Ferrari is back on the top of the F1 podium again, but the 1-2 finish led by Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim has attracted plenty of flak for “team orders”, which is banned. Indeed, the Scuderia was slapped with a $100,000 fine and the case is being referred to the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC). After the race, team boss Stefano Domenicali faced a press pack full of questions.
When asked to explain why this situation wasn’t illegal team orders, Domenicali said: “I don’t know if I have to explain to you what are team orders. What I can say from my side is that if you are referring to the situation we have in mind, we gave an information to Felipe about what was the situation.
“Because we have already seen in the past that certain situations could not give the best result to the team. That was the information we wanted to give and we leave the drivers to understand and take notice of it in order to make sure the team, in terms of the global results, gets the best.”
The hacks pressed on, asking the chief if yesterday’s situation was any different from Austria 2002, where Rubens Barrichello was infamously ordered to let Schumacher pass and go on to win the race. “Honestly, I don’t know. What we said to him today was an information about the situation behind. That is what we said today,” he replied.
But didn’t Massa’s engineer Rob Smedley apologise to him? “It was not an apology this way. You have to consider the fact, and you can check with his communication on the radio several times in the past, that Rob Smedley’s is correctly in a very good conjunction with Felipe. This is the key of their success. He gave the information to Felipe and he saw what happened and he was not happy about the situation of the car that was not so fast – sorry – was slower than the other one,” was the reply given.
What do you think of this incident? Was Ferrari wrong in giving Alonso, who has a better chance of challenging for the title than Massa, a shot at the main prize?