Madonna di Campiglio, Wednesday: Ferrari’s F1 team are reportedly in trouble after an incident in the Italian mountains left questions over their ability to compete fairly.
The team are currently on their annual ski retreat in the Dolomites, courtesy of sponsors Marlboro, alongside Ducati’s MotoGP team who are also sponsored by the tobacco company. The incident occurred when Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were pitted against Ducati’s riders, Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, in a downhill ski race.
The race was controversial from the start, Alonso missing the signal to begin as he was still strapping himself to his skis. As the competitors approached the finish line, Massa appeared to lose control, sliding into both Stoner and Hayden and pitching all three of them over – leaving a delighted Alonso to take victory, much to the surprise of onlookers.
However, there are now suggestions that Massa was asked to deliberately take out the MotoGP riders in order to hand victory to his teammate. Ferrari have not denied these rumours, though they have been at pains to point out that Alonso had no knowledge of the plot: “If this crash was deliberate, and I’m not saying it was,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said later, “then Alonso had no idea it was going to happen. Absolutely none. Seriously.”
Phillip Morris are said to be investigating the allegations of cheating. If Ferrari are found to have conspired to deliberately impede Ducati – in keeping with previous similar cases – they will be told very sternly not to do it again.