The Prancing Horse is back on top in Formula 1 with it’s 1-2 victory at the 2010 German GP. This was Ferrari’s second 1-2 victory of the season after the same was achieved at the season-opening Bahrain GP. Fernando Alonso was the first Ferrari driver to cross the finish line ahead of team mate Felipe Massa but Alonso’s victory came with a bag of controversy.
Alonso’s victory was pretty much ‘handed’ over by Felipe Massa on Lap 48 after the Brazilian enjoyed a good start and was running in first. Nearing to Lap 48, Massa received a radio message from race engineer Rob Smedley indicating that Alonso, who was running in second, is faster than him. Subsequently at Turn 6 on Lap 48, Massa let Alonso through, a move that clearly sparked the return of the term “team orders”.
Furthermore, Smedley later said ‘sorry’ to Massa over the incident which clearly proved that team orders were employed. After the race and during the post-race press conference, Massa who currently trails Alonso by 38 points was clearly not happy about the situation, judging by his demeanor.
The controversial overtaking move didn’t go unnoticed by the FIA and the motorsport governing body later summoned Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, team manager Massimo Rivola and both the drivers and eventually slapped the Scuderia with a hefty US$100,000 fine. Furthermore, the matter will be referred to the World Motor Sport Council and the final results of the race may change, which means that there is a possibility for Ferrari to lose it’s 1-2 victory.
The body concluded that Ferrari breached Article 39.1 (the ban on team orders) and Article 151c (bringing the sport into disrepute). Team orders were very much apparent prior to 2003 especially with Ferrari. I can still remember the times when Rubens Barrichello (then racing for Ferrari) allowed Michael Schumacher through for victory. Remember the first ever Malaysian GP in 1999 when Michael Schumacher let Eddie Irvine trough to take the checkered flag? Team orders were also evident in McLaren, during the days of Mika Hakinnen and David Coulthard. Such acts were banned altogether in 2003.
Away from the controversy, third place went to pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel who pretty much lost the lead on the opening lap. The McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button settled for fourth and fifth places respectively followed by Red Bull’s Mark Webber. Renault’s Robert Kubica finished in seventh ahead of both the Mercedes drivers, which like previous events, was led by Nico Rosberg.
Tenth place went to Vitaly Petrov in the other Renault. It wasn’t a good day for Lotus Racing as both cars retired. Heikki Kovalainen retired due to an accident damage involving Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa after completing 56 laps. Teammate Jarno Trulli packed his bags earlier thanks to a gearbox-related issue. The Italian only completed three laps. Hamilton is still leading the Driver’s Championship with 157 points followed by teammate Button with 143. Vettel and Webber are in third and fourth places, both with 136 points each.
In the constructor’s standings McLaren is ahead with 300 points. Red Bull is second with 272 points ahead of Ferrari with 208 points. The next race will take place in Budapest for the Hungarian GP, which saw Felipe Massa suffer from a freak accident last year. You can view the full results here. You can also have your say on the team orders fiasco after the jump.