London: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has slammed the ‘hypocrisy’ of those who criticised his team for ordering Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso win Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Race stewards fined glamour team Ferrari USD 100,000 for their use of banned ‘team orders’ and referred them to Formula One’s governing body, which could impose a more severe punishment.
The incident triggered outrage, with Massa taking considerable flak in his native Brazil while newspapers in Britain, home of championship leaders McLaren, decried a ‘Ferrari fix’.
“Personally I think team orders in Formula One are wrong, in any motor sport category,” world champion Jenson Button told reporters.
“The polemics are of no interest to me,” the Ferrari website quoted Montezemolo as saying at the Maranello factory on Monday.
“I simply reaffirm what I have always maintained, which is that our drivers are very well aware, and it is something they have to stick to, that if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual.
“In any case, these things have happened since the days of (Tazio) Nuvolari and I experienced it myself when I was sporting director, in the days of Niki Lauda and not just then,” added the Italian.
“Therefore enough of this hypocrisy, even if I can well believe that some people might well have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another, but that is definitely not the case for me or indeed for our fans.”
Massa, marking the first anniversary of his near-fatal crash in Hungary, had led from the first lap with double world champion Alonso close behind.
The Brazilian was then given a veiled radio message on lap 47 indicating that the Spaniard was faster and, two laps later, slowed to let Alonso past.
Ferrari had failed to score in the previous race in Britain and Massa had a run of three races without a point behind him before Hockenheim.
The one-two left Alonso 34 points behind McLaren’s leader Lewis Hamilton, with eight races remaining. Massa was left 38 points adrift of Alonso.
“I am very happy for all our fans who finally, yesterday, saw two Ferraris lead from start to finish as they dominated the race,” said Montezemolo.
“The result is down to the efforts of all our people, who never give up. Now we have to continue working like this, to improve the car so that is competitive at all the circuits we will encounter.
“Alonso and Massa also did very well, giving their all throughout the weekend.”