WMSC ignored own investigator’s advice to give win to Massa

The World Motor Sport Council chose to ignore a recommendation from its own investigator to hand the German GP win back to Felipe Massa.

Swedish FIA veteran Lars Osterlind was appointed as the ‘Reporter’ in the case and personally investigated all aspects of it. His conclusion was that the $100,000 fine should stand, five seconds be added to Alonso’s time (which would have changed the result), and there should be a loss of both driver and constructor points – but suspended unless there was another offence.

Although Osterlind presented a compelling case – and clearly was not swayed by Ferrari’s claims that team orders were not involved – the WMSC chose not to change the original penalty.

Its reasoning was in essence that the FIA’s own rule, which has been in place for eight years, was difficult to police. Ferrari’s evidence included other cases that it alleged were team orders, involving McLaren in Germany in 2008 and Turkey this year, and it also referred to RBR in Turkey this year.

It also insisted that Massa was not subject to team orders, but had made his own decision based on evidence that was presented to him. “Fernando is faster than you,” etc…

Intruingly Osterlind determined that was not necessarily the case and found that both drivers had been asked to turn their engines down – before Alonso turned his revs up again “without Mr Felipe Massa’s being informed.”

Osterlind’s report also covered the question of sports ethics, saying, “Motor racing ought to be unpredictable, as it has been to date. Part of that competitive element is to take equal interest in all competitors. Irrespective of their fitness, talent or position in the race, competitors should be able to rely on themselves for purposes of winning the race without any form of external aid influencing their sporting performance.”

I think most fans would agree with that assessment…

8 Comments

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8 responses to “WMSC ignored own investigator’s advice to give win to Massa

  1. Daniel Jackson

    Just be glad the FIA don’t oversee criminal cases

    “Mr Murderer, we’ve reviewed the evidence and you’re clearly guilty but we know murder takes place and we know people get off on technicalities and sometimes never get caught. Because of this we have decided to let you off. Just don’t do it again, OK?”

  2. Paul Ebbens

    I don’t know where the word “alleged” comes in this Ferrari team orders palava… they were found GUILTY by the race stewards. That has not been appealed or squashed by either Ferrari or FIA – de facto Ferrari was found Guilty. No matter what Ferrari, FIA, Todt or anyone else can argue. They received a fine for their guilty actions and not “alleged” actions.

  3. I certainly do agree, Adam. And what we have here is the WMSC lacking confidence in their own rules despite allowing the stewards’ verdict to stand, and as predicted, the price of breaking this rule set at a mere $100,000 – a lot less than the market price of a WCC. Perhaps the WMSC needs driver stewards too…

  4. Ed

    I’m glad at least that there is finally proof that Massa did have the speed to win the race.

    Of course by turning the engines down, they allowed Vettel to catch up, just a bit, to further their own story…

  5. tom baker

    In an ideal world Mr. Osterlind is absolutely right and I would agree with him.

    However, F1 is a business first and a sport second and his idealism must give way to practicality. The pressure to win is colossal. The teams, not just SF, do what they must. To impose that kind of penalty in the middle of a season where other instances of team orders have gone unpunished is not a just decision.

    I can allow for the monetary fine because SF handled this is a clumsy way that made the move look obvious. They could have simply said :”Felipe , the data shows a possible engine problem. Go to (engine conservation mode)” and no one would have been the wiser. Indeed, it would have added an element of suspense to the race.

    Now if they want to change the rule from the beginning of next season, one way or the other, that’s fine. Apply it to everybody equally refgardless of the circumstances and everybody will know what to expect and have nothing to complain about when they get penalized.

  6. Jezzer

    I am fed up of it taking twenty or more people to drive an F1 car in a race. Take away all radio communication except for emergency transmissions, via Race Control, and pit boards so that when these highly paid and very competent drivers get in their car it is down to them to win or lose.
    No team orders, no telemetry to help them turn up or turn down engines, no info on how anyone else is doing, or sector times, or tyre wear etc etc.
    Then each driver has to drive his own race, if tyres get trashed – tough, if engines let go (warned by radio) – tough, if anyone faster – see them in you (bigger) mirrors.
    I see no other way of ensuring that we see racing, not corporate maneuvering.

  7. mayhemfunkster

    Osterlind’s proposal is tough but very fair. It is, realistically, the way the FIA should have gone. I doubt I would have given Alonso the 5sec penalty but if his proposal would have been followed, the FIA would have done the right thing, earned respect from other competitors, the media and fans alike and put to bed the possibility of Ferrari favouritsm.

    A big chance missed.

  8. russ mckennett

    Did anyone expect a different outcome??
    NO
    The business is what it is.The sport is dead.I didnt get up at 5:00 this morning to watch practice.1st time since its been available.Ill sleep through Quali tomorrow and the race sunday.
    Its a weakass boycott but someone has to do something.
    Disgusted.Not at the team orders dribble but the total lack of accountability for ANYTHING!

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