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Ferrari fined $100,000 but result stands

My decision to let Alonso pass - Massa

My decision to let Alonso pass - Massa

by Richard Rae

Ferrari have been fined $100,000 after appearing to implement team orders during the German Prix.

The Italian team has also been referred to the sport's governing body, the FIA, after Felipe Massa slowed down to allow team-mate Fernando Alonso past to win.

However the result of the race, won by Alonso from Massa, is unaffected.

Ferrari will not contest the stewards' results but the team insisted the incident at Hockenheim was "a driver decision" made by Massa.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali said: "In the interests of the sport, we have decided not to go through a procedure of appealing against it, confident that the World Council will know how to evaluate the overall facts correctly."

Ferrari were given their penalty for breaking two sections of the F1 rules.

One is article 39.1 of the sporting regulations, which states that "team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited".

The other was article 151.c of the sporting code, which says "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition, or to the interests of motorsport generally" can be punished.

The fine is the maximum the stewards are allowed to impose.

Fernando Alonso passes Felipe Massa

Alonso passes Massa for German GP lead

However, former Ferrari world champion Jody Scheckter believed the penalty should not have been financial.

"The fine is not enough - maybe they should have been given a time penalty," said the South African.

BBC Radio 5 live commentator David Croft said: "The World Motorsport Council will meet and discuss it. Their penalties range from excluding Ferrari from a race through to suspending them from a number of races.

"The sport's reputation is under discussion again and the former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, now president of the FIA, has to ensure impartiality whatever their outcome."

Immediately following the race, Domenicali had suggested he did not think the instruction apparently issued by Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley would be an issue with the FIA.

Smedley's exact words to Massa were: "OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?"


Massa, who finished second behind race winner Alonso, did not reply, but a few seconds later slowed his car on the exit of Turn Six on lap 49, allowing Alonso to easily overtake.

Smedley then came back on the radio and said: "Good lad. Just stick with him now. Sorry." Then, at the end of the race the Englishman told Massa he had been "very, very, very magnanimous" in his actions.

However, Smedley subsequently suggested to BBC Sport he had not been apologising for ordering Massa to let Alonso past.

Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley

Ferrari radio talk was not team order - Smedley

He said: "I was pushing [Massa], because I was telling him that he's faster and he had to get on with it, and I was giving him the gaps, and you're always talking in 10ths of a second, and the apology is just because I'm sorry it's happened, I'm sorry he's got past, and there you go, but we're still in the pound seats, we're still in P2, so keep pushing and hopefully keep Sebastian [Vettel] behind you."

At the post-race news conference, Massa himself carefully avoided giving a specific explanation of the incident.

Asked whether it had been a driving error on his part that had enabled Alonso to pass, the Brazilian said: "He passed me. The only thing I feel is we're working for the team, and doing a very good job for the team, and that's the most important thing."

However he did say he felt he had deserved to win the race.

Stefano Domenicali

Domenicali dismisses complaints

"I think so. The start was just fantastic and also the pace on the soft tyres was really great and then I was struggling a little bit on the hard tyres, but anyway a very good race for us."

Croft, who conducted the post-race interviews said: "You could judge by Massa's and Alonso's reactions that all was not what it seemed and it was a hollow victory."

Later, talking to BBC Sport, Massa said it had been his decision to let Alonso through.

"For sure, we always need to think that we are working for the team, and we didn't have team orders in the race. I take my decision because I was struggling on the hard tyres."

Asked if Alonso had been faster, Massa replied: "I think everybody saw, no?"

Alonso - who when following Massa earlier in the race had told his team over the radio: "Guys, this is ridiculous" - also insisted there had been no team orders.

Luca Colajanni

'Massa's decision' say Ferrari

He said: "I was surprised when I saw Felipe had a problem, I thought it was a gear problem at the exit of turn six.

"At the end we are professional drivers, we work for Ferrari, they pay us, and we gave them 43 points today."

When asked if he felt embarrassed, he said: "What is important is the team result."

Michael Schumacher, who infamously benefited from Ferrari team orders when he overtook team-mate Rubens Barrichello metres before the finish line in Austria in 2002, said: "Hearing that Alonso won the race I was wondering what kind of strategy was that?

"I have been criticised in the past for exactly that and I have to say that I would do exactly the same if I was in their situation. At the end of the day, what are we here for? It's fighting for a championship and there is only one that can win it.

Michael Schumacher finished 9th at Hockenheim

Schumacher agrees '100%' with Ferrari outcome

"By the end of the year, if you think you would have lost the championship for exactly that point you will ask yourself, all the fans, the television, the journalists, why didn't you do so?

"If you go back to other years, other teams and other situations, in the last race there were clear team orders and everybody accepts those. Whether it's the last race, second last race or even earlier, what's the point?

"I can see that in the years when we did it, because we were leading so much, that people thought it was unnecessary and I can agree on that one in a way.

"But in principle I cannot. I agree with what's going on. You have to do it in a way that is nice and maybe not too obvious - make it a nice fight. But there's only one target, and that's winning the championship."

Meanwhile, Force India were reprimanded by stewards after mixing up their drivers' tyres during the race.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported after the race that the team had put one of Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi's rear super-soft tyres on Adrian Sutil's car along with three of the German's allocation of hard ones at the first pit stop.

Liuzzi was sent out with three super-soft tyres and one rear hard with both having to pit again for the correct tyres.

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see also
Alonso secures controversial win
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix as it happened
25 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix race results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
McLaren need more pace - Hamilton
25 Jul 10 |  Formula 1

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