Sauber: There was no Ferrari team order
26 March 2012 – Peter Sauber has categorically denied that Ferrari instructed his team to stay behind Fernando Alonso in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. During the race, a conspiracy theory emerged that the Swiss squad, which is powered by Ferrari engines, was requested to hold Sergio Pérez behind leader Fernando Alonso.
Just as Pérez closed in, a radio message was broadcast to the Mexican: ‘Be careful. We need this position.’ Several minutes after, the Mexican lost five seconds by running wide at Turn 14. This immediately provoked reaction, but the Team Principal insists that there was no communication between the two teams.
“He meant that we needed the result,” Sauber is quoted as saying by The Guardian when asked what Race Engineer Marco Schüpbach was advising his driver. “It's a misunderstanding. It was because that behind us, all the midfield teams, our main competitors, scored points. So it was important we kept the result.”
Asked again whether Ferrari put in a command, Sauber replied:
“No. We told him, 'Be careful, we need the result'.”
With journalists having repeatedly quizzed Sauber over team orders, he said:
“No. 100 percent, no, 100 percent nothing. We had no discussion about Checo (Pérez) nor the position. He drove an outstanding race and rose above our expectations. What surprised me most was the fact he was very competitive in all conditions and with all tyres. Whether they were Wet, Intermediate or dry tyres he was always one of the fastest drivers on track, if not the fastest.”
As a result of Sunday, Pérez moves up to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and ahead of title holder Sebastian Vettel. Sauber drops one place in the Constructors’ table but is still fourth and with almost double the points of Lotus.