PARIS // Formula One's governing body upheld a US$100,000 (Dh367,290) fine for Ferrari but will impose no further sanction following the team orders controversy. Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of Italy's CAI Motorsport Federation, said a meeting yesterday of the FIA's world motorsport council agreed unanimously not to impose a further punishment. Race stewards handed the $100,000 fine to Ferrari after the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in July when the team was found to have ordered Felipe Massa to allow Fernando Alonso to win.
The verdict would have come as a huge relief for Alonso, whose title hopes could have been ended if FIA had opted to punish the Spaniard, who lies fifth in the standings and 41 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes.Ferrari, who would have had a one-two finish at Hockenheim even without the team orders being invoked, are third overall and 80 points adrift of leaders Red Bull. They will be able to compete in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, their home race.
The hearing was as much about the very nature of the sport as one single offence and the outcome will be controversial. There are those who argue that team orders should be legalised since they have been part of F1 since the championship started in 1950 and have never really gone away. Others say rules must be respected and to encourage overt manipulation of results would be a betrayal of the spirit of fair competition.
The decision is likely to anger Eddie Jordan, the former team principal at Ferrari, who had claimed Ferrari treated fans "like muppets" and ought to be punished further. "It was very blatant," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I think they should get a bigger penalty. What happens if Alonso gets away Scott free and goes on to win [the title] by two points from whoever? What Ferrari did was they showed no respect to the public, they treated us all like muppets, they broke the rule and they have to pay the penalty."
Meanwhile, the governing body has ruled out the possibility of a new team joining the grid in 2011. In March the FIA invited parties interested in becoming the sport's 13th team to come forward, but the governing body has deemed none of the expressions of interest to be strong enough to warrant inclusion on the entry list. The sport was left with a void to fill following the collapse of the fledgling US F1 team prior to the start of this season.
A joint venture involving 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and Italian constructor Durango, and an application from Epsilon Euskadi had been among the front-running candidates to be awarded the slot. * Agencies