May 14th, 2002

Milk Carton

Ferrari in trouble?


Ferrari and their drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have been summoned to appear before the World Motor Sports Council at its next meeting in Paris on 26th June, according to an FIA statement released today (Monday).

The statement declared that their presence was requested because of "(i) an incident during the last lap of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix and (ii) incidents during the subsequent podium procedure."

The likely incidents that are mentioned in the press release are when Barrichello slowed to let Schumacher past at the last minute to win the race, and Schumacher's subsequent insistence that the Brazilian take to the top step of the podium and receive the winner's trophy.

The FIA published a directive governing the use of team orders in April 1998, which were re-issued as a reminder in August 1999. This reflects the FIA's current stance on the subject. It read:

"There is no prohibition of team orders as such. The World Council merely reminded competitors of the long-standing provisions of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which prohibit "any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition" and made it clear that any such act would be penalised.

"Two competitions are taking place simultaneously at each Formula One™ Grand Prix: the World Championship, which extends over sixteen races, and the individual race itself.

"It is perfectly legitimate for a team to decide that one of its drivers is its Championship contender and that the other will support him.

"What is not acceptable, in the World Council's view, is any arrangement which interferes with a race and cannot be justified by the relevant team's interest in the Championship. Any arrangement between teams which might interfere with the race would also be unacceptable.

"Should a case occur, it will be judged on its facts and in the light of long-standing motor sport tradition."