Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali is confident that his squad has the right approach to team orders this year, even though Fernando Alonso spent most of the Australian Grand Prix trapped behind Felipe Massa.

Alonso made rapid progress through the field in Melbourne having been pushed into a spin at the first corner, and soon caught team-mate Massa, who had struggled for pace all weekend.

But even though it appeared Alonso could go quicker than Massa, Domenicali said Ferrari’s attitude was that the drivers were free to race head to head on track and the team should not intervene to give either one priority.

“It is like [Lewis] Hamilton and [Jenson] Button – I saw them side-by-side,” said Domenicali, whose cars eventually finished third and fourth.

“Everyone has two cars.
“Unless some teams want to drive with one car, and if you have good drivers, then that has to be the nature of Formula 1.”

He explained that the only limit Ferrari placed on its drivers racing each other was that they should not try anything rash in the closing stages of the race.

“During the final stint, we have a certain internal code of practice that unless there is an obvious situation, then the situation has to be respected,” said Domenicali.

“Otherwise, you can attack absolutely.”

Alonso had no complaints about the situation after the race, pointing out that while the likes of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton pulled off dive-bomb moves on Massa, that wasn’t an option between the two team-mates.

“When I found myself behind Felipe, maybe I could have gone a bit quicker, but we know it’s very hard to pass in Formula 1 and between team-mates, one should not take any unnecessary risks,” said Alonso.

“If we had managed to get past [Robert] Kubica, then it might have been a different story, but it wasn’t possible, apart from the fact I also had to defend my position against Hamilton and Webber, who were on fresher tyres than us.”

The result in Melbourne keeps Ferrari first and second in the world championship, with Alonso four points ahead of Massa.