Mercedes deny Massa held up Schumacher for Alonso

Korean Grand Prix

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Mercedes have denied reports Michael Schumacher was held up by Felipe Massa during the Korean Grand Prix.

Claims were made following the race that Ferrari ordered Massa to delay other cars following Fernando Alonso’s pit stop.

The next car behind Massa was Schumacher, but a spokesperson for the team told F1 Fanatic it was “not true” that Massa had held Schumacher up.

Alonso lost almost three seconds during his pit stop compared to Sebastian Vettel who came in with him on lap 33.

Because of the delay Alonso lost one place to Lewis Hamilton and came out of the pits in front of Massa.

Hamilton, Massa and Schumacher had all pitted before Alonso on lap 32. Prior to that they had been 4.8, 10.5 and 13.8 seconds behind Alonso respectively (see here for the full data).

Alonso had been at further risk of losing places because the safety car was deployed after he had passed the pits but early enough for Hamilton and his pursuers to pit right away.

Mercedes’ denial refutes speculation that Ferrari used team orders to benefit Alonso again as they did during the German Grand Prix.

2010 Korean Grand Prix

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    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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    68 comments on “Mercedes deny Massa held up Schumacher for Alonso”

    1. CarsVsChildren
      31st October 2010, 12:38

      And let the conspiracy theories commence.

      1. I still think Webber could have prevented himself from hitting another competitor when he took himself out.

      2. What conspiracy
        a team driver is allowed to back the pack up if its reqiured

        its up to the cars behind to overtake

        its a none issue as a rear gunna for his team mate he is supposed to slow the chasing cars

        how many times have we heard brundle mention this when webber was in lead and vettle was going slower

        he was punnished because he did it with the pace car

        so the second car is allowed to go try and keep the cars behind

        what he must not do is block by weaving
        get the facts correct before reporting a none story

        PS CarsVsChildren this is not aimed at you

    2. I don’t think it’s true. As we saw in the race that Alonso had a big enough gap from Hamilton to the rest of the field before the safety car came out so despite making a slow pit stop he would have made it out before Massa, which I don’t see any reason for Massa to slow down.

    3. did this emerge from Red bull corner? Mercedes say no holding up happened, ferrari wil certainly deny.

      anyway if you look at fia data (laptimes per lap per driver) Massa was no slower than for instance Hamilton who pitted in the same lap as massa and schumi

    4. Wher did the rumour come from? I suppose its just to put Ferrari in further trouble.

      1. Mark Hughes made the claims in Autosport.

    5. Does it really matter at this point?
      Isn’t every other journalist, news agency, and team already discussing how Redbull and Maclaren should be backing a single driver, presumably by using team orders?
      This is a non-story and I think the original source of the story should be ashamed (we know who you are). I’m very proud of F1Fanatic and many of the other on-line journalists for not covering this trash-story.

      1. BigMSmallcBigL
        31st October 2010, 13:42


        *friendly wink*

          1. Maclaren

            typo in previous comment

        1. Haha, nice :)

          (comment long enough now?)

      2. Quoting a denial by Merc is undoubtely a way of covering the story. And a lot more than its deserves anyway. The story is troll journalism and should be ignored, not denied.

        1. I’m glad Keith asked Mercedes. Good work IMO.

    6. I thought about this at the time, but then I realised that if Massa and Alonso were going to pit under the SC, then Massa had to slow right down so he could hold position, otherwise he’d be queued behind his team mate as the others behind him made their stops.

      1. It’s at about this point I wish I could delete a post.

    7. Schumacher helps his old friends :)

      1. MSC is all for team orders,so he wouldn’t squeal to the stewards anyway (unlike a certain other driver RB,who loves to report offences and make a fuss about nothing)

        1. Rubens Barrichello not only was Schumacher’s number two, but he is presently chairman of the GPDA, so it’s his obligation to report any offence. If anyone should be an F1 ‘cop’, with his experience, it’s ought to be Rubens, so I don’t see why you are being so critical of him.

        2. dianna I agree. BUT, this whole thing is a non-issue. If Merc is not complaining, why does everyone else have to dive in with an unwanted opinion?

          1. @Portusgoose. My opinion of RB used to be high,but judging by all the comments lately,most think he is a tad over active shall we say with his complaints.All the other drivers including Vettel,have to run after him now to clear the air.I think RB should finish before his complaints annoy too many.
            @ Bhiam ..Don’t know,I am just like you,Merc are not complaining so I agree.MSC promotes team orders anyway.

    8. Good. That’s the end of that.

    9. someone answer me this: how come Alonso and Vettel were allowed past the safety car after buemi’s crash? I was expecting Hamilton to lead as he had pitted just as the safety car came out. right?

      1. I’m still puzzled myself over this. I’d assumed the SC came out after Alonso and Vettel came by but then I kept hearing about how it came out before them but let the two past.

        1. I think the safety car was deployed when Vettel and Alonso had passed the pit entrance. Hamilton reached the pit entrance just after it was deployed and so was able to pit. Therefore in accordance with the procedural change after Valencia, Vettel and Alonso were allowed to go through and the safety car picked up the leader on the next lap.

          1. Therefore in accordance with the procedural change after Valencia, Vettel and Alonso were allowed to go through and the safety car picked up the leader on the next lap

            Ehmmmm, Wrong! As Vettel/Alonso passed before the SC could get them and LH /Massa pitted because they were back. Vettel/Alonso BEFORE reaching where the SC was standing had to pit and so remained in the lead …. quite simple methinks

    10. wow.. when I watch the race it doesn’t seem that way
      yeap, I agree that this latest accusation on Ferrari is simply useless and pointless to debate.

    11. No doubt someone will suspect that Ferrari also caused Webber to crash, Vettel’s engine to blow and the recent spell of bad weather we have been having.

      1. Yes, and don’t forget that Ferrari is in winning form because they stole all the tech info from RBR and injected phenerol into Webber coffee before the race that caused him to crash and so on and on…..

    12. Here we go lets all have another knock at Ferrari.


      1. How is this article in any way having a go at Ferrari? It’s pointing out they didn’t do something they were accused of.

        1. The fact that they were accused in the first place…

          1. Not the only team to be accused of something they probably shouldn’t be hounded about.

            Look at the Webber hit Rosberg on purpose theme, I find it very hard to believe, but that’s not how some others see it.

        2. So, the news is… there is no news.

          Keith, you’re doing a great job with this blog and most of us appreciate it, sincerely, but sometimes you should sit down, take some time and think a little bit about what to publish.

          I know, it’s difficult became editor & journalist at the same time.

          1. How is that not news? Other sites are filled with reports of malpractice, and Keith reports a statement from Mercedes that there was none. How is that not news? God knows I hate the endless anticipation of news we see in the media, the reports that today somebody might say something, but this a real event, a significant report of a significant statement.

            “I know, it’s difficult became editor & journalist at the same time.”
            Perhaps you should take some time to check your comments before being so critical

          2. IDR Are you a relation to Eddie Jordan?

    13. I am still not entirely convinced. When I rethink of the issue at hand, maybe it’s a bit simpler: If you know as a team that your driver has to save his enigine / fuell / tyres, would you choose a timing which could have positive consequences on his championshipfighting teammate, or just another moment? In the end it didn’t matter as Mercedes is now confirming, but why wouldn’t they just ask Felipe to save his fuell when the timing was optimal for Fernando.. ‘Save fuell, do you understand Felipe?’

      The whole story to me makes it clear that fighting (hidden) teamorders is a very difficult thing. I would love them to be forbidden, but how can you prevent these scenario’s?

    14. I’ve never thought it would be tru, but it seems little weird. Denial from Mercedes not from Ferrari? Anyway as a Ferrari fan and under premise that conspiracy is not true, I’m glad to hear the statement from Mercedes. I don’t want any more controversy.

      1. Looking at the wording of the article it seems as though Keith contacted them directly to ask whether it was true, and they denied it. It’s not as if they came out and denied the story without being asked, which would be a bit strange.

        1. Yep that’s right.

          1. Good idea to close another chapter of unending debate this way Keith!

          2. wow. sorry for misreading. thank you Keith!

    15. Can’t understand why we are even discussing this. There is a war of boulevard journalism going on between british and spanish media right now which just brings the sport into disrepute. Ferrari did nothing in the last race so why should they even bother with this crap.
      And if there was any suspicion then surely Macca as the team nearest in line would have been the first to comment or protest.
      It seems like a pitiful attempt to get Hamilton and Button at whatever cost back into the championship- forget it- this is not their year. End of.
      Now it seems Marca are getting their own back and Autosport is getting upset- well they should not have started the crap in the first place- and one would have expected better from a respected website like autosport.

      I for one am not impressed and am sad they stoop this far.

      1. … I don’t see it…

        Is there actually a war between publications?
        Or do they just have views differing from each others and yours?

    16. I was slightly surprised when I saw the original Mark Hughes report suggesting Massa had been ordered to hold the pack up.

      For one thing, no one seemed to notice that it had happened at the time and it seems like only Autosport has subsequently picked it up, although Hughes usually knows what he’s talking about.

      For another, I seem to recall Giancarlo Fisichella getting into trouble for doing something very similar back in his Renault days. It was in 2005 or ’06, in China or Spa. Fisichella blatantly backed the pack up so he wouldn’t have to queue in the pits behind his then team mate Alonso. I can’t remember whether a penalty was dished out, but afterwards teams were put on notice that this wasn’t acceptable practice and penalties would be issued in future.

      So if Ferrari had ordered Massa to hold up the pack they were rather foolishly risking a penalty.

      1. I think the incident you’re referring to is McLaren at Spa in 2005, where Montoya and Raikkonen were running 1-2. The safety car was deployed and both pitted, with Raikkonen holding everybody up in the pit entrance so that he didn’t have to queue behind JP. After the race the teams were warned that such practices would no longer be tolerated, though McLaren got away with it as it wasn’t illegal at the time.

    17. wow slow news weekend for this to get an article

    18. Autosport really dropped the ball on this one. When Keith was quickly able to establish that there was absolutely no truth to the story and considering many of the readers here have also pointed out that the race timing screens showed nothing unususual it was bizzare the way Autosport reported it as fact in their race reports on Thursday.

    19. Well done Keith,i thought it strange no other site had picked up on this,”Ferrari team orders” yet again.

      Maybe he was there with a stop watch….
      From watching the race its a ludicrous assumption to come to had he not,i can only view it now as a journalistic headline grabber without credence.

      I wonder how Ferrari see it?

      He may have to wait until 2011 to find out,or indeed Autosport.

      1. Hardly headline grabbing, Hughes simply mentioned it as a detail (neutrally presented)in his race report. It didn’t even warrant a separate report, Hughes just said it was smart thinking and moved on.

    20. This is the first i hear about this, if its true well good thinking by Ferrari :).

      On another note, this website should make a new article:
      “Why did Webber not brake and take out Rosberg”?

      Now that’s what i really want to know !

      1. I’m assuming you’re joking about the Webber Rosberg thing. You must be. :)

    21. Politics and polemics. What’s new.

      Can’t imagine if Alonso does win this year’s WDC.
      A revolution will be implemented.

    22. I personally believe team orders are fine and should certainly form part of what is often referred to as a team sport.

      On a related point …. I also believe that annoyed bookmakers should not be the ones dictating what is and what is not allowed in a sport.

    23. dragon_2712 (@)
      1st November 2010, 8:48

      Of course Massa was holding up MSC. Otherwise he would have caught that cheater Alonso! And Hamilton totally would have won the race if his mclaren didn’t shoot off track, completely not his fault, he’s driving so good in the slowest car on the grid!

      /troll post


      1. I think God pushed Hamilton off the track like he saved him at Spa. LOL!!!.

    24. Mark Hughes of Autosport insists Ferrari did slow Massa:

      the information that Massa was slowed came from inside the Ferrari team.

      1. I think this sounds pretty convincing, and it would make sense from the teams views about the races and season.

        That goes to show how subtle some of these things are.

        Good thing Hughes reports this, if he has the evidence to back it up. It helps give us an understanding of what goes on and how good these guys are.
        In the end, It might have been another Massa win, or some nice passes from Alonso or maybe Hamilton, resulting in the same podium.

      2. Mark Hughes on Ferrari’s Korean GP strategy

        AUTOSPORT’s GP editor Mark Hughes explains how Felipe Massa slowed down during the Korean Grand Prix to help Ferrai team-mate Fernando Alonso

        Furthermore, the inside information is backed up by the race history chart around the safety car period for the Buemi/Glock incident. Comparing lap 30 to 32, Massa loses 2.5s to Hamilton. Only 0.2s of this is accounted for by their in-laps (lap 31).

        The rest comes on the out-lap – strong enough supporting evidence in itself but what even the race history chart does not show is that almost all of the lost 2.3s (2.5s minus the 0.2s lost on the in-lap) came in the last sector.

        Had Massa not slowed, he – and not just Hamilton – would have leap-frogged ahead of Alonso as a result of the Spaniard’s wheel nut delay.

        Mark Hughes is still trying to fabricate a Team Order controversy where none exists. According to the Official FIA Race History Chart:

        The gap between Hamilton and Massa at the end of Lap 30 was 5.690 seconds (Massa’s gap to the leader 14.245 minus Hamilton’s 8.555). Massa’s Lap Time on Lap 31 was 1:59.851 to Hamilton’s 1:59.483 (they cross the timing line as they enter the pits); a further gap of 0.368 seconds therefore their gap on Lap 31 was 6.058 seconds (5.690 + 0.368). Their gap at the end of Lap 32 was 8.067 seconds (Massa’s gap to the leader of 33.869 minus Hamilton’s 25.082). Massa lost 2.009 seconds that Lap not 2.5 seconds as Hughes claims. At the beginning of Lap 33 Alonso comes out of the pits 2-3 seconds behind Hamilton; even without the 2 (or even 2.5) second loss Massa would never have overtaken Alonso as Massa would still have been 5.5 to 6 seconds behind Hamilton and 2.5 to 3 seconds behind Alonso.

        1. Damn, transposed digits again! Hamilton’s gap to the Leader on Lap 32 was 25.802 not 25.082, the 2.009 difference is correct.

        2. Any idea why Hamilton had such a slow lap time in lap 33?

          1. He probably reached the Safety Car at the end of that Lap while Massa (who was 8 seconds behind) had not gotten up to it yet. On Lap 34 the leaders were all doing 2:43’s behind the Safety Car.

        3. Small correction, 1:59.851 on lap31 was car 3 aka Schumacher’s time, 1:59.483 was car 7 aka Massa’s time. Ham’s lap 31 time was 1.59.261, a difference of 0.222.

          Not sure how that affects the rest of the math, haven’t got time to check.

          1. Grrr, and now the chart is no longer accessible to non-journalists on the FIA site. But if Hamilton’s time was 1:59.261 on Lap 31, that makes the gap to Massa 5.912 (5.690 + 0.222) on that Lap not 6.058. This makes Massa’s loss on Lap 32 2.155 seconds instead of 2.009, still not the 2,5 seconds that Hughes claims and even without this loss Alonso still would not have overtaken Massa by several seconds.

            1. *would not have been overtaken by Massa

    25. Keith what I mean is that a lot of people are looking for a chance to have a go at Ferrari here they have one You may not have mean’t it but they just want an excuse. Im a big fan of your blog and I’m an avid reader it was nothing against you just against the comments that were being made thats all. No hard feelings yeah??

    26. lots of hot air from mark hughes.

      troll journalist.

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