The half-baked $100,000 fine thrown at Ferrari, in the week succeeding the German Grand Prix’s overtaking fiasco, is one of the most disappointing gestures of all time.
Most fans will be amazed that the FIA took any action at all, what with former Ferrari CEO Jean Todt as elected FIA chair. However, it is stunning that a moan from the ever-complaining Alonso proved catalyst for one of the most controversial decisions all season.
Despite the rush to deny any favouritism within teams from McLaren and Red Bull the previous week, Ferrari clearly had no qualms in publicly indicating which driver they favoured.
The FIA’s decision to fine but not reverse the race result is ludicious. The stewards have cowardly passed the buck to the WMSC, whether to distance themselves from a decision that woud have no doubt changed the FIA/Ferrari relationship forever, or for other reasons. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the situation is undeniable. Either you believe Massa is lying, in which case the race result is void – or you believe he made the executive, uninfluenced decision for the unchallenged pass of his own accord, in which case, no fine is necessary.
Moreover, for a manoeuvre that was supposed to defend the “team” against Vettel, they may just have put him on top and gifted him 25 points - not the only thing Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner, who has been spared further media focus since the weekend, will be thanking Stefano Domenicali for.
On the anniversary of Massa’s near-death collision at the 2009 Hungarian GP, the Ferrari driver conceded the top spot to his Spanish teammate. Fans were outraged to be somewhat ‘cheated’ out of a brilliant in-team battle and of what would have been a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the Brazilian’s recovery.
F1 Fanatic blogger, Keith Collantine, demonstrated how Massa stood as much of a chance for the World Championship as Alonso, given the eight races left, but on Lap 48 of 67, Ferrari’s preference for the Spaniard was abundantly clear and the Brazilian begrudgingly allowed the pass.
Criticised severely on home turf on Monday, in the year of the late and very great Senna’s 50th birthday, Massa deserved the stick for his faltering fighting spirit. Back in the UK, viewers seemed more sympathetic to Massa’s clear disappointment. Yet, he was defending his team every interview of the way, no matter how gritted his teeth may have been. Simply put, there’s no justification for breaking the rules, no matter how wrong that rule may be.
Rules, good or bad, must still be adhered to, in order to make the victories of the sport as fair as possible and to provide the entertainment for which the fans spend so much money to enjoy. Surely?