German GP: Ferrari Receive A $100,000 Penalty

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The Ferrari controversy only gets more interesting. After issuing team orders in a coded radio communication in the German Grand Prix, Ferrari were summoned by the FIA for breach of rules. It is one thing to be summoned, but another to get penalized, especially if you are Ferrari.

For a change, I would have loved to receive a post-race press release from the Ferrari team. I am sure it wasn’t too much of work for their media division – a re-print of 2002 Austrian Grand Prix would have sufficed.

However, it is interesting to note Ferrari’s post – race reaction. They have blatantly denied using team-orders. Infact, their explanation of Felipe’s radio message was funny – it was only to let him know the relative pace of the team. That Massa moved over was a ‘driver reaction’ and not necessarily an order from the team. They also tried to explain Massa’s poor exit at the hairpin that allowed Alonso’s to close in and overtake.

Ferrari have been involved with the sport since 60 years now and their long-term involvement allows them to believe that they can be brattish in their approach. But this is 2010 and times have changed. With TV replays, youtube and other mediums that allow re-plays of their shameful act, the ramifications of their acts will be long term and they won’t be restricted on-track. Mclaren’s Martin Whitmarsh prior to the German GP publicly stated that Mclaren’s target was to overtake Ferrari as Formula1’s number one brand. If the Italian team continue their controversial ways, Mclaren’s task will only be easier!

When the FIA summoned Ferrari, my first reaction was not of surprise. Rather I was hoping that they don’t treat preferentially as they have before. After hearing the result of their hearing, I am surprised that there’s only a financial implication in the penalty and no change in the race results.

A penalty of $100,000 is loose change for the Italian automobile giant whose roadcars are super expensive and even a second hand Ferrari F360 will cost more than that amount. However, from prior experience and history, I do know that a financial penalty is all that Ferrari will receive. In 2002 too, a financial penalty was all that was imposed with no change in the final standings.

The case has also been forwarded to the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) but there’s no date set for a hearing and my guess is that there will be no effect in the final F1 standings. Such is the way of life in Formula1…

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