Should Ferrari, McLaren or BMW throw their efforts behind one driver?

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McLaren, Ferrari and BMW have led the way since Melbourne

Mathematically the drivers’ championship could still be won by anyone. Realistically, it’s likely to go to a Ferrari or McLaren driver, or just maybe one of the BMW duo.

At present all three teams are operating equal status policies for their drivers. But as we saw at the end of last season the earlier a team can switch to backing one driver the better it is for their prospects of winning the drivers’ title.

Driver equality is a hotly debated topic in Formula 1. Do you think any of the top three teams should start backing one of their drivers over the other to improve their chances of winning the title?

Ferrari

Last year Ferrari let both their drivers fight for the title – something we had not been accustomed to seeing in the days of Michael Schumacher. But sensibly, once one of their drivers fell out of mathematical contention for the title, they concentrated their efforts on the other.

It was Felipe Massa who fell out of the running for the title with two races to go. And so at Interlagos Ferrari neatly moved him aside via the pit stops to let Kimi Raikkonen through to take the victory he needed to seal the championship.

McLaren were not able to do the same as both their drivers were in the running for the title until the final race. So having one driver not scoring as many points as the other played into Ferrari’s hands.

But so far this year Raikkonen and Massa are only three points apart. It’s not likely that one driver is going to fall very far behind the other any time soon.

McLaren

Like Ferrari, McLaren could find themselves in the opposite situtation to where they were last year in the final races of 2008.

Heikki Kovalainen is already 24 points behind Lewis Hamilton, so the point at which he is mathemtically no longer able to win the championship is likely to come sooner.

McLaren have already shown this year that although they operate a policy of equality it is executed with a degree of realism. Kovalainen won praise from the team for not holding up Hamilton in the late stages of the race at Hockenheim when his team mate was visibly quicker than him.

Once one of their drivers falls out of the running for the title – which is most likely to be Kovalainen – expect him to fall into the number two role just like Massa had to last year.

BMW

BMW’s situation is rather different because, although they’ve made another clear step forward in form this year, they still don’t have the pace of the other two teams to be clear championship contenders.

Although they operate a policy of equality they, like McLaren, swapped their drivers’ positions at one race this year. At Montreal Robert Kubica was on a different strategy to Nick Heidfeld following a safety car intervention, and Heidfeld made no attempt to keep Kubica behind. As a reuslt, Kubica was able to build up the lead he needed over Heidfeld and won the race.

If BMW were closer to the sharp end every weekend then a policy of supporting Kubica over Heidfeld (as Kubica is ahead in the drivers’ championship) could net him a few useful extra points in this very closesly-fought championship.

But they’ve fallen down the order since the high of Montreal and favouring one driver over another at this stage would surely only breed unnecesary resentment.

On the other hand…

I can’t deny that my feelings on this matter are rather clouded by the fact that I just plain don’t like team orders.

Watching the dreary, Schumacher-dominated seasons of 2000-4 where Rubens Barrichello wasn’t allowed to finish in front of him until after the inevitable title was won, gave me a new respect for the kind of driver policies McLaren practised in 1988 and 1989. i.e., Hire the best two drivers in the world and let them race each other.

The likes of Peter Windsor would no doubt argue that Schumacher demonstrated the best way to run a team which everyone else should copy: install the best driver as number one and have a second-rate number two surrender every precious point to him.

It’s a logical argument. But I think part of the difference between collecting titles and achieving true greatness lies in beating your toughest rival when he’s driving the same car as you.

I am rather glad that Ferrari, McLaren and BMW are letting their drivers fight each other – at least until one of their drivers drops out of the running. Because of that I am confident that at the end of the year, whoever wins, we will know we have a worthy champion.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Should Ferrari, McLaren or BMW throw their efforts behind one driver?”

  1. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    13th August 2008, 10:15

    i agree keith, however i think the difference in the schumacher era was there was no1 really on par with him to race against where in the 80’s early 90’s you had senna,prost, mansell and piquet.

    i think mclaren should start supporting hamilton more now heikki wont overcome that deficit in my opinion and plsu he cant get anywhere near hamilton in a race.

  2. I think that you have understated the difference between McLaren’s claims of equality and what actually goes on in the team – it is clear that Heikki is treated as a number 2 driver in almost every respect, despite McLaren’s protestations to the contrary.

  3. Rohan – So in what ways does Kovalainen not get equal treatment to Hamilton?

  4. wel, keith, becouse kovalainen always gets the lamest strategy. (i could be wrong).

  5. If you ask any f1 driver no matter who far down the feild they are they will give you the same answer on what they want to achieve they all want to be a world champion that is why they are competing not to be 2nd best but to be first

  6. From a team’s standpoint, I fully understand team orders and a clear No. 1 and No. 2 status.

    However, as a fan, I loath the concept of fixing races to have a better position for the Championship, at least until some three-quarters of the season.

    Late in the season, though, it actually adds to the exitement to have No. 2 able to give up position for No. 1 to lift the title.

  7. @Bert – It might just be that Kovi isn’t a confident enough driver yet to make the strategy work? Which goes for a lot of other drivers out there too!
    Nice article Keith, and I do agree about how the three teams are running this year, but with two apparently equal drivers, there must be a time where a line is drawn and the team (including the other driver) support the driver with a better points score, even if the time is only obvious at the final race of the season!
    I didn’t like the Old Schuey way of doing things because it was so obvious that Massa could be just as fast yet was never allowed to challenge, but at the moment the difference between the drivers in any team on the track could only be a few hundreds of a second, so how do you choose the ‘No 1’?
    And that is where the ‘Alonso’ debate begins because some drivers must have nicer personalities and be better with the PR and generally easier to talk to than others – thats human nature, and so might be chosen purely on these merits…..

  8. Ferraris policy of driver inequality in the Schumacher times contributed to one of the most boring eras in F1 ever. That alone is enough to allow us to see it’s not a good idea.

    I find the claims that Mclaren favour Lewis bizarre. He’s just faster, it’s just fairly obvious?

  9. You’re forgetting something – the Schumacher era may have been boring, but it yielded unprecedented success. The teams won’t care if they make F1 boring if they are the ones who are winning it.

  10. I agree with you, Jack, but I think their point would be: The winning teams will have to care, lest they kill F1 by accident with the way they’re winning.

  11. I think it really depends on the situation at the point in the season. Here’s the strategy I would pursue if I was running a F1 team.

    I would start the season off with complete equality, letting the drivers fight (provided that they don’t knock each other out, of course). This only makes sense from the perspective of the constructor, as keeping both drivers on equal status will keep them motivated to go out and give their all, which will maximize constructor points. (Remember, from the perspective of the constructor, its more important to win the WCC than to have one of their drivers win the WDC.) I would maintain the equal status until one of the drivers is mathematically eliminated from winning a WDC. At that point, I would designate the other driver as the support driver for the man still in t he running for the WDC. This is basically what Ferrari did last year, and it worked beautifully: Raikkonen won the WDC.

  12. Regarding specifically this year, I think it’s way too early for anyone to be designating #1 or #2 drivers. Kovalainen is still very much mathematically in the hunt right now, being 24 points back with seven races left. All of the top-3 drivers (actually, all of he top-5 drivers) in WDC points have been inconsistent this year and/or have run into some rotten luck at multiple points, which Kovalainen himself has experienced. Who is to say that this won’t continue and Kovalainen won’t be be there to capitalize? Raikkonen overcame a 19 point deficit in the last two GPs of the season to win the WDC last year. Sure, Hamilton just plain lost it, but Raikkonen was still up on the wheel and capitalized on his decline.

    Kovalainen is really starting to put the pieces together on the season. If you take away the rotten luck he had in the Spain, Turkey, and Monaco stretch, he’s probably square with the Ferrari drivers in the standings right now. He’s had a string of solid points finishes since France, and he’s capped it off with his first win at Hungary. With a solid rhythm going and a jolt of confidence, there’s no reason why he can’t make a charge for it.

  13. But Paige, I guess the problem is: what if BOTH drivers are still in the running? McLaren had to keep their equality policy for their drivers, and such a policy allowed Hamilton and Alonso to take points off each other, which opened the door for Raikkonen. But had only Hamilton OR Alonso been in the team, either of them would’ve become world champion.

  14. @ Journeyer
    That’s exactly the dilemma teams might face, and maintaining equality throughout the season cost McLaren the Championship last year, but Williams, too, in 1986. That’s a risk the team must take.

  15. Journeyer,

    I disagree completely. The main door opening that Raikkonen got was Hamilton’s off on entry into the pits in China. If Lewis had kept his head cool, we would be talking about him being the first rookie to win a WDC right now.

  16. But Paige, let’s look at it this way: Had McLaren decided, for example, to favor Alonso over Hamilton, a lot of things would be different. He’d have been on pole in Hungary, for starters. McLaren could’ve asked Hamilton to give way to Alonso at Indianapolis. And let’s remember, Alonso only needed 2 more points to become World Champion himself.

    Depends on how one sees the picture, I guess.

  17. My point is that competition didn’t inherently cost McLaren a WDC last year. Driver error did.

  18. Competititon and driver error were both factors in McLaren’s loss of the driver’s championship. If Hamilton hadn’t crashed in China, he’d have won the championship. If McLaren had forced Hamilton to move over for Alonso in Indiananpolis and Hungary, Alonso wwould have won the championship. You can’t place the blame on just one.

  19. Competition did NOT inherently cost McLaren WDC. That is my point. McLaren did not LOSE the WDC championship- i.e., they were not precluded from winning it- because they had a driver equality policy. They were in perfect position to win it last year before Lewis went off on pit lane. It was his error there that cost him and McLaren, not the presence of driver equality. Furthermore, you could also argue that had Alonso not driven like an idiot at Montreal and Fuji, he would have finished higher and scored the difference to win the championship.

  20. I think it´s interesting that the top teams are allowing their drivers to fight eachother until the end; however in the case of Ferrari, being as they already have Kimi as world champion, I believe that at some point in the next races they should decide who to back, I strongly believe it should be Kimi, as Felipe is being hit by some of the bad luck that struck Kimi in the first part of the season.
    My only fear is that in this effort of letting both fight til the end, they´ll make more mistakes than we´ve seen so far, thus handing the WDC to McLaren. Fingers crossed that that doesn´t happen, and that Kimi sorts his qualy problems.
    But in the end I agree with everyone that this past seasons have been the most exciting ones because drivers of the same team were allowed to race eachother.

    P.S: Great work you have going on here Keith, I discovered the site a few months ago and it´s just superb!

  21. @ Paige
    Good point. I hadn’t thought about it that way. It puts the Alonso-Hamilton saga into a different perspective, too. In a way, in fact, that the rookie beat the double Champion, but lost the title merely due to a mistake

  22. The way this season is turning out, I think they should let the drivers race, without the leading teams supporting one driver over the other. This goes even for Lewis. As long as Heiki has a mathematical chance of winning the title, there shuold be no favoritism.

  23. Paige and Journeyer, great discussion, mates!

    I think that Lewis´s Mistake at China has a huge percentage of McLaren´s fault, something that were hugely debated here in past months.

    Lewis, as we all knew after Germany, has a blind confidence on his pit wall, and if he had the necessary maturity to judge the conditions of his tyres and plan a race strategy with his team at that moment he certainly would ask his team to stop earlier.

    So, was a team mistake, including Lewis´, and I´m sure if he were racing only Kimi instead of Alonso, they would pit him earlier and his tyres wouldn’t be so damaged at that level…

    Before the race, after the qualifying, Alonso has made a public claim about tyres pressure, putting more weight on the team and on Lewis´s shoulders. In fact, I think that China 2007 is an interesting case of study on how a driver policy could be so destructive for the team ambitions.

    Clive, from F1insight, has written a great peace about teammates’ fights that could be worth:

    http://madtv.me.uk/f1insight/default.aspx?blogid=325

  24. Hamilton needs to win a championship before Alonso can get a real car. Then, bye bye Lewis…

  25. As Journeyer says it depends on how one sees the picture:

    So if Alonso drove like an idiot (I think he did because a 2 times world champion should have more calm and not become so nervous, as he did and as he used to do in Renault), but what would you say about Hamilton fighting with Trulli without needing it until he drestoyed the tires and then stucking in the gravel in China??? and actioning the re-set boton in the steering wheel in Brazil??? We can assume he was a rookie and he needed more experience, and Ron saying they were driving against Alonso??? isn´t this an Idiot game, perfect to loose the championship all of them.

    I think Ron played it very badly, so many years in F1 haddling with such big drivers and he showed a very poor baggage. I still don´t understand how Mercedes didn´t ask for his head after all. He burned a 2 times world champion, he loaded a rookie with such big pressure that he came down in tne critic moments and he lost all and made his drivers the same.

  26. UK,

    did you read everything I wrote? I said that Hamilton basically has himself to blame for losing the championship last year. His driving at Shanghai last year was just plain stupid. And I’m a McLaren and Hamilton fan, to boot. Sure, the pressure was quite a bit for a rookie driver to deal with, but it doesn’t change the fact that his own mistake cost him the championship. It was an experience from which he needed to learn and improve, and it looks like he’s doing so, as he’s come through in pressure situations very nice this year.

    Alonso drove idiotically last year at Montreal and Fuji, but particularly at Montreal. His attempt to overtake Hamilton on the outside of turn 1 on the start was horrendously stupid: it’s impossible to overtake someone on the outside of that corner. He compounded this error by overcharging the corner way too hard and going off multiple times more during the race. His driving pissed away what was sure to be at least a 2nd place finish (possibly even a win depending on fuel loads and whether or not he could have kept pace with Lewis and found a more opportune moment to overtake him), and he ended up finishing 7th and losing 6-8 points from what he could have earned. These points would have more than earned him a championship.

    After a little more reflecting on this, I’ve really come to the conclusion that teams should always just let their drivers race and maintain equality. The only motivation that the team should have is to win the WCC, as that is their championship, and their ranking in the WCC standings is the prestige that is up for grabs to them. Teams are judged by the performance of their race cars and not the individual accomplishments of their drivers, so the constructor really shouldn’t have much concern for the individual accolades that their drivers achieve. A policy of driver equality and “race, but don’t take each other out” is the policy that every team should have, as it let’s the drivers fight for their own success while ensuring that their fights don’t endanger the real interests of the team. If you’re in a situation like McLaren was last year in which they were stripped of participation in the WCC, then a WDC can take on new importance, but this is a very rare exception to the rule.

  27. bernification
    13th August 2008, 22:39

    I think people are banding together two different scenarios under the term ‘team orders’.

    It really doesn’t make sense for a driver to be sat behind his team mate for lap after lap when he is obviously much faster, and maybe on a different strategy, ala Kubica and Heidfeld at Canada, and should one of them have a failure or make an error, this could have cost them points.

    I don’t have a problem with this, and quite often we will hear over the driver/pit radio a team will tell a driver to let someone from a different team go if it’s hurting their pace and/or tyres, so why not their own teammate?

    I really don’t like the orchestrated results that have been seen in the seasons past. I really don’t think anyone wants to see this.
    Have the FIA ever sent in it’s personel to check on teams before last year though?
    Did this happen with Senna and Prost?

    Would be interesting to know.

  28. I think they should back 1 driver, having drivers take points away from each other is not good but I dont think they should put all their eggs in 1 basket till later in the season

  29. I think we all accept that team orders should be employed when a driver has a much better chance of winning the title than their team-mate, but the problem is judging when team orders should be employed. The obvious way to do it would be to wait until the team-mate is mathematically out of the title race, but even that could be too late if the other team has already put its focus on one driver.
    It’s my belief that if a driver has been consistently faster than his team-mate during practice and qualifying, then they should receive preferential treatment during the race, as they’ve proven they have the best chance of winning. If the drivers are fairly level, they receive equal treatment.

  30. Terry Fabulous
    13th August 2008, 23:14

    Ferrari need to ditch a driver right now and throw him in behind the other.
    Although I THINK that they should get Kimi to support Massa, they will go the reverse.

    Possibly because Felipe will do a better job of being the wingman while Kimi is more likely to get disinterested and give up! (That should stir up the Kimi fans :))

    @Paige
    Howdy! Every driver no matter how good a pilot makes errors that COULD lose them a title. However, if their teammate is right behind him, helping him and not taking any points of him, it won’t cost him. Schumi wouldn’t have won in 2003 if Reubens took points of him when he had the chance. Both Fred and Lewis would have beaten Kimi had the other been a number 2. Yes the driver error cost Lewis but Alonso took points off him all season that would have won him the title. Similarly, Alonso made some dumb ass errors but Lewis took points off him all year. The only other car your team can control is your teammate’s, and as Schumi showed, that can make a big difference.

    Can i point out that I don’t agree with this, I love equality! However, it is the way to win.

    And then we would be talking about how Kimi’s errors cost him the world title.

  31. Paul Sainsbury
    14th August 2008, 0:16

    @ Mr. P.

    ‘Hamilton needs to win a championship before Alonso can get a real car. Then, bye bye Lewis…’

    Um………….I think that it is possible the 2007 McLaren was a ‘real’ car, was it not? BUT WAIT………YES, seems that Hamilton beat Alonso that year, despite it being his first F1 season.

    I really am amazed that people continue to post remarks like this.

    DOH!

  32. Hi Terry,

    “Can i point out that I don’t agree with this, I love equality! However, it is the way to win.”

    Amen to that.

    Hi Paige,

    “After a little more reflecting on this, I’ve really come to the conclusion that teams should always just let their drivers race and maintain equality. The only motivation that the team should have is to win the WCC, as that is their championship, and their ranking in the WCC standings is the prestige that is up for grabs to them.”

    Which makes me think: do we remember who wins the WCC? For example, would most people know that Ferrari won in 99, or Williams won it in 94? Or that Ferrari won it in 82 and 83? It takes a while for me to remember that, but I remember right away that Hakkinen beat out Ferrari’s Irvine in 99, Schumacher won in 94 in the Benetton, and that Rosberg’s Williams and Piquet’s Brabham won it in 82 and 83, respectively. For some reason, the WCC for me is an afterthought to who is the WDC that year – and the WDC, therefore, ends up being more popular and prestigious with me. And I think teams realize that.

  33. It’s impossible for their not to be some degree of favouritism at a given race. If the team find for example that the optimum strategy is to stop on lap 18 say, then one driver will be on that strategy and the other has to be put on a less optimal strategy of 17 or 19. At some stage then someone has to make a choice to put one driver instead of the other on the best strategy.

    The only way to even this out would be alternate race to race which driver gets the “best” strategy.

    I can also imagine during car development that a car will have to be developed to favour one drivers driving style over the other. Eg Schumacher at Benetton in 1994/5 had a car developed around him that proved very sub-optimal for an other driver in it.

  34. “Which makes me think: do we remember who wins the WCC? For example, would most people know that Ferrari won in 99, or Williams won it in 94? Or that Ferrari won it in 82 and 83? It takes a while for me to remember that, but I remember right away that Hakkinen beat out Ferrari’s Irvine in 99, Schumacher won in 94 in the Benetton, and that Rosberg’s Williams and Piquet’s Brabham won it in 82 and 83, respectively. For some reason, the WCC for me is an afterthought to who is the WDC that year – and the WDC, therefore, ends up being more popular and prestigious with me. And I think teams realize that.”

    If your cars are good enough to win WCCs, then one of your drivers should win WDC without a problem. If one of them doesn’t, then either the drivers need to improve their performance or its time to get new drivers.

    If I’m a constructor, my first focus is on winning the constructors championship. The WDC may be more prestigious among fans, but winning WCCs is more important for the prestige and reputation of the Constructor as it symbolizes the quality of the cars they produce, the skill of their engineers and mechanics, and the overall quality of their organization. McLaren and Ferrari have won tons of constructors champions for a very good reason: they’re the best two organizations in motorsports, and they always end up building the best cars on the track at some point or another within periods of 5-10 years.

    As a constructor, I want my cars to be the best on the track and be recognized for it: I want the WCC first and foremost. When I hire drivers, I tell them that their first responsibility is to do their best for the team, which means playing a key part in developing the cars, extracting the most performance out of the cars on the track, and getting the highest finishes they can. After this, if they want to compete against each other for points and the WDC, then they are free to do that as long as they do not wreck each other or take any action that could be penalized, as this would be detrimental to the team’s standing.

    Drivers can win championships under equal treatment scenarios. Senna and Prost blew away the field in 88 and 89 while at McLaren when they were given equal treatment (Although Prost, being the whiny, scheming, arrogant arse that he is claimed there wasn’t), and McLaren easily won WCCs. Driver equality wasn’t a problem for Williams in 1987, as Mansell and Piquet battled each other for the WDC until Mansell’s injury with Piquet ultimately took the championship that year. (Although Piquet, being the whiny, scheming, arrogant **** and generally disgusting human being that he is, claimed that Williams favored Mansell.) Equality in 1984 between Lauda and Prost wasn’t a problem for the quest of a McLaren driver to win the championship. I don’t think I need to throw out Hakkinen-Coulthard to further demonstrate my point.

    I reiterate again: if either Hamilton or Alonso hadn’t had inexplicably terrible races during the year, one of them would certainly have been WDC. You cannot lay the failure of either of them to win a WDC on the team’s policy, Ron Dennis, or anyone else in the team who isn’t those two drivers. You cannot lay the blame for overcharging the same slow left hander multiple times in a race on a driver equality policy. You cannot lay the blame for going off on the entry to pit lane when you have a WDC nearly in the bag on a driver equality policy. F1 is a sport of meritocracy and accountability, and to blame a team’s driver equality policy for the drivers’ failure to win a WDC when in fact the drivers’ own errors cost them the title is flatly rubbish.

  35. teamorders,

    I disagree completely. A team can be fair by correcting the strategy for the need to pit cars on different laps. For instance, most races are two-stoppers. While a driver may be fueled lighter by a lap for the first stint, he could be fueled heavier for the second stint, so that by the time the third stint comes around, the two drivers are square from the team’s end.

    Team’s can also develop cars to be adjustable for both drivers. McLaren is using DLR in their testing to find ways to adjust the car for each driver’s style. He has a very good understanding of how both Lewis and Heikki drive, and his responsibility is to give feedback to the team regarding how changes to the car will suit each driver’s style. Furthermore, if the finished product ends up suiting one style over another (albeit hopefully with the bias being minimized), it’s the responsibility of the other driver to change his style in order to get the maximum out of the car and compete with his teammate.

  36. Paige, such a strategy adjustment is possible on paper or in an ideal situation, but it isn’t always possible in the real world. For example, what if both cars were only to do 1 stop? Then whichever way you twist it, one car has to come in a lap before the other. Or if both were on 2-stoppers, what if we followed your example (of one going in first during the 1st round and another going in first during the 2nd round), but a safety car came out in between their pit stop laps? That kinda screws up the other driver who has yet to come in.

    You can keep trying to provide equality (as McLaren are professing they’re doing), but it doesn’t always mean they are able to really provide equality.

  37. Paige, I’m actually plagerising from a podcast interview I heard from Pat Symonds (ie Renault) about optimum pit stop strategies and having to give one of their drivers a better strategy than the other at each race. So I’m not completely making this up.

  38. Quote “I am rather glad that Ferrari, McLaren and BMW are letting their drivers fight each other – at least until one of their driver’s drops out of the running. Because of that I am confident that at the end of the year, whoever wins, we will know we have a worthy champion.” How do we define a worthy champion – one who keeps cribbing about the treatment he is getting or not from the team, one who is being favored secretly in every way by one of the topmost teams in F1 or one who was light years ahead of his rivals so much so that most people think he (Schumacher) is responsible for others not being able to measure up to him. Bottom line “worthy champion” you will find them all worthy but a true champion there was only one. Even the greats seemed mediocre in comparison

  39. Paul Sainsbury
    14th August 2008, 8:25

    @KD:

    So who was the only ‘true’ champion then?

  40. Paul, I think KD was referring to Michael Schumacher.

    That in itself will start tons of discussion.

  41. Paul Sainsbury
    14th August 2008, 10:58

    Journeyer, yes, upon re-reading the post I think you are right.

    It is such a comically ridiculous assertion, I am not even going to get involved……..:)

  42. Journeyer,

    obviously, random event such as safety car periods can throw a strategy out the window, but the team can’t control that. The equality I speak of is in the form of equality in the factors that the team can control. If unforeseen events occur to mess up the plan in a race, then everyone just has to live with it.

    Every effort should be made to provide equality. At the very least, the drivers should be given equally strong cars with equal resources devoted to them. Optimum strategy spots could, and should, be traded from race to race.

  43. Only one driver can be champion, and it should be the driver with the best chance, talent etc. The other driver needs to consistently score points to win the constructor’s title.

    McLaren hired a 2 time champion in Alonso to win a 3rd title only to muck his chances up when “The Protege” showed promise beyond anyone’s expectations. Ron screwed the season for Alonso and McLaren and damaged Hamilton’s
    standing in the eye’s of many fans, instead of standing on Hamilton’s neck and backing Alonso to the hilt.

    Furthgemore, if Ron had thrown his unqualified support fully behind Alonso there would have been no contretemps about the Emails going to the FIA.

    I think Ron has learned something from 2007 and gives all favorable decisions to Hamilton. As he should. Based on everything to date Lewis should win the title this year.

  44. All this discussion around equality makes me remember that we have only two races in 2007 were team orders had some affect in the race and furthermore on the championship result:

    – Australia
    – Monaco

    Coincidently both of this order doesn´t favored Lewis…

  45. As things stand at the moment, the only team that has two drivers in the championship hunt are Ferrari. The overall performance between Massa and Raikkonen is pretty simular, and alot will depend on the next three grands prixs.
    Massa is going to have to regroup following his disastrous result in Hungary, to pull of any kind of upset in Valencia. I feel that Raikkonen will be the stronger of the two at Monza and Spa, and that is where Massa is going to have to attack.
    If he can keep the pace, and remain close with Raikkonen on points, then Ferrari will have to postpone any decision regarding who their ‘challenger’ will be.
    As for McLaren and BMW Sauber, their choices are more cut and dried. Hamilton will almost certainly be McLaren’s main man, and Kubica will just about get the nod at Sauber.
    As for equality, I believe there has never been equality in Formula One. We tend to look back with rose tinted spectacles at years gone by, but the same inter team politics remained.
    I read a piece about Nigel Mansell when he was at Ferrari back in 1990, team mate to Alain Prost. After setting pole during a race weekend that year, Mansell returned to the track to find that the car handled completely differently from the one that had got him the pole.
    After some investigating, Mansell found out that Prost didn’t like the fact that ‘his’ car appeared inferior to Mansell’s, and had the two cars swapped around.
    Equality? There is no such thing when you are talking about twenty young men with only one thing on their minds. Winning!

  46. As comment no. 8 (diseased rat) says , “he’s (talking about Lewis Hamilton) just faster” – explains it all. The same went with Schumacher , he delivered , and usually early in the season was ahead , so got the teams backing. But at the same time , I don’t think the other (or no. 2 as they become known) driver gets a worse deal. Just later in the season , when it becomes clear who has the better chance of winning (like it is with McLaren now) , will they make the “No.2” move aside if necessary. Ferrari just don’t have that luxury at the moment , because the two drivers are so close , as was the case with McLaren last year. So the bottom line is , an F1 team will favour one driver over another , only on his driving ability. Coulthard recently hinted at the fact he would have won if McLaren did not favour Hakkinen , but the truth is Hakkinen WON their favour by having the edge on Coulthard , and that’s how it works. Rubens is another one , who hinted at the fact he could beat Schumi but the team would not let him – what has he done for Honda since , if he claims that he was that good ? I say this while I have nothing against Rubens , a very good driver , but certainly not in Schumachers league.

  47. SHUMACHERTHEGREATEST EVER.

    You are right on the money. Between 2001 and 2005, there was not a driver on the grid with a reliable enough car to seriously hamper Schumacher. Raikkonen and Montoya during those years both had the skill, and the speed, but both suffered from bad reliability and even worse luck.
    It took Alonso and Renault a couple of years to bring their car around, and ofcourse, change things, but you are right. There was not a driver with the overall package, a sustainable package, that could challenge Schumacher. Their engines just kept blowing far too often!

  48. F1 is a team sport at the end of the day. It would be stupid of any team after spending hundreds of millions of dollars each season, to then allow just 2 team personnel totally destroy all that investment by having a selfish attitude.
    A team doesn’t make any money by winning the drivers title, where they make money is when they win constructors championship. Thus it will be akin to scoring an own goal, if a team allows its drivers to battle for 5th and 6th places when either of the drivers could have gone on to win the race and maximized the points haul.
    There must be team orders, to allow a team score the maximum possible points, like Mclaren did in Germany, even that wasn’t so clear cut, as it could also be interpreted as Heikki having to return back the favour to a team mate, as he would otherwise have been nowhere if, Hamilton’s race was not compromised by leaving him out while others pitted.

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