Italy's motorsport-sanctioning body CSAI (Commissione Sportiva Automobilistica Italiana) has backed Ferrari's indignation at the handling of the safety car situation in last weekend's European Grand Prix, lamenting the 'uncertainty and confusion' that it claims 'damages the credibility' of the sport, and suggesting a 'degree of subjectivity' was involved in the administering of penalties.
Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and Ferrari were left incandescent in the immediate aftermath of the race around the Valencia Street Circuit, after both the Spaniard and team-mate Felipe Massa were effectively punished far more for respecting the rules than McLaren-Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, who broke them by illegally overtaking the safety car on his way to the pit-lane.
Moreover, FIA race stewards took so long to debate the Briton's penalty, that by the time he was eventually alerted that he had to serve a drive-through, the 25-year-old had built up a sufficient buffer over third-placed Kamui Kobayashi so as not to lose second position.
Having been right behind Hamilton prior to the intervention of the safety car on lap ten, Alonso lost so much time following the Mercedes road car dutifully around to the pits as to drop well down the order and ultimately be classified eighth, with Massa even more luckless in eleventh. Worse still from Ferrari's point-of-view, neither of the pair gained significantly from the five-second post-race penalties meted out to nine of their competitors for speeding during the safety car period – again, sanctions that disgusted the Scuderia
in their adjudged leniency.
“The success of a sport is measured by its ability to be credible and above all understandable to the general public,” argued CSAI President Angelo Sticchi Damiani, telling Italian media that his stance is not 'to be controversial, but to be constructive' and expressing his opinion that a 'degree of subjectivity' came into the stewards' decision-making. “What happened on Sunday...damages the credibility of the category. I don't think anyone, whether in the grandstands or in front of televisions around the world, understands what happened.
“A driver who passed the safety car got on the podium, while others, taking advantage of the same situation, also had an advantage over their rivals. Others still – those who respected the rules – were the victims. We would like clarification about the penalties ...and on what criteria they were given. Perhaps some of the regulations about behaviour in F1 must be investigated and evolved so that they do not create more uncertainty and confusion.”