There will no doubt be a lot of media chatter today and in the short break before we arrive in Hungary about what happened in today’s German Grand Prix. I don’t want to go on too much, as there’ll no doubt be a million articles like this, so I will keep it short.
I won’t debate the merits of whether it was the right decision, because of course Fernando is ahead in the championship and the team’s considered best shot for the title. I’d wager Felipe could fight for it too, but as we’re into the second half of the season, the team has to make a choice.
Here’s the thing, though. Team orders have always been a part of Formula 1, but that doesn’t make it any more comfortable to witness when they are played out in such blatant fashion.
We know it goes on in code over the radio, via “botched” pitstops or preferential treatment for one driver over another, but we also all thought, or rather hoped, that the regulations had been changed to stop this kind of thing from happening so blatantly on track; to stop teams from manipulating the race in a style that short changed F1’s billions of fans around the world. They had, but this time it didn’t work and Ferrari is set to feel the wrath not only of the World Motor Sport Council, but of this sport’s global, passionate and very vocal fanbase.
Ferrari will, and is, claiming innocence in the affair.
But I ask you this. If the team felt it had done things by the book, why the need for the shambolic post podium podium? Why did Stefano Domenicali (in whom I will admit I have huge respect), see it necessary to drag his drivers, one of whom clearly did not wish to be there under such circumstances, onto the top step of the podium to share the win?
And why, in the post race TV scrums, was Felipe Massa in posession of the winning driver’s Bridgestone cap, clearly marked with “1st”?
In one moment with that laughable podium show of “unity” Ferrari showed the world just how embarrassed it was about what it had done to its driver and to its fans. That one moment simply oozed with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
Remind you of anything?