This is Day 16 of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010, brought to you by Sidepodcast. Welcome along! Thanks for joining me as we look back at the year gone by, picking out key moments for a short episode each day. Today we're looking at the German Grand Prix, so you can probably guess what this is about. Day 16 - Magnanimity.
The German race weekend was a big event for a good deal of the F1 paddock. Michael Schumacher was making his return for his home race, along with five other German drivers. The Mercedes team were also set to enjoy their home weekend, and Ferrari have long been popular in Germany as well.
Hamilton was leading the championship after a good showing at Silverstone, whilst Red Bull were still dealing with some unsettled drivers. Throw in some changeable conditions, and you have the recipe for a fascinating weekend.
Sebastian Vettel once again took a storming pole position, just two thousandths of a second quicker than second place Fernando Alonso, whilst Felipe Massa slipped into third. At the start of the race, Vettel and Alonso distracted each other, and let Massa scamper past them to take control of the race.
Toro Rosso suffered the indignity of their drivers crashing into each other, whilst Force India had some major pit stop failures. They were expecting Liuzzi in the pitlane, but Sutil came in first, so the wrong tyres went on the wrong car. This is against regulations, and they had to bring the car back in to correct the tyre situation.
At the front, Massa was leading with Alonso behind him, and Fernando was clearly desperate to get past, despite not being able to overtake. Cue a disgruntled Rob Smedley on the radio to Massa, informing his driver that Fernando was faster than he. Moments later, we watched as Massa slowed right down, and Alonso took the lead and the win. Rob then apologised to Massa.
After the race, the team immediately clammed up. Rob explained his message away as simply information to Felipe, and the subsequent apology as just sadness that he'd been overtaken. The line from both drivers was that they both drove for the team, and that it was most certainly not team orders.
Except it blatantly was. The team were called before the stewards who imposed the maximum penalty they could - $100,000. The World Motorsport Council decided to investigate the incident though, and a date was set for a couple of months later.
After looking into it, the WMSC decided that the fine was enough, the results would stand as they were, the team would also have to pay any legal costs incurred and the FIA would look into the team orders regulation and review it's use in Formula 1.
A key voice amongst those who strongly disagreed with the team orders ban, though, was Christian Horner. With two drivers very closely fighting for the championship, the possibility of a situation like this occurring for Red Bull was very real. The team were adamant they would not resort to such measures, until one of their drivers was mathematically out of the championship. At the time, however, Horner picked up on the fact that the precedent was now set. It cost $100,000 to swap your drivers around, which was hardly a deterrent.
That's all for this episode of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010. I know you'll have something to say on the Ferrari team orders issue, everyone does! Why not leave your comments on Sidepodcast.com? I will see you there, or I will see you back here tomorrow with Day 17.
All content in the series F1 Advent Calendar 2010
Filed under Mini Series
References Christian Horner, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Rob Smedley
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