What WILL happen to Ferrari and what SHOULD happen to Ferrari in light of the pantomime that was the German GP will almost certainly NOT be one and the same thing.
For many years the FIA was referred to behind closed doors as Ferrari’s International Assistant, but things have changed a great deal since Jean Todt left the Scuderia and went to assume his position as head of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile. As a result, anyone who expects Ferrari to be left off lightly when the World Motor Sport Council meets to discuss the issue next month will, you suspect, be sorely disappointed.
But what would you do if, somehow, you found yourself in the position of being able to punish Ferrari for its actions? Leaving aside the more vindictive desires you may have to see certain individuals suffer, what actions would you take?
Personally I’d strip the team of all the points it gained in Germany, abolish rule 39.1 and leave it at that. This would provide a substantial punishment for Ferrari for breaking the rules, it would get rid of a rule that has been a farce ever since it was written as a knee-jerk reaction to what happened at the Austrian GP in 2002, and it would also provide the clarity that both the teams and their fans require.
Whether you, as a team, then decide to carry on allowing your drivers to race, or whether you’d play a different game and choose to manipulate the results as and when you see fit for the good of the team, will be entirely up to the individuals within the teams themselves – all of whom will be acutely aware of how the public might react under the circumstances.
Blatant team game playing at the head of the field clearly does not go down well with the fans; but then neither, it seems, does drivers taking each other off as per the Red Bulls in Turkey. Of the two outcomes, though, Turkey was a lot more exciting to observe as a neutral, especially as Hamilton and Button were at it for a while as well.
It may be thoroughly naive to suggest as much, but surely wheel-to-wheel racing is what we all ultimately want to see in F1? This, after all, is what will sell F1’s various sponsors’ products most successfully to the rest of the world. How we end up in that situation is now just down to the teams, the drivers, the FIA and the World Motorsport Council. But without being saddled by rule 39.1, of course.