17 December 2010
Team orders rule had to be deleted, says Gelpi
Enrico Gelpi: The team orders rule was very controversial because it is unclear what a team order is.
FIA vice-president Enrico Gelpi believes the 'right' decision was reached last week when it was decided to 'delete' article 39.1 forbidding team orders.
The World Motor Sport Council announced the change seven days ago following its final meeting of the year in Monaco.
The decision to drop it was made in the wake of the controversy this year at the German Grand Prix, when Felipe Massa was given a 'coded' message to let his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso through. The Scuderia was subsequently fined $100,000, but no further action was taken, even though the matter was referred to an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC, as it was ruled there was no absolute proof team orders had been used.
“My impression is that the team orders rule was very controversial,” Gelpi told Italian website, 422.com. “First of all because it is unclear what a team order is. There were previous facts, not always by Ferrari, which were treated in a different way even if we could think they were team orders.
“Ferrari's one could well have been a team order or not, because in the end Massa let Alonso pass and he said he voluntarily decided to do so. Anyway, the rule had to be changed and we, from Italy, asked for its cancellation.
“In today's F1 there are important economic and R&D involvements, so the team has a prevalent position. Moreover, there is a constructors' title. Drivers, who are well paid professionals, have to be part of this game, which is bigger than them.
“I think in the end it was right to cancel it, because this rule was useless and could lead to different treatment of similar situations.”
Meanwhile, Gelpi defended the decision to switch to 1.6-litre turbocharged engines from 2013, even though the change has been criticised by the likes of F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone and the Scuderia.
“It was done both for cost reduction and to find solutions to be used in road cars,” Gelpi added. “Motorsport has always been a basin of positive solutions, in terms of security and fuel consumption and performance.
"[Jean] Todt [FIA president] is very sensible for that. He was the first to make motorsport and mobility work together, so that they can get a mutual advantage,” he concluded.
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