'According to Ferrari, a team order in the context of article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations has to mean an instruction to a driver from the team which he is required to follow. If the driver has discretion as to what to do, then that cannot amount to an 'order'. It is not the same as giving the driver information, or even an indication of what the team would like him to do. In the view of Ferrari, the contentious communication does not amount to an order, and the decision to let past Mr. Fernando Alonso
was Mr. Felipe Massa's decision ultimately.'
'Team orders are different from team strategy. There was no instruction here that Mr. Felipe Massa
was required to follow. This was the giving of information, and what the team wanted him to do. Pressure was not enough, and the information enabled the driver to choose. If this was not permitted, there was a risk of accidents and collisions between team-mates, such as suffered by Red Bull
in this year's Turkish Grand Prix... Reference was also made to letters of support from Mr. Frank Williams
and Mr. Peter Sauber, who both pointed out the risk of collision of team-mates, that this was a team sport and the rules need revising.'
'Ferrari thought the prohibition in the rules only applied to clear team orders. There were ambiguities in the rule and inconsistencies in its application, and this had influenced Ferrari's approach.'
The ruling also makes reference to 'the ambiguous nature of the rule' regarding team orders, the 'uncertainty and complexity' of the ban and 'the difficulties of policing it and ensuring consistent treatment between different teams'. It adds that 'it was accepted that there were issues over its interpretation and policing and it might sensibly be referred to the F1 Sporting Working Group', given that there is 'clear support for team orders in some quarters'.
It is acknowledged that there exists a 'grey area between impermissible 'team orders' and legitimate team strategy and tactics', and there are allusions to 'many examples' of alleged team orders in recent years, some involving McLaren-Mercedes.
The verdict recognises, finally, Ferrari's 'legitimate concern' to avoid a collision between Massa and Alonso as they disputed the lead of the race.
To read the publication in full, click here