After a superb start to the weekends F1 spectacle, Ferrari find themselves lighter in the pocket by $100,000 and in the frame for further sanctions.
The Ferrari team had a blistering start to the F1 German Grand Prix and stormed ahead of pole sitter Vettel and both the red cars stormed into the led.
There it settled down with Ferrari’s Massa leading Ferrari’s Alonso with Vettel in his Red Bull following in third and the McLarens of Hamilton and Button doing their best to keep up.
It then became apparent that Massa was marginally the slower of the two prancing horse cars, but only just. And Vettel, after a dozy start, had found his feet and was slowly but surely reeling the two Ferraris in.
All us spectators braced ourselves for a wheel-to-wheel, fast paced and hard fought finale to the weekends racing.
With Alonso well ahead of Massa in the championship points tables there was always going to be a temptation for Ferrari to try and manoeuvre Alonso ahead of Massa. But the rules introduced in 2002 after previous team orders had spoiled racing now forbid this.
But the coded message passed from Massa’s race engineer, Rob Smedley, over the pit to car radio would not test the capabilities of the GCHQ cypher breakers for very long. Smedley basically told Massa that Alonso was the faster car and asked Massa to acknowledge that he understood the message. A lap later Massa slowed and pulled over enough for Alonso to take the lead. They then finished in procession.
This was not good for the sport and if anyone bet on Massa to win then I should suspect they will be right hacked off!
F1 has grown up on team orders and despite the rules there will always be ways for teams to achieve the desired result in these sorts of circumstances. To believe otherwise may be a bit naive. That is of course while teams can still enter two cars at any race.
Maybe we need to have more teams with only one car allowed each.