Support for ‘harshly-treated' Massa

Both drivers and team bosses have expressed reservations about the 10-place demotion on the grid which has seen Felipe Massa replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen in Sauber's Indianapolis line-up

Support for ‘harshly-treated' Massa

Rubens Barrichello, a friend and countryman of Massa, said: "I think its kind of tough. I haven't seen the incident or the move, but if there is a penalty it should be on the day. It's tough enough to overtake in Formula 1, so putting someone 10 places further back is a bit harsh."

Niki Lauda, whose driver Pedro de la Rosa was taken out by Massa at Monza, added: "Is the team and the driver seen as being together? This time it's only the driver, not the team, and there is no penalty for the team here. Okay, so Massa is sitting at home, but if he comes back and races at Suzuka he will not have served any kind of racing penalty.

"On the other hand, if the car is illegal, does the driver keep the points? I think the FIA saw it as a pure driver problem and in future that should be sorted out. For me it's a bit funny. Either we are together or we are not."

In light of Lauda's remarks, however, it is worth pointing out that there have been instances where drivers have been allowed to keep points but teams docked constructors scores for technical irregularities. In Austria in 1999, for example, Mika Hakkinen won the race with an engine seal irregularity and the victory stood, but McLaren lost its points.

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