HOCKENHEIM, July 26 – McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said he will talk privately with Ferrari about the latest Formula One controversy that engulfed the German Grand Prix.
Ferrari have been fined 100,000 pounds and could face further punishment from the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council after the obvious use of team orders helped Fernando Alonso win the Hockenheim race and revive his bid for the drivers’ world title.
Ferrari’s ‘number two’ driver Brazilian Felipe Massa was leading the race, but shortly after a radio conversation with the team, slowed down and allowed the Spaniard to overtake on lap 49.
Although Ferrari insist they did nothing wrong, the Italian team’s actions have resulted in a huge backlash from the media and fans worldwide, and the FIA have accused them of bringing the sport into disrepute.
Whitmarsh said he did not want to get drawn into all the drama and that he would discuss the matter with Ferrari, away from the media spotlight.
"I don’t want to get drawn into it," he said. "I have my own private views on it. They were quicker than us; they got a 1-2, but perhaps in a different order from that which people may have thought was right.
"I will give my private views to Ferrari, but I don’t want to go on record and express those views."
Whitmarsh hinted that he was not surprised at Ferrari’s actions, but insisted that not matter what the final outcome of the debacle was, McLaren would never favour one driver over another.
"Ferrari were quick and we did what we could – and they raced how they raced. That was not a new approach from Ferrari, was it?" he said.
"You can go back to the late 90s and all sorts of times when things have happened – but we decide to race. I think having our drivers racing, in the longer term, is a healthy thing to do for this team.
"That is my decision and that is what we want to do. Others do what they want to do, and it is for the FIA and Ferrari to determine what they think is right. We were racing our two guys until the end of the race."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner chose to handle the matter quite differently though – having been surrounded by controversy on more than one occasion already this year, the smooth-talking Englishman branded the Hockenheim race a manipulation and said it was a real shame that F1 fans had to witness it.
"It’s a great shame for Formula 1 that the race was manipulated to give one driver a victory over the other," he said.
"The biggest losers are the fans, the spectators, the viewers as a race win was handed to Fernando. Rightly or wrongly, we’ve allowed our drivers to race because we believe that’s the sporting thing to do and it also is within the regulations."
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali announced that Ferrari would not appeal against the FIA’s penalty decision.
He said: "As for the stewards’ decision given after the race, in the interests of the sport, we have decided not to go through a procedure of appealing against it, confident that the World Council will know how to evaluate the overall facts correctly."