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Ferrari fined $1 million [27 Jun 2002|04:18pm]
[ mood | shocked ]

The World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) announced this morning (Wednesday) that Ferrari, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello had jointly been fined US$1 million for their contravention of podium procedure at the Austrian GP.

Although the WMSC stated that it "deplored the manner in which team orders were given and executed at the Austrian GP", the Council decided that it could take no action over the last lap incident, when Barrichello obeyed team orders to let Schumacher into the lead just yards before the chequered flag.

A full statement from the FIA explained the WMSC's decision regarding the end of the race:

"The WMSC deplored the manner in which team orders were given and executed at the Austrian Grand Prix. Nevertheless the Council finds it impossible to sanction the two drivers, because they were both contractually bound to execute orders by the team.

"The Council also recognised the long standing and traditional right of a team to decree the finishing order of its drivers in what it believes to be the best interest of its attempt to win both world championships.

"In the circumstances, the Council decided; with some reluctance; that it could take no action over the team orders given by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Austrian Grand Prix."

However, the WMSC did decide to punish Ferrari and their drivers for their behaviour on the Austrian podium, where Barrichello, and not race winner Schumacher, took to the top step. The statement from the Council continued:

"The podium procedure was not followed. Having finished second, Barrichello, who is a Brazilian national, stood on the top step while the German national anthem played for Michael Schumacher. Michael Schumacher then ascended the top step and both drivers, rather than just the winner, stood there while the Italian national anthem was played. Michael Schumacher took the trophy for first place from the Austrian Chancellor, did not acknowledge him, handed the trophy to Rubens Barrichello and then took the second place trophy from the Austrian Deputy Chancellor.

"It is the duty of each team to ensure that its contracted drivers observe the podium procedures and do not in any way embarrass the national authorities of the country where a grand prix takes place.

"The World Motor Sport Council held that Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro were each guilty of failure to observe Article 170 of the Formula One™ Sporting Regulations.

"The World Motor Sport Council imposed a fine of $1 million (USD) on Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello jointly, half to be paid immediately and half to be suspended for one year. The fine will become payable immediately should a similar offence occur within the next twelve months."

FIA President Max Mosley is due to give a press conference in Paris on Wednesday afternoon concerning the Council's decisions.

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