After appearing before the FIA World Sports Council today in Paris, Ferrari, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have jointly been fined US$1million for their actions on the podium at the Austrian Grand Prix. Although the outrage of the fans...
After appearing before the FIA World Sports Council today in Paris, Ferrari, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have jointly been fined US$1million for their actions on the podium at the Austrian Grand Prix. Although the outrage of the fans and others was focused on the team orders Ferrari used to give Schumacher the Austrian victory, the fine is for the disregard of podium procedures as team orders are not an offense.
Schumacher pushed Barrichello to the top step of the podium and insisted he take the winner's trophy but this was against the FIA's strict podium rules -- where even the colour of the carpet must be exact.
"The WMSC deplored the manner in which team orders were given and executed at the Austrian Grand Prix," the FIA statement read. "Nevertheless the Council finds it impossible to sanction the two drivers, because they were both contractually bound to execute orders given by the team."
"The Council also recognised the long-standing and traditional right of a team to decree the finishing order of its drivers in what it believes to be the best interest of its attempt to win both world championships. In the circumstances, the Council decided; with some reluctance; that it could take no action over the team orders given by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Austrian Grand Prix."
"The podium procedure was not followed. Having finished second, Rubens Barrichello, who is a Brazilian national, stood on the top step while the German national anthem was played for Michael Schumacher. Michael Schumacher then ascended the top step and both drivers, rather than just the winner, stood there while the Italian national anthem was played. Michael Schumacher took the trophy for first place from the Austrian Chancellor, did not acknowledge him, handed the trophy to Rubens Barrichello and then took the second place trophy from the Austrian Deputy Chancellor."
"It is the duty of each team to ensure that its contracted drivers observe the podium procedures and do not in any way embarrass the national authorities of the country where a grand prix takes place."
"The World Motor Sport Council held that Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro were each guilty of failure to observe Article 170 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations."
"The World Motor Sport Council imposed a fine of $1 million (USD) on Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello jointly, half to be paid immediately and half to be suspended for one year. The fine will become payable immediately should a similar offence occur within the next twelve months."