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DATE News (chronologically)
07/27/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari hits back at team order criticism 'hypocrisy'
  • F1 should scrap team order ban - Ecclestone
  • FIA to consider Ferrari affair no later than September 10
  • Ferrari can 'relax' ahead of World Council - Briatore
  • Piquet Jr defends under-fire Massa
  • HRT team owner confirms likely Toyota deal
  • Austin to reveal US GP details on Tuesday

Ferrari hits back at team order criticism 'hypocrisy'
(GMM)  As the Hockenheim team orders furor continues, Ferrari team president Luca di Montezemolo has cried "enough of this hypocrisy".

Leading figures of the top rival McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes teams have lashed out at the famous Italian marque after Felipe Massa was ordered aside for Fernando Alonso for victory at Sunday's German grand prix.

"We all have to obey the rules," said Mercedes GP chief executive Nick Fry.

Red Bull's Christian Horner added: "It's a great shame that the race was manipulated to give one driver a victory over the other."

And McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, also chairman of the F1 teams union FOTA, said: "We do desperately want to win but it's about how you win."

The Briton also said he would speak "privately" about the issue to Ferrari.

While hitting back at what he describes as "polemics", Montezemolo at least seemed to steer away from the team's earlier denial that Massa was given a team order.

"These things have happened since the days of Nuvolari and I experienced it myself when I was sporting director, in the days of Niki Lauda and not just then," said Montezemolo.

"The polemics are of no interest to me," added the Italian.

"Enough of this hypocrisy, even if I can well believe that some people might have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another, but that is definitely not the case for me or indeed for our fans," he said.

F1 should scrap team order ban - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone thinks formula one should overturn its 2002 ban on team orders.

As the sporting world debates Ferrari's order for Felipe Massa to hand Hockenheim victory to Fernando Alonso, there are those who believe teams should be free to run their businesses on track.

"I must confess I would agree with anyone who thinks that," said the F1 chief executive.

Article 39.1 of the sporting regulations, added after Rubens Barrichello was crassly ordered to let Michael Schumacher win the 2002 Austrian grand prix, states that "team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited."

The Hockenheim stewards fined Ferrari the maximum $100,000 and directed the matter to the World Motor Sport Council.

Ecclestone is a member of the FIA body, but is not sure the overturning of the ban will be on the agenda.

"I don't know, we'll have to see," said the Briton.  "It's something that needs to be discussed."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo this week said team orders date back to Tazio Nuvolari's days in the 30s and 40s, and Ecclestone agrees that the practice is part of the sport.

"I believe what people do when they are inside the team and how they run their team is up to them.  Of course, if a team does something that's dangerous then they're going to be in trouble.  Otherwise, get on with it," he said.

FIA to consider Ferrari affair no later than September 10
(GMM)  The FIA is yet to confirm reports that it will consider the Ferrari team order issue at its scheduled meeting on September 10.

International publications including Blick (Switzerland), Turun Sanomat (Finland), Autosprint (Italy), Bild (Germany) and Marca (Spain) believe it is possible the FIA will not schedule a special meeting to discuss Fernando Alonso's Hockenheim victory.

Ferrari was fined $100,000 by the stewards at Hockenheim for breaching not only the team order rule 39.1, but also the general guideline about disrepute.

"The case will also be referred to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for further consideration," said the stewards' statement.

On the day of Friday free practice at Monza, the governing body will be meeting in Como, Italy.

Media sources say it is not likely that FIA president Jean Todt, who as Ferrari boss ordered Rubens Barrichello to "let Michael (Schumacher) pass for the championship" in Austria in 2002, will take part in the disciplinary proceedings.

An FIA spokesman said a date for the consideration of the Ferrari affair has not yet been set.

Ferrari can 'relax' ahead of World Council - Briatore
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore does not think Ferrari will be heavily punished by the FIA for the Hockenheim team orders affair.

The governing body is set to consider the matter no later than September 10 at its scheduled World Motor Sport Council meeting in Como, Italy.

Ferrari breached article 39.1 of the sporting regulations by ordering that Felipe Massa give way to German grand prix winner Fernando Alonso, and was also charged by the race stewards with bringing the sport into disrepute.

Former Renault boss Briatore was banned from F1 last year by the World Motor Sport Council for the Singapore crash scandal.

He told Italy's Sky Sport 24: "This (team order) rule makes no sense and should be abolished.  Formula one is a team sport.

"I don't believe Ferrari did anything wrong," added the 60-year-old Italian.

"Fernando has more points than Massa and it is logical to bet on the driver with the best chance of winning the title.

"Could it have been better handled?  It's easy to say so with hindsight, but during a race it's different.

"It is however clear that Massa's engineer (Rob Smedley) should not have made certain comments.  But only one guy can win the drivers' championship.

"It is pointless to stand around being critical.  It is the rule that is completely absurd," added Briatore.

He does not think Ferrari needs to worry about draconian penalties like exclusion from the world championship or race bans.

"The chairman of the World Council is Jean Todt, who managed Ferrari when in 2002 in Austria he ordered Barrichello to let Schumacher overtake at the checkered flag, so I think we can all relax," laughed Briatore.

Piquet Jr defends under-fire Massa
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet Jr has defended Felipe Massa after the Ferrari driver allowed Fernando Alonso to win Sunday's German grand prix.

In the wake of the Hockenheim team orders affair, the Brazilian media has been hard on 29-year-old Massa, who according to some publications displayed a lack of courage on the anniversary of his 2009 crash.

Heavily criticized last year was Piquet, who argued he was ordered by Flavio Briatore to deliberately crash his Renault during the 2008 Singapore grand prix in order to bring out the safety car and boost Alonso's chances of winning.

"Talk is cheap and it's easy to criticize," Piquet, now driving in NASCAR's lower-tier truck series, is quoted by Globo Esporte.

"But the hole is deeper than you think."

Indeed, Massa has been quoted in Brazil as saying "many drivers" would have acted similarly in his shoes at Hockenheim, and after leaving Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello revealed that he would have lost his job had he not moved over for Michael Schumacher in 2002.

Mika Salo subbed for an injured Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999, and he tells Finland's Turun Sanomat that "they made it clear that if Eddie (Irvine) is behind me, my job is to give space".

At that year's German grand prix, Salo was leading the race.

"I looked in the mirrors and then I saw that Eddie overtook Frentzen.  After a couple of seconds Ross Brawn came on the radio and said Mika, we want you to let Eddie go.

"I think it makes sense that Ferrari sees Alonso with clearly a better chance for the title.  But it could have been managed quite a lot better, especially when the engineer asked Massa if he understood what he had to do," said Salo.

In his El Pais column, Epsilon Euskadi chief Joan Villadelprat agrees that the team order was a flagrant rule breach.

"Of course, it was very clear.  He (Massa) was left with no choice.  All the fans knew it immediately, although it is possible the World Council will fail to demonstrate it.

"I remember in 2002 that Barrichello received a threat that it would trouble his contract if he did not budge.

"I think the worst damage is not the fine or a penalty, but that the brilliant work on the team and the drivers to catch up to Red Bull was spoiled by unnecessarily unsportsmanlike conduct.

"Ferrari's errors this year have been too many and too large.  Someone has to take some action, to tell the team leaders that it's enough.

"And someone should calm down Fernando, so that he doesn't repeat comments like 'This is ridiculous' the first time he tried to pass Massa.

"We're taking about a double world champion, the best driver in the paddock, a title contender, but on occasion it is necessary to put his brakes on," added Spaniard Villadelprat.

HRT team owner confirms likely Toyota deal
(GMM)  HRT owner Jose Ramon Carabante has confirmed that the struggling Spanish team is set to collaborate with Toyota.

Team boss Colin Kolles admitted at Hockenheim that working with Toyota Motorsport, the Japanese marque's former F1 arm based in Cologne, is a "good option" for Hispania.

Driver Bruno Senna, however, indicated that agreements are not yet signed.

But reports suggest HRT, whose partnership with 2010 car builder Dallara has been terminated, will use Toyota's headquarters and wind tunnel, staff and the designs of its unraced TF110 car.

Carabante has now confirmed the deal by playing down fears in Spain that HRT will no longer be based in Murcia, the autonomous region that is also a sponsor of the team.

In a report by the Spanish news agency EFE, Carabante said that notwithstanding the arrangement with Toyota, the team will remain in Murcia "because the project was born here".

The report said the deal is worth EUR15 million, with Carabante insisting it "will strengthen Hispania in the battle to be the best of the new teams, which is our first goal".

EFE said HRT's technical contract with Toyota Motorsport will be for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Austin to reveal US GP details on Tuesday
(GMM)  Details about Austin's venue for the 2012 United States grand prix will be revealed imminently.

Invitations for the local media were recently sent out for a press conference on Tuesday morning, during which the highly anticipated location for the track will be announced.

Details about the track layout and facilities are also set to be divulged.

Promoter Tavo Hellmund's reluctance to release details to date has fuelled skepticism about the project, amid speculation formula one is in talks with up to two other potential American venues.

It is expected the track site will be close to the Bergstrom International Airport, which is a short drive from the Texan capital.

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