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Horner: WMSC ruling on Ferrari has set a precedent

10 September 2010

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner argues that F1 teams have now effectively been given carte blanche to manipulate the results of grands prix through ostensibly illegal team orders, following the FIA World Motor Sport Council's decision not to punish Ferrari any further over the Hockenheim furore earlier this week.

Whilst the governing body admitted after the verdict that it did believe Ferrari had breached the ban on team orders – in force in the top flight since 2002 – by employing coded information to engineer a switch in the positions of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the 2010 German Grand Prix in July to boost the latter's world championship chances [see separate story – click here], an inability to prove as much due to insufficient evidence, allied to 'inconsistency' in the application of the regulation in recent years and 'ambiguities' in its wording made it impossible to mete out any further sanctions to the Scuderia [see separate story – click here].

Horner contends that the resolution means a fine similar to the $100,000 penalty that was handed down to Ferrari – a comparative drop in the ocean to a leading F1 outfit – is the heaviest punishment that can now effectively apply to the use of implied team orders in the sport, something that the Englishman opines is to set a dangerous precedent.

“If any team was in that situation...then a precedent has been set,” the 36-year-old reflected on the eve of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza. “Based on what happened with Ferrari at Hockenheim, other than the financial penalty at the event, it didn't affect points. They (the WMSC) obviously didn't think there was enough clear evidence. The regulation is not particularly well-worded. It needs to be better-worded or abolished."


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