F1: New Radio Evidence Supports Ferrari Team Order Charge, Not Just Endplates Bending On Red Bulls Photo:
Mike Stevens | Aug, 06 2010 | 0 Comments

New radio evidence might indicate that Ferrari will have a difficult task convincing the FIA that it did not deploy illegal team orders at Hockenheim.

The famous Italian team will face the governing body's new disciplinary panel in Paris in September, after Felipe Massa moved over for his teammate Fernando Alonso during the German race.

Until now, the only apparent evidence of the imposition of the team order was race engineer Rob Smedley's radio call to his Brazilian driver: "Fernando - is - faster - than - you, can you confirm you understood that message".

Smedley later apologised to Massa, telling the 29-year-old he was "very, very magnanimous".

But new radio evidence would seem to reinforce suspicions that the "is faster than you" language was in fact a pre-arranged code that Massa understood as a direct order to pull over.

F1's official website has published a video edit of the German race that depicts Smedley relay a conventional message to Massa about Spaniard Alonso's superior pace.

"You need to pick up the pace, because Fernando is faster," the British engineer is heard to tell Massa.

And another message to Massa during their genuine on-track battle was: "Pretty close here, he's (Alonso) gonna go (through) - you're going to have to defend".

It has also been suspected that Alonso requested the team order, after he said "this is ridiculous" whilst trying to conventionally overtake his teammate.

And he is heard to say during the official video edit: "I am much faster than Felipe."

His engineer Andrea Stella replied: "We got your message, we got your message."



Not Just Endplates Bending On Red Bulls

Those who believe only Red Bull's front wing endplates are flexing appear to be wide of the mark.

Pressure from McLaren, Mercedes and perhaps other rivals of the Austrian-owned team has resulted in new wing flexibility tests being devised by the FIA for the forthcoming Belgian Grand Prix.

Reports indicate that the new tests will involve the doubling of the testing load from 50kg to 100kg, amid suspicions Red Bull and Ferrari devised a way to have the endplates bend under disproportionately higher loads out on track.

But for Red Bull, there seems to be a much more complex story to emerge.

"It's very clever," said McLaren's Jenson Button on Thursday, whilst preparing for the London Triathlon.

"We've just got to understand it -- and as quickly as possible," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

After Hockenheim, where Ferrari finally got on terms with Red Bull, the photographs of the bending wings started doing the rounds.

And before running the F10s a few days later, Ferrari Chief Engineer Chris Dyer said the team was set to consider "some different front wing options" in Hungary.

The rumours about Ferrari's flexing wings subsequently quietened, as the focus on the RB6 intensified.

It is now being suggested in F1 circles that flexing endplates is only part of Red Bull's story.

"It doesn't just seem to be their wing that flexes," Button had said in Hungary.

Indeed, further scrutiny of the flexi-wing photographs from Hockenheim and Hungary seem to show Red Bull's entire front nose - not just the wing and its extremities - much closer to the ground than any of their rivals, including Ferrari.

How the team is achieving this is unknown, but the manner in which Sebastian Vettel's prototype broke at the mounting at high speed on Hangar straight during third practice at Silverstone might be a clue.

Another theory is that the front of the floor of the car is flexing towards the ground on track, whilst the rear is lifting.

And it is believed the flexing of the rear floor in particular would have a radical effect in terms of the front wing height.

"I've heard rumours about all sorts of things going on, including flexible floors," BBC radio commentator Anthony Davidson said in Hungary.


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