View Single Post
      07-26-2010, 10:07 AM   #36
Supreme Allied Commander
E90SLAM's Avatar
Hong Kong

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: .

iTrader: (6)

Garage List
2016 X3 xDrive28i  [0.00]
2006 330i  [4.67]
Reasons Why Ferrari Were Wrong

Some are quite good points...even I do not agree with it entirely....

Ferrari have been fined $100,000 for issuing a team order during the German GP. But they were in the wrong not just because they broke the rules...

1) Because It Was Blatant And Shameless
There was nothing subtle about the message given to Felipe Massa and though Rob Smedley's communication was phrased as a question only a na´ve fool would have heard anything but an order. How could Ferrari not expect all of us to understand precisely what was being said? How could the team be so blatant? How could they be so shameless?

Team orders are nothing new in F1. But the outlawing of such directives is a relatively-new matter and the real outrage of Ferrari's machinations is that they didn't even have the decency to be subtle about it. They thought themselves untouchable and they thought the rest of us to be gullible fools.

The what was terrible; the how was utterly scandalous.

2) Because Ferrari Continued To Handle It So Very Badly
For a little while after the race there was a nagging suspicion that the team might had forgotten that this was the first grand prix in which all radio communications were available to television. Then came the realisation they really thought they'd get away with it: the adamant denials, all made without so much as a red cheek of a shamed-face, culminating in the laughable how-stupid-do-they-think-we are? claim that Alonso only took the lead because "Massa made a small mistake when shifting up three gears at once". It would be funny if only it wasn't so mocking.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if they had respected our intelligence, and offered a hint of remorse rather than insisted it was all Massa's doing, then it wouldn't have felt quite so outrageous.

A summons to the stewards was their just deserts. With the call to account only being made an hour after the race, it was apparent that it was the public's outrage at their appalling arrogance that belatedly put them in the dock.

In one critical regard, Coulthard is entirely right. The rule needs to be re-written. It needs to state that 'team orders are banned unless the team concerned have sufficient public relations skill and savvy to handle the inevitable outcry without insulting the public and making an embarrassment of themselves as well as the sport'.

3) Because Team Orders Are Banned For A Good Reason
It was Ferrari's manipulation of the Austrian GP in 2002 that prompted the FIA to ban team orders and though reflection on this weekend will quickly descend into a debate of semantics, and the question of whether Smedley's words were sufficiently coded to protect the team from punishment, the centrepiece for all discussions ought to be the reminder of why such instructions are illegal.

On the BBC, David Coulthard described the rule as "silly", but there speaketh a man who has only ever looked at F1 from the inside. It is the people looking from the outside, ie the fans and viewing public, for whom the rule is written so that they are not denied a sporting spectacle and a contest that at least contains a semblance of fairness. We tune in for races, not manipulation.

A wider perspective on this weekend's ugly matter is that team orders are the fine line between F1 being a team sport and being in the business of entertainment. Ferrari dived, two-footed across the line because whatever benefit they achieved from appearing to manipulate the result was miniscule compared to the loss endured by the viewing public expecting a race to the finish. Ferrari didn't just break the rules, they cheated us.

4) Because It Was Appallingly Hypocritical
It was only two races ago that Alonso jumped upon his high horse and castigated the Valencia race stewards for "manipulating" the result. Oh the irony of hindsight.

5) Because The Reason Given To Massa Was Invalid
The red herring of the follow-ups to come will be the data proving or disproving that Alonso was indeed faster than Massa. It matters not. Felipe's response to being told that "Fernando is faster" should have been "so what?" There is no right of way in F1 given to a faster car stuck behind a slower vehicle. If Fernando was faster, then overtake. That's his job. Overtaking is a skill to be performed, not a charity to be handed out.

6) Because Fernando Shouldn't Need Help
As the highest-paid driver in the sport, there are reputedly 30 millions reasons of pounds sterling why Alonso shouldn't need assistance from the pitwall. By not staying neutral in the official view of the stewards, and by denying Alonso the chance to claim victory without interference, Ferrari have tainted both his win and reputation. Will he care about that or about the additional points garnered? It is a question that ought not need asking.

7) Because It Was Too Early In The Season For Team Orders To Be Issued In Any Circumstances
The morals of team orders are ambiguous and permanently shaded in grey. Even the sanctimonious among us will admit that in some circumstances and some times, team orders are an acceptable mechanism for operation. In 2008, for instance, Kimi Raikkonen slowed down to enable Massa to win in China. In 2007 at Brazil, Massa slowed down to let Raikkonen past to claim victory and title. But that was different. It was at the clutch end of the season and there was only one Ferrari driver in contention for the title. A blind-eye was turned because everyone understood the circumstances.

Though it is impossible to state where the dividing line exists, and at which point of the season team orders do become acceptable if not palatable, the answer is not to be found at the halfway stage of a year's campaign. Ferrari's scarcely-coded instruction to Massa was wrong because it was so blatant, so shameless, and so insulting. It was also wrong because it could not be justified as a necessary evil at this stage of the season.

With eight races still to be run, 200 points remain up for grabs. Ferrari's manoeuvring brought Alonso an additional seven. The numbers, compared to the inevitable fuss generated, simply don't add up.

Nor do they justify Massa's second billing. Were he to have prevailed in Sunday's race, he would have arrived in Hungary just 24 points - the equivalent of less than a single race win - behind his team-mate. Ferrari didn't just manipulate the result of a solitary race. In effect, they announced that only one of their drivers is contending in the World Championship.

8) Because Of The Effect It Will Have On Massa
When the dust settles, so will the rankle. Though the outcry will simmer and the next controversy will soon arrive to refocus attention, one half of the Ferrari garage will still know it is second class.

A clairvoyant is hardly required to predict that this episode will damage team harmony, attract discord and impinge on Massa's future performance and results. His morale will be at rock bottom after - apparently - learning that he is not allowed to beat Alonso in a straight fight.

9) Because Ferrari Brought Rob Smedley Into It
The relationship between Massa and Smedley is too strong for it to be seriously damaged by his role of messenger in this sorry episode. But that's no excuse for Ferrari requiring him to do their dirty work. The potential risk of Smedley's involvement harming driver-engineer relations was reason enough to expect somebody else on the pitwall to front up.

10) Because Ferrari Have Turned A Great Story Into A Great Shame
It's not merely that the team have committed a gross act of sporting indecency, insulted and cheated the public, harmed team relations, and affected a PR disaster. They've also missed a PR open goal.

For what better story could there have been on the anniversary of Massa's brush with mortality than his first victory since nearly being blinded in Hungary? Ferrari have turned a great story into a PR disaster. Winners of their first 1-2 since the opening race of the season, the team have contrived to make themselves into the weekend's big losers. What a terrible error of judgement.

Pete Gill