Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes

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Whether you approve of team orders or not, this championship is now all about them:

How much Ferrari can use them to help Fernando Alonso, and when McLaren and Red Bull are going to bow to the inevitable and back one of their drivers.

As long as McLaren and Red Bull continue to split their efforts, they will continue to throw points away – and maybe the championship too.

In the aftermath of the World Motor Sport Council’s decision not to take any points off Ferrari for using team orders in the German Grand Prix, it was clear McLaren and Red Bull would have to copy Ferrari’s tactics to minimise their disadvantage in the championship.

If McLaren and Red Bull were leaning towards to imposing team orders, the events of the last two races have only served to make that controversial call even more difficult.

At Monza and Singapore, their drivers who are trailing their team mates in the drivers’ standings brought home a greater haul of points.

Sebastian Vettel took seven off Mark Webber. And at McLaren there has been a massive 30-point swing from Lewis Hamilton to Jenson Button.

Thus Webber and Hamilton’s recent setbacks have hit them doubly hard because it has postponed the point at which their team mates might be required to ‘do a Massa’.

At Singapore Webber came home third behind Vettel. Had this been Alonso behind Massa we would surely have seen another Hockenheim-style switch. Those three points Webber missed could prove crucial in the final reckoning.

But the benefits to Ferrari of this approach extend far beyond having Massa pull over to let Alonso pass when needed. Luca di Montezemolo recently urged Massa to do more to get in the way of Alonso’s championship rivals:

I want a strong Massa who will shave points off the rivals.
Luca di Montezemolo

Then there’s the vital question of state of mind. Since Hockenheim, Alonso has been back to his best, driving better than at any time since winning his first two world championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso is clearly a driver who thrives in this kind of environment. He did not find it in his brief stint at McLaren. He did at Renault, where it was pushed to extraonrdinarily cynical extremes, but the car wasn’t fast enough.

Would Hamilton have felt the need to make such a risky move on the first lap at Monza had he known his team mate, leading the race, was working for him? These split-second decisions can decide world championships.

McLaren and Red Bull’s refusal so far to favour one driver is rightly lauded by many as good sportsmanship. It would certainly be to the benefit of Formula 1 if every team was required to adopt the same approach.

But when the governing body is selling points at $14,285 a pop, sportsmanship counts for nothing. It will only serve to cost them a world championship.

Read more: The WMSC decision means McLaren and Red Bull must pick their number ones

Author information

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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327 comments on “Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes”

  1. “Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes.”

    Not using Ferrari tactics gives Vettel and Button a fair chance at winning the drivers’ title.

    Not using Ferrari tactics doesn’t change McLaren’s and Red Bulls chances at the Constructors’ Championship.

    1. Neither of which needed pointing out, but tell me what it’s doing to the chances of their leading drivers in the drivers’ championship?

      You did read more than just the headline, right?

      1. Maybe you should make the headline less misleading. Since failing to use Ferrari tactics isn’t harming McLaren or Red Bull at all, only Webber and Hamilton.

        1. I agree with Ilanin. Your title is technically incorrect – that’s the problem.

          Constructors win constructors championships, drivers win drivers championships. Does Brawn/Mercedes have the No. 1 on therr car this year? No, Button does. Brawn’s driver won the drivers championship last year though!

          1. His Title isn’t incorrect in any way, Teams obviously place more importance on the drivers championship than you are suggesting, If the teams were only interested in the constructors the Hock debacle would never have happened.

            As it is clear that the most important championship to us fans, and to the teams and drivers as well, is indeed the drivers title. We can see that by Ferrari favouring Alonso they are indeed making it much easier to win “the title”.

          2. It may be the more important title but it is only “a title,” and the fact remains that the consturctors championship is there for constructors.

            You have to admit the title is misleading. To correct it you would have:

            “Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s driver’s title hopes”

      2. your headlight is clearly shocking british its miss understood and it clearly shows an outside opinion of a bias fan like we all are

        1. The “British bias” every time Ferrari team orders are mentioned is getting really boring.

        2. That sentence barely makes any sense at all. What exactly is your objection to the headline?

          1. Clearly there’s no stopping you’re defence spree. But I really think tactics is the wrong word here.

          2. There’s nothing wrong with the headline.. Some readers who love ferrari to the bones don’t like the idea. :)

      3. Yawn… please give it a break Keith. Pious rants like this one wear very thin on me.

        Why are you so unwilling to let F1 remain as it always has been? An F1 where natural justice take place on the circuit. Where results are decided on race day, not at an FIA hearing. An F1 without unenforcable laws. An F1 where teams can run whatever strategy they want.

        Sadly partisan bias has seriously affected your judgment – it comes through in every word you write.

        (Also I’d be interested to know why you always say “McLaren and Red Bull” in that particular order? Surely it should be “Red Bull and McLaren”? After all both of the RB are more realistic title contenders than your beloved English Duo at this stage.)

        1. Alphabetical order, perhaps? :)

        2. Stop reading his site, then. ;)

          This is Keith’s blog. He can write what he likes. Plus, I don’t see what the problem is anyway. A lot of hoo-hah about nothing, something I like to call nitpicking, I can only guess.

          Go write your own blog. I for one will continue to read Keith’s.

          1. i totally agree with you….Keith write nothing but the truth….so if some of you don’t like then you all have problems with reality….i mean its so obvious that Ferrari was and stay most loved but the same time most controversial team ….and without dirty tactics or help of FIA Ferrari chance of succeeded are 0% and that is fact

          2. Totally agree, Ferrari Boys should stop reading this blog. Hope RB boss read this blog for Webber to get the championship!!!

      4. vodka and orange
        4th October 2010, 5:59

        lol Keith…#:)

      5. With reference to u saying Webber and Vettel should have switched at the last race. That would have required Vettel backing off way loads and from contesting the lead as Webber was way slower, that did not compare to Massa letting Alonso through when Alonso was hot on his heels.

    2. But the bottom line is that Massa has no chance at the WDC anymore, whereas all four drivers at McLaren and RBR have.
      And I cannot realistically imagine a situation where a team tells a driver who is fighting for the Championship, a defending Champion (!) “Hey, Jenson, Lewis has more points, so stop fighting for the WDC, will ya? And start driving for Lewis, k?”

      That would be absurd.

      1. Massa’s deficit in the drivers’ championship only differs to Button’s and Vettel’s by degrees. McLaren and Red Bull are just delaying the inevitable – and throwing points away while they do it.

        The way I see it, McLaren and Red Bull don’t have a choice – it’s just that it was an easier choice two races ago (when I also said they should do it).

        I realise the end point of my line of thinking is every team having one driver fighting for the championship and one driver backing them up. I’m not saying that’s desirable, I just think it’s inevitable.

        1. Ferrari’s advantage is that the driver that they’re favoring is ahead in the WDC whereas the other two teams favor the driver behind. Both Red Bull and McLaren tried manipulating the results at Turkey but neither Webber nor Hamilton would follow orders and they still won’t, which leaves their teams at a distinct disadvantage.

          1. Both Red Bull and McLaren tried manipulating the results at Turkey

            Says you. Neither of them got on the radio and told one driver to let the other pass.

          2. DeadManWoking
            4th October 2010, 2:14

            Ferrari didn’t do that either.

          3. “Alonso is faster than you”…

            Only the blindest of people could not see that it was an order.

            Even the WMSC said it was a team order, they just decided not to punish it… (not due to lack of evidence as some are reporting, but due to inconsistencies in applying the rule.)

            Massa was still in points contention, It’s only because the point margins are larger this year that it appears that he wasn’t. If Massa had won in Hock with Alonso in second it would have brought the gap down, so that in old money, it would have been worth eight points, which is hardly out of contention.

            This is also interesting when you look at how far ahead Webber is of Vettel right now. Webber is 20 points ahead of Vettel. this roughly translates to the same 8 points (old money) that Alonso had over Massa when they used team orders. Not only that! but now, There is only half the races to go (in comparison when Ferrari used team orders).

            If Red Bull were Ferrari, Webber would be firmly in the number one slot.

            Mclaren have it a bit harder, as Lewis retired from the last two races, Button has brought the gap down to five points.

          4. McLaren did tell Button to NOT attack Hamilton with the “fuel situation critical” jazz, Keith.

          5. Keith, your problem comes from trying to show all the time that one case is different to the other. It doesn’t matter the evidence you try to explain us. For everybody, what we see at Hockenheim, is something sad, but it’s sad allways, in every team and in any time and with any points the drivers have.

            Now, after clapping the lynching of Alonso in this blog and in meny of them, you think that everybody has to do it. Now, they have to do it because if not, they wil loose the championship.

            The only thing the world counsel has said is that it doesn’t have the proper fine to punish teams, but the fans doesn’t change their opinion as fast as you do so technically.

            Most of fans will go on thinking this is sad, and it doesn’t matter the date.

          6. They don;t need to blatantly tell a driver to move over for it to be an illegal team order.

            Red Bull told Webber to turn his engine down and Vettel that he had 3 laps to overtake.

            The aim of this was to swap the position of the drivers.

            As Helmut Marko stated, the only mistake they made was that no one had let Webber know what “the situation” was.

          7. I agree. McLaren also told Button in Turkey to slow down and see after his tires as he was trying to overtake Hamilton. Also when Hamilton asked over the radio “is Button going to pass me” he was told over the radio “no”. How did they know it? Because they instructed Button not do to it with coded phrases.

            They did just like Ferrari in Germany, just in a clever way.

        2. OK, I can see how Vettel could have pulled over for Webber in Singapore. But McLaren can’t possibly be accused of this Keith! Hamilton crashed out in both races, of course he would have pulled both of the moves if he knew Button was on his side because:
          1: Hamilton might not want to count on Button’s help.
          2: Hamilton would have had no sure way of knowing that Button would even finish ahead of him, let alone finish at all!
          3: If Button had moved aside at any point in the race where he was ahead of Hamilton, there would be every risk that he would have let Alonso, Webber or Vettel past as well.
          4: Hamilton will still want to compete for the constructors championship and if Button were to drop back places to let Hamilton past, then McLaren would loose vital points.
          5: He is a racing driver, he wouldn’t be thinking about those things when going through the first lap of Monza, or at the restart at Singapore, he’d just be trying to get ahead and not crash into too many people.

          ps: Keith, do you actually have any proof that McLaren weren’t using team orders? They might have been waiting for a point later in the race.

          1. I think you have misunderstood what he said.
            (I think) He is saying Mclaren must (or should) use team orders (in the future) or they inevitably will hurt their own chances.
            As opposed that “they will” or “have”.

            I don’t think there is any evidence that they did use team orders, and as it is still against the rules in F1 to use team orders,
            I think it’s fair to assume that they were abiding by the existing rules.

        3. It’s a brave article Keith. At first, apart from being a bit taken aback, I just plain disagreed, mostly because I tend to agree with McLaren’s self-proclaimed policy of ‘amicable competition’ between drivers, with the presumption that they’ll help each other when one of them is out of the reckoning. I’m not saying I believe this is 100% true (I’m convinced this season, less so in 2008 and 09), just it seems a workable ideal. But… it’s difficult to refute your essential point that the McLaren and Red Bull drivers are pushed to take more risks. At the same time, do they realistically have an alternative? Button has already made his position clear, I think, that he wouldn’t accept basically working for Hamilton if McLaren decided to back only the latter while he, Button, still has a chance. And with Hamilton still ahead of him, how could they decide the opposite? The same for Red Bull. In fact it seems clear that they *did* want to back Vettel this year, but having Webber go awol wasn’t worth the bad publicity or the potential agro in the garage and on the track.

          I think the point missing in your argument is Massa: he accepted being number two. Why, I don’t know. But Alonso’s advantage stems from that decision and nothing else. He didn’t get that in 2007 (from Hamilton, post Monaco), which was the real reason McLaren ‘stuck’ by their principles. Had Lewis ceded, they’d have done the same as Ferrari this season, no question.

          1. There’s some rumour that Massa has accepted playing second fiddle in this championship on an agreement that he’d be allowed to fight Alonso in the next one.

            Makes sense as he’s signed a contract extension and he wouldn’t do it as a No.2 driver.

            As to Ferrari themselves, I think they realised that they’re out of the constructors championship and their only realistic hope was getting Alonso the driver’s title, so they did what they did to Massa.

            I think MacLaren are on the verge of letting go of this championship. This will happen if their lead driver falls further behind at Japan.

            Red Bull are close to favouring one driver and will do so I think if Webber wins in Japan and Vettel doesn’t pick up a podium.

        4. I still think there might be one aspect in this favouring the teams where both guys do want to race.
          I think the motivation of any driver must drop enormously if made to drive “for his team”, i.e. squander their own chances for their teammate. Only by doing so willingly it would work.
          This might be one of the points where Button and Vettel will be better at taking points off the other competitors.
          But it’s a questionable thing if their respectable team mates are not in front of them on track.

          1. I think the motivation of any driver must drop enormously if made to drive “for his team”

            That was instantly what I thought of when I read Montezemolo’s comment about Massa. If he wanted a strong Massa he shouldn’t have deflated his confidence in Germany. After a pretty lackluster season it seemed he’d finally regained his confidence, and with it his edge, but now it seems he’s lost that edge again. I can imagine he’ll only want to try and support Alonso in the interest of keeping his race seat next year, but if he’s treated as a #2 again, there may not be a lot of motivation for him even to retain his seat.

            I think the same would be true for both Button and Vettel also, but only IF they’re asked to yield before they’re mathematically eliminated. I think once either driver is officially out of the running, they’d be happy to “drive for the team” so to speak.

        5. Unless I’m mistaken, Button in fifth place is only one race win (ten points in old money) off the WDC pace. Vettel less than that.

          Massa is -74 to Webber, or close to 30 points in old money with four races remaining.

          I get your overall point, but Ferrari would be foolish to not give Alonso any points he could earn over Massa.

        6. I recall a few races when the McLarens were running nose to tail toward the end of the race, and both were told to “slow down” for fuel or mechanical issues. Who’s to say those were not team orders? Oddly, it always seems to occur when Ham is in front of Button.

        7. nicky santoro
          5th October 2010, 4:19

          Dear, I think the problem is that the “degree” you mention is actually huge. And has been huge for many races.

          It has been many many races that Massa did not have a realistic shot at the title, very far away from Alonso and consistently slower all through the season.
          Whereae the four McLaren and Red Bull driver have been pretty paired in points and performance over the season and are still very much with a realistic shot a the title. Remember they are all within 10 of the old point system at this point…

          It would be simply dumb for Macca or the Bulls to support any of their drivers at this point for many reasons: purely objective, such as bad luck for the chosen driver and good luck for the lapdog, which may take the championship away; hugely bad spirits and demoralization by the lapdog who is forced into that role with so little reason to do so atm, which would probably take points away overall and hurt the team as a whole in many ways.

          If I were team principal of those two teams I think the rational think to do would be to support both to the best extent the team can.

      2. Thats where Ferrari have the advantage on this. Not a Ferrari fan by the way.

        The Ferrari is possibly now, correct me if I’m wrong, the best all round car at the moment with one of, if not, the best driver on the grid at the moment.

        And to be fair Alonso was brought to Ferrari to win the title, i think thats fairly obvious.

        And I cannot realistically imagine a situation where a team tells a driver who is fighting for the Championship, a defending Champion (!) “Hey, Jenson, Lewis has more points, so stop fighting for the WDC, will ya? And start driving for Lewis, k?”

        That would be absurd.

        Totally agree with you on this. But if they don’t do it, the title may well go to Alonso, and on his current form, it looks like it might just happen.

        1. The way I see it, Alonso is taking the title, while the 2 RBRs n the 2 McLarens will fight with each other and not get anything out of tat…

  2. Well, I guess you will thrive if you are benefitting from team orders :P

    1. In the same way that you thrive if you have a good team or a good car. For me that’s how competition is.

  3. I’m not sure the teams’ positions are really comparable.
    When was Massa (without a win this season) really in contention for the driver’s title? Whereas Button and Vettel were the leading driver for their team for the first part of the season.
    Alonso has always looked like the #1 driver at Ferrari.

    1. Before the race, Massa was 31 points off of Alonso and 78 off of Hamilton. Had Massa led a 1-2, those gaps would have been 24 and and 63. Now, that looks bad but in old money it’s 10 and 25 respectively. Given that Hamilton has had two retirements since and Vettel, Alonso and Button have had one, you can see the potential to close the gap increase dramatically.

      No, Massa hasn’t ended up close behind the top 5 because of these things. But when your team tells you you’re not going to win the championship for them this year, how else do you expect a driver’s result to go? Psychology is massively important to an F1 driver. Look how upset Alonso reportedly got just because Ron Dennis told him to be magnanimous towards Hamilton after the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix (according to Andrew Benson, this is when the fall-out started).

      Massa had only an outside shot at the championship before Germany. But given how the car improved and he suddenly re-discovered his race-winning ability, who can really say where he’d be by now?

      1. Ron said that because they blatantly switched the cars around in favour of Alonso. Hamilton should have won that race hence it was Hamilton who was upset and that is where the devide began.

        If you want to destroy a team, tell one driver he can’t race anymore.

        1. In fact McLaren only barely got away with the team orders case that came down on them for the way they held Hamilton back in order so Alonso could win.

          Ron probably hoped to keep Hamilton (and his dad) happy enough so the stewards wouldn’t get wind of what they did.

      2. Massa was 8th in the championship vefore the German GP. He was required to overtake 7 drivers in 7 races to win the WDC, one of them being his team-mate who has easily bettered him by 0.3-0.5 seconds/lap in almost every session of the year. There was a one-in-a-million chance of Massa becoming a WDC. The switch between the 2 drivers was a no-brainer but it was poorly executed.

        1. You guys are such Ferrari fans that you don’t see the math. If you do the stats you will realize Massa and Alonso would have been as close as Red Bull or McLaren teammates (without Car failures and switching)

          Alonso might have the momentum but i think the comming tracks are clearly not in favor of Ferrari. Very likely Webber or Vettel will win the title.

          I also hope Massa does not help Alonso in any way possible cause Ferrari don’t deserve it. Also hopefully Alonso’s engine blows up, i will be sitting with popcorn and enjoying it when it happens.

          1. That would be gold seeing “everyone is trying to sabotage my race – Renault, FIA” F-Wit Alonso’s engine blow up. The same way the F-Wit cheered and raised his fist when he drove past Schumacher in Japan 2006 when Schu had a technical failure which cost him the title. Will be great to see the same thing happen to Nando.

          2. i too a ferrari fan,,,but i too agree with VISHY

        2. If all teams thought like that no driver would ever be allowed to fight with his team mate and the fans would be cheated out of some great racing, Championship contenders or not. All other teams let their drivers fight. Trulli fights with Kovy, Schumacher fights with Rosberg and Vettel fights with Webber.

          All down the field they allow their drivers to fight, hurting their own teams for the benefit of the sport and the fans… All that is, except the Red team.

  4. Ok, so Hockenheim was the blindingly obvious exception, but realistically, Ferrari don’t really need to employ team orders, because the chances these days of Massa outqualifying Alonso – or being in front on race day – is practially nil. Also, the relative pace difference between team-mates is largest at Ferrari. Yes, I know it doesn’t make it any more right, and I still love Felipe, but really, in Ferrari’s case, it just makes that bit more sense.
    Besides, did anyone REALLY ever think that Massa had a chance to win the WDC this year? What Ferrari did was dirty, unclean and tarnished the sport, but hell, it was right!

    1. the chances these days of Massa outqualifying Alonso – or being in front on race day – is practially nil.

      Melbourne, Sepang, Monaco, Turkey. All races where Massa finished ahead of Alonso. Add in Germany and that’s five of the first 11 races, up to the point where he was forced to become the number two.

      You’re telling me 45% is “practically nil”?

      1. I said these days, because Fred seems to have found his mojo, and is driving more like the brilliant maniac we know him to be. Massa can’t get close. The four races you mentioned were all quite early in the season, no doubt while the Ferrari was still being developed to suit his style. So yes, practically nil :)

        1. For me, this exchange pinpoints the reason why team orders are so insidious and corrosive, and the WMSC was wrong to soft-pedal on them.

          Before they were implemented, things at Ferrari were not miles away from 50/50, as Keith pointed out. Since then, has Alonso really just “found his mojo” or simply got the car working his way, or is it actually that Massa is now resigned, deflated or fatalistic to some degree in the face of the inevitable, in every lap, every session and every briefing? It’s very easy to say “well, the results speak for themselves and Massa/ Rubens/ Irvine/ whomever it happens to be doesn’t come close on performance anyway, so all’s fair”.

          It’s self-fulfilling prophecy. F1 is a psychological game as much as a technical one. We’ve all seen the difference between drivers with the wind in their sails, a burning desire to win and knowing they have an actual chance of winning, and drivers who have been cornered into a numbers game or who know they can’t win no matter what they do. They themselves might not even be fully aware of the corrosive effect of being in that place. It might be true that what we are now seeing is the true state of affairs re: Massa vs. Alonso but the point is, there is now no way of knowing, because Massa is in a situation where he knows he is only working for his team mate to win the WDC. You can harp on about how it’s only logical, the situation might be reversed next year etc. etc. but for me the look in the guy’s eyes as he faced the press after Germany, saying words that expressed his commitment to his employer while his face and his body language said the exact opposite, showed all that needed to be seen. The irony is that Alonso can be one of the most psychologically fragile individuals in F1 when he feels things aren’t going his way, at the expense of his performances as we saw in races like Canada ’07 and several times this year.

          I think many drivers can and will put in solid, consistent performances within a few tenths of theirs and the car’s capability, regardless of the bigger picture. But as you get into the rarefied zone of the last hundredths and the ability to really nail a qualifying or in-lap, or string together a series of killer laps when the chips are down, it’s a highly complex mental zone where knowing you can actually go out and win the thing is a prerequisite. Without it, any driver is potentially defunct and for this reason I refuse to judge Rubens on his performances at Ferrari when he had that contract, or Massa on the basis of his late 2010 performances, because he’s effectively driving with lead weights attached to his head.

          1. That was a great comment…

          2. Agreed, great comment.

            I’d add something else. How will Ferrari denting Massa’s confidence, and hugely damaging his reputation in Brazil (for which he is to blame too, obviously, for agreeing to be number two) help them next season? The risk is increasing under performance from Massa, need to switch to a new driver, which will bring its own problems: a number two out of the box to keep Alonso happy, or a genuine rival like Kubica. Who will beat him.

            I think it’s undeniable that downgrading Massa has improved Alonso’s confidence. But it’s a short term boost. The problem will return for Ferrari.

      2. nice shot from KIETH to DRAGON….

      3. vodka and orange
        4th October 2010, 6:19

        Massas race in Monaco was awful…..Alonso starting from the back and finishing 6th was pure brilliance….the difference in race pace between the 2 of them was noted by Ferrari….and in China after his jumpstart and penalty he still beat Massa!!#:)

        1. Hitting a wall in practice is also “pure brilliance”. Actually running near the front in 4th all weekend behind only the superior Renault engined cars is “awful”. See the rubbish you speak with regards to Monaco?

      4. Exactly, who knows maybe Massa would have been super motivated after getting his first win exactly a year after Hungary 2009, and leading is teammate in a 1-2 at it!

        He still had 8 races to get on top of the tables, what a great comeback that would have been. And Alonso would still be right in the mix if both of them had just finished like they did after Germany, the Ferrari is right on the pace in he last couple of races.

      5. Why, Yes, “45%” IS in fact practically nil.

        Melbourne : Turn 1 in Melbourne caught Alonso, who came back through the field to finish 4th. Massa finished in 3rd. Hardly an indication of superior speed, driving, etc.

        Sepang : Alonso suffered a clutch problem, finished 13th. Massa finished in 7th. Again, not a superior drive by Massa, bad luck on Alonso.

        Monaco : Alonso Finishes 6th after starting from pit lane after missing qualifying. Hardly an indication of Massa outperforming Alonso. Massa started 4th and finished 4th.

        Turkey : Alonso started 12th and finished 8th. Massa started 8th and finished 7th, not overtaking anyone other than Vettel, who crashed out. Massa did outperform Alonso here, but arguably so.

        Hockenheim : Alonso finished in 1st. Massa 2nd.

        I fail to see where Massa showed anything other than #2 ability.

        1. Winning championships isn’t just about being quick – it’s about turning that performance into results. Alonso has made a lot of mistakes this year that have stopped him from doing that.

          Frankly if he made some of the weak excuses for them you just have (“Turn 1 in Melbourne caught Alonso” – did no-one else have to go around the same corner?) we’d all be laughing at him.

          1. My post was about your 45% comment in comparing Massa and Alonso results.

            Alonso wrecked himself in turn 1 at Melbourne, and then was able to come through the field to finish 4th.

            Is that better for you?

            I give up.

            I’ll refrain from ever posting further.

            – Cheers Mate.

          2. Stop giving FA extra credit for making mistakes or being slow in qualifying then partially recovering from them. Particularly at Australia, Monaco and Turkey.

  5. I dont think mclaren need to use team tactics because Lewis is just plain faster than Jenson.

  6. It’s Massa’s fault for not being up to the task. If Kubica was in his place we’d have a 6-way championship battle and Ferrari would have it’s chances to won the constructor’s championship. So the solution is…

    1. That’s a bit harsh. Massa was injured and thus didn’t drive for the second half of last season. It should take him some time to get back on top of his game. The injury wasn’t his fault.

      1. Massa’s performance supporting Alonso in the final races this year will determine his future at Ferrari if there is one

      2. I think Alexi is saying that Massa shouldn’t have pulled over.

  7. I think you yourself answered the question.its because their drivers are so closely matched that they arent able to use it. Red bull clearly said they will use it when the situation demands.unfortunately for them and fortunately for us it hasnt happened till now.Lewis himself must be blamed as well.if he hadnt crashed twice he may have been in that position somewhat.Whether they should use it after that or not is a matter i wont comment on because the article is only about why they cant be using team orders yet and how its hurting them.So the message is clear to these drivers “If you want the team in your favour out score you team mate by big margin. Something barring alonso none of the top drivers did” Whether your team supports it or not is something in their hands entirely because we have seen that the fia will not interfere. So its a team decision entirely for me. And btw if the position between vettel and webber were to be reversed i am 100% sure team orders would be used in red bull.

  8. I think your right but that there’s nothing McLaren can do about it, you don’t tell a defending world champion whose publicly claimed he’ll leave the sport if he received team orders to pull over for his team mate. Although I seem to remember Raikkonen doing something similar. With McLaren though Hamilton has just been quicker then Jenson since the start of the European season and so long as Lewis doesn’t crash McLaren should be alright, if Hamilton DNFs again they don’t have a shot at either title.

    Redbull have the biggest problem, as no one knows which driver is going to be ahead next race, although you’d tend to give it to Vettle on pace. But he’s not leading the championship! So who really knows. I think they have the most to loose.

    Suzuka should answer some questions, we’ll know how much closer McLarens upgrades have got them, we’ll see Ferrari’s pace on the final type of track on the Calender, and if it doesn’t match Redbull and McLaren we could see the halting of their momentum. If they score a big haul they make themselves total favourites.

    1. Its Mclaren who needs to up their pace and not ferrari.

  9. The current situation is exactly why team orders cannot effectively banned in F1, and we should insist on transparency–who is the team supporting and when did they start.

    1. I disagree. This is exactly the sort of problem that a team orders rule would prevent. The FIA could have handed out a strong punishment as a deterrent and it would be extremely difficult to risk doing it again. It decided that team orders were up for sale. Ultimately, we should not be rewarding teams for being cynical and punishing them for being open and fair.

      1. Team orders cannot be banned, only plainly obvious on-track incidents can effectively be punished so that will push teams away from being open and fair. I don’t want more coded messages, I want to know what teams are actually doing.

        No court of law could have convicted Ferrari of using team orders, even though everyone knows that is what was going on. It’s so simple to code an order and turn into a hint or simply a suggestion, no rewording of the current rule can change that.

        1. The wording of the rule was not “you cannot issue an order”, it is “you cannot *interfere* with the result”.

          Telling Massa “Alonso is faster”, and knowing Massa will move over to change the result of the race is interference.

        2. Objectively false. Ferrari WERE found guilty of using team orders. The FIA chose not to punish them.

  10. Are you sure McLaren haven’t decided to back one horse over the other? Button was awfully pedestrian going into turn one at Singapore; almost as if he didn’t want to pass Hamilton….

    (I’m a conspiracy theorist. And I know five other conspiracy theorists. What – you think that’s a coincidence?)

    Although, as Keith points out, Button is now much closer to Hamilton than he was two races ago thanks to Lewis making silly errors. So I wonder whether the even-handedness will resume.

    1. Well, Button doesn’t like to take risks until he absolutely has to. It’s the reason why he’s only up there with Hamilton because of his retirements – he’s not been as fast, but he hasn’t retired through risky moves either.

      I love a good theory too but I like debunking them just as much ;)

    2. Oh, and to be fair, I did wonder if Massa let Alonso off the hook at the second Variante in Monza ;)

  11. I believe they (mclaren/redbull) are still favoring a driver but not the same degree compared to ferrari (team orders) remember webber’s wing given to vettel issue? conserve fuel radio message to button and hamilton? but the drivers are racers. they are trained to race. they do not want to be given a command for the benefit of the other driver. but what can they (FIA) do about it is the challenge to the sport as a whole.

    1. There is a HUGE 10 million kilometer chasm that separates favouritism and team orders.

      Sometimes people seem to forget that.

  12. Jenson won’t agree to drive for Lewis simply because he’s done well enough not to have to. Button, although slower than Hamilton, is more consistent, and thus has roughly the same amount of points. Vettel’s ego won’t allow him to just nod in agreement if Horner tells him that Webber is ahead and from now on it’s his role to ensure that he stays there. Moreover, he and Webber are arguably equally skilled and are within one race win of each other point-wise.

    The bottom line is that Massa is evidently weaker than Alonso, whereas all Red Bull and McLaren drivers themselves know that they can win the title. Massa knows that whatever he can do, Alonso can do better.

    1. “Massa knows that whatever he can do, Alonso can do better.”

      I very much doubt Massa would think that…

    2. I agree with you, the obvious difference between Massa and Alonso, is not there in the other two teams.

      As others have said although it appears that Hamilton has more chance of taking the title for McClaren, it has become a bit of a tortoise and hare scenario of late. And we all know how Jenson feels about stepping aside.

      At Red Bull (and I must declare my devotion to Vettel at this point!)It is much more evenly matched if Vettel had settled down more and seen each race as a whole instead of corner by corner, he would be leading the chmapionship by now. But he and webber are superb on saturday but not able to convert on sunday. I cannot image either driver having “that” converstion with horner and stepoping aside.

      And to be honest I don’t want them to!!!! this season started out with everyone turning away from the sport because of refuelling, but I for one rate this season as the best for a long time and the closeness of the competition has gone a long way to make up for the lack of refuelling (although, I would still like to see it come back…. but thats another issue).

      I would like to see the rest of the season played out on the tracks in full view of the fans, not behind closed doors.

  13. All it would take to utterly destroy Ferrari’s chances in both Championships is for Alonso to have just 1 screwed up tire change or a blown engine, a puncture, a sleeping back marker, an optimistic move by Hamilton, a cold or a headache at the wrong time, any 1 of a million possibilities.

    McLaren and Red Bull can have this happen to any 1 of their drivers and still be in the hunt.

    The chances of one of these tiny problems happening to 1 driver in 1 of the last 4 Grand Prix are pretty high but of happening to both drivers of the same team much, much lower.

    For this reason, McLaren and Red Bull’s title hopes are, on paper, vastly superior to Ferrari’s.

    However, the pace of cars is more likely to influence the Championship than any political games. I’m sure Red Bull still have the upper hand on fast tracks like Suzuka and should win out in the end, though 1 of their inconsistant drivers at least is VERY likely to screw up at least once. But they can afford it, unlike Ferrari, and that’s key.

  14. The interests of the team come first!!! Someone who drives a car with the prancing horse have to put the team interests before his personal interests!!!

    You keith try once more to fire up again this topic (ferrari-team orders)…. That is rubbish…

    I can tell you (hipothetical….as you say now that hipothetical rbr and mclaren don’t use team orders… lol lol lol!!!!) that button in the start of the singapore race was infront of hamilton and as an amature braked realy….early….WHAT WAS THAT???? ohhhh no this is an english superstar you can’t tell something for it!!!!! Yeah!!

    I read your blog for your realy good interactive statistics… And i realy appreciate your work THERE..
    BUT i hate your attacking atitude when you are going to tell for ferrari and team tactics…. When you know (i am absoluteky sure for that) that all the teams USE team orders!!! And i’m not talking for the past but for THIS YEAR (turkey-germany save fuel jenson…..fuel is critical….aka don’t attack lewis….)

    1. Holding position was deemed an acceptable tactic by the FIA in 2007.

      After the Turkey race this year, Button was found to have almost the same fuel left as Hamilton after backing off severely. There goes your theory.

      1. And that is your theory….. HOW SOMEONE CAN PROVE THEORIES????


        But im not going to discuss this again….bacause as i said you can’t recycle again and again this topic….It’s rubbish!

        1. By looking at the evidence, which massively points to no hold position order at Turkey.

          1. I still don’t see why you think that a “hold station” order is any better for viewers or the sport than a “let your team-mate pass order”, why is one fine and one not?

            So the FIA let one instance go in 2007, does that make it all rosy for viewers to see?

            Out of interest, you’ve pointed out this 2007 example of the FIA allowing hold position orders to me before. Which specific race was this?

          2. Again that’s YOUR theory…. Only charlie Whiting (FIA….and mclaren) knows how much fuel was after the race in the cars…. Don’t speak without EVIDENCE…. AND Don’t tell me that FOM put subtitles in the race review video (as did in germany) for no reason….

          3. There is a difference (in my eyes) between holding position and letting the other driver through. One makes sure the team scores maximum constructor points because drivers don’t drive each other off the track. The other favors one driver, and more importantly, does NOTHING for the team. Could somebody please explain to me why teams care so much about WDC’s? I always thought teams like to win constructor championships instead.

          4. @ALEX ΝΟ! It’s no difference! Because the driver who is in front can benefit from his team (us lewis in turkey) because his teamate don’t allowed to attack him so maximum points for WCC for the team (because it is not danger to colide) and for the driver who the team want’s to go for the WDC… It’s no difference…But some people don’t know what common sense is…

          5. @ Chris: How can are other posters be able to take you seriously if all you do is discredit others opinions and theories but proclaiming your own as the only true one? I think you should look in the mirror about this “no common sense” you were talking about. and btw your theory that there’s no difference between holding position and making the driver in front cede the position to his team-mate is absolute rubbish IMO

          6. @Other ALEX I said that is a hipothetic theory (as is my theories….)..You can’t prove anything…
            And why is different??? The rule says NO TEAM ORDERS…. What is hold position??? That is not a team order??? You must look your face in your mirror and say “what is the difference between too chicken eggs”… Oh yeah maby it’s not from the same chicken….or one is bigger or smaller…But that don’t change that these two eggs are chicken eggs….

          7. Chris your eggs comparison doesn’t hold water here. From a formal point of view its hard to prove that an order to hold station interferes with the result of the race as nothing have changed and may not have been changed even if the order wasn’t given. there are also other major differences such as the effect of the order on the drivers involved, the effect on fans etc. So eggs is eggs but out of some eggs an ugly duckling may appear such as witnessed in Hockenheim 2010.

          8. The difference is that the FIA said it was ok for teams to tell their drivers to hold station.

            That verdict (after Monaco 2007) sets a precedent. Just as the Hockenheim 2010 verdict sets a precedent that teams can get away with illegal team orders and only pay a fine.

            People can whine about how this is not really different, but it’s simply the way things ARE. Not about how they should be or not.

      2. @other ALEX oh again… Eggs are eggs….and team orders are team orders…. You can prove that alonso wouldn’t pass massa (with out the team telling massa move)….. And as you said you can’t prove the opposite… How can anyone know the result before the finish….

        1. Chris, but that’s the point: Ferrari didn’t wait to see what would happen later in the race they issued the order. And in case of an order that actively interfered with a race result such as Ferrari’s actions in Germany 2010 there’s no need to prove what would have happened if the order wasn’t given.That’s the big difference from “hold station”-the positions have been changed so there’s no “what if”. It’s only neccesary in this case to prove that such an order had indeed been given for the team to be found guilty and punished. the WMSC concluded that there was enough evidence to prove them guilty and did so.

          1. There is NO difference… As you say they ORDERED (so team orders) massa to give the position to alonso.. OK?
            Mclaren ORDERED (SO TEAM ORDERS) button to don’t attack lewis… οκ?
            You missing the point i think… The rule bans team orders…NOT ONLY the change of positions…. and don’t tell me again that….if we….don’t know the result….Because I CAN TELL YOU EXACTLY THE SAME FOR GERMANY…. I can’t make it more clear….

            But no one sayd jenson hold station or don’t attack… NOR ferrari said felipe let alonso through… THEY GAVE A CODED MESSAGE….So the WMSC THINKS that ferrari gave team orders BUT they can not PROVE IT…so gave to Ferrari NO further panishment…..

          2. Chris “hold station” is a legal team order. The FIA already said so. There is no debate about this.

          3. WHO said that…. Don’t make me laugh.. lol lol….So ferrari can say fernando don’t attack fernando or felipe hold station -exactly with these words NOT with coded messages- lol… You made my day i am laughing all the time now….lol lol

          4. *can say felipe don’t attack fernando

          5. WHO said that…. Don’t make me laugh.. lol lol

            As mentioned multiple times already, the FIA said that over three years ago. Have you been drinking?

        2. @David A YOU are drunk already… WHEN A TEAM SAYS TO THEIR DRIVERS TO HOLD STATION IS TEAM ORDER!!!!! TEAM ORDERS ARE “BANNED”……So what you want prove??? If you don’t know NOTHING for F1….please don’t talk….or use the web to learn more…

          1. If you even read the rules, you’d know that team orders which “interfere with the race result” are banned, not every single possible team order in existence.

            Not only did the FIA clarify after Monaco 2007 that holding station is ok, but it would be a lot easier for a team to argue that their cars would have finished in the same order had they held station than if one is told to pull over. If your going to act like a smartass, then at least don’t talk your brand of nonsense.

          2. You are saying rubbish…. If a team SAY by the radio to they drivers: felipe don’t pass fernando or felipe hold station THEN THEY WILL BE PUNISHED!!! No one saia in monaco 2007 (i know you are reffering to mclaren) lewis hold station NOR lewis don’t pass!!!! So don’t say rubbish!

          3. Domenicali said after the Australie 2010 race that their drivers were not allowed to attack in the last stint. He said this in plain public.

            How much penalty did he get for that?

          4. Domenicali NEVER SAID THAT!! He said that they where free to race! And that they didn’t want massa to move asside! That maybe in the last stint where in fuel-tyre saving (as domenicali said) don’t mean that they where NOT free to race OR THEY WHERE TOLD FROM THE TEAM TO HOLD STATION!!!

          5. Look Chris, the FIA did issue a statement after Monaco 2007 saying that teams are allowed to TELL their drivers to hold station, to not take unnecessary and stupid risks with their cars. Here is an article:


            That’s why on many occasions since then, teams have told drivers to hold station (e.g. Turkey 2010) and obviously haven’t been investigated or punished. If Ferrari told Felipe and Fernando to save fuel or not fight in Germany, regardless of which order they were in, they wouldn’t have been investigated earlier this year.

            End of.

          6. I think this article (almost exactly two years old) covers a lot of the points of difference in this discussion:

            F1′s unwritten rules: team orders edition

          7. That’s what i am saying!!!
            They can’t tell something “stupid” like hold station or don’t attack your team mate (like eddie jordan done with Ralf Schumacher and Damon hill in spa 1998)…. NOW THEY CAN’T SAY THAT!!!!! BECAUSE THIS INTERFERES WITH THE RACE RESULT….SO THEY DO THAT (team orders) WITH SAVE FUEL OR WHATEVER ELSE!!!!! Am I clear??? There is NO crarification!!!! If a team says hold station=PUNISHMENT!!!

          8. If they say hold station, then it’s almost definately going to be more subtle than the action of one driver pulling over for the other. Hold station is nowhere near as likely to result in punishment as swapping your cars around.

          9. Typing in capitals is not helping you get your point across also.

          10. That’s your opinion! If they say hold station or let the other through (exactly with these words in the radio) THEY WILL GET A DISQUALIFICATION FROM THE RACE!!!!If they say save fuel or the other guy is faster no one can punish seriously them (like Ferrari) So hold station is banned like let the other through…..There is NOT…i cheated a little so don’t punish me!!!

          11. They will not get punished for that since the FIA already set a precedent with the Monaco 2007 verdict.

            In fact there was a team which said exactly that. Think it was Virgin. Their driver was complaining, but no action was taken by the stewards at all.

            Also Domenicali made that “last stint=no overtaking” statement. That would be an illegal team order too in your world.

            BTW do you actually make sense to yourself? Try reading your rants back …

          12. Domenical on overtaking:
            “Not in the final stint, during the final stint we have let’s say an internal code of practice that unless there is an obvious situation, the [order] has to be respected. Otherwise you can attack, absolutely.”

            Illegal team orders? Obviously not.

          13. INTERNAL CODE!!!! Maybe they dacided it before the race!!!! THEY DIDN’T SAY HOLD STATION!!!! BECAUSE THEN THEY WOULD BE PUNISHED!!!

            And if you say FIA crarified this PROVE IT…Give a link something!!! Don’t through things in the air without know what the rules says!!!
            Maybe the UNWRITTEN (keith gave the link in a previous comment) rules is the answer to you….


            Page 2: “It is standard procedure for a team to tell its drivers to slow down when they have a substantial lead. This is in order to minimise the risk of technical or other problems. It is also standard practice and entirely reasonable to ask the drivers not to put each other at risk.”

            This took all of about 10 seconds to find in google with “fia 2007 team orders monaco” (3rd link). So it really doesn’t matter what we think we know when the guys in charge pretty much spell it out. I was not watching F1 until the late 2008 season but I presume that McLaren issued a hold station order during the race and this release cleared them of any wrongdoing.

            Honestly, I think you’re either a hilarious troll, a Ferrari zealot, a 13 year old, or some awkward combination of any of the three. But simply demanding facts from one side doesn’t magically make you right if they don’t produce them. Back up your statements with something and I might continue to take an interest in what you’ve got to say.

          15. @dyslexicbunny Ι had read this document… There is nothing in what i said… Then mclaren choosed to slow down their CARS…THEY DIDN’T SAY HOLD STATION OR DON’T OVERTAKE (maybe that would had want to do)….As did jordan in spa 98….That’s the difference!!! As i said you can do it clever (like save fuel mix 5 or something like that) BUT YOU CAN’T say it clearly!!

            I can’t make it more clear…I expained that already but you didn’t read all my comments…

          16. @ dyslexicbunny- You’re right, he must be a troll. We have repeatedly told him and shown him that the FIA consider it standard procedure to not let them race (i.e. hold station) towards the end of a race, yet he just makes more and more nonsensical rants demanding the same evidence he’s already been shown.

            I’ve had enough of this, Chris will simply never comprehend what he is being told, so in the words of the millionaires of Dragon’s Den: “I’m out”

  15. @ichtyes i dont think the article is about whether ferrari were right or wrong.its about whether others should use TO or not. I would like to know your opinio

  16. I fail to understand why this at all is being questioned. Redbull and Mclaren are still competing for the constructors title right? So the teams benefit on both drivers coming home strong. Both drivers in these respective teams still have a chance of winning the title. Lewis for example has not finished the last 2 races, prior to this had the upper hand over his team mate. We are sorry Jenson but since Rubens took you out, i know you are now only 1race behind in points but we are going to use you as a test/buffer driver for the remainder of the season….So if Jenson was told to protect hamo’s interests in the last 2 races, neither the team or Jenson would be still in the running? I think Suzuka results might help these teams decide which direction to take, but prior to this would just be suicide, although I believe Redbull have had their fav for a long time, they haven’t had the opportunity to vocally support one drive over another unlike Ferrari. I alrady feel sorry for Massa, Button and Webber

  17. Keith, you’re right. It’s downright undesirable but it may cost them. The problem is they have a much harder time of implementing it. Neither Webber or Vettel consistently beat the other and though Hamilton usually beats Button he’s crashed out more. Alonso has a dispirited Massa behind him and hasn’t needed for him to move out of the way since Germany (apart from Spa, where he was unable and any other antics would have looked bad for the impending court case).

    If Webber leads a 1-2 in Japan, it might make Red Bull’s job easier, since at Silverstone they’ve showed they don’t mind giving an advantage to a driver by merely being ahead in the standings. But McLaren have their hands tied until one of their drivers is out of it mathematically, which is a problem for them because it’ll probably be with at most two races left and little opportunity to favour one over the other.

  18. I think if either Red Bull or McLaren would lose a lot of fans if they used team orders as Ferrari do; Massa was basically dumped out of the championship before he was ready to concede, something a lot of fans find very distasteful. Red Bull have already sailed very close to the wind and generated a huge amount of bad publicity: they’re in the sport primarily to create a good brand image, thwarting the dreams of one of their drivers will do the exact opposite. As for McLaren, I doubt they are even able to order one World Champion (and the reigning one at that!) to play second fiddle.

    I understand the talk of commercial necessity, etc. but these teams are grounded on a sporting ethos which has taken them a long time to establish, it won’t return if they abandon it as soon as it is tested – and I suspect many of their fans will follow it. McLaren/Red Bull winning in spite of Ferrari’s gamesmanship is a much better story than McLaren/Red Bull winning by descending to Ferrari’s level.

    1. Erm… “grounded on a sporting ethos which has taken them a long time to establish”?

      Are you talking about Mclaren here? Perhaps Ferrari have more notoriety on the team orders front, but to claim that Mclaren have a long history of clear driver equality is a bit steep.

      1. But McLaren have never decided to make one driver the number two at the halfway point (or earlier!) of the season. All teams use team orders on occasion, very few nominate one driver to support the other until he is out of contention for the championship.

          1. That’s an opinion piece, not fact; it’s written by someone who thinks Hungary 2007 kicked off the Alonso/Hamilton feud; and it’s based on the premise that McLaren slowed down Kovalainen, which has the merit of being unintentionally funny but not, unfortunately for the author, plausible.

            McLaren got rid of Kovalainen, not the other way round; if they’d really found the perfect cut-price number two driver of their dreams then why did they sack him?

          2. As for your second link, I already said that there’s a difference between using team orders on occasion and the Ferrari way which is to nominate one driver as the number two by the halfway point of the season.

            McLaren made a mess of Monaco 2007, but they still let Hamilton challenge Alonso for the title.

          3. come on, we all know that heikki was number two throughout 2008 and 2009.

          1. You mean the race where Coulthard and Hakkinen had a deal about whoever reached Turn 1 first would be the winner? Not to mention the mysterious “pit” message Hakkinen received, which to this day no-one knows where it came from (some will say it was Ferrari hacking in, but that’s silly).

            Jerez ’97: not for the championship and the win was given to Mika as a reward for sticking with the team during its bad days.

            Nope, it’s not nice. But in the one instance it was following a script agreed by the two drivers beforehand, and the other it didn’t even matter. If that’s as bad as turning down one driver’s engine and turning up another’s to engineer a “faster than you” situation, to manipulate the championship standings, then there’s no debate possible.

          2. That’s the race where the two drivers made an agreement pre race isn’t it?

            Not great for viewing, but team orders it ain’t.

            Also, the rule came in in 2003 I think…
            So even if this was team orders, there isn’t anything in it that could be punished.

            In Hock there was a clear rule against exactly what did happen. If Red Bull can’t use the Newey designed X1 that appears in GT5 because it is against the rules (in so many ways ^^), why can another team break any other rule?

        1. All I could offer to this would be that it would be interesting to sit down with Hakkinen and Coulthard and discuss this.

  19. I guess Whitmarsh is not so smart after all , you don’t need a degree in engineering to be smart . No matter how smart you are, if you do not possess “street smart” , you will always fail in real life . The guys at ferrari are “street smart” , hence the aggressive mentality that they have employed .

    You cannot put two drivers , who think they deserve equal treatment in the same team , it always fails . I laugh when people refer to how good mclaren are at development , Last season is what this assumption is based upon , where they clawed back a 2.6 sec deficit . The truth is that, last season they only had to bring a part , put it on the car and hand it over to lewis , they get the feedback and return to the windtunnel . They didn’t have to worry about heikki , or his driving style .

    The MP4 24 was fast , but has anyone given thought to the fact that , there were characteristics of the car that might have been a problem for heikki, that lewis just didn’t notice ? .And being able to drive around these “problems” was the reason they made rapid improvements .

    Silverstone was the race that showed why mclaren have failed to catch redbull as quickly as they expected . Hamilton was willing to drive the car with Blown diffuser fitted , but button couldn’t . How much data would mclaren have amassed from a downforce track like silverstone , had they raced the package that weekend ?

    For those who keep saying the car was designed to suit hamilton ,

    1 . who was the mp4 23 (07 car ) built for ?
    2. who was the Ferrari f10 built for ?

    Hamilton drove the mp4 23 as well as fernando , was the car built for either of them? , if so , i think the possible beneficiary would have been Alonso , yet hamilton still won races and finished with similar points. The f10 would not have been built for alonso , he joined the team late , the car should have suited massa more than alonso , yet alonso is ahead .

    Hamilton is a natural .

    Can’t wait for suzuka , we should see the full benefit of the new mclaren front wing . Too much downforce at singapore gave them massive tyre degradation . Suzuka , should be better

  20. I counted the instances where drivers of top three teams have finished in successive positions. Also mentioned how many points could have been swapped in the process if drivers had been in different order. Of course this doesn’t take account gaps – in Singapore Vettel was almost half a minute ahead of Webber at finish so team order there would have been even more blatant than what Ferrari did in Germany.

    Alonso ahead: 3 times, 14 points (once outside of points)
    Massa ahead: 2 times, 5 points

    Red Bull
    Vettel ahead: 3 times, 12 points
    Webber ahead: 1 time, 7 points

    Button ahead: 1 time, 7 points
    Hamilton ahead: 4 times, 19 points

  21. If McLaren or RB issued team orders, especially when a drivers as reluctant to cede a postion as Massa was, then it will probably mean bye bye to one off their drivers next year. Why **** off one of your drivers when team orders are just one of many variables that may impact the title run in? In 08 Kovalainen’s inability take points off Ferrari was seen as a McLaren weakness and the solution was to get more competitive driver. Now they have and it’s seen as right thing to clip that drivers wings (although that could be Hamilton now). If the drivers wish help each other then let do it at their own will.

  22. Not using Ferrari tactics also gives this sport some much needed credibilty, and makes the on track action all the more worth watching.

    1. I don’t understand why “not having team orders” increases “credibility”. In any team sport (take bicycle racing, for instance), team orders are 50% of the strategy of the sport. And they don’t lose credibility. I think the thing should just be clarified. Either they are allowed, and then they are part of the game, or they are not. But having them will definitively NOT hamper credibility. And other team sports are proof of it.

      1. Yes, F1 should be just like that beacon of sincere sporting values and integrity that is the Tour de France.

        Pardon my sarcasm.

        I think the comparison with cycle racing is flawed in many ways. It’s a far less popular sport which is structured in a completely different way to F1 in terms of the teams and the size and prestige of its events.

        F1 has a drivers’ championship and a constructors’ championship. One is for drivers and one is for teams, and teams shouldn’t be interfering in the drivers’ championship.

        How does it lessen the credibility of the champion – and the championship? Because at the moment one driver has one fewer rival than everyone else.

        1. I have far more belief in the credibility of professional cycling than in F1.

          1. Ha! I take it your not fussed with a sport infested with performance enhancing drugs then. Cycling, credibility….Im still laughing!

        2. Actually, the Giro, Tour and Vuelta have a classification for teams aswell. It’s especially important in Spain.

          A far less popular sport? I beg to differ. The Ronde van Vlaanderen brings out half of the Belgian population, rain or no rain, mud or no mud. People, even journalists tend to cope with the possiblitiy of fraude and dodgy teamorders. Look at Armstrong and Contador in 2009 and how big the controversy was there.

          The comparison isn’t adequate, but to call it flawed in many ways is a bridge too far. There are leaders in a team, and that’s not always a single person. Look at Devolder winning the RvV twice, simply by having everyone look at Boonen. Look at the RvV this year. Cancellara and Breschel both had a bike change due to technical problems. Cancellara’s switch was swift and precise, Breschel’s was slow and messy. There are more similarities than one might think at first glance.

        3. Ok, cycle racing was just an example. But my point is that the problem is just with having a non well defined rule. I think banning team-orders is impossible, since, as people said before, it’s something hard to implement. Team orders can be encoded in many different ways. So, the only clean and open solution I see is just allow them, and make them part of the game. If everyone uses them, then everyone is under the same conditions. Then it’s fair again.

  23. I think the three teams have played it just right actually. At Ferrari, clearly Alonso has had the best chance at the title this year. Pretty much since day one he’s been all over Massa, and just because Felipe managed to get in front of Alonso the probably did the smart thing (in terms of fighting for the championship, rather than a PR sense, of course) to switch them both. Much as we probably wanted to, I doubt anyone thought that Hockenheim would be the turning point in Massa’s title charge.

    At Red Bull and Mclaren, you have two drivers that can be faster at any given track on any given day, so why would anyone ask a driver with a very good chance to give up the fight? What if Mclaren picked Lewis, and he kept trying a bit too hard and had a couple more DNF’s?

    I have a feeling that if Jenson hadn’t got the those two early wins, he would be backing up Lewis now even if the points standings were the same or similar. And if Vettel had pulled off *that* move on Webber, we’d have seen Mark pulling over for Sebastien way before now.

  24. You should do comparison of where Button, Hamilton, Webber and Vettel would be without a team mate capable of taking points off them.

  25. If mclaren and red bull had followed ferraris lead the title would only have 3 contenders not using t/o keeps it wide open for all surely this is better for us as fans.

  26. @Chris

    is the reason that you are so offended by this article because you are a Ferrari supporter?

    Because if so, please stop and consider your feelings if Mclaren had been given the same slap on the wrist after being found guilty of “bringing the sport into disrepute”

    The fact is your one eyed, parochial support of one team no matter what rule they bend means you fail to see the point of this article, which was to simply point out that Alonso has an advantage in the title race because of a stance his team took.

    Perhaps you need to look insde your own mind and think why you take it as a personal insult when the author of a website, you have chosen to visit, in an article you have chosen to click on and read disagrees with you.

    @Keith thanks for the great work.

    1. Oh again…. Can you prove that Ferrari was guilty at Germany??? Can i prove that mclaren at Turkey was guilty?? NO!!!!

      What I or YOU think is simple theories…without evidence (or little evidence…)…

      So someone fires up again and again this topic….And treat us like idiots…When all know that teams done that THIS YEAR and years before…. Mvlaren in 2008 did in the SAME RACE!!! And don’t tell me that it wasn’t for the first place and blah blah blah….. It was a team order BUT KEITH didn’t tell that ferrari cost 100000 for 7 points for alonso….but in 2008 cost nothing to mclaren…..

      1. My advise to you is to enjoy the races at face value and nothing else. It seems it might be affecting your health. If you feel team orders can’t be proved, fair enough. Just ignore those who do. Afterall, we can’t all have it our own way.

      2. Can you prove that Ferrari was guilty at Germany?

        Well, the World Motor Sport Council did.

        1. NO! they said (mr Todt said that to the bbc) : I think it’s a team order BUT they (ferrari) it didn’t… Before you say someone is guiltyu you must prove that he is guilty…

          So Keith…. Don’t tell me rubbish!!! I know F1 and tactics very good….


            The WMSC said it was team orders, but they felt they should not punish Ferrari.

            Mr Todt said some things at a later date, which did not match the WMSC decision.

            Note that Todt had excluded himself from said hearing.

          2. That is NOT the full desicion… That is what keith wants to say….. The full desicions says exactly what i sayed… If you hadn’t read it please don’t answer to me……

          3. Please alert me to the “full” decision.
            Also when you do, point out the part where it says Ferrari did not use team orders, rather than that it should not be punished for it.

          4. The full verdict is at the end of that article.

            The WMSC DID find Ferrari guilty of team orders interfering with a race result and they fined them $100,000 for it.

          5. NO!!! WMSC sayed that they THINK ferrari is guilty BUT they DON’T have enough evidence to prove it..So the fine stands BUT no further actions…

          6. Chris,

            Read section 6A of the actual document (link provided at end). In said section, they conclude that team orders were given and thus violates 39.1. Section 6C then moves to explain their decision to not seek further penalty because of the inconsistency of the rule’s application in previous events.

            You say you read it but based on your comments, I think otherwise. Through what I got a chance to read, there is no mention of lack of evidence or inability to prove anything in the document. I will look at it later but feel free to indicate where it is as well.

            Link to document:

        2. And just curious what the WMC RULED in this case? How did punishment get handed down? Oh wait…IT DID NOT.

          1. Sigh… From the FIA site…


            “confirm the Stewards’ decision of a $100,000 fine for infringing article 39.1”

            Which is confirmation that the WMSC did indeed rule that Ferrari had broken 39.1 which is concerning team orders affecting the outcome of a race.

          2. Sigh…the stewards handed that penalty out, not the WMSC.

          3. They handed out the same punishment yes. What’s your point?

          4. The WMSC didn’t hand out the same punishemnt. The punishment was handed out by the Stewards at the race. Not by the WMSC. Or did the 100k fine get handed out twice?

          5. They enforced the punishment then.

            What’s the point?

          6. No, they did nothing regarding punishing Ferrari. THAT is my point.

    2. The fact is your one eyed, parochial support of one team no matter what rule they bend means you fail to see the point of this article, which was to simply point out that Alonso has an advantage in the title race because of a stance his team took.

      Well I think it’s a bit of of a no brainer that the rule against team orders will be gone in 2011.(My best guess) It’s not a rule that stewards and governing bodies are really able to enforce. Team orders have and always will exist.

      Massa isn’t up to the job of competing with Alonso in his mind or on the track. Neither was Irvine or Rubens really able to compete with MSC for that matter. Maybe what Ferrari really needs is a partnering of drivers like RB or Macca have now. Someone to put the heat on Alonso.

      I really get sick on my stomach when I see a #2 driver on the grid driving for a top team. I want a Prost and Senna line up. That’s where Ferrari has been missing the point forever and a day, by having a number 1 and a number 2.

      I don’t think it’s an unfair advantage that Alonso has, I think it’s a weak #2 that is the problem.

      Jesus, I’m a Ferrari and Alonso fan but I think that they are really missing the point.

      1. To be fair, few thought Alonso would dominate Massa as he did before Hockenheim. Not to mention he was once world champion for about 20 seconds.

  27. I have to give kudos to McLaren for sticking to their racing philosophy of letting the drivers race. They have done it for many years. But what makes Ferrari’s “job” easier is that they don’t have 2 world champions in their lineup, unlike McLaren. RBR is a victim of their own success. Both their drivers have a decent shot at the title, so there is nothing the team can do to pick one of them now.

    James, I agree w/ your earlier prediction that Vettel will win a couple of the remaining races. I think the title will be won through 2nd and 3rd places (i.e. if you can’t win, make sure you get the next best result).

    I still say it will be between Alonso and Vettel, perhaps going down to that final corner in Abu Dabbi.

    1. Ferrari has stated that the team is more important than the driver… it makes NO sense that Ferrari would sacrifice the Constructor’s Championship for the Driver’s Championship… They would obviously want both – but Massa has made that impossible due to his poor performance(s) this year. Also Mclaren and and RB have NO option at this point to support one driver over the other – they are so evenly matched.

  28. Well said Jack Holt!

  29. “But when the governing body is selling points at $14,285 a pop, sportsmanship counts for nothing. It will only serve to cost them a world championship.”

    I agree with to a certain degree. There is a question of quality here. Kimi won a world championship of sorts in 2007. He was helped there at the expense of Massa; very few who followed the 2007 season can argue this.

    I believe that many F1 ‘purists’ would argue that his championship is tainted and not of the same ‘worth’ as Alonso’s 05/06 wins Hamilton’s 08 win, despite being docked a race win whcih in turn was handed to his championship rival Massa! Those are a couple of recent examples and I guess what I’m saying is that there are championships and there are championships, and the drivers know it.

    And to follow through on from that, one argue that team orders, while help a driver into the record books, also can devalue their accomplishment and in turn devalue F1 as a team sport.

    Conversely, assigning a still developing racing driver the ‘No 2’ status within a team can seriously harm his development and confidence, and we all know how important these are to a young driver in F1.

    So I think team orders in whatever guise are a bad news for the sport and can only cause long term harm for short term ‘gain’ :/

    On a separate, but i think a slightly related matter, I think the lack of on track testing during the season maybe forcing to have a two tear approach, where development part are given to one driver and not the other, to test on track during Fri/Sat practice and sometimes in the race. this I believe may cause teams in the future to run one of their cars as a guinea pig or an in-season, on-going ‘parts’ development workhorse for the actual title contender?
    I Hope not!

    1. What are you on about? Kimi was helped at the expense of Massa? How so? Yes he gave him the win in Brazil when he was already mathematically out of it but that’s it. Kimi returned the favour in Shanghai 2008, and in fact there’s much more evidence that Ferrari were helping Massa in 2008 at the expense of Kimi car development-wise(if that’s what you’re referring to) than the other way round in 2007.

      I suggest you look here:

      Note the points table to see who was in front before the race of the two Ferrari drivers. No comparison there to their despicable behaviour in Germany 2010.

  30. @Chris

    you keep spouting off about evidence. Where is yours?

    1. Nothing!!! I said that before…. That all these cases are “hipothetical”… Because you can’t blame any team… They say save fuel or the guy behind is faster…. How the hell they gonna punish them… In my opinion YES THESE CASES WAS TEAM ORDERS….Someone will tell me: prove it!!! But i don’t have evidence to prove it…. But i don’t want again and again discuss this rubbish…. I have my theory…You have yours… But the point is that if a team want that (team orders) to happen no one will understand (or a few) what the team said to the drivers to do… Or what they decided to do BEFORE the race….

      1. Of course they were team orders. But that’s not the issue. The FIA clarified three seasons ago that hold station team orders are ok. Team orders that require one driver to pull over are against the rules.

        1. The FIA didn’t clarified THIS!!!!! Don’t go to my comments and say rubbish!!!! If you have this!!! Give a link with the FIA clarification!!!!

          1. See my post on page 1. I’m not the one talking rubbish.

          2. Oh yes you are…. look at page 1… And read and the article that keith GIVES!! If you don’t trust me….

          3. No, i’m afraid you still are.

  31. The big test for Ferrari will be if Massa gets two spots ahead of Alonso.

    For example, if at Brazil, it is 1. Massa 2. Kubica 3. Alonso, would they “flick the switch” then?

    1. You mean Massa letting both Kub and Alo through or slowing Kub down so Alo can take on them both? I doubt the former would happen (it’s just three points after all) and the later is just too risky.

      1. I meant letting both through.

      2. The first happened in the Schumacher days. I can’t remember the race though. The second was used by both Ferrari and McLaren in the final two races of 1999 and worked both times. Can’t see it happening this year though – Massa would have to be ahead for once!

  32. A certain Toyota driver struggling with his tyres decided the 2008 championship at the last round.. Was he under the influence/team orders?? No one ever questioned that… It’s amazing what money can buy :)

    1. Oh please. Are you suggesting Toyota needed the money, or that Timo Glock has the skills to go at full pace on slicks in the rain.

      1. Yes, these days with the internet people will believe even the most ridiculous conspiracy theories.

    2. No one ever questioned that

      Actually the Spanish newspaper AS questioned Glock’s motives, highlighting in the plainest way possible their complete and utter cluelessness and motor racing.

      See: Foreign press react to finale

    3. GLock was on wrong tyres when it rained. He dint pit for the inters and henc was 4-5 secs slower than everyone.
      In that race Ham’s car was on wet settings and thats how Vettel went past him leaving him in 6th place when he needed 5th to be WDC.

      1. Vettel went past him because Kubica pushed Hamilton aside.

    4. yes Fukyf1. thats why Toyota is a thriving team today, you sure know your stuff

      I mean its inconceivable that the best driver of his generation could pass Glock in a Toyota for a championship win ;)

  33. @Chris: Please explain to me then what does Ferrari get when Alonso wins the drivers title? They won 5 in a row with Schumacher, which is an all time record. Yet I never see them talking about that now. Stopping your cars from colliding is disappointing for the fans, but it is sensible. If red bull don’t win the constructor championship this year people will say it is partly due to Turkey. Yet in Germany Ferrari got exactly the same amount of constructor points they would’ve gotten when Massa finished first instead of Alonso. But I don’t have common sense so please enlighten me. What does Ferrari get? They don’t get a drivers title. Alonso does.

    1. What did Mclaren get in 2008 ?

      It gives team th satisfaction and pride in being a champion, in makin a car that won a WDC, that was fast enough to win races, to get no 1 on next year’s car, to follow the legacy of TEAM and to prove to every rival that a fast and reliable is required to win the championship along with tactics and tricks.

    2. It gives the team a tittle…. So they win!! If the tittle is WDC or WCC matters the same… IF both is even better….

      1. It does not matter the same. The WDC is worth nothing. Last years WCC was worth $80 mill. WDC is hyped by fans and media but the WCC is the ultimate prize for teams both in bragging rights and $$$$.

        1. Yes you are true!!! But one title is better from nothing!! And teams like ferrari don’t need to prove anything for having good sponsorship (so more $$$$$)… But if you can take the WDC (or have realistic chances to take it) why not favour a driver who is faster through out the year?? And realistically has a chance in this intense championship this year where five drivers and three teams fight for it??

    3. The money of the points goes to the team, not to the Driver. I think.

      And, well, when everybody says ferrari won 5 titles with Schumi they reallly mean that Schumi won. The victory of your driver is your victory.

  34. Alex-Ferrari get the credit of having a world championship winning car… A big deal since they actually manufacture sports cars

    1. Yet they named one of their sports cars the scuderia spider 16M in honor of their 16 constructor titles. Now how many cars did raikkonen or Schumacher or any other Ferrari champion get named after them? I’m not sure if I’m right but I believe there aren’t any.

  35. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Frankly, in my eyes, Alonso lacks 7 points that the WMSC and the FIA think that he does. I don’t think Ferrari should have used team orders and I don’t think any other team should use team orders. The governing bodies need to stop bowing to the peer pressure of the teams and continue to insure good sportsmanship. We CAN prevent team orders and we SHOULD. This is just sad that it’s now becoming “well, they got away with it and it’s been hard to enforce, so let’s just give up.”

  36. team orders are directly related with the performances of two team mates.
    no team can easily use team orders if they have two drivers close each other.

    if you remember 2008 season, Hamilton (rightly) favoured by the team from the race one, on the other hand in the same season Ferrari had to waited until the very late period of the season, until Massa had an clear point advantage over Kimi.

  37. I still think that attention in all this is focused on the wrong things. Both RedBull and McLaren attempted to use what amounted to team orders earlier in the year, but in both cases the driver being told to act like a number two decided he was having none of it. Massa could have done the same.

    I’ll keep saying it: Massa may still have been mathematically in it in Hockenheim, but the truth is that he has not had Alonso’s pace all season and if Ferrari wanted at least one of their drivers to keep up with the other leaders, they had to make Alonso their main contender – it’s a question of one driver clearly having a better chance, pure and simple.

    The standings being as they are, McLaren and RedBull not only do not have to, but simply can’t make that choice because none of their drivers are clearly stronger than their team mate.

    1. It was a last gasp from Ferrari at a time they’d previously been performing poorly, which ultimately has pulled Alonso into it. RBR and Mclaren have not had to result to this desperation, as you writely point out.

      It’s still not right though…

      1. *rightly (why did I spell that wrong??)

  38. If Red Bull had used Ferrari tactics, don’t you think they would have been backing Vettel? Then where would they be? Perhaps the better strategy is to hedge their bets. While both Vettel and Hamilton are often faster and more aggressive than their respective teammates, they are also more prone to costly mistakes and DNF’s.

    This assumes that RB and McLaren don’t use orders. Perhaps they are not as blatant, but isn’t generally acknowledges that they use some form of team orders? It seems to me that they are hedging their bets as a better strategy. Competition within a team is often a good thing.

    1. ” don’t you think they would have been backing Vettel?”

      Why when Mark’s ahead?

      1. I think they mean to say from the start of the season.

        1. Ahh ok, sorry! :)

    2. In fact they were helpng Vettel during the first half of the season.

      Had they called in Webber on time in Australia he wouldn’t have faced such a horrible come-back race and he might have even won there.

      If they hadn’t favoured Vettel (and tried to help him get past Webber), Webber would have won that race in Turkey instead of coming 3rd.

      Red Bull’s favouritism of Vettel has cost Webber a lot.

  39. @scribe, Keith and Gil, the Glock comment was for the conspiracy theorists, I don’t believe for one minute his slide was intentional or influenced.

  40. You’re right it is costing them. Whitmarsh seemed somewhat resigned to losing points that way when he declared he’d rather win a way he felt comfortable or not win at all. I love Ferrari and I can understand why they did what they did but I really admire that stance. Marin’s got it a bit easier than Christian though with his two drivers this season though I feel!

  41. Failing to use Ferrari’s tactics is failing to cheat.

    Also, something i’ve just thought, Mclaren out of the three teams I would say has had the most dignified season. Ferrari we obviously know why not and at RBR there’s been way to much Webber/Vettel rivalry. I know this does not matter when talking numbers but it would be great to see them take at least one of the two titles.

    I think Red Bull and Mclaren using team orders at this stage would really, I hate to say it, but ruin the season somehow, for me. Seeing them all go hammer and tong fair and square is simply delicious!

  42. “Failing to use Ferrari’s tactics is failing to cheat.”

    But is favouring one driver over another cheating? I’m not so sure.

    1. No it’s not, but categorically, in referring to the headline, ‘team orders’ is cheating full stop, that’s what I meant.

      1. Not the headline! The first line of the article! I’m not with it today…

  43. Just think, one positive in all this is that Red Bull and McLaren can do it and Ferrari can’t say one thing about it. And the way the season is going, it might just come down to it.

    1. Ferrari would say a lot of things if it happens as the rest of the world spoke widely about them when they did it.

      Would be possitive to see if RBR or McLaren, doing it, have any benefit or we can see that they loose their points because of other reasons. Like crashing with other teams, crashing alone, being slow, making mistakes…

  44. Red Bull and McLaren still have two chances to clinch the WDC, if something happens to Alonso it is truly over for Ferrari.

    1. Ferrai knows it thats why they are favouring Alonso.
      Plain and simple.

  45. Keith:

    Seems there is a big gap in terms of whether folks believe team orders can be policed.

    I happen to think they can’t, and I factor that into my preferences about the rule.

    Maybe there are 2 questions to be asked of all: Can a rule against team orders be enforced?

    For those that say yes, team orders can be enforced, then the follow up question is whether there should be an absolute rule against it–no hold stations, no last race orders–no nothing except straight up competition every corner, every race.

    For those who say a rule against team orders can’t be enforced, then the second question is arrangement would they prefer–an open rule that allows teams to do whatever they want whenever they want it, or some other condition?

    For me, I don’t think they can be enforced, and the condition I want is transparency–each team has to lay out their policy in detail before the first race, and any deviation from that is to be penalized.

    If McLaren wants to say no team orders anytime, great, let them do so–that will distinguish them from, say, Ferrari, who may want to say their policy is to use team orders whenever they conclude team orders will help them.

    If RBR wants to have Horner say one thing and Marko say something else, well, that is what we have now!

    1. Maybe there are 2 questions to be asked of all: Can a rule against team orders be enforced?

      I would say a rule preventing teams from swapping the running order of their drivers or issuing a “hold position” command can be enforced.

      Other things like giving one driver first preference on equipment probably can’t be.

      But what really damages F1’s reputation is these scenes of drivers pulling over and letting someone else win. I think it would be pretty easy for the FIA to clamp down on that.

      1. I agree the obvious on track ordered swap of position can be stopped–not so sure about hold position.

        But–since I value transparency, the obvious execution of team orders is ok with me. I hate to be fooled, to think there are no team orders only to find out later there are–hate to be fooled that x passed y only to find later that y had their engine turned down.

        So, as long as it is not too obvious, you are ok with it?

      2. Team orders are team orders.
        IN Silverstone, TEAM Red Bull ordered Webber to hand over the new front wing to Vettel. It was as blatant team order I have seen but Webber refused to bow down and won the race. Massa could have done the same but he followed the team order, made it obvious to public and everyone, gained sympathy and restored his GOOD-MAN image.
        Why did he follow team order ?
        Had he have the backbone, he would end his contract this yera and move to some other team.

        In 2008, KImi was behind Massa but still in Spa, Kimi went for the win before crashing. It proves that Ferrari arent that bad in giving team orders as they look (post 2002)
        . They gave Kimi equal chance of competing coz they knew Kimi could compete.
        Before Germany-08, did Massa look convincing enough to garner that kind of confidence in Stefano Domincalli’s mind ? NOt even a staunch Massa supporter can claim that.

        I am an Alonso fan and still think that what happened in Germany was wrong but Massa dint left Ferrari with any choice.

        The bottom line is that Ferrari have lost confidence in Massa and they are just waiting his contract to expire.

        1. They renewed his contract for an additional 2 years this year…

          I know what you’re saying though. If drivers hate team orders, then just ignore them if you’ve got the backbone. Someone like Button or Webber would NEVER yield to their teamate whoever it was.

        2. Team orders (in general) aren’t banned. Only very specific team orders are.

        3. Before Germany-08, did Massa look convincing enough to garner that kind of confidence in Stefano Domincalli’s mind ? NOt even a staunch Massa supporter can claim that.

          I checked wikipedia, and he was tied for the championship lead with Raikkonen and Hamilton, so yes, he had a chance.

  46. Before I go and say my stance on this issue I must say that I really hate team orders. In my opinion they take away the joy from the racing – if people are talking about race-fixing after the race and not about racing that is in my opinion a bad thing.

    I think it is bad for FIA to back down from the team orders ban. They claim that it is impossible to enforce but what they mean to say is that it is hard and they really don’t want to be bothered with it.
    My problem with this is that it could open a pandora box of problems where teams could get away with anything. Where do we draw the line? If Massa is ordered to crash into Webber to allow Alonso to win the championship for example, those are also team orders.

    Junior team are dangerous in that case as well – Ferrari has already used customers of their engines to slow down competition ( ), you can claim that it has happened before and there is no way to stop it but it is also cheating in my opinion.
    What else happened in history of racing? No.1 driver crashes and his team-mate is forced to get out of his car in order to allow his team-mate to win the championship. Is that ok as well? Not in my book.

    If they are afraid to enforce ban on team orders they should at least try to make them more transparent. If I’m not mistaken Carlos Reuterman had it spelled out in his contract that he must allow Alan Jones past when ordered from the pit-wall. Also, in a lot of cases team mates were ordered not to race each other after a certain lap.
    Make it stand in black and white that is what is expected from drivers, I was more enraged by Ferrari’s treatment of fans after the race then of the team order in race. I would still not approve it but at least the team wouldn’t be forced to lie about that.

    1. Team orders have been around in motor racing since before the Grand Prix era. The only time we’ve had someone crashing on purpose was when there was a ban on team orders.

      I wouldn’t worry about where you can draw the line. Teams can tell their drivers to do whatever they like so long as they don’t crash or put the safety of others at risk.

      A better solution would be to make a bigger deal of the constructor’s title. Then it wouldn’t matter which driver won so much.

    2. It all comes down to whether F1 is a team sport or an individual’s sport. If we decide it’s a team sport, then team orders are a must. Otherwise where is the team strategy? But if it’s an individual’s sport, then, it’s different, and team orders are bad.

      Since F1 is actually a mix of individual racing vs team racing, it’s difficult to decide whether team orders are right or not. But in my opinion they should be allowed. The reason being that it’s the only way to implement team strategy.

      1. How about drivers from same team driving side by side in order to prevent anybody overtaking them? That can be labeled as team strategy as well.Where I find problem with team orders is that now Massa is and always will be second driver. He moved over once and now it is expected from him to do that every time.

        Transparency is the key in this, for example in Williams driver with more points gets the first update if there is only one available. No moaning, no passive agressive comments to the media, no bullshit – if you want to get updates first earn it by earning more points. That is a good way to do things IMHO and it prevents bad blood in the team.

        As of team sport comment – I think that team will get best results if it has 2 drivers who push each other to the limit. And the best way to psychologically destroy a driver is to order him to let his team mate through. For the team it is completely the same, you don’t get more points if a driver with red antenna on top of his car crosses the line first, that is why I think it is throwing mud in eyes of the fans to claim no.2 driver moved aside ”for the good of the team”.

        1. Hahaha, good luck pulling that tactic of driving side by side off ;)

          But I insist that all the problems come from the fact that in F1, there are 2 championships running at the same time: one is for drivers and one for teams. And what is fair for one is not for the other. The rules that make sense for one, do not make sense for the other. If you are so adamant in that “team orders are bad”, then the only solution I see is to cancel the constructors championship altogether, an having a single driver per team.

          1. Didn’t Alonso and Fisichella do that in the Chinese Grand Prix 2006? Though they both still lost the race to Michael Schumacher.

  47. I think Ferrari tactics are a risky gamble, one stray black marker or a loose wheel nut then Alonso & Ferraris season goes to pot.

    RB & Mc are more conservative but IMO statistically have a better chance of a winner.

    Great debate!

  48. It’s ridiculous to suggest that a team backs one driver when their order could change in one race. If either Webber or Hamilton retires in Japan and their team mate wins, the other driver (Vettel/Button) would be ahead. If this happens, do you think that the team should switch allegiances? Or stick with the driver who is behind?

    1. It’s ridiculous to suggest that a team backs one driver when their order could change in one race.

      So here’s a question – at what point does it no longer become “ridiculous” to use team orders? A 26-point gap between team mates? 51? 76? With how many races to go?

      Part of the problem with allowing team orders is that different teams will impose them at different stages in the season.

      It’s a small part of why I think allowing team orders in F1 is bad for the sport.

  49. Good article Keith. Well reasoned and backed by specific examples.

    I must respectfully disagree. My understanding is that F1 rewards revenue share for constructors points and this has to be the goal regardless of who finishes in front.

    As well, consider that beyond the three challenging teams there are five others that are capable of scoring on any given day. The depth in the drivers field is the strongest I’ve seen in almost 30 years of following the sport. These top three teams should take nothing for granted. Given the ultra competitive nature of modern F1 the drill is to hire the best two drivers available and tell them to go like hell.

    Subordinating one driver simple places an artificial restraint on the teams maximum potential. Williams learned that lesson in the Nakijima years and Renault and Force India are learning it this year.

    I understand the logic of what you propose but there is nothing logical about the will and desire to win. One must assume that Red Bull wishes to resign Vettel beyond his current contract. To ask Vettel or Button to abandon their title hopes could do irreparable long term damage and may indeed be an impossibility.

    1. My understanding is that F1 rewards revenue share for constructors points and this has to be the goal regardless of who finishes in front.

      If only the teams put the constructors’ championship at the top of their priorities we probably wouldn’t have this problem.

  50. Break the ‘rules’ to win. Is this really sport?

  51. The problem is, both Mclaren and Red Bull drivers have put in good drives and scored consistent high points hauls to justify their bid in the title. I reckon it’ll only take a DNF for Vettel and that’ll be curtains on his championship bid. Same applies to Jenson, but even Lewis as well. He has retired from 3 of the last 4 races, whereas Jenson has consistenly scored in all of them, much like last year – not always strong points finishes, but their finishes none-the-less.

    Alonso has had better races than Massa on the whole this year. Had Alonso not had such poor reliability and poor luck in the early races (i.e. racing through the field in Australia, engine failure in Malaysia), as well as the stupid drive through in Silverstone, he would be leading the championship right now.

    It’s gonna be tense in the next four (possibly three…?) races, but it’s thrilling for the fans!

  52. I don’t believe team orders can be policed.
    If done properly most times they wouldn’t even be noticed.

    This whole thing comes from Ferrari sticking two fingers up to the stewards (which is never a good idea)

    1. After they way they ignored Hulk’s offroad adventures in Monza to keep Webber behind, I’m happy with anyone who gives it to them.

  53. Maybe the Ferrari way would be a good way for Red Bull to go but, as long as Hamilton can keep it on the island, he’s just too fast for Jenson.

    And, as much as I like Button, he won’t come into it.

  54. Maybe both Redbull and Mclaren don’t have 100% confidence on either driver to be capable of winning the WDC that’s why they can’t favour one over the other. More chances of winning if they back both.

  55. Red Bull & Mclaren don’t have the luxury of having one driver fighting for the title like Ferrari have, if we see another DNF form Hamilton he can certainly say bye bye to his WC.

  56. The difference in driving skills between Alonso and Massa is wider than the one between their rivals, so much so that Ferrari has no moral problems about it, as it happened with Hamilton and Kovalainen.

    It has been Hamilton’s blatant errors that has given Button chances to win, therefore the lack of team orders, although Hamilton remains the de facto number 1 of the team. The shadow of Ron Dennis is wide.

    It is when the driving skills are close, as it was last year with Button and Barrichello, that team orders seem treacherous.

    In the case of Weber and Vettel, even though both drivers’ skills are akin, Redbull gave its favour to he German without reasons (not like in Ferrari’s case) and it was, in fact, team orders, that caused Vettel and Weber to fight as Alonso and Hamilton did in 2007.

  57. “Ferrari get the credit of having a world championship winning car… A big deal since they actually manufacture sports cars”

    I could not agree with this more. Regardless of what championship Ferrari win, a championship is good for Ferrari; if they win the WDC they have the fastest driver racing for them which is good for Ferrari sales (especially in Spain if Alonso wins). If they win the WCC they have the fastest car which is also good for Ferrari sales….And lets not forget the money from sponsorships that winning a championship brings in.

    As Ferrari are the only proper manufacturer in F1 today, they have slightly different motives to win championships then all the other teams.

    For Ferrari, winning a championship is important, no matter what the cost, because it is good for Ferrari.

    Is it good for F1 if they do this through team orders however?? Thats just a matter of opinion… but the majority of people will say, probably not.

  58. A question to all of u.

    If u have a F1 team, would you want ur drivers to crash like they did in Turkey or take home a rich haul of points while getting ur BETTER PLACED driver to give the shot at WDC ??
    Be honest and practical.

    1. Gill, if I was Red Bull’s team principal I’d have told my drivers to hold station in Turkey, so the winner of the last 2 races could continue his winning streak.

    2. Team orders telling your drivers to hold station or conserve tires/fuel are legal.

      Exactly because the team would suffer if the drivers collide or if they needlesly wear out their equipment.

      The FIA pretty clearly stated (2007 Monaco verdict) that the teams can try to rule out any unnecesary risks. Notably the ones incorporated with trying to overtake their own car.

    3. Gill – If team orders are banned, you don’t do it. If they aren’t, you do it.

      The crux of the matter is we all thought they were banned, Ferrari did it anyway, and got away with it.

  59. Don’t know, @ first I also thought, hum…the article is ambiguious, but then as I read it entirely, it just made sense to me, and I think Keith’s analysis is good ! They are (this without n°1’s) throwing out points on the pilots WC, but I believe that if ever team’s orders are given, it will happen during the last two GP’s, but again we’ll have to take them one @ a time, no ?

  60. I don’t see how McLaren can use team orders when Hamilton is crashing out.

    1. LOL. I like your one liner but it’s true.

    2. LOL (Your comment was a bit too short. Please go back and try again.)

  61. C’mon all, don’t get so flustered. Team Orders has been around for ages. The only problem is, is it carried out with a good script and are drivers willing to act it out
    well enough to make it look natural.

    Massa was a lousy actor at Germany, or was it done deliberately with Smedley
    to smear Alonso, who’s already losing fans by the droves.

    Red Bull and McLaren with no Team Orders in practice?.
    Does McLaren 2007 season ring a bell?

    Red Bull was clearly favouring Vettel until Mr.Webber proved to be a contender.
    “Not bad for a number two driver”, who said that?

    Fans are even more tensed than the drivers, lol.
    I like to enjoy the circus, it may not come around like this season again.
    Treasure it.

    1. McLaren were tried for illegal team orders in 2007, but they were found “not guilty”.

      The FIA stated that the teams could not be forced to take the risks needed for overtaking a car if that car was their own.

      So yeah, they used team orders to let Alonso win in Monaco, but those were not illegal.

      There also is a difference between being the no2 driver and getting different equipment. There will always be one driver with the best car and/or the best strategy. Even though that might not be diserable, it’s nowhere near the travesty of one driver moving over to let the other past. Especially when the overtaking driver was in no way able to overtake on his own.

  62. “when the governing body is selling points at $14,285 a pop, sportsmanship counts for nothing.”

    It just dawned on me that this is good line, but a false analogy. Ferrari didn’t gain any points they didn’t already have.

    1. Ferrari didn’t gain, but they bought the points for Alonso from Massa, FIA received the money, Massa called magnanimous.

    2. Yeah, it’s actually $14,285 to transfer a point from one of your drivers to another. So it would cost Ferrari $1828,480 to give Alonso all Massa’s points and he’d be the champion already.

  63. you keith are really hyped about these team orders….but i don’t really see why? it happened before, even more evident…..and, what can you do about it?

    there is always possibility to fabricate end result, maybe not in singapore manner, but driver in front can easily make small mistake (miss braking point or something), what then? we will all assume what happened… that a point?

    1. That just says that the FIA should investigate more often.

      The investigation into the Hockenheim shuffle showed that Massa was told many many times that he needed to let Alonso past.

      It showed that they made Massa run with a tuned down engine while letting Alonso go with the higher setting.

      The teams cannot hide these types of team orders from the stewards.

  64. There’s a way to solve this.

    The FIA should change its rules, each team just runs one car, no A or B team, just one car and one driver.

    So this debate will never ever come up again, because F1 seems to be just a team sport on paper. As it turns out, there isn’t really much point in having a teamate in this sport, since he is not allowed to help, unless he “holding position” do away with the team mate

    And think about it, if each team runs one car, the operating costs will be halved, hence making F1 more attractive to manufacturers, and there could be a good move for privateers as well. This way, in season testing could resume, probably in limited windows, at half the cost as well.

    So every race weekend, it will mano e mano with no “teamate” tag dangling over their heads.

    So no more teamates hence no more team orders…problem solved, every man for himself.


    1. That obviously means gettin rid of the WMC tittle. I don’t think that would benefit manufacturers, the WMC counts (publicity) although the big tittle for drivers and teams is the WDC (mega-publicity).
      Don’t think the FIA would allow disapearing smothing that bings $$$ in.

      The problem is not understading that this is a team sport and the current regulation has turned out not to be valid so it needs to be changed. The situation in Germany has been heavely judged by the media and some iluminated old legend, especially against Alonso and Ferrari, with the new rule: “team orders will be penalised if made blatant”.
      Well, if that’s the case, then Massa and his engineer are the only that could be penalised.

  65. Yeah McLaren and RBR sure have enough money, but they don’t have a driver as “magnanimous” as Massa. I don’t see any of their drivers would give up race position for teammates, Hamilton for instance wasn’t ready to given up even a track position during Qualifying in Hungary 07′. Regardless of the performance/point deficit they may had, IMO none of them would give up race position while they are still in it mathematically. Why should they, they don’t race for pretty colors. McLaren and RBR would have to change their line up, try to find some “magnanimity” like Ferrari always managed to.

  66. I think that RBR and McLaren haven’t lost any point because of this reason. Vettel didn’t steal any point to Webber, and Webber didn’t to Vettel, and Button didn’t to Hamilton and Hamilton didn’t to Button. Just a few points, maybe. But Alonso has lost some of them behind Massa two or three times this season.

    Most of the points lost have been because team mistakes, drivers mistakes, bad luck… ¿had Button something to do with hamilton last results? ¿had Vettel something to do with Webber bad starts?

    Don’t loose your head. There are many reasons to win or loose the championship. When alonso lost the Championship in Brasil 2007 he didn’t speak about one single point won by ferrari there, he should be thinking on Canada, USA, Japan. And trying to find just one point he could have think on Hungary, when he was really stolen (without any evidence by FIA) just because some father denounce his son’s team.

    I mean that there are many things to think about and discuss (even this year) to speak about a fact that has been there allways (with ot without ban)

    1. When alonso lost the Championship in Brasil 2007 he didn’t speak about one single point won by ferrari there

      Hamilton lost the championship at Brazil 2007. Without Massa letting Raikkonen win, Alonso would have been second to a rookie on countback. Of course he didn’t bloody say anything.

  67. Hi all, nice debate. I think that there is no point whereas team orders should be banned or allowed, they are used all the time and there is a lot of hipocresy about it. I strongly believe that in the case of Mclaren the 1st pilot is Ham already from the begining of the season and that is because he is much faster than Jenson. With Ferrari it is the same thing, Massa is much slower than Alonso. Keith was pointing out that before Germany Grand Prix Massa had beaten Alonso 45% of race results; but if you look at grid positions alonso was winning (including Germany) 8 to 3; and if you look at the pace in every race, I think that Alonso wins in all of them but Turkey. So, from my standpoint the track always puts every driver in its position, despite team orders. I feel sorry about Felipe, but to be honest, did he believe that Ferrari offered an equal position in 2006 when his team mate was Shumy?
    I think that Ferrari and McLaren have 2 supreclass drivers (ALO & HAM) and 2 good drivers, and that is the way things have to be done, 2 “superclass drivers” cannot be in the same team (Senna & Prost, Alo & Ham, etc..) because they are too competitive. In fact McLaren throw away the 07´DC because of that. On the other hand, RBR have an excellent car, but no superdrivers at all. What would be the championship standings if Alonso or Lewis were driving a Red Bull? I think that the championship was over by now.

  68. I always thought F1Fanatic was fairly unbiased (at least for a British blog) but it’s getting almost PlanetF1-like recently. Lewis (a brilliant racer and I love him for that as much as anyone) hasn’t been doing very well lately so you have to start making stupid excuses, especially ones that also get Alonso (not my favourite by the way) in the very same swing. Shame, really…

    1. @A, Keith is unbiased. He only has a problem with this issue. ;)

      1. so you mean he is biased in this issue.
        and he is not supposed to be in any of them. at least this what he pretends

        1. I believe that’s what he pretends.

          At least, he is less biased than the Spanish press. Or he is biased in other way.

    2. The only way I can see anyone might think this article is ‘making excuses for Hamilton’ is if they thought Ferrari haven’t used team orders to help Alonso. But the WMSC decision leaves us in no doubt that is the case.

  69. Sorry Keith, I usually agree with with the points you make but not this time.
    It seems you are advocating all the teams lowering their sportmanship levels to the lowest common denominator instead of raising them to the highest.
    The next step in this game knowing the FIA’s cost cutting agenda would be to get rid of the second car and driver as if they can’t race to win why justify the cost. Then the Ferraris and Renaults of this world can just concentrate on their one favoured car/driver combination.

    1. You do of course understand, Keith isn’t actually advocating team orders. What he’s saying is that by playing within the rules RB and McLaren they are at a disadvantage to Ferrari, who are playing outside the rules and that the FIA’s implicit sanctioning of this state of affairs goes against sportsmanship. It’s a good point. I happen to think it has less to do with sportsmanship than with the choices the teams have and haven’t been faced with this season given their drivers’ relative positions in the standings.

  70. A day late, but if you look at what Massa was (more than) likely to achieve with a bunch more confidence since Germany, you would see that supporting Massa equally (or more likely preferentially) would most likely result in both Ferrari drivers being 30+ points out of the championship at this point. I make this statement on the assumption that 1) Alonso and Massa swap positions whenever it is convenient to Massa & 2) Massa still had his gearbox issue in Singapore as this is a mechanical component that can’t be changed between the team mates. If this occurs, the results look like:
    Through Singapore:
    Leaders Pts: 202
    Alonso: 168
    Massa: 151
    Alonso’s Gap to Leader: 34
    Massa’s Gap to Leader: 51
    Mass’s Gap to Alonso: 17
    All that with 4 races left and with Massa getting 2 wins, a 2nd, a 4th, and an 8th.

    If you look at it from Italy, both him and Alonso would have been 40+ pts off the leaders. Seriously, what do you expect when the championship is a 5 (6 w/ Massa) horse race and someone has a 78 pt gap going into Germany. That 78 pt gap would have required Massa winning every grandprix and Alonso getting 2nd in 5 GPs and 3rd in the remaining 4 GPs (unless winless teams start taking wins in large numbers… yeah right). Massa was effectively out of it at Germany, he just hadn’t admitted it to himself yet until he got back to the garage after the race (and pulled a bit of a disgruntled racing move for Ferrari, not that I can *really* blame him). However, if he had actually been consistant + faster throughout the year, especially on the hard tires, he wouldn’t be in this predicament to begin with.

    tl;dr, Massa put himself there. I’d be willing to be that if he was 40 pts closer to his teammate going into Germany, they wouldn’t have gone with the VERY vaguely coded “Alonso is faster than you”.

    1. Not that the above directly addresses the article itself. For that:
      The teams will eventually have to chose their person in the last couple races, although if Vettel can’t get a win in the next two races (baring big DNFs for Webber) it won’t matter anyways cause he will be effectively eliminated. Honestly, unless either Button or Hamilton gets a fire under their butt, neither one will probably have a realistic chance after the next couple races.

  71. another article to bash Ferrari, typical trash.

    1. Another reader who hasn’t read the article properly. Try it again, you might understand what Keiths’ actually writing about.

    2. How is this article ‘bashing Ferrari’?

  72. Now this is something I haven’t really thought about…team orders in F1! hmmm… LOL Not to keep beating a dead horse, but F1 and the team concept are intertwined. For this to change, the team philosephy and physical makup of F1 would have to change.

    I don’t believe Ferrari would be the only team using “tactics” in order to put their best foot forward. And I can hardly blame them; Massa hasn’t proven himself to be a champion, whereas Alonso has multiple times.

    I would love to provide proof of the existance of team orders in current F1 but this is a challenging endeavor. At present, the best I can do is show an example from 1998. Damon hill leading at Belgium in the wet in a Jordan, Ralf is closing on him lap by lap from P2 in the other Jordan.

    The link for this radio conversation is down a little ways on the page. It is under the Team Radio Communication section and is titled:
    Hill radios to the pits asking for team orders during Belguim GP 1998 …
    And the orders to Ralf follow with the title:
    … and so the Jordan pit radios Ralf Schumacher telling him of team orders

    This was prior to the “team order ban” in F1, but is presented simply as an example of team orders in practice.

  73. Hi Everyone,

    There seems to be a lot of you asking for the old races. Well guess what ? I have them, ALL of them. 1978 to 2010 Every single race and qualifying session ever transmitted on British TV.

    Plus loads of F1 races from the 1930s to 1970s. They are mostly on VHS cassette and DVD. I put a transcoded high quality DVD version of them on a pair of 2000 gb usb hard drives.

    So if anyone would like a FREE complete collection of every single F1 race email me at

  74. Team orders exist in all sports and am not sure why F1 approaches it the way they do. In NFL it is not unusual when a team has an insurmountable lead for them to rest their star Quarterback and let the number 2 play the rest of the game. This is so the star can live to fight another day. The same is true for soccer, basketball etc. That is how teams work – you work to ensure victory for the team at all times…

    But… F1 team mates should be competitive amongst themselves and this should be encouraged. At the same time they should also be united as a team against the other teams. This presents a dilemma of what to do if for instance Massa qualifies #1 and Alonso #2 – should he let him pass or should they fight each other while at the same time fighting the other teams to maintain their positions even if Massa finishes #1 and Alonso #2?

    As a hardcore Tifosi even I am not sure what I want to happen.

  75. Don’t you think that if McLaren had used the obvious and blatant Ferrari tactics, that they would likely have been fined $100,000,000? It seems to me that they are smart to let Ferrari set precedent.

  76. Keith, would you really being saying this if we were using the old system of points, can you really say to the reigning champion, your one race win behind, there are four to go, sorry your chance has gone !
    It maybe affecting the chances of one or more or their drivers winning, but F1 is a sport of massive calculated risks, some work and some don’t. I made the point previously, when commentators such as yourself continually harp on about the need to instil team orders, you are contributing to a diminishing chance of fans such as myself watching a fight to the end.
    Give it a rest and change the record !
    Otherwise, great blog !

    1. This years point system is virtually identical to last years. Just multiplied by 2.5

    2. Keith, would you really being saying this if we were using the old system of points, can you really say to the reigning champion, your one race win behind, there are four to go, sorry your chance has gone

      But the new points system makes no difference to that – the same drivers are within a win of the lead as would be under the old system.

      I made the point previously, when commentators such as yourself continually harp on about the need to instil team orders, you are contributing to a diminishing chance of fans such as myself watching a fight to the end.

      I think I made it pretty clear in this article and in previous ones I don’t approve of team orders. Did you not read this paragraph:

      McLaren and Red Bull’s refusal so far to favour one driver is rightly lauded by many as good sportsmanship. It would certainly be to the benefit of Formula 1 if every team was required to adopt the same approach.

  77. Ferrari favored Alonso just once this season, at Hockenheim. But tell me about Valencia and Silverstone. They were very fast there but unable to score the points they deserved. So they did this at Hockenheim because they were desperate and I’m very OK with it.

  78. Don’t understand Keith…

  79. I’m can’t say I agree with them, but team orders are a part of any motorsport where teams run more than one car. I’ve seen it used plenty of times in touring cars as well, usually though only at the end of the season. I think that this is important – when the fans know that one driver can win the championship but his teammate can’t, using team orders is more understandable, even if it’s not great to watch. Hockenheim this season was, for me, too early to be using them, but for Ferrari it seems to have worked out well. I didn’t like it, I felt we were cheated out of seeing some proper racing between Massa and Alonso, but it’s not the worst case of team orders that there’s ever been (e.g. Austria 2002, Australia 98).

    As for McLaren and Red Bull, really they can only play the team game when one of their drivers is definitely out of the running. If they try to do so before, it will be a PR nightmare and probably result in the alienation of one of their drivers. The only way I can see Button supporting Hamilton, for example, is if he himself knows he can’t win and helping his teammate is the only productive option.

  80. Ferrari have always used such tactics whilst their rivals have chosen to let both their drivers race. It is the main reason why Ferrari have won so many championships especially during the Michael Schumacher era. Years ago when Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were at McLaren they often took each other out during grands prix, but you never saw that at Ferrari. Infact, when was the last time two Ferraris’ crashed into each other at a grands prix? A bloody long time ago!

    1. Silverstone July 11 2010 wasn’t that long ago!

    2. China was pretty close too

    3. Bahrain 09 as well IIRC.

    4. Monza 2010 aswell

      1. Hockenheim 2010… oh! no. Then they decided not to be the clowns of the weekend.

  81. And now all britons ask McLaren to use team orders.

    You guys are the very very best.

    1. all britons ask McLaren to use team orders

      What are you basing that extraordinary sweeping generalisation on?

      1. That’s correct, all Lewis fans.
        But it’s still funy, after atacking Alonso and Ferrari just some weeks ago.

        1. That doesn’t answer my question (are you assuming all British people are Lewis Hamilton fans? I know a few people who comment here who’ll put you right on that!)

          And as I said in response to smudgersmith, I don’t condone what Ferrari did. But if the FIA are going to let teams break that rule without taking points off them, then all the teams might as well break it. Surely we can agree on that?

          1. I know a few people who comment here who’ll put you right on that!

            *raises hand* :D

          2. What I’m critizing is is the different way you and all lewis fans (mostly britons) treat the same fact when Alonso is involved and now when it would be in Lewis’ favour

          3. Paul, are you saying that most Lewis fans are britons (I think that is far from true, for example my wife is Czech and she is a Lewis fan of sorts), or are you saying that british fans of Lewis in particular are more in favour of what Lewis does than of what Alonso does when he does the same?

            By the way I am not British, nor am I a Lewis fan, altough I do have a weak spot for McLaren of sorts and are very happy that they are keeping with not using TO for now, just as they promised at the start of the year when Jenson joined the team.

  82. Keith, great post as (almost) ever, but… Can I refuse the conclusion you set?

    You posted “McLaren and Red Bull’s refusal so far to favour one driver is rightly lauded by many as good sportsmanship.”

    Well I can not agree with that when I go back to 2007, Do you remember this?

    “We were racing against Alonso” Ron Dennis, McLaren Team principal, GP China.

    McLaren betted to support HAM at the final stages of 2007 season and everybody remember how this story finish. As he was the Team Principal he was talking in the name of the whole team, he could say “they were racing against Alonso” but he wasn’t Hamilton’s race engineer.

    But there is another fact that reminds 2007 season, Alonso had the #1 on the nose of his car as Button now, and he still had chances of retaining WDC, the same as Button.

    So, do you really think if McLaren follows Ferrari tactics they will increase his hopes?

    I don’t think so but maybe I’m wrong…

    I’m only sure of one thing, sportsmanship is a word reserved only for few people on F1 and McLaren isn’t in my list.

    1. 2007 is another matter entirely. An FIA steward was present in the McLaren garage at Interlagos to ensure there was no foul play – an extraordinary and unprecedented step – and found nothing untoward. Let’s keep this discussion on 2010.

      1. Keith, I’m very sad with your reply, I thought you were not so bias. If you think McLaren were supporting both drivers equally at the final stages of 2007 knowing what Ron said, Ican convince you.

        Otherwise, I keep this discussion on 2010, but the history can help us to clarify.

        On 2007 (I think, but you not) McLaren supported one driver over the reigning WC and they lost, that why I’m very very happy McLaren aren’t doing on 2010. I think it’s the smartest bet.

  83. Keith,

    I am Spanish, still I take the kids to a British School because I think that it is important that they learn in that Gibraltar is British while the family tells them that it should be Spanish. It is also good that they learn how good was that the Spanish Navy failed to conquer the Islands on the XVI century while we have all grown up in how bad that was… ;-)

    The important thing is not to be told the “truth” but to learn the ability to appreciate different points of view. And eventually make your own conclusions.

    That’s why, while an Alonso follower, I rather read British than Spanish press on F1…(the quality is indeed better, as well).

    2007 was an interesting year for us all, and the discussion over team orders is not bound to this year.

    In my humble opinion when you use terms as sportsmanship, abiding to moral rules, being true to fans, etc. you cannot restrict the issue to “after Hockenheim”. “We are racing Alonso, not Kimi” is the reflection of strict team orders. Funny enough the consensus on this blog is that, if Team orders are to be allowed, it should be to support a clear favourite within the team, then it becomes “acceptable”. Mc Laren 2007 was, if anything, the opposite, I guess. And they made a nice present to Kimi in that respect.

    That the FIA sent a steward to the garage to ensure fairness should make you suspicious… And pretend that him will find out anything is wishful thinking. Almost as difficult as imaging that the mechanic at you local garage will find out what is the trouble with a modern car… Remember the pace of Alonso’s McLaren at Interlagos 2007… Don’t think that that was due to the lack of skill of the driver.

    When the final measure to decide how a team behaves vs. the rulebook is the amount fined by FIA for breaking it, $100.000 is indeed a strong sign of misbehaviour. $100 millions is 1000 times stronger indicator. I guess that somebody has sometime ben fined with that amount.

    Sorry for the digression, I just enjoy reading your blog, it is very educative and great fun

    1. “We are racing Alonso, not Kimi” is the reflection of strict team orders.

      OK then, give me an example of McLaren ordering Alonso to pull over for Hamilton.

      1. Keith, If you worked for FIA, you should need many proofs. But you’re a fan, aren’t you? You don’t need proofs. You can have feellings. Clear feelings. You didn’t need any proof to know that massa was surrendering to the team. Even if later, you had the evidences.

        It is clear that in the situation pointed by Atonished, McLaren was in Hamilton side, even if noone pulled over.

        Listen to Atonished. He wants the people not to think just in a way. Open your mind and identify what is good and what is bad.

        When the spygate they couldn’t demostrate that McLaren used the information, but it doesn’t matter. The information was stolen and acepted in McLaren. And that’s bad.

        I cannot say “Yes, I hit my wife… but just a little”. Came on, stop giving so many “reasons” because they look like “excuses”, and excuses, or even reasons, for just one side is biased information.

        1. You don’t need proofs.

          Yes I do. I asked Astonished for them and he/she hasn’t supplied any, beyond forgetting Hamilton was quicker than Alonso on occasions at the start of 2007 as well as towards the end. And that, as I said earlier, the FIA’s own inspector found no evidence of foul play.

          1. Ok, you need proofs. I don’t need proofs. Different ways to see a problem. I repeat, you want to know if somthing has to be punished. I just need to know if something is ethical.

            Coming to here to see other opinions doesn’t mean have to convince the people. I just want to show my opinion.

          2. Keith,

            The only evidence I can supply to your current doubts is that I am a “He”. Still you have to just believe it is it so…

            Evidence is for the court, but as someone already mentioned in this tread, that the team accuses to FIA of misbehaviour one of its two drivers might be seen as ultimate sportsmanship, but I rather see it as evidence of team preferences.

            Raulz, thanks for the translation. You got the point. Everybody around me keeps saying that I should use irony less…. but I can help.

          3. The only evidence I can supply to your current doubts is that I am a “He”.

            OK, I believe you :-)

      2. I just did. You don’t need frustrated Smeedly (I dont know if it spelled this way, apologies to him) over the radio to a, probably more, frustrated Massa.

        You can do it smartly and have a car going faster that the other (all the end of 2007 season) by having the boss so clearly expressing his preferences to the whole team.

        Team orders is a way to implement team strategies regarding their 2 drivers. Otherwise it is nonsense, I think. And a preference for Lewis by Ron Denis in his capacity of Team Principal, so clearly worded, is the ultimate evidence of lack of fairness as in this blog is the term understood for the 2 drivers that were so equally positioned that they actually finished the season with the same number of points. You can speculate how much this adulterated the results not of a race but of a whole season.

        Passion is very good, what would life be without it? But it is equally important to express it without disguise. Emotions are ok but if you express them by rationalising it spells trouble, most of the cases

        I understand that people supporting other teams/drivers did not like what happened in Hockenheim. I would have also preferred some fun by seeing Alonso overtaking Massa. Something that he might have or not tried but it was probably too much risk for the team, specially after the RB incident. But stating that Hockenheim was the ultimate felony in F1 is a bit too much. Specially perhaps for F1.

        I do think that too much noise out of this is done in the UK, specially when seen in the light of how conditioned to multiple variables the outcome of every single race is. Not good for credibility.

        You might still look much more objective and fair than “As” “Marca” or Spanish TV (Or “The Sun” for that matter), but do not waste this credit so fast…

    2. I agree. I think that we are talking about this moral issue with many technicalities, and the morality can not be measured like so.

      If something is bad, there’s no possible interpretations. The technicalities are needed just to apply the fine. And FIA demonstrates all the time that is lost in the rules and in the way to apply them.

      It doesn’t matter the fine to Ferrari. Ferrari is paying for his own way of working. Now, many people hates Ferrari, others didn’t like what they did, others agree with it, and the fine doesn’t matter. Alonso has enough money to pay a fine, but there’s nothing to compensate Hockenheim’s press conference. So, he paid enough.

      Trying to think that one is better than the other when everybody has his own way to work and there’s no a good one, is like talking about Gibraltar, which, no doubt, is spanish. ;)

      As Alonso said in 2007, when a team speaks all the time about equality, that’s because there’s no equality. Ferrari seems more honest.

      All outraged should relax and think about how others have been outraged in the past.

      1. As Alonso said in 2007, when a team speaks all the time about equality, that’s because there’s no equality.

        Jenson Button has said if he didn’t have equal treatment at McLaren he would leave. Do you deny they are treating their drivers equally?

        1. The thing is that all drivers know that there’s no real equality. Of course, if Button says that, then McLaren cannot do the things Ferrari does. But they can do a brunch of other things.

          Button knows perfectly that what happened in Turkey are team orders that he didn’t want to obbey.

          I allways have said here that the problem in Ferrari was that Massa obeyed in a so silly way.

          1. It just depends on what your definition of “equally” is.

            For instance who gets the best strategy? Do you decide this on who is fastest in FP3? On WDC classification? Alternate between drivers?

            What is most “equal”? What is most “fair”?

            Who gets the new parts first? Same deliberation.

          2. Exactly Patrickl

            Talking about equally (I’m sorry about equality) doesn’t have sense. When Button says that, I think he is talking about never pull over for Hamilton, but he knows what would happen if he is 50 points far ham or when he’s out the WDC.

            And if he doesn’t want to obbey, the team can make a lot of things, never demonstrable in any way. And what can he do? What can he say to the press? Probably the same as now. That’s for the fans, sponsors and FIA. In fact, Massa has told today exactly the same (“The day I were a new barrichello i’ll leave Ferrari”) and he is still at Ferrari when everybody knows he’s been the new Barrichello at Hockenheim.

            In any case, what can Button do? If he complains then everybody will say he’s a whinner, or there’s no proofs, or he cannot beat his mate just for his own, or he’s paranoid, or conspiracy theories…. the kind of things said here and in other forums about Alonso or Barrichello last year.

            As I see the thing, in 2007 Fernando didn’t feel the team was with him (regardless what you think about it) and he was disapointed. He complained, he was treated as an arrogant and selfish, and finally he left the team. Something that I think Button is not going to do and Massa hasn’t done.

    3. Hi Astonished, i am not completely sure, what you are saying here, but it is nice to discuss.

      My personal opinion is, that Alonso got a feeling of being mistreated, because he obviously saw how close Lewis was to most people in the team.
      And while he had trouble accepting this rookie was beating him at times, he came to the conclusion it must be through favourism.
      On the other hand Lewis (possibly pushed by his father – that’s based on an interview at the start of the year) saw Alonso demanding to no.1 in the team and react in a way to let this escalate as well, see Monaco after race talk and Hungary actions.

      After Alonso was sure to quit with the team and obviously in conflict with the management, it is pretty logical for Dennis and the team to openly support Lewis (although i hated that at the time).

      The fine for McLaren probably had as much to do with politics (favouring Ferrari a bit and Mosley bashing McLaren as well as manufacturer clout in the background), that is pretty obvious if you compare the cases of other teams data found at Toyota earlier and at Renault only a few months after that.

      To cut it short. It does not have so much to do with team orders as with teams falling apart.
      And that is exactly what can happen when TO are used (i suppose we agree on that).

      But when team orders are being allowed by the FIA (with only relatively minor penalties from the Stewards), it gets to be an advantage for teams using them – thats the reasoning in the article and it makes sense.

      Happily it is hard to say how big the advantage is, as the no.2 driver would possibly suffer in his driving confidence if done to early or unfair (that might have been part where Alonso did suffer in 2007).

      One very good reason to talk about McLaren in 2010 and not 2007, is that this team seems to have learnt a great deal about how to work with two top drivers in the team, and that is the reason why they have tried to be open with their drivers(compare 2007 and Silverstone 2010 for RBR) and are very reluctant to use anything like team orders to change finishing positions for one of them.

      Wow, sorry for taking up so much space, but i feel sad about you guys being so vocal about it and not really getting much further in arguments here. Thanks for reading.

      1. Hi BasCB

        We agree, I do not exactly know what I am saying neither :-)

        Jokes apart, we have to admit that most of this is emotional and if (a big if) anybody is, at all, right it will be anyhow difficult (nearly impossible) to convince the wrong one, so we can only hope to have fun while arguing back and forth.

        I basically agree with your storyflow. With small nuances though.

        Fernando was very happy moving to Mclaren, maybe he put too much of himself into that, and this made the outcome worse. I want to remember him saying something like he would love to win another WDC in a different Team to probe it was him not the car and specially this being anywhere else than Ferrari… Ironic, isn’t it. I still hope he will not be right about this last prediction. He is indeed more mature.

        As I remember from 2007 I think that the issue was that Mc Laren did not expect Lewis to be at the level of Fernando already during year 1 and in a situation of great (but specially unexpected) similar performance the did the opposite of freedom to all and bet for Lewis early. They were not ready for taking that decision I think. I do not think that Fernando decided to leave before Hungary.

        The treatment he got was not, in my opinion, right and Mc Laren paid that with the WDC (still the WDC has a part of the constructor attached, hasn’t it?) If they have learnt or not is still to be seen, I am afraid. We might find out soon. Even if taking preference for a Briton over another one will indeed be dramatically more difficult that the decision in 2007 it might still happen (or not…)

        TO, I am not passionate about it. I think that the whole thing is being exaggerated. By definition McLaren, Ferrari, etc. are teams. And even if constructors title is not affected by switching orders, WDC might very well be, and I think that teams consider the later more important. Again, just an opinion.

        The similarity between Lewis Monaco 07 and Massa Germany 10 is that they both refused to follow the TO. Lewis tried very hard to overtake Alonso (and this, in Monaco with the same car and a decent driver in front we can say was a temerity) and Massa also tried until he gave up probably because he knew that Fernando would decided not to stay second. Felipe’s greatest ability is not to avoid overtaking…

        Upside is that there is not much activity in this tread now, so we are probably not bothering too many people with these long speeches.

        Great to talk to you BasCB.

        Enjoy Suzuka, this time Lewis crashed with smarter timing and he might benefit from the introspection time during the actual race :-)

  84. Team orders are wrong full stop!!!!

    Ferrari would still have gained the same points by asking the drivers to hold position, so for the constructors championship team orders made no difference. I for one would like to see drivers fighting it out on the track,to the very last race not being gifted a win by their team mate.

    If Alonso goes on to win this years drivers drivers championship by just one win, then to me there will be no credibility and I will not recognise him as champion.

  85. Now that McLaren is favoring one Britsh driver over another, how does that make you feel? Refernce McLaren’s pit strategy for Jens in Japan. Maybe you can find a way to pin that on Alonso and Ferrari. Good luck with that.

    1. Button chose to run on prime tyres and the rest of his strategy followed pretty much logically from there. Had soft tyre wear been higher it could have worked out well for him.

      1. (sarcasm)No way Keith. Did you see how they made Lewis pull over for Jenson? Pure favoritism. Lewis’ dad should do something. (/sarcasm) :-D

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