Fernley: Massa gearbox penalty demotion was good call by Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 arrives on the grid. Formula One World Championship, Rd19 United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, 18 November 2012.Nov.20 (GMM) Bob Fernley, the day-to-day team boss at Force India, has backed Ferrari‘s decision to deliberately cause a penalty for Felipe Massa in Austin, and thus promote title contender Fernando Alonso up the grid.

The Italian team was roundly criticised for tampering with Brazilian Massa’s long-life gearbox for no other reason than to incur a five-place penalty that resulted in  switching title-fighting teammate Fernando Alonso to the ‘clean’ side of the grid.

Ferrari’s immediate competitors, Red Bull and McLaren, said they wouldn’t have made a similar decision. But Fernley told PA Sport it is nonsense to write of Ferrari’s tactic as unsporting.

“At the end of the day the regulations are what they are, Ferrari took them to the limit, and that’s what we do in Formula One,” he said.

“I would absolutely have done the same. We’re not here to try to make friends, we’re here to win.”

Many commentators in the media  slammed Ferrari’s tactic, but former driver Marc Surer said that the Maranello team did the right thing.

“If you look at the [race] start, it was absolutely right,” he told German television Sky.

The Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport added: “With a world title at stake, everyone would have done Ferrari’s trick.”

Subbed by AJN.

  • Forza Ferrari

    Of course everyone would’ve done the same thing if they were in this position. Those who are saying that they wouldn’t have done it, are just hypocrites. Macca and the Red Cow should keep their f***ing mouths shut! Both those teams are the epitome of cheating and stealing (in Macca’s case). Macca is so lucky that they’re still even in F1 after 2007 spygate fiasco and they have the nerve to preach about any morale??? Excuse me while I laugh. LOL

  • fools

    I agree. That just shows how prepared Ferrari are to win the 2012 WDC. Lets go Ferrari and Alonso.

    Massa…I hope you compete back to your old self in 2013. You sure showed your back. Come on! Dont give up ever.

  • Ian

    Team orders are legal, that’s the bottom line here. Morality has nothing to do with it. Whether or not you approve, any team has the legal right to disadvantage one of its drivers in order to aid the other, if it’s in the team’s best interests. Ferrari was clever enough to leave their mechanical ploy late enough that Red Bull didn’t have time to do the same thing with Webber’s car, had they wanted to. That would have placed Alsonso back onto the dirty side of the grid, albeit another position ahead. With so much at stake, any race team would have to consider any means at its disposal to win, without cheating.