Did Ferrari use team orders at Korea?


Staff Member
An article on the Grandprix.com website claims that Autosport's Mark Hughes has stated that Ferrari once again used team orders, this time at Korea.

The difference is though they used Massa to back up the cars out on the track to stop Alonso losing too many places due to the botched pit stop.

If this is indeed true (and as it's coming from Hughes then it's fair to say it must be) then Ferrari should be investigated (again) as they are now also guilty of interfering with the races of the other drivers, not just their own.

If Alonso goes on to win the WDC this year then this, on top of the 7 points from Germany, will make him a very unworthy winner in my opinion.

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say on it, bearing in mind the recent discussion on sportsmanship in F1.

The full article is here: http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns22731.html
I have to say, that this is a very damning accusation, coming from a man with Hughes' standing in the sport. Hughes is the GP Editor for Autosport, an author of several books and the commentary box producer for the BBC. He is risking a big reputation on this story and we have to assume he has a good source (Rob Smedley would spring to mind following his obvious disgust last time, although that is pure speculation on my part and based on no evidence at all). We also have to assume that if this story has been published, it's been vetted by the legal people, so they must believe it can stand up to scrutiny.

If true, I am getting sick fed up with Ferrari feeling they can do what they like in this sport and being above retribution. How they can see a championship win outside of a fair fight as valid is beyond me. It's one thing to swap driver positions, it's quite another to use a second driver to do something that would be called impediment in a qualifying session.
Brogan said:
I wonder if Keke has any footage or timing data to back this up?

well, if Massa had a slow lap at the same time as Alonso's pit stop, that would be pretty good evidence.
Lap times...

Lap 30 Lap 31 Lap 32 Lap 33 Lap 34
Fred 1:53.268 1:54.020 2:08.208 2:47.170 2:43.238
Phil 1:54.219 1:59.261 2:18.206 2:26.116 2:43.737
No, there's nothing obvious about any of those lap times. Which begs the question, what caused Hughes to write that article?
Well essentially all the FIA have to do is review the Ferrari radio recordings.
That will indicate whether any instructions were given to Massa.

Of course, Ferrari could have planned for it by concocting some sort of weird, coded message but that's just too far fetched.
Isn't it?
Well I just put my Sherlock Holmes cap on, fired up a pipe, and settled in to nail Ferrari for their devious tactics. Unfortunately, it was a quick investigation.

Most notably, nobody was getting backed up. Schumacher was behind Massa and he finished the 32nd Lap 5.9 seconds behind him. Barrichello was behind Schumacher, and he finished the lap 7.4 seconds behind him.

I've got the Live Timing feed, but this information can also be found here:


  • lap 32 kor timing.jpg
    lap 32 kor timing.jpg
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Thing is as well, it would have had to have been another radio call and a quick one at that, as there's no way it could have been pre-meditated. Given the radio is available to the FIA, it would be a big gamble, even if the message was in code.

All seems very, very strange.
Mind you, look at the lap times for cars 3 and 7 between lap 32 and lap 33. There's quite a drop from one lap to the next.
lap 32 lap 33
Car 3 2:20.361 2:14.878
Car 9 2:22.653 2:08.298

But then, in the next lap, the lap times rocketed. Did it start raining in lap 34? I can't remember.

Prior to his pit stop, Schumacher was lapping around 1:54 (his pit stop was lap 31).
fat_jez said:
Thing is as well, it would have had to have been another radio call and a quick one at that, as there's no way it could have been pre-meditated. Given the radio is available to the FIA, it would be a big gamble, even if the message was in code.

Indeed. There was a window of under 10 seconds where a radio transmission would have had to have been made for Felipe to effectively back up other cars. And if there was a transmission from the pit-wall to Felipe in this window that indicated anything untoward occurred, and the FIA failed to act on this incident, it would signal to the entire world that Ferrari is free to do as they please, when they please, however blatant it might be.

This should be very easy for the FIA to sort out, if there is anything to even sort out, which I don't think there is. They've got onboards and radio transmissions from every car, a quick check there and the investigation is over.

However, this is the same FIA that took several weeks to figure out what happened at Australia 09, when they had all the information at their disposal, the very instant the event occurred.
fat_jez said:
No, there's nothing obvious about any of those lap times. Which begs the question, what caused Hughes to write that article?

Almost impossible to tell with those lap times because you have got no yardstick to measure what is reasonable... maybe MH has seen footage of those laps ?
I did wonder how Alonso only lost one place in all that as they really weren't that far ahead before the safety car, Ferrari could well have done something like this.

My biggest bug-bear in all this is how the safety car being deployed managed to screw everythig up. How the hell did it not pick the leaders up straight away and let them do an extra lap at race speed?!? Not sure if anyone else noticed this as I didn't see anything, but when the SC call came, everyone from Lewis back pitted for tyres, this should have meant that Vettel and Alonso got caught by the SC on that lap. As it turned out, they managed to get all the way around the circuit one more time at race speed before pitting, else Vettel and Alonso either wouldn't have been able to pit (in which case they were simply fodder for those on fresh rubber) or they would have lost much more time.

This was not picked up on by the BBC team and I haven't seen any footage of where the Safety Car was at the time. Considering where the crash happened though, the SC should have been on track easily by the time the cars came past the pits..
In addition to the replies above, has anyone actually seen the story/report in Autosport (I haven't)? I seriously doubt the accuracy of the web story particularly after reading the last line in this paragraph:

In his report of the race Hughes points out that when Alonso lost time at his pit-stop due to problems with a wheel nut, Ferrari "was quick-thinking enough to use Massa to back up the queue out on track - preventing more cars than just Hamilton taking advantage. This cost Massa a place..."

Massa was in 5 4th throughout laps 20-45, and I don't think Hughes is so inexperienced or lazy not to check this out. Further, Massa was already 6 seconds adrift of Hamilton before the safety car came out, and Alonso's problem didn't cause a 6 second delay. Hamilton and Massa pitted the lap before Vettel and Alonso (31), and whilst it was curious as to why the SC took so long to pick up Vettel, these two were allowed to continue at racing speed.

Perhaps some on here will know the answer to this - Where (relative to the track and/or the leaders) is the SC when the "SC Deployed" message is sent out to the teams?

Is it the case that at the time of deployment Vettel and Alonso were past the pit lane entry, but not Hamilton and the rest of the field? Is it also the case that even if the SC is deployed at time x, it doesn't get on track until 20 or 30 seconds later? (In which case SV and FA were well past the pit lane exit, and could carry on at a decent pace). Lastly, there has to be some sort of time loss when you approach the SC (with caution) and wait to be waved by, something that will have affected all drivers except those front 2.
I think I'm starting to smell a rat. Autosport was out yesterday and it is likely that Hughes's article would have been printed in it, yet nobody has seen it? Secondly, nobody else has picked up on this story, which also seems unlikely.

If anybody has read the actual race report, can they summarise it for us, please?
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