If you followed yesterday’s 2010 German Grand Prix, you’ll remember that Felipe Massa mysteriously (not really) slowed late in the race, allowing his teammate Fernando Alonso to take the lead and the eventual win. Although this type of teamwork has been going on since the first two-chariot entry at the Circus Maximus, team orders are technically no longer allowed in Formula 1. As if the on-track maneuver wasn’t obvious enough, the radio chatter between Rob Smedley and the drivers made it pretty clear what was going on. And that radio chatter is monitored, so it wasn’t surprising that soon after the race an inquiry began into Ferrari’s tactics.
Well, the official word has come that Ferrari has been fined $100,000 for breaking the Sporting Regulations during the German Grand Prix. The stewards have also referred the matter to the World Motor Sports Council, meaning the result of the race could be in jeopardy. But for now the results stand.
Massa, probably stung by the call to move aside, admitted after the race that he let Alonso past, but he said he did it on his own accord. Ummmm… okay. Ultimately the driver has the final decision, but if he wants to return to the driver’s seat next season he’ll usually want to heed the advice of his team boss.
The official statement tells us that the stewards found Ferrari guilty of breaking article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which forbids team orders that influence the outcome of the race. They also charged that Ferrari transgressed article 151c of the International Sporting Code, relating to bringing the sport into disrepute, the same section that McLaren was famously busted for back in 2007. Thanks to everyone for the tips.