Ferrari was told three times that Fernando Alonso should have let Robert Kubica through during the British Grand Prix, according to the FIA race director Charlie Whiting.
Alonso was given a drive-through at Silverstone after overtaking Renault's Kubica by going off track. The penalty, which Ferrari felt was too harsh, ruined Alonso's chances of a good result, the Spaniard finishing down in 14th position.
Although the penalty was given nine laps after Alonso passed Kubica, Whiting said Ferrari was advised to let Kubica through immediately, but that the team decided against it.
"We told Ferrari three times that in my opinion they should give the position back to Kubica," Whiting was quoted as saying by Autosprint magazine. "And we told them that immediately, right after the overtaking maneuver. On the radio, I suggested to them that if they exchange position again, there would be no need for the stewards to intervene. But they didn't do that and on the third communication they said that Kubica was by then too far back to let him regain the position.
"It's not true at all that the stewards took too long to decide. For us the facts were clear immediately: Alonso had gained an advantage by cutting the track."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said the team did not ask Alonso to let Kubica through because it did not feel the Spaniard had gained an advantage.
"He tried to be aggressive to overtake, and so at that stage, we felt as we normally do at that moment that we need to go on the radio with race control to check what is the position," Domenicali said. "Normally, we take the right time to discuss with race control to make the judgment, and the moment when race control gave us the instruction to give back the position to Robert, it was clear that Robert had already lost a lot of time – effectively, he had a problem and he came back. That is the situation we analyzed.
"You can have a situation where immediately there is a possibility to give back the position to a driver if you feel that there is really an advantage that you gain. On our side we felt that was not the case otherwise we would have done it."
Domenicali said that by the time the stewards told them Alonso should let Kubica by, the Pole was already too far behind. Kubica retired from the race moments later with mechanical problems.
"As soon as we received the information that in the opinion of the stewards, Fernando should have given back the position to Robert, Robert was already very far behind and Robert was really slowing down because he had a problem," he added.