Ferrari fined after Alonso wins German Grand Prix
Spaniard wins after Ferrari appear to order Felipe Massa to make way for his team mate
Ferrari grabbed a hugely controversial one-two at the German Grand Prix, and were then hit with a $100,000 fine by the FIA after apparently instructing Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso win the race.
Ferrari denied that they had issued team orders, which are banned in F1, and insisted that Alonso's overtaking move on Massa was the result of a "driver decision."
However, radio conversations and Massa's demeanour afterwards suggested otherwise. And race team principal Stefano Domenicali, team manager Massimo Rivola and both drivers were summoned to face the stewards after the race at Hockenheim.
They emerged with a $100,000 fine for a breach of the FIA sporting regulations and the International Sporting Code. The matter has also been referred to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for further consideration.
Brazilian Massa took the lead at the very start of the Grand Prix, taking advantage of a first corner spat between Alonso and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. He was still in front on lap 47 when he received a radio message from his race engineer Rob Smedley that appeared to order him to yield to Alonso.
Smedley's exact words were: "OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?"
Two laps later Alonso cruised past his team mate unopposed and Smedley then came back on the radio and apologised to Massa. At the end of the race he told him he had been "very, very, very magnanimous" in his actions.
Afterwards Ferrari's communications director Luca Colajanni claimed: "We didn't give any instruction at all... Fernando was slightly quicker at that stage, and we informed the drivers."
Alonso, who was clearly annoyed at being behind Massa during the race, tried to make amends with his team mate after taking the chequered flag. But he was given the cold shoulder and the pair appeared not to be speaking on the podium. Indeed Alonso was left on his own as Massa preferred to celebrate with third-placed Vettel as the champagne flowed.
It is not the first time this season that relations between F1 team mates have disintegrated. Red Bull is in the grip of a civil war between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber that began when the pair collided at the Turkish Grand Prix and escalated when Vettel was given the front wing of Webber's car at Silverstone earlier this month.
Nor is it the first time Alonso has fallen out with his partner. In 2007 he walked out on McLaren after being eclipsed by the emerging talent of Lewis Hamilton, who came in fourth in Germany, one place ahead of his current team mate Jenson Button.
The controversy provided a major talking point after what was an otherwise unexciting race. The result leaves Lewis Hamilton top of the drivers championship on 157 points. Jenson Button remains second on 143 points and the two Red Bull drivers, Vettel and Webber are tied in third on 136 points.
It was another disappointing outing for local hero Michael Schumacher who finished in ninth, behind team mate Nico Rosberg. ·
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