The FIA has published in full the verdict of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) into the Ferrari team orders controversy – and it makes for interesting reading...
Here are a few choice excerpts from both sides:
'Ferrari's argument relating to the fact that Mr. Fernando Alonso was faster than Mr. Felipe Massa appears not to hold up. Indeed, a few laps prior to the contentious overtaking, Ferrari's drivers reduced their engine speed at the request of their respective race engineers. Then Mr. Fernando Alonso increased his engine speed, without Mr. Felipe Massa being informed. Mr. Fernando Alonso was therefore benefiting from a definite performance advantage over Mr. Felipe Massa in the moments preceding the contentious overtaking. The fierce battle between the two team drivers a few laps prior to the contentious overtaking, corroborated by the content of the communications between the drivers and the race engineers, as well as the use of the term 'sorry', are revealing of the fact that Mr. Felipe Massa allowed Mr. Fernando Alonso to overtake him following a team order. This team order interfered with the race result, as the positions of the two team drivers were modified consequently... It is undeniable that the race result would have been different had the contentious instruction not been issued to Mr. Felipe Massa.'
'The contentious communications have proven prejudicial to both the competition and motorsport generally by entirely eliminating the competitive character of the race between the two drivers. Irrespective of their fitness, talent or position in the race and/or championship, competitors should be able to rely on themselves for purposes of winning the race without any form of external aid influencing their sporting performance.'
'On the facts, team orders clearly existed here as on lap 49 Mr. Felipe Massa let Mr. Fernando Alonso by, and Mr. Felipe Massa accepted this. He was leading the race and could have won, and the orders interfered with the race result.'
'Whilst teams are free to adopt a strategy, there are a number of indications here this was prohibited team orders, and when there is pressure on a driver this is equivalent to team orders. The indications included the fight to lap 21 and letting Mr. Fernando Alonso past on lap 49, the radio communications, the mood of the drivers on the podium, their answers in the post-race press-conference...and the fact Ferrari did not appeal the stewards' decision.'
'It is self-evident to the Judging Body of the WMSC that this was an implied team order using a message, and as such was contrary to article 39.1 Sporting Regulations.'
'It was said by Ferrari that with 18 laps to go at the moment of the overtaking, the race results were uncertain, but the Judging Body of the WMSC noted that from lap 1 to lap 49, Mr. Felipe Massa comfortably led the race. On lap 21, Mr. Fernando Alonso passed Mr. Felipe Massa only to be immediately re-passed, and Mr. Fernando Alonso only eventually passed Mr. Felipe Massa on lap 49 when Mr. Felipe Massa unexpectedly slowed down after receiving the messages. This clearly interfered with the results of the race.'
'It is important for the FIA to act to protect the sporting integrity of the FIA Formula One World Championship, and to ensure the podium finish has been achieved by genuine on-track racing.'
'In the view of Ferrari, Mr. Felipe Massa was not ordered to let Mr. Fernando Alonso pass; rather he was given relevant information, based on which he decided, for the benefit of the team, to allow Mr. Fernando Alonso to pass. The relevant information was that Mr. Fernando Alonso was faster than him, and that Mr. Sebastian Vettel was closing the gap on both of them. Mr. Felipe Massa realised that the best interests of the team and the drivers' safety were going to be served by allowing Mr. Fernando Alonso to pass, and acted accordingly. In the view of Ferrari, there is a clear distinction between 'team orders' on the one hand, and 'team strategy and tactics' on the other hand. The disputed communication should be considered as 'team strategy and tactics'.'