Ferrari boss Stefano Domencali says that he had no doubts about the decision to help Fernando Alonso by dropping Felipe Massa down the grid in Austin.
The team broke the seal on the Brazilian’s gearbox, which generated an automatic five-place penalty. That in turn moved Alonso up from eighth to seventh, and onto the clean side of the track. It paid off spectacularly as he jumped up to fourth at the start.
Ferrari had made it clear to the stewards what its intentions were before breaking the seal, and Domenicali denied that there was the decision was unsporting, despite some criticism in the paddock.
“I prefer to be totally transparent, because honestly something like that you can easily simulate something, if you want,” he said. “But I felt it was more correct to say the truth, this is our style, my style. You can agree or not with that decision, but honestly at the end of the day it is something that is on our responsibility to do it.
“We knew before the start of the race that the difference in grip level of the two side of the grid was very high, and we knew that it was very important to be with the first cars in the first couple of laps, otherwise the race would have been almost finished.”
Domenicali said that Massa, who eventually finished fourth from 11th on the grid, had accepted the decision.
“At the end of the day retrospectively from a strategic point of view it was the right thing to do. As I said when you work for the Ferrari team you know that the team is the centre of the decision, and you know that the drivers and the team respect it.
“I have to thank Felipe for that. He drove extremely well during the whole weekend and this is something that is positive looking ahead for Brazil, because also we need both our drivers doing a great race if we want to challenge Vettel to win the drivers title.
“I take the opportunity to congratulate Red Bull because they won the constructors’ title, and now we try to make sure that they will be tense up to the last moment after the chequered flag.”
He added: “I have to say if another team principal is saying we didn’t do the right choice, he’s lying to you.”