Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ferrari escapes with no further sanctions

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Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain attends a news conference at the Monza racetrack near Milan September 9, 2010.

PARIS - Formula One's governing body upheld a $100,000 fine for Ferrari on Wednesday but kept alive Fernando Alonso's hopes of a third title after deciding to impose no further sanctions for the use of banned team orders.

Race stewards had handed the $100,000 fine to the Italian glamour team after the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in July, when Ferrari was found to have ordered Felipe Massa to allow Fernando Alonso victory in a one-two finish.

That decision was referred to the International Automobile Federation (FIA)'s world motor sport council for consideration, with the threat of sanctions that could hit the team and drivers hard.

In the end, after a hearing in Paris that lasted some three hours, the governing body decided to review the rule that outlaws such orders and allow Ferrari to compete in its home Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend with a cloud lifted from over it.

The decision was announced by the governing body in a brief statement nearly three hours after the meeting had ended and with reporters pacing the pavement outside with increasing frustration after a wet afternoon.

Double champion Alonso, who was not present at the hearing at the FIA's Place de la Concorde headquarters, could have seen his title hopes disappear had the FIA decided to strip him and the team of the points won in Germany.

The Spaniard is fifth in the standings, 41 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren with six races remaining.

Also on Wednesday, the World Motor Sport Council in Paris formally approved India's inclusion on the race calendar for 2011, although it has yet to give a green light to the new track being built outside the capital, New Delhi.


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