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Irvine defends Ferrari stance

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has described as hypocrisy the attitude of his team's critics in the wake of the German Grand Prix controversy.

On Sunday, Ferrari were fined $100,000 by race stewards at Hockenheim, and with the matter having been referred to the World Motor Sport Council, they face the possibility of a further penalty.

After a one-two finish, Ferrari pleaded their innocence, but the stewards saw through the coded messages that resulted in Felipe Massa deliberately slowing to allow Fernando Alonso to pass and claim the win.

Criticism from far and wide has followed, most notably that Ferrari cheated the fans of a sporting, racing finish.

Di Montezemolo, however, has dismissed his detractors and delivered a stern message that no individual is greater than the team.

"The polemics are of no interest to me," said Di Montezemolo on the Ferrari website.

"I simply reaffirm what I have always maintained, which is that our drivers are very well aware, and it is something they have to stick to, that if one races for Ferrari, then the interests of the team come before those of the individual.

"In any case, these things have happened since the days of (Tazio) Nuvolari (a Ferrari star of the 1930s).

"I experienced it myself when I was sporting director, in the days of Niki Lauda -- and not just then.

"Therefore, enough of this hypocrisy, even if I can well believe some people might well have liked to see our two drivers eliminate one another.

"But that is definitely not the case for me, or indeed for our fans."

Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine is a man who can understand the frustration felt yesterday by Massa.

Irvine left the team after four seasons playing second fiddle to seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

The 45-year-old Northern Irishman, however, maintains such is life when you are at Ferrari.


"Massa obviously has a contract where he has to do what the team says," said Irvine.

"My contract never said I was a number two, that I had to pull over. It just said I will follow team instructions at all times.

"Massa has agreed to this in private, his engineer knows that, the team know it, so why get all upset when it happens?

"It happens because you agree to it. If you don't agree to it then don't drive for the team."

Irvine, though, agrees with the regulation that bans team orders as he feels the fans have to come first and be respected.

"The fans need to be given 100pc, and 100pc from the teams is letting their drivers race each other to the line," added Irvine.

"I don't think it (team orders) should be allowed because the fans are number one and they want to see a race between Massa and Alonso."