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Whitmarsh: Team orders rule now muddier than ever

McLaren-Mercedes team principal and FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has hit out at the FIA World Motor Sport Council for having confused rather than clarified the ruling on team orders in F1 in the wake of the Ferrari German Grand Prix row
Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) chairman Martin Whitmarsh believes that far from helping to clear up any grey areas, the FIA World Motor Sport Council's decision last week not to punish Ferrari any further than the $100,000 it had already been fined over the Hockenheim team orders controversy has if anything rendered the regulations on the matter 'more muddy than previously'.

Whilst conceding that Ferrari had in all likelihood employed illegal team orders in suggesting four times to race leader Felipe Massa that his pursuing, world championship-chasing team-mate Fernando Alonso was 'faster' than him and then asking the Brazilian whether he understood the information in the closing stages of the German Grand Prix in late July, the WMSC resolved that ultimately, it was powerless to mete out any further sanctions to the Scuderia due to 'ambiguities in the rule and inconsistencies in its application' in recent years [see separate story – click here].

Off the back of that, the Sporting Working Group has been instructed to look into the regulations regarding team orders, but Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner argues the governing body's verdict has effectively given teams carte blanche to henceforth use team orders under the threat of no more than a nominal fine [see separate story – click here] – and McLaren-Mercedes counterpart Whitmarsh agrees that the ruling has sent out confusing signals about just what is and isn't permitted in the top flight now.

“I don't fully understand it,” the Englishman confessed to BBC Sport. “I think it would appear that there is enough evidence in people's minds to find them guilty, and therefore there should be a penalty, or [if] they're not guilty they should be given back the fine that they received – superficially, it doesn't seem too logical. It's a rule this year and it will have to remain in-place. We were hoping to have clarity, but now it's more muddy than previously.”

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Race, Press conference, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
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FIA flag. British Formula One Grand Prix.Silverstone, UK.July 8th 2007.
Friday, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer
Friday, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes
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Realfan 10 - Unregistered

September 14, 2010 7:21 PM

Oh come on, Ferrari would have to please their major sponsor Santanda, and they of course would want Alonso as champion. Thats common sense. Just like RBR want their protege Vettel to be champion to please the boss. Except Mark Webber is showing the youngster up, as he continues to crash into everything possible including his team mate, who was at that time under orders to conserve fuel, even though it was discovered after the race that he didn't need to. Team orders are used in different ways by different teams, and Horner is not being totally honest to say otherwise.

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