‘The only losers today are Formula 1″ and other reactions to Ferrari’s team order

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Plenty of terrific discussion here on the Ferrari team orders incident at the Germany Grand Prix — much of which I’m still trying to get through!

We’re seeing what we — the fans — are having to say. But what about folks in Formula 1? Here’s a bit of a roundup:

Christian Horner:

“It’s a great shame for Formula 1 that the race was manipulated to give one driver a victory over the other,” Horner told AUTOSPORT.

“We came in for a lot of criticism in Istanbul for allowing our drivers to race but I think that it’s the fair and sporting thing to do.

“The only losers today are Formula 1. Ferrari are a big enough team that they shouldn’t need to do that and Fernando is a good enough driver not to particularly at this point in the season when there are still hundreds of points available.”

Horner admitted he felt sorry for the fans who missed the opportunity to see Ferrari’s drivers racing each other.

“It’s a great shame. Ferrari are a great team,” he said. “It’s a shame for Formula 1 that they didn’t allow Felipe and Fernando to race each other. There are not so many points between them and it was so obvious how they moved the cars around.

“The biggest losers are the fans, the spectators, the viewers as a race win was handed to Fernando. Rightly or wrongly, we’ve allowed our drivers to race because we believe that’s the sporting thing to do and it also is within the regulations.

“The regulation was introduced for a reason, to stop exactly this situation happening. The FIA has all of the facts and it was done in such an obvious way and it would be a great shame if it’s left unpunished because it sets a precedent that is wrong for F1.”

Nick Fry:

“I think the first thing is that we all have to obey the rules,” Fry told AUTOSPORT. “Whether you like it or not the stewards and the FIA have the final say. Putting that aside, I think the teams have an absolute responsibility for the show.

“The show is what generates the fans; the fans are what generates the sponsors, and the sponsors generate sponsorship which allows us to run the teams. So they are the customers at the end of the day, and we have got to put on a good show.

“Putting aside whether or not it was team orders, I do feel sorry for Felipe [Massa] especially after what happened last year which we were very sad about. He was putting in a great performance. It doesn’t seem fair regardless.”

“Personally I think the show is the most important thing,” he said. “I heard David Coulthard talk about the history and the fact there always were team orders, but I think times have changed.

“This is sport and the fans out there want to see the drivers fighting. While the teams think it is a teams’ championship, most of the fans – possibly with the exception of Ferrari – support the drivers who happen to drive for a team.

“I think we have to let them fight it out and only intervene if it is getting out of hand, and they are knocking each other off.”

Fry believes that ultimately a team has to decide what its core strategy is – and he says at his current outfit, through its BAR and Brawn GP identities, has been that of driver equality.

“I think you have got to start with basic philosophy, and the basic philosophy since I’ve been at this team is that we treat both drivers equally,” he said.

“When I first arrived with Jacques [Villeneuve] and Olivier [Panis] it was very difficult to do that because we were simply not well enough organised, and sometimes we had to give one driver something and not give it the other. But it was in the full knowledge of both and we tried to distribute fairly.

“That situation for us changed a long time ago and the only rule is don’t crash into each other. Apart from that, you have a responsibility to give them equal stuff and we would not countenance a contract that went against that.”

And then, finally, Martin Whitmarsh. Here’s the interesting one, really:

“I don’t want to get drawn into it,” explained Whitmarsh. “I have my own private views on it. They were quicker than us today; they got a 1-2, but perhaps in a different order from that which people may have thought was right.

“I will give my private views to Ferrari, but I don’t want to go on record and express those views.”

And despite Ferrari showing itself so willing to throw its support behind one driver, Whitmarsh has promised his drivers that they will remain free to race.

“You can go back to the late 90s and all sorts of times when things have happened – but we decide to race. I think having our drivers racing, in the longer term, is a healthy thing to do for this team.

“That is my decision and that is what we want to do. Others do what they want to do, and it is for the FIA and Ferrari to determine what they think is right. We were racing our two guys until the end of the race.”

He added: “All I know is the same as you. I heard what I heard, I saw what I saw, but it is for others to comment on.

“Ferrari were quick and we did what we could – and they raced how they raced. That was not a new approach from Ferrari, was it?”

An opportunity for McLaren to take a totally legitimate — even popular — shot at Ferrari, and its team boss refrains?

Maybe Ferrari’s team order move did kill Formula 1, after all! :)

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