Ferrari faces an uphill task trying to convince the powers-that-be in the World Motor Sport Council that it did not breach the sporting rules by allegedly instructing Felipe Massa to cede the lead of the German Grand Prix to team-mate Fernando Alonso.
New evidence has emerged by a video highlights package of the German Grand Prix shown on the official Formula 1 website, which has revealed more of the radio transmission that had previously been heard.
Until now, the only apparent evidence that implicated a team order directive was race engineer Rob Smedley’s call to his driver: “Fernando – is – faster – than – you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”
However, this video would seem to suggest that the “is faster than you” phrase was a pre-arranged code – which we would argue is used up and down the pit lane – for Massa to pull over for his team-mate.
The official F1 website’s video has provided more radio transmission that shows Smedley discussing his driver’s apparent lack of pace and needing to maintain a gap to Alonso.
“You need to pick up the pace, because Fernando is faster,” he tells Massa at one time, and on another occasion: “Pretty close here, [Alonso’s] gonna go [through] — you’re going to have to defend.”
It would suggest that Massa would have been able to keep the lead of the race if he’d actually had the pace to keep enough of a gap to Alonso. Do we dare suggest that Massa only has himself to blame on this one?