big departure from last year’s that gave them more questions than answers starting in this year’s off-season testing, was built with only FA and his preferences in mind, hence FM struggling with it much moreso and for much longer than FA. Not to mention many people are of the opinion that FM took a psychological blow when he had to give it up for FA in Germany 2010, and has not been the same driver since.

      • @robbie

        The driver can give feedback on how the car feels, but its not possible to build the car around a driver. You build a car to go fast, regardless of what the driver says.

        Car setups can be developed by a drivers tastes, which is why each driver has his own team of staff. FA is excellent at setting up the car and during the start of 2007 he shared his setups with HAM, but once the conflict began, he stopped doing sharing his setups (thats when Lewis started struggling a bit). Apparently he no longer shares his setups due to that experience.

        Now there is a chance that Alonso only started sharing his setup with Massa recently, which could be the reason Massa is a bit quicker.

        I dont buy the “psychological blow” excuse. Massa is an adult and he knew the deal well before that and well after. That is just something the media made up to dramatize the incident.

        Ferrari allow their drivers to race eachother at the start of the season. Once one driver is clearly leading, they back that driver. Every year Massa has an equal chance to become the #1 driver, its just that he fails each time.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 18:33

          I disagree on several fronts. Of course it is possible to build a car for a specific driver’s needs. If they know for example that MS likes the front end of his car nailed to the track, as in, he can’t live with understeer, they’re going to build a car that tends toward being oversteery so that they know that once they get to adjusting it for various tracks and conditions, the parameters are there plus or minus the central setting to likely get the car right. If MS had an inherently understeery car, there might not be the range within the setup options to get it oversteery enough for his liking at many tracks.

          I’m not sure I buy the psychological blow arguement either, but I know many around here have stated it. So I don’t think it is just a media thing, and it does seem to be the case that FM’s performance declined after that race. I think that FM likely knew his fate the moment he learned that FA was going to be his teammate.

          I don’t buy for a second that every year FM has an equal chance to become #1, unless you mean he is driving exactly the same car as FA, that being one designed for FA. They didn’t hire FA so FM could win the WDC. EI, RB, and now FM are driving the same cars all right. Cars built for their teammates needs, not their own. Hence FM’s huge struggles early on vs. FA’s. FM nearly won a WDC, and FA was racing that year too, so you can’t tell me FA is just so so much better than FM. Better yes, but not to the degree this year has made it seem. It’s about the individual driver’s car and the team’s motivation and intention as well.

  12. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 19th November 2012, 7:18

    Yesterday, at the start of the race when both drivers were running the same tyre and in clear air, Alonso was 2.6 seconds slower than Vettel. This is not an even battle and it is a tragic shame that we do not get to see two greats race toe-to-toe on a equal playing field. Since the Italian GP Alonso has needed everything in his armoury to fight for the championship but, in reality, he needs external factors to be competitive.

    His greatest ally was Lewis Hamilton.

    Had Webber qualified in 2nd position, this whole affair would be entirely different. By starting 1st and 3rd Red Bull knew that there was a very real chance that they would be 1 and 2 coming out of turn 1. Had they chosen to penalise themselves, Webber would have started eighth and with his classic record of starts would probably remain behind Alonso. Therefore Red Bull would have voluntarily surrendered track position to a championship rival before the race had even started. Had Webber qualified second then Red Bull would certainly have vetoed the move as Webber would still be around fourth place and have no net loss to the team.

    It is not a question of right or wrong. You must do the best for the car that fights for the championship. Morally, how is it any different than setting the pole lap with instances of the car being outwith the circuit confines? Yes, it doesn’t directly disadvantage your opponents, but it gives you an advantage especially if your entire racing philosophy is based on setting pole and running away in the early laps.

    There is no difference to me but once again Ferrari make a decision that everybody in the world smart enough to comprehend it, would take in an instance. If the FIA don’t like it, then they should abolish the ridiculous gearbox rule.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 9:04

      @rbalonso

      Ferrari make a decision that everybody in the world smart enough to comprehend it, would take in an instance

      There is nothing complicated about Ferrari’s decision and I don’t think anyone fails to understand it. They are not interested in winning the constructors’ championship, they just want Alonso to win the drivers’ championship. It’s perfectly possible to understand what they were doing and object to it, as I do.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 19th November 2012, 9:41

        Maybe they accepted they had no chance of the WCC – after all, it would require 1-2s from the Ferrari drivers along with two straight DNFs for both RBR cars.

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 19th November 2012, 12:11

        @keithcollantine
        I can see why Hulkenburg, Grosjean etc are unhappy with the decision but but we have to remember that this is a very unique case. This ‘plan’ only works if your championship rivals start in an odd number grid slot and you qualify on an even one. Then the team have to be willing to sacrifice traffic at the start and at the pit stop because the driver is further back in the pack. Massa lost agreat deal of time and it was his great drive that kept him in contention.

        It is bending the rules to gain an advantage in an unsporting way, but so is running your car outwith the circuit to gain time. If that time puts you on pole and you strtch an unattainable lead out which you maintain for the rest of the race then that must be questioned as well. Morally, it’s only fair.

  13. JCost (@jcost) said on 19th November 2012, 7:58

    Mr Andretti, I was impressed.

  14. Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 19th November 2012, 8:56

    I don’t really understand the point of “compromising other’s starting grid”. I mean come on, driver X starting at position 2/4/6/8 may incur penalty at any point prior to the race, and we have seen a number of them this year. Does that entitle drivers at position 3/5/7/9 to protest against this as this would move them in the dirty side of the track?
    Simple thing, is team order legal? Answer: Yes , Does team order bring the sport into “disrepute”? Ans: NO, otherwise this would not have been made legal in the first place.
    Then why this fuss?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 9:02

      @nirupam Massa qualified sixth, the team deliberately gave him a penalty and made him start eleventh. It’s hard to think of many other examples of a team intentionally harming the prospects of one of their drivers in this way.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 19th November 2012, 10:22

        It’s hard to think of many other examples of a team intentionally harming the prospects of one of their drivers in this way

        maybe that’s true but we all saw this year that Felipe was desperate to renew his contract with Ferrari & now he is showing his loyalty & he is not upset about that he’s very happy that he helped the team
        I can ensure to you Keith that half the drivers on the grid are dreaming to be in massa’s position let’s not forget that many drivers are bringing huge sponsorship just to keep their seats while massa is paid i think more than the current double world champion Sebastian Vettel just to play n°2 driver
        i can only exclude Hamilton,Raikonnen,Vettel,Button,Roseberg,& Webber (this a personal opinion & with all my respects to all the drivers )

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 10:32

          @tifoso1989

          massa is paid i think more than the current double world champion Sebastian Vettel just to play n°2 driver

          Where did you get that from?

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 19th November 2012, 15:48

            @nirupam …sure, as you say, it happens often that a driver gets a penalty and it affects the starting spots of other drivers and may put them on the dirty side of the track. But it also advances them a spot closer to the front. This is going to be inevitable and unavoidable throughout the season, and for the bulk of the season it just has to be this way. No point in teams or drivers protesting it.

            But we are talking about uniquely for this season the second last race, with only two players vying for the WDC, and Ferrari giving themselves the penalty voluntarily. That’s a lot different than what goes on naturally and inevitably and unavoidably throughout the bulk of the season.

            @Keith …while I totally get your objection to ‘intentionally harming the prospects of one of their drivers in this way,’ given the stage they are at in the season I find it more palatable for them to do this to FM now since his prospects toward anything meaningful in the way of a win or a WDC or contributing to a WCC this year are nil.

            I suspect, particularly since LdM made his ‘rooster’ comment, that this year’s Ferrari was built for FA, which is why FM struggled so much at the start of the year to the point where everyone, I believe including you, wanted to see his head on the chopping block. If I’m right and they did build the car for FA, I find that far less palatable in terms of harming a drivers prospects than what they did in Texas. They hung FM out to dry yesterday, but perhaps they actually hung him out to dry for the whole season. Perhaps the talk of his job being on the line was just smoke and mirrors spewed by Ferrari to make it sound like they cared about FM and the WCC when in fact they never did nor were ever going to replace him in reality.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2012, 19:34

            @tifoso1989 That refers to the figures as “estimates” and provides no information how they were calculated or who by (other than the name of another publication).

            I wouldn’t set much store by them without knowing more about where the figures came from.

  15. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 19th November 2012, 9:01

    It ‘ll be raining in brazil!

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