Ferrari face FIA World Motor Sport Council on team orders charge tomorrow

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Ferrari will learn their consequences of their use of team orders during the German Grand Prix in a World Motor Sport Council hearing tomorrow.

Ahead of the crunch meeting let’s review what happened, the likely arguments for and against Ferrari, who will decide their fate and what their punishment could be.

The race, the radio and the switch

The Ferrari drivers started from second and third on the grid at Hockenheim and at the start Felipe Massa moved up from third to lead ahead of Alonso.

Alonso stayed around 1-1.5 seconds behind Massa before making his pit stop on lap 14, followed by Massa on the next lap. Both switched from the soft to hard tyres.

Initially, Alonso was clearly quicker than Massa who ran wide on more than one occasion. From lap 15 to 23 he was within a second of his team mate.

On lap 23 Alonso took advantage of Massa being delayed in traffic to get alongside of his team mate at the straight approaching the hairpin. But he wasn’t able to complete the pass. He then dropped back, falling 3.4s behind by lap 27.

He began to catch his team mate again but on lap 35 he had a big slide at turn ten and dropped back. This meant he wasn’t close enough to make another attempt to pass Massa when he caught the next group of lapped cars a few laps later.

At some point – it’s not clear exactly when – Alonso told his team on the radio, "I am much quicker than Felipe". His race engineer Andrea Stella replied, “We got your message." Massa was warned by his race engineer Rob Smedley “You need to pick up the pace because Alonso is faster."

By lap 39 Alonso was one second behind Massa again. Later Smedley came on the radio to utter the now-infamous words, “Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”

Shortly afterwards, on lap 49, Massa slowed at the exit of the hairpin and Alonso went by into the lead. Smedley was heard to say: “OK mate, good lad. Stay with him now. Sorry.” Massa was 1.8 seconds slower on that lap than he had been on the lap before.

After the chequered flag a depressed-sounding Massa got on the radio to say: “So, what I can say? Congratulations to the team.”

The stewards of the race fined Ferrari $100,000 and referred the matter to the WMSC. They found Ferrari guilty of breaking two rules – article 39.1 of the 2010 Sporting Regulations:

Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

And article 151c of the International Sporting Code:

Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.

Article 39.1 was introduced after the 2002 season, when Ferrari had ordered Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Michael Schumacher in the Austrian Grand Prix, to widespread condemnation. No team has been punished under this article before.

Article 151c has been used several times in recent seasons, notably in 2007 when McLaren were found to have used confidential Ferrari information.

The case for

After the race Ferrari claimed Massa made his own decision to let Alonso pass. The drivers stuck to this line in the press conference, with Alonso repeatedly denying Massa had been told to hand him the win.

Asked if it was his decision to let Alonso past Massa said “Yeah, definitely” and gave this reason for it:

Because I was not so strong on the hard [tyres], so we need to think about the team.
Felipe Massa

Ferrari said that Smedley said “sorry” to Massa shortly after the change of position as an expression of sympathy rather than an apology for the order to let Alonso by.

The case against

Massa’s explanation invites the question why he did not let Alonso pass on previous occasions when he was holding his team mate up – such as at Melbourne and Sepang this year.

The answer is at that early stage in the season Ferrari were not yet ready to sacrifice Massa’s championship chances to help Alonso’s. But admitting that would be tantamount to submitting a guilty plea on breaking article 39.1.

Massa’s remark that “we need to think about the team” was echoed by Alonso in the post-race press conference:

For sure we don’t have team orders, so we just need to do the race that we can and if you see that you cannot do the race that you can, you need to think about the team.
Fernando Alonso

And by Luca di Montezemolo later:

I simply reaffirm what I have always maintained, which is that our drivers are very well aware, and it is something they have to stick to, that if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual.
Luca di Montezemolo

These remarks are odd because switching positions in the manner they did made no difference to the team’s points total – they would have scored the maximum 43 points whether Massa or Alonso came home first.

The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.

The Todt factor

FIA president Jean Todt will be breathing a sigh of relief that he reduced the president’s function on the World Motor Sports Council shortly after he took over the role last year. It has saved him from ruling on a matter where he could be said to have several conflicts of interest.

Todt, of course, ran Ferrari’s F1 team from 1993 to 2007. It was he who ordered Barrichello to make way for Schumacher – on more than one occasion.

Team orders were always part of how Todt operated as a team principal. While running Peugeot’s Paris-Dakar rally squad he once decided whether Ari Vatanen or Jacky Ickx should win by tossing a coin.

But even if his willingness to use team orders in the past might make him inclined to look more sympathetically on his former team for using them today, he does not have the same degree of influence over the WMSC that Max Mosley had in his day.

World Motor Sport Council

The following people are members of the WMSC (nationalities in brackets):

FIA President
Jean Todt (France)

FIA Deputy President for Sport
Graham Stoker (United Kingdom)

Vice Presidents for Sport
Jose Abed (Mexico)
Michel Boeri (Monaco)
Morrie Chandler (New Zealand)
Enrico Gelpi (Italy)
Carlos Gracia Fuertes (Spain)
Mohammed Ben Sulayem (UAE)
Surinder Thatthi (Tanzania)

Shk Abdulla Bin Isa Alkhalifa (Bahrain)
Garry Connelly (Australia)
Vassilis Despotopoulos (Greece)
Luis Pinto de Freitas (Portugal)
Zrinko Gregurek (Croatia)
Wan Heping (China)
Victor Kiryanov (Russia)
Henry Krausz (Dominican Republic)
Vijay Mallya (India)
Hugo R. Mersan (Paraguay)
Radovan Novak (Czech Republic)
Lars ?sterlind (Sweden)
Vicenzo Spano (Venezuela)
Teng Lip Tan (Signapore)

President of the International Karting Commission
Nicolas Deschaux (France)

President of Formula One Management
Bernie Ecclestone (United Kingdom)

President of the FIA Manufacturers’ Commission
Fran??ois Cornelis (Belgium)

Jose Abed was also one of the stewards at the German Grand Prix.

The team orders debate

The events of Hockenheim have led to a fresh debate over team orders which has divided fans, commentators and journalists. On F1 Fanatic, more than three-quarters in a poll of 2,600 readers wanted Ferrari to be punished.

There are, broadly, two points of view. One is that the article 39.1 cannot and should not be enforced, and that teams should be allowed to order their drivers as they see fit.

The opposing view is that races decided by team orders – particularly on occasions like Austria 2002 and Germany 2010 where both drivers were still in the running for the championship – undermine the sporting integrity of Formula 1 and attract great public criticism.

I lean towards the latter view. Teams have their own title to win – the constructors’ championship – and should not be allowed to interfere in the fight for the drivers’ title.

Yes, sometimes difficult decisions have to be made about which driver gets the latest upgrade first. But telling a driver to give up a win is a different matter. Team orders are deeply unpopular for a good reason – no-one wants to see a rigged race or a fixed championship. Witness the furious reaction to Austria 2002 and Hockenheim 2010.

I’m not convinced by claims a team orders ban is ‘unenforceable’. With refuelling and pit-to-car telemetry banned, and stewards able to monitor radio transmissions, it’s getting ever harder for a team to hinder one of their drivers during a race without being detected. The prospect of a swingeing punishment for anyone caught doing it would help.

The existing rule banning team orders also helps prevent much worse forms of team orders – such as the inter-team collusion seen at Jerez in 1997.

Since article 39.1 was introduced there have been other instances of a teams’ drivers swapping positions, possibly under the instruction of their teams. Some of these occurred when one driver was mathematically incapable of scoring enough points to become champion. Others involved drivers on different strategies where the overtaking driver might easily have passed his team mate without interference from the team.

None of them involved one driver who had clearly beaten his team mate being told to pull over. That is why the events of Hockenheim provoked such intense criticism and why the WMSC must punish Ferrari.


Ignoring all other considerations, what would be a suitable punishment for a team that interfered with the result of a race to improve one driver’s position in the drivers’ championship?

If the purpose of the punishment is to prevent other teams from doing it, then the drivers involved must lose points. Points deduction cannot be confined to the constructors’ championship, as has happened in the past (e.g. McLaren in 2007), for Ferrari’s actions were clearly designed to affect the drivers’ championship alone.

Stripping the team and drivers of all their German Grand Prix points would be a reasonable penalty.

Will the WMSC be swayed by other considerations? For example, is there a desire to teach Ferrari a lesson after their claims the European Grand Prix was “manipulated”?

Or might the FIA stay their hand and not hand down a points deduction to keep the drivers’ championship battle as open as possible? Expect these explanations to be invoked by anyone who finds the verdict too harsh or too soft.

One thing is clear: if the FIA really wishes to stop teams from manipulating races, giving Ferrari’s drivers anything less than a points deduction would be meaningless. It isn’t just Ferrari on trial, this is a test case for article 39.1.

Over to you

What do you think the WMSC should do? And what do you think their decision will be? Have your say in the comments.

Ferrari team orders in Germany

Image via Adam Cooper on Twitpic

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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321 comments on “Ferrari face FIA World Motor Sport Council on team orders charge tomorrow”

  1. Vijay Mallya is on the WMSC? Isn’t that a bit of a conflict of interest being a team principle? At least in this case it seems to me that being head of a rival team he ought to recuse himself as should Todt for obvious reasons.

    I think if they’re serious about the team orders rule they should strip Ferrari of all constructors points and give Massa the 7 points he earned. If they’re not serious about team orders, they should leave the points and give a clarification of what is and is not allowed. I’m hoping they’re serious.

    1. Although i agree with you i am also scepticle that this will happen.

      Just before Monza??
      Ill be surprised if they get anything more than a smacked bum and told to go to bed early!

    2. I agree they should strip Ferrari of the points, but much as I love Massa and feel deeply sorry for him the FIA can NOT reward him for his actions… both drivers should have their points from Germany (at least) stripped from them.

      1. There are two issues, driver’s championship and team championship. The team outcome was going to be the same, regardless of which Ferrari driver won. Since Massa was not mathematically out of the championship, he should not have been ‘forced’ to give up his position. This is the best F1 season in a long time. Hopefully, the WMSC will not mess it up through politics. Take Ferrari’s, Massa’s and Alonso’s points away for that race only. Maybe it will stop Ferrari and Alonso from being chronic whiners.

        1. You think? They would probably whine all the more. From what I hear, if any of their points are taken away, they might even bring this case to court…

        2. I say take away their constructors points, and swap the positions of their drivers in the race order (and therefore their drivers championship points).

          This would completely remove the incentive to use team orders in the future.

      2. Soumya Banerjee
        8th September 2010, 9:20

        Keith says there was an attempt to “manipulate” the drivers’ championship. The so-called manipulation has not affected any other drivers of any other team. The manipulation only involved Massa ceding his position to Alonso. Since it has not hurt drivers of any other team,therefore the WDC points are sacrosanct.

    3. LOVE the photo by the way :D

      1. No punishment in Ferrari case!

        1. I agree with you. This is a complicated case and I think they should drop any punishment.

  2. The thing is ferarri have to be punished. They have been found guilty of breaking 39.1 and that rule stood at the time. If the wmsc decide to abolish the rule ferarri cannot get away with it.

    1. The problem is that they and the FIA have previously ‘clarified’ rules and then applied those clarifications to events which happened prior to the rules being ‘clarified’ – the punishment of Lewis at Spa in 07 being a classic example.

      I am just curious as to how the media will react if the WMSC let Ferrari off with a slapped wrist….

      1. I reckon taking away all of Ferrari’s points from that race, would hit the team hard in both title races, and send a strong message to all the teams. Without really damaging Ferrari long term because who lets face it recources must be focused mostly on next year by now, more so if they get take a knock from the WMSC.

      2. The way the rule read before Spa 07, Hamilton broke it. The same rule with the same wording applies in other categories, and I’ve seen people punished for breaking the rules in the same way as Lewis did in 07.

        The FIA needed to clarify that rule because some people complained that they didn’t think it meant that.

        Sure, the FIA have changed rules through ‘clarifications’ in the way you described before. But your example is actually a genuine clarification.

        1. What rule did Hamilton break at Spa in 2007?

          If you mean 2008 I think you’ll find the “if you pass someone having gone off the track you have to let them pass and then not pass them at the next corner” rule was not in any written form before that race. That was what the whole argument was about.

  3. Swap the drivers, give the win back to Massa and Alonso second. and then write a better rule.

    1. Maby even give massa win and take away alonsos points.

      1. I have never seen big changes to race results. If something other than a fine is coming, it will be stripping points, but massa will likely not be handed the win.

        1. I agree with you, if they will punish the drivers as well, it will be deducing points only, not swapping positions or something like that. Alonos will have won (if they don’t disqualify him from the event) but will have no or less points.

          1. And the problem is a bit that either both Massa and Alonso should then be DNQ-ed for being part of team orders or neither will be – Alonso is unlikely to be proven to have been the one to make the team use team-orders, so I don’t see how else one could punish him only, and not Massa. It is however possible that Massa gets punished and not Alonso, as Massa was the only of the two to have a clear action on team-orders – Alonso just drove on.

            Either way, Massa doesn’t profit -he should have stuck to his own race I guess. Maybe the team can be further punished for that somehow.

          2. And the GREEEAT ALonso excapes once more !

          3. He has been quite lucky with the rules hasn’t he? I know Schumacher worked hard on his reputation, but I think in Alonso, we may have the challenger!

      2. Sorry but that would be ludicrous… Massa was the driver who manipulated the race result by slowing and letting Alonso past… Massa CAN NOT be rewarded for that!

        Much as I love Massa and would have been jumping for joy had he taken the chequered flag as he should have done, he was the driver who broke the rules.

        The team and both drivers need to be punished for this.

        1. I agree, both. Let’s be brutality honest – everyone *knows* this was an arrangement agreed by Ferrari under pressure from Alonso, who had been complaining about Massa holding him back earlier in the season. It’s the only way to interpret the ‘coded messages’ nonsense (‘understood your message Fernando,’ ‘did you get the message Felipe?’). That agreement, worked out in advance and activated under particular ‘trigger’ circusmtances at Hockenheim, makes Alonso inextricably involved.

          Ferrari and Alonso need to grow up. What we saw at Hockenheim was a 2 times world champion unable to pass his team mate even though he was supposedly and probably faster. If he needs help, he can expect only criticism and derision from most of the world’s racing fans who want to see real talent proven on the track.

      3. Staffan, I think you’ve nailed it. I’d prefer a harsher punishment, as I really think they willfully and ham-handedly broke the rule (and hurt the sport, as a result). But given the balance of points in both championships and, as other have said, the upcoming race in Monza, Ferrari won’t get hit hard. Given that, I’d be happy with what you suggested.

      4. But Massa is the one that blatanly broke the rules!

        1. Only because Alonso made it known He wanted past.

          This wasn’t done to help the team it was done to help Alonso. The point haul was the same whoever finished first in the Ferrari 1-2. If Alonso wanted the win he felt he deserved he should have passed Massa properly.

          I’d be very surprised if ANY punishment is given at all. Imagine this was Lewis and Jenson in the exact same position, Mclaren wold be kicked out the constructors for certain and both drivers exluded from the champoinship.

        2. He did what his employer told him. Yes, he broke the rules. Maybe he should be punished for that. But what I want to know is, What would the FIA have done if Massa had disobeyed team orders, and his team had fired him? Can the FIA punish a team for wrongful dismissal?

  4. If Massa wanted Alonso to pass him and it was NOT team orders, quite an emotional guy would have been a lot more resilient in arguing this. Not just a feeble murmur in the press conference after the race.

    I hope it isn’t just another fine – they should strip Ferrari’s points for Hockenheim. Actually, they should really keep Massa’s points shouldn’t they? After all, it was Alonso’s points they wanted.

    1. I think Massa, Alonso and Ferrari should have all points from Hockenheim deducted.

      Massa is just as guilty as Ferrari or Alonso for moving over and letting his teammate through.

      Any argument in favour of Massa (ie. he had to do it because the boss told him to) would be no different to making a case for Piquet Jnr at Singapore as it stands, in my opinion.

      Throw the book at ’em.

      1. I think it has to be recognised that pressure was put on both Piquet and Massa, and that when considering their actions, you must look at this…

        But, They clearly broke a rule, by following the team order they are just as guilty of breaking the rules as Alonso or Alonso… (see what I did there?), or rather the teams.

        So I agree, Massa should be handed a penalty as well, with a note saying, “Feel sorry for you dude” attached.

        1. Spot on. While Massa is the innocent sheep in this, he still moved over to let Alonso through, even though the boss told him to. I am a Ferrari fan myself but do not want to see team rules in F1. I would strip Ferraris points for the round, manufacturer and drivers.

          1. Of course, the irony is that stripping the drivers and the team of points actually artificially alters the Championship standings more than Ferrari’s “crime” did.

            In effect damaging the very thing that the rule was setup to protect.

            Just sayin’…

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            7th September 2010, 6:11

            True, maybe a reversal of Massa and Alonsos points which would restore what it should be and still strip Ferrari of their points for cheating in the first place

          3. I think we can solely expect points deduction for the constructors championship.

          4. Massa is not innocent. He should have had the balls to not comply with team instructions that he knew were a violation of the rules.

            Was Piquet innocent in Singapore 2008? Different case. Different circumstances. But the same kind of guilt. Different degree of guilt, but the same kind of guilt nonetheless.

            The team ordered and Massa complied. The team should not have ordered. But also, Massa should not have complied.

          5. @spudw PK wasn’t punished for that, nor was Alonso, who benefited. Is that an omen do you think?

      2. I think that the only guilty is the team and not the drivers as we are thinking that the team has so power to make them (both) do what the team wants.

        If you have to get points from drivers then get Massa’s points as he was a important part of the maniouver. As Piquet, nothing would have happened if he hadn’t wanted to happen.

        Alonso don’t have any responsability apart of the fact that everybody thinks that he controlls everybody thanks to Santander. But there’s no evidence of that so forget it. Why should he lost the points if it was a team decision and Massa’s decision?

        1. Except if Alonso saying to the team that he is faster than Massa is considered an order, in which case, he is responsible too. Anyways, I shouldn’t be too afraid if I were you. Alonso always manages to escape the worst scandals of F1 in his time, where he happens to be unscathered while still in the middle of the eye of the storm. Nothing sticks to the guy!

          1. tango, that’s because he’s inocent in every case. He’s guilty only because you imagine things that you don’t know if they happen. For example, you think that Alonso was involved in Singapore, but he didn’t and if I were Briatore I wouldn’t say anything to Alonso about the plan. You think Alonso gave orders to the team, but there’s no orders, there was an agreement at the team wich it looks to be acceptable in this forum.

            Alonso is the man to beat, even without the right car, even by the FIA, everyone seems to get him involved. Of course, here everybody thinks different about him, but I can not change it. In Spain, many people also blame Hamilton for being aid by FIA, but Hamilton is not responsible of anything.

            We always look to the wrong place and blame the wrong person.

          2. You forget the Mc Laren scandal. He was completely guilty (the mails prove it!)

            I don’t know wether he knew for Singapore, but it is very unlikely that he wouldn’t be in the loop at least a posteriori. In which case he didn’t run to say anything against his team this time.

            As for the Hockenheim incident. I would be surprised his comment to ferrari wasn’t a begging for interference.

            Plus what I am saying, is that for a man who has been involved in the worst scandals of the 3 last years (and arguably of the last 10), he has suffered nothing. Hamilton got docked positions (Melbourne and Spa) for offences he did (and in Spa, it wasn’t clear), even Schumacher suffered for some of his actions. Alonso always comes out clean. It is a remarcable talent

          3. As I already stated, Hamilton has already been severely punished for some of his wrongdoings (ok, not all of them, but most).

            Alonso has never endured a negative ruling, even though he has been found guilty (at least at one of the 3 mega scandals he was involved in).

            Not saying that others are better, just that Alonso has always managed to escape punishment, which is a unique case. I can’t see your point really chemakal

          4. “Not all of them but most”?!?!?! I’ll show you my point with a video, Tango, and these examples only in 2.010 season: Racing twice in the pits lane (Vettel and Alonso), 4 times direction changed when Petrov was trying to overtake, safety car in Valencia (incredible!), no petrol finsishing in pole position with a monetary sanction. The video includes these and some of other years.

          5. And those examples are clearly on Hams hands. You are just speculating on what Alo might have known or not

          6. This is all nice and well, but yet you fail to tell me how Alonso gets through big scandals untroubled. Are you to say he was not guilty in the spy gate? (because he was guilty, he asked for imunity. And I don’t see what Hamilton has to do with this conversation, I could of used Senna, Alesi, Vettel or others for my demonstration)

          7. “This is all nice and well” and thats it! You don´t think is enough? With many of these manouvers Hammilton has put other drivers in risk. I have used Hammilton because in my opinion hes the one that gets away constantly with no sanctions and/or investigations, supported by intentional hidding by the british media and some of the F1 establishment (the British New Kid on the Car, programmed by simulators to be the new star).
            As I said in my previous comment, all media speculations about Alonso. Who was found guilty in the spygate? The only one proven was McLaren after a long and deep investigation, full stop.

          8. I have used Hammilton because in my opinion hes the one that gets away constantly with no sanctions

            This is just completely untrue. Magny-Cours 2008, Spa 2008, Fuji 2009, Melbourne 2009, Valencia 2010 – all recent examples of penalties Hamilton has been given, some deserved, some not.

          9. Completely untrue¡? Lets stick 2010 and tell me from those that Ive posted, which one is untrue, apart from the unfair and intentionally delayed sanction in Valencia. I say unfair because watching again carefully the images of Ham overtaking the SC: 1. Ham brakes when he sees the SC. Why? To clearly leave Alo behind th SC. 2. Speeds again to overtake the SC leaving Alo behind but ups! miscalculating, too late. 3. Race dir takes 20 laps time to sanction, enough to keep position. This an opinion but Im 100% sure this would have been food for many articles if Alo would have done it to Ham

        2. If I go into a McDonald and order a burger, the people who work there will make the decision by themselves to move about, make me a burger, hand it to me and so on. All those physical decisions is being made by them not by me, but that is logical because I can not go into someone’s brain and make a decision for them to move their hands about and so on, BUT does that mean its no longer an ORDER made by me?

          Of course not, so I think there is no way out of this for Ferrari because the ”Felipe made the decision” argument is invalid and irrelevant. So the way I see it, only decision to be reached in this meeting is what penalty Ferrari is going to receive.

          1. If someone asked you to jump off a bridge and you do it, should it be considered homicide instead of suicide then?

          2. If someone pays me to push somebody off a bridge, is it a murder or a payed/ordered murder – both, is the correct answer.

          3. You’re right, except Massa should not be a puppet for the team. He made a decision to comply with the team, and that is as much a transgression as the team having given him the order in the first place. He has the balls to drive the car quickly, but is completely flacid when faced with orders from some economist manager person sitting on pit wall. The whole thing stinks of manipulation and a repugnant sense that the Ferrari brand is above and bigger than F1.

  5. I’m wondering about the timing; the next race is Monza and the case involves Ferrari. If there’s punishment, there’ll be an uproar – if there isn’t any, there will be those who’ll question whether the FIA bottled it so the Tifosi would’t boycott the Grand Prix.

    The irony is Ferrari shot themselves in the foot. If Alonso was really quicker, they could asked Massa not to vigorously defend any new manoeuvre in case both of them crashed out. McLaren supposedly gave this reason for Monaco 2007 – whoops, Alonso again – so they wouldn’t have anything to fear from the FIA, albeit the reasoning was for a different order, to hold station. They used it again in the 2008 German race where Kovalainen was never going to win the race, and the FIA was fine with that. Didn’t they trust Massa not to crash into his team-mate? Though given some of his moves this year, perhaps it was Alonso they were more worried about.

    It’s clear Ferrari don’t give two hoots about faked championships (well, their own that is), so the question is if the FIA do or not, and that has to be reflected in their decision, whatever it is.

    For myself, it’s Ferrari’s antics over the whole year that deserve attention. The Horse Whisperer columns, deriding the new teams, the “unintended” suggestion of race manipulation in Valencia, Luca’s many rants; Hockenheim is just one piece of the puzzle in a wider disregard for 151c. At the end of the day, Joe Public doesn’t really care about any of this or any of the other mini-dramas that have been going on, but give them something that can be simply put to them – race fixing – and the damage is done. Look at what’s happening to cricket at the moment.

    Now personally, if Ferrari want a tainted championship that’s fine by me. It was good enough when I was a Schumacher fan, even if I have grown up since then. But this isn’t about what I want, it’s about what the FIA wants. The way the incident was handled was enough to be treading on 151c, let alone if it was race-fixing or not.

    The fact is the world smelled a manipulated race and it was Ferrari’s doing – that’s what I hope the WMSC focuses on in the case and acts accordingly. Even a suspended sentence with no other penalty might be enough to warn off others doing whatever it is Ferrari did that weekend.

    1. Personally, a manipulated sporting event is never fine by me, I thought the mega punishment meted out to mclaren for breaching article 151c, was supposed to deter others from similar breaches, clearly this has not deterred ferrari, who appear to think that they are above this rule, I feel that once ferrari have been punished properly, and publicly, by the FIA, that the ‘favoured team’ tag would evaporate slightly, and we ‘the fans’ will believe what we are seeing, instead of wondering whether the result is genuine….

      1. That would make sense if the drivers drived for separate teams.

        This is a team sport with a rule which outlaws teams for being teams.

        I dont really mind what happens, I just wish people would stop treating this situation as if its an exclusive Ferrari thing. The other teams have been doing it (while the rule has been implemented) and they were never punished – such as Hekkie letting Lewis pass him. Its double standards at its best.

        1. Apart from your false analogy, anything that has involved other teams has always been done much more on the hush. If others have broken 39.1, Ferrari has been the only team to disregard 151c in doing it.

    2. I’m wondering about the timing; the next race is Monza and the case involves Ferrari. If there’s punishment, there’ll be an uproar – if there isn’t any, there will be those who’ll question whether the FIA bottled it so the Tifosi would’t boycott the Grand Prix.

      If the FIA play their cards right, Ferrari won’t have a leg to stand on. If they punish the team – particularly in the form of a race ban – and make it clear that Ferrari have no-one to blame but themselves for their no-show at Monza, I’d say they could walk away quite clear. The timing of the decision isn’t lost on me: if they ban Formula 1’s most popular team from competing in their home race, it sends a message to everyone else on the grid: don’t use team orders!

      1. So you think its fair to make Ferrari a scapegoat, just so that other teams are informed that team orders shouldn’t exist?

        There is enough evidence to show that other teams have had team orders in the past few years. The article and sporting code is not defined very clearly, and if Ferrari were to argue their case well, they would come up with at least a dozen instances where competitors have issued team orders that have changed the finishing position of their drivers.

        The rule book doesn’t state any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ or disguising techniques.

        I think Ferrari deserve to walk away with just a warning… and the rule should be removed from the rulebook.

        1. I’m sorry, but that’s no defence…

          “Well he did it too and didn’t get caught” just doesn’t stand up as any sort of legal argument…for starters to argue that you would have to admit guilt…

          1. Not really. A skilled advocate would simply ask the court to discuss the difference between those earlier incidents and the one being prosecuted now.

          2. Actually it does. ‘Team orders’ is a vague term, and any half decent attorney can completely make the FIA’s case null and void.

          3. Team order, the FIA definition is team orders that directly interfer with the result of a race. Clear and legally thought out so that no layer hired by the teams would be able to make a mockery.

          4. What about “we know others do it as well but Masssa and his engineer have made it so obvious that Alonso will get his points off”. Is that the argument?

          5. @scribe. The definition you just quoted is as vague as it gets. Pit stop/Fuel strategy, tyre calls, as well as other different decisions taken for teammates during a race also alters the outcome of the result, and of the race.

          6. Usually, it’s why it’s so easy to hide team orders, however ferrari actions interfered with the result of the race, no lawyer could argue with that because we all saw it, and Smedleys consequent words proved it.

            Indeed the wordings easy to get round but Ferrari didn’t bother so their high and dry,

      2. HounslowBusGarage
        7th September 2010, 9:05

        I’m not sure about the legal niceties of that. If the FIA suspend Ferrari for one race – Monza – and if the Tifosi stay away in droves (which they will), would the oMonza organisers have a case for suing the FIA for loss of earnings?
        Another disconnected thought. If I had bet on Massa winning and lost my bet through the manipulation of the result by Ferrari, would I have a case for personal damages against Ferrari?

        1. On the second point – I hope not. If people are daft enough to bet on things then more fool them.

          1. spanky the wonder monkey
            7th September 2010, 11:46

            why? it’s a calculated risk, bit like ‘how fast can i cane it around this bend without falling off the road?’
            i take part in a fantasy f1 competition with paid entries and prize money on offer. i’m effectively betting on the entire f1 season. does this make me a fool?

          2. I agree that people are foolish to bet on things, but it is their choice, and the results of such a bet should be decided by the result, within the rules. Betting on sport (I don’t do it myself, but understand it) is as much about the thought process which goes into selecting the bet as anything else.

            For example, you bet on a football player to score the first goal in a game. He has a clear shot at the net, but passes to his team mate, who then scores. You later find out they had an agreement, maybe something to do with a sponsorship deal or some such. Whatever the reason, you would feel cheated, and would have been cheated.

            The same goes for this whole team orders affair. If a bet was placed on Massa to win, or Alonso to win, the results have clearly been affected by the team orders.

            In reality, it is more of a demonstration of the damage done to the sport. It allows a physical loss or gain to be shown with regards the outcome of the race. Others, including me, feel just as cheated, but have not lost out in a demonstrable way.

        2. The real issue with betting isn’t about people being “daft”, it’s about the results being rigged by the gamblers themselves.
          Look at the recent scandal in the cricket. Players were (allegedly) paid to bowl no balls at specific points in the game to win someone a lot of money.
          Allow team orders and you make it a lot easier to rig the results.

          1. HounslowBusGarage
            7th September 2010, 16:56

            Absolutely correct. And if Ferrari were proved to have broken the rules and acted in a dishonest way to unduly manipulate a result, would a punter who has lost money be able to sue them for consequential loss?
            I think they would.

    3. “they could asked Massa not to vigorously defend any new manoeuvre in case both of them crashed out”

      Icthyes, don’t you think that this was exactly what the team asked to Massa telling ‘Fernando is faster than you’? isn’t it race fixing in the same way? Don’t you see that the fact that makes it so ugly is massa’s reaction?

      Please, stop blaming Alonso. If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders. And if Alonso gives orders to his team mate, then there’s no article in the rules that says it should be punished.

      1. I don’t think Alonso can be said to be directly responsible for the team-orders, but he did urge for them by making a lot of noise to the team about supposedly being faster than Massa, while being unable to pass. This happened earlier in the season, and at first he kept quiet, then it happened again, and he protested that it was annoying, then he took action by making sure he got into the pits first, and now he is telling the team to not make him do it. He is the instigator, and wanted team orders, he is not blameless in this, even if it can’t, again, be proven.

        But it is still the teams fault for not telling him to suck it up and try the overtake on track as a true champion would, instead of leaning on a weakened Massa to move over for the big boy who couldn’t do it himself.

      2. If either of the drivers, or even just one of them had refused to do the move and just raced each other, then I would be happy to stop blaming either of them, but as it is, Alonso told the team he was faster, and the team told Massa, who slowed down. OK, its not directly Alonso ordering the team, but it is race manipulation.
        If Alonso really had been faster, why didn’t he just pass Massa by himself? Why did he need help to do it? Thats what the fans want to see after all, not a syncronised finish with the right driver in the lead.
        All the time there is an emphasis on the ‘team’ aspect of F1, there will always be a danger of race manipulation by any of the teams taking part, since they all want to give the most points to their ‘top’ driver. Now we are in the final phase of the season, all the teams are going to be doing what they can to keep their ‘top’ driver in the hunt for WDC, so theoretically they will all be doing similar moves as the points get more and more critical. Its what racing as a ‘team’ is all about, isn’t it?
        The only way to stop it happening ever again is to completely change how F1 operates and allow each driver to have a ‘mini-team’ around him and his own Pit-Box, so that ‘team-mates’ can run separate races. Put the cars in different colours too, to make them really separate, and ban the team owners and principles from talking to the drivers during the race.
        Its relatively easy, but I don’t see anybody from Jean to Bernie to the Tifosi wanting such a radical change, even if it would allow for better racing.
        I seem to gone on a bit, my point really is that any fine, race ban, or points deduction won’t make any difference to how any of the teams or drivers interpret the rules in the long run, its the rules and the racing that have to change if we don’t want to see any manipulation ever again….

        1. You hit on a good point. Some have suggested banning pit-to-car radio, I’m not sure if that would work or not but it could be tried. The mini-teams idea is intriguing and is effectively what McLaren tried to do after the bust-up with Alonso, but I still think you’d see team orders through backroom threats.

      3. Icthyes, don’t you think that this was exactly what the team asked to Massa telling ‘Fernando is faster than you’?

        So what was wrong with “If Alonso tries to pass you, make sure you don’t hit each other – remember Turkey.” and then say something similar to Alonso. It would be the perfect disguise, but Ferrari think they’re above scrutiny.

        Please, stop blaming Alonso. If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders

        Alonso was the one who first came on the radio (to Ferrari) saying he was faster than Felipe. To suggest he had nothing to do with it is laughable, no matter what it is you think happened.

        If these are team orders, then they are team orders and not Alonso orders. And if Alonso gives orders to his team mate, then there’s no article in the rules that says it should be punished.

        I hope Ferrari’s lawyers have a better defence than that. Ron Dennis could have asked Ferrari to swap their cars for all it matters – the fact remains that Ferrari told Massa and that’s a team order. Do you remember that the team orders ban came after Schumacher told the team to tell Barrichello to let him by? It was up to the team and they did it; it’s the same here.

  6. My guess is a slap on the wrist, although I hope I’m wrong – and Teflonso will keep the points he was gifted.

  7. Several comments suggesting Massa should be handed back the win. As much as I wanted Massa to win on the day, he shouldn’t get back the 7 points since he was the person behind the wheel who pulled over, after all.

    1. As an unlikely suggestion, declare there to be no winner of the race. No-one gets 25 points.

      1. Ah, but there will be winner of that race. It would still be Alonso, he just would get ditched the points for it

        1. Depends how they work it. If they dock constructors points, which is quite likley then Alo still wins.

          If they dock drivers points what they do about Vettle Hamilton etc is interesting.

          I suspect the best thing to do would just scrap the top to places for that race. Vettle and the McLaren boys don’t really deserve a lift for that race.

      2. actually that is less unlikely than you think.. i would say that deleting all points given to ferrari but leaving the others to have whatever points they got for 3rd, 4th etc is the most likely situation. It also is possible that Ferrari lose all their constructors points for this year.

        1. It’s all speculation really. Them doing nothing is the least likley option, suspended ban would be interesting, fine, docking points etc.

    2. Agree David A. I don’t think they can just reverse the decision and rewind back time

  8. Honestly, we don’t know for sure that Massa would have held off Alonso. So swapping points between Alonso and Massa wouldn’t be justifiable. The only fair punishment (Ferrari DID blatantly violated the rules) is a total disqualification for Ferrari from the German Grand Prix. (Including WDC/WCC points, 1st and 2nd place results, winnings and trophies.)

    Anything greater would be unjustified (like a total DQ from the 2010 WDC/WCC) and anything less would be too little.

    1. Part of the annoyance with Ferrari is they took away the most exciting part of the race. Because Vettle was being all impotent and useless Alonso’s battle to get round Massa was a truly exciting prospect, Ferrari deprived of us of a true sporting contest.

  9. No body should benefit from breaking a rule. They should lose all points from that race. The championship standings doesn’t come into it. Let us not forget the cover up afterwards, with the staged ‘photo shoot’. They lied and must be punished.

  10. Charles Carroll
    7th September 2010, 1:26

    Well, we could say that since the German GP is done and over, perhaps making Alonso and Massa start from the pits for Monza would be a proper punishment.

  11. Seriously, I can’t believe what Keith is suggesting!!

    To strip Alonso and Massa of all their points would be grossly, almost absurdly excessive.

    F1 is and always has been a team sport. As most agree the current rule shouldn’t exist. It’s also generally accepted that the rules are a shambles and change all the time (why on earth do they no longer close the pit lane during safety car period???? there is no reason not to now that refuelling has been banned – someone could have been killed the other week and they still haven’t thought to correct this simple issue). So, why are people like Keith being sticklers over this one? Dare I say the words “anti-Ferrari bias”?

    Also, what kind of precedent would Keith’s notion of justice set for the run in to the WDC? Hamilton is 1 point behind Vettel in WDC and on the last lap of the last race Button is not going to move over???


    Don’t usually comment but I really can’t believe you’re getting caught up in this media storm. As a result you’ve gone down considerably in my estimation.

    Changing race results retrospectively should be avoided.

    1. Even worse, imagine Hamilton does get past Button on that last lap and wins the WDC, but weeks later the FIA come across evidence that Button was asked to let him through. They would then have to retrospectively strip Hamilton of his points and his championship??

      All perfectly plausible under your suggestion, Keith…

      Not what I want to see.

      1. Well if Hamilton wins the WDC because he is handed it by the team, due to team orders then it is an illegal action and at minimum switch back the positions, but that wont be a punishment so stripping all the points from that race would be a good option. If you loose the WDC by one point, so be it. That just means that you and the team were not good enough that year. It can’t justify breaking the rules.

    2. “Also, what kind of precedent would Keith’s notion of justice set for the run in to the WDC? Hamilton is 1 point behind Vettel in WDC and on the last lap of the last race Button is not going to move over???”

      Use your common sense, and you’ll see that “last lap of the last race” is far more critical and later than “8 races left to run”.

      If everyone in the F1 world is so “anti-Ferrari”, and if the situation you suggest would happen, then Brazil 2007 would havee remembered as the championship won through team orders. But it isn’t, since with the championship situation so critical, having Massa move over for Raikkonen was simply (and rightly) seen as common sense. With 8 races left and only a 31 points between Massa and Alonso, using team orders was nonsense.

      1. Magnificent Geoffrey
        7th September 2010, 3:49

        You, sir, speak the truth.

      2. That’s not what the rules say. It’s illegal and should be punished…OR, it’s seen as “ok” by the teams. For rules and punishments, there cannot be a times when it is ok to break a rule because common sense makes the rule seem stupid. By this argument, Ferrari could say it’s common sense that started backing Alonso when they did.

        Anyway, everyone keeps saying this but I think it’s ridiculous. Rules can be broken sometimes and can’t be other times?? Based on this, I could see them just walking away with a big fine and a clarification of the rule for next year.

        1. Nail on head, mfDB. The rules have been the same since 2002 but we have seen numerous obvious transgressions go unpunished. Why are some offences more grave than others? They break the same rule.

          Either you punish all or you punish none. The FIA has already made its bed in this regard.

          1. Actually, one of the differences with several of those is, quoting from the article: “The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso” – the team trying to get the fastest car (maybe on a different strategy) ahead to overtake others to get more points – is one thing, making one driver give a win to another because you like his chances better, is a different story.

            And while Red Bull have been crying wolf over this, lets not forget why a lot of people were upset about their own Turkey incident (and eager to know what McLaren were trying to tell their drivers to do too!) is that they seemingly were doing just that: trying to get Vettel ahead of Webber, just because they wanted him ahead in the WDC. Had they not crashed, and had Button won, I think there might have been a similar arguments levied at those teams.

            And perhaps the fact that we did get to discuss such issues over Red Bull first, and rather thoroughly, where it became clear that most people didn’t like their favoring Vettel in such a way, made the later move by Ferrari stick out even more badly: Ferrari new how fans thought about this sort of thing, Massa wasn’t so far behind, and they still did it.

            And that is without taking into account the fact that their own earlier behavior was what got that rule implemented in the first place.

      3. Exactly. What would be absurd is letting Ferrari get away with blatantly ignoring the existance of this rule (back to Ferrari International Assistence) and not showing the FIA will enforce it’s own rules if needed.

        However bad i feel about Alonso dropping out, I feel the punishment should be losing points for both drivers (and the team) to make teams consider very seriously weather willingly breaking rules is a good idea.

    3. Excuse me? as “most” agree? I’d like to know who this supposed most is. Have you been running a poll? Do you have some stats for us? Otherwise just throwing around a phrase like “as most agree” means nothing other than you think everyone agrees with you.

      1. I for one certainly don’t…

        The reason the rule was brought in was because of Austria, this is the first time we have had a directly comparable situation.

        And my impression is that it has caused similar levels of disgust amongst many fans…

    4. The race was immdiately reffered to the WMSC by the stewards. Who found Ferrari guilty of serious rule infractions. Grave enough that they felt they didn’t quite have the authority to fully deal with the issue.

      Because Ferrari were considered by the Stewards to have broken the rules this badly, judgement has to be delayed and fully thought out in a proper hearing, not by a stewards room, as the punishment might be equally serious.

      1. hmmmm, or was it that it was too unclear. Before you say “but it was so obvious” think about it a bit. Ferrari was able to get the pass done by using “code words” and the only thing that even made this an issue was that Smedley and Massa made it so obvious and therefore everyone was upset. If they had done it in the pits or Massa wasn’t so obvious, then no one would really care.

        Based on this, the decision is not an easy one….compare it to a murder trial….everyone in the community thinks it was you and there are a lot of signs that are obvious, but proof of how/when/where/why it was accomplished doesn’t exist (no weapon or no body)……what, if any, is your punishment, should you be sent to prison for life…..

        Ferrari is saying that Massa did it on his own based on a previous agreement and you CANNOT use his body language and obvious on track move to punish Alonso and Ferrari….so how do you prove they are lying???

        Anyway, my point is that this is not a cut and dry decision….and Alonso might just be in the clear. The only thing for sure is that a rule change or major clarification is on the way and the sport as I know it will either return to its roots (orders) or be changed for the worse forever….

    5. Whether the rule should or shouldn’t exist is irrelevant. It DOES exist and Ferrari wilfully and ham-handedly broke the rule in a manner that would have a direct impact on the WDC standings. Rules are rules, flawed or not.

      F1 has suffered from too much politics in recent years, and Ferrari wilfully demonstrating disregard for the rules, particularly in a manner so easily apparent to the general viewing public (and notably much to their outrage) must be punished. Otherwise, F1 is simply reduced to “professional wrestling” where the rules mean nothing and the wrestlers beat up on the referees.

      And, by the way, the viewing public was robbed of exaclty the entertainment they paid to see: Alonso trying to legitimately pass his team mate.

  12. I Don’t think there can be any sort of point re-distribution, otherwise stewards or the FIA/WMSC would have done that previously (i.e. Schumacher in Monaco…)

    I’m thinking that both ferrari drivers will be losing points (perhaps just the points they gained for the race), and also the team will be stripped of their championship points.

    Having said that, i wouldn’t want to be on the WMSC for this decision. Either way you decide, you aren’t going to be a liked person!

  13. Magnificent Geoffrey
    7th September 2010, 1:58

    Fantastic article. I’m actually pumped for this! We should do a live-blog!

    1. A live blog would be interesting – a pity the meeting will be behind closed doors.

    2. A live blog would be great just to chat but I fear that the end result will be pretty dull and just a suspended ban or something.

  14. “Stripping the team and drivers of all their German Grand Prix points would be a reasonable penalty”

    You made me laugh ! you’re obviously an angry man.

    So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
    Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?

    Does that mean if you do at a certain time, a certain way, then its ok? if it is at the last race for the title then its ok as well?

    If they do get punished, then everyone who has done it has to get punished ! You can’t say “oh they did it too early in the season”

    Therefore Ferrari cannot get punished as at least one other team has done it without consequence, whether you like to admit it or not.

    If they do get punished it would be a disgrace for F1.

    1. “So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
      Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?”

      A) Lewis was on a different strategy to his teammate. Fernando wasn’t.

      B) Lewis had to get by his teammate to gain extra constructors points by passing Heidfeld, Massa and Piquet. He proved that he deserved the win on the track despite losing places due to a team error. The Ferrari switch didn’t gain any extra constructors points, and Fernando coasted along in 2nd place, unable to get past a teammate supposedly slower than him until he whined over the radio.

      1. A) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

        B) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

        1. C) He was miles quicker anyway and they didn’t want to risk a crash.

          But for fans of teams who manipulate races more than any others, it’s easy to see why they think everyone does the same.

          D) Most Ferrari apologists have tried to excuse what happened by saying “well, it make sense for the championship, etc.” So basically you’re saying Ferrari has no defence either.

        2. Finally someone who thinks the same as me :) Thank you Red Andy

          1. Look Regis, team orders is still wrong, Ferrari have proved they broke the rules, thus they must be punished. As well as the fact that rules of F1 have gone from entirley ad hoc in 08+09 to reasonable and well thought out this year due to the change in administration, punishing Ferrari meaningfully is still the right thing to do. Regardless of what has gone before.

        3. “A) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.

          B) Doesn’t matter. Team orders are still illegal.”

          It does matter. It’s been pretty obvious over the last few years that team orders are still allowed to exist. Illegal they may be, but but if done discreetly, and without affecting the spectacle, you won’t get caught and can’t be punished. In Brazil 2007 and Germany 2008, it was discreetly executed, hence why only a few people who are desperate to justify what was done for Alonso point the latter case out.

          1. …all of which elegantly illustrates my point about hypocrisy.

    2. Even if you would be right about that being a case of breaking the 39.1 rule (most likely not), this is NO reason AT ALL not to punish in this case.

      The rule is in place, the Ferrari team willingly and blatantly broke the rule and must be punished, otherwise the FIA can pack their suitcases as a governing body.

      Question is, what will be deemed sufficient to punish Ferrari and their drivers and give enough strong a signal, to anyone considering breaking the rules in the future.

    3. So let me get this right, Mclaren do it (Hamilton, Heikki) but its ok because its a different circumstance…
      Now ferrari do it (a little obvious) but still, what is the difference?

      I think I’ve addressed that in the “team orders debate” section.

      1. You did, and it was slightly different, but what I haven’t seen addressed is how many other teams have done this in the past and gotten away with it because people say “it was the end of the season”….most notably are Massa and Kimi in both 07 and 08. I understand why people don’t care about these team orders, but what I don’t get is how a presiding body and a rule are supposed to be taken seriously when they are fully open to interpretation and have massive amounts of gray area….and said rule was legal for so long until 1 stupid move made the presiding body over-react due to fans, who in reality were just sick of Shumacher winning all the time….

        Is there something in the rule that lets the fans and the teams know when it is and when it isn’t ok to use team orders?

        1. The point isn’t that it’s “the end of the season”, it’s that at those times (Shanghai 2008, Interlagos 2007) only one of their two drivers was able to win the world championship.

          It’s worth bearing in mind that without the Hockenheim switch Massa would only be 18 points behind Alonso with 150 left to be won.

          1. True, but my point is that the rules say nothing about when you can and cannot use team orders based on points and the rule was therefore broken in those races as well. There cannot be a serious rule that can be broken at times and not at others. I truly believe this is why Ferrari were not punished further and I agree with the decision. The rule needs major clarification or to be abolished….

  15. disqualify ferrari from the 2010 championship LOL

    Massa should lose all german gp his points because of letting Alfonso past, Alfonso should lose all his german gp points because of benefitting from team orders and ferrari should lose the 43 just by being idiots. they know those orders are banned, in fact, they invented this scam, yet they use it again.

    1. Charles Carroll
      7th September 2010, 4:59

      Major style points for referring to Alonso as “Alfonso”.

      Although you did not receive maximum points for failing to spell it “Alphonzo”, in reference to the Frank Zappa song, which would have been exquisite.

      1. Not just Alphonzo… that’s St. Alphonzo to you!

        1. We actually call him Alejandro now, in honour of the Lady Gaga song.

          I actually have a weird mental video of him mincing down the pit lane in time to the music.

  16. Good article Keith.
    However, I don’t agree that the change in driver position was not a benefit to the team. Alonso is Ferrari’s only real chance of a Driver’s World Championship this year, and was at that time. So switching places to benefit Alonso does indeed benefit the team. Having a Driver’s World Championship, rather than both drivers being 3rd or 4th at the end of the year is definitely a better outcome for the team.

  17. switching positions in the manner they did made no difference to the team’s points total – they would have scored the maximum 43 points whether Massa or Alonso came home first.

    The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.

    Yeah coz if Alonso wins the world championship, Ferrari will get nothing… Seriously! I wonder whats wrong with that statement.

    Personally the only crime Ferrari committed was not giving Massa and Smeadly acting lessons. It seemed like an amateur performance. For that they need to be caned.

    About the whole “team orders” debate, if this move was in the last race and meant Alonso had won the title coz of it everybody would be ok with it. That is double standards.

    A team can choose which way it chooses to function… if you want to control even that, then make it one driver per team.

    1. Exactly.

      btw I think Massa and Smedley’s actions showed very clearly that their loyalty is not to the team 100%. Their behaviour was basically doing everything possible to bring the infraction to the attention of the Stewards.

      In effect Massa towed the line but with bad grace. The same for his engineer.

      1. Your loyalty will dip a bit as well when your boss decides your co-worker deserves both the monthly bonus and the trophy saying he is the best employee…. Despite you being the most productive worker…

        1. Exactly Mike ! Of course, I agree Massa and Smedley should have orchestrated it a bit better, not professional at all. But they are human and Smedley has a great relationship with Massa, so it is understandable.

          Even if in Turkey Hamilton and Button received TO, at least the spectators got 2 laps of show out of it!

          1. @Mike

            Execpt that Massa is not the most productive employee, is he? As this sport has been for decades, if you’re too slow, you’re number 2.

    2. Jarred Walmsley
      7th September 2010, 6:19

      Actually, Ferrari don’t get anything, they only get rewarded for the constructors championship.

      And in your point about if it had been in the last race and Alonso had won the championship, and everyone being okay with that, It would ONLY be if Massa was out of contention, if he could have won it if he had won the race then no, people would be even more annoyed then they are now.

      If a driver is mathematically out of contention for the championship but is team-mate isn’t then it only makes sense for team orders to come in if it would allow his team-mate to get ahead in the championship.

      So while it may be double standards they make sense being that way.

      1. Do you really believe that having the World Champion does not benefit the team? If you do then you are being a little naive.

        And wrt to when a team decides to do it. Massa is out of contention for the Drivers Championship. Maybe not strictly based on the maths. But realistically he is. Ferrari have simply made a decision at a critical point in the season for them (when you take into account Alonso is also under pressure to deliver) to back their best hope for the Championship.

        1. If he had won Germany it’d be a helluva lot closer. There have been many cases in the past of drivers coming back from large points deficits to either win or come close to winning. Hill in ’94 being one point shy after something like a 30 point deficit comes to mind. Or Prost coming from 3rd in the points in ’87 on the final race.

          With 8 races left to go, Massa was not out of the running by that point. If anything, the fact that he was poised to win at Hockenheim just goes to prove his chances of vying for the championship were realistic if he continued the momentum.

          So no, your excuse of him being “realistically” eliminated are not a valid excuse for Ferrari’s behavior.

          1. Now this is a good post Joey.

          2. Your ’94 example is poor as Schumi was banned for a few races…not likely to happen to one of the top runners this year.

    3. MouseNightshirt
      7th September 2010, 7:52

      [blockquote]Yeah coz if Alonso wins the world championship, Ferrari will get nothing… Seriously! I wonder whats wrong with that statement.[/blockquote]

      Ahh, of course, that makes it all OK then! Let’s just hope the WMSC see your logic and wave them through! :/

      Personally the only crime Ferrari committed was not giving Massa and Smeadly acting lessons. It seemed like an amateur performance. For that they need to be caned.[/blockquote

      Except they broke the laws of the sport. You can’t get arrested for the police for doing something and get off because you hadn’t been taught how to lie properly.

    4. About the whole “team orders” debate, if this move was in the last race and meant Alonso had won the title coz of it everybody would be ok with it. That is double standards.

      I don’t agree it is double standards if, in the example you describe, Massa is mathematically out of the running for the championship (as at Interlagos in 2007).

      1. It’s kind of splitting hairs though.

        Any team order affects the outcome of a race.

        All Ferrari have done is decide that Massa is out of the running because he is the farthest from the lead in the team. The reasons for this are clear. Diluting points at this stage will make it impossible for either driver to make a run at the Championship.

        Nowhere in the rules does it say it is ok to have team orders only if one driver is mathematically out of the running.

        So either way you look at it it is against the rules. Period.

        1. What’s more team orders that allow a driver who is still mathematically capable of winning the championship leapfrog another driver who is not, *does* affect the outcome of the whole season.

      2. Yes but its still a team order, therefore the same, unless the rule is clarified

  18. Also one major fact you have skipped is that in the attempt Alonso made on Massa, Massa cut him on track to keep the lead. Alonso went on radio exclaiming something like “that is ridiculous”. Massa’s move could have been dangerous if Alonso hadnt yielded.

    If it was any other driver than Massa(and the car being a Ferrari) Alonso would have fought harder and even risked a bit to get the track position. I believe there is significant evidence that Alonso didnt put pressure on Massa coz it could have caused a major accident(remember the Red Bulls).

    When you drive for a team you do things like that… Period. Alonso clearly got the major benefits in the end of the day but he too was probably in a position he was not comfortable with and had to yield for the team.

    Put that in the equation and see if it matters.

    1. That’s Alonso’s problem then.

      It doesn’t matter as it’s not relevant.

    2. in the attempt Alonso made on Massa, Massa cut him on track to keep the lead.

      It was a perfectly legitimate piece of defensive driving by Massa.

      Frankly, I was amazed Alonso chose to try to go to the right of his team mate at that moment instead of trying to go left and get the inside line for the next corner.

      1. It was actually one of the first times this year that I was truly happy with a move by Massa – it was great defending, even if part of me was, at that point in the race, hoping that Alonso would find a way past soon.

      2. Keith, Massa was very in the left in a legitimate piece of defence (That he only shows when Alonso is behind, because normally Massa is passed by everybody who pretends it). So that, Alonso couldn’t find this way. Then he tried to pass through the right, but massa run to defence that side in a fast move.

        yes, its legitime to defend it but it’s clearly ridicolous to try it. isn’t it? If massa has the same car and he is going to do everything to defend, I won’t try to pass.

        1. I meant it’s ridicolous to try to pass him.

          1. Ridiculous to try on track but not ridiculous to phone home for help?

            Difficult to believe, I know, but Formula 1 has actually seem team mates successfully overtaken while both are trying to race.

        2. Just because someone has the same car as you doesn’t mean you can’t pass them. Hamilton passed Button at Melbourne, didn’t he?

          There were points in the race where Alonso was quicker than Massa and – particularly when there were backmarkers around – he might have been able to pass. And if Alonso hadn’t made his mistake on lap 35 he would have had another good opportunity to pass Massa in traffic.

          1. Or Schumacher and Rosberg battling it out as recently as Spa.

        3. “If massa has the same car and he is going to do everything to defend, I won’t try to pass.”

          Well then you’re not much of a racing driver.

  19. I think they should just get a warning and life should go on.

    1. @Oliver, No if they just give them a warning, it will only encourage other teams to try it as WMSC will let u go with a warning.

      1. Not really. Some teams and drivers have been “reprimanded” for obvious rule breaches and dangerous driving episodes this season, with a clarification that any further transgressions would get a much harsher penalty.

        Nothing stopping the WMSC from doing that. In many ways it would be better, as it would be a fair means of tidying up the rule (letting it be known exactly what is and isn’t tolerated, rather than the situation we’ve had up to now where various blatant team orders have been ignored by the stewards and FIA) and letting everyone know where they stand.

      2. Anagh, don’t think the other teams will try it, be sure that they will do it despite WMSC decision, because the championship is going to finish and every teams use team orders. The diference is if the drivers want to obbey.

        I want to repeat that the only way to proove if there are ferrari team orders is that Massa declares that. If he says that he wanted to let Alonso pass there’s no reason even to go to Paris.

        And massa won’t say that. He’s not invited to Paris, so I don’t believe in tomorrow judgement. FOR SURE, FIA is going to manipulate again and put sport?? in to disrepute.

        1. You think its the FIA thats putting the sport into disrepute? Seriously?

          The main issue with this whole thing isn’t the team orders, its that Ferrari have brought the sport into disrepute!

          1. I’m sure about FIA incompetence and arbitrariness that makes rules become a joke. When these things happen it’s allways because there is an unsolved problem with rules or the implementing of the law.

            Thanks to the “whining philosophy” of Alonso or Latin ways of being that you don’t like so much, sometimes there is a knock on the table for things to change for the better, leaving aside the hypocrisy of an Anglo-Saxon world that adapts to these bad rules to create a shadow of what it was the original spirit of the law.

            Of course, I blame the FIA and its ways to act because behind all these problems there’s allways a poor performance of FIA.

            In this case it’s about not applying correctly the team orders rule. You just have to see how confused is people about whether Interlagos-07 is different or not to hockenheim-10 due to “circumstances”. The only fact of being differenciating both cases gives you an idea of the confusion generated by the FIA.

      3. @Anagh

        I think it was wrong for the race stewards to impose a fine, they should have just sent the issue to the WMSC immediately

  20. I hope alfonzo does not walk away without any punishment, cause technically, he simply passed a slower driver in front of him to gain a position.

    1. That’s the truth, and the rest is just to speculate.

    2. A limited application of basic maths will show that until the point Massa moved aside, he was the fastest Ferrari driver in the race. That’s why he was in the lead. The *rest* (Alonso went faster for the rest of the race than Massa would have done) is speculation.

      As for team orders, Ferrari have already been penalized for breaching this regulation. Not speculation either.

  21. I don’t think they will do anything with the drivers points (teams maybe).

    Alonso and WDC is now getting a bit of a long shot, being sceptical I’d say they waited this long to see how the championship developed. If Alonso was now leading the championship with his ill gotten gains it might be another matter. ;-)

    1. Maybe the FIA will actually do Alonso a favour if they ditch him the points and make it all but impossible to get the WDC this year.

      He might cool down and show us his excellent and foultless driving again on track, now that would be very nice.

      I know, it does take a bit of exitement out of the WDC battle (although a Alonso being able to take risks is not too bad), but it will be better in the long run.

  22. I’m no Ferrari fan but looking at all the fact’s they technically haven’t done nothing wrong.

    “Alonso is faster then you”

    How on earth do you prove this was a team order?

    At the end of the day Massa was told Alonso was faster then him and he was the one to mover over.

    To punish a team of team orders you first need to prove it and so far I haven’t seen any hard proof of team orders.

    1. spanky the wonder monkey
      7th September 2010, 8:58

      how about the “can you confirm you understood that message?” bit?
      then the apology?
      then the “that was very magnanimous of you” at the end?
      then the ‘celebrations’ on the podium?
      then the reactions in the press interview?

      giving it a touch of the occam’s razor, it was a team order.

    2. “Alonso is faster then you”

      How on earth do you prove this was a team order?

      To quote from an earlier article:

      When it came, Ferrari’s coded message to Massa was unmistakeably a team order.

      To begin with, it was a dead giveaway that the team felt the need to tell Massa “Alonso is faster than you”. It clearly was not an attempt to help Massa go faster, the only possible positive interpretation of that comment, because it offered no indication of how he might find the lost time to Alonso.

      Here’s an example of what a genuine message explaining the pace of other drivers looks like. During the same race Hamilton asked his team what the cars behind him (the first of which was his team mate) were doing. The reply came back:

      Cars behind are matching our pace. Jenson slightly quicker in first sector, we’re slightly quicker in last sector.

      Massa’s unhelpful instruction came with the pointed question “do you understand” added on the end, making it clear there was a subtext to the message.

      The, to cap it all, Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley apologised to him. Some claimed this act gave the game away. But it had become obvious long before then what was really going on.

      More here: Why the team orders rule must stay

      1. Keith,

        Quoting your own articles doesn’t rebut the valid point made by many here, that whilst we all know there were team orders, proving it in a court of law (as opposed to the WMSC chambers) is not that easy.

        Especially if Massa continues to state that he made the decision himself.

        As long as Massa maintains that line (legally) there is no other decision to come to other than he made the decision himself. What the WMSC decides is another matter altogether, of course. With Renault / Briatore they never actually proved their case against Renault either. They simply exacted punishment. Again, it’s clear to some that Renault were guilty. Other’s have a very different view. But it was never proven.

        And examples of the kind of informative data that is often given out over the radio to drivers of the caliber of Button, Hamilton or Alonso don’t carry much weight either. Not when you have heard the kind of baby-talk that goes on on a regular basis between Massa and Smedley.

        1. I only quoted it to avoid having to type it all out again!

  23. One race ban in 2011 for both drivers

  24. No matter what the outcome is there will be 200+ comments that it was wrong. The situation is not good for F1 and the rules need changed. If Ferrari are given a heavy penalty and appeal do the FIA then have to look into every suggested team order over the last few years? I think a lot of people are poised over a keyboard wating to be disgusted whatever happens.

    1. Yeah, you’ve made this point often in the past, it’s not what happened in the past but whats good for the sport in the future.

      Mosley left the rules in a hell of a mess, Todt seems to be trying to clean them up, it’s irritaiting every time that he does fans of the wrist slapped party look for supposed infractions and punishments handed out by Mosleys kangaroo courts, to justify complaints about rules that don’t suit them.

    2. True :) But one has to spend time and keep his English language up and running doesn’t he?

  25. Since article 39.1 was introduced there have been other instances of a teams’ drivers swapping positions, possibly under the instruction of their teams. Some of these occurred when one driver was mathematically incapable of scoring enough points to become champion. Others involved drivers on different strategies where the overtaking driver might easily have passed his team mate without interference from the team.

    None of them involved one driver who had clearly beaten his team mate being told to pull over. That is why the events of Hockenheim provoked such intense criticism and why the WMSC must punish Ferrari.

    But, Keith, under Article 39.1 all “team orders that interfere with the race result” are equally illegal. You can argue that Germany 2010 was a more blatant and, perhaps, more serious breach of the rules than the others, but that does not escape the fact that none of the other incidents – listed on this site and others ad nauseaum – were not even investigated by the FIA, let alone punished.

    I still regard it as hypocrisy in the extreme that those calling for Ferrari’s blood were silent at Brazil in 2007, China, Silverstone and Hockenheim 2008, and so on.

    1. I don’t agree it is hypocrisy. Look at the Germany ’08 example, for instance – Hamilton was so much quicker than the other cars even Massa hardly bothered defending his position.

      Whereas at Hockenheim Alonso had spent 49 laps failing to overtake Massa and there was no reason to assume he was going to find a way past in the next 18.

      What I do concede is that the radio messages we have from the Ferrari incident help make it clear that they broke the rules, and we don’t have those for McLaren at Hockenheim that year.

      And I’m baffled by how you can think it’s hypocrisy not to consider Brazil 2007 or China 2008 in the same way. When one driver’s out of the championship running, it’s a whole different ball game.

      1. When one driver’s out of the championship running, it’s a whole different ball game.

        Not according to the rules, it isn’t.

        I can accept that people view what happened in Germany as more serious than what happened in Brazil or China. But those incidents were not even investigated, despite being clear breaches of 39.1 – and I don’t recall too many people saying they should have been. Turning a blind eye to those and then screaming blue murder after Germany – that’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

        1. Exactly. As I said earlier up the thread. Letting a driver pass at any point during the championship will always affect the outcome of the championship to some degree or other.

          The specific examples being cited here are when a team cemented a chance for their team to beat another team for the Driver’s Championship.

          Nowhere in the rules does it say it’s fine to have driver orders when one driver is out of the championship.

          To even view the two situations differently is hypocrisy also.

        2. Not according to the rules, it isn’t.

          Afraid that’s how F1 works, like it or not (and I don’t like it). The rules are often as ambiguous as possible and the team orders rules are no different.

          Shanghai ’08 was discussed here, by the way – and few people thought Ferrari should have been punished.

          1. The team orders are very clear. You are not allowed to affect the outcome of a race.

            Saying that “that’s the way it is” is not really an argument.

          2. It’s why I’ve started to like Todt so much, he does seem to be trying to change that a clear up the ambiguities.

          3. Shanghai ‘08 was discussed here, by the way – and few people thought Ferrari should have been punished.

            Any rule that’s enforcement is based purely on how outraged fans are is completely unjustifiable and hypocritical. Either team orders must be banned or allowed, and that must be clarified at the WMSC. But it would be grossly unfair to punish Ferrari heavily for committing an offence under the regulations that has gone unpunished many times over the past 7 years.

            To argue that circumstance in Hockenheim or Cina 08 or Turkey 07 (Honda) were different is completely beside the point. They committed exactly the same offence as Ferrari under the clearly unsustainable rule 39.1

      2. “Hamilton was so much quicker than the other cars even Massa hardly bothered defending his position”

        Massa wasn’t on Hamilton’s team though so it doesn’t matter what he decided it’s about whether Heikki was told he had the option to defend or did it out of the goodness of his heart.

        Massa’s had this instruction before when he was teammate’s with Heidfeld, quick Nick let Kubica breeze by for his only win. There are too many examples the FIA can’t pick and choose unless they’re now deciding to make an example of Ferrari and have a complete ban because beasically it’s always gone on.

        I also don’t fully comprehend why it;s acceptable when it’s a title. If it was me I’d be more happy to move over to give someone a win then lose out on a title like in 07. I understand why when one driver is out of the title the team would do it but it doesn’t make it anymore fair on the competition and it’s still against the rules.

  26. I have mixed feelings about this, a part of me says deduct all their points and give the drivers a 1 race ban. the other part of me says, give more monetary fines to the team, and switch the points between Alonso and Massa, or at least penalize Alonso and take away exactly the number of points he gained in the move, and dont give Massa an advantage, let him as he is, this would not have helped his chances for the title all that much anyway…

  27. I’m not saying Ferrari are guilty but if found guilty it’s hard to work out what punishment can be handed out that is fair.

    This sounds crazy, but unless there is some evidence like a radio transmission from Alonso to the team, there is nothing to implicate Alonso. Even though he benefited the most. I cannot see them penalising Alonso.

    Massa, who lost out, instigated the move on the track by slowing down. Now does that make him guilty of breaching the rule? If they penalise Massa then it’s too confusing for the fans as he already lost the win.

    So it really only makes sense to punish the team. Drivers points would remain the same.

    However, if the motivation of the team is to win the ‘Drivers’ championship then the drivers points do come into play and they have to be included in any punishment as a deterrent to any future misdemeanour’s.

    So strange as it may seem, removing constructor points seems pointless too, as they would have finished 1-2 anyway.

    A fine seems wrong as it’s like buying driver points.

    So I can only see that the team is disqualified.
    Harsh? Yes. But it is the only feasible answer to prevent the rule being ‘publicly’ broken again.

    1. and a race ban before Monza….. I don’t think that’ll ever cross their minds.

      1. But if the FIA is concerned that Ferrari will retaliate with legal action, a ban is the logical way forward. If the FIA stripped them of points, Ferrari could sue and get their points resorted – and if the championship plays out in a certain way, we could reasonably see Alonso or even Massa declared World Champion by a court. And no-one (except Ferrari) wants to see that. But if they’re banned from Monza, they could only sue the FIA because there is no way to prove that they would have scored points in Italy.

  28. spanky the wonder monkey
    7th September 2010, 8:52

    my opinion….

    ferrari will escape with a slap on the wrist.

    in my mind, both ferraris should be dq’d from the race with the results adjusting accordingly. yes, this isn’t fair on massa as he was stuck between a rock and a hard place (annoy your employer or annoy the fia), but when is life ever fair? the wmsc needs to send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, so as a minimum, must dq the pair of them. if ferrari maintain they were doing it ‘for the team’ then they should also get a big fat zero in the constructors championship for the season.

    i keep wondering what would happen if this involved one of the less established f1 teams…..

    1. “i keep wondering what would happen if this involved one of the less established f1 teams…..”

      Or McLaren…!!

      1. As I said above: had Vettel not taken himself out of the race and had Webber yielded instead (as unlike him as it is in reality), I am pretty sure several teams, including McLaren, but also Ferrari, would have urged the FIA to investigate team orders, and maybe we would have seen this same debate half a year earlier.

  29. I think the one biggest thing Ferrari are going to have trouble explaning away is the way Massa moved over. They have said that in the event of sanctions against them, they will take the FIA to a civil court, and their defence seems likely to be that no team orders were ever issued, that Rob Semdley was only reporting to Massa and his “Can you confirm you understood that message?” was only to make sure Massa knew Alonso was faster, and that Massa moved over of his own free will. It was a decision that he made, but with Alonso and Massa variously opening and closing the gap between one another, Massa moving over to let Alonso through is completely out of character. The only possible defence I can think of is that Massa “knew” Alonso would get him and moved out of the way because he was afraid of a repeat of Red Bull’s Istanbul debacle, but it’s going to be a very hard sell.

  30. I believe one could skip the did-they/didn’t-they discussion. I mean, it is the most cinical spin ever and for those wishing that no punishment materializes, they should try to put their thoughts on other arguments – first because it is denying the obvious and second because it undermines their position (if they feel the need to deny what happened, it is because deep down they also consider it dirty).
    That would bring us to the enforceability issue. This is quite ludicrous. You don’t create a rule because you think you can always enforce it: You do it because you think it is the right thing to do. Do the police catch all robers? Do they solve all crimes? Should we then scrap the laws? Of course not. The fact that people do not always get caught is the reason why punishment should be harsh – suppose you commit a dishonesty in which you gain $100 but for which you’d have to pay a $200 fine if you were caught. Assume that the odds of being caught are 1 in 10. A quick calculation would show that the only thing preventing people from doing it is their moral compass because there is a profit to be made by cheating here. That is why the punishment in such a case should be above $1000. My whole point is: If something is wrong it should be ruled against and the more difficult it is to enforce the rule, the bigger should be the punishment handed down on those who get caught doing it. That is how you prevent it from happening – by making it costly.
    Thus, in my opinion, what one should really discuss here is whether team orders are a good or a bad thing for the sport. My point of view is that it is a real nasty thing. F1 is not football. When a member of a football team passes the ball to a teamate so that he can score, both win. That is not the case in F1 – Alonso won, Felipe lost. Felipe have fans and they felt cheated – if your guy loses on his own performance, that is sport, but if he is told to give the game up, the supporters feel like clowns. And what is the reason for cars going round in circles every odd weekend other than entertaining the supporters? There is no higher purpose in it, so F1 should respect its public.
    This last discussion, however, is beside the point today. There is a rule, Ferrari broke it and they should be punished (hard). If that happens, when the FIA gets asked whether they can enforce the rule, they can respond: We just did it.

    1. I think that’s a very good use of analogies there, particular about having laws even though we can’t catch every criminal.

      It made me think about past situations. We know every team spies on each other, but McLaren were found out in 2007 and punished accordingly. We don’t know how many other race fixes there have been involving drivers staging an event, but if there have been Singapore 2008 was by far the most blatant. And if other teams have been ordering their drivers to change places, you’d have to scratch your head to think of a more blatant one than Ferrari’s at Hockenheim.

      So far from it being hypocrisy, it would actually be consistent to punish Ferrari.

  31. Hi all,

    Good article Keith, though I think it is difficult not to punish Ferrari, it is hard to see what the WMSC can do… they have a few options.

    1) Let them get off scot free
    ——–This would set an unwanted precedent and makes no sense as they broke a rule.

    2) They could strip the team of all Constructors/Drivers/Both points for that race.
    ——–Although seemingly the most popular punishment, what if Alonso then missed out on the Championship, say, to Hamilton, by a few points because of this deduction… Hamilton haters wouldn’t let the poor man hear the end of it, and how it was really Alonso’s championship…

    3) They could give them a race ban…
    ——-Urrrrm, at Monza? Really?…

    I find it hard to envisage what they will do, as plainly, a suspended race ban is not enough… nor is a fine…

    1. 2) That’s only really a legitimate problem if Alonso loses to Hamilton by not having any points from Germany, but he would have won even if he had only taken second place. It would be an interesting scenario nonetheless.

    2. There is also the “suspended ban,” a very grim slap on the wrist. But it would bring up the issue of what would trigger the ban—Ferrari have already made it clear they enjoyed it and would do it again.

  32. “For sure we don’t have team orders”

    In that sentence is why I hope Ferrari will be punished. It’s that arrogant attitude, thinking that everyone somehow doesn’t understand logic and they do. Really makes me feel angry.

    It’s like pleading not guilty at a trial, and that’s why they should be punished severely.

    1. Hopefully the main debate should be the rule anyway. Haven’t changed my mind on that one since 2008:

    2. I guess, like McLaren, if the WMSC find there were team orders that makes this lying to the FIA stewards, and so they should be disqualified (remember Australia 2009?) …

      1. Yes, although we don’t know what was said to the stewards as yet, just what they said to the press.

  33. I think the penalty will be similar to that meted out to McLaren for Spy-Gate; drivers keep their points but team will lose their Constructor’s Championship points.

    That would be a shame though, because if Alonso and Massa were docked their points for that race, Vettel’s gap to Hamilton is reduced by 4 points, from 31 to 27 but Hamilton’s gap to Alonso increases from 41 to 72.

  34. Keith, fantastic article, even if I don’t agree totally with you.
    I might be wrong, but my impression is that for the break of paragraph 39.1 (team-orders) Ferrari has been found guilty and fined $100.000, which is the maximum the Stuarts can impose.
    What Ferrari is up for at the WMSC is the breach of paragraph 151c (bringing the sport into disrepute), which is such a serious offence that the Stuarts can not themselves impose any punishment, but have to refer it to the WMSC. As such any discussions of weather Ferrari did use team-orders or not is irrelevant, they have already been found guilty (and punished) on this point. The question the WMSC has to decide is: is the breach of the team-orders enough to bring the sport into disrepute?
    If they find this is the case, lets look at the punishment. I do believe there are no limits to punishment to paragraph 151c. I remember two recent cases where teams were punished under this paragraph. When McLaren (spy-gate) were punished under this paragraph they were fined $100 mill. and all constructors championship points for that year was taken away from them. When Renault was fined for breach of paragraph 151c (crash-gate) they got two years (suspended) disqualification. Mitigating circumstances was that the two main figures left the team, and maybe even some political reasons as Renault was thought to be about to leave F1. It would therefore appear that FIA sees a breach of paragraph 151c as a very serious offence. IF they find Ferrari guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute, and don’t punish them hard, I’m sure the old Ferrari International Aid allegations will be resurrected (and rightly so IMHO), personally I’ll be more that surprised if Ferrari get more that points for the German GP deducted if even that.

    1. Interesting analysis. I think you make some very good points.

      A problem that the WMSC faces though is that if they do find Ferrari guilty, and punish them severely, so severely that Ferrari hurt then Ferrari will fight back hard. And at that point the whole can of worms of all the previous blatant violations of team orders will become pertinent again. Expect Ferrari to lay them out one by one in gory detail.

      Again, the regulators face the problem of causing more harm to the sport than the infraction they are punishing.

      Hence my prediction of a suspended disqualification from the championship. Other teams will not protest as they all stand to be brought into the dock in an extended appeal by Ferrari.

      A suspended disqualification will make the rest of this season very interesting as it will make it much more complex for Ferrari to use team orders for the remainder of the season. Something they will undoubtedly want / need to do before seasons end.

  35. if they take away the points from massa amd alonzo…does the result change? who becomes the winner in that case or does the rest of the grid move up?

    1. spanky the wonder monkey
      7th September 2010, 10:25

      it depends if they get dq’d or not. a dq means that everyone else will move up by 2 places. it is conceivable that they can let the result stand but deduct points for the regulation infringement

      1. I can’t see it would be fair to bump the others up – Vettel and Hamilton would be first and second respectively but Hamilton couldn’t get close to them in the race. If the Ferrari’s are stripped of points and positions in the race, Hamilton’s lead would then be extended by a few points. As much as I’d like to see them DSQ, the fairest thing is probably for Massa and Alonso to be reversed and then Ferrari to lose their constructors points for the race, with the other contsructors retaining the same points they won on the day.

        Having said that, all they’ll probably get is a fine and a suspended sentence with Luca still crying at the injustice of it all.

        1. I totally agree.
          There should be a new rule which states that in case of team orders, the drivers involved at the end of the race are swapped back in the positions they had before team orders being used.
          I think Massa should take the win instead of Alonso which would take second place.

          1. spanky the wonder monkey
            7th September 2010, 11:32

            it’s not quite that simple as swapping the order can have other consequences e.g. the driver moving back may be instructed to slow the following cars. what happens if this then results in a crash that ‘probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise’ due to the bunching of the cars?

            fair says to swap the positions back, but ferrari didn’t play fair in issuing team orders to influence their position in the drivers championship, so fair, doesn’t come into it.

            either the FIA want to stamp out team orders or they don’t. we all know that it’ll never stop as there will always be a way to issue orders, but the blatant way that team ferrari did this and the subsequent “we don’t give a s**t” attitude needs to be heavily punished and serve as a warning, to them and others, to not be so dumb in future.

        2. Many didn’t see that it was fair that Massa should win the 2008 Belgian GP for what was an incident between two other drivers, but that’s what happened. So there’s a precedent in that case, though I doubt it’ll turn out that way.

          1. I really wanted to refer to Spa ’08 as I’m still bitter about it but thought better of it until now! Massa was nowhere and shouldn’t have been allowed to benefit as Raikkonen was the only person to ‘suffer’; he then crashed out anyway. And a more recent example is the penalty Schumacher got at Monaco this year, particularly as the stewards got it wrong by giving the green light. Still think Alonso deserved his Valencia penalty for the move on Kubica though, even though he retired soon after! You’re quite right there’s a precedent but this was before Todt’s mission to make things fairer and more transparent.

          2. A error of judgement has always costed a driver points which fall on the lap of another driver. Driver A is 30secs ahead, misjudges the breaking point, hits the barriers, driver B, who would have never caugth him otherwise, gets the victory and the points instead. Why should that be different when the misjudment of driver A (intentionally or not) concerns what is allowed in the rules?

  36. Maybe another fine, suspended race ban and loss of constructor points for Germany.

  37. If Ferrari get penalised, then the FIA have to penalise every team. Team orders happen all the time, on and off the track. It shouldn’t be a case of, only penalise teams for team orders if there is an uproar. The FIA are clearly reacting to the fans, and that’s not right.

    Where were the FIA when Ferrari switched their cars around at China in 2008? Nowhere, because nobody cared about that. It doesn’t matter wheather Raikkonen couldn’t win the championship back then, the fact is, Ferrari still broke the rules then. But because it was seen as acceptable by everyone else, the FIA found it acceptable.

    1. I disagree, the reason there was an uproar is because of the circumstances.

      People use Hamilton and Kovalainen in Germany as an example to demonstrate your point, but this is invalid, as Hamilton was on a different strategy and went on to pass cars ahead that Kovalainen could not have done.

      Massa and Alonso were both on the same strategy, it was for the lead, out on their own and it wasn’t even subtle. It is midway through the season and just completely inappropriate.

      1. My point is that the FIA shouldn’t penalise Ferrari at all, because teams are getting away with team orders all the time.

        The fans have a right to be upset, but the FIA should not react to an incident just because the fans tell them to.

  38. To summarise… if they have indeed used team-orders, which they obviously have… they are guilty of…

    1) Lying to the stewards
    2) Breaking the team-order rule
    3) Bringing the sport into disrepute.

    This should bring a bombardment of fines, suspended race bans and disqualifications!

  39. Keith great article but I do have to disagree with one point

    “The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.”

    Yes on the face of it that is true but winning the WDC has always been the most important thing in F1 and reflects the team. In 2008 when Massa lost the title not one of the mechanics were crying with joy because they won the constructor’s, they were crying with pain that their driver lost.

    Whatever happens is going to influence the culture of F1. Ferrari broke the rules and therefore a punishment is right but basically the culture has been it’s fine so long as you do it quietly which isn’t any better. If they aren’t punished then that culture can carry on but if they are they’re going to have to clarify the rules.

    The punishment is a nightmare too. If they get punished more for race fixing than the people involved in Sing 08 then it’s ludicrous but if they’re found guilty and get nothing then the fans won’t be happy. They can’t be banned for Monza either. I’ve seen that suggestion a lot and I think that’s just an idealistic hope/belief in making an example of a team. Todt is a believer in only fighting the battles you know you can win and Ferrari will scream their heads off if they’re banned for Monza. Maybe they should be reminded they aren’t in charge and should accept whatever punishment (I assume they still have a right to appeal though) but the Monza stands would be empty without Ferrari and it could possibly cause a much larger row and it mgiht not be worth it.

    I don’t envy the WMSC. There’s a new regime that wants to establish itself but will inevitably be compared to how other cases were handled in the past. It’s a year that’s been politics free but is now taking on the biggest name in the sport that feels hard done by because every other team has done something similar but more cleverly in the past. It also has us fans crying for punishment because while they all have their eyes set on chasing the title, we see it more from a sporting perspective (in theory) from the outside looking in.

    1. Yes on the face of it that is true but winning the WDC has always been the most important thing in F1 and reflects the team. In 2008 when Massa lost the title not one of the mechanics were crying with joy because they won the constructor’s, they were crying with pain that their driver lost.

      What’s at fault there is not the rules, it’s the team. Ferrari have won the constructors’ championship 16 times and they should be proud of that. (I’m not saying they shouldn’t be disappointed Massa lost, of course).

      Regarding Singapore, remember Renault admitted they were guilty and fired the people involved. Ferrari haven’t done that.

      1. Sorry Keith you’re entirely missing the point. Its the same as saying it wasn’t in the interests of the team to move Massa over at Brazil 2007 was only in the interests of Kimi Raikkonen. The team has got to do everything it can do maximise its chances of one of its drivers winning the drivers championship. To pretend that it wasn’t in Ferrari’s interests to maximise its chances in the WDC is simply intelectual acrobatics to criticise Alonso.

        Now of course people will argue that Massa still had a ‘mathematical’ chance of winning the title, but so did Bruno Senna. What matters is what’s realistic. The use of the word ‘mathematical’ only shows how slim Massa’s hopes were. With the possible exception of Steph nobody beleived Massa had a realistic chance of winning the title.

        He was well over 3 wins behind the championship lead at the half way point and only once has such a gap been recovered in 60 years of the WDC and that only occured because Niki Lauda missed 2 races and chose to sit out the final race. Also no driver has ever won the championship after being 8th in the standings at the half way point. He was singnificantly behind all 5 of the serious title contenders. This meant it would have taken a run of inconsistancy and unrealiability unseen in the modern era from the top 5 drivers to give Massa a hope in the WDC. All that along with the fact that he hadn’t looked like matching his team mate’s pace all season never mind the pace of the Red Bulls and McLarens. Nobody in their right mind before Germany thought Massa had a plausable chance of winning the WDC.

        Since Ferrari were already getting a 1-2 finish it made every sense for them to want the driver who was going to give them the only realistic chance of winning the WDC and had been faster all weekend to take 25 points. F1 is a team sport fought through the prism of the WDC and it is obvious that Ferrari’s chances of winning the WDC would be greatly enhanced if Alonso took the win. To pretend otherwise is just simply nonsense.

        The way the team orders were used was insensitive and ugly, but switching the drivers was undoubtably the right thing to do for Ferrari not just Alonso. As for the WCC it is, as Eddie Irvine put it, the consolation prize Steph makes the excelent point about 2008. Nobody outside F1 remembers that that Ferrari won the WCC, all that mattered was that Hamilton won the WDC in a McLaren.

      2. I just meant that the culture of F1 focusses so much on the driver. The driver leading a team to flory. It’s slightly different in Ferrari’s case because they are such a big name but at the end of the day they felt that glory for the team would be more likely by getting Alo some extra points. I don’t for one minute think it was right by the way and I do think you’ve handled this issue very well!

        True about Renault, I’ll give you that :P

        Ads – “With the possible exception of Steph nobody beleived Massa had a realistic chance of winning the title.”

        That made me laugh! I don’t entirely agree though. I actually didn’t think Mas had much of a shot this year but momentum comes and goes.

        I think you’re missing the point of the sporting side somewhat. I understand what Ferrari did which means I’ll accept it and still support them (they’re hardly the first) but the argument of maths takes away from the fact that we watch F1 for racing and the idea of team orders takes away from that. If Alonso wins the title then good for him and I’m sure he and Ferrari will be delighted but I can’t help but feel it’s shortsighted and thinks of winning first before the sport.

        I’m a great admirer of Alonso and his hunger to win. I hold nothing against him for what happened but at the end of the day I would have preferred the story of Massa winning a year after his accident or losing because Alonso overtook him in style rather than a manipulated race. When Massa lost in 08 I’d never been prouder of him and the team but when Kimi won in 09 by gaining an unfair advantage I didn’t celebrate. The story matters to me and it matters to a lot of fans too.

        1. I wasn’t really responding to the sporting side tbh more to the issue of whether it was in Ferrari’s interests rather than just Alonso’s.

          If I’m honest though F1 gave up the pretense of being a purely sporting contest a long time ago. In fact F1 has never been a purely sporting contest between the best drviers in the world if it was they’d all be given identical cars. They aren’t it is a team sport. I think much of the outrage when every scandal is either artificial or from people who wished that F1 was something far purer than it will ever be. I think most long term followers of the sport have learnt to accept the F1 for what it is and realise team tactics of one form or another are only to be expected what is a team sport in which teams have invested huge amounts in trying to win the WDC.

          “when Kimi won in 09 by gaining an unfair advantage I didn’t celebrate.”

          lol unfair? In F1, unless you endanger other drivers, if its legal or the rules are ambiguous then its fair. What else do people expect when there’s so much tarmac on the outside of the first turn? Also Massa did pretty much the same thing in Hockenheim this year and I don’t blame him.

          1. It was in both of their interests when it comes to their chances of winning.

            Agree that it’s never been a gentleman’s sport in some time and I’ve always gone by the notion that if the stewards don’t punish it then it’s fine but it doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it. I’d have gone with the Massa example if I’d thought of it and yes it was an unfair advantage but the stewards once again were incompetent and there was plenty of criticism at the time too.

            However, when Alonso said that he longer considered F1 a sport I really admired him but it seems now he was just saying “if it isn’t a sport, I’ll treat it like a business”.

            I don’t expect the drivers to be saints, esp not when they’re the best in the world and so hungry it’s something I’m fascinate, seeing how far they’ll go to win but I do rate some wins more than others. F1 isn’t just about winning, it has to keep the fans happy too and sometimes I think F1 and the teams get lost in their own self-importance.

            I do agree that much of the time scandals are blown up and I think this has gone way over the top. I think this is getting so much attention for numerous reasons when it’s blatantly gone on in the past and it boggles me but I am talking about the wider issue of team orders rather than having a go at Ferrari.

  40. Will we see another appearance of Witness X?

    1. Possibly witnesses Mclad, Willie, Rene, Finbar and Herr Silver.

  41. I think it’s wrong to say ‘If Ferrari get penalised, then the FIA have to penalise every team’, if that was the case the when someone get fined for speeding we should all get fined (let’s face it we all do it, at least some times). That’s not how the world works, only the ones getting caught get fined, likewise in F1. You might be right that ‘team orders happens all the time’ but hopefully by imposing a suitable penalty on Ferrari, these ‘other teams’ will think again before applying team orders (again). I would be very surprised if any team would be ‘spying’ on other teams, or deliberately crash a car any time soon, so in that respect the penalty has worked, which is why the WMSC really have no other chose than to penalise Ferrari or abandon paragraph 39.1 if they are found guilty.
    Personally I think a suitable penalty would be a one race bad to be served at Monza. This would negate all the possibilities of what-if scenarios if points were to be taken off drivers or/and team for the German GP, and at the same time send a strong message to the tems, we do not accept team orders.
    Given how FIA gave in to pressure of Alonso not being able to race his home race a few years back, I don’t think that is very likely.

  42. Disqualify both drivers from the race for their part in breaking 39.1

    Throw Ferrari out of the constructors for bringing the sport into disrepute as per 151c.

  43. I think the FIA should take a look at the contracts massa and Alonso have written before passing judgement.

    If it’s written into Massa’s contract he must give way, then they shouldn’t penalise him (because he had no choice).

    If it’s not written then he should lose his points as he had the option of ignoring whatever orders were given.

    Ferrari should also lose their constructors points – as has been opinted out, cries of “it’s for the team!” are completely false as their points total was the same as if positions hadn’t been changed.

    As for Alonso. Well it’s hard to say what his penalty should be. While he didn’t actually do anything wrong by driving past the slowing Massa, his crying the pits “Mummy Mummy, Filipe’s taking my win!!!!” surely influenced the decision. Much as I hate to see him benefit, I think he should keep his points (unless some evidence turns up that shows directly that he ordered Massa over).

    Either that or a McLaren-esque £100m fine and let them keep the points.

    One thing is clear though, the team order rule needs to be revised/abolished as it’s too vague and unworkable as it is.

    1. spanky the wonder monkey
      7th September 2010, 16:35

      contracts signed by drivers have no relevance whatsoever.

      if i sign a work contract that states i must murder 5 people every other year, this doesn’t make it ok or legal.

      ferrari are in breach of the sporting regulations. simple. that is why they are in front of the WMSC.

      1. nicely put… i was gonna add something to that effect myself.

  44. I’m really stuck on this one. I’m not even sure they broke the rules. Yes it was blatantly obvious and didn’t take a genius to figure it out, but their wording, on paper did not lend itself to being particularly clear cut, in my opinion. I don’t know if the rule is enforceable against the evidence.

    If the WMSC find them guilty, then they must be punished accordingly. Financially doesn’t cut it. If a team can theoretically guarantee itself a position in the constructors/drivers championship and as a result, receive a nice packet from the FIA then manipulating a few races for a mere $100,000 is a drop in the ocean, they re-coup their losses via manipulation. It has to go further. Points will hurt them. Its a clearer message to the fans and something they can relate to. It hits the emotional side of the sport.

  45. What people tend to forget is that there was a huge lot of dicussion going on. The few liens we heard are only a fraction of what was said.

    For instance, Smedley says to Massa:
    “OK, gap is 3 seconds. Need everything. Felipe, come on. Concentrate. Keep this going. Gap is 3 seconds. Keep this going. you can win.”

    How so “can” he win? He’s in the lead and Alonso has shown he cannot get past.

    I would guess that Ferrari have given Massa an ultimatum. Something like “Keep a gap of at least x seconds (3?) or you will have to let Alonso past”. They probably have had to explain this over the radio.

    BTW another point that people seem to forget is that the “illegal team orders” rule has been clarified after the Monaco 2007 race. The ruling specifically stated that rules telling drivers to hold station is NOT considered a “team order interfering with the race result”.

    So “save fuel” is not a coded message for an illegal team order. It’s pointless since they can simply say not to attack.

    Just like Domenicali said after Australia that Alonso was not allowed to attack Massa. The standard team order at Ferrari being that the drivers are not allowed to attack on the last stint.

    1. Ok, so Smedley to Massa on the radio saying “save fuel” instead of “Alonso is quicker” would have made the difference. The whole rule is pointless and needs urgent clarifying, Ferrari can not receive any further punishment until the rule is clear for anyone or get rid off it

      1. No, the “hold station” order is not illegal.

        Try to actually understand before you complain that it’s pointless.

        ANY order to CHANGE the order of the cars is illegal. Even things like calling in the car for an extra (needless) pitstop.

        Personally I think red Bull was issueing illegal team orders in Turkey too. They told Webber to save fuel while at the same they told Vettel to hurry up and overtake Webber.

        If the FIA are serious then every case where team cars change positions under suspicious circumstances should be investigated.

        Of course some things are difficult to actually punish the teams on.

        Hamilton was clearly held back by McLaren in 2007 to favor Alonso for the win. the FIA investigated and did not find McLaren guilty. Even though they McLaren had Hamilton driving around with 3 to 5 laps of extra fuel and then did not let him run these extra laps.

        So they made Hamilton half a second slower (in qualifying, first stint and second stint) and then did not allow him to capitalise on this and to pass Alonso by taking these 5 fast laps.

        1. “Personally I think red Bull was issueing illegal team orders in Turkey too. They told Webber to save fuel while at the same they told Vettel to hurry up and overtake Webber.”

          It was a team order but I’m not sure if it was to favour one driver just they had the good excuse/reason that Seb had apparently saved fuel in the slipstream so could attack for a little longer. I never bought the whole excuse of Hamilton catching though. It must have made Mark a little paranoid though whatever the motives were

        2. Pointless, pointless, pointless! Ordering a driver to “hold position” even beeing quicker and able to overtake his team mate, is that not altering race results?
          2008, same track, no investigation. Kovalainen was clearly ordered to give way to Hamilton. Don´t recall any investigation then. You might say Ham was far quicker and passed more pilots but could you assure this action didn´t change the final results? If Kov would have fought to hold position, Ham may have not catched up and overtaken Piquet and Massa.
          Again, pontless!

    1. Thanks for that. Very rare to find articles in the British press not against Alonso…

    2. I think the rule was ridiculous and now we’re having to deal with the fall out. I also think it’s only an issue because Ferrari were so blatant about it otherwise we’d all wink and say “good one Alonso”.

      For me, the rule is too vague and daft, the situation has been picked on when it has gone on in the past, I don’t actually view team roders as a horrendous thing but prefer a good battle, the FIA are going to do something controversial now whatever they decide and this is a battle between the competitors desparate to win and the fans pleading for the show.

      I will match your link with this

  46. I think that what happened was shameful, and would hate seeing Alonso escape punishment again, like Singapore 2008, because “he just didn’t know what was going on”. But on the other hand, I think it’s too late now to apply a points penalty that would tarnish the championships outcome, and open the door to somebody later crying they were “robbed” of the title. It would be like Hamilton’s penalization at Spa again (thankfully it didn’t have any influence in the WDC’s final standings). I believe a VERY HEAVY fine should be applied along with a reprimand, to let everyone know this isn’t going to be tolerated anymore, followed by a thorough clarification of the rule (including matemathically out-of-contention drivers allowance -or not- to help their teammates).

  47. I’m a bit confused on what is being judged here. My conclusion is that “team orders” are not to be punished unless it’s made obvious, so the rule does not protect race interfering, just tries to protect the sports image even being of general knowledge that all teams use “team orders”. Aren’t there other crucial matters to be discussed? Did Ferrari put in danger any driver with their team orders? Did they influence the score of any drivers other than those of Ferrari? Going back to Hockenheim 08, Kov letting pass Hamilton did influence the rest of the race. If Kov would have resisted longer, Ham may not have catched up with Massa and Piquet.

    1. So, Hamilton breezed past Massa and Piquet, but he would not have been able to get past Kovalainen?

      1. HE would have been able but maybe too late if Kov would have fought

  48. I hope so Ferrari do get punished by the FIA, so they will go and start a new series I will follow them. Some F1 journalists and fans would be happy to see Ferrari leave F1, and I think so that they should leave F1, leave it to all the British teams because that is what they want. Ferrari will be happy, the fans will be happy, the British journalists will be happy.

  49. “The change of positions was not in the best interests of the team – it was in the best interests of Fernando Alonso.”

    Fernando Alonso is part of the team and winning the WDC is a major objective for any Formula 1 team, arguably much moreso than the WCC. So you could argue that statement.

    1. The teams have the constructors’ championship and the drivers have the drivers’ championship. When a team interferes with the drivers’ championship – by making one driver subordinate to another – it lessens the achievement, devalues the title and harms the sport. The FIA should step in to protect the integrity of the drivers’ championship.

      1. Oh keith again you say little of the truth…. So tell us ONE WDC title winner in 2002-2009 (where the roule 39.1 exists) that was NOT his team in the hole season given the other driver team orders to win the championship (when??? In 2009? 2008? 2007? WHEN???)!!! Don’t play with us and tell us rubish we have memory and we remember what all the teams done! When you realise that this things will happen besides if we want it or not then you can tell that Ferrari must be punished (I know you hate ferrari but don’t be blind look around the paddock who of them saying the truth??? NO ONE!!!!)…So to tell that the roule exists….the roule is here for the hole season (and in the last race) so why ferrari must be punished when the others NOT???

        1. I’ve already done it. Read the bit under “the team orders debate”.

    2. Totally agree. A F1 team will see their brand and image, and consequently their sponsors’ branding, far more amplified in media by WDC tittle rather than winning the WCC. WDC is the tittle that brings the $$$ on board

  50. It seems as if everyone keeps forgetting that Ferrari benefit greatly from having a Driver’s World Championship (no matter which driver gets it) than not having one, regardless of having the constructor’s trophy.

    Massa needed several wins just to catch up to the rest, Alonso needed just the one to get back in the game. That’s why it benefits the team, not just Alonso.

  51. If Ferrari is penalished in any way, then the f1 pandora’s box will be open.

    Until 30-11-2010, any, in any 2010 race, can be judged.
    There was a lot of team orders, and practically all participants have infringed Article 39.1 with coded orders.
    And these is the first problem:
    what are coded orders and what are only race instructions?

    1. There might have been a lot of team orders, but not ILLEGAL team orders.

      Of those there have been very few.

      1. Very few or not that very, but not sactioned

  52. Keith,you say that no media hype was made about brazil and china because one driver was mathematically out of the championship running. But is there a rule that says team order are allowed under such circumstances ? I guess not. You may say its common sense but in f1 common sense doesnt always prevail. So it seems that ferrari won a championship illegally going strictly against the rule books .yet you credit kimi of winning wdc 07 but not alonso for winning german gp 10.did kimi win the championship on his own? I feel If something is banned it should be banned completely. No ‘ifs’ and ‘but’.(But i dont think its possible. So ban d rule). And regarding the fans being robbed i think f1 has shown mid finger to fans so many times in the past that i dont think it matters to them any more.So yes, i am accusing you of hypocrisy. Sorry.

    1. Keith,you say that no media hype was made

      When did I say anything about “media hype” or “common sense”?

    2. Did Ferrari order Massa to let Kimi past in 2007? Did Ferrari oder Kimi to let Massa past in 2008?

      Both drivers said up front that they would help their team mate.

      No (illegal) team orders were neccesary. So nothing illegal happened there either.

  53. Since Ferrari accepted the penalty given by the stewards after the race, then they found themselves guilty so Ferrari should be punished by the WMSC, but only the team, not the drivers.
    Also WMSC should consider that from now on till the end of the championship strange things will hapen, so if anything will happen like what happened with Ferrari in Germany but let say in Interlagos with Red Bull or Maclaren are we gonna have to wait to another WMSC to know who´s gonna be the champion??
    So to finish in a good way i´ll just say finish this forbiden rules thing. Puts this sport much cleaner

  54. What do you think about this possible solution?:
    1. Remove WCC tittle. In the end, teams only/mainly care about WDC
    2. Split the teams creating 2 teams supporting one driver each with it’s own pit crew, under the condition that the manufacturer supplies equally. (similar to whats hapenning in Yamaha’s team @ MotoGP, with a wall separating Lorenzo | Rossi)
    3. Each team would have their own race/ season strategy with no interference from the other.
    4. Remove team orders ban as it wouldn’t be necessary anymore

  55. Whatever you want to call doesnt matter.may be u used the word scandal to describe this incident but not the 2007 and 08 incidents. And whatever be it i want you to respond on the next part of post. Which asks why u support those incidents but not this despite the specified reasons.

    1. No I haven’t used the word “scandal” either. And I’ve already explained what I think about that point in the article.

      By the way, you can reply directly to a comment by clicking ‘reply’ underneath it.

  56. And by the “you may say” i meant the general view of the readers and not specifically you.

  57. Technically I think Ferrari should be penalized, or more specifically, the team and drivers deducted all points for the race.

    But I really don’t know which I least prefer – seeing Ferrari walk away again with a minimal punishment (just team points deducted) or Alonso and Ferrari having a ready made excuse for why they failed to win either championship this season. I think the latter is worse on balance, let him keep his lousy points.

    1. Imagine the other way around! Ferrari no points taken off and Alonso winning the tittle. OMG, we would have the british media hammering our brains for years, unbearable!!! From this point of view, WMSC be hard to Ferrari, ban the team for the rest of the season. Then Ferrari, speak to other teams and create a proper Championship under neutral management, and ban entry to Whiting to all races. No more maFIA

      1. Charlie Whiting was not one of the stewards of the German Grand Prix, who fined Ferrari and referred the case to the World Motor Sports Council, so I’m not sure what you’re blaming him for.

        1. He headed the most horrible and biased race management ever seen, Valencia, and in Spa with Massa 2 meters ahead of his starting position. The only one that didn´t see it!! But yes, he was faster as any car to point at Alonso when he started early in China!
          Besides, hes FIA F1 Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, so you could say he’s chief of stewards

      2. Well, I can’t deny that’s true – except for the extreme implausibility of Alonso winning this year under any circumstances.

        1. A bit more plausible now, no points taken for a start. Don´t forget, 25 points a race this year, still 150 to play with…

  58. Actually my laptop is infected and so m using a mobile to post which doesnt show the reply option.
    And sorry again, my bad. But whatever be it “manipulation or cheating ” the fact of the matter is you dont support this incident which i dont too but you support the other given incidents in ’07 and ’08 apparently due to the reason stated in my first post(mathematical part) and i dont due to the fact that team orders were banned.hence a team cannot swap their drivers by imposing their will . I think you can say sorry “I” can say that if german gp result was manipulated so were the 07 and 08 season results. And if it was ok in ’07 and ’08 then it is surely ok in ’10.No team order rules have changed since then isnt it? And i dont buy that mathematical thing simply because its not in the rule book.Thats the point i want you to comment on because i dont find any points on the article. If it isnt so plz specify the part i may refer to.

    1. Actually my laptop is infected and so m using a mobile to post which doesnt show the reply option.

      Ah, sorry about that – it is a requirement for the next version of the mobile site.

      But to address your point, yes, I believe it comes down to “the mathematical thing”, as I wrote in the article.

      Why (in general) were people angry about Germany 2010 but not China 2008? They both involved the same team so ‘Ferrari bias’ doesn’t enter into it. Indeed, in 2008 you couldn’t even make the case that Massa was quicker than Raikkonen – Raikkonen had to slow down a lot to let Massa pass.

      It was because at Hockenheim Ferrari took away Massa’s right to fight for the drivers’ championship. Raikkonen’s championship was already over by that point in 2008.

      1. I’ve thought about the whole team order debate a lot and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with why people are upset.

        “It was because at Hockenheim Ferrari took away Massa’s right to fight for the drivers’ championship.”

      2. “It was because at Hockenheim Ferrari took away Massa’s right to fight for the drivers’ championship.”

        To be brutally honest Massa was given the chance to win that race, if he’d driven away from Alonso Ferrari wouldn’t have asked him to move over. Fernando was faster than him and under the team agreement Massa was told. Massa was even told “Alonso is 3 seconds behind. That gap is important” If Massa had driven faster and been able to keep the gap he’d have won. Since Alonso was quicker and was their only realistic hope of winning the WDC they quite sensibly moved Massa over.

        Massa had the right to win the WDC at the start of the year but after his team mate has shown far superior pace a team should have the right to prioritise that driver when it becomes clear he is faster and is the only hope of winning the title.

        1. To be brutally honest Massa was given the chance to win that race

          By the same measure Alonso was given the chance to win that race – when he got alongside Massa but failed to make the pass stick. And if he hadn’t gone off on lap 35 he might have had another chance too.

          The difference is Alonso blew his chance to win, Massa held on to his until he was told to give it up.

          1. But you claimed that Massa wasn’t given the chance to win which he clearly was. If he’d driven clear of Alonso he would have won, but he was incapable of doing so.

      3. I wish people would stop comparing apples to oranges. Yes there are lots of examples of drivers passing their team mates when they perhaps were not fast enough to (Brazil 07, China 08, Germany 08, etc). The reason why this is different, in my opinion, is not per se because it was early in the season, but because we have reason to believe that the team told Massa to move over. If the drivers want to exchange positions, they can do that. And in the examples cited, they did it so that their team mates could win the championship. But that’s not illegal, because we had no reason to think that the team told them to.

        That’s why the stewards had a case in this instance, and that is why the FIA can legitimately try Ferrari for breaking the Team Orders rule.

        1. We all understand that Ferrari told Massa to move over but whether “Fernando is faster than you” can be proven to be a team order in a court of law (which is where it would go should Ferrari get an excessive penalty) is debatable. Its certainly not beyond reasonable doubt.

          Also it was nearly identical wording to Honda’s in Turkey 2007, only difference was nobody cared because they were miles off the front but they did exactly the same as Ferrari.

  59. The team-orders have been part of F1 since its beginning, in my opinion it makes no sense if Ferrari is punished.

    Team orders has been forbidden for several years, but several teams have already make use of them, Massa-Raikkonen in Brazil 07, Massa-Raikkonen in China 08, Kovalainen – Hamilton in Germany 08, etc.

    Why punishing Ferrari now for the same crime?

    1. For the reasons explained under “The team orders debate”.

    2. Teams have their own title to win – the constructors’ championship – and should not be allowed to interfere in the fight for the drivers’ title.

      You’re trying to seperate the inseperable. The WDC is won by the team and driver not just a driver. When its clear that one driver is the teams of winning them the WDC they should be free to support him.

      Also the WCC is and always has been a poor second to the WDC. In 1999 nobody at Ferrari celebrated cared much it was their first WCC since 1982, they cared far more the year after when the team won their first WDC since 1979. Or in 2008 McLaren celebrated their first WDC since 1999 not minding that they hadn’t won a WCC since 1998. Its the WDC that everyone cares about.

      1. You’re trying to separate the inseparable.

        McLaren and Red Bull seem to manage alright. They’ve both had one-two finishes with their drivers in different orders this year.

  60. Keith plz respond……………………

  61. Ferrari sure have been pimping a lot of expensive gear for sale on their web site this last week or two. Perhaps they are expecting a big fine! ;)

  62. @ keith.What you say is absolutely true.and i never accused anyone of”ferrari bias”.But do you think the fia or wmsc should or for that matter “will” act acc. to the “general public feeling”? If you ask me i dont think so. Simply because there is a rule book which says what can be done and what cant be done .what ferrari did in 07,08 and 10 were against the rule books. Now ferrari werent punished in 07 and 08 and so i dont see why they should be punished now. If a punishment is given now , i think the same punishment should be given to the 07 and 08 party. And then if your suggested punishment is applied i guess alonso will be triple wc then. Just imagine that lol!!
    And sorry for my repeated insistence. I’ve started following f1 just 3 years ago and i know my knowledge and maturity(i am 17) is quite less compared to many in this site but i am passionate about the sport and just want to participate in discussions which will enhance my knowledge about the sport and its running.

    1. What you say is absolutely true.and i never accused anyone of”ferrari bias”

      I’m not saying you did – I was just saying we’re comparing like with like.

  63. @patrick i dont think there was any proper investigation to whether there was a team order or not . And all the radio transmissions werent given to the broadcaster at that time i believe. So i dont think you can firmly say team orders were placed or not.And even if they hadnt during the race what if ferrari had ordered their drivers to swap if such situation in the race occured where need was fairly obvious that kimi slowed down and let felipe pass. Wouldnt that be called a team order then? Or is it a team order only when you say it in the radio? And btw i think there isnt any radio transmission even in this case where ferrari ordered massa to let through. And regarding kimi saying that he’ll support massa , i think massa also told that he let alonso through on his own (whether its true or not is another matter)

  64. If the WMSC were to further penalise Ferrari by deducting their Germany drivers points would then only Vettel would benefit in terms of the WDC points gap to the leader.

    According to my calculations Webber would lag the leader, Hamilton, by 5 points rather than 3, Vettel however would lag by only 27 rather than 31 and Button would lag by 36 rather than 35.

    Webber and Button would therefore lose out, with Webber suffering most in relation to the lead over his team-mate, the gap coming down from 28 to 22 points.

    1. you are assuming that ALL the points would change, but that’s not the case. I believe that 3rd 4th and 5th etc will get the same points, but the points for 1st and 2nd may be deducted, not substituted.

      So all that changes is Alonso down 25 pts, and massa down 18 pts.

  65. I Don’t think there can be any sort of point re-distribution, otherwise the FIA would have done it befor in other intances. As far as i remember they havent dont point re-distribution befor correct me if im wrong please.

    I think Ferrari will also get away with a fine and i dont think the FIA with deduct points. If they do deduct points it will be from both drivers i beleive.

  66. I think Ferrari fans tend to have less of a problem with the rule because it’s true that Ferrari matters more to them than the drivers who come and go. So long as its a Ferrari that wins is deeply ingrained within the philsophy of the team.

    McLaren fans only had to soul search during the Hakkinen, Coulthard years, after which the rules changed and I think we’ve got a fight everyone including our selves mind set, seeing as our greatest bit of heritage was the dominant Senna-Prost years. AN of course the perceived injustices of the Schumacher era. Which probably rubbed of on most of the teams.

    1. I HAVE looked at this world motor port council members list who will be meeting to DECIDE FERRARIS fate and am shocked to see that some names there are from countries with little or any motor sports competitions to speak of if any

      what is the criteria used to determine who sits on this council?
      Even THE VICE president for sport from Tanzania(surinder thathi)? where there is no significant rallying activity to warrant a guy from this country to hold such an important post within the FIA…

      I BELIEVE this is the same guy WHO was privy to some of the most controvercial decisions taken during the time of MOWSLEY
      I think ferrari will come of lightly because the time taken to convene this meeting has taken too long and therefore giving time for all major players to work out any deals
      THIS thing SHOULD have been sorted within seven days of the rules being broken .

      1. OMG.. that is so completely alienist i cannot believe that i read it in the 21st century.

        Look at what Surinder has acheived, on a GLOBAL scale, he DESERVES to be there, has worked hard for his whole life, throughout AFRICA (not just Tanzania and Kenya) and even BROUGHT the WRC to Africa… don’t have a go at what you don’t understand, and certainly, what difference does a nationality make ? it’s the CV that counts.

        By your logic Robert Kubica shouldn’t be in F1, cos there is no F1 activity in Poland… seriously, wind your neck in mate, you’re bordering racism/xenophobia, and nothing like that should be allowed.

  67. First of all, I find it sad to think that this may yet be the most significant event over the course of the current season once again. From that, I would have a very clear opinion on whether or not the sport‘s reputation has been affected negatively here.
    I just hope there will be a detailed examination, an accurate analysis and a just and fair verdict. Allowing for any opportunities for the discussion to focus on too soft or too hard a reaction by the WMSC, in my opinion, should absoutely be avoided.
    My opinion on the matter is that the FIA can and should enforce article 39.1. This does not negate there is pressure on the teams as both commercial and sporting entities to deliver the best results possible. It does not negate the fact that it may also be of great value for a team to have one of its drivers win the drivers‘ championship. It also does not prevent a driver further up in the championship from gaining a race position on his team-mate. It just means that in order to do that, this driver has to find a way of legitimately overtaking his team-mate. Especially under circumstances where both drivers are („still“) mathematically able to win the championship, there is nothing else I would consider more natural in motor racing than one driver having to outperform the other in order to improve his position, in order to win.
    In the event of a penalty being handed down, I would see no way the drivers should not also be affected by it. Since there is a ban on team orders as part of the current rules, no team may even just encourage their driver(s) to do anything that may be considered a breach of the rules. Any encouragement or instruction of such kind given to a driver would effectively be void. Consequently, drivers would be just as responsible as their team if „team orders“ had been implemented.

  68. JUDGING by the way the FANS and the public have reacted since this so called team orders fiasco caused by this alonzo/massa seems that the FIA will be doing the sport a great deservice IF no action is taken further

    These drivers are driving the most advanced motorcars on the racetrack,and any drivers who is unable to overtake his team mate until he is helped by team orders has no business racing in the first place.

    The teams should let the drivers race themselves no matter the consequences..this is what the FANS and tv AUDIENCES expect to see.

  69. Why are we not hearing any explanation from Massa or Ferrari about the reason for failing to park at the right spot?
    I’m starting to believe the theory of yet ANOTHER teamorder:
    Ferrari wanted to get Alonso in front of Massa to give Alonso the chance to more points for the championship.
    Being just punished for blatant teamorders, they had to think of a more subtile way to do it, and a drivethrough for a false start would do the trick!
    Only the FIA wasn’t paying attention!
    Trick failed.

    All the silence surrounding it makes me all the more suspicious, looks like Ferrari is trying to get everybody to forget it, because of the hearing tomorrow…
    And another teamorder would take away all their chances for this season.

    But are we supposed to believe that Massa can’t park a car? It wasn’t just a few cm!
    Or was his mind wandering off, because -well- it’s just the start of the race?!

    I want to know what happened there, and not just the technical failure of the FIA!

    1. Except as Webber showed at Spa, there are much easier and surer ways to lose position off the grid that don’t involve Ferrari’s number two dropping to the back.

  70. the points should be reversed and ferrari fined $100,000

    1. I don’t think $100,000 would be enough personally.:)
      That’s nothing to them. Maybe $100,000,000 would be more appropriate, after all, that’s what they gave to mclaren for something equally damaging to the sport IMO…

  71. It seems as if controversy follows Alonso at every turn– perhaps he didn’t like life at McLaren because he couldn’t get Hamilton to crash into a wall for him or pull over to let him take the lead.

  72. The sri lankan
    8th September 2010, 1:13

    i think this meeting will conclude weather FIA is indeed Ferrari international assistance. Poor massa man! hes been slapped enough in the face already! wheres the damn justice?

    1. Well, the FIA have officially confirmed they have zero credibility by announcing that no further action has been taken against ferrari, according to sky news.


  74. I have said before and I will say it again; don’t bring these team ordered races to the USA because formula 1 will be sent packing for a long time. Racing fans over here won’t stand for it.
    If Ferrari pulls a stunt like they did in Germany at the new track in Texas there could be a bit of violence.

    1. i think the 288+ comments at time of writing this comment shows that WE won’t stand for it either…

  75. I don’t think at this stages stripping Alonso from the points system will be good for the sport if they decided to do something like this then they should have done it right after the German GP.WSMC can do two things.
    1. Take away all the points that Ferrari have scored as a constructor in the German GP.
    2.Give them a big fine to pay.
    Lets wait & see.

    1. Handing out a fine to a poor person works, They will struggle to pay and be inconvenienced for months. To a multi-millionare corp, it is a joke. It makes no difference to them as the amount will made up in seconds. They won’t even notice it. Points on the other hand is the currency they understand and will feel the sting for years to come.

  76. I am guessing they might find the fact that F1 turns corners both ways a little confusing at first too. ;)

  77. To Keith Collantine:

    Very good article, clear and precise, but I have to make some appreciattions regarding your lack of impartiality.

    You state that Alonso, at last, was not quicker than Massa:

    “He began to catch his team mate again but on lap 35 he had a big slide at turn ten and dropped back. This meant he wasn’t close enough to make another attempt to pass Massa when he caught the next group of lapped cars a few laps later”

    But Massa finished much, much later than Alonso… He lost seconds and seconds, lap after lap until the end of the race. Consequently, Alonso was obviously, and without a shadow of doubt, quicker, much quicker than Massa. But this is not relevant to the core of this matter (consequently you are bringing here a pointless statement) since the quickness of Alonso is not important to what happened.

    On the other hand, we have seen “team orders” race after race, McLaren and Red Bull are good examples of it:

    – Mclaren’s team to Kovalainnen: “Mate, save fuel” when Hamilton needed, desperately, some points to win the Championship in 2008

    Red Bull’s team to Mark Webber: “Mark you have to save fuel by now” and then we all know what happened…

    I absolutely agree with you that Ferrari should be punished, but make an inquisitorial trial about this, is a pharisee behaviour. Specially if you hide part of the related information.

    Please do not get angry with me since this is only my opinion.

    Best regards,

    1. I’m not entirely sure what you’re point is. As I said in the article there were several times in the race when Alonso was quicker than Massa. That much is clear from the laptimes (linked to from the article but here they are again:

      You say “But Massa finished much, much later than Alonso” – Alonso was only ahead because Massa let him past, and what was the point in Massa going after Alonso seeing as he knew he wasn’t allowed to beat him? Moreover, Massa was only 4.1s behind at the flag, which is hardly “much, much later”.

      Where did you get the McLaren-to-Kovalainen quote from?

  78. An interesting background to things going on is mentioned by James Allen (who thinks it will likely be a fine and constructors points ditched):

    There is a whole other back story here to do with the threat posed to FIA and FOM by Ferrari president Montezemolo, potentially lining up some kind of takeover of F1 when the Concorde Agreement expires in two years time. Montezemolo is one of few figures in the sport who could get together the financing to buy CVC’s stake in the F1 commercial rights holder.

    Montezemolo and Todt met earlier this summer in Paris and there is a lot going on behind the scenes as the various parties line up their power bases and prepare for one of the most important negotiations since the early 1980s. Will that spill over into today’s case? We will know more when we see the judgement.

    As this is Formula1, it might be an important part of the background. Kudos to Todt and the teams for keeping this out of the public this time.

    1. Keeping secrets is against man’s nature so expect everything to come out before an official announcement. Example, Montezemolo ego won’t allow him to keep his mouth shut.

  79. Team Orders wouldn’t be a problem if the Constructors’ Championship was considered more prestigious than the Drivers’.

    1. And there isn’t a team behind the drivers? Every single person that works at Ferrari contributes to the final result. F1 is one of the biggest team sports and team orders aren’t allowed? C’mon.

  80. The rule upon which this controversy is predicated cannot be enforced.

    Admittedly, Ferrari were a little heavy handed in flouting this rule, but the act itself has been exercised by all championship contenders over time, and they will continue to do so – hopefully with a little more finesse.

    The solution is to eliminate the rule – although I have little faith in the FIA’s ability to realize that.

  81. There is no difference between this and, for example, when McLaren told Jenson not to pass Lewis in Turkey:

    Lewis: If I back off will Jenson pass me
    Team: No Lewis

    You may point out that Jenson did infact overtake him, but once Hamilton retook the position they reaffiremed to Jenson not to do it again.

    So surely this is the same? Without the instruction Jenson may well have had another go and potentially won the race.

    If you penalise Ferrari then every other team in the pitlane are guilty of team orders in one form or another. To suggest the problem is the manner of the way in which Ferrari did it as the main problem is to take us all as fools as it doesn’t take a blatantly obvious manouvre like that for people to realise team orders are taking place

  82. Oh, and I forgot to say… if Ferrari think it’s big or clever to pretend that they didn’t give a team order then they are just making a farce out of themselves and the sport.

  83. No further punishment for Ferrari stated at 18.10

    1. That was the right decision.

  84. Very interesting article by James Alen:

    “So let’s be grown up about this. The rule which says “No team orders” is ridiculous and unworkable and we need a sensible, workable alternative to come out of today’s hearing.”

    Funny how only a handful of British papers are trying to blow this case way out of proportion. As far as I know, French and German papers (as well as Spanish and Italian papers, but that’s to be expected) are much more measured and are not letting their hate/fanboyism cloud their judgement.

  85. Of course team orders should be legal!

    The reason the team orders a slower driver to make way for a faster driver isn’t because they have made some sort of backhanded deal with the driver in question – it’s to mitigate the risk of BOTH of their drivers crashing out of the race trying to overtake each other in the same instant. It’s simple risk mitigation to order the slower racer to let the faster one through.

    How is this a difficult concept to grasp? The drivers are *employees* of the team, paid a salary to do their job. The constructors championship is the one that really matters (remember who invests the 100’s of millions of dollars into the season?). Not necessarily to the fans, agreed, and thats why there is also a drivers championship. The drivers championship is inherrently unfair as they don’t all race in the same spec’d cars – even when in the same team, and are often forced onto different strategies to maximise the teams chances in races which are difficult to plan. The drivers all understand this simple principle, why not the fans?

    1. The constructors championship is the one that really matters (remember who invests the 100’s of millions of dollars into the season?)

      If that was Ferrari’s reasoning, would they still have bothered switching the order of their drivers to give Alonso more points in the drivers’ championship? Nothing they did at Hockenheim affected the constructors’ championship.

      1. I thought I made that clear: so that Alonso didn’t try to overtake and risk taking them both out.

        Remember a driver overtaking his team mate is far more dangerous (to the team) than him taking over another teams driver.

        If a charging bull like Alonso takes himself out trying to overtake someone else, then his team mate can be ordered to take it easy preserve the chance for some point. If they take each other out – BAM zero points!

        1. You don’t think Ferrari trusted their twice world champion, 23 race-winning driver to overtake someone without crashing into them?

          1. Haha. Were you watching in the Prost/Senna/McLaren days? It’s not about skill, it’s about ego.

            And it’s still a risk not worth taking.

    2. I agree that team orders shoud be allowed. But the tittle that realy matters to the teams is WDC, not the WCC. The WDC is the one that attracts the media attention and that’s what the sponsors value. I’m sure you know whos the WDC in 08, but would it be of general knowledge who was the WCC? Could you say with no googling??

      1. It definately helps sponsorship that fans can follow their favourite drivers, but it’s absolutely not the case that all fans do (I don’t). How many long-term fans of F1 follow drivers rather than teams, especially as drivers switch frequently and may in one season go from running at the front to running in the pack due to a team change. Considering the lack of screen-time given to the pack-runners I think it’s hard to follow only a favourite driver in the sport for years, unless it’s an era with a massive dominator who you happen to follow (Senna, Prost, Schumacher). I think you’ll find that Ferrari fans are fans of Ferrari, regardless of the drivers that season. Also, quite alot of us just want to see good racing and good sportsmanship across the whole field.

        However, the fact that celebrity drivers does bring sponsorship is why there IS a drivers championship at all. Thats why F1 is a complex sport, the various factions all have different agendas.


        Media/Sponsorship is not as simple as you think. F1 is a spectacle, and that spectacle exists because of the whole setup – not just because of popular drivers. Remember a few years back it was a huge crisis in the sport that it was boring to watch (due to lack of overtaking) not because there were no superstar drivers – there was Schumacher.

        I don’t know the facts and figures, but (at least in the era’s of the sport being dominated by manufacturer-teams like now) I’m pretty sure that many teams don’t get a profit from the sponsorship. They take the choice to ‘invest’ in formula one because it allows them to invest in technologies that they want to develop for their business. Mercedes and BMW as engine developers definately fall into that category.

        This is why rule changes effecting the technology side are very signifigant. The decision for F1 to go green is an example of this. It’s where car manufacturers need to go. It’s not done to make the racing more interesting (such as the with the Overtaking Working Group) or serve the needs of the drivers (who are concerned with safety), yet these types of decisions have by far the most impact on the sport.


        1. Yes, F1 was born as team sport and manufactures development and brand image. But I think you are undermining the power of publicity. Advertising sustains the show, and you cant deny that and its not only the name on the car, its TV rights, merchandising… It might not cover 100% of the costs, but it would be unsustainable without it, tell the new teams that have arrived this year

          Lets use some clear examples:

          – how do you become a F1 newcomer driver? Brining a sponsor with you to support the team
          – how many Spaniards do you think support Renault or McLaren? Every team change from Alonso, new shirt! ($$$) Even Ferrari is selling shirts in blue (colours of Oviedo where Alo was born); for the 1st time not in red
          – why has the interest on F1 decreased in Germany so much between the Schumi years til Vettels arrival? Because they are all Ferrari fans?
          – why has F1 interest increased so much in Spain since Alos arrival?
          – Last one: do you think F1 would disappear without the WCC tittle? Or rahter without the WDC?.
          I thnik the masses of fans follow drivers and a small number of fans follow teams (tifossi).
          08 WCC tittle went to Ferrari, WDC Ham

          1. Thats very well argued.

            Honestly, I thought the days of rookies bringing sponsors had gone away with the last of the pay drivers, but it certainly makes sense for the smaller teams.

            I think it’s clear the sport is always under tension from a variety of different influences, and honestly, I think thats probably one of the most interesting parts of it.

            Your probably right about the distribution of fans. I’ve noticed that F1 does have to compete to keep the fans, so it makes sense that the majority of the fans are fickle otherwise we wouldn’t see that.

            I always think of the failure of the A1 when I think about the impact of driver nationality on F1, but it’s possible that the A1 didn’t have enough glamour to quite replace F1 for those sort of fans.

            As for the WCC vs the WDC, I can really only speak for myself. The WDC is absolutely meaningless to me and I don’t care who wins (well actually – I hope a nice guy/good sport wins). The sport isn’t a fair test of driver skill because the formula allows for far too much difference between the entrants, so I’d have to be much better at kidding myself to think that any driver I was following was really the best driver in the field :)


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