“Michael Schumacher does not deserve to win it”: Two of the biggest Formula 1 punishment in the early 2000s
Let us look at the two controversies which shocked the F1 world in the early 2000s leading to a heavy punishment by the FIA.
The early 2000s had some of the most clever controversies the sports had ever seen. Gone was the scare of the Y2K bug. It was all Michael Schumacher’s dominance in the early 2000s. The teams tried hard to derail Ferrari’s empire but failed until Renault came into the picture.
From the rise and fall of BAR-Honda to how does it feel to be the second driver in Ferrari, let us look at two of the most significant Formula One punishment of the early 2000s:
A secondary fuel tank?
BAR-Honda joined the F1 world in 1999. They have been a strong presence in the midfield since the early 2000s. However, in 2004, the Honda-powered 006 reached its peak. Jenson Button finished third in the championship. The team finished runners-up in the constructor’s championship behind Ferrari.
Whereas in 2005, the team had quite a downfall. Button finished third in Imola while his teammate Sato finished fifth. During the post-race, Button’s car was underweight. Digging deeper, the stewards found out that BAR had installed a secondary fuel tank that could store over 11kgs of extra fuel.
The team’s management lied to the FIA, claiming that the fuel was drained from the car when it had not. BAR contended that the extra fuel was required for the car to function. They also claimed that the car never exceeded the weight restriction, although it was proving this was very difficult.
The International Court of Appeal banned BAR Honda for the next two races in Spain and Monaco. The team was suspended for six months, and the points for San Marino Grand Prix were also deducted. FIA President Max Mosley wanted to ban BAR for the rest of the season.
Ferrari Number two drivers and team orders that favoured Michael Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello has led the Austrian Grand Prix since starting on pole in 2002. However, Ferrari ordered the Brazilian to slow down, paving the way for Michael Schumacher to take the victory on the final straight.
It was only the sixth race of the season, and Ferrari could have had plenty of opportunities ahead. Too much of the fans’ disappointment, the team tried all they could to help Schumacher win extra points.
Despite it being legal, neither the crowd nor the commentators could digest what had happened. Schumacher invited Barrichello onto the top step during the podium ceremony and gave him the first prize. FIA fined the team $1 Million and banned team orders until 2010.
During the 2010 German Grand Prix, Ferrari ordered Felipe Massa to give up the win for Fernando Alonso. The race engineer said to Massa: “Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm that you understood the message?” Massa quickly gave the lead to Alonso, and he finished second. After this fiasco, FIA lifted the team orders rule.
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