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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Thursday, 9 September 2010 17:52 UK

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso faces team orders grilling

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

Alonso focused on Monza GP

Fernando Alonso has tried to put the team orders controversy behind Ferrari after the FIA decided against further punishment for the Italian team.

"I think we were very concentrated on Monza already," said Alonso, referring to Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

"We're aware of the FIA's decision and we respect it, but that's the past."

Ferrari were fined £65,100 in July for using banned team orders when Felipe Massa allowed team-mate Alonso through at the German Grand Prix.

Fifth in the standings, 32 points ahead of Brazilian Massa going into Sunday's race, Alonso faced a barrage of questions about Wednesday's decision when the FIA announced it will review the rule banning team orders, but would not impose any further sanctions on Ferrari.

If team orders are allowed, I don't think a huge amount changes

Red Bull driver Mark Webber

"We've already talked too much over the August break about the German incident," added Alonso.

"But I'm happy to see that the FIA will try to go deep in the rules and try to clarify if there is anything that is not completely clear in the rules.

"We will all be more clear about everything."

Wednesday's decision could yet be critical to Ferrari's championship chances, with only six races left to run.

When asked if he won the title whether he would have done so fairly, Alonso immediately replied: "Yes."

Not enough evidence - Todt

Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who is second in the championship, three points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, forecast that the FIA would have a difficult job when it reviews the rule banning team orders.

"When you go through it deeply, it's not easy to make a strong stance on this. It wasn't an easy one for Ferrari because Felipe did not have that many points but maybe it was a bit early in the championship," stated Australian driver Webber.

"If in the future the team has to make a decision like Ferrari have then it's up to them.

"McLaren will do the same in the future, let me guarantee you that, if they need to. Ferrrari did that because Felipe had a tough start to the season and Fernando had some momentum behind him.

"If team orders are allowed, I don't think a huge amount changes. The teams will go to each venue with the same cars prepared and do everything they can to win the constructors' championships.


"If they see at any point in the championship you might want to swap positions, then that might happen.

"If you're in a position where you have to do that yourself, it's not ideal, but if you don't like it, go somewhere else. It's not ideal, but that's how it's been for the last 60 years in F1."

However Webber's boss Red Bull principal Christian Horner was less equivocal.

"If any team was in that situation... then a precedent has been set," commented Horner. The FIA published the full reasons for the decision on its website on Thursday.

The FIA made it clear that it believed Ferrari had used team orders, but it was decided not to punish them further because other teams had used them in the past and not been punished and that the issue was difficult to police.

The FIA said: "There were many examples of what could have been said to be team orders in Formula 1 in recent years, and therefore there has been inconsistency in its application.

"Also its application to indirect team orders via messages where drivers raise no complaints is uncertain and difficult to detect and police.

"The Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council accepted that this may well have influenced Ferrari's approach, and Ferrari also had a legitimate concern to avoid collisions between team mates in close on track racing."

McLaren's Jenson Button

Button against changing team orders rule

Ferrari's defence was that they had never issues a direct team order.

The FIA added: "In the view of Ferrari, Mr Felipe Massa was not ordered to allow Mr Fernando Alonso to pass; rather he was given relevant information, based on which he decided, for the benefit of the team, to allow Mr Fernando Alonso to pass.

"The relevant information was that Mr Fernando Alonso was faster than him, and that Mr Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was closing the gap on both of them.

"Mr Felipe Massa realised that the best interests of the team and the drivers' safety were going to be served by allowing Mr Fernando Alonso to pass, and acted accordingly.

"In the view of Ferrari, there is a clear distinction between 'team orders' on the one hand, and 'team strategy and tactics' on the other hand. The dispute communication should be considered as 'team strategy and tactics.'"

The report also revealed that Alonso's car was on an engine setting that gave more power than Massa's at the time the Brazilian was told his team-mate was faster than him.

Fernando Alonso passes Felipe Massa

Alonso passes Massa for German GP lead

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see also
Not enough evidence - Todt
09 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari escape further punishment
08 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
I am not a number two, says Massa
29 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari should be ashamed - Jordan
25 Jul 10 |  Formula 1

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