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Ferrari spared the rod

PARIS, September 8 – Formula One giants Ferrari were spared further punishment for giving drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa team orders during the German Grand Prix, according to an Italian Automobile official on Wednesday.Ferrari told Massa to let Alonso pass him during the Grand Prix in July for which they initially received a 100,000 dollar fine.

And having attended a FIA hearing in Paris, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Commission, told Italian reporters that the fine had been confirmed but no new penalties imposed.

And according to Enrico Gelpi, president of the Italian Automobile Club, the FIA has agreed to review the controversial ruling against team orders.

"We have a rule that presents difficulties in its interpretation, it will be reviewed," said Gelpi.

"We would be in favour of it being completely removed."

Gelpi added that this rule would be reviewed at the next general meeting in November but he said that the general consensus was in favour of removing the rule.

The team orders rule was introduced after the infamous 2002 Austrian Grand Prix when Ferrari – then run by present FIA supremo Jean Todt who stepped aside for the hearing – instructed race leader Rubens Barrichello to pull over to allow Michael Schumacher through and claim victory.

Massa, despite leading from the start, was informed by Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley over the team’s radio: "Ok, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you have understood this message?"

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Following the controversial move, Smedley was again on the radio apologising to Massa.

"Good lad – just stick with it now, sorry," said the Ferrari official.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has insisted that there were no team orders at Hockenheim and that it was Massa’s decision to let Alonso past.

"We gave information to the driver and it was his decision to decide how to react" he said.

Domenicali added that Smedley’s apology was simply due to the fact that Massa’s car was not as fast as Alonso’s.

"You have to consider that fact that he gave the information to Felipe to help him, and was sorry that his car was not as fast."

The German race stewards dished out a 100,000 euro fine to the Italian stable after the race at Hockenheim for breaching sporting regulations.

World Motor Sports Council’s disciplinary panel could have gone as far as excluding the team from the 2010 championship.

Although Ferrari insist they did nothing wrong their actions in Germany resulted in a huge backlash from the media and fans worldwide.

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With six races of the season remaining Alonso is lying fifth in the drivers standings, 41 points behind McLaren pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.

In the race for the constructors’ crown Ferrari are third, 80 points behind leaders Red Bull ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

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