What should Ferrari’s punishment be?
So, I don’t understand why people keep saying Ferrari breaking the rules on Team Orders was understandable. Even people who’ve I’ve considered to be relatively sane have now taken a more understanding stance. The bottom line is still the same: rules are rules and when you break them you get a punishment!
So what should FIA’s punishment be? The Race Stewards already gave Ferrari the maximum fine in Germany, however, the FIA can do whatever it wants to Ferrari. But how will the punishment come out as not being just a slap on the wrist? The biggest punishments I remember FIA ever handing out were to McLaren in 2007 when they got disqualified from the Constructors’ Championship, and to Flavio (the Flatulent) Briatore last year over the Crashgate scandal (that verdict was later demolished by a technicality).
Even the disqualification from the Constructors’ Championship which was given to McLaren over the Espionage scandal didn’t have a lasting effect. The 100 million dollar fine was only effective because the disqualification also meant McLaren couldn’t just pay it off from the television profits shared between teams (the amount is paid according to one’s standing) and even then it only caused Ron Dennis’ influence within the team to weaken.
The only way Ferrari will learn anything (and it’s doubtful if they’ve learned anything since 2002) from their rule breaking is that the punishment is harsh enough. So I propose one of the three…
- Ferrari is denied from competing in the next 3 Grand Prixs – With only seven more races on the calendar (well, six since the hearing will be after Belgium and before Italy), getting denied from racing in three of the remaining races should effectively put Alonso out of the Championship Race by allowing Red Bull and McLaren to gather enough points. This at least would show Ferrari that their rule breaking was entirely useless.
- Disqualify Alonso and Massa’s German results – In the same vein as the above the results in German GP could be corrected. Alonso and Massa get a disqualification and the points are recalculated accordingly. This has happened before when in Brazil in 2003 Kimi Räikkönen was erroneously declared the winner when the race was red-flagged. At least this way the drivers who earned points will now get them.
- Disqualify Alonso and Massa from the Drivers’ Championship – Ferrari could no doubt survive going one season without the TV sponsorship money they get for racing the Constructors’ Championship. But if instead the FIA effectively undoes what Ferrari tried to do (manipulate the Drivers’ standings), that would be very interesting. Massa and Alonso would therefore have the ungrateful task of racing “for their team” but this time for real (instead of using it as a bullshit excuse for breaking rules).
Now personally I would really want to let Massa off the hook on this because he’s the guy who really got shat on as a result of the Team Order. Then again, Massa participated which really doesn’t make him any less guilty. Like everyone else who still thinks he’s ten times a better driver than Alonso, I wish he would have bitten the bullet, ignored Team Orders and won the German Grand Prix. I’m sure Schumacher would have gallantly given up his spot on Mercedes GP just as he gallantly retired to allow Massa to shine… yeah, not that likely.
Punishments must be handed out in order for the F1 rules to mean anything and I’ve given three realistic alternatives. I just hope the FIA is paying attention.