Currently reading: Ferrari escapes further punishment
Italian team will not be punished further for the team orders scandal at the German GP

Ferrari has escaped further punishment for allegedly employing team orders at the German grand prix.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) met in Paris today to discuss whether Ferrari should face any further sanctions for appearing to order Felipe Massa to concede the lead of the race to Fernando Alonso.

The team was fined $100,000 in the immediate aftermath of the race and had expected to be punished further today.

Read more on the German GP controversy

But Angelo Sticchi Damiani, head of Italian motorsport federation the CSAI, told reporters outside the meeting that the WMSC had unanimously agreed not to impose any further sanctions on Ferrari.

Ferrari claimed Massa himself had decided to concede the lead, despite his engineer Rob Smedley informing him that Alonso was faster and if he understood what that message meant. Smedley later apologised to Massa when the Brazilian lost the lead.

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Peter Cavellini 10 September 2010

Re: Ferrari escapes further punishment

Jeese Dave!, you must have a lot of spare time to write sucha long, long piece of drivel like this to get your point over!, it done, over, we can't do anything about it, move on Dave!

david RS 9 September 2010

Re: Ferrari escapes further punishment

I just read some articles about that sordid affair.
Ferrari maked Massa pass for a "madman".
And when you think back also to the lightness of the FIA with Schumacher...
On the other hand, I'm against a lot of sanctions on race events.
Clashes on the track can happen. Otherwise make sewing. But, the really unsportsmanlike maneuvers should be punished.

How will they do now to keep Alonso in contention for the title?

Ban the radio, ban the pit stops, ban the telemetry.

Dave Ryan 9 September 2010

Re: Ferrari escapes further punishment

drivedrivedrive wrote:
So if, as D.C. says, ALL teams in the pit lane use team orders, we would have everyone punished , and we'd all be back to square one. Why do you think the isn't much comment about this coming from the teams themselves ?

Or is it only teams that don't do it cunningly enough that should be punished ?

At the risk of sounding somewhat draconian, I'd punish all of them frankly. To me it is a breach of sporting ethics to nurture the belief that it is fine to break regulations so long as you don't get caught, and quite an appalling example to set for younger drivers making their the lower ranks. As you allude to, the biggest problem is that punishing such use would put the teams in a very uncomfortable position, hence their reticence in raising the alarm when such violations occur.

drivedrivedrive wrote:
Sorry if you feel like that now. When exactly did you think teams started to be like this ?

For me it was prob a thin wedge starting with Sponsership ( 60's I think ).

Did you feel the same when Senna ran Prost off the road and vice versa for example ?

Pretty much - I believe to this day that both Senna and Prost should have been excluded from the championship for their actions in 1990 and 1989 respectively. Obviously others will disagree with that view, but I believe it was as fraudulent as Michael Schumacher's move at Jerez in 1997 and should have been punished accordingly. As for when teams started to act like this, I think you probably are right in highlighting the point at which financial returns became more significant than the kudos of racing in the top flight. By objective analysis F1 would be better described as an entertainment business than a true sport.

The Colonel wrote:
Dave, wasn't aimed at you per se, just the general argument, nevertheless, it wasn't a misleading construal at all, I just believe it's a ridiculous comparisson to make. And crass. And silly. As with the photograph.

As I said, though, the intention wasn't to make a direct comparison. The intention was to push the logical argument underpinning that claim to its breaking point to demonstrate its failings. There is a difference between making a direct comparison and making an argument from analogy, and that example was the latter. The photograph analogy was not so much crass or silly as irrelevant based on the points I made.

The Colonel wrote:
If that's the case, all transgressions would be punished

That data does exist and was in fact used by the FIA in deciding that Ferrari had actually used illegal team orders (as the official WMSC transcript states quite clearly). They were able to tell, for instance, that Alonso's engine had been turned up while Massa's was not. They were also able to determine that Massa had no legitimate reason for slowing down, indicating they could see nothing was wrong with the car. As I said, the problem is that when such orders are used people are not willing to speak up because as has been rightly pointed out nearly all the teams have used them at some point. That is why I view this as being a significant conflict of interest issue.

The Colonel wrote:
It's a knee jerk rule. It's a bad rule, because the policing of it is...curious, to say the least. You use "manipulation of results". Where does that start and end? For first and second? What about eleventh and tenth? There's a single point at stake, it could make a difference come November. Does it only matter when it's the first two are clearly out in front, or is it a seemingly innocuous pass that may have far wider implications for the race result, or even the World Championship, for another driver that wasn't one of the two team mates involved in the pass?

As I said above, I would move for all instances of such conduct to be punished. A relevant comparison would be with anti-doping regulations - if someone uses banned substances but either is not caught or finishes outside of the top positions anyway, does that make use of such substances legitimate in that context? You would struggle to find another sporting body which would adopt that policy. Maybe it would result in the majority of teams being punished for breaking the rules, but maybe that is what is needed to correct what is in my view quite an unhealthy attitude for the sport to have towards such issues. It's one which is out of step not only with other disciplines but also with other branches of motorsport (MotoGP, Le Mans, DTM to name but a few). The drivers are ultimately there to race to the best of their abilities, and team orders intrinsically hinder that. It may not be popular in certain quarters, but with respect popularity is never a reliable indicator of correctness.

I'm afraid I cannot agree that the fact that F1 involves teams and is viewed as being a "team sport" makes team orders a logical follow-up. Le Mans is much more of a case of a team sport and yet - as shown in this year's race - the cars were free to race each other and not expected to work towards helping one car take the spoils. Audi's junior team won this year, for example. Were team orders inherently required surely the lead squad's success would have been prioritised and the junior team not encouraged to race for the victory as it was from the outset? This is where for me the argument falls flat. F1's insistence on the need for team orders does not seem to have any hard logical basis outside of (in my opinion) deep-rooted self-interest. I have certainly yet to hear of a convincing argument for their retention.