Ferrari will face a disciplinary hearing four days before next month’s Italian Grand Prix after Felipe Massa appeared to be given coded orders to let Fernando Alonso win last month’s race in Germany.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, Formula One’s governing body, said last night that its World Motor Sport Council will conduct the hearing on Sept. 8 in Paris.
Race stewards fined the team $100,000 after the July 25 German Grand Prix for breaking a rule stating that “team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.” The council could impose further sanctions, including a points deduction or expulsion from the championship.
Ferrari was also charged with breaching a regulation relating to “fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”
Massa was leading with a third of the race to go at Hockenheim when Ferrari race engineer Roy Smedley told him over the team radio: “Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?’’ Soon after, Alonso moved past the Brazilian driver. Then came another radio message to Massa: “Good lad, just stick with it now. Sorry.”
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari’s team principal, denied breaking the rules after the race, saying his team was “confident that the World Council will know how to evaluate the overall facts correctly.”
Team orders have been banned in Formula One since 2002.