Find out more about our subscriptions
Mark Hughes on Ferrari's Korean GP strategy
AUTOSPORT's GP editor Mark Hughes explains how Felipe Massa slowed down during the Korean Grand Prix to help Ferrai team-mate Fernando Alonso

  By Mark Hughes

In my South Korea Grand Prix race report for AUTOSPORT magazine I wrote that Ferrari had slowed Felipe Massa down under the safety car to help minimise the position loss of Fernando Alonso's lost wheel nut at his pitstop, which came a lap after Massa's.

For the purposes of clarity, at no stage did we accuse Ferrari of team orders in so doing, even if the action could be interpreted as such.

Our position on team orders is that it is a natural part of racing anyway and even the FIA has accepted that in the midst of a championship showdown, they are inevitable. Far from attacking Ferrari, we fully support its actions in doing what it did in South Korea.

Felipe Massa during the Korean GP
Felipe Massa during the Korean GP © LAT

Even though the team is officially saying it did not, in fact, slow Massa and that the 2.5 seconds he lost to Lewis Hamilton at the pitstops was due to caution on his part, the team has to say this because of the ridiculous hoops the written regulation forces the teams to jump through in order to be officially clean with regard to team orders.

Be assured that the information that Massa was slowed came from inside the Ferrari team.

It is the unearthing of such intelligence that separates in-depth reporting from the re-writing of team PR sheets. It would not be written if there were not an impeccable source.

Furthermore, the inside information is backed up by the race history chart around the safety car period for the Buemi/Glock incident. Comparing lap 30 to 32, Massa loses 2.5s to Hamilton. Only 0.2s of this is accounted for by their in-laps (lap 31).

The rest comes on the out-lap – strong enough supporting evidence in itself but what even the race history chart does not show is that almost all of the lost 2.3s (2.5s minus the 0.2s lost on the in-lap) came in the last sector.

Had Massa not slowed, he – and not just Hamilton - would have leap-frogged ahead of Alonso as a result of the Spaniard's wheel nut delay.

For the full race report, read last week's AUTOSPORT magazine, available in digital form here.

  FEATURES FROM OCT 28, 2010 - NOV 3, 2010
How Loeb destroyed his rivals in Spain
By David Evans
Rating the title contenders' chances
By Adam Cooper
The 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 review
By Peter Mills
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2010
By Peter Mills
The 2010 BTCC season review
By Jamie O'Leary
The top ten BTCC drivers of 2010
By Jamie O'Leary
MPH: Mark Hughes on...
By Autosport magazine
Mark Hughes on Ferrari's Korean GP strategy
By Mark Hughes
The complexities of the Lotus name row
By Tony Dodgins
The Korean GP technical review
By Gary Anderson
The logistics behind the IRC coverage
By Iain Campbell
Bamber's Week
By Jim Bamber
The challenges ahead for the Korean GP
By Dieter Rencken
Looking ahead to Rossi's last day at Yamaha
By Toby Moody
How good was Surtees?... (08-Jan-2014)
The top 10 F1 drivers of 2013... (14-Dec-2013)
The title fight that turned on t... (12-Dec-2013)
GP report: Formula 1's subdued f... (25-Nov-2013)
Form guide: it's Vettel vs Rosbe... (22-Nov-2013)
GP report: a waste of a beautifu... (18-Nov-2013)
Form guide: only Webber can stop... (15-Nov-2013)
Mark Hughes' GP report: Vettel r... (04-Nov-2013)
Form guide: Only Grosjean can st... (01-Nov-2013)
GP report: Vettel does it in sty... (28-Oct-2013)
Form guide: it's Red Bull vs tyr... (25-Oct-2013)
GP report: Grosjean brings Suzuk... (14-Oct-2013)
Form guide: Don't bet against a ... (11-Oct-2013)
Perfection from Vettel, if not t... (07-Oct-2013)
Form guide: Mercedes and Lotus j... (04-Oct-2013)
All articles by Mark Hughes