Vettel not pressuring Ferraris ahead of switch (German Grand Prix analysis)

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After the German Grand Prix Ferrari claimed they had ordered Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso by because they were concerned Sebastian Vettel could pass the pair of them.

But it’s clear from the lap times that Vettel was hardly catching either of them at the time – indeed he wasn’t even close enough to see the switch take place.

Read on for the post-race analysis.

Lap 1

Lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

Another bad start from pole position for Vettel saw him lose two places which he never regained. Jenson Button had got away cleanly but as Vettel slowed down Button had to do likewise, and lost two places as a result.

Both Williams drivers made poor starts which ultimately led to them finishing out of the points having started in the top ten.

Pit stops

Pit stops (click to enlarge)

Red Bull took advantage of the rapidly-growing gap between Jenson Button and Robert Kubica to bring Sebastian Vettel in for an early pit stop, triggering stops from the other front running drivers in reaction.

Pedro de la Rosa tried to gain places by starting on the hard tyres and delaying his pit stops until lap 51. But he ended the race where he started, in 14th.

Race progress

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Tick/untick drivers’ names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

After the race Ferrari said they wanted Alonso to go in front of Massa because they were concerned Vettel might pass them.

But looking at these times it seems their fears were unfounded. In the ten laps leading up to the change of position remained static at 5.1 seconds.

It’s clear that Vettel caught Massa after the change of positions – but how much was Massa pushing after being ordered give up the lead of the race?

Lap chart

Lap chart (click to enlarge)

A long first stint for Nico Hulkenberg didn’t pay off but he at least managed to pass Pedro de la Rosa to finish behind his team mate.

2010 German Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    103 comments on “Vettel not pressuring Ferraris ahead of switch (German Grand Prix analysis)”

    1. Interesting to see, that Ferrari uses exactly the same “reason” for giving team orders here as RBR did in Turkey. And, as in Turkey, it was not really a solid argument.

      I can understand Massa giving up the fight after having let Alonso past. The adrenalin must have seeped out until Vettel cought him and he held him back.

      The midfield was really falling back after lap 24. From the times, it seems Hülkenberg should have stopped in lap 25-24 instead of waiting longer and getting cought.

    2. Everyone making a big deal about this. Of course it was team orders, and they made sense : Alonso was faster than Massa, and ahead in the WDC. McLaren does the same things, only in a smarter, better rehearsed way, and the other teams also do it.
      There is a bad vibe within Ferrari, this is plain to see since a long time ago. Massa is not happy. Ferrari should look for a second driver that is happy with the role – could be a Kobayashi or someone more colorful and upbeat than Massa. Or else someone like Kubica, who is not a second driver, but is sufficiently different from Alonso, even in physique, to provide a more cheerful overall picture of Ferrari.
      Definitely McLaren this year, with two world champion drivers like Lewis and Button, is handling a complex driver situation with more politeness and ease than Ferrari.

      1. McLaren does the same things, only in a smarter, better rehearsed way

        When? McLaren have had one-twos and two-ones this year without switching their drivers around (bar the Turkey cock-up, where Hamilton and button ended up in their original order anyway).

        1. No, especially at the Turkey GP, after the Red Bull Crash, the McLaren had a fair fight on the street for the victory without any order from the team.
          They just stopped them and told them to hold positions after their fight.

          1. All the Mclaren thing was is Hamilton’s engineer misunderstood the situation, and Hamilton got surprised because of it.

            Thinking that your team mate will hold station and forcing him to are two different very things.

        2. I think there was a situation with Heikki and Lewis sometime. Cant remember when, not very much into remembering stuff.

          The fact is team orders do happen and considering its a sport with a team, they are even acceptable. I dont like it only cause I very much like Massa and slightly dislike Alonson.

          1. Twice. Silverstone and Hockenheim 2008, on both occasions Kovalainen let Hamilton through. Perhaps not as badly orchestrated as today’s events but orchestrated nonetheless.

            As I said elsewhere, either you have team orders or you don’t – and we have had them on many occasions, even since 2002, with no real reaction from the authorities. This is the first time a team has been punished for team orders since they were banned. But is it the first time they’ve been used since then? Get real.

            1. Not the first time. True Kova let Hamilton past at Hockenheim, he was much faster on fresh tyres and converted the chance to go at the other two in front (Piquet and Massa, right?) into a McLaren win. We saw racing afterwards. Silverstone 2008 is just a daft example. Hamilton demolished the field there.

              OK so I’m a Mc/Ham fan, but I had no real problem with Massa letting Raikonnen past via the pits at Brazil 2007 to win the race and WDC. Today was different – first and foremost because of its evident effect on Massa. Alonso looked none to happy either. It was demoralizing for them and for many if not most people watching.

              Really, I was looking forward to a Vettel- Alonso battle today and neither of them delivered. Massa did – and got dumped on by his team.

            2. the good thing for mclaren, nobody knows what ron dennis told kavalainen. Now all communication have to be open.

              BTW I recalled those 2 incidents now. that was a week after another. And of course after that Mclaren would said hamilton was faster.

            3. and indeed Hamilton was faster. A lot faster even.

        3. Keith, you are very obviously biased towarads McLaren, understandable to some extent since you are British. But Vettel Fan is absolutely correct. Being told to hold positions is a team order as well, and it too prohibits the drivers from racing each other. That McLaren (and other teams) are doing this is certainly true, even though you may choose to not recognize it.

          1. Being told to hold positions is a team order, but it is not changing the outcome of the race. Regulations say that only the orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

          2. F1FAN,

            You are correct, they are both team orders, but very very different team orders. One directly changes the outcome of a race the other is designed more to stop your drivers taking each other out than anything as there is no way for the team to know if the one team mate would ever get past the leading team mate if the order to back off was not given. Surely you can see this huge difference? It would be similar to one football team being told to back off attacking to preserve their players from injuries as opposed to the other team being ordered to let goals in to throw a game. Also it is very rare that a driver is told anything other than to merely back off and this order could therefore be for many legitimate reasons (Webber for instance was told to back off Button in order to preserve his car and others have had to back off for fuel reasons) and therefore it we would never really know if they were team orders or mechanical orders. Ferraris on the other hand left no doubt as to what the reason was. It has always been clear that Ferrari are not a racing team, they are a motorsport team. They have not been interested in racing for a long time, non more obvious than the Indianapolis farce. Other teams may do this too but so far I have seen nothing that stands out as obviously as Ferraris even if their is a hint of conspiracy in the air, and if I saw any other team do this in such an obvious way then I would be attacking them in the same way. Alonso is a disgrace yet seems clever enough to come out of these situations with nothing sticking that can be proved. If he keeps doing these things perhaps one day he will trip up and something will stick.

            1. Team order is still nevertheless team order, how ever you wanna pack it.

              Of course it still changes the race outcome… if they dont race each other thant this prevents from race changing… all the same thing. So its still race fixing

            2. I think “hold positions” also changes the outcome of the race, if the second pilot is faster.
              Don’t you think that when you have a faster pilot behind,”is designed more to stop your drivers taking each other out than anything” also applies?

            3. @Rok,

              As I said both can be said to be team orders to a point as they are both indeed orders from the team to a driver, however so is manage your tyres, manage your fuel, be careful as your wing is hanging off or We need you to come in to the pits on the next lap…

              The way to look at it is that if the order could me made in relation to a competitor then it is allowed and rightly so (For instance webber was told to back off button so maclaren should be perfectly allowed to tell button to back off Hamilton or Vettel to back off Webber) However if the order is entirely inter team and therefore could not be made in relation to a competitor team then it is banned and rightly so (For instance there would be no way for Ferrari to tell Webber to let Alonso past and therefore they should not give that order to Massa).

          3. Being told to control the race is NOT a team order.

            The FIA explicitly said so after the Monaco 2007 inquiry.


            “It is standard procedure for a team to tell its drivers to slow down when they have a substantial lead. This is in order to minimise the risk of technical or other problems. It is also standard practice and entirely reasonable to ask the drivers not to put each other at risk.”

          4. Excuse me F1Fan, but most of F1 teams are British. They live in our towns, they buy cheesy dips from our supermarkets. They pay our taxes and get stuck in our traffic jams.

            Not to mention Keith wouldn’t be biased at all. His blog wouldn’t be anywhere as popular if he wrote articles like a McLaren fanboy.

        4. I agree plus button was leading the championship for a little and now hamilton is leading… if mclaren were so worried about winning the championship wouldnt they have had button win the canadian GP…etc

          1. ****I agree with Keith not Ben

        5. it was on 08, between hamilton and kovalainen…on the race day kovi was leading untill ron dennis pressed comm button…soon after that hamilton past kovi…I think it was German GP. speedtv showed when ron dennis pressed the button. bottom line I do agree…all teams do it…just not as foolish as ferrari did.

          1. It was not how Ferrari done it, its how Smadley and Massa did it… and thats why they are to blame

            1. Keith would give exactly the same tone of article if it were Mclaren or Red Bull, i’m quite sure.

              There’s a big difference between telling your drivers to hold station because we don’t want to nearlly crash out of the race again – and telling a driver to hand his team mate a win.

              And oh my ACTUAL god i’ve just remembered Luca Di Montezemolo and what he’ll say about this

            2. If Ferrari are smart they will keep Luca quiet… It just never ends well. Rok, are you attacking Massa and Smedley?

              Rok, please tell me I misunderstood that.

      2. Bartholomew, you think Ferrari should replace Massa because he is unhappy? Ferrari have been underperforming for most of this season so far, so Massa hasn’t had much to be happy about. And when he gets an opportunity to grab his first win in two years, his team tell him to let Alonso past. That wouldn’t have cheered him up.

        Massa’s conduct on the track and after the race was impeccable. He had every right to throw a hissy fit and tell the world how unfair his race was, and no one would blame him. But he showed he is one of the great sportsmen of the world, like he did after Brazil 2008, and he’s a credit to F1.

    3. Give Alonso some credit, he was the fastest guy and won the thing after all ! the car didnt drive by itself.
      The best thing is for Lou diMonty not to say anything, and soon all this will be forgoten.

      1. Alonso was faster. Sure he was. But f1 is not swimming, where all competitors have their own track. It’s a race where the biggest thrill is to see two drivers dueling for positions.

      2. Jelle van der Meer
        25th July 2010, 23:18

        Give Alonso credit – for what being the saddest crybaby in F1 – YES for sure he is.

        The only way you earn credit is by overtaking fair & square and not my whining to your team for a team order.

        If he was the fastest he should have shown it on the track by overtaking Massa in a real battle.

        Whenever it does not go Alonso way he is always whining – YES he is a great driver no doubt about that but a great character for sure not.

        Keep in mind that Alonso cried his way to Monaco 2007 win as well, where Mclaren team changed Hamilton’s strategy by bringing him 7 laps in earlier than needed. And who could possible forget Alonso Singapore victory in 2008 where team orders pushed Piquet to crash his car.

      3. I totally disagree. If he was the fastest he should have driven the car and past him like anyone else who wanted to win.

        He whined like a little girl…”tell him to let me win…whine, whine, whine”.

        I have ZERO respect for the guy.

        1. Sorry, when was he whining about being allowed to win? On one practically inaudible radio transmission that was (dubiously) translated as “This is ridiculous?”

          Even if the interpretation was correct, how do you know he was talking about Massa? He’d just nearly ended his race entangled in a mass of backmarkers, for one thing. How do you know he wasn’t complaining about their lack of awareness?

          1. I’m sorry Andy, but you can live in denial if you want, but as wateva points out, he clearly tried to pass Massa for a lap or two and made mistakes and couldn’t get past him….then he gets on the radio and says “RIDICULOUS!” It was just like him waving his fist when he had trouble passing a lapped car. He’s a whiner…sorry.

            1. But you haven’t answered the question. How do you know what Alonso meant when he said “ridiculous?”

            2. The ridiculous was ment when Massa cut him of on the fast right hander just after the 180° turn… another brilliant defending from Massa, not to mention he did it to hes team mate. And thats probably when Ferrari went nuts about Massa and told him to pull away for Alonso…

            3. The quote that I found weirdest of all was when Smedly told Massa to pull a gap so they could “still win the race”.

              Apparently there was some sort of gap that Massa needed to pull in order for Ferrari not to consider team orders.

              They were well clear from Vettel at the time so it made no sense for Massa to start pushing like that all of a sudden.

        2. Actually on that point DaveD, I think he did try to pass Massa and made a mistake as Martin Brundle was pointing out. So when he couldnt make the overtake stick he had to call out for extra help i suppose.

      4. If he’s faster, then make the pass. This is why we race.

        1. One of the major factors in Schumachers titles was that he managed to get himself to a position within the team where he was the undisputed number one. He did that with a combinaion of working very closely wih every member of the team, making each one feel appreciated, and by being blindingly fast. Senna had a similar method.

          So far this year Alonso has trashed Massa, and there have been occasions earlier in the year where he’s been stuck behind Massa and not managed to get past. Stefano Domenicalli has also commented on how well he’s been working with the team this year.

          Now, Ferrari have a race winning car with just under half the season remaining. They want to win both championships and based on the first half of the season, it’s clear to see that Alonso is the man most likely to get the job done on the driver’s side of things. He’s got himself into a position within the team where he is the number one. It’s not the most popular way to get ahead but it’s an effective one as we’ve seen in the past.

          If Fernando was told he’d have to get things done on the track I’m sure he would have. Many times in his career he’s pulled off blinding overtakes and for people to complain he can’t overtake blah blah blah is preposterous. Also, any driver will shake their fist at a backmarker if they hold them up. The adrenaline is pumping and emotions run high.

          1. Long story Dan , but well said anyway. A lot of people are quick to call Alonso a whiner , what they don’t maybe see is how much he puts in behind the scenes , development , practice , set-up etc , then to be “robbed” in a race (and I say this with all due respect to Massa , who I think is still a great driver)while he has the better chance to win the WDC , just doesn;t make sense. I’m sure if Massa was leading Alonso on points by now , the team would have done the same for Massa. It will be sad if Massa never wins one , having come so close in 2007.

            1. @JEAN,

              From what I have heard from inside Ferrari, the Ferrari guys are not at all comfortable with Alonso in the team and have not been so from the moment he walked in. There were a lot of unhappy workers from that moment on. How anyone can not see that he likes to bully his way to the number one position is unbelievable. I personally think he is one of the best drivers out there and love to watch him overtake and race, however I can’t stand him as a person, ever since he showed his true colours by trying to blackmail Maclaren into favouring him. I am not sure there is anyone one in F1 that would like to be his team mate… Just ask Piquet Jnr….

            2. How can Alonso have been robbed? It’s the sense of entitlement of Alonso and his supporters I find most distasteful: when Alonso was asked if he deserved the win, he started talking about how fast he was on Friday and Saturday, if if they have any bearing on matter! Massa had him beaten fair and square on the Sunday.

        2. agree with you.. if alonso were fast he could do it by him self and didn’t need a help like this, this is a manipulation….race fixing..they must get the penalty

    4. Ferrari is telling us loud: BE STUPID.

    5. Pedro De La Rosa ended where he started Keith, not finished :P

      1. MouseNightshirt
        26th July 2010, 0:09

        Well he kinda did end where he finished as well! :D

      2. Fixed, thanks!

    6. Even if Vettel were pressuring Alonss, it wouldn’t have made sense to switch, in the same way it made no sense for Red Bull to want Webber to let Vettel past when he WAS being caught be Hamilton a few races ago. If Vettel were catching Alonso and he was faster than Massa, he’d be better able to defend the 1-2, rather than switching and letting your slower driver attempt to defend, and presumably lose the place. A ludicrous excuse trotted out by teams to no purpose

      1. Ok, the reason the whole thing about vettel being faster and hence the switch is being suggested, is not jus because of defending the position, it is because if vettel is faster and overtakes Alonso then Ferrari’s highest point scorer and the guy closer to vettel in chapionship points loses out and also if alonso and massa are switched massa can technically hold vettel back and give enough time for alonso to pull out a wider gap.

        but obviously its all crap.

    7. “Pedro de la Rosa tried to gain places by starting on the hard tyres and delaying his pit stops until lap 51. But he ended the race where he started, in 14th.”

      Wasn’t Pedro’s front wing broken by Kovalainen after Pedro switched to softs, and so was forced to pit again? So maybe without the incident Pedro would’ve made up some places with his fresh set of soft tyres.

    8. It’s Michael & Rubens all over again!
      Or is it Lewis and Heikki?
      I hate what I saw yesterday, but half of you who are nailing Ferrari to the wall seem to forget that it’s happened with McLaren and other teams in the past, and will continue to happen…so stop the bias, please. As long as the FIA hand out monetary penalties, the unsporting advantages gained (bought?) on track won’t stop.

      I really wanted an Alonso victory, but not like this. Especially seeing as my pre-race prediction was a storming Massa win!

      1. Yep, and Ferrari themselves did it in 2007 (Massa-Raikkonen), and in 2008 (Raikkonen – Massa) and no one wanted to punish them (except McLaren fans:P), then why they should be punished today? Back then all of it was justified by championships standings, it is the same this time due to change in points system. What Ferrari did wrong yesterday is speaking on the radio too open, too clear – they should develop some codes like McLaren (sounds funny but works:P).
        Of course I would rather see them fighting on race track, but I dont like these ‘Ferrari hunting days’.

    9. Don’t know if I’m right but how can you accuse mclaren of the same thing? Wasn’t button leading the championship in turkey? So why would they want to help Hamilton?

      1. I’m talking about 2008, and Heikki, not Button

    10. I don’t think that you can take anything away from the Ferrari drivers on this one and as the data above suggests, it would have been a Ferrari 1 and 2 regardless of the switch barring mechanical failures or offs.

      It was a was bit disappointing that the 1,2 happened with this controversy hanging over it. Massa got a great start and was having a great race… but at the end of the day it’s not Massa’s or Alonso’s car, it’s Ferrari’s car and they are the ones that pay the drivers, so they (Ferrari or any other team ) should be allowed to do what they like in terms of positioning their drivers for a finish.

      And no, I don’t like my own opinion.

      1. The rule stands, no matter if you like it or not.

    11. All of the “you-too” aimed at McLaren is hilarious because when the man being so vigorously defended in this case was in exactly the same situation, when sitting in a McLaren, no one came on the radio and said, “Lewis, Fernando is faster than you. Please respond that you understand.” (If you believe the tifosi, of course, the Queen would have put Whitmarsh’s head on a pike on London Bridge for his insolence.) Fred has got now what he wanted and couldnt get at Woking, a footstool in the other car.

      Keith is trying to futher repell bias attacks by pointing out the blisteringly obvious fact that Vettel was not near Massa at the time of the switch. He shouldn’t bother; Ferrari can’t excommunicate a blogger from Formula One. Anyway, anyone with eyes, even British ones, and a TV could tell that Vettel was getting dusted as the Ferrari drivers were straining against each other.

    12. Find a solution for this kind of problem will be difficult.

      – There’s a clash 2 big interests:

      World Constructors’ Championship


      World Drivers’ Championship

      1. But there really isn’t. The gap between Alonso and Massa, had the race been allowed to run its natural course, would have been 24 points, or 10 points (a bit less) in old money. With almost half the season still to run.

    13. If I am vettel, and I know the team order regulation – and by far the F1 tracks really hard to take over the front car. In fact I am 4 places in front in world championship than the man driving in front of me. and the other 3 guys are well behind me. is it good to keep my position? yes. why should I push the car more to give Alonso “justification” to take over Massa – something other teams had to justify the team order. well, vettel and redbull are smart. By seeing the whole race starting from green light to press conference – I am sure vettel is doing the strategy well (in case he is dropped from 1st place). and ferrari needs to train their engineers and drivers for “public relation” thing..

    14. Dave Ryan was sacked last year, Hamilton disqualified and McLaren given a 3 race ban (suspended for 12 months) after the events in Australia – and this was after they where deemed ‘open and honest’ in the hearing.

      Ferraris continued denial of race manipulation in Germany will surely land them in severe hot water at the WMSC hearing. As they are already judged by the stewards to be lying and thus fined, will they come clean and admit breaching the rules?

    15. keith get the facts straight
      ferrari never claimed “they had ordered Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso by because they were concerned Sebastian Vettel could pass the pair of them”
      don’t play with words
      what they said was even according to you was”
      We didn’t let Fernando pass. It was a driver decision. We inform the drivers about situation. We didn’t give any instruction at all to what they have to do. It was his own decision.
      Luca Colajanni”

      1. “If Felipe would have struggled more Vettel could have joined Fernando and that could have been a danger for the team.

        When you are on the pit wall you have to think about all the potential scenarios. Vettel could have joined them and maybe in last ten laps of the race we could have been in trouble.”
        Luca Colajanni

        Pretty clear what he is implying to me.

      2. Driver decision? Why were the team fined then, and not Massa?

      3. Almanac – see the other part of Coljanni’s quote which I linked to in the article, part of which Bernard has reproduced above.

    16. implying with saying are two different words last time i checked

      1. US Williams Fan
        26th July 2010, 4:44

        here here! i agree almanac….. lets not take things out proportion.

        1. US Williams Fan
          26th July 2010, 4:51

          upon further review of the rules… and the history of motorsport:

          almanac: I take your point….. but truthfully… there is nothing else that they (ferrari) could have been implying…. they were trying to skirt around the rules a bit…..

          not saying it is right or wrong….. when your own advisor/crew chief/whatever tells you that you “are slower” than the teammate behind you….. what else could you mean?

          it’s a tough situation either way….

    17. Charles Carroll
      26th July 2010, 3:34

      As someone who is steeped in NASCAR country, and who doesn’t like watching that sport because it feels too contrived, this type of thing really gets under my skin.

      Lets let the worlds best drivers earn their spots. If we can’t do that, there is no point to watching it.

      Yes, I said it.

      1. US Williams Fan
        26th July 2010, 4:59

        agreed! though i don’t think that nascar has had this situation in a while…….

        it’s a tough situation…. but if ferrari(or alonso) is not in contention on their own merits…. let it be.

    18. The FIA and FOM are not delivering a good product. The more they talk about “the show” the worse it gets. Everyone else has commented on the verbal orders but there is more insidious malarky about too.

      Why has the FIA given the team’s ability to control the engine from the pit? The threat to Petrov to turn down his engine confirms what we have known for a long time. If it is illegal for teams to control the car’s engine settings externally the FIA should be called to audit what has occured because we have verbal evidence that teams can turn down motors. If it is not illegal, the FIA, FOM and FOTA needs to be flogged by the fans and they need to give us an accounting of what engines have been turned down externally by what teams and why.

      And in terms of the little racing we saw at Hockenheim the only significant top 10 prospect Hockenheim pass in anger after the opening lap resulted from pressure between Webber on Rosberg. BBC missed it completely.

      And when Webber started to pressure Button and Hamilton and it was about to get interesting he had an engine oil issue and was ordered to drop 4 seconds off and slush the oil around his sump. What fan wouldn’t prefer no engine telemetry and drivers going for it?

      BTW the creative writing department of FOM might file that one for future use. The trouble has been that everone appears to want to turn off the racing in order to turn on the best points contest between the FOM & teams marketing department’s favourites.

      1. Good point on the Webber/Rosberg pass which I don’t think FOM showed us video of at all. I wonder, did it happen while Alonso was trying to pass Massa when they caught Senna?

      2. I didn’t read that as them threatening that they would cripple his car, but more as a result that if he wasn’t able to handle the problem adequately he would have to resort to something more drastic to keep the car from breaking.

        Like when in Spain 2009 Smedly was explaining to Massa that he didn’t have enough fuel and that he needed to slow down. Ever more and more desperate. While Massa could only think about keeping Vettel behind.

        In the end he hurt his chances so much that he fell back a huge lot and lost several places instead of just the one.

        I’m pretty sure Smedly said soemthing lile “save fuel now or you won’t finish the race”. Would that have meant that they would stop his car from the pitlane? Or just a warning that things would get a lot worse if he didn;t listen?

      3. I was under the view that pit-to-car telemetry was banned a few years ago. Witness Hamilton rebooting his KERS in the car in Singapore while driving. What is the rule?

        And no, I would not have prefered to see Webber blow up his engine while chasing Button rather than finish the race.

        1. The team can’t make changes to the car from the pits, but they can tell the driver to make adjustments.

          1. They did say if he didn’t comply they would have to turn down his revs!!!

    19. Florida Mike
      26th July 2010, 4:17

      I think that if Massa had been able to maintain or increase the gap, he would not have been told “Alonso’s faster”. I have no problem with any team instructing a slower driver to let his faster teammate pass, in an effort to avoid what happened to Vettle and Weber. If that form of team orders is against the rules, then I’d like to see the rules changed. It’s the opposite of ordering a faster driver to not pass his slower teammate to create an artificial result (or ordering a faster driver to let his slower teammate through to win). Today I felt Fernando was faster, so I had no problem with Ferrari’s “order”.

      1. F1 does not mean car racing. It means computer and robot racing where stats and data wins.

    20. US Williams Fan
      26th July 2010, 4:42

      Great analysis as usual keith! thanks for your charts and insite!

    21. with Ferrari having got the car running sweet at last, i thought we would have been in for some fantastic motor racing.

      even McLaren and RBR fans were happy to see them back up to speed, now we see they cant play by the rules.

      they need to have there points removed as a pure breach of the rules, they manipulated the positions for a reason, that reason was for Alonso to get more points, by removing the points it will make it clear what happens if you try doing this again.

      we all want a decent race and our favorite drivers to win, not handed to them on a plate.

      i dont want to see this crap in F1 anymore.

    22. Team orders, eh? Could some one explain to me why Button, who was a FLIER for the first 21 laps (three fastest sectors, gained 1.7 sec margin over Massa laps 18 to 21) suddenly became a FOLLOWER when trapped behind “no speed, road block Hamilton”. Button followed closely, made it look like a race but he never once,
      for 30+ laps, actually TRIED a pass. Can some one explain? Team orders: ‘Don’t embarass the exaulted one’.
      Button COULD have taken the fight to Vettel and likely made a podium finish. Instead he FOLLOWED Hamilton.
      Your thoughts please.

      1. At no point did Button look like he had the pace to overtake his team mate. I wouldn’t bother comparing his lap times to Massa’s, what matters are the difference between his and Hamilton’s.

    23. Huh?

      He gained all that time while Massa was locking his tires and frantically defending from Alonso (surprised no one has used this as evidence he was ordered to let him past – you really think he’d just decide to do so after keeping him at bay for a good 5 laps!)

      Once again Button used a great strategy to make up time and leapfrog Webber. Infact, he did try and overtake, on cold tires heading down into the hairpin, which Hamilton was forced to block on the inside.

      Please look at the facts before you start talking nonsense.

      1. Massa’s tyre-locking only seemed to happen in the first few laps after his stop, when Alonso was indeed very close to him and made his unsuccessful attempt to pass when they went past Bruno Senna.

        But after that Massa pulled a gap over Alonso – from laps 24 to 38 they were over 1.5 seconds apart. Massa clearly wasn’t holding Alonso up then.

        1. Indeed, also Smedley was happy with Massa’s pace – he even told him over the radio that he was now looking strong for the win. It’s no wonder Massa was gutted afterwards.

        2. Check more carefully, after all that tyre locking from Massa, Alonso (or his engineer) decided that stopping the attack on Massa was the only way forward (other than risking a crash passing him). First Alonso dropped massively for 2 laps while Massa continued to make the same times as while he was locking wheels. I think Alonso vent from 38 while attacking to 39s for 2-3 laps. Then Massa was told explicitly that Alonso was now 3 seconds behind, and then, only then, did Massa’s pace improve, so he was faster and Alonso could pull away from Vettel. After the gap grew to 3 seconds, Alonso magically improved 2 seconds per lap…
          Massa didn’t pull a gap, Alonso decided to give it so Massa would stop defending.

    24. the tactics at the start of a race when Vettel is anywhere near the front is getting on my nerves, its getting like the old days when Schumacher was racing up front.
      cut the oppositions off at all cost.
      making a move like this is very dangerous and should be penalized as far as im concerned.

      1. Yeah, I said last race Vettel is going to cause a serious accident with this one day. That photo shows just how ridiculous the move was, Alonso squeezed almost onto the pit wall, Massa with the whole track to himself to pass!

        1. fully agree David, i managed to up load a poor video of it on youtube for those to have another look at how dangerous it really is.

      2. Maybe, but it was all within the rules.

      3. yup – vettel’s been lucky this weekend that the ferrari boys managed to take the spotlight away from him. vettel is getting more and more reckless trying to overcome his poor starts.

    25. Richard in Hong Kong
      26th July 2010, 9:49

      How ironic that it will be probably be Jean Todts’s decision on a final punishment. We all know what he thinks of team orders.

      1. The important part is not what he thinks of team orders, but what he thinks of breaking the rules, and then lying about it.

        1. That’s the crux of the matter to me. I personally don’t mind team orders at all. The drivers work for the team, if that team decides one of them has a better shot at the title, that’s the way things go. “Fans” and fans can jump high or low, this kind of thing happens at all levels of sport and I don’t see why that should change just because they’re at the top, especially with the kind of money at stake. Spectacle and manipulation of race results and all the other rubbish is just that: rubbish and immaterial to the matter at hand.

          But it’s in the rules that it’s not allowed and that’s what Ferrari should be judged on. If they are judged to have ordered their driver to let the other past, then they broke the rules. If they are judged to have broken the rules, then they lied about having done so.

          Incidentally, while I’m no Alonso fan, I don’t understand why people think he’s whining when he’s showing his frustrations behind the wheel or even over the radio. The fact that he does so, does not mean or even suggest that he’s asking to be treated as the defacto number one driver. He’s hardly the only one to make gestures behind the wheel, so are they all whiners and asking to be made number one?

    26. So yesterday when Jenson was about 3 tenths faster than Lewis and was catching him, nobody heard Hamilton´s engineer he could speed up and no to save fuel anymore? isn´t that a team order? I believe there´s a lot hipocrisy and you have a very fine double moral. In German gp Kovalainen was forced to let pass Lewis twice, first running, and then again after the pitstops( it was even recognized by the actors later after the race) So Massa did in Brazil 2007, and Kimi let Massa pass in China 2008.

      1. If “save fuel” is a dog-whistle for team orders then why was Hamilton told to save fuel while Button was chasing him down in the first place? Which is it? Or is it whatever you need it to be at a given time?

    27. Much of the commentary here mixes three separate issues.

      (i) Were any rules broken?
      (ii) Should team orders be allowed?
      (iii) When should a team invoke team orders?

      The answer to (i) is yes, clearly, although proving it might be tough. To (ii) I would say that the current rules banning team orders should be revoked. They are not consistent with the nature of the sport, instead being aimed at maintaining the spectacle. Further, they are unenforceable. There’s an analogy here to cricket. Your favourite batsman is 90 n.o. and the team declare. Yes, you have been denied from seeing your man score his hundred, but the fact is that it is a team support, and the needs of the team must come first. I think most people have a gut sense along these lines in F1, which is why most would be happy for a team to ask its drivers to hold positions, even if they are less happy with telling them to swap positions.

      More interesting perhaps is point (iii). I can’t really see a strong justification for ordering Massa to step aside, given how quick he was going, how close he was in points to Alonso, and how many races there are to go in the season.

      Any thoughts?

    28. In line with my previous comment and DavidJH’s above, I’ve been wondering:

      People who cry out about race result manipulation etc. etc., would you have minded if Massa had genuinely decided to move aside and let Alonso through? As in it was clear from every single detail pre- and post-race that is currently pointing to team orders, that it was Massa’s idea that Alonso just has a better shot at the title this year? Would you have complained about race manipulation then?

      Do you complain about baseball/softball hitters sacrificing themselves so their team-mates can get to 3d base or even score? I’m assuming Suarez no longer appears on your Christmas card list? When is team-play team-play and when is it results manipulation? I don’t mean to offend anyone, apologies if my wording does so. I would just like to understand why people have such a hard time seeing the drivers as part of a team that needs to maximise its chances trying to come back from quite a large deficit.

    29. I guess this comment will get drowned in a gush of “Ferrari team order comments”.

      But does anyone find it peculiar that Vettel right after his pit-stop came out in clean air, whereas Webber came out in a huge amount of traffic which ultimately cost him position to Button.

    30. Would suggest (only semi-seriously) that article 39.1 be reworded as follows:

      That Fomula One is primarily a team not an individual sport is not always recognised or welcomed by the media or vast worldwide television audience whose interest indirectly provides financial support for the sport. Hence any team whose use of team orders is so blatant that it is the subject of the majority of the race media coverage shall be deemed in breach of the regulations and shall be subject to penalty.

    31. Keith, I know this is asking a lot, and maybe not possible but it would be interesting to see the comparative lap times through the race of say the top ten if not all cars, in a similar way as your other charts it would then enable all on here to evaluate/validate that FA was/wasn’t faster over any given period in the race, the basis of Ferraris argument of which we only have their word.
      The race progress and lap chart give similar information, and to be honest I find the race progress chart a little jumbled and confusing especially where they merge, a bar chart may be an improvment? This is not a complaint, as your charts are very informative, just a suggestion.
      I’ve just done a comparison using your race progress and though Alonso was catching Massa very slowly, from around lap 33 Vettle remained around 5secs a lap from Alonso’s to the finish and although Massa was loosing time to vettle (which is not surprising given the circumstances) Thats what rear gunners do, just ask Barrichello or Irvine
      On another point, I think it was David Coulthards comments on what happens at one of these enquires was rather disturbing. He said that the telemetry printouts taken to the inquiry had to be explained to the stewards by the relevant engineer as in his experience the inquirer’s hadn’t a clue what they meant. Now if thats true, something needs to be done about that, as they could be told anything that fits with the prevailing scenario at the time, and would be none the wiser.
      What say you?

      1. Assuming I’ve understood you correctly, if you use the interactive chart here you can turn off lap times for all but the top ten cars:

        German Grand Prix fastest laps

        1. Thanks Keith, I just find the visual rather confusing and thought a bar chart may be easier to follow, but as I say your information is very good.

          No thoughts on DCs comments, from the BBC F1 forum on the red button that I mentioned earlier about the telemetry, maybe you didn’t get to see it, but your views would be appreciated.
          Thanks, keep up the good work.

    32. @Keith,

      Once again a great article. However I wanted to point out that Vettel really did not get a bad start but just like silverstone where he also got as good a start as Webber he decided to pull straight across the track in an attempt to squeeze alonso against the wall (just like he did to Webber at silverstone) Therefore he traveled further to the first corner and ultimately lost out. You would think he would have learned his mistake but I guess he is not that clever. I really do think he needs to be given a talking to by the stewards (not punished but just warned as he has developed a habit of pulling into people this season, Hamilton a couple of notable times, Webber at least twice with one leading to a crash (and seeing what can happen when cars come together at speed this is worrying) and now Alonso. At some point he is going to end up hurting someone, If he caused a crash that close to the start and at the front of the grid it could lead to disaster!

    33. What an all ’round amazingly written piece!!!

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