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The biggest Ferrari scandals in Formula 1

Ferrari have been on a rollercoaster ride in F1 both on and off track. RacingNews365.com takes a look at the moments that stunned the world.

No team has been more successful in Formula 1 than Ferrari. They have 16 constructors' titles and 15 drivers' championships to their name and have by far the largest fanbase in the sport.

Over the course of 1000 races, Ferrari have endured triumph and tragedy in F1, but also some controversial moments. Here's a look at the Ferrari stories that shocked the motorsport world.

Villeneuve vs. Pironi

At the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix, Gilles Villeneuve led teammate Didier Pironi. Ferrari ordered the pair to slow down, saying the lead driver would go on to win the race.

But Pironi had other ideas. Pironi ignored the team and overtook Villeneuve, leaving the latter in a pique of anger following the race.

Villeneuve died in qualifying at the next event in Belgium. and many believe the feud contributed to his fatal accident as he went over the limit in an attempt to beat Pironi.


The 2007 season was a classic on and off the track. An espionage scandal saw Ferrari's Nigel Stepney pass on highly confidential information to rival team McLaren. Stepney was dismissed from the squad immediately.

McLaren were excluded from the constructors' championship and received a record-breaking €90 million fine. On this occasion, Ferrari were the victims.

This scandal stands as one of the most controversial moments in the sport's modern history.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Barrichello gives way

Michael Schumacher went into the 2002 season seeking a hat-trick of championship victories and went into the Austrian Grand Prix with a healthy 21 point lead over his rivals.

But it was teammate Rubens Barrichello who was the dominant force at the Red Bull Ring, taking pole position and leading every lap, apart from the last one.

Barrichello was instructed to let Schumacher through and he did so just metres away from the finish line. The move proved highly unpopular with fans and Schumacher allowed Barrichello to take the top step of the podium.

From 2003, team orders were officially banned in Formula 1.

Schumacher's title-deciding shenanigans

Schumacher led the 1997 championship by a solitary point over Jacques Villeneuve going into the season finale in Jerez. Whoever finished ahead of the other would become world champion.

Remarkably, the pair collided when Villeneuve went for a move down the inside of Schumacher at the Dry Dac corner. Schumacher intentionally turned in early, hitting the sidepod of the Williams driver but came off worse and retired from the Grand Prix.

Villeneuve managed to limp home to score a podium, beating Schumacher to the title. Two weeks after the event, Schumacher was disqualified from the entire 1997 season. He remains the only F1 driver to be disqualified from the drivers' world champion.

			© AP Photo
	© AP Photo

Monaco madness

During qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher had set the fastest time of the session and was set for pole position. On the traditional final runs, he had a lock up at the penultimate corner and came to a stop.

Main rival Alonso was behind Schumacher on the track and was forced to back out due to Schumacher's incident. The stewards stripped Schumacher of his pole position and bumped him down to the back of the grid.

It has since emerged that Ross Brawn and Schumacher came up with the idea prior to qualifying, although Brawn did not expect the seven-time champion to take it seriously.

Fernando is faster than you

Felipe Massa was on course for his first victory in F1 at the 2010 German Grand Prix since his huge accident a year earlier at the Hungaroring.

However, race engineer Rob Smedley came onto the team radio on lap 49 and gave Massa a message.

"Fernando is faster than you, do you understand," said Smedley. Shortly after, Massa slowed down to let teammate Fernando Alonso into the lead to take the victory.

The communication was widely interpreted as team orders, but Ferrari escaped a sporting punishment, instead receiving a $100,000 fine for a breach of regulations and bringing the sport into disrepute.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

An illegal power unit?

The most recent Ferrari scandal came in the 2020 season, when a year-long debate over the team's power unit came to an end. Ferrari had the best engine in 2019, but its performance brought questions as to whether the power unit was legal.

In 2020 pre-season testing, the FIA announced they had come to an agreement with the Italian manufacturer over the matter, with the details of the arrangement remaining private.

Following the ruling, Ferrari went from having the best engine to the worst, culminating in their poorest season in F1 since 1980.


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