The World Motor Sport Council should throw the book at Ferrari

Posted on July 25, 2010

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Ferrari has been fined $100,000 and faces the wrath of the World Motor Sport Council after the German Grand Prix stewards found the Italian team broke the rules on team orders.

The moment Alonso was gifted victory in the German Grand Prix. Credit: BBC

In a move which sparked fury among many spectators and commentators, Ferrari ordered Felipe Massa, who dramatically seized the lead from 3rd on lap one, to let team mate Fernando Alonso passed on lap 48.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali, engineer Rob Smedley and both drivers appeared before the stewards after the race to explain events, which were publicly dismissed by the team as being completely within the rules.

It is this attitude which has done the most damage to Ferrari. The stewards can’t fine Ferrari more money simply because they are a large and wealthy team. Yes, $100,000 may be a drop in the ocean to them but imagine if Virgin Racing or Hispania were hit with such a fine? It might take them out of the sport altogether and the fine scale must be the same for the whole grid.

The WMSC has the opportunity to take further action and it should convene a meeting as soon as possible. If it is going to change the result of this race, that can’t wait because this season will be close and relentless to the end. It’s only fair on all the competitors for everyone to know what the state of play is in the championship.

Seeing Alonso say he didn’t know what happened in the press conference and to have Massa paraded before the cameras to say through gritted teeth the move was his idea was farcical. This attitude and the public denials should be taken into account by the WMSC who should take harsh measures on the team.

Several pundits say Ferrari has a case for wanting Alonso in front because he is much better placed in the championship. There is some merit to this. But this was not favouring one driver with strategy or new parts. This was taking a victory away from a driver who made a sensational start and was trading fastest laps throughout the race.

Formula One loses all of its credibility on days like this. In many ways this is a team sport and having a number one driver at any stage of the season is acceptable if that is what a team wants to do. But it is simply not ok for races to be manipulated like this. Massa should have won the race today and his performance deserved it.

FULL RESULTS

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 67 Winner 2 25
2 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 67 +4.1 secs 3 18
3 5 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 67 +5.1 secs 1 15
4 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 67 +26.8 secs 6 12
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 67 +29.4 secs 5 10
6 6 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 67 +43.6 secs 4 8
7 11 Robert Kubica Renault 66 +1 Lap 7 6
8 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 66 +1 Lap 9 4
9 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 66 +1 Lap 11 2
10 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 66 +1 Lap 13 1
11 23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 66 +1 Lap 12
12 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 66 +1 Lap 8
13 10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 66 +1 Lap 10
14 22 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 66 +1 Lap 14
15 17 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 66 +1 Lap 15
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 65 +2 Laps 21
17 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 65 +2 Laps 19
18 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 64 +3 Laps 23
19 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 63 +4 Laps 20
Ret 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 56 Accident damage 18
Ret 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 50 Suspension 24
Ret 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 19 Mechanical 22
Ret 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 3 Gearbox 17
Ret 16 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1 Accident damage 16
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