Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has defended the tactics of his team in Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
Fernando Alonso claimed victory ahead of teammate Felipe Massa but the Italian marquee was later fined 100,000 dollars by race stewards who ruled that Massa had deliberately slowed down to allow the two-time world champion pass for victory.
The incident has also been referred to the World Motor Sport Council, leading to the possibility of Ferrari receiving a greater penalty.
Di Montezemolo accused Ferrari’s critics of hypocrisy, saying team orders have been an integral part of Formula One throughout the history of the sport.
“These things have happened since the days of (1930s Ferrari driver Tazio) Nuvolari. I experienced it myself when I was sporting director, in the days of Niki Lauda, and not just then,” said the Ferrari boss.
“Therefore enough of this hypocrisy, even if I can well believe some people might well have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another. But that is definitely not the case for me, or indeed for our fans.” Di Montezemolo told the Ferrari website that the “polemics” were of no interest to him.
“I simply reaffirm what I have always maintained, which is that our drivers are very well aware, and it is something they have to stick to, that if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual,” he said.
There have been mixed reactions to the incident with defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren calling team orders “wrong, even if they are sometimes unavoidable”.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, however, stood behind his former team. Not surprising, considering in 2001 then team principal Jean Todt (current FIA president) told Rubens Barrichello to “let Michael pass for the Championship”.
“This isn’t a Sunday drive, this is about the world championship and is about winning points,” said Mercedes driver Schumacher.
Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who finished third behind the two Ferraris at Hockenheim, described the manoeuvre as disappointing for the fans.