Oh dear Ferrari! After managing to stay out of the F1 controversy headlines for a considerable amount of time, the prancing horse’s latest trick has brought them back to the forefront. What have they done this time? Deliberately swapped their two drivers positions during the German Grand Prix.
As F1 fans will remember, it was Ferrari that started controversy over this issue in 2002. On the final lap of the Austrian GP their ordered Rubens Barrichello to move over and let teammate and championship leader Michael Schumacher through for the win so as he could get the victory. After the outcry from fans (and a hilarious reaction from F1 commentator Mark Blundell), the FIA stepped in and ordered that such events be banned from Formula One.
However, eight years on Ferrari are at it again, this time ordering Felipe Massa to move aside and allow Fernando Alonso to take the victory. Looking at the points it’s clear to see why Ferrari made the decision, Fernando was several points and positions ahead in the championship.
BUT the fact remains. This kind of move is now against the rules. It takes away from the spectacle and as the BBC’s Eddie Jordan said, the fans have been robbed of a good battle between the two teammates.
I would like to say right now that I am a Ferrari fan, have been for over ten years when I started watching F1, yet I think this decision was entirely wrong. Felipe Massa was driving a strong race and if Fernando Alonso could not get past then I’m afraid maybe he doesn’t deserve the points. I am devastated that Ferrari have chosen to do this again, it’s completely unfair and really brings the sport, once again, into disrepute. What’s the point in watching a racing league where drivers are ‘gifted’ victories without having to fight for them.
And what’s annoyed me more than anything is that fact Ferrari have tried to hide it when it’s so blatant. Massa’s engineer Rob Smedley said ‘good lad’ and ‘sorry’ to Felipe as soon as he had allowed Alonso past. Yet after the race, both he and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali had the tenacity to say that Alonso simply ‘passed’ Massa on his own merit. It appals me that Ferrari think that us, the F1 following are so thick we didn’t notice it.
It’s clearly causing problems in the team as well. Smedley could have made the announcement much less obvious and Massa’s face after the race confirmed his anger.
Luckily the incident hasn’t gone unnoticed by teh FIA, but in their usual way, the punishment is quite frankly pants. The results will stand, Ferrari will be fined $100,000, but they will have to face the FIA World Sports Council where the fine could be higher. That unfortunately will not take place for several weeks meaning once again, we’re watching a sport where the results we have seen could be changed in the future. Oh F1, when will you learn.
I have once again been left feeling disillusioned by a team I love. It was an unnecessary and unfair decision and has left me wondering if I really want to go on being a fan of Ferrari. But then again… what’s F1 without the controversy!