Red Bull Racing had not ruled out making a protest about the Ferrari team orders situation in Germany had the FIA stewards not take action of their own.
In fact sources confirm that the team got on the radio to race control soon after the Ferrari drivers swapped places, in order to register its concern.
“It was so blatantly obvious what they’ve done,” team boss Christian Horner told this blog. “They manipulated the outcome of the race by telling one car to effectively slow down, and then apologise to him. The FIA have all the facts, they know the rules better than anyone else.
“The regulation was designed to avoid exactly what we saw, and that has been our understanding of the rules since we joined F1. What was done was very blatant and a great shame for all the fans and spectators and viewers around the world, to see a race handed from one driver to another.”
In some people’s eyes Horner has set himself up for criticism, given recent events within his team. However, the infamous Turkey collision occurred when the RBR drivers were racing each other, despite obvious concerns on the pit wall about the looming presence of the McLarens. Since then RBR has insisted that the drivers can race, and indeed Horner has been saying that all season.
“We tried to do the right thing. It’s part of the Red Bull ethics to allow our drivers to race, and that’s what we’ve done, as I believe McLaren allow their drivers to do likewise. That was a very clear team instruction today that handed the race win from one driver to another. It’s wrong that the drivers weren’t allowed to compete with each other.
“Felipe wasn’t that far behind in the points, it’s not like he was out of the championship. It guarantees that he’s not allowed to beat Fernando Alonso this year. They obviously tried to give the lead to Fernando at the first pit stop, because it made no sense to give him the first stop, other than to try and put him ahead of Massa. That obviously didn’t work for them, so they moved it on track. And that is wrong.
“It’s so disappointing for the fans more than anything that they didn’t get to see Massa, who’d driven a good race, race against Fernando. It was a great shame.
“I never heard of a strategy that says out of Turn 6 slow down and then apologise to your driver…”