Team orders? That will be $100,000
Any Formula One team wishing to manipulate the outcome of a race in favour of one or other of their drivers at least now knows the going rate after this week’s hearing in Paris into the recent Ferrari furore.
Team orders? That will be $100,000 — at least until the end of the season, after which there may well be no charge at all.
In fact, there may not be any more charges this year either because we are now approaching the point in the season where drivers will be ruled out of contention and expected to support their team mates.
That will be strategy, of course.
And by next season the rule will have been re-written, or ‘clarified’.
Maybe, as McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh suggested, Ferrari should get their money back.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) recognised on Thursday that the ban on team orders that has been in place since 2002 was hard to police, ambiguous and weakened by inconsistency in its application.
Ferrari were fined by stewards for their actions at the German Grand Prix in July, where Brazilian Felipe Massa allowed Fernando Alonso to overtake and win, but suffered no sporting sanctions.
“They’re either guilty and should be given a penalty, or they’re not guilty and should be given back
the fine they received,” said Whitmarsh at the Italian Grand Prix.
“We don’t have clarity – if anything it’s more muddy.
“Superficially it doesn’t seem as logical a ruling as one would have expected but it has no impact on anything I’m going to do this weekend.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who may have to make some hard decisions in the next few races, was also concerned.
“The penalty for what happened at Hockenheim was $100,000,” he said. “Does that therefore mean that you could do that in the remaining five or six races this year?.
“As we have seen, based on what happened with Ferrari in Hockenheim, then there was — other than the financial penalty at the event — no effect on their performance.
“So theoretically if any team was in that situation and wished to move their cars around, or needed to, then a precedent has been set.”