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Ferrari hail end of 'hypocrisy' over team orders

Fernando Alonso passes Felipe Massa

Alonso passes Massa for German GP lead

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has welcomed the lifting of the ban on team orders in Formula 1 as the end of a "pointless hypocrisy".

Ferrari were fined for team orders this year but not penalised further because previous incidents had gone unpunished.

The rule was removed by governing body the FIA at a meeting on Friday.

"Finally, we have said goodbye to this pointless hypocrisy," Domenicali said. "For us, F1 has always been a team sport. It should be treated as such."

Although the FIA removed the clause in the rules banning team orders - which are when a team tells one of their drivers to cede position to another - it left in place a key related piece of legislation. This is article 151.c, which refers to bringing the sport into disrepute.

It warns against "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition, or to the interests of motorsport generally".

We know that in 2011 we will have to start off immediately with a car capable of winning, so that we are not always having to catch up, as was the case this year

Stefano Domenicali
Ferrari team principal

Domenicali said: "The regulations already include points that prevent certain situations being managed in an extreme manner. The decision taken is very important."

This article formed part of the charges against Ferrari following their coded request to Felipe Massa at the German Grand Prix to let team-mate Fernando Alonso through into the lead.

The team were fined $100,000 by race stewards, who referred the matter to the world council for further consideration.

The FIA decided not to punish Ferrari further because it could not prove team orders had been used, Massa insisted the move had been his decision, and there had been other incidents involving other teams in recent years that had not been penalised.

Ferrari wanted Massa to let Alonso by to maximise the Spaniard's chance of winning the championship.

Alonso eventually went into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi leading the standings but lost out after a catastrophic strategic decision by his engineers meant he could finish only seventh.

Fernando Alonso, Stefano Domenicali and Felipe Massa on the podium after the German Grand Prix
Ferrari's actions at the German Grand Prix caused controversy

That allowed Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel to win the race and beat the Ferrari driver by four points.

Ferrari have said they will make some changes to their operational management at races in an attempt to stop such an incident happening again.

But Domenicali, talking at the Bologna Motor Show, would not be drawn on what those would be.

"We will make adjustments, but they will only be revealed at the right moment," he said.

"From a technical point of view, we must try not to repeat the mistakes which occasionally led us to take a step backwards rather than forwards.

"In order to succeed, we are working with alacrity and without let-up.

"Next season will be very long and we cannot allow ourselves not to make the most of our potential at every race.

"In 2010, especially in the early stages, we missed opportunities to pick up valuable points and we paid heavily for that at the final reckoning."


Discussing Ferrari's new car, Domenicali said: "When our technical director, Aldo Costa, spoke of extreme design, he wanted to spur all our engineers to push on the theme of innovation which, in Formula 1, means exploring all areas right up to the limits set by the regulations and I also hope that will be the case.

"It is a difficult challenge, because we operate in a very competitive environment: we know that in 2011 we will have to start off immediately with a car capable of winning, so that we are not always having to catch up, as was the case this year."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo added: "We are well aware of what we must now do in preparation for next year.

"Immediately, from the very first race, we have to have a car capable of winning: these are critical weeks, in which so much is in the balance and so it needs determination, creativity, a desire to innovate, for everyone to improve in their own jobs so that they set their own personal pole positions."

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see also
F1 chiefs drop ban on team orders
10 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Saturday's F1 gossip column
11 Dec 10 |  Formula 1

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