Ferrari avoid bigger punishment over team orders scandal

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The Independent Online

Ferrari escaped further punishment yesterday for their decision to order Felipe Massa to let his team-mate Fernando Alonso overtake him to win the German Grand Prix in July.

After an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris, the head of Italy's motor sport federation, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, said there had been unanimous agreement not to add to the $100,000 (€78,000) fine that was imposed at the time.

A statement from the FIA read: "At the Grand Prix of Germany, the stewards of the meeting found an infringement by the Scuderia Ferrari to the prohibition of team orders interfering with a race result and then decided to impose a fine of $100,000 and to forward the dossier to the World Motor Sport Council for further consideration.

"After an in-depth analysis of all reports, statements and documents submitted, the judging body has decided to confirm the stewards' decision of a $100,000 fine."

The FIA also confirmed that Formula One would go to India in 2011 in an expanded 20-race calendar, which will mean the season finishing at the end of November. The Indian Grand Prix is still subject to final circuit ratification, but is expected to slot between races in South Korea and Abu Dhabi, on 30 October. The poorly attended Turkish Grand Prix continues, but is expected to be replaced by a US Grand Prix in Texas from 2012.

The World Council also introduced a system of licensing so that if anyone commits the same offence as Flavio Briatore did, in rigging the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix while he was in charge of Renault, sanctions can be made to stick. Initially the FIA sought to ban Briatore for life, but had to concede that its statutes did not permit this.

The governing body announced yesterday that senior members of teams competing in all leading FIA world championships would have to hold a relevant licence, which can be revoked if they are found guilty of malpractice. "This would apply to a minimum of six people per competitor, including the team principal, sporting director, team manager, technical director and two race engineers [or equivalent]," a statement said.

At the same time, in a bid to stop the sort of "hooning" misbehaviour in which Lewis Hamilton indulged on a public street in Melbourne in March, the FIA made it clear it will not tolerate bad driving on the roads from its licence-holders, and said, "The FIA have a strong interest in promoting road safety. Competitors at FIA events must act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules."

Despite interest from the former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and the Durango team, the FIA said it would not grant entry to a 13th team for 2011 since none of the prospective candidates had met the requirements.

Next year's Grands Prix

Bahrain 13 March 2011; Australia 27 March; Malaysia 10 April; China 17 April; Turkey 8 May; Spain 22 May; Monaco 29 May; Canada 12 June; Europe (Valencia) 26 June; Britain 10 July; Germany 24 July; Hungary 31 July; Belgium 28 August; Italy 11 Sept; Singapore 25 Sept; Japan 9 Oct; South Korea 16 Oct; India 30 Oct; Abu Dhabi 13 Nov; Brazil 27 Nov.