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What will be Ferrari’s fate today in Team Orders hearing?
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What will be Ferrari’s fate today in Team Orders hearing?
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Sep 2010   |  7:33 am GMT  |  242 comments

Today is a big day for Ferrari as they will appear before the World Motor Sort Council to answer charges relating to violation of the rules regarding team orders in F1.

This relates to an incident at the German Grand Prix in July, where Felipe Massa allowed Fernando Alonso through to win the race after receiving the message from his race engineer, “Fernando is faster than you”.

In Germany the race stewards examined the matter and were satisfied that a team order had been used, which violates Article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations. The team was fined $100,000 and referred to the World Motor Sports Council. They will also face an enquiry into whether their conduct violates Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, by bringing the sport into disrepute. If found guilty of that, they could face a serious fine, as McLaren did in 2007 and Ferrari did in 2002 over the original team orders scandal in Austria.

Although the stewards were satisfied that Massa was ordered to move over, the WMSC will be challenged by Ferrari to prove that the content of the radio transmission that day was a direct order. Race engineer Rob Smedley, who delivered the messages to Massa, has been called to give evidence. He will be asked whether he was instructed to get his driver to move over and why he said “Sorry” if there was not some kind of instruction to yield.

Ferrari’s defence is that the decision to move was Massa’s alone, having been told simply that his team mate was faster. It could just as easily be construed as a hurry-up to the driver, even though millions of F1 fans around the world understood exactly what it meant. I understand that they may be able to point to an incident in Melbourne this year where Massa was also given the “Fernando is faster than you” message but ignored it.

The Ferrari lawyers will also no doubt look at what other teams have done, such as McLaren’s famous “fuel saving” instructions to its drivers in the closing stages of the Turkish GP and other races. Let’s face it, there have been hundreds of team orders in the years since 2002.

And for the sake of consistency I would like to know why this German GP incident is such a big deal when Ferrari has twice used team orders which directly – and very publicly – affected the outcome of the world championship, in 2007. Massa let Raikkonen through to win the race and that gave him the championship. Not a single fan or commentator or rival team had a problem with that, but it was just as much a team order as the German GP. The difference is that everyone accepts it in the last race, they don’t accept it at the 11th round of 19.

So let’s be grown up about this. The rule which says “No team orders” is ridiculous and unworkable and we need a sensible, workable alternative to come out of today’s hearing.

For FIA president Jean Todt today is really his first political flash point since taking the reins earlier this year. If Ferrari get off with a light punishment, everyone will say it’s because he was biased given his long association with the team. If they get punished, then everyone will say it’s because he left Ferrari on bad terms with its president Luca di Montezemolo and wants to get even. Whatever the outcome, he is compromised by the fact that Massa is managed by his son Nicolas. So he cannot win today and has stepped right back from the process, handing it to his deputy Graham Stoker.

The smart money is on a larger fine and possibly loss of some constructors’ points. Any other outcome could itself interfere with the championship fight. If Alonso loses his 25 points for the win, he will go to Monza 66 points behind the championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Although not insurmountable, this would almost certainly wreck his chances of fighting for the championship.

There is a whole other back story here to do with the threat posed to FIA and FOM by Ferrari president Montezemolo, potentially lining up some kind of takeover of F1 when the Concorde Agreement expires in two years time. Montezemolo is one of few figures in the sport who could get together the financing to buy CVC’s stake in the F1 commercial rights holder.

Montezemolo and Todt met earlier this summer in Paris and there is a lot going on behind the scenes as the various parties line up their power bases and prepare for one of the most important negotiations since the early 1980s. Will that spill over into today’s case? We will know more when we see the judgement.

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Fully agree with be you, James. We all should be grown up about this.

In my opinion, the only problem in Hockenheim, that makes this situation somehow different to the "fuel saving" instructions, is the way the orders were issued by Rob Smedley, who seemed to want the whole world to know that his "babe" (as hi has called Felipe through the team radio) was yielding to Fernando.

Probably, Fernando's public image and the fact the he is not especially goof at PR are not helping Ferrari on its defence strategy.

I would put my money on the WMSC to give Ferrari a serious fine (some million euro) and keep the race results unchanged, and a new wording for the rule, making it more realistic or, at least, possible to police.


exactly but a point id like to make is that the rule has to be 100per cent clear if it is changed. its not like if i shoot 2 people but cover i up better than the other does that make it ok. also people say its allright if the other driver is out of contention. does that mean if i shoot someone who has days to live does that mean its ok. the rule is rediculous. ferrari have done no difference to what mclaren did in 08 except there was no radio made public then


What Ferrari did was different to what McLaren did in 08, because Lewis and Kovi were on different fuel strategies at the time so weren't exactly racing each other. When Ferrari did in 08 when Kimi gave a position to Massa was also done differently because then Ferrari had the good grace to appear to mess up a pit stop dropping Kimi back a couple of seconds allowing Massa to pass.

The thing is what Ferrari did was out in the open and blatant, by your standards you are suggesting that if you shoot someone and get away with it then i should be able to shoot someone and when caught point to the fact that you got away with it and be let off....

As for changing the rules personally I think team orders should be allowed, but that they should be written into drivers contracts and the conditions should be made public. I also think that team orders should be given by the team boss or a nominated other (NOT the drivers engineer) and they should be clearly communicated as team orders, after all F1 is a team sport and I don't see why teams shouldn't be able to organise themselves as they see fit in this regard... just as long as its open and above board.


James I completely agree with you, thats why I think the regulation should be scrapped.

As I have suggested previously I think that the FIA should allow the teams to give whatever team orders they wish at any point in the season they wish. I just think that it should all be done above board and in the open.

Allow the teams and drivers to negotiate the contracts that they are both comfortable with, and have them include the teams conditions for imposing team orders.

If Ferrari want to have a number 1 and no 2 driver (who will always support his team mate) then thats fine, but they will have to get a driver to agree to that (which I am sure there are any number of drivers who would take that deal and look at it as a stepping stone).

If other teams wish to be completely impartial (maybe to have 2 world champions drive for them ala McLaren this season) then they can do that and I am sure both drivers will have their contracts written up that there will be no team orders whilst it is mathematically possible to win the WDC, and that both drivers will have access to the same parts e.t.c. Then that will be their deal.

It may take a bit of maths and some interesting contract negotiations but all sorts of deals could be written that cover all sorts of different eventualities, and as long as these conditions are made known to the fans I doubt many fans would have a problem with them.

The only thing I would ask is that if teams are allowed to give team orders that they come from a designated person on the pit wall and that they are relayed as team orders so we don't have to listen to a team engineers heart breaking the way Rob's did in Germany.

As for the farce of a decision raised today.... well this time its the WMSC who are dragging the sport through the mud its just a shame they couldn't be held in contempt of the regulations for not holding Ferrari to account to them.


The point is the rule is terrible rule for f1. The rule is interfering with a race result. So mclaren are ferraris situation is no different. I'm not saying what mclaren were wrong two years ago but I am saying that I have no problem with whatever the team decides to do with there cars. Ferrari didn't do anything wrong either


The point is that a "one size fits all" rule like this doesn't work in F1


The VERY BIG difference between the two is that with the 'fuel saving' orders, Hamilton and Button had faught fair and square on the track and then were essentially told to keep it as it was. Massa and Alonso had faught fair and square with Massa defending his position but then Ferrari issued there 'Alonso is faster' order and reversed the on track position. Blatently. Probably to stop Alonso from throwing his dummy out the cockpit.


So, it is OK a team order saying "do not try to overtake your mate", but it is not fair a team order saying "do not try to stop your team mate to pass you". In other words, it is fair to give just one kind of orders, i.e., "keep it as it is, do not try to fight any more". Is this correct?

I have read many comments supporting the same opinion, I mean, it is OK to give orders just to keep the positions as they are (like the ones that apparently gave McLaren in Turkey with the "fuel saving" code), but it is not to give the "Fernado is faster" one. At the end of the day, in both cases we have a team decission that has somehow modified the outcome of the race, just preventing team mates to crash into each other.

But it seems that McLaren's orders were OK and Ferrari's were a terrible offense to the sport's reputation. I do not agree with this point of view.

Maybe double standards? The last sentence on your comment makes me think that you do not like too much Alonso... 🙁


The "fuel saving" order didn't change the position of the cars on the track, it only maintained the positions.

There is no guarantee that Button could have passed Hamilton. There is also no way for us to confirm whether or not there was a fuel issue...

With Ferrari, they instructed a driver to pull over and let his teammate through to take the position. It was blatant and it was contrary to the rules.

I have seen in several races this year, drivers ordered to conserve fuel when they have been following drivers from other teams. I have seen other times when drivers have been instructed to fall back for other "management" situations - temperatures, tyres etc.

My biggest problem with the Ferrari order was the fact that I could see the situation coming from before the first pit-stop and was actually surprised they didn't manipulate the stop to allow Alonso past. He was already whining about being behind and it seemed a matter of time before he got his way. The way Massa's tyres performed out of the pits, I thought they had stiffed him on those, but he got them up to temperature and got on with the racing.

Massa deserved every opportunity from his team to go for the win and to get the best result he could. Alonso also deserved the opportunity to show his talent and put as much pressure as he could on the track and earn the win.

The viewing public also deserved to watch a real competition that was played fairly, vigorously and within the rules. The betting public deserved to be able to bet on a race knowing that each driver has an equal opportunity to win based on their skill, car performance and luck.


It is acceptable and legal for teams to manage their cars so they can finish the race... which includes fuel saving (a mode which all drivers have to use during the race as no car starts with enough fuel in the tank to finish the race going flat out the entire race).

Just in case you forgot or weren't paying attention Jenson and Lewis did race each other and overtake each other in Turkey....

The problem with what happened in Hockenheim is that Ferrari changed the finishing order of their drivers by giving team orders that told Massa to slow down and let Alonso past, I will admit they didn't word them in such a direct manner but there was no disguising what they did or how they did it. They showed a complete contempt for the regs and the fans... and in doing so breached another reg about bringing the sport into disrepute.


Totally agree with you Graham.

Ferrari & Alonso needs further punishment.


More likely to prevent Massa's desperation to stay ahead of Alonso from taking them both off the track!

Didn't you see his earlier attempts at defending his position? He was locking wheels at every corner and was clearly pushing himself to 110% of his capability. I believe that is what Alonso was referring to when he said it was ridiculous.

Alonso on the other hand was driving well within his capability but would have had to take a huge risk in order to have gotten past Massa. If they had hit each other then it would have been a disaster for the team and drivers. Massa shouldn't have needed to be told that Fernando was faster, it was clear for all to see! Massa and Smedley should take 80% of the blame for this with Ferrari taking the other 20%. Alonso did nothing wrong at all and I have not heard a single radio transmission to suggest that he asked the team to move Massa over or that the team told him that they were going to ask him to move over. All he did was drive past Massa as he exited a corner slowly.

It amuses me how people can criticise Ferrari for being "too obvious" with their team orders/strategy. These people clearly prefer to have the wool pulled over their eyes by other teams while pretending that team orders don't exist! Personally I refuse to use ignorance as an excuse never mind a preference!

If Ferrari are punished today then F1 will have lost a fan of some 30 years because I will stop watching it for the rest of this season at least. I suspect I won't be alone in this sentiment!


I also could not agree with you more, but the fact stands. What they did is currently against the rules and therefore they should be punished accordingly.

To give an example, I recently got stopped by the feds for using my mobile whilst driving, I think the law is stupid and a lot of people agree with me but the law is the law and untill it changes it has to be upheld.


Fernando did say something when both, he and Massa, where passing a backmaker, Alonso tried a pass, but Massa defended his line, this is when Alonso said on the radio: "This is ridiculous"... from that point on, then all of this started... Massa should have known better than he was slow... after the race.. he said he drives for his team.. I don't think so.


If Ferrari do not get punished they will lose a fan... goes both ways.

The problem with the rule as it is currently written is that it does not reflect the spirit of fair play *and* team management. However, it is a rule that teams agreed to abide by.

Saying that other teams do it so what's wrong with getting caught like ferrari did, is like saying some football players simulate fouls and don't get caught, so why punish the ones that do it badly and get caught at it?

For the good of the sport ferrari should accept a monetary penalty (at last as much as the last time they did it), and lose the constructor points, in return FIA should agree to work with the teams to rewrite the team order rule to reflect the fact that fans want fair play and teams want to maximize points at their discretion.

Hopefully the rule can be amended to make it work... supposedly there are some big brains working at FIA and the team management 😉


Massa struggled to get his hard tyres upto temp and was a bit messy.... but that was a couple of dozen laps earlier... by the time the order was given Massa was fully back in control of his car.

Not sure what you mean it was clear that Alonso was faster.... maybe you were playing on your xbox or something because in the race the speed difference between the 2 was negligible and easily explained by looking at how the pair where encountering traffic. Oh and I remember hearing Alonso complaining on the radio, but it was a dozen or so laps before the infamous message Rob gave to Massa, a message that sounded like it was a FINAL warning.

Personally when it comes to team orders I want them out in the open, teams should be able to order their drivers as they see fit (within the agreed upon drivers contracts). The issue was that at the time that this team order was given there was a regulation making such interference by the team illegal.

I am sure that there will be many more people who will threaten to (and maybe will) stop watching F1 if Ferrari don't get punished.


Can't agree more with you.


I cannot agree with the tone of your article, James, that because other people do it it is all right. It was a disgrace. Alonso was NOT faster and had done nothing to deserve the win and then treated the press and the fans like idiots after the race. Ferrari might have been basking in one of the best news stories of the year if Massa had've scored a victory one year to the day since his near fatal accident; instead it is this debacle.


"..alonso was NOT faster.." come on! did you watched the race with live timing? because if you did.. you dont dont know what faster means...

alonso was a lot faster than massa.. to the point he let a 3 second gap to massa and recovered in less than 10 laps...

of course he was faster and had been all season.


You are aware of traffic, and what that means.... Alonso had previously caught Massa up just as quickly in traffic and once they were both out of it Massa had pulled away to re-establish that 3 second margin.


"Alonso was NOT faster..."

I assume you're joking. If not, please explain how came he closed on a three seconds gap then.

Alonso has been consistently faster than Massa all season.

And I have to say that, despite being an Alonso's fan, I would have preferred Massa to win this time. I don't consider a win to be a true win when is handed over. I rather prefer Alonso losing than winning like this.

As he himself says in the ad: "It is not the fact that you win, it is the way you win."

I would sign that.


As a Massa fan, I'd agree that Alonso has been faster all season.

But he has not been reliable, and that is just as important as being fast - if not more so.

Sometimes qualifying before massa, sometimes having bad starts, sometimes crashing. Overall, too many DNFs and low points for someone as fast as him.

Being fast is good - but if you can't turn it into a good result then it's useless.


Well, until now, Alonso has been a few points more reliable that Massa. Even if we take into account that race and Massa had finished ahead of Alonso.


As Nando has pointed out the slight yo-yoing between Massa and Alonso can quite easily put down to the traffic. F1fanatic published the lap times and split sectors and its quite obvious that the 2 Ferrari drivers were matching each other pretty well....

As for Alonso being faster 'all season' so what? F1 isn't about being the 'fastest' its about being the best racer and finishing on the top step of the podium on the Sunday... whether you were 'quickest' or not. On that score Massa was 'better' than Alonso... well until the team decided to interfere.


You're right to some extend but let me clarify that I only pointed to the fact that Alonso has been faster all season, meaning that it is not difficult to believe he was faster on this occasion. I only mentioned this as a fact, not meaning he deserved to win the race.


why couldnt he overtake?


I am not an expert but as far as I can understand in F1 one it is not enough to be faster to overtake, you need to be faster by so many km/h because to overtake there are some limitations like: only one line to be take at the corners, aerodynamics,... So it is not enough that you are, let's say, 5 km/h faster. Very often you see faster drivers who are held behind slow ones for laps and laps. It depends on the circuit as well.


Alonso closed the gap because Massa get caught in traffic, which then moved aside for Alonso was they were aware the other leaders were coming through.


I had the impression that Alonso allowed Massa 3 seconds to show Ferrari he was able to close the gap. And I think I'm not alone. If I'm not wrong James suggested something like that before.


Alonso was not faster than Massa?


I agree with James. Ferrari are desperate to win the F1 title so the guy with the best chance to do that should get all the help he needs.

It is disappointing for Massa fans that he had to give up the victory but over the last 50 years it is not the only example where a team mate has had to help in this way.


surely you mean that Alonso should get all the help he can WITHIN THE REGULATIONS?

Or do you think that Ferrari should be able to breach any regulation they want, and as blatantly as they want in order for Alonso to win?


I cannot agree with your tone to be honest. The rules are weak and unworkable. There was no order given, to let Alonso by. The fact that this move was already considered worthy for a fine is a disgrace. Even the podium ceremony was correct, not like in Austria, 2002.

Since there are two cars racing for one team, there is no way to get around team orders. They will always find a way to tweak results if needed. There are other sports to follow, if you dont like it.

Of course it was nice to see Massa leading the field one year after his accident, sadly he decided to "drive safely" to the end. I would say "sorry" too for lost victory, it was polite and and...

I think we can all understand what these radio conversations really meant, but is it justice to punsh them "by feel",considering seriously indirect evidence? In the end, which one is worse, a prank made by Ferrari or a trick made by WMSC?

Hoping for sensible solution...


Massa drove of the track at the first corner on the first lap to steel the lead. If he hadn't Alonso would have taken the lead. Massa should have got a drive thruogh for it. Then where would he have finished? Just because everybody eles is driving of the track on the first lap doesn't make it "all right". Alonso got around the first corner first, that's something he done "to deserve the win". Where's your come back?


Pause the video at 29-31.

Then realise that you have a sight problem if you still feel confused.


Watch Alonso's onboard start. All will be clear. You're English as well. You can just tell. Still can't get over losing the Empire.


Massa drove off the track???????????????

He had already passed Alonso by the time he went off, Have a proper look,

maybe with some glasses this time.


The speed he caried to get passed was to much to stay within the track. Yes he was passed Alonso but only because of his speed. I burn every race onto DVD and always watch the start with the onboard camera mode on the red button. Ive seen every race since Spa 97. So don't call me on this. Your not qualified. That's not the fist race I watched it's just the first I can remember in an unbroken line. Good bye Terry, hope to see you at Spa next year.


If he had've got around the first corner first, he would have been in front.


Alonso was the first driver to get around the the first corner first and stayed on track. Massa went of track to gain first. Meaning he didn't get around the fist corner at all. Come backs that are just words aren't come backs. Your IQ must be 100 at most. Can't see past the English press. How did I know you are English? It's a shame Jenson isn't as fast as Lewis. If you know what I mean?


I too disagree with the essence of what you are saying James. Regardless of who did what in the past or how flawed the rule is these are the facts: Ferrari broke the rules. It may be that the punishment they already received is sufficient but I take extreme exception to the attitude of commentators and pundits in general that basically tell the viewing public to effectively ‘grow up’ and understand F1. If a new fan sees a rule being broken he/she expects a punishment to be delivered. It is not his/her responsibility to understand 20 years of F1 history and all the mitigating factors that surround such a transgression. Maybe if F1 didn't change the rules and regulations every five minutes, season to season, things would be much simpler all round. This is another fact: the result of this year’s German GP was fixed. Why on earth would F1 spend so much time tinkering with the rules to improve overtaking and then permit teams to deprive the fans of a battle to the line by allowing teams to decide who should and shouldn’t win the race form the pit wall? If Alonso wanted to win the race he needed to be able to overtake Massa on the track, entertain the fans and earn that victory. This goes for every other example of race fixing you’d care you throw at us. F1 is an incredibly arrogant sport, with CVC’s debt being the number 1 priority (all hail the debt!), teams business models being number 2 and the fans wishes a distant third. Heaven only knows why I enjoy it so much!


I completely agree with BiggusJimmus, it is for this utter disregard for the fans of this sport that I have little time or respect for Ferrari. Their whole attitude after the race was a disgrace.

I'm not saying other teams don't give team orders and I believe its their right to decide which driver should win based on their chances of bringing home the championship after all that’s what delivers the cash from the sponsors, but at least do it with some thought to the millions of fans watching.

I have no time at all for Ferrari but I would have loved to have seen Massa win the GP based on what had happened 12 months previously but as usual Ferrari robbed the F1 world of truly great moment.

I for one hope they throw the book at them, but we all know they will get a slap on the wrist and that will be the end of it.


Yup, the whole atttiude after the race was a disgrace!


I agree with you, this was a disgrace for many reasons - Alonso wasn't faster than Massa in any definitive way (and even if he was so what... they were both racing for the win). Both drivers were still in good contention for for the WDC at the time these orders were given. The timing of it when Massa's accident in Hungary was taken into consideration was atrocious (which I think upset many fans). It was blatantly clear that Rob was giving an instruction, his deadpan voice the asking for confirmation that Massa understood and his radio messages afterwards and at the end of the race all make it clear that it wasn't Massa or Rob's choice to let Alonso past.

Ferrari broke the regs and they brought the sport into disrepute and for both of those they should be punished... The fact the reg regarding team orders is unworkable in reality is neither here nor there as the reg stands and is on the rule book. The fact that other teams have gotten away with it is neither here nor there (am I allowed to rob banks and get away with because others have?). The media and fan reaction to the events of Hockenheim are a clear indication of the disrepute Ferrari brought to F1 with its actions.

What should be done about reg 39.1 is a different issue, it has nothing to do with this case... because teams race to the regulations in existence and not to what they want them to be or think they should be!


Very well said!


P.S. The decision should also be made on the facts, and should not consider what it might or might not do to the standings in the WDC. If Alonso loosing those points drops him out of contention then so what? He shouldn't have had the points for a win in the 1st place...


Very well said.


I agree.

Although it seems inconsistent, there is a HUGE difference between a driver moving aside in the last race because he has no chance of winning the championship and wants to help his team mate achieve, and being told to move over to satisfy his team mate's tantrums.

There were other ways Ferrari could have achieved their goal, as other teams have used, without being so obvious. Fans would have known what they were doing and grumbled, but there wouldn't have been this outcry.


what is the difference could you tell me.the rule is if a team interferes with a result involving teams orders. so it doesnt matter if its at the first or the last race if its broken its broken. it is a terrible rule and has no place in f1. ferrari has there to win 2 titles at the end of the day it should be up to ferrari to do whatever they like with there own cars.


but the regs as they currently stand (regs that Ferrari have agreed to) state otherwise.


Its got to be a a more serious punishment. The FIA wouldn't have called this if they weren't happy with the level of punishment metered out by the stewards.

I suppose that taking away the points would be the best solution to the situation they created as it will completely negate their actions.

Perhaps for the future a review of this rule might be a good idea though as this is something that will always happen in a team sport, especially toward the end of the season.


The difference between Brazil 2007 and Germany 2010 is that one person wasn't in the running for the championship, and the other was.

How many people after Germany 2010 went away feeling they had been cheated? The whole pitlane was like a morgue.

Is that the way you want races to end? In that case you might as well get Ferrari to spit in the faces of every single fan watching - it has the same emotional content.

THAT is no way to run a sport. Just because team orders are hard to enforce and a bit awkward doesn't mean they should be allowed. That's a very weak response.


Suggesting that team orders are OK in certain situation and wrong in other is ridiculous. That's not what the rulebook says. It clearly prevents use of team orders that interfere with race results whether the race is crucial for WDC or not.

Both Alonso & Kimi unfairly got the advantage via use of team orders & both should be punished


Isn't the obvious solution to only allow one car per team?

That's probably anathema to people who've been following F1 since forever. I speak as someone who's only just started following F1 again after a long break: a free, fair, non-manipulated race is mandatory.


Actually, another alternative is to do away with the Drivers Championship. If F1 is a team sport then only have a Team Championship. Then it doesn't matter who wins each race.


I wouldn't mind this solution at all. But I feel many fans would which is why I doubt it would ever happen.


I'm absolutely behind the team orders - they exist one way or another. Alonso is more valuable to the team ? Then he's put in the front. Actually, I still believe that Kimi was meant to be his teammate, but Massa got injured, so that's why he stayed. Next season - Massa will be at Renault, swapping with Kubica, IMHO. No race results change, just some more fines for Scuderia today, otherwise many, many results have to be altered post-race, right ? Let's not be a hypocritical, those things happen all the time.


your joking right. incase you were hibernating kubica and massa have both signed new 2 year deals with there teams but i suspect there only 1 year deals with options


You're making a huge assumption James stating that not a single fan was bothered about the team order that gave Raikkonen his championship. I was bothered about it. I have commented on it to my frineds and colleagues on numerous occasions since. You do not speak for all fans James and you should take more care with your comments in future. For most fans F1 is primarily about drivers fighting it out on track. For the argument that F1 is a team sport to stand up then the drivers championship must be scrapped. This would be bad.


You're probably also a McLaren fan, and would be much more content to remain silent had the roles been reversed. This whole idea that the McLaren fans have developed, their team doing no wrong, is baffling.


Wow, people love making assumptions. Do I now assume you are a Ferrari fan Eric?

No, I am not particularly a McLaren fan. My loyalties are with drivers, not whichever team they happen to be driving for in a particular year.

One thing is for sure though, I don't particularly like Ferrari, the way they go racing or the elitist attitudes and treatment that surrounds the team.


Okay, so you're not a McLaren fan. Fine, sorry.

Instead, you're simply angry about a normal occurence that has existed since the sport began. This happens every season, from every team, and has probably at some point involved a driver you support. Why do you even watch motorsport, then? Let's see, the WRC? Nope, heaps of team orders every rally. WTCC? Ermm, nope, orders being tossed around like candy at a parade. This type of thing happens at virtually every level of professional motor sport. Some fans have learned to accept it. If you can't, then why do you continue to watch?


Fair enough, but you've not been a very vocal constituency to date!


It really is an interesting situation and an intriguing problem. I especially like the reference to the "bringing the sport into disrepute" clause. There is undoubtedly a lot going on behind secretly the scenes, but it's hard to see how the WMSC can let such a shameful act slide with a light slap on the hand without having the council itself bring the sport into further disrepute.


James what about the matter of the Ferrari team and drivers lying to the stewards? You have not commented on this, it certainly was a BIG issue for McLaren in Australia last year.

I agree about the rule being reworked, but right now the rule is what it is and if F1 takes the sand of not applying the rules because it suits some political ongoings it opens up a hornets nest of back door manipulation! I think we have had enough of that personally.

What we need is an F1 with clear rules and consistent application.


This is the bigger issue, if they're found guilty of team orders then the punishment should be a larger fine and possibly deduction of constructor points.

However since being guilty of team orders would mean the drivers have lied to the stewards then both drivers should lose points on that basis.


James, in one of your articles earlier this year you told that all the teams save fuel on the closing stages of any race. And the battle between two McLarens in Turkey showed us that there was no team order at all.

In 2007 McLaren was punished heavily by the matter that most of the fans had not understand. The most was not even care about it. The situation in Germany was 180 degrees different - every fan on the Earth saw and heard how Massa was forced to let Fernando pass him. That was absolutely clear that the decision had been taken in the boxes not in the cockpit. Just put together Kimi's reaction after Chineese GP 2008 and Massa's after this years German GP.

Ferrari should be punished with losing all the points from Germany both drivers and teams. Taking points only from the team is ridiculous because the drivers standing was compromised not the teams.


Whether the team orders rule is right, wrong or un-workable the fact is it’s a current rule, which was clearly and visibly broken. I for one lost out big time because of it. Once every year or two I have a big punt on a F1 race. Never won one yet, but it’s a kind of treat I save up for over a couple of seasons until I get that lucky feeling! The nearest I ever came to winning was many years ago when I had £700 at 33-1on Barrichello to win the Brazilian GP in his Stewart – bet no one remembers that like I do! He led for many laps before breaking down with 15-20 laps to go. That’s life and that was the gamble, thwarted by mechanical failure.

Well this year I had a punt on Massa to win on an on-line exchange. £100 at 35-1. Part of my thought process was the fact that at this stage of the championship with everything to play for the possibility of Massa having to support Alfonso was none existent and the team orders rule would make that almost impossible.

There will be thousands of people like me who were cheated not only out of a fair result but also out hard cash. They broke a rule and manipulated the result for a gain. In many respects this is little different to the current Pakistan cricket scandal. Ok, that was a set of individuals fixing aspects of a match specifically for their financial gain, but the end result is the same in that they cheated to manipulate a result against that sports rules.

Ferrari need to be taught a lesson in that the biggest thing in F1 is F1’s integrity and not Ferrari. The minimum that should be accepted as a penalty by genuine fans is stripping of the relevant points and a 12-month racing ban suspended for two years.

Ultimately, I agree that the team orders rule is bad and unworkable in a team sport and it needs to be removed. However until it is you cant just break it because you don’t agree with it. Perhaps Renault should bore their engine out to 2800cc to get a helping hand.


Rich, (i gather the name is ironic) if I was you I'd be lining up outside the gates at Maranello to throw rocks at the cars. It must have torn your guts to watch that.



A gamble is what it says on the tin, and its a bit of fun once in a blue moon, the outcome of which can make a massive difference! But how you can make a calculation when rules are knowingly broke? Its typical Ferrari really. Its the one team I'm starting to hate with a passion because they are self centered and only consider their interests. For me it looks like they are the only team who don't care about F1s appeal and image.


James, I understand the tone of your article but I'm with "BiggusJimmus" Ferrari's actions shouldn't be excused because of a back story regarding the actions of their president.

In Turkey no one complained because they saw a race, in Germany everyone complained because they were deprived of one. Ferrari should be the first team to understand the importance of F1 being seen as a sport, their entire business model is based on it. Obvious manipulation of results is damaging to all brands represented. Ferrari should be punished accordingly.

Unfortunately we all know this won't happen, they'll probably just get another fine and we'll see a ruling clarification. In part the media should take some of the blame for this, whilst your article may be an accurate portrayal of what events the FIA should have it hammered home to them, through journalists such as yourself who have unique access to fans opinions, the ill feeling that exists following this blatant use of team orders. The decision regarding punishment should be taken with the fans opinions in mind, not the possible reaction of a man who may be looking to invest in the sport at some point in the future.


It's a difficult situation that's for sure. But I personally don't agree with your analysis of the situation Jon.

Whether or not a punishment should be given (and what its severity should be) for any given crime, should not be based on what the fans think afterwards on a case by case basis. I may have misunderstood but this appears to be what you're saying; that what Ferrari did was worse than what McLaren (and others) have done, just because it had a greater reaction afterwards. You surely can not run any respectable judicial system on this basis.

I agree that what Ferrari did was illegal. But I disagree that it was worse than what other teams have done since '02. If Ferrari get punished then why shouldn't the others who have done the same? Doing something illegal in a more subtle way doesn't make it less of a crime, and suggesting it does takes us all for mugs, i.e. "do what you want but make sure the mugs we're selling this to don't realise".


No-one is excusing Ferrari - they should be punished for breaking a rule. But the rule isn't very grown up and needs changing


I agree with you James that the rule isn't very grown up.

But if another team & not Ferrari broke the rule, I'm sure "some key" people may not be championing for that rule change asap.


The FIA need to give the win back to Massa,take away all constructors points for the race and fine Ferrari 10 million.

No one is above the law,what they did was blatant and unnecessary and a message needs to be sent so it doesnt happen again.


I don't understand how the "fuel saving instructions" are in any way shape or form similar to what Ferrari did. Lewis was told, quite late in the race, to save fuel and when he asked if Jenson had been given the same instruction he was told yes, in other words, you are both coasting to the end of the race so you don't have to worry if Jenson begins to close in on you.

This is quite different to one driver being asked to move out of the way for another when there was no apparent need to.

I don't think anybody has a problem with team orders when one driver who has a near impossible chance of winning the championship is asked to help the other who has, but what Ferrari did was take the mickey.



lewis said to his team "if i back off is jenson going to overtake me". the answer was " no lewis no" how is that not a team order, lewis had been told to coast to the end as jenson wont attack you whatever your speed is. just because its ferrari and because eddie jordan started going on about it on the british tv it was made out worse. brundle and dc didnt even think it was a problem just mad eddie


Encoded messages to save fuel are merely discreet way of telling the driver to back off.

Given the fact that Rob Smedley has been in F1 for so many years, its surprising he resorted to indiscretion, thereby putting his own employement in risk. I wouldn't be surprised if Rob will be dropped by Ferrari end of this season.

About F1 and team orders, they have been there and will be there.If F1 fans claim that they were not aware of it, its nothing but a lie...


I think the thing that really hurts me is being lied to in such an obvious way. If Ferrari admit they were lying to us I would be happy. And if Fernando admits he was 'taking the mick' with his 'Felipe had a problem coming out of turn 6' remark, that would help.

But again to keep things in perspective, I'm still much more upset at Michael's 'unfortunate accident' claim from Monoco 2006 quali that he has never retracted.


Why were people so up in arms? Because it was race manipulation at a point in the season where it was unnecessary. Before all the Fernando fanboys start quoting Brazil 2007 or any other team order directly or indirectly sent out at a championship deciding round, let me remind you that this was round eleven. Fernando was not in the lead of the championship or in my opinion even close.

Remember this; there's two F1 World Championships. One for drivers and one for the team. Forget about which one is held in higher esteem by the media or Joe Public. Or which is worth more financially for following seasons contracts and advertising revenue. The bottom line is the drivers championship is for the individual and at Hockenheim, Massa lost his shot at the individuals championship, while his team scored maximum points (as it would have done if Massa had won and Alonso finished second) in the contructors or "teams" championship.

Don't believe for one minute the cock and bull story of Alonso being in danger from Vettel - we know that was nonsense because he (Vettel) didn't come close to Massa after the switch. Which brings to light further proof that this situation was planned before hand. If the team were being open and honest with both drivers, letting them both race and each have a shot at the WDC this season, why was the argument put forward that the switch was necessary to protect Alonso from Vettel, but it was ok to risk Massa against the Red Bull?

Yes the rule needs looking at again, but it needs to stay in some form. We don't want to go back to the days of clear number one and number two drivers. The sport needs 24 number one drivers all racing as hard as the next guy, otherwise F1 won't remain a sporting contest.

As for Ferrari. They don't need to hang. But remember the reaction after the race? Smug grins and denials. Like school boys who had gotten away with pinching sweets from the school tuck shop. Don't take points, don't reverse the finishing order. But do something, otherwise this will have all been a waste of time and F1 will look as silly as the prats who get paid millions for kicking a bag of air around a pitch.


A lot of people including supposed knowledgable F1 commentators seem to have missed the point. If a driver who has no chance in the championship allows another driver past for him to win, that is not a team order. That is between the drivers and there are no rules to police this and frankly it would be common sense for this to happen especially in the final race of the season. As has been stated, this does happen in F1 and will always happen, especially if it is done in such a manner that it is not unduly obvious.

The recent Ferrari team order debacle was a blatant team order, broadcast for the world to hear with then the most galling, shameful trotting out of lies by all in Ferrari making fools of the FIA, fellow F1 teams and most importantly the public who pay for F1 with their entry ticket. As an avid F1 follower for the last 35 years, I felt truly sick listening to the Ferrari lies post race and hope that they receive a more severe punishment. Yes, teams will always want drivers to win a championship and their team to win the constructors but it has to be within the rules and if they are blatantly broken, teams should have the courage to admit their indiscretions. With Teflonso in the centre of Spygate, Crashgate and now Teamordergate does not anyone else notice a trend here?


"...ridiculous and unworkable"? I don't agree necessarily. It seems like the FIA banned team orders in order to protect "number two" drivers who are clearly not happy when they happen.

On all occasions the FIA and the fans only got involved when the driver (no. 2) was clearly unhappy (Barichello 2002, Massa 2010).

Punishing Ferrari will ensure ALL drivers are treated equally. i.e Sebastian Vettel got penalized when he was too far behind Mark Webber before the restart(you could extract a team order here as well - Redbull ordered Vettel to slowdown Alonso and gain Webber an advantage), these incidents aren't very similar but you get the FIA's point.


However silly the rule may be, it has existed since 2002 and, as far as I know, there has been no debate about it being unworkable or that it should be abolished. Then all of a sudden, Ferrari break the rule and everybody is jumping on the bandwagon to say that the rule should be abolished. The fact is that the rule does exist and Ferrari broke it. When Rob Smedley asked Felipe Massa to confirm that he understood the message "Fernando is faster that you", it was obvious that their was a hidden message.

When Massa allowed Roikkonen by in 2007, he had no chance of winning the championship himself and it was the natural thing for a driver to help his teammate.

My opinion is that the rule should stay; if teams are to be allowed to manipulate the results then a lot of the attraction will be lost. Personally, I would not want to win anything knowing that I had been favoured in any way.


I think the problem is the changes in the pitlane this year

Since 2002, if a teams drivers are running 1-2 in the wrong order, and are close enough, then the team could take a little longer with their refulling - keep the hose on for a second longer. The hose on times were a constant, ruled by one or two mechanics.

This year, with refulling banned, it is much harder to manipulate a pitstop to add a second to the time - a larger team changes the wheels, and can't really slow down what they do, it's more instinctive.

Therefore, this year is the first year that any position manipulation has to take place on the track.

Ferrari would most likely have gotten away with it if Rob Smedley hadn't been so downbeat and obvious in his radio message. "Right now, Alonso is faster than you" or something would have been enough. Massa could have brought the pace back a bit by a couple of tenths, and then, when Alonso was on him, run wide at turn one, or turn 6. A mistake and Fernando is past.


Sorry -- how exactly did Massa let Raikkonen through?

I have seen this myth growing by the day -- Raikkonen overtook by fuel strategy using sheer pace. Massa's total pitstop time was exactly the same as Raikkonen's. It is not team orders to have two drivers on two different fuel strategies. James -it's not right to propagate the Massa let Raikkonen through myth.


I also disagree that "Massa let Raikkonen through to win the race" in 2007. As a regular F1 viewer, all I saw was Kimi having a better pit stop, faster in & out laps, to come out in front of Massa after his 2nd stop. Period. There was no "Kimi is faster than you, do you understand.." directive, taking the audience for fools.

China 2008, it was clear that Kimi had no chance of fighting for the driver's championship at that stage, so fans accepted that Kimi would naturally assist his team mate for the title.

F1 viewers are no idiots and we don't like to be treated as fools hence the Ferrari backlash.


Massa did a very slow in-lap & backed off in the pit exit to ensure raikkonen was ahead.

he admitted both afterwards to the brazilian media.


There have been plenty of cases where team orders were used, but i feel th way Ferrari did it was insulting to the fans. The whole apology and then the terrible excuses. I think loss of constrictors points and a larger fine would be reasonable. If they manage to prove beyond doubt team orders were instigated that is.


Hi James. Thank you for the best and most informative site on F1. As far as I am concerned they will never be able to police so called team orders, so why not open it up as it used to be. The gamblers out there would at least be able to choose who in the team they would put their money on. This is a team sport and there are 2 cars in the team and the drivers and managers should all be doing what is best for the team. There is a huge ammount of money involved in F1 so the teams should be able to decide which way they want the results within the team to go, whether it is the first race of the season or not.


I have to agree with that. The drivers are being paid by the team. They should most definitely have team orders. Sure, it isn't good with the fans, and if the teams see it this way, they will not have team orders. But some teams look at winning as a team/family accomplishment like Ferrari has for quite some time. Drivers can turn down offers to race for certain teams if they wish not to. The team orders thing is blown way out of proportion. On the other hand, if any team breaks a rule, they should be punished. I just hope the punishment given to Ferrari is not harsh (as much as I dislike the team) because they did not cause any harm to any other team.


Every case should be judged on its own merits and situation. In regard to the kimi at brazil 07 arguement, it made sense, where as germany this year did not (similar level of points between drivers/not a big race in a championship battle). I get sick of this 'one size fits all' attitude towards team orders. Its never as black and white as some suggest. Every situation and outcome should be examined. We cant presume brazil 07 and germany 10 are the same, because they arent. Hugely different situation and hugely different outcome (in regard to championshis being won or lost)


have we forgot how lewis hamilton won the world champion? there where team orders for kovalainen to let lewis past ,and this was crucial as he won the world champion by 1 point


It's dreadful hypocrisy that Ferrari have to face this, especially in the context of the other cases you mention, James. Also, McLaren used exactly the same team order at exactly the same track (at least, I think it was the same track) in 2008 with "Heikki, Lewis is faster than you". Surely everyone remembers that, as it was broadcast.

Add to that that although we all 'know' it was an order, there is no evidence that proves this.

Let me be clear: I don't like the way Massa was ordered over and would have preferred it if he had ignored it and Alonso had had to fight his way by. Massa could protect himself from such orders by being as quick or quicker than his team-mate, but this year has not managed it.


That's what Nelson Piquet said in an interview too that if Massa doesn't want team orders, he should drive faster


James, the Kimi-Massa case in 2007 was completely different. Massa did -not- let Kimi pass him on the track, they simply took him to pits couple of laps earlier and it was up to Kimi to drive fast enough to make it work. Also, the "fuel-saving" team orders have been given to stabilize the situation in order to maximize team points (team orders should be permissible for team event), while Ferrari's order affected only the driver's championship, which should not be decided on team orders. That, in my opinion, is a big difference.


Back in the 50s drivers would stop and give their car to their team leader if his had broken down!! I have heard no one question Fangio's titles...

To quote Alonso, "this is ridiculous". Team orders cannot be policed and therefore the rule should be removed altogether. Some of the comments imply that instructions to let a team-mate pass given before the race (ie. team briefing) are valid just because they're not broadcasted live...


"The difference is that everyone accepts it in the last race, they don’t accept it at the 11th round of 19."

That's because everyone EXPECTS it in the last race, they don’t EXPECT it at the 11th round of 19. Therefore in round 19 teams/drivers are not manipulating the expected result.


Still the same rule being broken though, isn't it?


James, I agree with your thinking. If the rule is in place and has been broken while it is in place, then some penalty will/should be imposed.

F1 is a team business so remove the rule- I think you suggested this in the opening comments.


Its not the same rule at all. If a driver lets a team mate past without the team ordering him to, then no rules are broken.


Team Order. ORDER. It has to be an order, not a decision.


The team DID order Massa in 2007, it was done before the race though. Does that make it a valid team order?


A driver is a team member, the rule does not single out individuals!


I agree with you James. As much as I dont like seeing a race result manipulated in a crass manner, to expect F1 teams not to give orders is silly. Team orders should be allowed, should be out in the open, should be openly discussed by teams, commentators and pundits. Perhaps in this way, it will become a more accepted part of the sport. It happens in BTCC, WTCC, WRC,GT, Le Mans and probably a whole load of other series. I still anjoy watching those races, so I can't see why it wont work in F1, as long as its transparent, and done in a respectful manner for the driver who has to give way.


i mean Enjoy, not anjoy...

and if the F.I.A. really want to get rid of team orders once and for all, each team should only be allowed to field one car. No team orders, end of story!


I think the whole "Massa would have won on the anniversary of his accident" approach is a red herring that is utterly irrelevant to the case in question.


As the article states, us the F1 cognoscenti are all perfectly aware of the team order communicated by a sorrowful and embarrassed race engineer. The very nub of the matter rests on race fixing whilst either driver still has a reasonable possibility of securing the championship. We are all aware that it is a team sport with both the constructors championship for the team and the drivers championship for the individual. I believe that within sport this is a unique situation.

The problem with any sanction / fine is that everyone is using team orders in one fashion or another. Hockenheimring was blatent and robbed us of a great battle at one of the better tracks for having a go. Most of us really look forward to seeing the worlds best doing their stuff 17ish times a year and wish to see close racing especially between the same machinery.

Whatever clandestine wheels are moving behind closed doors influencing today's decision I cannot possibly account for but they should have the constructors points deducted and the drivers points halved.

Why not ban ad lib radio comms and use a standardised set of transmissions across all the teams.

Lets see what happens this afternoon.


It's not race fixing. Ferrari broke a rule and should be punished for it, but let's get a sense of perspective here


Semantics. I am not stating race fixing in a predetermined betting scam sense but on an ad-hoc basis. Certainly we are all agreed on the team orders part and that they are endemic within motorsport. As long as a team runs more than one car they will continue to be used.



I am sorry james i disagree with you that this is not a big deal and the same as fuel saving.

This was as big a scandel as the original team oders in 2002. Ferrari and the drivers must have their points withdrawn from the german race as the broke the no team orders rule and everyone new it straight away and then we were patronised by Ferraris arrgoance once again.

However the team orders rule needs to be revised. A team should be able to ask their drivers to let the other through once one of them has lost his mathmatical chance of winning the title. (massa letting kimi by in 2007) It would be crazy for a driver not in contention stop their team mate winning the title by not letting them past but does this really need to be written in law. Everyone in F1 understands this and everyone in f1, fans included knew what the messege Rob gave meant.

What is complete guff about Ferrari defense is that they say what the drivers choose to do waqs best for the team but ferrari came 1st and 2nd so scored the same points. Alonso was the one that benefitted not ferrari. if anything Ferrari weakened their race position if they thought Massa has a slower car by leaving him pray for vettel and not keeping the faster Alonso as a rear gunner, better able to defend against the Red Bull as he had the faster car.

I get the felling that you are buttering us up for Ferrari being let off james...

The fans understand F1 better than what you commentators give us credit for and we all know what happened in Germany and that no matter that f1 has a history of team orders (everyone knows drivers gave their cars up to team mates) since 2002 this manipulation of the results is illigal just as refueling is illigal even though refueling is a part of part of f1s history.

Ferrari and drivers must have the points deducted from germany with no condsideration to the championship standings, massa manager and todts history.


Hi James,

I have a question with regards to Rob Smedley. His comments to Felipe during the race were clearly a two fingered response to the orders he was clearly given.

Any idea what Ferrari's reaction internally was towards him and the way he handled it? He surely is the cause for all the intensive questioning due to his lack of common sense?



I too have wondered over that. For someone of Rob's experience, its odd to see he resorted to indiscretion over the radio not once but twice and in doing so put his own employment in jeopardy. Once after the "switch" was done when he apologized to Felipe and then on the final lap when he praised Felipe and mentioned "it was magnanimous".

Either FIA has mandated Ferrari not to take action against the guy or the conspiracy theorist in me tells me, the whole thing is fixed to "improve the show".

Does anyone remember Webber and Horner Radio communication on victory lap in Silverstone.

We need to keep in mind, while lots has been spoken about Webber and his position in Red Bull team, He and Horner are Business Partners and run GP3 team.

F1 is full of similar cases of conflict of interests that sometimes one can't help thinking that everything (every scandal, every race, every result, every ruling) in F1 is orchestrated....


I agree with BiggusJimmus. That order was a joke and definitely left fans - not only in Brazil - very disappointed.

I hope the WMSC will have a look into the team orders rule, sure, but Ferrari broke the regulations BEFORE this revision, so they should be punished.

If MSC got a penalty for the Monaco incident even with green flags being shown at the time because of a silly article in the regulations, why should Ferrari now be let to walk out unpunished?



James, I agree with all that you say but you miss the point - the public were treated like idiots by the whole Ferrari set up at Hokenheim. Jo public felt short-changed and also saw the Ferrari PR machine's attempts to cover all of this up. You're completely right to say that team orders have always been in place - but the public were left feeling as if Ferrari could strut around denying everything.

Personally, I hope that they lose constructors points and are fined a seven figure sum - if only to stop them treating people like they're stupid.


I don't see how Ferrari can argue that there was no team order when after the race they accused the rest of the paddock of hypocrisy because they ALSO issued team orders.

Their dishonesty of claiming there was no instruction is surely just as bad as issuing the instruction.

Ask McLaren what happens when you lie to the stewards.


Hi James,

A bit off-topic here, why do we have the Chinese Grand Prix banner instead of the Italian one? Monza's still on right?



The problem with this is the WAY it was done, they took the paying public for fools, they also made a mockery of the stewards afterwards by saying it was "not a team order". They (Ferrari) really think they are above everyone, including the FIA and the fans so they must be taught a lesson.


I think the outrage over this over other team order situations is two-fold:

1. Massa is still a championship contender in theory - in 2007 he was out of the title race, and it was perfectly natural for Ferrari to prioritise Raikkonen. Everyone was fine with that as it has been in Formula One since the beginning of time. However, deciding on a driver mid-season is against what the fans would like to see, especially a popular driver like Massa.

2. It was a direct swap of positions, whereas I see that as fundamentally worse than an instruction to hold station - if Alonso had got in front as he did a better job earlier on but was suffering tyre issues and Massa was a bit faster, I'm sure the public would have been quite happy to see Massa being told not to try to overtake him. But in this case Massa had a brilliant first part to the race, and the order robbed him of a very popular victory.


If the team orders rule is unworkable, as it seems to be, then it needs to be scrapped. But doing that will make the drivers championship a charade, a sporting farce with team managers deciding the victors rather than fair competition. Fans love personalities and want to see their favourites triumph on the track. Few, apart from the Ferrari faithful, can get as excited about a team as a particular driver. Viewers will switch off in droves if they think the result is fixed. The problem is: Bernie says it's a team sport, the fans favour individual drivers ...


I want to address a different view over why we accepted team orders at Brazil 07 and while I'm at it, Hockenheim 08.

Its true that the championship context at the end to the season makes it easier for the viewer to accept, but when I watched it back then, I found the implications of what the order in the final round being more entralling. Hockenheim this year failed to produce any of that, at least, not something we can see before the picture of the title hunt becomes clearer.

When Heikki let Lewis past in 08 I didn't really see it as a matter of it being a minor placing making it less of a big deal, but when I saw Lewis climb back into the lead so heroically from there, I felt he earned the win, so the spoonfed position didn't matter for me.

Since Hockenheim this year, I've been trying to think about where I stand on team orders and whether its a good or a bad thing. So far, I've decided that team orders are good and bad, and I place the distinction on whether it improved the racing, or improved the show. I can't tangibly see how that happened this year in Hockenheim as much as I could in those other ones I mentioned, which is why I have a bad taste over this one in particular, as well as Austria 02. What I'm trying to say is whether we see it or not, we are having it both ways over team orders, and I accept it that way.

Regarding possible punishment, I wanna consider a possibility that they would take a leaf out of crashgate and put some suspended sentence for good measure.


This is a bit of a mess.

I agree the rules need defining into a workable solution for the future, team orders will always happen with or without consent.

My point is this: Even though I'm not Alonso's biggest fan, I cant see how he can be punnished for passing Massa. How much can the WMSC prove that Alonso did anything wrong?

I can understand the Team getting punnished for giving the initial order. I can also understand Massa getting punnished for carrying out the orders(somewhat harshly. He has already had to give up a race win).

I hope the WMSC come to a sensable conclusion.

I don't want to be cheated out of a good race again.


"My point is this: Even though I’m not Alonso’s biggest fan, I cant see how he can be punnished for passing Massa."

Because Alonso was on the radio telling the team it was 'Ridiculous' i.e he should be allowed past.


I'm not sure why this is focused on Alonso, of the 3 parties, Massa, Alonso and Ferrari, isn't Alonso the one who has done nothing wrong?

He benefited sure, but his team mate is the one who effected the outcome of the race, whether under instructions from the team or not.

Dock points from Massa and Ferrari. And then get rid of the rule altogether, however distasteful the Ferrari tactics are, the rule is unpoliceable.


Considering the wheel to wheel reacing we, the fans, were watching before the "fuel saving" instructions, it was equally bad. More logical solution can be to allow team orders only in last few races. Else it will spoil the show as it did actually in both cases and even more in the past. It is nevertheless a very important decision.


Here's what'll (not) happen:

Stefano will say, 'for sure, we did it';

Luca will say, 'sorry';

Fernando will say, 'Can Badoer be my team mate next year?'


If Ferrari were so concerned with every last point then they should have told Alonso to cool it at Sepang.

It was so important to get that position he broke the car trying.He knew it was going away,either thought he could get away with it or DID NOT CARE!

As far as how Smedley couched his words-who cares!We know what was being said,in not so many words.

The pit lane functioned for decades with no speed limits.What happens if you go too fast today?You pay a penalty.There could be F1 with team orders allowed.But it has been banned.Therefore Ferrari is about to lose some points today.


I'll tell you the difference. Was Massa mad after brasil 2007? absolutely no. The problem in 2002 and germany this year, the driver was FORCED! he didn't want to do it. ferrari FORCED massa to pull over, that's what, we fans, don't want to see. His father even said massa cried. Did you see massa's father interview after the race?

I personally don't understand people calling F1 a team sport when the wdc is a individual trophy. I think the rule needs to be clarified but not banned. he should be the driver choice to help his team mate after being mathematically out. If there's a sign the driver was forced, the team should be punished. How was germany massa choice when he wasn't happy with it? they even said sorry to him.


My preferred outcome would be for the WMSC simply to reverse the result (i.e. Massa now ahead of Alonso) and issue a substantial, suspended punishment.

That would be equitable, and send an appropriate message. I also think the WMSC ought to refer the matter of the rule itself and its application on to others for reconsideration.

I'm with everybody on this! The rule is a problem, but the rule is the rule.


Ferrari should get a NICE sized Million Euro fine, lose Constructors points from Hockenheim but the drivers should be allowed to keep the points that they scored. This is the Ferrari team thinking that they are bigger than the sport once again.


Yesterday I would have agreed with this

But many people have pointed out today - the team orders only benefitted the drivers championship, as the team would have scored the same amount of points for the constructors whichever driver finished ahead.

So to negate the advantage Ferrari arranged, the fair result would be to take drivers points. It's harsh, but they arranged for Alonso to have the maximum to boost his title charge, not the teams.


I disagree, too, James. The fact is they broke a rule and they need to be punished. As much as I like Massa, I think Ferrari and it's drivers need to have their points from the race taken from them. There needs to be some punishment handed down to the drivers so they know it's not acceptable behavior. A financial penalty means nothing to these guys and a grid drop isn't enough - points are the only thing that will get through to them.

Also, if the rule has to be re-worded, all that needs to be changed is the inclusion of the phrase 'unless one driver is out of mathematical contention for the title.'


I don't think it should be mathematical, but a heavy percentage of points available in the season behind the leader. For example, if they require 80% of the 150 points left now (so they are 120 points behind) then team orders can be utilised - after all, what are the chances of them making this up?

But this also means that if they do bring their points score up to below the threshold, team orders are not allowed.

It means that teams can impose team orders sooner to benefit the driver in with a shot of the title, but not when the second driver still has an outside chance.


I read all your articles, and support what you say with the exception of this article. For once, the F1 public does not support your words.


It is a team sport and the rule is wrong and should go.

However, this instance was a disgrace and I believe it brought the sport into disrepute.

I mean, come on, this is a global specticle.

We are all grown up and understand what 'fuel saving' really means, but at least it shows a degree of respect of the rules and of the sport. To make Massa pull over was arrogant and wrong. It was an insult to the sport.

That said, let's not cut off our nose to spite our face. The outcome I would like to see is another £100k fine, switch of points between the two drivers and removal of constuctors points.

That puts the drivers where they would have been without a breach in the rules and penalises the team for the infringment.

Also, was Ferrari using Massa again at the start in Spa to break rules, recieve a penalty and alow Alonso through?

Smoke and mirrors. I love it! Great fun.


My god F1 really is a political mess with very little 'sport' left in its DNA isn't it. No wonder so many potential fans are turned off by its lack of purity. Personally I hate the conflict F1 brings about in me having watched it for 20 years. When the on-track action is good and the drivers are left to do their thing I have been terrified, thrilled, amazed and excited all in one glorious moment! I have leapt from the chair in excitement and screamed like a mad-man and have spent time after some races genuinely upset that the result didnl't go the way I wanted it to. But when the sour stench of politics, manipulation and CVC's debt (all hail the debt!) enter the picture I want nothing more than to kick the F1 habbit and find a 'real' sport to watch.



You will, no doubt, be immensely relieved when I tell you that I agree with what you’ve written, especially about the team orders rule being ridiculous and unworkable. I also fully endorse your suggestion that we need a sensible, workable alternative.

That does not, of course, excuse a planned breach of the rules. It was a conspiracy between Massa, Alonso and unnamed members of the team.

The circumstantial evidence – normally the best and most dependable type – of team orders is overwhelming. If Ferrari pull an injured innocence defence then they stand a good chance of suffering a significant punishment.

At the moment, and always supposing they admit the offence, I feel loss of WCC points for the single race to be appropriate. For the drivers it is more of a problem.

Going by the evidence available to anyone who saw the race:

Massa was a reluctant participant; he made that painfully clear. That’s not much of a defence. He’s an adult. Unless it is written into his contract, and it won’t be, he is not obliged to cheat. The fact that he has already ‘lost’ points is neither here nor anywhere else.

Alonso was fully expecting Massa to pull over, and more significantly and perhaps more damming in its implication, at a much earlier stage in the race than he did. He was a full participant in the action.

My initial feeling immediately post flag was that both drivers should lose their points for the race but that the other drivers should not have their increased. In other, and perhaps better, words, the result should stand but the two Ferrari drivers should get no points.

That was before Alonso had his dreadful showing at Spa. 66 points behind the leader with six races to go is a massive although not insuperable disadvantage. Two and a half race wins in old money.

It goes against my beliefs to suggest that this is a reason for clemency but I like the idea of five drivers in the frame with five races to go.

If it were me I would consider ‘deferring’ the decision on the punishment until after Monza. If Alonso does well, then lose his points. If he reprises his Spa showing then a really big telling off and a suspended sentence. It is deceitful and dishonest. But F1 is a show.

The final two paragraphs are worrying. I would not be happy with a consortium of teams, some in, some excluded, taking over F1. I am also unhappy with the pressure such a threat can exert on the FIA. Good riddance to FOM is about as pleasant as I can describe my feelings.

Difficult times for Todt. I wish him a clear head. It is devil and the deep blue for him.


Whats the saying that its only cheating when your caught? Im in no doubt that other teams have used subtle (or better hidden) commands to get their desired results, but we havent seen these and there is little that can be done. The FIA has a huge opitunity today to set in stone 1 way or the other what will happen with team orders in the coming future. Personally i hope Ferrari are punished, we all watch F1 (and other forms of sport) because of the excitment and openness of the competition. If all results are manipulated then whats the point, the enjoyment goes. I hope F1 never goes that way. I wouldnt say that the rule is unworkable, just harder to enforce with the modern tech involved in the sport, with the use of Radios and such used. But thats for the FIA to look at correcting.


And the question is why did seasoned campaigner like Rob chose to use "Blatant" message rather than a "Subtle" one??


Personally I'd like to see Ferrari's points stripped for that race, both driver and constructors and a wacking great big fine but I bet the Ferrari factor won't allow this to happen.

However, happy to see Mr Todt has stepped back from the issue - I think his past involvement in Ferrari could have still allowed his judgment to be clouded.


I think they are definitely guilty of "bringing the sport into disrepute" seeming as they upset millions of fans and many analysts and journalists too.

Their ruling on team orders is obviously not help by the ambiguous and unworkable regulation that has no real clarification for when any team orders are acceptable.

Simply changing the regulation to say "only when one driver is mathematically out of the championship may he be given a team order" would solve everything.


Well with Ferrari having already shown disdain for the FIA/WMSC by not sending the drivers who were summoned, it will not improve their showing to the council.

As has been said may times: We know there ARE team orders, but please be a bit subtle about it. The way Ferrari are carrying on is an insult to everybody, especially the fans.


Hi James,

Do you know what time the hearing is due to take place and roughly what time we'll discover the outcome?

Great articles by the way!



I believe this part of the WMSC is 3pm. Verdict this evening or tomorrow morning, I guess


james now that pat fry is in ferrari do you think that his experience with mclaren often shifting there drivers around and coded messages will be any help in court. they can say it was no different in 08 at france at germany because they have a senior man from the opposition now


Why not punish the yielding driver? I'm sure massa would be less willing to move over if he was going to have a bunch of points taken away.

Also, there are clearly conditions where team orders are expected and accepted (last race of the season) so why not have an exception built into the rules? Something like: team orders are only permitted if the yielding driver has no mathematical chance of winning the championship?


Agree with the content James. Unfortunately it will be a bit farcical as Ferrari will skirt around the issue to avoid admission of team orders. As you say had it been the last round (see Brazil 2007) or second last (China 2008), there would be no controversy. As I read it there is no clause allowing team orders in the event of one driver totally (mathematically) out of the race.

It's the hyprocracy that gets me. Hell, remember 2005 when Montoya was trying (and failing) to gift Raikkonen more points (see Spa in particular that year) and yet McLaren are pointing the finger.

We need clarity on this issue and I feel teams should be allowed to run their teams as they see fit. What Austria 2002 taught us is that the fans will let their voices be heard when team orders are a joke as was the case then (ie. early in season/dominant car/huge championship lead) etc.).

Hockenheim 2010 was totally different in my eyes. Ferrari had one outside shot of the title in the form of Alonso and needed to maximize their chances.


I've just heard BBC radio report that Eddie Jordan is now calling for "sharia law" to be applied to Ferrari. By the "first stone" principle, the Maranello team should have little to worry about, but still, it is annoying to hear yet another fatuous fatwa pronounced by the little person off the telly.

I may be mistaken but I seem to recall that after the incident the ever mutable Eddie J expressed a radically different view, suggesting indeed that it had always been thus and team orders were a justifiable aspect of a sport that had to learn to accommodate certain business priorities without hypocrisy -- particularly after the first few races had been done and a team "leader" had emerged.

I happen to believe that "team orders" are not just acceptable but indeed they are very much a part of the fabric and history of the sport and should be accepted as such. But I just wonder what transpired in the interval to influence Eddie J's deep convictions on this matter?


Eddie Jordan didnt change his mind! He doesnt have one!


Jordan insisted that team orders should be allowed but was at pains to point out that didn't give Ferrari carte-blanch to break the rules. And that they should be punished on the basis of what the rules were and not what they should be.


How is Ferrari lying to the stewards any different to what Lewis and McLaren did in Melbourne 2009?

With regards to team orders, ordering one team mate, who is behind, to NOT try and overtake at any point in the season should be perfectly acceptable, because its risking the team getting both cars to the finish. But ordering the one in front to pull over is a different matter. The only exception is when they are on different stratergies or if one no longer has a mathematical chance at the championship. This is what the rule needs to take into account.


And many Ferrari supporters were very self righteous about "Lie-gate" but are very happy to duck there heads in the sand when Ferrari do the same.


I personaly think that the move did impact on the sports credibility, so would expect the WMSC to issue a fairly large fine & a deduction of team points. I think that if both drivers come clean & tell it like it was then the penalty shouldn't effect the drivers points, however if they keep telling the company porkie, then drivers points should be deducted!

I do feel that team orders should be allowed but perhaps limited to the last 4 grand prix, it's the early season manipulation that Ferrari have done both recently & in the past that is so damaging to the sport.


I beleive that is much of it is emotional.

Yes, raikkonen helped massa at the end of 08 and visa versa end of 07. All the other driver lost was a couple of points and a win.. big wop. Everyone knew pointwise it was impossible for the other to win, and so they would help the other. That's fine.

Here, we have something emotionally much different. Massa life threatenally injured, sits out much of 2009, comes back, and exactly a year to the day later, he thanks the doctors and such, he is leading and it appears that he may grab his first win since back in 2008, and then is told to move over and let alonso win.

That I believe is quite a big chunk of it. That in your examples what was done was expected, and the only result, the championship was the only influencer on what happened.

Here, alot was going for massa , and taking it away suddnely about hal way through the season just left most people a little bit empty.

Personally I believe, and I know thiswont happen is

Alonso has win taken away and is given 2nd. -7 points from his count

Massa has 2nd taken away and is given win. +7 points

Ferrari get championship points taken away from GP -43 points.

Ferrari gets a fine for carelessly and casually braking the rules -$10 000 000 say

Note: I'm a webber fan and fan of koby and raikkonen, so I'm not desperate for either to win, I'd just like to see what is rightfully Massa's win at an emotional occasion for him be rightly given to him as he deserved it.

This incidant has shown that ferrari is still schumacher-esque. in that they will do something knowing that is wrong, but because they believe something different. shame.


Yet another commentator who thinks that cheating dressed up as a "raison d'état" is acceptable.

I refuse to grow up, accept the realities, or be realistic. Motor racing is a contest of men and only incidentally of their tools, the machines. Always has been, always will be. Spectators pay huge sums to see a race, not a procession. It should not be beyond the wit of the FIA to provide a framework of rules that we, the fans, consider straightfoward and honest. And we're not stupid - at the end of a championship we understand, in the middle we don't.

Ferrari took the piss in Hockenheim, and they're still doing it by pretending that nothing happened. I hope they get clobbered.


Am I alone in finding it very odd that Ferrari’s Constructor’s Championship points appear to be under threat yet the points scored by the drivers seem not to be?

Surely the action that Ferrari allegedly took only influenced the driver’s Championship. It had no effect whatsoever on the Constructor’s Championship. They would have been first an second whichever way they had finished.

In my opinion it would be fairer if the drivers points were removed should they be found guilty!


Ferrari have made threats to quit F1 again, they say it's about the 2013 engine regulations, but as this is the first time in over 12 moths they've come out against them, and only hours before the WMSC meeting, it's plain to see what their manipulative game is.


They could of been more discrete about it and use some sort of code. I surprised it was so blatant and they have shot themselves in the foot.

I would expect the loss of constructors pointa

Based on precedents like the Mclaren cheating scandal, the FIA can't do nothing.


Good to read your article. I can say I agree with some and disagree with others of your conclusions. First, there is a rule, and we all know where discretional enforcement of the rules is leading the sport, any other human activity, and for that matter us, the fans.

Content and meaning of the radio communication from Ferrari pit to Massa was absolutely clear so I don't believe there is any doubt what pit wanted Massa to do.

To the certain pint I do agree that it might be hard to prove sometimes there was a team order but with all that telemetry, communication overhearing etc. I don't believe it is as hard as some would like us to


Again, as so many times in the past I have to repeat that fundamental question we have to answer is: do we want and watch F1 as competion of the teams and marques or competition of drivers? How many fans remember which team won WCC when Stewart, Piquet, Prost and some others won some of their WDCs? I am sure most of us watch it as competition of drivers predominantly and as for the teams they have their WCC title and should not interfere in the battle between drivers. And if the eventual overall amount of the team points is the same, as was the case in Germany, then they should certainly not mess up with the drivers battle. If someone claims he is faster, well, he has 5 or 6 km of track, who knows how many turns and straight-lines, times number of laps to prove it and overtake the slower teammate, to the joy of us fans and spectators! For that reason solely I would welcome the team being stripped of its points but I do also agree that taking points away from drivers would be too much. In this case it would be sensible solution and clear example to show all other teams not to interfere on behalf and for the good of one driver only.

If they do, how we as fans, can say and believe and take pride that someone took the win and the championship because he was the best driver-car combination and proved it first by beating his teammate, when he can not overtake him without the order from the pit? It is especially important these days when the role and quality of the car far outweigh driver's capabilities. And now with team orders we should accept even more diminishing role of the face to face drivers battle.

Previous instances with fuel saving background are not the same because first, after that message anyway came attempt of Button to overtake and then it all settled down as it was before.

And yes I do despise the fact that Raikkonen won the title because Massa let it happen, and if I am just half right with my understanding of Raikkonen's personal stature I am sure he despise this fact too, to the point that it was one of the most important reasons that drove him out of the F1 world.

Only workable solution for me would be if drivers themselves sort these things out without any influence of the team and decide to help each other once it is clear that one of them could not reach anymore the ultimate goal. But any pressure from the team is disgraceful, at least for me.


It was a disgrace

Give Alonso a 5 second penalty retroactive to his finish time.

Job done Massa gets the win everyone is happy, Ferrari cant really cry about a tiny 5 sec penalty when they still have the winners trophy can they?


Probably one of the best ideas I've seen. It doesn't deserve a huge punishment as 1, It's a unworkable rule and 2, other teams have gotten away with it.

Most people want Massa to have the win, this sorts it out, maybe another fine if the FIA were feeling harsh.


I agree with Biggus

The "fuel saving" message by McLaren to its drivers in turkey didnt stop Jenson having a cheeky go at Lewis did it. And how many times must we see "The most complete driver in F1" be gifted a win because he cant overtake his team mate and will then throw his toys out of the pram. If justice is to be served they should give Ferrari a large fine, a suspended ban from the championship and deduct the win from Alonso making Massa ferrari`s only chance of takinghte title this year



I dont care if you post this up or not, i know you will read it and thats all that counts.

How could you compare Turkey and Germany the same.

In turkey, Mclaren acted to benifit the team not the drivers. You and i both know that Lewis would never want team orders to gain a win nor would Jenson stand up for it.

In Germany, Ferrari acted to benifit an individual.

Your lack of critisism of Alonso and Ferrari when its due is getting rather annoying and frustrating.

How could you say that team orders should be allowed because its "too hard" to govern.

Hell, lets abolish regulations because they are hard to govern.


A driver SHOULD earn their WDC points by them selves and not by being given the spot. Alonso did not deserve those 7 extra points.

Team orders ruin the sport and change the outcome of the championship.

No doubt Hamilton was the deserving winner of 2007, but thanks to team orders, Raikkonen got it.


How about 2008 when Kovalainen pulled out of Hamilton's way after being told Hamilton was faster. Hamilton went on to win the championship by 1 point after gaining several points by Kovi's yielding(same place, same track, same "faster than you"). Oh, right, it's not the same when it's Hamilton/McLaren.


- Hamilton was faster.

- Heikki was out of WDC contention.

- Payback


OK Eamonn, shall we take the last grand prix at Spa as a case in point? I don't remember Alonso out-qualifying or out-racing Massa. It seemed to be the other way round. Alonso was rubbish, pure and simple. He blamed the team for the wrong tyre strategy in quali when the McLaren drivers employed the same strategy and improved their q3 times on their second runs. He was too slow and should look at his own performance before blaming others.


Massa is out of contention as long as Alonso is his time mate. Alonso is faster than him all season long, ever season long, all the time. Find the man who says other wise and I'll point to the rubber wallpaper in his living room.


James, the sport has changed and the fans have quite vocally shown that incidents like Hockenheim are no longer acceptable. The ban on team orders needs to remain.

Every other team seems to handle the rule with a degree of common sense, only Ferrari ever seem to get into dodgy territory with the rule.

If the rules need clarifying then they only need to state that team orders where you ask one driver to let a team mate pass are illegal.

But this should not let Ferrari off the hook, they should be treated as every other would.


Another reason this is important is that race fixing is illegal. Keeping in your position isn't race fixing but changing the result is.


You can't break the rules just because you don't agree with them. Ferrari have shown complete contempt for the rules, the governing body and for fans of F1. The 'no team orders rule' may not be the greatest but it is a rule and therefore has to be abided by.


I don't agree with team orders. I think what Ferrari did was cynical and unfair to the fans and ruined the spectacle. Massa was leading on merit, if Alonso could not find a way past, then tough luck.

The FIA should adopt a standard set of wording for the contracts that the teams must use to engage their drivers, that eliminates the exisitence of 'number 2' drivers. It must be encumbant upon the teams to provide equal equipment. It would give the drivers more empowerment over the teams. Should they not be provided with equal equipment the team could then be sued for breach of contract and then the driver be free to move to another team. Conversely any driver who regularly did this would soon fall out of favour, so there is some balance to it.

If one driver chooses to allow his team mate past for the greater good of the team, then it should be his decision and his decision alone. Bring back some gallantry. This year I am sure that Button would do that for Hamilton and I hope Hamilton would do the same if the championship positions were reversed. It would require no 'coded radio message' from the pits. If the two drivers hate each other and there's no way in the world he'd let his team mate past, then I want to see that too. I hate seeing the races stage managed from the pits. It is not good for the sport, it is not good for the sponsors either, if team orders come back then I am likely to switch off altogether.


Team orders happened in the past, the present and will continue in the future, everybody knows that.The problem this time is that the team order was given on the radio for everybody to ear and leading to this all situation.

We all know that they could have deceived us with a code message or something like that...but they didn´t. So in my opinion they gave a team order that is punished by law and they should be punished as team.

James, the examples you give from the past and the reference that ferrari should refer the "fuel saving mode" on there defense doesn´t seem logical. Kimi stayed out 3 more laps than Massa in Brasil 2007, so he leapfroged him in the pits, it´s a normal situation! As for the Mclaren "fuel saving mode" yet a few laps later they were attacking each other and fighting for a win.

Good examples from other years are Kovalainen letting Lewis by in Germany 2008 and Kimi letting Massa by on China 2008, no doubt for me that those were team orders. Why there wasn´t such a fuss about it? Maybe because it wasn´t for the lead or maybe because nobody gave the order on the radio for the all world to listen. The Press should have raised the question on those situations.

If i´m not wrong now all the radio transmition are available for transmition and on the past this broadcast from Germany wouldn´t be allowed by ferrari, that´s the difference from previous years.

World Motor Sort Council should punish Ferrari with a fine and take away the constructurs points from Germany.


The key for me is that Ferrari strenuously denied team orders in the first instance, only to then turn around and say it was team orders but that's ok because everyone does it.

Aside from the fact that team orders are contrary to the regulations (whether you agree with the regulation or not!), this amounts to lying to the stewards and bringing the sport into disrepute.

There is another team and driver (McLaren, Hamilton) who lied to the stewards and that was in Melbourne 09. Hamilton was disqualified from that race. The same should apply here. Fernando AND Felipe should be Dq'd as they were both complicit in the incident AND (the important bit) lied afterwards.

The rule should then be looked at.


I'm surprised to read this and other commentators' position calling the rule "ridiculous" when we all were in shock when Barrichello infamously let Schumacher pass. We all wanted something done about it and so the rule was created.

I don't recall many journalists calling the rule "ridiculous" back then, but perhaps is just my bad memory.

I'm sure there are many different opinions, but ultimately the only thing that matters to me is how I felt when this "coded instruction" happened some weeks ago: I was very angry, which is telling when considering that I'm not a Massa fan. I've never been a friend of manipulations of any kind and wonder how anybody could be happy with a sport that openly accepts it, should this rule be simply eliminated.

Of course, many times in life one's judgement is determined or greatly influenced by our own expectations, so here's an idea:

Maybe teams should be ordered to openly define their driver status at the beginning of the season and simply be judged by what they do accordingly. Hence, Ferrari would state that Alonso is driver #1 and Massa is a "support" driver and then we would know what Felipe's role is and would come to "expect" him to move aside whenever is convenient for Alonso/Ferrari.

If a team decides to give equal status to both their drivers, then no instruction ("coded" or not) would be allowed unless one of them is mathematically out of the championship battle, at which time the team would have to publicly inform of a change in drivers' status.

So should McLaren give a "save fuel" instruction to one o both drivers (assuming equal status), then the FIA should openly investigate whether such instruction was properly supported by the telemetry to which they have access anyway.

I know there may be complications to enforce such a rule, but that's not an excuse not to have one that attempts to end or limit manipulation. Otherwise fans like me will be no more.


A lot of analysts seem to keep saying this, that they don't see why this particular team order is such a big issue, since we see it all the time in F1. While I accept that team orders will always be a part of F1 (and as you say, that rule needs changing or removing asap), I think people are rather missing the point.

The point is that Massa got ahead of Alonso at the start, and held that position. He earned the right to win that race. At no point did Alonso earn that right. If you factor in that remains of the fallout from his time at McLaren, a spectre that still haunts him, also that it was one year to the day of Massa's accident plus the patronising manner in which the public were treated by Ferrari after the race, with emotions already highly charged of course there was going to be uproar.


James, once again your bringing up incidents that cannot be regarded as the same as Hockenheim! When a driver is out the championship race it is accepted that he will play a team game - why wouldn't he?

But there are a couple of crucial points in this particular incident that need to be considered further.

If Massa made the decision to move over, as Ferrari will claim, it's still a violation because he is a member of the Ferrari team and made a conscious decision against the regulations to alter the outcome of the race. And as I interpret the rules it specifies "team" not team on pitwall. So that simply doesn’t wash!

We all accept that F1 is a game of getting around regulations in a clever way, be it technical or sporting, and we are told lies by teams on a regular basis about wings not flexing or giving drivers equal equipment etc. So if Ferrari wish to racing by favouring a particular side, that’s their business as they pay the bills, but to avoid any potential fall-out Ferrari could have switched them by being a bit clever, fuel save, mechanical problem, whatever! But chose to be completely transparent about it – why would they do that – because they were sloppy!

I think the FIA rely on teams being clever and accept that regulations are breeched all the time in a clever behind the scenes way. But when a regulation has been so blatantly broken they are left with no other option but to punish them further if they don't what message does this send out!


Yes, but in your first line, it's still a team order isn't it? That's my point, the rule is a hopeless catch all


The rule may be hopeless but its already in force for 8 years!

Now Ferrari has broken the rule people want it to be dropped. Yeah may be FIA will do that.


It's not the rule thats unworkable, its just that the wording leaves to much grey! It needs to be expanded and put in black and white and i for one hope thats what happens!


I don't think it's a hopeless rule James. Did McLaren issue their team orders because they knew they'd probably get away with it?

Surely the existing rule wasn't acted upon just because the stewards didn't want to rock the boat.

Seems like an FIA memorandum just needs to go out to stewards reminding them that team orders are banned and they should impose time penalties or drive throughs.

After a couple of time deductions, the teams would think very very hard before imposing team orders.

People complaining that team orders have always been part of F1 might be right, but that's neither here nor there once stewards start imposing existing rules more strictly.


Hopefully the outcome of today will be a slap on the wrists again for Ferrari and a change in the rules.


What about the indirect financial losers? I'm not a betting man, but plenty are - who bet on Massa to win a 'sporting event' (sic), only to have lost their money due to this?

I bet they didn't all get their money back....



I cant stand all these comments made on tv and on the web about "what about the poor people who bet on Massa to win?" ....

Is that what F1 is for? To fuel peoples gambling habits???


If anyone chooses to throw away their hard earned cash betting on a sport where, lets face it, everyone knows team orders take place, then I'm sorry but it's their own problem...


• I would say fuel saving instructions do not interfere with the race result.

• Ferrari are guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute for lying about there being no team orders to the public and if they are continue to lie at the hearing they deserve to have the book thrown at them.

• Team orders at the last race of 2007? I don't know if Massa was told to move over on the radio and reluctantly complied. I doubt it. I would have thought Massa would have voluntarily moved over without needing to be told to. Is it team orders to be fully aware that your teammate is behind and needs letting through for championship reasons?

• As for the 'team orders rule doesn't work so let's scrap it' argument, I disagree.

Just leave it up to the stewards. If they think team orders have taken place, they should impose any penalty they wish. It may not be 100% foolproof or 100% consistent, but tough. If your team wants to swap drivers around, when it is against the rules, tough. You run the risk of a penalty, or you might get away with it.

You can't just get rid of a rule because you think it's not policeable. It's not going to be perfect, but so what.

Whether the cars adhere to the rules isn't concrete, but should the FIA scrap scrutineering because some illegal F1 technologies are undetectable?


If Ferrari are punished today, i feel they will be very hard done by. Team orders are used all the time, numerous cases can be cited. It being obvious should not make it any more illegal than the other tens of examples over the last few years, which have gone under the radar, whether it be the last race, or whether it be "fuel saving mode".

The most scandalous thing, in my mind, is the attitude of the other teams. Red Bull in particular are guilty: last year in Turkey, Vettel was told "Webber if faster than you". For Horner to come out and say "That was the most blatant team order i have ever heard" is very hypocritical

My view is the rule should be changed, and Ferrari should not be punished for what is, in reality, common practice. If you punish Ferrari, then we set a precedent which could easily require a review of the last few years of the sport. We do not need more off-track politics to ruin what is a great season.


If the rule was going to be enforced then the FIA should have enforced it everytime we saw team orders, Instead they have ignored the rule for 7 1/2 years & then suddenly decided to enforce it.

Things like Istanbul 2005, Suzuka 2006, Brazil 2007 & Shanghai 2008 were all done in a way everyone understood (One driver out of WDC contention letting a team mate still fighting for the WDC through), However team orders have been used outside of championship reasons, The sort of strategy reasons we saw at BMW in Montreal 2008 for example or McLaren at Hockenheim in 2008. Anthony Davidson has also said a few times on BBC commentary that he was asked to let Sato past by the team in his last ever race at Spain in 2008 so team orders are done under various circumstances by all the teams.

Had the FIA enforced the ban from day 1 & we still saw what happened at Hockenheim this year I'd agree with the investigation & further penalty's based on past precedent, My problem is that regarding the team orders ban the past precedent is that nothings ever been done.

I understand why Ferrari did what they did at Hockenheim & fully agree with it. Sure Massa wasn't mathamatically out the WDC fight at that point, Realistically however at that point he had far less chance than Alonso. Ferrari want to win the WDC (As well as constructors if possible) so did what they felt gave them the best chance to do so.

However I didn't like the way Smedley & Massa decided to do it. Smedley could have been less obvious as could Massa, I don't fault the team for that I fault Smedley & Massa.

The other thing I disliked was the post race reaction from Ferrari, However I don't fully blame Ferrari for that as they were forced to dance around the issue because of the rules.

I look at team orders like this. They have always been a part of the sport & always will be & I accept that, I don't always like them but I understand the need for them at times. As such I'd rather everyone be able to be fully open about things rather than have to hide them & dance round the issue like what we have had since 2002.


It does strike me that, in many parts of the world, team orders issued so as to alter the result of the race would be potentially illegal under "match fixing" rules.

How can bookmakers continue to take bets, or punters continue to place them, on the outcome of races if the drivers may be "hobbled" by outside influences?

The only way to allow out-and-out team orders is to remove entirely the concept of drivers' standings, a drivers' championship, and so on.

At present, F1 attempts to tread a strange line between being a team sport and an individual one. It isn't obvious how this is sustainable in an ongoing sense.


One of the replies highlights a real financial concern, and one that gets the police involved in match fixing in other sports. If someone bets on Massa, which could be done before the start or later when Massa is in a good position, and Ferrari then order Massa to lose a place, the bet is lost. There's no suggestion Ferrari are making the order to influence betting but the effect is the same.

Nevertheless, teams will always want to manipulate results to maximise their own chances of glory which might be to get optimum team points or push one driver in that championship.

The FIA should amend the team orders rule to allow teams to effect a swap of positions or prevent a swap of positions where the favoured driver has been announced in advance of the race, preferably by one hour after the end of practice 2 on Friday. That way, people placing bets and the public viewing the race know the deal and can act accordingly.

If no driver preference is announced, then no team orders are allowed and also any unusual position changes, e.g. a hold-up in the pits or a mystery car malfunction should be investigated by the stewards and penalised if no good cause is evident.


Presumably this whole thing played out mainly due to the way Rob Smedely delivered this message to Massa (unlike other Fuel Saving orders or Bring the car home) and his subsequent apology and "Magnanimous" comment.

If Ferrari get a harsh fine today, do you think there will be some sort of a reprimand to Smedely? or has it already happened behind closed doors?


This Scene from the damned Utd speaks volumes about how i feel about team orders in F1:

I don't object to the use of team orders in F1, but the rule should stand and the FIA should make it a painful and humiliating route for those that wish to race in a manner that is against the spirit of the rules.


Justice would be to strip Ferrari of it's constructors points and both the drivers of their points as well.

Who's kidding who? It was a team ordered that determined the out come of the race.


From Autosport:

Domenicali also suggested that Sunday night in Hockenheim that Smedley's apology to Massa that day was not for having to move aside for Alonso, but because his car was not quick enough.

"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 – and sorry – it was slower than the other one."


Fans understand team strategies but this glossing over the obvious is balderdash. Does Domenicali take the millions of fans for fools? If Ferrari do have a particular stance for team orders, they should at least stand by what they did and not try to weasel out of the situation with these falsehoods.


This is what stuck in my craw the most. I believe the vast majority of F1 fans are fairly intelligent and informed people.

It was basically atrocious management by Ferrari that has led to this farce. They were fooling nobody with their post race protestations, and simply ended up insulting the viewers.

They would have garnered far more respect if they had simply held their hands up and called for a review of the current rules.


If team orders are allowed, the drivers championship for an individual HAS to be scrapped.

Therefore the only trophy is then the constructors championship.

You cannot have an individual championship when results are skewed by a team.


We do not get to hear all the Pit to Driver Radio transmissions, obviously so who chooses what we hear and when we hear it.?

I know it is delayed, so is it possible, that based on the actual transmission, someone decided to relay this to the World, via TV.?

Is it just a coincidence, that we caught this one transmission, out of the probably hundreds of others between Ferrari and its' Drivers.? Hmmm.

If this had NOT been heard, 95% of the uproar would NOT exist.

That said, they, Ferrari, broke the rules and should be very severely dealt with, starting with the loss of all points in that race.


Wholeheartedly agree with you James.

Would be a shame to lose points at this late stage in the championship.

Ironic that affecting the outcome of a race is punishable by losing points that could affect the outcome of the championship.


Massa let Kimi through in the past, when Massa was mathematically out of the WDC equation; Kimi wasn't. I don't have a problem with this.

My issue with Germany 2010 is that Massa was still in with a chance of winning the drivers championship, albeit a very thin chance. Massa didn't let Alonso by in Australia. In China, Alonso had to fight his way past going into the pits. Make your minds up boys, do you have a No1 and a No2 or do you have equal drivers - I don't mind either scenario, just tell us before the season starts so we all know the score. We can expect it. Thus the sadness of not watching Massa and Alonso battle for first spot in Germany will be abated.

Heck, there's even speculation that Massa was outside his start-grid slot in Belgium on purpose. So as to pick up a penalty which would have put him behind Alonso.

I wanna see both drivers in a team fighting for positions until one of them becomes mathematically unable to win the drivers crown and then I have no issue if one "supports" the other.

The Turkish GP was excellent because we saw 2 lots of team-mates battling it out. Germany was building up to be a corker... and then it became a damp squib, with the Red Management trying to tell us that team orders hadn't happened and that Massa had let Alonso by as "a gift" - pull the other one!!!!

Of course, I haven't mentioned that Massa took a massively wide line off the track at the start in Germany... so really shouldn't have been in that position anyway... 😉


And on top of that... did Mr Massa look happy with "his gift" on the podium or in the immediate post-race\podium interview? Not at all; he looked utterly, utterly dejected.

Then after some consultation with Red Management, suddenly he was pulling half-smiles in interviews and claiming "it was his call", but still looking utterly dejected at the end of them (you could almost hear his thoughts "they said this wasn't going to happen").

The tonality of Mr Smedley's voice is a give-away too... sorry chap, you gave it a go, but we both knew this was coming. Apparently Rob saying "sorry" was an apology for them giving Massa such a shoddy and slow car - ha ha ha ha ha ha, clunk!

Like Gustavo states (above) I was angry... I'm not anti-Alonso, pro-Massa or anti-Ferrari. In fact, I was more angry with the German switch than during the last lap of the Austrian GP - which created this "team order" rule in the first place - because I knew that Schumi being let past was coming.

James (I'm just wondering) are you quite startled by the response of fans to this issue?


James, for the first time I disagree in one of your opinions/insights.

1) Clearly the "Teammate is faster than you" is the same as "Move over", and "save fuel" is the same as "Do not keep fighting each other"... there is a clear difference, and the McLaren drivers at least were given a chance to fight each other

2)and I do not agree that the team orders rule is "ridiculous" as you say... there is a reason for it, this is a SPORT you see... in a sport everyone should have the same oportunity to win, and what should be changed about the rule is that you can make team orders ONLY when the other driver is out of the fight for the championship.


1) Alonso and Massa were allowed to race each other. Massa was slower and it was in Ferrari's best interest for him to allow Massa past.

2) How is this different than any other team sport? Does anyone complain when a footballer is removed from a game? How about when Kobe Bryant is taken off the floor at the end of a game they are winning? What is the difference?


Anthony says: Clearly the “Teammate is faster than you” is the same as “Move over”

No,it is not the same. You just wrote it, look again. Correct would be "Move over" is the same as "Move over".

I dont understand why people are so emotional about this case. It is a juridical problem.

Ok, but lets jump into fantasy for a second, have a beer and try to imagine, what would be consequences of declaring them quilty now?

1)Drivers are afraid to lift(penalty for possible race fixing), when they consider their skills not good enough for certain racing conditions.

2)If a driver makes mistake, telemetry would pick that up, right? Good, but it creates another possibility for race fixing. This time, race fixing by FIA, something like we witnessed in 2008 many times(mostly it was Lewis, who suffered). How come? Data from telemetry can be interpreted in different ways.

3)When you are leading the race, you better win it. Otherwise it would be very suspicious.

Some guy is driving in almighty formula 1 series and settles for second after leading? True crime, drive through.


I have been reading the comments of the moaners here (103 so far and counting) that bleet on about how Ferrari broke the rules, are nothing but race fixers, cheaters, criminals, or worse.

What do you people not understand about team orders? The whole rule is a joke and has been held in contempt by ALL teams since the ridiculous rule was created in the first place. It shouldn't have even been created as a result of Austria 2002. There was NOTHING wrong with that result, or a teams right to finish the cars the way they want.

I sincerely hope that Ferrari arrive at this WMSC meeting armed with transcripts, sound and video evidence of all the major and minor 'team orders' incidents that have been perpetrated over the last few years and dare the FIA to somehow find a difference between the ones that have had a penalty adjudged and the ones that did not. Mostly they have not.

How can the FIA possibly litigate against the German GP 'team orders' controversey when they are basing their decision on the very same rules that were in effect in any of these prior races? This is irrespective of when these 'team orders' happened during the season, whether it was race 1, 11 or 19. There are almost too many examples to list, and if Ferrari do turn up with such documented evidence (they would be crazy not to), it would likely be a very long meeting to get through all of the steward's/FIA's conflicting or contradictory decisions.

I for one have no problem with team orders, orchestrated finishes, no.2 drivers, or any other method that a team may wish to employ in how their cars finish a race. What is the big deal? McLaren has supposedly not used team orders (*cough*) and let their cars race each other until the end of the championship? Well, how dumb is that? That's how you lose championships, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory, as only McLaren can. Do that for too long and you end up in the same place as Williams.

If you wanted a clean fight and a warm and fuzzy race to the finish, maybe you should go and watch greyhound racing instead.


Charming... "bleet" and "moan" etc, etc. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion Liam, as you are entitled to yours, but please do it in a non-offensive fashion. You raise some good points about other teams using "team orders", yet why haven't Ferrari employed this policy of "Alonso first\Massa second" since the start of the season?

I have no problem if a team do that.. Alonso was No 1 at Renault, for example and that didn't bother me. I was annoyed by the Austrian GP, but found it amusing watching Schumi squirm on the podium... whereas with the German GP 2010 I was just angry.

I'm off to dust down me flat cap... I've some whippet racing to watch 😉


What time are the finding due?


James, how do you know it was teamorders in Brazil 2007? It might very well have been teamorders, but you dont know for sure. It looked like a legitimate pass to me.

Nevertheless, there is a vast difference between that and doing this midseason in a blatant manner. The outcry from racing fans alone should ring a bell. I dont understand how you can say its not a big deal all things considered. Cheers.


as i posted earlier massa said on brazilian tv that he did an intentionally slow in-lap and backed off in the pit exit when he was told kimi was just exiting turn 1 to make sure he didnt come out ahead.


Team orders should be allowed when only one driver of a team has the chance to become world champion.


which is what happened at hockenheim. alonso had a shot at the title while massa had a significantly lower chance at the title.

teams need to make decisions based on whats best for the team, the team decided at hockenheim that alonso was there best chance of the title so made the order.

anyone that doesn't understand that, doesnt understand f1.


How do you police that? Would you consider Vitally to have a chance at the beginning of the season with Renault? Did either Lotus driver ever have a chance? If you mean a mathematical chance, then that means the teams can't operate at all throughout the entire season. This season every driver on the grid was mathematically viable until Spa!

Formula One is a team sport, always has been, always will be. The drivers drive for the team, period.


James, will you be posting the calendar for next year up later? It's my understanding they confirmed it today.


I've been reading all the JA posts and subsequent comments on this topic, but haven't commented for a while. This is basically because I just can't make up my mind on what I'd like to see happen.

I think the banning of team orders is unworkable and should be changed for next season. But at the same time, I would be horrified if at the first race of 2011 we see Ferrari/McLaren/whoever repeating what we saw in Germany and then doing it throughout the season. That would be awful.

So what's the answer? I just don't know - I'm hoping that the people who make the decisions have a proper think about it and come up with something that everyone can get on board with. I have faith that they will.

With regards to today's hearing, I hope Ferrari are given a constructors points penalty, because the way they blatantly broke the rules in front of a live worldwide TV audience and then denied it immediately afterwards was just cynical, arrogant and totally out of order. Let Alonso have his points though because he didn't really do anything wrong.


'So let’s be grown up about this. The rule which says “No team orders” is ridiculous and unworkable and we need a sensible, workable alternative to come out of today’s hearing.'

Enough said James - in the real world lets see the FIA get (sadly perhaps) real on this issue


Hi James,

What about a rule that strictly enforces NO team orders up until 75% (or some other number agreed by everyone) of the year's races are completed.. then blatant team orders are allowed and can come into effect.

All very transparent.. public may even like the fact that its an all out race between teammates for most of the season.. but then at an agreed race where everyone is aware that things may change.. 'teammates' behave like 'team players'.

This would introduce new strategies, new interest and a new twist to the F1 season, and be fair to fans AND the teams.

Any thoughts?


THat is what I proposed at the time, back in July


Controversy has a habit of stalking Alonso that's for sure. From 'spygate' and his behaviour at McLaren to the Singapore crash incident and now subsequently the team orders row, the past few years have not been kind to him. Whilst I do have an element of sympathy, I can't help but feel that you reap what you sow.

That aside I don't think that any driver would be happy about having to be the designated 2nd driver within a team. I personally feel that Rob Smedley dropped the ball with the radio comments that are now so famous. His comments really couldn't of been construed in any other way, and those comment's have ultimately led to this. Was this his intention? Or was it his way at displaying his distaste in the heat of the moment? One thing that can be sure is that today is an opportunity to set a president with this aspect of F1.

Hopefully some good can come out of this, whilst any longtime fan of F1 will be aware that team orders do play a part within the sport, what is not needed is the level of arrogance displayed by both Ferrari and Alonso post race.

I however wish to remember this race for Massa making an unbelievable recovery after his near fatal accident a year before. His courage and determination left me in awe.


James you once again raise a great number of points which I fully agree with.

However, what I find most interesting is the final two paragraphs focused on the negotiations for the new Concorde Agreement.

Are you plannning to write an article expanding on the Montezemolo-led takeover? Do you know who the other parties may be or is this purely speculation at the moment?


It's a long story and I'm sure that there will be plenty on it in the coming months..


The reaction to this incident really surprises me. Many posters are equating this to race fixing or cheating the public and sport, which is preposterous. Ferrari was caught breaking a rule that, as has been demonstrated, is regularly broken by teams and has been used throughout the history of F1. Posters are justifying why it was OK to do this in Brazil 08 or Hockenheim, but as James has pointed out the rule has still been broken in these cases, whether fans think it was acceptable or not. The real outcome of today should be either a reworking of the rule or its complete removal. The team should be able to decide the order of its drivers as it wishes, it's a team sport. I really think a lot of the anger is simply that Alonso and Ferrari are marmite - people either love 'em or hate 'em.


Does nobody think that Massa should take some of the blame? I know he is a nice guy and very likeable and all that, but if he was a true racer he would not yield. Do you think Alonso would have yielded if the situations were reversed? No chance. Massa's stock with the public must have been damaged.


Fernando Alonso = Worst decision by Ferrari.

Why the **** did they have to kick Kimi out?! He started showing his form again after the Felipe injury. Kimi and Felipe worked well together.

IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT! 'cos you might just end up breaking everything. This is what happened to Ferrari when they got Alonso.


I'm amused by the notion of precedent in F1 stewardship. I don't see any other sport applying this notion. A Yellow Card offense in Soccer is still punishable even if the referees miss another similar offense.

If we're all going to play the precedence card, then what's to stop another team from lining up 2 meters in front of the assigned starting grid spot and then claim there was a precedence at Spa 2010 and Massa wasn't punished then?

The stewards should take two things into account, IMO:

1. Is there enough evidence?

2. Did other teams complain?

This is how it works in many other sports. In Cricket, umpire decisions are made only if there is sufficient evidence, otherwise the benefit of the doubt goes to the player. Also, an appeal must be made for certain conditions in order to get an "out" verdict. I say the same approach should be used in F1.

What constitutes reasonable evidence is up for debate.


I am perplexed. If you are charged in a court of law, do you defend yourself by arguing the law is flawed? Or do you declare yourself innocent?

When I came across team orders in F1 back in the 80s, I found the sport downright stupid. It's just common sense, why get into a race when you aren't allow to win yourself. I didn't follow the sport. It was only after the Schumi incident and FIA banned team orders did I watch this even though I have been in karting for years.

The same goes for cycling today.

I understand the difficulties for FIA and the teams, but if team orders are allowed, I won't spend a thousand every year for F1 tickets, period.

This WMSC has huge ramifications, it determines if I will open my wallet.


I feel sorry for Smedley in all of this. Hopefully his head won't be on the chopping block over a slip of the tongue.


I think for Ferrari it'd be wise to concentrate on 2011's car for Mercedes according to me are already building a car for Schumacher for next year. Trust me when Schuey gets the car he wants, he'll be unbeatable and Rosberg is no pushover either... Redbull has Adrian Newey, while Mclaren has a best driver line up on the grid. So, by concentrating on 2010, Ferrari would only make it difficult for themselves next year. For this year, both Redbull and Mclaren have moved that little bit ahead for Ferrari to gamble on an attack and compromise on the next year's car.


It's a team sport, and a team should be allowed to give team orders for a good team result, but the individual drivers must be allowed to fight for their own championship position. In this case, the team gained nothing so they should be hammered for ordering the individuals around. The FIA would do well to insist on a clause in all drivers contracts to back up the team-orders-only-for-teams-benefit idea. One "problem" is that the drivers championship is actually far more interesting to sponsors than the constructors, so we might actually see sponsors lining up behind drivers rather than teams. Now that really would make more sense.

Thanks James - always a pleasure to read your pages...


According to the Brazilian press, the verdict was already released and, as expected, Ferrari was not punished, so both drivers and the team keep the same points as before. Some days ago, I read another interview with Domenicali saying that "if FIA do this or that, Ferrari may look for new challenges, and it would be a great loss to F1 since there is no F1 without Ferrari". I am honestly starting to think that that would be, actually, a great idea. I can't stand the Ferrari team anymore, although I used to support them not so long ago. I can't stand their hypocrisy, and though almost all the F1 teams had taken bad decisions in the past, none of them can be compared to Ferrari.


So..... what do Ferrari have to do to be held to account for anything?

The FIA have proved, once and for all, that they are a spineless joke of an organisation.



Here's the thing. Someone tells a Pakistani cricketer to bowl a no-ball in a test match which doesn't affect the outcome and that's a police investigation, possible life time ban etc.

If someone tells a jockey that another horse is faster and to tuck in behind it, there are bans all round.

If I had put a bet on Massa to win, and Ferrari changed the result I would be livid, and if I were a bookmaker I'd be none too happy about paying out on Alonso.

It's very simple. Have team orders, they should be lodged with Stewards and published on the FIA web site two hours after qualifying.

They could say "Our following driver will be told not to contest the position after the pit stops" , "if either driver appears to be delaying the other they will be asked to move over" or "To maximize X's chances in the drivers championship Y will be asked to move over"

Of course Ferrari could (justifiably) argue that only the middle of these 3 needs a call to the driver, the others can be "fixed" before the race. That's the thing, as James has said of course there are team orders: we just don't like seeing them made. If Rob Smedley had told Massa simply "Fernado is able to go 2 tenths faster than you in sector 1 and 1 tenth faster in sector 2. Hamilton is also faster than you at the moment", then no-one would have batted and eyelid if Massa said "I thought the best thing was to let him through"

Ferrari also felt that Alonso wasn't capable of keeping Hamilton behind him (and Hamilton would then take Massa) and that Alonso wasn't capable of passing Massa without help. Draw your own conclusions.

231 is reporting that there will be no further sanctions against Ferrari.

"The WMSC hearing over the matter took place in Paris today, but Angelo Sticchi Damiani, head of Italian motorsport federation the CSAI, told reporters outside that the governing body had agreed unanimously not to impose any extra punishment, according to the Reuters news agency."

WOOT WOOT!!! F1 is saved. Team orders exist so stop pretending they don't!


Good piece James!


Hi James,

just read the outcome of the hearing, NO more punishment! amazing! i thought they would at least lose the points gainied from the race. Is it now worth for teams to break the rule blatenly! for only $100 000 per race? over the next couple of races left in the season, say an extra 200-300 thousand to win the championship? i would say so. let them make the radio calls lose abit of money but pick up the championship! is it worth it?

andrew-the land down under


So Ferrari are still guilty of team-orders and yet nothing was done about the drivers lying to the stewards. They've set a very bad precedent here.


I cannot believe the FIA is so spineless. They bottled it and have given in just when they were needed to stand firm and not put up with the nonsense that Ferrari have been up to. Just as they have been afraid to use photographic and video evidence of moving bodywork to get Red Bull and Ferrari to tighten up their act.

Nil points to Jean Todt and his new way of doing things, it would appear that he is still in the pocket of Ferrari. I wonder if some other team had broken the rule as blatantly that a large fine, disqualification and race ban would have been imposed?

But because Ferrari do it, suddenly no action is taken and Oh My, they will try to rescind the rule because it doesn't suit Ferrari!

Why devote time to a farce? Years of watching F1 will go down the drain if the FIA allow this to continue.

I think that they should have whacked Ferrari with a massive fine and docked points for both drivers and constructors, and then looked to revise the rule for the future to make it a bit more applicable with specified sanctions that a meaningful! I want to at least watch a race to the end, no have a spineless swap because someone is a complete baby and cannot handle team-mates beating them fair and square.


The only aspect of this which I feel warrants the application of "grown-up" thinking is the F1 community's misguided belief that it does not have to abide by the same rules of sporting conduct as other disciplines, or even other areas of motor racing. With all due respect, attempting to describe Ferrari's actions as anything other than race fixing is equivocating - race fixing is defined as actions which "completely or partially pre-determine a result". To claim that ordering one driver to move over in favour of another does not fall into that category is frankly devoid of logic. Similarly, the protests that such a law is unworkable is almost akin to a burglar protesting the existence of the Theft Act. There is no intrinsic need for a team to use team orders to be successful, as Yamaha have demonstrated in MotoGP and both Peugeot and Audi have demonstrated at Le Mans. F1 has had similar instances of teammates fighting it out for the duration (Alfa Romeo in the first ever F1 season in 1950 springs to mind), so it is not a question of F1 being a special case either. This boils down to pure self-interest in a form that the sport is better off without in my view.

Regarding the comparisons to Brazil 2007, Germany 2008 and Turkey this year, they are with respect pretty tenuous comparisons. Kimi would not have passed Massa without putting in that sequence of fastest laps and pulling off a flawless pitstop, irrespective of Massa slowing down. Germany 2008 could probably have done with Heikki being a bit more robust, but Lewis still had to pass the other cars to win the race so again that's not really a fair comparison. As for Turkey, if that constituted a case of team orders then why did no one say anything at the time? There was plenty of opportunity to do so, and the FIA have access to all the car's telemetry at any given time so it would be quite easy to find out if the "fuel saving mode" was a cover for team orders. The fact that they felt no need to investigate should put that beyond dispute in my view. The above comparisons are almost akin to saying that a Ponzi scheme is on the same scale as stealing a packet of crisps and therefore a kid should spend their life in jail for the latter. That to me is not a credible argument.

All of the above have been made somewhat academic points by the FIA's decision today anyway, about which I am very disappointed. F1 had a golden opportunity to restore some credibility and take a decisive stand on this point, and it failed miserably. Any resulting damage to its commercial or popular appeal is something for which it has no one to blame but itself, and I write that with some regret.


Excellent result, and the right result for F1 in my opinion!

Now hopefully all those who, for some odd reason seem to prefer subterfuge to openness, can take their heads out of the sand and see F1 for what it is...a TEAM sport. The teams invest huge sums of money and resources and should be able to run their teams the way they see fit. Fans will still be the judge of their actions however and team orders are never a crowd pleaser, something which all the teams will be all too aware of and something which will keep it to a minimum.

This is clearly a precursor to a reintroduction, or at least an acknowledgement that team orders cannot be policed and are better back out in the open. The FIA would look ridiculous if they had punished Ferrari and then made team orders legal again soon after.

The 100k fine is sufficient to acknowledge that the incident was handled badly by Ferrari (mainly Smedley and Massa IMO) but any points deduction would be unfair given that Ferrari were clearly deserving of a 1-2 victory. Also any deduction in Alonso's points would also be unfair because it was Massa's decision to move over and he is the only one who suffered.

The current FIA is clearly a much more mature, objective and intelligent organisation than it was in the last few years. That can only be a good thing. Bravo!


Have the drivers lied to the stewards here?

If so, how is this different to the Hamilton disqualification can somebody tell me?



Surprised the poster two posts above you didn't have a comment to make about this. Could be another Dave Ryan though 🙂


Got a bit caught up in the other points I was making - my bad. 😛 It is a valid point though and one which warrants further consideration.


I can't see how bookmakers can be taking bets if the results are falsified. I see this as no different to what the Pakistani Cricket team (or particular players within the team) have been accused of doing. I'm not a gambling man myself but I can see how those who do bet on particular drivers can feel annoyed as their driver "moves" over to let their team mate pass. Off topic, big thanks to you James for writing such terrific blogs. Having just been through the Christchurch, NZ earthquake, I have been reading your blog constantly to help take my mind off whats been going on here


I'm happy that Massa let Kimi through in 2007. Massa didn't have a mathematical chance of winning in 2007, in 2010 he did have a mathematical chance of winning so he shouldn't have to get out of the way.

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