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Ferrari: Finally, an end to pointless hypocrisy
13 December 2010
Friday's announcement that the rules surrounding team orders are to be struck from the F1 regulations from 2011 have been welcomed, unsurprisingly, by the team thought most likely to use them.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed the Scuderia's delight during the weekend's Bologna Motor Show, calling the old rules 'an hypocrisy' and insisting that F1 has been, and always will be, 'a team sport'.
The rule change was among a series of changes announced by the governing body following the final 2010 meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, with Article 39.1 - which forbids the use of team orders in the top flight - being abolished ahead of next season, although provision remains to punish any team thought to be using the new-found freedom to the detriment of F1.
"Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and any other relevant provisions," the FIA governing body announced in an official statement, "Team communications will be made available to broadcasters."
Ferrari made the headlines for all the wrong reasons at the German Grand Prix when it denied Felipe Massa an emotional victory on the anniversary of his 2009 crash at the Hungaroring and ordered him to allow team-mate Fernando Alonso through into the lead of a race the Scuderia appeared unbeatable in. The Italians were only fined $100,000 for the switch - which was obvious to viewers thanks to the poorly-disguised information given to Massa, and engineer Rob Smedley's subsequent apology to the Brazilian - and escaped further sanction at a WMSC hearing as it could not be definitively proved that team orders had been used.
"Finally, we have said goodbye to this pointless hypocrisy,” Domenicali told reporters, “For us, F1 is a team sport - we have always maintained that viewpoint and it should be treated as such. The regulations already include points that prevent certain situations being managed in an extreme manner. The decision taken yesterday is very important.”
Ferrari's controversial decision split observers, with many accepting that the sport is one for teams, and others hoping that, if Alonso won then title, he did so by more than the seven points he gained at Massa's expense at Hockenheim. In the end, and somewhat ironically, 'team' cost the Spaniard the crown by deciding to cover supposed main rival Mark Webber at the season finale, allowing Sebastian Vettel to triumph by two points.
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