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Sports News

INTERVIEW-Motor racing-Betting public let down by Ferrari orders

SINGAPORE, July 27 (Reuters) - Felipe Massa was not the only one to feel the sharp end of Ferrari’s team orders in Sunday’s German Grand Prix, the betting public around the world were also let down.

Talking on the eve of the SOCCEREX forum for the business of the sport, SBOBET executive director Bill Mummery told Reuters that the failure of Formula One to apply their own rules and allow Fernando Alonso’s victory to stand was unfair on punters.

“There were clearly manoeuvres that amounted to team instructions and equally clearly are not allowed in the Formula One rules,” Mummery said on Monday at the Raffles City Convention centre.

“It is not only unfair to the sport but it is unfair to the spectators who pay a very high price for their tickets to attend but it is also unfair to people who have made a wager on those outcomes.”

Ferrari were fined $100,000 for the use of banned team orders after race engineer Rob Smedley told Massa that his Spanish team mate Alonso was faster than him, which led to the Brazilian allowing Alonso past two laps later. [ID:nLDE66O08Q]

“It clearly distorted the outcome, I am away from the office so I don’t know by how much (it cost us) but the primary driver for us is not quantifying in financial terms what it cost us, what it cost us was good will with our customers.”

FARCICAL ORDERS

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power PAP.I said they have refunded more than 15,000 pounds in bets on Massa before and during Sunday's race at the Hockenheim circuit.

A statement on the company’s website (www.paddypower.com) said: “Don’t worry. Due to the farcical team orders handed out by Ferrari to allow Alonso pass race leader Felipe Massa, we’ve decided the only fair thing to do is refund bets on the Brazilian.”

Mummery agreed that companies such as his and Paddy Power were the fall guys for such controversial decisions.

“We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, somebody else put us in that position. The person that wagered and lost as a consequence of those actions will not go and blame Formula One as a sport, they will blame us as the party that took their money.”

The race stewards who fined Ferrari also referred the team to the International Automobile Federation (FIA)’s world motorsport council which have the power to impose unlimited penalties such as throwing the Italian team out of the competition.

It was not the first time such an incident had affected the sport and sparked more debate about whether Formula One is primarily about the teams or the drivers. [ID:nLDE66P14M]

“We cannot substitute for the regulating body of the sport, I was watching it, the rules are there, had the rules been applied in my view in that instance then the outcome across the line would not have stood,” Mummery said. (Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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