The row over Fernando Alonso’s penalty at Silverstone for overtaking Robert Kubica illegally and failing to give back the place has moved on a step.
Ferrari sporting director Massimo Rivola today released a minute by minute account of Ferrari’s actions during the period after the disputed overtake. He reveals that Ferrari was on the radio to FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting within 14 seconds of the incident.
Whiting said earlier this week in the Italian magazine Autosprint, “We told Ferrari three times that in my opinion they should give the position back to Kubica. We told them that immediately, right after the overtaking manoeuvre. On the radio, I suggested to them that if they exchange position again, there would be no need for the stewards to intervene.
“They didn’t do that, and on the third communication they said that Kubica was by then too far back to let him regain the position. It’s not true at all that the stewards took too long to decide. For us, the facts were clear immediately – Alonso had gained an advantage by cutting the track.”
However today in Gazzetta dello Sport, Rivola contests this view.
” We don’t want a polemic, but there are some things to be cleared up here because Ferrari made decisions with a certain logic. Rivola says that he was straight on to Whiting at 1-31pm after Alonso’s move, asking him to review the pass and saying that in Ferrari’s view there wasn’t room to pass Kubica on the track. Whiting asked for time to view the pictures of the pass.
At 1-33pm Ferrari called back, Alonso is now a lap and one sector further on and in pursuit of Rosberg, while Kubica is falling back. Whiting says that the stewards think that Alonso should give the place back. Rivola asks if that is a final decision. No, says Whiting but that’s how we see it. Meanhwile on track Kubica falls further back and Alonso passes Alguersuari.
At 1-33pm and 22 seconds Rival points out that Alonso now has Alguersuari between him and Kubica. While they are speaking Barrichello passes Kubica so there are now three places between Alonso and Kubica.
According to Rivola, Whiting says that he gave Ferrari the possibility of giving the place back and that as things are as they are the stewards will hear you after the race. 30 seconds later Kubica retires.
At 1-45pm the stewards investigation begins and at 1-46, just 55 seconds later, the stewards decide that Alonso should get a drive through penalty.
Ferrari are very angry that for two races in a row the stewards have not acted fairly, in their view. In Valencia Lewis Hamilton overtook the safety car but the punishment was so late in coming that it didn’t penalise him at all, meanwhile Ferrari lost a lot of ground by doing the right thing.
Ferrari’s website this week carried a story focussing on newspaper articles in Italy and Spain, which criticise the FIA stewards and race director for the amount of time key decisions are taking this season, describing it as “Formula Lullaby”. There is also the suggestion that whether and when punishments are handed out depends on who it is that is being punished. And that Ferrari is being singled out for some special treatment.
Meanwhile team principal Stefano Domenicali has said that despite the big loss of points in the last two races which would have kept them in contention, the world championship is still winable.
“Anyone who does not believe that we can win the world championship would do better looking for another job,” he told his team. “No one here is giving up: there are still nine races to go and anything can happen. We will have to do our job perfectly, that is to say the Ferrari way and then the results will come.”