Can you believe the arrogance of Ferrari? If the authorities don’t throw the book at them after fixing the result of the German grand prix then the sport can no longer be taken seriously.
The whole point of the Formula One Drivers’ Championship is to see which driver has been the fastest over the course of the season. Yesterday, Fernando Alonso wasn’t the fastest driver, but he was reluctantly waved through by Felipe Massa, upon the instructions of his team, and gifted a hollow victory.
In other words, they cheated. They broke the rules, they hoodwinked the 70,000 supporters who paid good money to watch the race and had no idea that Alonso had passed his team-mate by manipulation, they embarrassed Massa on the anniversary of his near fatal crash last year and they cheated all those punters who backed Massa to win.
Team orders are nothing new in F1, but they were outlawed back in 2002 when Ferrari pulled a similar stunt, Rubens Barrichello blatantly moving aside to let Michael Schumacher take the chequered flag on the final lap. I’m sure it’s been going on for far longer than any of us realise and only the recent broadcasting of team radio conversations during races has enlightened TV viewers the world over.
In fact the only reason Ferrari got caught was because their attempt to issue a coded message was about as credible as something out of ‘Allo ‘Allo. Perhaps the others are doing it too and we just haven’t realised yet.
By imposing a $100,000 fine on Ferrari the stewards administered little more than a derisory slap on the wrist (that’s the cost of a coupl of tyres) but at least their action means the matter will be referred to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for further consideration under Article 151c of its Sporting Code, which basically gives the governing body carte blanche to sanction Ferrari as it sees fit.
They should hit Ferrari where it hurts by setting an example of them. Annul the first and second-place finish, award the race to Sebastan Vettel and ban the Prancing Horse from the next race. Then they might think again.
The only trouble is, the man in charge of the FIA is Jean Todt, who was Ferrari’s executive director when Schumacher stole that result eight years ago.
Hmm, I wouldn’t bet on the Italians getting banned if I was you. And I wouldn’t bet on F1 again either.