Ferrari ‘open’ about team orders, unlike rivals

2013 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Stefano Domenicali, Felipe Massa, Singapore, 2013Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says Ferrari are ‘open’ about their use of tactics that disadvantage one of their drivers to favour the other in the championship.

Domenicali made the remarks after facing criticism from a fan of the team over Ferrari’s decision to incur a gearbox change penalty on Felipe Massa’s car during last year’s United States Grand Prix.

“The interests of Ferrari come above all else,” said Domenicali, “if we had lost the championship by the number of points we?d have lost there, the evaluation of what we did would have been different.”

“Unlike the others, we speak openly about what we are doing,” Domenicali added.

“In Austin, we did not sabotage the gearbox, but simply made the most of an article in the regulations which allowed us to break the seals.” This meant Massa took a five-place grid penalty which moved Alonso up one place on the grid.

During the last race at Suzuka Massa was repeatedly ordered to let Alonso pass him by the team using a code phrase “Multi-function strategy A”. Massa refused, but Alonso later made his own way past.

Domenicali described himself as “the most sportsmanlike person in the world”, adding: “In all the races, whether you see it or not, I congratulate our rivals.”

The Ferrari team principal also addressed recent speculation, instigated by former Minardi team principal Giancarlo Minardi, that Red Bull had devised some kind of traction control system.

“Everyone is trying to work that out. But it?s pointless make accusations if there is no proof. The FIA can check the control unit, and if they find nothing than Red Bull is obviously doing a good job.”

Domenicali added he had joined Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in warning Alonso about critical comments he had made about the team recently: “When he crossed the line, president Montezemolo intervened and in private, so did I.”

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83 comments on Ferrari ‘open’ about team orders, unlike rivals

  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:15

    Whatever your view on team orders, it’s true that Ferrari’s “one rooster” policy has been plain to see, unlike other teams who pretend all is equal in public, but act differently in private.

    • Rossa (@rossa) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:27

      doesn’t matter what team is frenando will be the only with the rights to fight and win, other driver will be only his slave.

      • Brian (@bealzbob) said on 23rd October 2013, 10:57

        I look forward to Kimi Raikkonen being anyone’s slave next season :-D

        Ordinarily I’d agree with you but next season I think Ferrari have decided to go with 2 number one drivers in an attempt to win the WCC. There’s no way Kimi went there as a subservient.

        • Breno (@austus) said on 23rd October 2013, 20:53

          There might be a clause in his contract about point deficit to Alonso (and vice versa I assume) about half way through the season dealing with number 1 and 2 status. Even if he didnt want that, when RBR announced Ricciardo Ferrari surely gained a lot of leverage. Ferrari-shot is better than money troubled-Lotus-shot.

    • Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:29

      @red-andy agree. I’m not the greatest fan of their tactics but at least they aren’t hypocrites. I really don’t get why they and Fernando get so much stick for it when other teams (such as Lotus to help Kimi) have applied team orders plenty of times this season.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:33

      Indeed @red-andy. Its not a policy that I like, but its a lot better that they do it openly (hm, why “multifunction strategy A” instead of just saying – we need Alonso in front to maximize his WDC score?) instead of hiding behind things.

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 23rd October 2013, 17:22

      +1

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 23rd October 2013, 17:26

      If they are so open, why don’t they use clear orders instead of covered stuff like “Multifunction strategy A” when it’s even legal to impose orders?

    • You are right, but people vilify Ferrari nevertheless. I would think part of that is to do with the fact Ferrari isn’t British but that said it is a completely normal feeling to have.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th October 2013, 10:26

        @peartree None of the preceding comments amount to anything like ‘vilification’ and none of them have anything to do with nationality. I’m sure it’s a big deal for some people, but it isn’t for everyone.

        • @keithcollantine I was only replying to Red Andy, I haven’t read any of the other comments. I was trying to justify why I feel that sometimes I forget to look at the rest of the field when it comes to team orders and I believe that is justified from a sociologic standpoint by nationalism that leads us to sometimes not be as objective as we would like to be without even noticing it, that said completely natural. My second thought is that we generally comment Ferrari’s team orders with disdain even if that really doesn’t turn us of F1 or the team that we prefer the best, and as I understand that lies with how we affiliate ourselves in society especially with creed dynamics.

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:15

    Find it kind of odd that Domenicalli says Ferrari are “open” about team orders, yet they revert to using code phrases like “Multifunction Strategy A”.

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:18

    I wonder if this will change next year…

  4. QuadQuantum (@quadquantum) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:27

    More childish side-swipes at Red Bull. I really want to like Ferrari as a team, but they make so hard

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 23rd October 2013, 9:12

      @quadquantum
      There are no swipes at Red Bull whatsoever, you’re just unnecessarily trying to twist this into mindgames. Stefano is merely responding to all the critics of Ferrari who point at them for using team orders.

      “Everyone is trying to work that out. But it’s pointless make accusations if there is no proof. The FIA can check the control unit, and if they find nothing than Red Bull is obviously doing a good job.”

      He’s praising Red Bull here, but I’m sure you missed that.

  5. Rossa (@rossa) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:29

    Domenicali described himself as “the most sportsmanlike person in the world”, adding: “In all the races, whether you see it or not, I congratulate our rivals.”

    yeah, and hope that rival will retire from the race so his beloved frenando will get more points and even win!

    What an hypocrite!

  6. Rossa (@rossa) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:38

    I agree F1 is team sport. It’s normal to use the team order as a radio message to the driver with less points and no chances for win the title at the end of the season to get more points for the contender for the title BUT NOT RIGHT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING when the car only is a project to be built!

    It’s definitely NOT NORMAL when the only one gets everything: rights to fight for the win and title, to fight for higher points right from the beginning, when he gets all updates in time while his “partner” (read – servant”) have to wait 3-4 GPs and so has a slower car, has no rights to fight for higher positions specially higher then the only with the rights!
    THIS TEAM ORDER RUINS THE SPORT ITSELF!

    Domenicali is an hypocrite and conformist and for sure he isn’t “the most sportsmanlike person in the world”!

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 23rd October 2013, 9:16

      I agree F1 is team sport. It’s normal to use the team order as a radio message to the driver with less points and no chances for win the title at the end of the season to get more points for the contender for the title BUT NOT RIGHT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING when the car only is a project to be built!

      Australia 2010 – Massa holds Alonso back for half the race. No team orders.
      Malaysia 2010 – Massa again holds up Alonso. No team orders.
      Malaysia 2011 – Massa beats Alonso by 1 second over the line. No team orders.
      China 2011 – Massa holds Alonso up. No team orders.
      Australia 2013 – Massa holds Alonso up for half the race. No team orders.

      The earliest Ferrari have applied team orders was Germany 2010, where Alonso was already 30+ points ahead of Massa, no?

      It’s definitely NOT NORMAL when the only one gets everything: rights to fight for the win and title, to fight for higher points right from the beginning, when he gets all updates in time while his “partner” (read – servant”) have to wait 3-4 GPs and so has a slower car, has no rights to fight for higher positions specially higher then the only with the rights!

      Where is your undeniable evidence that Massa’s car is less developed than Alonso’s?

      I am waiting.

      • AldoG said on 23rd October 2013, 20:19

        Australia 2010 – Massa holds Alonso back for half the race. No team orders.

        Well, maybe that happened because the superultrafast samurai needed to put his show together and manage to overtake by himself.

        Malaysia 2010 – Massa again holds up Alonso. No team orders.

        Well, maybe because AGAIN the samurai needed to put his show together and manage to overtake by himself.

        Malaysia 2011 – Massa beats Alonso by 1 second over the line. No team orders.

        IDEM

        China 2011 – Massa holds Alonso up. No team orders.

        IDEM

        Australia 2013 – Massa holds Alonso up for half the race. No team orders.

        IDEM
        When will we stop with this trend of blaming the driver ahead for not letting the guy behind to overtake him? I am sure there must be a way to stop with this. I mean, at a very basic level, at the rock-bottom level, this is what racing is all about: you drive your little car and find a way to overtake the guy ahead of you. Sometimes your little car is slower than the car ahead, and you can not overtake. Sometimes, your little car is as fast as the car ahead, but the track is very narrow and you can’t overtake. But if a driver sees himself in this position over and over and over again and still is unable to overtake, then that driver should keep quiet and stop whining.
        What kind of driver want to win races and be champion asking for other drivers to get out of the way? What kind of racing is that?

        • Breno (@austus) said on 23rd October 2013, 20:57

          Uhhh… Ferrari’s, RBR’s, Mercedes’, Lotus’ aaaaaaaaand rarely McLaren’s. Just this year, of course.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 23rd October 2013, 21:32

          Well, maybe that happened because the superultrafast samurai needed to put his show together and manage to overtake by himself.

          Yet no team orders were used, were there?

          Well, maybe because AGAIN the samurai needed to put his show together and manage to overtake by himself.

          He was driving with a broken clutch, basically.

          What kind of driver want to win races and be champion asking for other drivers to get out of the way? What kind of racing is that?

          Since when have you been watching F1? Team orders have ALWAYS been a part of the sport. Fangio, Senna, and Schumacher used them too.

          • AldoG said on 23rd October 2013, 21:47

            Oh, I have been following F1 since 1972 (I didn’t see Fangio racing, sorry). And I have to say that I don’t remember ever a driver complaining because the guy ahead refuses to get out of the way, or anyone insisting that such behavior could be good for F1.

  7. Girts (@girts) said on 23rd October 2013, 8:39

    These never-ending talks about the interests of the team remind me of King Julien from ‘Madagascar’:

    Private: Skipper likes team players.
    Julien: So do I, as long as I am in charge of the team.

    Or this one:

    Only way to untangle is to work as a team! So everybody shut it, and I will be the team!

    For sure, Ferrari’s wish to use all available means to win the drivers’ championship is understandable. Still, it’s kind of ironic that this strategy hasn’t brought any championships for Ferrari and that ‘the team’ aka Alonso still ain’t happy.

  8. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 23rd October 2013, 9:09

    It is historically evident that Ferrari are no more likely to use team orders than any other team, including McLaren (who people will praise for letting their drivers race). Fact of the matter is, that Ferrari did let their drivers race at the start of 2010, 2011, and 2013; they began applying team orders only when one driver proved himself to be clearly superior to the other.

    I wonder what the reactions on here would have been like if Massa moved over for Alonso for the victory in the 1st race of the season (eg. Australia 1998), and Ferrari attempted to justify it by claiming that it was a “mutual drivers agreement”.

    Anyone who still thinks that Ferrari in this day and age are still any more likely to have a #1 driver policy than any other team, are still stuck in the early 2000′s.

  9. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 23rd October 2013, 9:58

    I have always said that Ferrari is a team that openly applies team orders (even in the times it was frobidden, but let’s face a common truth here, all teams applied teamorders back then McLaren, Renault, the whole lot of them did!). I have always loathed Red Bull (and others!!!) for pretending to not give a **** about team orders and maintaining a so called equality between drivers when it is clearly out there to see that that is not the case and let’s face another common truth here, to optimise you’re chances, you need them. However, that doesn’t mean that telling a driver to move out of the way, say…. in the second race of a season is a correct way of handling things, if you do it when one of your drivers is no longer in with a shot of winning a championship, then it becomes a completely different matter.

  10. Loup Garou (@loup-garou) said on 23rd October 2013, 12:25

    There is certainly some truth in SD’s statement. Ferrari are open with their team orders but there are times when they are enforced to the point of being unkind and unfair to the teammate. The infamous “Fernando is faster than you” is an example.

    Also, I am not sure being so open about team orders is necessarily a good thing. That might undermine the recepient, usually the #2 driver, to the point of humiliation. He knows that everyone now knows his position in the team and apart from its effect on his reputation as a driver, it can make answering media questions very awkward both for the team and himself. Massa, a man who almost won WDC not that long ago, is now considered by many as the eternal bridesmaid…..not fair on him IMO.

    While I also agree that many teams, perhaps most of them, use team orders occasionally in a clandestine manner and don’t own-up afterwards, it is also probable that we, the fans, assume that there was a team order or strategy when none existed. The recent Suzuka race and the ensuing “conspiracy theory” about Webber’s 3-stop strategy is an example. A lot of people, me included, felt that by changing Webber to a 3-stopper, Red Bull were giving him the best chance for a win – only he did not make the best use of it. As these and other forums have shown, there are almost as many people who think otherwise.

    To make it fair, IMO they should go partly back to the days when team orders were not allowed at all. They could be allowed only when the #2 driver has no mathematical chance of the title himself and his teammate clearly has. I know that kind of limited enforcement is very difficult but I just as saying it as an opinion, that’s all.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 23rd October 2013, 13:55

      They could be allowed only when the #2 driver has no mathematical chance of the title himself and his teammate clearly has.

      But by then it might be too late for them to have any effect.
      Let’s say there are four drivers as follows (Teams are R and B, drivers are A and B):
      RA – 100pts
      BA – 93pts
      BB – 89pts
      RB – 50pts
      And there are 30pts up for grabs. Your rule would give Team R an unfair advantage.

      Numbers are made up, and have no relation to F1 points. They’re just to demonstrate ;)

      • Mathematical chance is a bit too late, I think. Until Monza or so I think even the Marussia drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the WDC this year. Of course everybody knew they had none whatsoever.

        I believe drivers get themselves in the receiving end of TOs when they no longer have a realistic chance of winning. Which of course is imprecise, and there’s the catch. At least with mathematical chances you know exactly when it’s time.

        Had Felipe a mathematical chance by Germany 2010? yes of course. But a realistic chance? it’s debatable but Ferrari though not, and there were pretty good reasons. Anyway they clearly could have handled it better.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd October 2013, 14:29

      @raceprouk @loup-garou Yeah, I also used to support the no-mathematical-chance rule but it obviously has its flaws. I think James Allen once suggested to allow team orders only in the last third in the season, which probably makes more sense.

      I actually believe that applying team orders is not Ferrari’s biggest sin even if robbing a driver of his last (or only) chance to win an F1 race is the last thing one should feel proud about.

      I don’t think there were many angry fans when team orders helped Raikkonen win the 2007 title or when Raikkonen helped Massa in 2008 and thus paved the way for the incredible 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. Firstly, that happened at the end of a season. Secondly, there was no driver, who constantly had the upper hand in the team. Fans and media usually rage when a team has a clear number one driver and the weaker driver gets humiliated.

      So I personally blame Ferrari more for the fact that they have deliberately kept a relatively weak number two driver at the team for years than their team orders during these years.

    • AldoG said on 23rd October 2013, 20:21

      There is certainly some truth in SD’s statement. Ferrari are open with their team orders but there are times when they are enforced to the point of being unkind and unfair to the teammate. The infamous “Fernando is faster than you” is an example.

      That’s my point. The fact that Ferrari is “open” to team orders, that doesn’t mean that it is good for F1, or even for its own team.

    • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 24th October 2013, 0:11

      I agree with your comment. All teams use orders and Ferrari are most open about using them but it appears they are very unimaginative and clumsy when they try to implement them.
      When team orders were illegal they used the very obvious “Alonso is faster than you” and in Japan they used “Multifunction …” This gives them worse image than they deserve.

    • robbyvert said on 24th October 2013, 7:25

      yea i agree
      ferarri should never say feranndo is faster than you in team radio, the whole world heard it, if iam massa, that words will haunted me
      At least use the italian speak if they want to say so:D

      And weber, , its cruel. its his last race, his infront of vettel which almost win the title very early, give him respect for the last season. I bet if vettel out in that race, there would be no 3 pittstop for him

  11. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 23rd October 2013, 13:52

    No amount of team orders in the world will help you if your team lacks the knowledge or ability to construct a car able to compete with its rivals. That’s the fundamental truth which Ferrari need to acknowledge before they’re ever going to be able to get back to winning championships.

  12. mixwell (@mixwell) said on 23rd October 2013, 15:47

    in the picture, looks as if Alonso is playing an air darbuka :D

  13. The headline explains why I can never support ferrari.
    No real man would pull over like Rubens did.Like Salo did,like Massa has done.The Ice Man is not a puppet.Good Luck trying to treat him like a lap dog.

  14. ancker said on 23rd October 2013, 16:23

    I don’t understand why people hate team orders so much. Nearly every other sport in the world does it. Even team sports, you give the ball to the guy likely to score the most points/goals/whatever. Sure his stats are better than everyone else on the team, but he gave the team the best opportunity to win.

    I don’t recall any instance where Ferrari moved Massa over when he had a realistic chance to fight for the championship. If the team let Massa slow down Alonso and lose out on possible points, that’s kicking yourself in the foot. Sure Massa wants to do well and finish high, but what kind of teammate would you be if you were knowingly slower and held up your teammate?

    And how do you define team orders anyway? Many teams develop a new wing or package but only give it to one driver at first. Most of the time it’s the driver leading in points. That’s also, in a way, like team orders. They clearly picked a #1 driver and he got first dibs at the newer/faster kit. While it isn’t moving a driver around another, if the package is faster, the second driver starts the race at a disadvantage.

  15. Loup Garou (@loup-garou) said on 23rd October 2013, 19:39

    But by then it might be too late for them to have any effect.
    Let’s say there are four drivers as follows (Teams are R and B, drivers are A and B):
    RA – 100pts
    BA – 93pts
    BB – 89pts
    RB – 50pts
    And there are 30pts up for grabs. Your rule would give Team R an unfair advantage.

    Yes, you’re completely right. I had not thought of that.
    Would it work if they made the law that once one team was allowed to use Team Orders, then others could as well? In other words, when the leading driver reached the point that Vettel did just before Suzuka – with a mathematical chance of clinching the title – there would be an offocial announcement that Team Orders would now be permitted?

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