Ferrari International Assistance does it again

It's amazing. I don't normally link to ITV's web site, but if you go here, make sure you're on the Belgium GP page and click the Spa controversy link (assuming you're in the UK), At 18 seconds into the video you can watch a silver car get past a red one, get forced off the track, regain the track, tuck in behind the red one so as not to benefit the move, and then pass it a second time.

At 1 minute 37 - 46  you can see the red car make a bigger excursion off the track than the silver one did, notice how it closes, and the commentator talks about the momentum it gains, and it uses this to force the silver one off the track when the meet a recovering Navy blue and white one. Any advantage the Silver car had gained is wiped out as it has to recover from the grass.

As the video reaches 1 minute 55 the Red car spins. And the Silver car re-takes the position.

At 2 Minutes 32, the camera shot changes to show the Red car leaving the track to the left of the shot (the driver's right), turn through nearly 90 degrees and spear across the tack into the wall on the right of shot (the driver's left). The three incidents listed no have no bearing on the outcome of the race.

The manager of the silver team told the ITV after the race that they had confirmed with the representative of the governing body that their car's move to hand back the place cancelled any advantage they could have been said to have gained.

Yet the stewards of the race said he indeed gained an advantage and constructed a Penalty for him such that it promoted the surviving Red car into his place.

So far as I can tell , this means three things

  • If you drive for Ferrari you can push others off the track safe in the knowledge that they, not you, will be penalized

  • If you drive for Ferrari, don't need to win on the track because you can do it in the Stewards' room.

  • When there is ample evidence available in public to show that one team has the the officials in their pocket it's destructive for the image of any sport. (And let's face it after the whole business of Max Mosely's private life the image of F1 isn't all that great)

If you go ITV's  site, pull down the list of GrandPrix on the right and have a look at Canada, and the "Hamilton's Howler" video. At 31 seconds watch the Ferrari on the right of shot leave its pit box, and keep to the right instead of joining the pit lane behind the white car (a BMW), as it is required to do by the rules. Both cars stop side by side at end of the pit lane. We have no way to tell if it was the Ferrari's intent to beat the BMW away as the lights change, or if it would have tucked in meekly behind it, because moments later   Hamilton arrives - apparently without paying due care, and swerves into what should have been an empty space which is full of Ferrari. He might feel a bit aggrieved  at getting a penalty for hitting a car which - if it had followed the rules - would never have been there.

And if that doesn't convince you then have a look at the European GP and Ferrari's dangerous release of their car (again on the ITV web site - go to the European race, and click the video "a near miss"). The driver escaped any sanction because he was said not to have gained a material advantage.

So it's not as the FIA don't have form in this regard.

"It seems some of the most powerful people (in F1) are more aligned to Ferrari than anybody else. The FIA have historically been very close to Ferrari, closer to them than anyone else. There are more Ferrari representatives on the World Council than anybody else."

Not my words, Jackie Stewart's (

Quick note to Acer, AMD, Shell and other Ferrari sponsors. I neither buy nor recommend the products of any Ferrari sponsor. I'd call myself a Williams fan (tough times for me !) but Ferrari is the only team in any sport whose sponsors I boycott.

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Update. McLaren to appeal. Nice to see they think they've got some chance of justice.

Update 2. Niki Lauda says he now thinks there is pro Ferrari Bias (last 30 seconds of this BBC interview)

Update 3. ITV have shown film of Schumacher (Ferrari) cutting the chicane to keep the lead in Hungary in 2006 where he cut the chicane to keep the lead. The Ferrari got the benefit of the decision. They showed Alonso using an identical move to Hamilton in Japan in 05 (I think - possibly 04) and getting no penalty - that precedent was over turned to benefit Ferrari.


Comments (9)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am entitled to comment on the specific episode because I haven’t seen the race. It might very well be that the judges did not do the right thing in this case, I simply don’t know. All I am saying is that McLaren fans are not in a position to whine about the outcome of a race or conspiracy theories inb general when McLaren is the team that conspired in the first place. Not to mention that McLaren is in a position to compete more effectively today because of the information they stole in the past.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a whiner! Let’s stick to the facts: McLaren is the only team in history who was caught cheating and stealing other teams car plans! The team shouldn’t even exist anymore if F1 officials had the guts to apply the deserved punishment. It is McLaren who has destroyed the image of a sport!

  3. James ONeill says:

    Chris, the problem is the stewards have to be tough on people cutting a corner to unfairly overtake, but this has got out of hand. In a sport where there is precious little overtaking as it is, it means someone defending their position can push the challenging car into cutting the corner, and know that not only must the challenger give the place back (as Hamilton did – he went from alongside to behind, and according to McLaren’s comments on the TV traveling 6KM/hour slower than the Ferrari)… but also they have to meekly tuck in and can’t attack at the next corner…. How long is the challenging car supposed to hold back. A corner ? 2 Corners ? A whole lap ? Having been along side, dropping back behind Raikkonen was enough to satisfy Charlie Whiting that he had not gained an advantage by cutting the corner.

    When they tangled with the Williams, Raikkonen used his off track excursion at the previous corner to get an advantage. Since he passed Hamilton at that point, if the slip stream and pass into La Source was unfair of Hamilton the benefit was canceled out within half a lap. If the team had got on the Radio to Hamilton and said "No that was still too soon" the Williams incident was about the first chance that Hamilton had to give back the lead.

    So I can’t agree with the stewards. If Hamilton had passed Kubica, who’d crashed and left Heidfeld behind Hamilton they wouldn’t have even heard the case.

    Oh and as for the Canada coming together, look at the footage. Raikkonen should have waited for Kubica, and stopped behind him. He was released early and stopped beside him. Had he followed the rules Hamilton would have swerved round him, not into him.

    Easy to say Hamilton got his 10 place penalty in France (and a drive through for cutting a corner) because it was a Ferrari he hit. And he got this one because it was a Ferrari he passed. Easy to say too that any other team would have got a Penalty in Valencia.

  4. James ONeill says:

    So you don’t dispute that the officials favor Ferrari ? I’ve yet to find anyone who wasn’t predisposed to support Ferrari who thought Mclaren got a fair deal from the FIA.

  5. James ONeill says:

    Well the FIA (not a pro McLaren organization as we seem to agree) couldn’t find any evidence that more than one person at McLaren had the information from Ferrari. An external audit of their network didn’t find anything and the FIA couldn’t find anything on the car which seemed to have come from Ferrari either. And No-one knows what information was passed in the other direction.

    Also remember that the whole incident started with a someone at Ferrari reporting that they were running an illegal flexible floor which let them win the first race of the of the season. If that had been acted on Raikkonen would not have been champion last year.

    But I still don’t understand what your saying, it’s OK for all decisions to be rigged against Mclaren (they aren’t; A Williams / BMW / Renault / Red Bull Vs McLaren decision would be fair) or that it’s OK for officials to always find in favor of Ferrari – I remember them doing it went Hunt and Lauda were battling for the 1976 championship – oh that was anti McLaren as well or try this one where schumacher rams Montoya after being passed, but Montoya gets the Penalty or you’ve got Renault’s take on it  or Raikonnen punting Sutil out of the Monaco GP this year – his team have Ferrari engines so can’t file a complaint. Or there was the US grand prix where no steps were taken to allow the Michelin runners to take part so the race was gifted to Ferrari.

    How many examples does it take to prove that there is bias in favor of Ferrari (not against one specific team.).

  6. Chris Jones says:

    Here, here…

    I’m tired of Ferrari being able to get away with anything. I watched the tv footage and it clearly showed Hamilton being pushed of the track by the Ferrari – he didn’t need to give the place back – but did – I’m all for boycotting Ferrari, Acer, AMD and Shell

  7. Gary Quigley says:

    Well said James – this is all getting more than a little ridiculous.  It would appear that you and I are watching a different sport than the FIA. Ferrari never get any sanctions for anything, but then I guess you would only get a sanction if you did something wrong….

  8. Chris Latham says:

    My interpretation of this is that Hamilton does not yield in the correct fashion – rather, he hedges his bets and then intentionally users the advantage he gained to get in Raikkonen’s slipstream and then go past. Sorry, but on this occasion I think the stewards have got it right. Similarly with the Raikkonen/Hamilton coming together – Hamilton was already running wide, and the conditions were clearly unpredictable. This is not to say the point about the unsafe release in Valencia, which in my opinion SHOULD have received a penalty isn’t a valid one.

  9. Chris Latham says:

    Ah well I do agree that the whole "You must yield" thing is getting a little silly. The scrutineering that goes on in F1 is one of the things that drives an audience away from it – and yesterday will certainly have not done that any favours – we sit and watch a 2 hour race to find later on in the day that what we thought had happended didn’t actually happen at all.

    I was thinking about the Raikkonen "carrying a lot of speed" incident, as opposed to Canada but anyway.

    Still, point taken, whilst I’m sticking to my guns, it might have been interesting to see what the outcome would have been if Raikonnen had finished the race in 2nd. A Ferrari 1/2 or the same result but with Raikkonen and Hamilton in 3rd and 4th (whichever way round)?

    Consistent application of the law is what has been missing this season. I don’t mind debate and interpretation, but the phrase "gained a material advantage" seems to be a bit of a catch-all.

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