Whitmarsh: Championship outcome "will not be overshadowed"
One of the closest-fought world championships of recent years could ultimately be decided by what happened on the 49th lap of the German GP in Hockenheim. Felipe Massa visibly eases up on the gas and allows his team-mate Fernando Alonso to cruise past. This results in victory for Alonso, seven extra points in the title chase - and an ear-splitting chorus of jeers and whistles from disgruntled fans in the grandstands.
Max Mosley fears that if Alonso takes the title by a margin of fewer than seven points, this could bring the 2010 Formula One championship and indeed the whole series into disrepute. As Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also commented recently: "That would be hugely disappointing, because we are all operating under the belief that team orders are illegal."
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh also disapproves of the practice, but even so, he does not think that 'Hockenheimgate' will overshadow the outcome. "We shouldn't allow our attention to be diverted from what has been one of the best seasons in Formula One history by something that was done by one or other of the teams at one or other of the races. At McLaren, we take one view of the rules, but it's quite possible other teams interpret them differently."
"Ultimately, all that matters is that Red Bull have built a fast car and have been competitive all year," says Whitmarsh. "And you also have to respect Ferrari for what they've achieved. At the time of the team orders controversy, they were experiencing extensive mid-season problems. But they've bounced back and are now highly competitive." So competitive, in fact, that Fernando Alonso currently tops the drivers' standings with only two races left on the calendar.