McLaren and Red Bull need to bow to the inevitable and back one driver

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If Red Bull and McLaren were in any doubt of the advantages of throwing their championship efforts behind one driver, Fernando Alonso’s rise from fifth place before the German Grand Prix to championship leader should cause them to re-evaluate their approach.

As argued here before in two previous articles, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision not to dock Ferrari any points for using team orders means that as long as Red Bull and McLaren choose not to they are merely delaying the inevitable and risk throwing the championship away.


For McLaren, the decision is a complete no-brainer. Neither of their drivers has a particularly good chance of winning the world championship, but Lewis Hamilton is 21 points closer than Jenson Button with 50 left to be won.

Not only that, but Hamilton has been decisively the quicker driver on balance over the whole season.

It may be tempting to draw comparisons between Button’s situation now and Kimi Raikkonen’s with two races to go in 2007 and claim he still has a chance. But the two situations are quite different.

In terms of points Raikkonen, who went on to become champion, was in a slightly better position then than Button is now.

But most significantly, Raikkonen’s team mate Felipe Massa was out of championship contention entirely, whereas Hamilton is clearly a better bet for McLaren than Button at the moment.

McLaren should have started concentrating on Hamilton once the WMSC decision came out ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. If they had, Hamilton could be at least two points better off now (Button could have held station behind him at Suzuka).

And who knows how many other beneficial ways it might have helped Hamilton. Would he have tried that risky pass on Massa at Monza with Button leading, had he known Button was under instruction to help him win?

Red Bull

While McLaren are yet to say whether they will back Hamilton over Button, Christian Horner has already declared Red Bull will continue to support both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Telling Vettel to get behind Webber’s efforts would be an especially difficult call. While Vettel has lost many points through his own mistakes, car failures have cost him even more – far more than his team mate has suffered. His engine failure in Korea was just the most recent and costly example of many.

But a glance at the points permutations available in the final two races on the Championship Calculator shows the precariousness of Red Bull’s situation.

The seven-point difference between the rewards for finishing first and second versus the three-point gap between second and third are why Red Bull must intervene if Vettel is leading Webber at Brazil with Alonso behind them.

If Vettel won in that situation, Alonso would only need second place in Abu Dhabi to guarantee the title wherever the Red Bull drivers finished. Otherwise they are staking their hopes on finishing one-two in both of the next two races.

If Horner gets this wrong will have to explain to Dietrich Mateschitz how his cars managed to take pole position for almost every race in 2010 without either of their drivers winning the world championship.

As Webber himself put it around the time of the WMSC decision:

Red Bull have a good trophy cabinet but not one like McLaren’s, so it depends on how hungry we are to try and do that.
Mark Webber

Team orders

Throwing a championship effort behind one driver isn’t just about having his team ready to pull over and hand points to him. It influences every part of a team’s operation.

Bringing upgrades to the car becomes a question of keeping one driver well-supplied instead of two. Race strategy revolves around what’s good for one driver instead of keeping both in contention. A sacrificial lamb is a useful thing to have in variable weather conditions.

Above all, it means the team’s driver who is best-placed in the championship knows he faces no threat from the one other driver who should have the best opportunity to take him on: his team mate.

No wonder Alonso has had such a storming second half of the season, and told the press at Korea that’s he happier at Ferrari than he’s ever been anywhere else – including Renault, where he won his two world championships.

I know many people will object to me making the case for teams using team orders. I’d far rather have a championship where teams are prevented from using them and the drivers can sort out the drivers’ championship between themselves, as it should be.

But the die was cast in August when the FIA chose not to enforce the rule banning them. Red Bull and McLaren can win the Marquess of Queensberry world championship if they want, but there’s no prize for that.

Team orders

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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315 comments on “McLaren and Red Bull need to bow to the inevitable and back one driver”

  1. Slightly hypocritical bearing in mind the raging discussion you are involved in elsewhere on the site. :p

    At the end of the day F1 *is* a team sport.
    And team orders are here to stay, whether anyone likes it or not.
    And whether they are illegal or otherwise.

    RedBull and McLaren will apply team orders if and when the time arrises, and that will not even be a consideration until after Q3 at the next race.

    1. I don’t see how it’s hypocritical.

      1. Keith, the whole point of your previous articles were that Massa was in a mathematical chance of winning the WDC at the time of the German GP. The same is still the case with Vettel.

        So it is hypocritical when you did not take a neutral stance after German GP.

        1. I agree it’s an inconsistency in the logic of Keith’s argument.

          But I also think the team orders issue (more exactly: a team asking a driver to move over for the other, slower driver) is actually a red herring. Teams don’t just order their drivers: the latter have to accept the order. Germany blew up because Massa – very relucantly and very visibly – gave way to Alonso behind him. Elsewhere, lower down the field, this wouldn’t be and isn’t such an issue maybe. But that’s the paradox: Massa is a high profile driver at a high profile team. So he’s expected to be really competitive too for himself and the team. And so giving way is more problematic (a championship contender is ‘giving up’) AND it is also carries a damaging aspect for his own morale and his ability to win points for Ferrari.

          Button and Webber – perceived rightly or wrongly as the potential number two’s in their teams – both made clear that they wouldn’t accept demotion. That’s really the point. As a lot of people in Brazil have said, the blame lies as much with Massa as Ferrari.

          1. It isn’t an inconsistency at all – see my answer below.

          2. It’s a bit blurred. Correct me if I’m wrong: your argument post Hockenheim was against team orders when the driver asked to hand over track position has a mathematical chance of winning. But have team orders now been allowed? The ruling was to maintain the steward penalty, but said there was insufficient evidence to punish Ferrari further, and the matter would be re-examined (*interpreted* to mean the ruling would be dropped).

            But there are two points: (1) As far as I can tell, you’re assuming that team orders will go unpunished or receive ‘minimal’ punishment (the same as a Ferrari fine); but (2) Vettel can still win, a fairly good chance with an Alonso DNF in fact. So it does contradict your early argument, I think. But maybe I’m missing something.

          3. The ruling was to maintain the steward penalty, but said there was insufficient evidence to punish Ferrari further

            No, you’re confusing what Jean Todt said about the hearing with what was actually decided by the WMSC:

            This clearly interfered with the results of the race, and with Mr Fernando Alonso standing on the podium for first place, when his team mate had slowed to allow him to pass, was in the Judging Body of the WMSC’s view prejudicial to the interest of the motor sport and contrary to article 151 (c) of the [International Sporting Code]. It is important for the FIA to act to protect the sporting integrity of the FIA Formula One world championship, and ensure the podium finish has been achieved by genuine on track racing.

            From: Full WMSC decision: Ferrari used team orders but shouldn’t be punished

          4. Okay, thanks for pointing that out Keith. So let’s accept the WMSC should be taken to mean team orders are effectively allowed. But why should that change your earlier position? Shouldn’t Red Bull let Vettel race? And what about the wider point that ‘team orders’ requires the drivers to accept them? Massa did, Vettel I imagine won’t (partly because he knows he’ll be backed by Helmut Marko at least). And finally, I disagree that in Red Bull’s case it’s necessarily the best strategy to back Webber totally, at least before we know the qualifying positions and weather conditions at Interlagos.

          5. William Wilgus
            27th October 2010, 12:45

            Well Keith, you’re arguing that it’s wrong for a team to specify race results during a race, but it’s okay to do so before the race. That is hypocritical.

          6. I haven’t said anything of the sort.

          7. William Wilgus
            27th October 2010, 14:14

            It’s essentially the same thing to concentrate on, or favor, one driver over the other.

      2. Exactly what CLK_GTR just said.

        And Button is also mathematically in contention for the Championship.

        The core of your argument against team orders is that all drivers should be able to fight until the end of their chance of winning the WDC. Period.

        And yet here you, albeit very eloquently, make a case for exactly the opposite.

        If you weren’t so zealous about your opposition to team orders, and willing to defend it to the point of ridiculousness then this article would not be hypocritical. :)

        1. I totally agree wih u guys, u r spot on and totally reflect my point of view as well

      3. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s pragmatism.

        The rules should forbid teams from using team orders. Up until the WMSC decision it appeared they did.

        At that point the situation changed which was why immediately afterwards I said that Red Bull and McLaren should back one driver.

        Which is what I said in the last two paragraphs.

        1. At that point the situation changed which was why immediately afterwards I said that Red Bull and McLaren should back one driver.

          As I say below it would have been not just wrong but not in the team interest for McLaren or Red Bull to back one drvier before now. Like I say below if Red Bull had moved Vettel over in Japan only for him to have won in Korea they would have looked really stupid.

          This misconception that you seem to believe that we’re going to see a rash of Hockenheim-esque mid-season ‘race fixing’ if team orders were allowed is simply wrong. A team is only going to back one driver over another when it is clear that only one has a realistic chance in the drivers title and not a minute before then.

          Horner and Whitmarsh have avoided backing one driver up until now because it hasn’t been in their interests not out of sportsmanship. When two drivers are closely matched on ability and given equal opportunity, like Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in the first part of the year, you maximise you’re chances until one driver is out of realistic contention. Like Massa in Hockenheim.

          Also saying that Ferrari are benifiting from giving Alonso extra technical and pyschological support is stating the obvious. It’s common sense for team with one driver clearly ahead in the WDC and exactly what McLaren did in 2008.

          1. As I say below it would have been not just wrong but not in the team interest for McLaren or Red Bull to back one drvier before now.

            I don’t agree, that’s why I said so at the time and both Hamilton and Webber would be in stronger positions now if they had.

            Again, don’t get me wrong, I respect them for not doing it and if Vettel or Button somehow end up winning the championship that would be a remarkable achievement.

            But Ferrari getting away with what they did proved the team orders rule was not going to be enforced in any meaningful sense by the FIA and McLaren and Red Bull need to take advantage of it the same way Ferrari have.

          2. Hamilton and Webber would be in stronger positions now if they had.

            That couldn’t have been known by the teams themselves. It would have been ridiculous to back Webber whilst his team mate was driving faster and still very much in contention. The margin was far too fine and one DNF could easily have taken Vettel ahead, likle it nearly did in Korea, at which point they’d wish they hadn’t switched them. Switching when your drivers are so close isn’t worthwhile. Backing Webber could quite easily have caused them to be in a weaker position.

            The contrast with Ferrari was that 1 or 2 DNFs for Alonso might have allowed Massa to catch up with Alonso but it would have killed Ferrari’s WDC hopes. There was no way it switching could have weakened their position.

          3. When two drivers are closely matched on ability and given equal opportunity, like Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in the first part of the year, you maximise you’re chances until one driver is out of realistic contention. Like Massa in Hockenheim.

            The problem with this argument is considering the amount of points recuperated by Alonso since Hockenheim, couldn’t have Felipe been back in the running as well with proper team backing? Even if team orders are here, it’s still poor sportsmanship and unfair to the fans. Racing never was and never will be a team sport in the same sense as other sports. Each driver and their surrounding crew are in a sense their OWN team. Team orders in F1 are more akin to an owner owning two baseball teams and asking one to take a loss to help the other get into the post season playoffs. I guarantee you the crowd watching that game wouldn’t be happy either.

        2. “The rules should forbid teams from using team orders. Up until the WMSC decision it appeared they did.”

          Didn’t stop McLaren using them in 2008 though, did it.

          1. What McLaren did then (and, for that matter, BMW at Montreal in the same year) was clearly not the same as telling one driver who beaten another for 40-odd laps to sacrifice a win he deserved. We’ve covered this particular dead-end of the debate many times already.

          2. @Keith

            But then a win in a race is more important than the WDC, so if Button beats Hamilton for 40 laps at Interlagos the he shouldn’t let Lewis pass, despite all your previous arguments. Should he??

        3. Of course no one should use team orders. But if one team uses them, the others would be in a disadvantage if they didn’t too. I would prefer a legal championship but if somebody uses team orders then everyone else should too to have the same hopes of winning.

          1. @ astonished = just wanted to say that i completely agree with you, mate.

        4. hypocrisy=pragmatism

        5. Pragmatism? now it’s semantics. Yes you are being a hypocrite. You came down hard on Alono and Ferrari yet now you condone it for RedBull and McLaren.

          As others have noted you didn’t bitch last year when Kimi let Massa by. So be honest your being a hypocrite.

          1. You came down hard on Alono and Ferrari yet now you condone it for RedBull and McLaren.

            So do you think that, even though the FIA has let Ferrari do it, they should not let Red Bull and McLaren do it?

            That would be hypocrisy.

            As others have noted you didn’t bitch last year when Kimi let Massa by.

            You mean the year before last. And as I pointed out (and plenty of others agreed) given that Massa was out of the running for the championship at that point I thought that was reasonable.

          2. But the FIA didn’t let Ferrari do it, they upheld the existing punishment. The rule banning team orders which affect the outcome of a race remains in place.

            Whether or not they are still banned or not, I believe that McLaren and Red Bull shun team orders out of a sense of fairness and decency.

        6. Ok, keith, now there’s a FIA decision that “allows” team orders, as you say, but every team that used it and every driver involved should be abashed at the press conference and media, as Alonso had to stand. And of course, these dirver’s merits would be put in doubt.

          That would be fair.

        7. We are back to the old argument , that is everyone is quick to blame Ferrari for anything and everything they possibly can , but will find some excuse to condone or even suggest McLaren and now Red Bull should do the same. So , a bit off the topic now , but I feel I have to congratulate Ferrari (and Alonso) , whether they win WDC or don’t , just to have a driver leading it at this stage against a car with the potential of Red Bull and taking the most pole positions this season , has to ultimately reflect on Ferrari’s ability to manage a winning strategy towards the WDC far surpasses that of other teams.

          1. I can’t believe there are soooo many of you that think the same as me. I cant understand some of keiths articles honest..

      4. Great U-turn article Keith, but it is more like a full-spin, just avoid the gravel trap in the pit entrance…push push push…where is my crane truck???

        1. Great U-turn article Keith

          I made the same argument in the two articles linked at the bottom of this one.

          1. Those two articles make it parabolica, if not U-turn.

            When a non-McLaren F1-team employs team orders to help a non-Lewis driver, you call it “manipulated race”. When you think McLaren needs them to help Hamilton, you call it “bow to the inevitable and back one driver”.

            Some similarity-at least in the title- wishes the reader…

      5. just want to say that isnt mclaren already making their best to favour ham following the suzuka gp? redbull are trying to see if vettel can win the all team is on vettel side you see that by the way he is supported by helmut by dietrish and even horner

        1. just want to say that isnt mclaren already making their best to favour ham following the suzuka gp?

          If they are, why did they let Button finish in front of him?

          1. They didn’t let him finish ahead of Hamilton, Hamilton was going approximately 3-4 secs a lap slower due to his gearbox problem. If Hamilton wouldn’t have moved over Jenson would have taken him anyways.

      6. is more then that

      7. William Wilgus
        27th October 2010, 14:10

        Favoring, or concentrating on, one drive over the other is essentially the same thing

        1. William Wilgus
          27th October 2010, 14:12

          Sorry, out of place post.

    2. Keith isn’t being hypocritical, he’s not saying he thinks team orders are right, just that Red Bull and McLaren should use them since Ferrari are

      1. Yes, and at the same time making out that not having Massa competing against him, Alonso has gained some huge unfair advantage.

        That is patently false. The closest Massa has been to Alonso in the last few races is the pit before going out onto the grid!

        1. yer I disagree with Keith completely on this but I think there a bigger holes in his team orders argument than that

          1. Well yeah!

            The biggest one is that we have always had team orders, and always will. So really we should *all* just move on!

            But then this is quite fun, and does fill the time wonderfully until the next race. :)

            I have 50 email update notifications since I last posted here!!!

          2. Why should we move on? Just because teams spend millions of dollars on the cars doesn’t mean good sportsmanship should be neglected…

            The rule shouldn’t exist, because there shouldn’t be a need for it.

          3. I too disagree totally with keith on this one

      2. Not a good argument. Something like: There are certainly murderers around, so let’s all happily murder.

        The problem is that the rule about TO is unrealistic, it should be seriously rewritten or simply disposed of.

        1. There are certainly murderers around, so let’s all happily murder.

          Well, some might say by deliberately flouting a written law Ferrari have got away with murder…

          As with all “rules” in racing, the teams are trying with every braincell they have to bend the rules to the limit to gain an advantage. The FIA have effectively confirmed that breaking this rule will not be punished, and yet RBR and McL are strangely reticent about breaking it: it’s very odd.

      3. Keith is absolutely right. You people set aside your dying hard love of your favorite but lossing drivers. We are talking here about strategy and winning!!

        1. Right.

          I interpret it that Keith is simply implying, at this stage in the game, it is completely understandable to favour one driver over the other. The Ferrari debacle in Hockenheim was mid-season.

          Now however, we are at a critical stage where WDC’s can be won or lost instantly, and to be frank, the drivers have had a whole season to better their team mate – if they’re behind, they’ve at least had a good shot at it.

          1. I interpret it that Keith is simply implying, at this stage in the game, it is completely understandable to favour one driver over the other. The Ferrari debacle in Hockenheim was mid-season.

            That’s not what I’m saying.

            What I am saying – which I said straight after the WMSC decision and again last month – is that as the WMSC have shown they will not enforce the ban on team orders, Red Bull and McLaren should use them otherwise they’re failing to exploit the advantage Ferrari are using and risking their chance of winning the championship.

          2. Doesn’t anybody understand what they read anymore… Keith’s opinion is very clear on the issue.

            in spirit he is against team orders, in effect, and particularly since the WMSC okaid them, he is implying that the other teams should at least consider using them this year to their own benefit, since one team already did, and by doing so proved that the no-team order rule will not ever be enforced.

            simple… no hypocrisy, no u-turn, spin, nada… just pure sense and logic…

            a person’s opinion can remain unchanged but his view on a particular mater relating to that opinion to any degree can change depending on circumstances, that is Objectivity…

            for me personally, I’m against team orders, and I think Hokenheim was disgusting, but looking at the championship without putting my emotion in, and thinking how the teams should manage it, i would say the same thing. RBR and McLaren would have to back one driver over the other if they want to have the same chances to winning the drivers title as Alonso…this will also boost their constructor’s title chance… but personally i would love to see webber breakthrough and pick up that trophy against the odds, that way F1 as a SPORT will be the ultimate winner…

          3. correct me if I’m wrong Keith…

          4. Yep that’s it :-)

    3. Why is this hypocritical? Keith avidly disapproves of allow Team orders like in Germany (I agree on that), but after Ferrari used them and only got a light slap on the wrist for it (only keeping up the relatively mild monetary fine the stewards imposed), this changed the balance of the Championship.

      In this new situation, the other teams lower their chances of getting the WDC for one of their drivers when they do not use this option to get their best positioned driver the best equipment, strategy and have the other one in a supporting role.

    4. So, you’re saying McLaren should screw Button over even more than they already have? Maybe they could call him in for a pitstop on lap 1? That would help Louise.

      Meanwhile, Red Bull has not declared a number one only because Vettle does not have more points, otherwise, it would be game over for Webber. Duh.

      1. maclaren have never screwed button rather they have screwed lewis,lewis is a better,faster driver than button,when button joined mcl it was on the understanding that they went all out to support button to win the world championship,button is big headed,spoilt and arrogant,lewis is not,lewis is by far the nicer person

    5. totally agree with you on that one mate…u r right 1000%

  2. I think McLaren will support Lewis but I not sure that RedBull will support Webber. I posted this on my FB this morning:

    RedBull need to back Webber for the next two races or they risk loosing the championship to Alonso. Hamilton can win but he would have to win both races with Alonso coming no more than 3rd in one race and 4th in the other.

    1. Precisely. Whatever the arguments for and against team orders, I think it’s already decided: Button will probably back Hamilton (unless catastrophe hits Alonso and Webber early on) and Vettel will definitely race Webber as normal, at least at Interlagos.

      The question is whether they’ll be right. I think so. Why? Because firstly on current form Vettel has far more chance of getting pole. So he has more chance of controlling the race – for Webber if need be. Second, depending on weather conditions, Vettel is a safer bet in the wet. And an Alonso DNF and Vettel win puts them level, after all, going into Abu Dhabi (with Webber ahead if he takes second or third, say). That way they have two drivers with great chances in the final race.

      As for McLaren, I think they’ll just count on Button doing the decent thing. But what they *really* need him to do is up the performance and get between Hamilton and Alonso. Some doing.

    2. Agreed. With Button it’s a no brainer. The Red Bull situation is much more complicated with implications beyond this season.

    3. they are not supporting lewis because button has refused to do this (see my post above to prove the point i made in it).

  3. Totally agree. Not including Korea, the 3 races previous could have seen at least 12 points more for Webber had Vettel slowed to let him pass. He would be leading the WDC by a point still rather than trailing Alonso.

    1. And if they had manufactured the situation previously how stupid would they have looked had Seb’s engine not cruelly packed it in while he was on track to take the lead of the championship after Webber had turfed his car into the wall?

      1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Plus I did say “Not including Korea”.

    2. you are absolutely right Chris P. If the bull adopt ferrari style they are not a lossers.

    3. Had Webber have known Vettel would let him past later in the race it would be unlikely that Webber would have been pushing as hard as he was to catch up as well.
      It’s not just the points you gain, but it changes the whole mindset.

  4. I’m a vocal opponent of team orders, but there is a method to my madness. I believe the FIA should allow them under certain conditions: namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship. If Ferrari issued team orders to Massa tomorrow and he moved over to let Alonso through, then I would be fine with it. It’s when a driver has to sacrifice his own championship bid for the sake of another that I have a problem with it. When you get to the end of a season and there is a driver who can win the championship but needs some results to go his way to make it happen, thn I’m also okay with it.

    Anyway, hopefully Red Bull will come to their senses and have Vettel back Webber. I can’t for the life of me imagine that Vettel would think it is a good idea to try and win the title, especially if Webber is still in the hunt. It simply doesn’t make sense for him, because he needs Alonso to have a bad run, which the Ferrari driver hasn’t done since Spa (though as no driver has won a race while leading them championship, I’m betting Alonso will need an engine change in Brazil). Red Bull need to back Webber, but they also need Vettel to agree to it. It’s not going to go down too well if Vettel pulls a Didier Pironi at San Marino 1982 on us …

    1. namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship.

      Red Bull will come to their senses and have Vettel back Webber.

      I was going through the same thing with Keith yesterday, these two positions are contradictory. I understand that Red Bull backing Vettel would be far more acceptable to most people than Hockenheim, but under a rule that says “no team orders unitll one driver is mathematically out of contention” it would still be illegal.

      1. I’ll rephrase that, supporting a rule that bans team orders with the “mathematical caveat” would make illegal the entirely sensible and acceptable use of team orders open to McLaren in Brazil.

        1. One immediate problem I foresee with the “mathematical caveat” is this:

          Suppose Webber leads the Brazilian Grand Prix with Button second and Hamilton third. (For simplicity, assume Alonso and Vettel are already out of the race). If the race ended like this, Webber would lead the championship with 245 points, with Hamilton 20 behind on 225 and Button on 207. In this case Button is out of the championship, so Martin Whitmarsh gets on the radio and says to Jenson, “Lewis. Is faster. Than. You.” Button waves Hamilton past, so now Lewis would finish with three extra points and Button three less, but he is out of the championship anyway so it doesn’t matter so much.

          But then suppose Webber breaks down, Lewis wins and Button is second. Now Jenson is out of the championship as he has 207 points compared to Lewis’ 235. But had they maintained their original positions, Button would have 214 points and Alonso would lead with 231 – so Button would still be within striking distance of the championship.

          In other words, Button was mathematically out of the championship when the switch was pulled, had things stayed the same. But things didn’t stay the same, and as they turned out he would still have been in contention without team orders.

          Now, put yourself in the stewards’ room. What do you do?

          It’s for reasons like this that I think a “mathematical caveat,” as you term it, is unworkable. You can’t cover every situation that can possibly arise. The best solution therefore is to have either a blanket ban on team orders (properly enforced), or allow the teams to structure their team strategy as they see fit. Given the problems with enforcing the former, I’d opt for the latter.

          1. points don’t get handed out officially until the end of the race, therefore the mathematical caveat would have to apply to the drivers points standings efore the start of the gp, not hypothetical – during.

          2. The solution is simple: wait until the last corner of the race.

            Of course, Webber might then be disqualified for some technical breach, but no system is watertight.

            This is all if you want a mathematical caveat, of course.

          3. But the issue for Button is that he needs to win the last two races and for a catalogue of mishaps to occur to the other four contenders. If Hamilton won the last two races he’d only require Alonso to miss the podium and he’d be champ.

    2. I thoroughly agree with you. Unless both teams elect a favorite, they are likely to hand the title to Alonso, which, we all know, is a very keen and determined.

    3. namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship. If Ferrari issued team orders to Massa tomorrow and he moved over to let Alonso through, then I would be fine with it.

      Agree completely. That is why I don’t think it would be right for Red Bull to back Webber over Vettel now, as Vettel still holds a small possibility of winning the title. I would only be prepared to go against my word if for example Webber was in 8th and Vettel in 7th with Alonso ahead of the two of them. In that case, they should let Webber pass Vettel so he can get some very handy extra points, as anything other than a win is not really going to be good enough for Sebastian now – whereas every single point is handy for Webber. If Vettel was leading in Interlagos, with Webber second, then it would be a different story, they should let Vettel win because it would help his championship bid greatly. If they were to let Webber through in this case – it would be lunacy, because Vettel would have a good shot at the World Driver’s Championship if he won – hence both drivers should be treated equal.

      On another note, Brazil is going to have to be a lacklustre round for Alonso or he has all but secured it… I am genuinely frightened.

    4. As much as I would like to see Mark Webber win the championship, I wouldn’t want to see him win it because Vettel moved aside. I’d much prefer to see him win because he can legitimately beat Vettel and Alonso. If Webber doesn’t win it’s because he’s made some mistakes this year, such as the European Grand Prix, and the Korean Grand Prix. Just because other people are willing to ignore the rules, doesn’t make it right.

      1. Just because other people are willing to ignore the rules, doesn’t make it right.

        I’m glad it’s not my job to explain that to Dietrich Mateschitz.

    5. when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship

      There’s one problem with that. Let’s say that Webber and Vettel have a pile-up in the Brazilian grand prix, forcing them to retire. Button is leading the wet race in front of Kubica and Hamilton. It’s drying up, so with 10 laps to go Button and Kubica decide to pit, whereas Hamilton has already pitted and is 40 seconds behind. Kubica is only five seconds behind Button. Alonso is back in 10th position, not looking likely to gain or lose a position.

      So, if it stays like that til the end of the race, we have ALO 231, HAM 225, WEB 220, BUT 214, and VET 206 (already out of the contention, as he has 3 wins to Alonso’s 5).

      But if Kubica would win the race with Button in second, it would put him out of the contention for the championship, hence allowing McLaren to use team orders, which could help Hamilton get the title (if there’s any way of Button actually being in front of Hamilton in Abu Dhabi). Would McLaren make a mistake during Button’s pit stop on purpose to let Kubica win, just to be allowed to use team orders?

      It’s not the best example, as McLaren would need all the points they can get for the constructors championship, and it’s unlikely they’d throw away a victory.

      But something similar to this could actually happen with such rule.

  5. Refusing to back a sngl driver may be these teams’ undoing, but what about the mistakes that have kept the points race close in the first place?

    The drama is nice and all, but when the season is over, I will not feel like the winner deserves to be champion on account of all the miscues.

  6. Oh I’m sure RB would be backing Vettel if the positions were reserved..

    1. I agree entirely. I was just checking to see if anyone else said the same thing because im 100% sure that if Vettel was ahead of Webber by 14 points they would tell him to back Vettel. Marks had to do it the hard way this season

      1. Exactly. With the points lost by Webber at Turkey & Melbourne due to RBR & their strategy calls, he might have already had the WDC wrapped up by now. Vettel has been favoured by the team all year and he still hasn’t managed to really be in contention at the pointy end of the year, or even lead the ladder. RBR need to re-assess whether or not continuing to put all their eggs in Vettel’s basket is the best use of their time.

  7. Credit to both McLaren and RBR so far for not exploiting the precedent Ferrari set in Germany. It makes for a more interesting title race..even if it proves to be their downfall at Interlagos/Yas Marina.

    McLaren should really look to Hamilton now and RBR should, as Horner says, treat them as equal.

    It’s going to be messy should Alonso clinch it by lets say…7 points or less?

    I don’t agree with the whole ‘it ruins the spectacle’ jibe that gets thrown around once a whiff of a team order gets’s part of the sport, a team sport. While you can argue it orchestrates the title race it’s just another dimension to the sport where a decision is made for the benefit of the team which is all important for the Constructors Title cash (though not the case with Ferrari on this occasion). I don’t think they should make a mockery of the fans however but under high pressure situations I think I can forgive them.

  8. If Red Bull and McLaren were in any doubt of the advantages of throwing their championship efforts behind one driver, Fernando Alonso’s rise from fifth place before the German Grand Prix to championship leader should cause them to re-evaluate their approach.

    Not once since Germany has Alonso benifited from Massa’s help. Alonso has gained a total of 7 points from Massa’s help this year.

    I agree that McLaren now must back Hamilton, who’s chances are already slim (not unlike Alonso’s in Germany) over Button who’s realistically out of contention (like Massa in Germany)

    I think the Red Bull case is slightly more complicated because its not stretching credibility that Vettel could win back 25 points whilst drving the fastest car.

    This is the first stage in the season where it would have been sensible for Red Bull to even consider the use of team orders (with the exception of a self preserving “hold station” at Turkey), if they’d switched the drviers in Japan for example and Vettel hadn’t blown up in Korea they’d have looked really stupid.

    The same goes for McLaren, I don’t think it would have been in McLaren’s interests to back Hamilton before now when it’s become clear Button was out of the running. Backing a driver too early can also be problematic should the driver who’s been backed suffer a couple of DNFs and you wish you could get the points back.

    1. Massa may not have helped Alonso since Germany but there are other benefits; presumably Alonso’s getting all the upgrades first if their isn’t two available and having all the resources behind one driver can help just with psychology never mind actual benefits. So yes being the centre of focus probably has helped in other ways in my mind even if Massa hasn’t really assisted.

      1. I agree, but its not really the same as team orders. Giving Alonso the upgrades/ better strategy is just common sense given the WDC positions

        1. I agree, but its not really the same as team orders.

          I agree and I never said it was I was just referring to the benefits of backing one driver extend beyond team orders.

          Also, thank you Keith for getting the code buttons back for block quotes etc.

      2. If you go down that route then Vettel was the number 1 driver when he was getting Webber’s front wing after breaking his. And team orders were in effect way back then.

        1. Technically those aren’t team orders. That is driver favoritism which is perfectly allowed. In my opinion, favoritism is all equipment-based while team orders are racing-based. I realize that equipment effects the race outcome but as Webber showed in Silverstone, equipment doesn’t always matter.

          But as long as everyone involved knows that one driver is the preferred guy, then I’m fine with it. Teams should be allowed to run themselves as they see fit in that regard. What I didn’t like was the Ferrari and Red Bull situations where it was obvious but perhaps not made official.

      3. I agree with Steph here. The effect is psychological, it’s evidently what Alonso needs (and what Massa doesn’t need!) He’s not a racer who needs to be pushed by his team mate: he needs to feel ‘special’ (an observation more than a condemnation). Which is why I’m stuck wondering why 2011 will be any better for Felipe at Ferrari. Particularly if Alonso gets the championship.

    2. Exactly. Ironically Ferrari’s team orders (if you discount the points in Germany) may (and I say may because Massa is an unknown quantity at best) only benefit Alonso in the last two races. Just the same as the other teams *may* get some help from their “number 2”.

    3. The team orders in Hock were clearly against the rules.

      That is why people are upset, The WMSC concluded that Ferrari did use team orders, but decided not to punish them. Schumacher got penalised for squeezing Rubens, as he should, Sutil was penalised for his collision last race, as he should. But Ferrari got away with it. Team orders may have been used in the past, But Ferrari demonstrably used them, and should have been penalised for that, as it was against the rules, at the time they used them.

      Team orders are still against the rules, and I hope the FIA wakes up to the fact that rules are made to be kept, not to be used as “guidelines”.

      1. Well, there was a punishment. Ridiculous if you will, but still there was one

      2. The team order rule will be gone next year. No matter what a few fans say….almost, if not, every team says they want to get rid of the rule….

        1. I think, to be honest, at this stage of the game, it’s fine for a team to go look, we’re going to have to back one driver now. I think people were against Alonso as it was mid season, but if RBR were to go to Webber and Mclaren to Hamilton I would see it as completely understandable.

  9. I think Mclaren and Jenson know that if lewis is going to win it the team need to push hard and jenson still needs to perform well…meaning that secretly they will be supporting Lewis but will be doing everything they can to get jenson up there taking points away from rivals without hurting lewis in anyway.

  10. Button’s point situation is very similar to Räikkönens in 2007. If he takes 2 wins and Alonso finishes 7:th once and DNF’s once, Button will beat Alonso with 1 point.

    1. Not at all similar. Theres 4 other drivers who could take it this year. Under your scenario Webber would need 18 points from both races to win, thats a second place.

      1. Yes but what I ment is the gap to the leader is similar.

  11. I think that ordering a team-mate to pull over is wrong, no matter where they are in the championship. The world champion should be a person who is the best racer, not the person with a team-mate willing to pull over. Its fine to tell a driver not to defend too much, but telling them to actually pull over is too much. As a devoted Lewis Hamilton fan, i’d rather webber won the championship than Lewis win after hearing “Jenson, Lewis is faster than you. Please confirm you understood this message.”

    1. Well said! (comment is to short)

    2. As a devoted Lewis Hamilton fan…

      And there in itself lies the problem.

      There are two (possibly more) different types of F1 fans, those who support a driver and those who support a team. I’m sure there are many a Mclaren fan that would appreciate hearing the team ask Jens or Hammy to move over if it meant a WDC for the team. I know, I know, the WCC is for the team not the WDC but we all realistically know which one puts the #1 on the front of the car.

      Most Ferrari fans are just that, Ferrari (team) fans and don’t care which driver wins (although I’m sure there’s a preference) as long as they do what is right for the team. The sooner the ‘Driver’ fans except that and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.

      1. Therein does like the problem.

        Team fans only care if one of their team’s drivers win, because it looks good on the team. Driver fans however want a driver to win because it looks good on him. (There are exceptions of course to both of these generalisations). So to see another driver get preference is to them an unfair advantage.

        So you might as well say “the sooner Team fans accept Driver fans see this as cheapening the main championship and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.”

        In other words, neither set is right, they just have different philosophies.

        1. So you might as well say “the sooner Team fans accept Driver fans see this as cheapening the main championship and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.”

          Agreed 100%

          Can’t we all just get along!?!

          1. Can’t we all just get along!?!

            Hey, you have my vote on that one.

      2. Most Ferrari fans are… Ferrari fans? This circular reasoning wouldn’t matter if were not the entire premise of your argument.

        And the moral high ground does not happen to lie under those who see puttinng the interest of the particular team you favor forward before one of its drivers.

        To the contrary, I would suggest that that those who are fans of a team and who are thus fans of a team, as it were, very much narrow their enjoyment of the sport if they presume that a drivers are nothing more than at-will staff of a team, so much cannon fodder or disposeable labor, to exhaust to the ends of the team. Fans of drivers, or fans of drivers and teams at the same time, are good people too.

        1. I don’t claim to have the correct opinion or to walk the moral high ground, what I offer is a different perspective and perhaps an understanding as to why some fans may support team orders. At least I understand why others might have opposing opinions and am happy that they can express them freely without being told they are wrong. – I never suggested to Innim that he/she was wrong, just what the other side of the coin might look like and why it might exist.

      3. Categorising it as team and driver groups doesn’t make much sense. A Ferrari fan wouldn’t mind which driver won but a die-hard Hamilton fan would want Button to help his chances.

        I think it has more to do with purists and those that idolise drivers compared to the winning is all that matters type of philosophy.

    3. Don’t stretch reality to fit your agenda innim, no one at Ferrari “ordered Massa to pull over”. that is not what happened, go watch the race again….

      1. no one at Ferrari “ordered Massa to pull over”. that is not what happened

        …. What?

        … Ferrari clearly told Massa to move over. And that is exactly what happened.

        1. Sorry Mate, that is NOT what happened. They said…and I quote…”Alonso is faster than you”….where in that statement are the words “pull over”….no where!

          It’s not what they said. We can sit here all day and argue about what they implied, but it is NOT what they said.

          1. … … … I can’t believe we still have people saying that… Even the WMSC said they were team orders…

            You don’t think Massa let him past by accident do you?

          2. You’re missing the point Mike. Of course they were team orders, but the rule is intentionally vague and not even considered a rule by any of the teams. So what I can’t believe, is that there are still people saying that Ferrari got away with bloody murder and that if alonso wins the title is cheating and blah, blah, blah….get over it, they weren’t given a penalty for a reason, and that reason is not that they are Ferrari and get away with whatever they want.

    4. Moving over? Hah! That’s nothing: back in the ’50s, which people look back on misty-eyed as a time of strong men and honor, Fangio actually -took his teammate’s car-! Team orders have always been around. Racing is a cruel sport – perhaps almost as cruel as figure skating. Complaining about team order now while pining for the time when the drivers were fat and the tires were skinny is -definitely- hypocritical.

  12. Excellent write up, well put.

    1. That was to the main article.

      Glad you mentioned it is totally different to 2007

      1. I agree good artical, will be intresting to see if vettel or button move over or take an early pitstop to help their team mates.

        I doubt it but mark and lewis need that help!

  13. I think everyone agrees that if Alonso wins the title by any margin less than 7 points, then his victory will be forever tainted and unfair to the other drivers who have struggled and fought against their team mates as well as the other title contenders.

    Mclaren should support Lewis now. He has obviously been out driving the MP4-25, which is clearly not as fast as the ‘flexible’ winged RB6 and Ferrari’s F10.

    Earlier in the season there was much anecdotal evidence to suggest that Mclaren were trying to give a helping hand to Jenson at the expense of Lewis, and they are paying the price now!

    Ferrari have left no one in doubt as to what their strategy is regarding team orders and until the FIA gets its finger out and provide clear regulation on team orders, the Red Bull and Mclaren need to play them at their own game.

    1. I think everyone agrees that if Alonso wins the title by any margin less than 7 points, then his victory will be forever tainted and unfair to the other drivers who have struggled and fought against their team mates as well as the other title contenders.

      For the record, I don’t agree with this and won’t think of the victory as tainted so you should strikeout the ‘everyone agrees’ part.

      If Alonso wins it will prove to me that the team made the right call and that Massa should be looked at as an exceptional member of the Ferrari organization for doing what was needed to bring home another title. I’ll then wash the slate clean and wish him and Alonso best of luck in the championship for 2011.

      1. I humbly apologise, I should have said ‘everyone with a sense of fair play, who don’t believe in winning at any cost’. That clearly doesn’t include colossal intellects like yourself :)

        1. I guess you didn’t look at the previous comments about team fans and driver fans not seeing eye to eye. But disagreeing with them and calling them an idiot doesn’t strengthen your argument even though I agree with it.

        2. I should have said ‘everyone with a sense of fair play, who don’t believe in winning at any cost’.

          Which would not include any of the teams or drivers in F1.

          Cheating, Lying, driving your car into a wall, or sending a team order, they only have
          a sense of fair play when they aren’t caught.

      2. I don’t agree either! 100% correct call by Ferrari. It was just too bad Massa/Smedley were such spoiled brats in the way they went about it.

        1. You took it from my keyboard!

          I agree with Caccarella except with “Massa should be looked at as an exceptional member of the Ferrari organization for doing what was needed to bring home another title”. He and Rob should really have done a much better job of it.

        2. It was just too bad Massa/Smedley were such spoiled brats in the way they went about it.

          Isn’t it enough that Massa gave up his win? You can’t reasonably expect him to pretend to be happy about it.

          1. Paul McCaffrey
            27th October 2010, 4:55

            Massa gave up his INTEGRITY, not just the win. He could have won if he had wanted. He could have been a man and said no to the team orders but he moved aside right away. He didn’t resist at all.

            What he did was make it obvious for everyone, as did Smedley, that there was a team order to let Alonso by. He behaved even less tactful at the press conference. He played the victim and wanted the best of both worlds–to collect his check and to be felt sorry for.

            In the press conference he was steaming; he knew he wasn’t in control of his own destiny. He was clearly upset by the situation, but more upset at himself, I imagine. For Alonso to gain 7 points he sacrificed ALL of his integrity.

            Shame on Massa.

    2. yea, sorry MercedesBeanz, I don’t see it that way at all. It’s more that it will be justification for the move.

      Its ridiculous to compare the situations at the different teams and make it out that RBR and Mac stand on some moral high ground that Ferrari doesn’t. the difference is that RBR and Mac had 2 drivers that were capable of winning the WDC this year and Ferrari did not (I love Massa, but this isn’t his year).

      Formula 1 has been around a long time. When did you start watching? Team orders have been an integral part of the sport…i.e. doing whatever it takes to win. Only because of Shumacher’s ridiculous dominance did they put this farce of a rule in place. And Ferrari ‘got away with it’ because there was not enough evidence to do anything further. Telling Massa that Alonso is faster is not 100% concrete proof of team orders….but Massa knew what to do and why….if not, he wouldn’t have done it (in other words, Massa agreed that it was over for him).

      So, it’s time to put it behind us just like all the other teams, drivers, and suits in F1 have done…

      1. No. Ferrari was found guilty. No further punishment was given because of inconsistency in enforcing the rule. Check out page 7.

        1. I didn’t say they weren’t found guilty. the reason they weren’t penalized and therefore ‘got away with it’ like I said in my previous post was because there was inconclusive evidence to justify any further penalty beyond $$$. On top of that, there were inconsistencies with enforcing the rule like you said….

    3. Paragraph one and two are, er, contradictory??

    4. I most certainly won’t think it’s tainted. If he wins it by less than 7, then Ferrari’s decision is justified a thousand times over. It’s more the Alonso / Ferrari haters (of which there are plenty, I’m aware) who will natter on about the year Alonso bought the WDC. What I’ll remember about it, however, is a driver who backed himself when he was well out of contention, before proceeding to show to the world exactly why he’s a 2X WDC.

      Of course, I’m still hoping that doesn’t happen and Webber finds his mid-season form.

    5. Obviosly not everyone agrees with the comment on Alonso winning the title by less than 7 ponts, I am still hoping that Alonso wins the WDC by less than 5 points.

  14. Charles Carroll
    26th October 2010, 14:16

    It would be a shame to spoil such an amazing season by having the championship artificially decided in such a manner. Giving Weebs the title, by having Vettel pull over and allow him past, is about as bush league as it gets, and reminiscent of what happened with Michael years ago (I don’t like that either). If Weebs is to win, let him earn it. If he cannot, it is his own fault.

    1. If the prize was given to the drivers alone. That would make sense. But the whole team gets a reward if a driver wins. So, losing a chance to win the WDC just for not asking one driver to help doesn’t make sense.

      How fair would it be for the mechanics to lose out just because one stubborn driver wanted to have a go at the championship and messed up the chances of the other one?

    2. Its unavoidable, we were set down this path the day the FI1 allowed Ferrari o get away with that ridiculous place swap at Hokkenheim.

      1. wrong, F1 has been this way since it’s beginning and the farce of a rule was added for Bernie’s agenda and ‘better viewing’ (it did get boring watching Shumacher win all the time)

        1. Granted, but i was talking about this particular season, in view of the perceived shift in FIA decision making, after the clangers they dropped over the last 3 years.
          Halfway through this season, I began to feel the FIA were getting it right and their ‘ferrari international assistance’ tag was history…Hokenheim showed I was wrong, and it also proves your “better viewing” comment. In the middle of the season ferrari looked in real trouble and i cant help think that the leniency they were shown was the FIA way of ‘improving the show’

  15. I could agree with you about McLaren. They should focus solely on Hamilton now. Button is too far behind and no he cannot do a “Raikkonen” because a) He has 4 (instead of 2) mega-competitive guys in front of him, including his team mate b) He has only the third fastest car at the moment c) He doesn’t have the momentum and is clearly behind his team mate in terms of performance.

    But I don’t think that RBR should do the same. Vettel has a small but also a real chance of winning the title himself. He has clearly had the upper hand over Webber in the last few races. Telling him to support Webber now would be cruel. Webber has just crashed because of his own mistake, while Vettel lost 25 points because his Renault engine blew up. Giving Webber no 1 status after something like this is simply unfair.

    Imagine the following scenario: Vettel leads the Brasilian GP with Webber 2nd and Alonso 3rd. Vettel lets Webber “pass for the championship”. In the next race, Alonso retires, while Vettel wins and Webber finishes anywhere between 3rd and 8th. Vettel knows that he would have won the championship had he not let Webber pass. Would Vettel understand it? Would his fans and his sponsors understand it? Would it be fair?

    1. it’s about risk management though.

      Going with your idea.. If vettel wins brazil, webber 2nd and alonso 3rd.

      Vetel heads into abu dhabi 15 points off the plot. Presuming alonso doesn’t retire (much more likely), alonso would have to finish at best 6th while vettel would have to win.

      That is stupid, especially if the ferrari is better than the mclaren around abu dhabi or atleast better than button. What’s going to happen then?
      YOu can honestly be expecting Vettel to win, webber 2nd, hamilton 3rd, button 4th and kubica 5th ALL TO BE ABLE to hold off a charing alonso? That is stupidly rediuclos.

      Or even worse, if Abu dhabi is more of a playground for ferrari than red bull. Then we see webber down by 8, vettel 15. One pit stop shot to get 1 driver passed alonso. It can’t work. 1st > 2nd is 7 points. Alonso wins by coming 2nd.

      btw I believe webber should win in brazil.. He loves the track, does much betteer there than vettel, has won there, and is all fired up. He drives better when he is out to prove hes the best, back against the wall (i.e. silverstone or hungary), rather than this ‘defend the lead’ like the past few races.

      Team heirachy also bends further in. The newey designed brakes were a lower (weight centered) system better for webber becaues hes big, but harder to get right. Vettel couldn’t work them. THey are better for vettel now. The blown diffuser originally designed was hard to work. WEbber drove around it and it made vettel very uneasy in corners. It has now been changed. IF both are chucked back into original design webber mode, and webber gets quali positioning and a rear gunner from vettel then he is pretty much guarenteed to take the title. Webber would lead out of brazil and they then have one driver with the best red bull can give him to do what he has to do.

    2. Red Bull call Webber into the pits with a non-existent “brake problem” three laps from the end, so that Vettel can take the title instead of Webber. Vettel’s engine then (inevitably) goes bang on the last lap, leaving Hamilton (who had finished 4th in Brazil) to take the 25 points and win the title by 1 point from Alonso…

  16. Here’s a hypothetical.

    If Vettel had the most points out of the two drivers, do you think RBR would be as apprehensive on the use of team orders?

    Behind closed doors, Horner is probably fully behind Webber’s championship bid, but he has to be cagey to the press because his bosses feel the opposite.

    Also, it’s not hypocritical to be angry at Ferrari for using team orders, yet encourage RBR/McLaren to use them as well. Ferrari got off scot-free for their use of team orders, so it would actually be worse for other teams to take the moral high ground and refuse to use similar tactics and hand them the championship. If RBR favour Webber and he goes onto win the WDC, Ferrari will be given their just deserts for lowering the tone of the championship.

    1. Charles Carroll
      26th October 2010, 14:35

      I’m not so sure Horner is fully behind Weeb’s championship run. I think he sees how much faster Vettel is, and that the future lies with him. And, of course, you are correct about his bosses firmly being in Seb’s corner as well. That has an effect too. But still, I’m not buying Horner as a closet Weeb fan.

      1. He’s the head of the team, not Vettel’s manager. He should want Webber to win just as much, no matter what Helmut Marko has to say about it.

        1. True. Parts of the car have been redisgned so that vettel can drive with them (blown diffuser and braking works tha ran lower in the car to name 2). I think that AN thinks webber is matched or maybe slightly better at the current time (especially given vettel love of crahsing). newey seems like a smart guy and can work it out. Especially noting his reactoins after both drivers went out thorughout the season.

          Horner runs a team with Mark Webber in gp3, they seem happy together. Webber hasn’t seemed bitter against either, and has actually said when asked about going to ferrair or such ‘i have a great relationship with christian and adrain and thats what matters’. (to paraphrase slightly). Hartley (NZ test driver) was dumped by head head management even though horner and co were happy with him and how he was developing the rb7. I think webber might be happy with horner behind closed doors (i.e. when horner is not playing principle) and is very happy with newey (since newey is seeing webber being able to drive with his designs while vettel asks AN to redo anything that doesn’t suit him).

          I believe it’s more than likely to be higher management wanting vettel to win. Marko HATES (whit a nassive passion) webber, and loves hisvettel that came through his system. Meserasdkahsdks theowner of redbull seems to want vettel to win, but if he can’t have that a win from anyone is better than nothing. He’s after publicity. Vettel provides better targetted, but a win is better than runnerup.

    2. Also, it’s not hypocritical to be angry at Ferrari for using team orders, yet encourage RBR/McLaren to use them as well. Ferrari got off scot-free for their use of team orders, so it would actually be worse for other teams to take the moral high ground and refuse to use similar tactics and hand them the championship

      LOL.. You’re right, that isn’t the exact definition of hypocritical!

      (I hope the ‘bold’ font emphasized my sarcasm effectively)

      1. Erm, no, it isn’t the exact definition of hypocrisy. The exact definition would be doing something you’ve condemned others for doing. What he’s implying is that Ferrari did it for the wrong reason, but because they did it if McLaren and Red Bull don’t do it they’d be unfairly disadvantaged and therefore have a right to do it.

        So McLaren and Red Bull wouldn’t be hypocritical because they’re not doing it for the same reasons they condemned, but to merely make things fairer. DavidS actually makes quite a clever argument!

        1. So if an athlete uses steroids and is allowed to continue to compete than it wouldn’t be hypocritical for others to do the same – I understand that. but the original post was

          it’s not hypocritical to be angry at Ferrari for using team orders, yet encourage RBR/McLaren to use them

          This to me sounds hypocritical.
          If Ferrari got off scott-free and were allowed to use them, then there shouldn’t be any anger against them.

          Maybe it’s just the way I’m reading it?

          1. Why should there be no anger against Ferrari when they got away with giving 7 extra points to Alonso? That makes no sense. That’s exactly why people were angry.

            It is the way you’re reading it, because in that quotation you’ve cut off the reasoning for the argument.

        2. erm, whatever you have to tell yourself Icthyes….it is completely hypocritical….

          1. Well, SOME are angry. Some others are not. We cannot quantify.

  17. Many drivers change after they won the first time. Lke Mika Hakenen. No driver should ever have to give up a win for a team mate, ever. How many world champions remain uncrowned because of “team orders”?

    1. Charles Carroll
      26th October 2010, 14:36

      One is too many, in my opinion.

      1. Seriously guys it has always happened, although I can only talk about the 1980s to 2010.

        No one likes it, and I’m not saying I agree with it, but it has always happened (although people keep citing recent occasions when it didn’t).

        The fact is that it was only half way through the season, fans were treated as fools, there was nothing clever about the way it was done, and it was purely for the benefit of the driver in the WDC and not the team and WCC is the only difference.

        Like it or not it is a team sport to some degree, and team orders in some situations do have a place, preferably only when it is impossible for the team mate to win the championship. I guess people take exception to the perceived inequality. If all teams did the same in the same situation and the fans knew what was happening and weren’t treated as fools it would not be so bad.

    2. Or maybe ask, how many World Champions were crowned in conjunction with team orders. Häkkinen included.

  18. The Ferrari decision at Hockenheim certainly didn’t please most F1 fans but let’s not take things out of whack.

    Before Germany both Ferrari drivers were clearly allowed to race, and in fact Fernando got stuck after Felipe in several occasions.

    After Germany a clear #1 -#2 situation was established but then the performance of Felipe wasn’t good enough to be of much help. I can’t remember any situation after Hockenheim where Felipe helped Fernando to score any extra points. OK, he finished ahead of Jenson in Hungary, and before the RBRs in Monza so they scored a few less points which is good for Alonso but that certainly doesn’t count as TO.

    So my tally is, Fernando has got seven extra points from TO, no more.

    Now at least McLaren seems ready for TO. Fine with me, but it’s still illegal and an (admittedly puny) 50.000 fine would be in order if they do it (the other 50.000 Ferrari got were for “disrepute” and had more to do with aesthetic questions. But I’m sure that McLaren will make a better job of it when the time comes).

    And RBR seem ready to do a Mclaren ’07. Well, it’s their call. Somehow I appreciate it. But the WDC could already be in Mark’s pocket if they had played together as a team.

    1. good point, agreed on “let’s not take things out of whack”

  19. Sorry but this is all quite irrelevant. In a world where Formula 1 cannot enforce its own rules, ie team order ban and flexi wings, the 2010 World Champion will not be worthy of that title (unless it’s Hamilton of course).

    1. Nick, the wings are passing the tests! They made the tests more stringent and they still are cleared. They are enforcing the rules for the wing deflection through testing and they are passing.

      Perhaps they should raise the weights more as many have speculated that the wings deflect non-linearly under higher loads. But until then, the rules have been enforced.

      I like Hamilton too (along with others) but it’s not like he didn’t get his share of breaks earlier in the year with rule enforcement (safety car in Valencia, pit lane in China). If you want someone worthy by your standards, then Button looks to be the only clean one. Otherwise just admit you’ll only be happy if Hamilton wins. That’s not a shameful thing either.

      1. Schumi the greatest
        26th October 2010, 18:28

        Except button hasnt really been on hamiltons pace all year so then you could say a slower driver won the tittle. Im a fan of hamilton hes great to watch and although red bulls have given ferrari and mclaren a chance with their stupidity alonso and hamilton have out driven their cars alot this season which is why id rather see them win it. If vettel or webber wins it this season it would remind me of villeneuve in 97…making an absolute pigs ear of it in a far superior car

        1. hahahaha, very well said….agreed completely….

      2. Fair comments. Although, why did they wait for 3/4 races before increasing the weight ? They did not have to, they do not have to warn the teams. 3 races before the weight increase, you could see the huge (and I have tried to pick the most accurate adjective here) amount of flex.
        Why was it tolerated for 3 races ? Why was Ferrari fined and then cleared. Was the fine cancelled ?

        1. I think the Charlie Whiting and the other technical guys wanted to take the time to 1) make sure that Red Bull was actually violating the rule (if all it took was mudslinging to get something off a car, we’d see it all the time) and 2) come up with an appropriate response (can’t have everyone fail an overreaction response for the test).

          Ferrari was fined by the stewards and WMSC upheld it. They just elected to not seek further punishment due to inconsistencies in the application of the team orders rule.

  20. Great Article!!!

    As per author of blog & many guys here, until last race team orders shouldn’t be allowed at all.. (if you are dead shd be in all cases. u can’t say that team shd support in this & that case. it is illegal to use team order if other driver is in contention of title or not). Now McLaren are thrown in to position where realistically (as per maths still possible as the case with massa in germany) only one driver can win. So all of a sudden team orders have become pragmatic way to use!! You guys are competing for best hypocrites among formula1 fans.

    I supported Ferrari stand in germany & i still think McLaren shd support hamilton. Ferrari saw in germany that realistically (this is all subjective, so ferarri view of this may not be same as u) there is only one driver can fight for championship in the end & they went with alonso who has lot of margin over massa ( and it proved right, and massa was not made any scapegoat in giving new parts or testing new ones or giving better strategy etc. only situation tht can give any credibility to this is singapore,but alonso was also using same gear ratio and after massa problem they went back to normal one as he said after qualifying).

    I hope author & many readers stand by what they said after germany. Team orders shouldn’t be supported & it is ILLEGAL & disrepute & disrespect to fans blahhhh blahhhh. Mathematically jenson is still in championship & so as vettel. Then why you are rooting for team orders?? Don’t blame FIA becoz if they punish ferarri also it is legally untenable in court. so in any case it is almost impossible to police team orders (thr r million ways to do that) in formula1 and it is time they are scrapped.

    1. If they had of supported Alonso with team orders from the 1st race he would be WC today and it would be a duller last two races.

      The same can be said of Webber from half way through the season.

      PS Like anything else in the world it ridiculous to state team orders are ‘black and white’ they are wrong, they have their place and sometime can be right, that is not hypocritical.

  21. although i’m a Ferrari fan i didn’t like backing one driver very early like Alonso.
    but with McLaren situation now they will back Hamilton, and Red Bull should do the same or they will lose both championships

  22. I for one don’t think any team should be backing any one driver, because for me I feel that all drivers should have a fair chance at taking the championship.
    Massa was still in with a chance when Ferrari put everything behind Alonso, but I think this was wrong as it takes away from seeing good racing between the two. I would have loved to see Alonso get past Massa on his own driver skill. There was a great battle before Massa let him past, isn’t this what we want to see?!

    Inter-team battles are what makes F1 great. We all loved it at Turkey when Red Bull and McLaren fought against each other and within themselves.

    This is great, we don’t want teams to have one strong driver with the other guy supporting him to get the title. We may as well just have 1 driver per team, that would cut the cost. But man that would be boring!

    This is one of the things that contributes to the ‘spectacle’ that is F1, getting the right balance between driving your team mate off the track (Red Bull at Turkey) and respecting each other and having a good fair fight.

  23. what a load of guff! i dont agree with Ferraris view on many things but you back the guy who can win you the championship. Once Massa showed a lack of pace and race results, he had to get behind Alonso. ALonso has 7 more poiints as a result and when he wins the WDC the only complainants will be spectators who neither know their history nor that all teams do it,just in different ways. You never hear any teams whinge about Alonso’s extra points because they are all doing it. More team orders please!

    1. Did you read the article? I said McLaren and Red Bull should use team orders…

      1. I think he was talking to everyone lol

  24. They should only be backing them when things have gone against them. If Alonso finishes ahead of Vettel or Button their chances are both gone, so if that happens they should make way for their team-mates on the last lap.

    Though I am suspicious that if the Red Bull situation were reversed, Vettel would be getting preferential treatment already.

  25. I’ll try (yet again) to resume my thoughts on this. On the one hand, I feel that once a driver is out of contention it’s ok to ask him to (wink, wink, nudge nudge, ahem, cough) ‘help’ his team mate. I also think that it’s impossible to argue this point coherently so that it could serve as the basis for a functional rule, because there’s no way you can write a fair rule that is dependent on circumstances. Take for example: a driver is mathematically out of it by mid-season and begins to only help his team mate. Is it fair to other contenders if one driver’s lack of point production means his team mate gets to benefit from team orders for the second half of a season?

    In terms of setting precedent, I agree that the FIA dropped the ball by not punishing Ferrari. Where I disagree with Keith is I think fairly simple: I think it’s plain wrong to argue that Massa wasn’t in it anymore at Hockenheim. I think it can safely be said that he was out of it. Finally, without imputing disingenuousness, I think that arguing that other examples of ‘orders’ from recent years are ok, because a driver was out of contention, are also not logically coherent with the idea that orders demean the WDC by unfairly favouring a driver. Being handed points to win a championship isn’t any better or worse if the guy doing the handing over is only relatively far behind in points or really very far behind. Perhaps we could just agree that many champions were (wink wink, nudge nudge, ahem, cough) helped by their team mates here and there and it’s only circumstances that make some cases feel less clean than others. So in then, although I disagree with the FIA decision, they were just really being coherent with their non-decisions in recent years.

    1. Interesting thoughts. 2007 is a great example, neither McLaren could expect help from each other but Ferrari could.

      One thing I’d say though, if it’s no better to receive points because your team-mate is out of it than if he isn’t, that any gifted points is against the spirit of the WDC, at least it’s the driver. A team telling a driver to move against his will is incontestably wrong.

      But in the sense that any driver gifting points by his own free will is the same no matter what the situation, I absolutely agree and we should just accept that many champions were helped to their title.

      1. But they didn’t “tell” Massa to move over….they told him Alonso was faster and he moved over….

        We can talk all day about how this is implied, but its just that IMPLIED. The car was in Massa hands and he did what he thought he should do. If not, then why didn’t he just stay in front.

        Based on your comment above (which I agree with and think is well written, as well as Maciek’s comment), what MASSA did was perfectly fine. He was just helping out his faster teammate….

        1. It was not implied, it was infered there are too many facts about that race to deny that he was not reminded that he was to move over.

          1. It doesn’t matter if you think it was also inferred. the WMSC decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to infer. the bottom line is that ALL Massa was told is that “Alonso is faster than you”.

            So to the people that want to believe that the WMSC and the FIA are more lenient on Ferrari than other teams, than it was obviously cheating. to everyone else it was just vague enough for them to get away with letting their driver know that his teammate is faster….OR, doing what has been done in F1 since the beginning and breaking what was known to the rest of the teams and all of F1 as a “non-rule”….

          2. the WMSC decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to infer.

            Why do you keep saying this? The WMSC clearly indicates that they believe it to be an implied team order. Section 6A from the document I linked to earlier. “It is self evident to the Judging Body of the WMSC that this was an implied team order using a message, and as

          3. the WMSC decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to infer.

            Why do you keep saying this? The WMSC clearly indicates that they believe it to be an implied team order. Section 6A from the document I linked to earlier. “It is self evident to the Judging Body of the WMSC that this was an implied team order using a message, and as such was contrary to article 39.1 Sporting Regulations.”

            While I agree that only Massa could make the decision to pull over, the judging body agrees that an order was given.

            Unless I’m reading it wrong, where have the WMSC decided there wasn’t enough evidence to infer?

          4. Darn… double post. 9:38 is bad one. Stupid tab key and Abode for not selecting text.

          5. Um, because it’s true and what I mean by that is that there wasn’t enough to penalize them further. Your quote indicates that the WMSC think it’s team orders, but you conveniently leave out the part where the WMSC council says they cannot punish them further because of the vagueness of said “order” (which Ferrari says was “team strategy”).

            Yes, they “believe” it to be an “implied” team order and so do I, but there was not enough to go on to give them a points or position penalty. This is not because they are Ferrari, but because of the nature of this stupid rule and it’s impossibility to enforce and that is my point. I’m just so tired of everyone saying that Ferrari cheats (any more than any other team) and that this championship is a farce and so on and so on….

            I don’t even care about Ferrari over any other team, I just think that it’s ridiculous to act like this is a good rule that should be enforced and then turn around and say Button should back Ham and Vettle should back Weber because its the end of the season or the points are different or blah, blah, blah….

          6. I was just most irritated with your quote “the WMSC decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to infer” because that’s not what they said. They decided Ferrari was guilty but because team orders can be vague and the rule has inconsistently been policed in the past, they decided not to penalize further – at least that’s how I read it. To me it’s more about making sure the used rationale for the decision is explained properly rather than just someone else’s interpretation (I’ve seen a lot of wrong explanations).

            I’m not about attacking just Ferrari over it (I actually would have been irritated regardless of team). Overall, I think a reasonable deterrent would have been to take team points but it’s moot and the rule’s likely not exist in the future.

            Well, I think it’s fair to say that the rule should be enforced until the decision and once they pretty much said they won’t enforce it, it’s now unfair to say that VMM or RBR should back one driver? It’s almost like people are arguing against changing your mind in the face of new evidence – I think that’s unfair. I think it would be hypocritical to argue for it if WMSC was planning to enforce it.

  26. Hamilton is sitting 6 points behind Alonso (who has retired from the 2010, it is a Mclaren 1-2, the leader is Button, who hears over his radio “Ok Jenson, Lewis is faster than you!”

    Hamilton takes the title and the stewards can only give the $100,000 fine and refer the team to the WMSC, who in turn have to do what they did to Ferrari for consistency, oh that would be a sweet way to win it ;)

    1. No chance… The WMSC? consistent? really?

  27. Redbull should have implemented team orders in the Korean Gp?

    Webber should have been allowed to overtake Vettel, but both drivers would have been wiped out by Webber’s spin so they would borg have DNFed, no benefit to the team :/

    1. Interesting scenario: Webber does not spin after being let through by Vettel, because the exact circumstances would not play themselves out. Webber goes on to win the Korean GP. On top of switching the result in Japan, Webber would now be champion.

      Or maybe he would have spun somewhere else or failed in some other way. But Webber could very well have been world champion by now.

      1. Argh, wrong wrong wrong.

        If Webber was favoured from Spa onwards, he could now be 26 points* ahead. Not champion, but nearly.

        *Vettel relegates himself to 6th, 3rd and 2nd in Italy, Singapore and Japan and Webber wins in Korea.

  28. Anyone who seeks morals and high principles from the top end of any business or any sport should read Jesus’s line on camels and needles.

    Personally i watch f1 to see the best drivers in the world on the limit. The rest is just fanboy stuff. Im a fan of the Brits because im British but do i care if Alonso or Vettel or Webber wins? Not so much as I care that the racing is good.

    Anyway no one seems to realise that only RBR will really be in a position to use team orders. For Mclaren and Ferrari Button & Massa need to outqualify Lewis & Alonso. That looks exceedingly unlikely.

    1. no one seems to realise that only RBR will really be in a position to use team orders. For Mclaren and Ferrari Button & Massa need to outqualify Lewis & Alonso. That looks exceedingly unlikely.

      Massa didn’t out-qualify Alonso at Hockenheim.

    2. Anyone who seeks morals and high principles from the top end of any business or any sport should read Jesus’s line on camels and needles.

      So basically your argument is that F1 team bosses should not use team orders or they’ll go to Hell? I can’t imagine that’s what you meant but it’s the only thing your choice of words implies.

      1. The hell is a press conference like Alonso’s in Hockenheim, or the attack of the media.

        I think they paid enough for a **** of 7 points.

        1. I don’t think Alonso went home and had a cry because some nasty old journalist pointed out that he couldn’t beat his team mate on the track so he got his team to make Massa pull over (or whatever the exact quote was).

          Besides it wasn’t as if he was without allies – I recall a dreadful brown-nosing ‘question’ from one of the journalists.

  29. In 2002, when this rule was introduced, I had a good laugh. Now in 2010, I am still laughing… Why?

    How do you enforce such a rule in a TEAM sport? For this rule to be removed, the TEAM element must be removed. Thus it is pretty silly to do so.

    What is the purpose of forming a team? In any case of the word, a team is formed to create order and to improve efficiency. If there is no team, chaos hinder operations and resources would not be maximize.

    I feel that the witch hunt over this ‘team order’ saga is irrelevant as most of us would never get the chance to manage a F1 team. Thus lets look at the experts, the respective team managers. Did you notice that they have kept silent over the matter especially after the findings from the FIA?

    Using myself as an example (though not a very good example), being a manager in my workplace, I make tough decisions and some of these choices would favour one of my subordinates over the other (e.g. opportunities, bonuses, career progression). Is it fair that I have to favour one over the other? I would feel it is not but if only one (of my subordinates) can only be promoted, do I have a choice?

    But my point being that this is reality and that it has to be accepted when working in any team.

    Thus, the equation to getting rid of ‘team’ orders is… to take out the ‘team’ out of the sport…

    1. Or you could just give meaningful punishments when they’re breached.

      As much as Bernie wants it to be, F1 is not a business. Your analogy doesn’t apply. For one thing, you’re not operating in an environment where no-one else is favouring a different subordinate because it’s against the rules and your favoured one is gaining an advantage because of it.

      1. But F1 IS a business. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see teams squabbling over money just to survive, would we? Or we wouldn’t see pay drivers who are nowhere near as good as they should be?

        Who was it that said that F1 is a business except for two hours on Sundays?

  30. jeez you have to spell every detail out on here! ok its unlikely they will be in a position through qualifying or on the ractrack to help their team mate. Or much MORE unlikely than RBR having that quandry.

  31. The story implies that Alonso has in fact benefitted from Ferrari’s “throwing their championships efforts behind (him)”. But, other than in the German Grand Prix, has Ferrari’s actual race strategy, as it transpired during the course of each of the six individual races since then, actually helped Alonso? And what examples can anyone give to show that Ferrari’s strategy is actually favouring Alonso at the expense of Massa? From my perspective, Massa has done painfully little to take points away from either Vettel, Webber or Hamilton and Alonso has earned his points on his racing skills and the performance/reliability of his car. Perhaps it is harder than we may think to translate the theoretical advantage of favouring one single driver within the team into results and points; and, we should not assume that all Red Bull (or McLaren) need to do to win the championship is apply this strategy. At the end you still have to finish the race and finish ahead of your main competitors. Alonso has lately been doing that better than everyone else.

    1. … 7 points isn’t a benefit?

  32. haha Icyhtes. no, i meant that its a given in F1 that a team mate will have to step aside for the better placed driver at some point or another if it gains them an advantage. F1 teams will do anything to win the WDC. Whatever the PR spin Mclaren or RBR put on it, that is the reality.

    It such an ignorant tabloid misunderstanding of F1 to squeal that team orders cheat the public. Its a shame Bernie isnt in charge of rules ( ok maybe not) but he’d just say, team orders are allowed, now get on with it.

    Trying to appease and appeal to everyman is not what F1 should aspire to.

    1. I’m perfectly fine with team orders. But there should be a rule of not insulting the fans’ intelligence when they do it. ;)

      1. you get my vote for COTD (for what it’s worth anyway)

    2. “i meant that its a given in F1 that a team mate will have to step aside for the better placed driver at some point or another if it gains them an advantage. F1 teams will do anything to win the WDC. Whatever the PR spin Mclaren or RBR put on it, that is the reality”

      So what happened at McLaren in 2007 then?

      1. They messed up big time :)

  33. I wonder what will happen to Horner when he gives away one or both championships due to RBR’s current policy?

  34. Button & Mclaren have to switch their forces behind Hamilton, on the other hand Red Bull have a very difficult job of whom to support as both Webber & Vettel can make it.It’s more easier for Mclaren the Red Bull.

  35. The championship is still Red Bull’s to lose. And it seems, as things stand at present, they will manage to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.
    I would hate to be in Horner’s shoes as any decision he/the team makes can undermine their chances.
    Ferrari have got the upper hand as that is one less concern for them. They put all their eggs in the, seemingly, correct basket; barring engine failure, Alonso has to finish in the podium (may need win depending on how things pan out in Brazil).
    As for McLaren, they were more focused on ranting about flexi wings than on improving their car. Even in rainy conditions they have lost the edge. Hamilton was eager to start the race only to find out he had no answer for the 3 cars ahead of him and that was down to the car, not his ability in those conditions. I am not his fan, but I do recognize his worth as a driver.
    Conclusion: Alonso has a very good chance to clinch his third title, the other 4 drivers depend on too many variables to be real threats, the main one relying on the performance of the Ferrari. I guess hindsight may prove me wrong after the next race, but providing that Ferrari continue with their reliability record, it is difficult to imagine a different outcome, unless objectivity is asked to move out of the way in favour of subjectivity.

  36. The fact is that if a Red Bull wins the title or Fernando wins by less than 7 points, both would have effectively won by cheating. Everyone knows why Fernando broke a rule, and in my opinion, making a car that explicitly breaks the rules (i.e runs the front wing lower than 80mm above the lowest point of the car), even if it can pass the ultimately irrelevant tests, it is still breaking a rule.

    1. … And if Alonso doesn’t win by more than 25 points it would be quite bad for the sport, considering that he probably should have been disqualified for it.

      1. Hmmm… What exactly did Fernando do that was wrong? Massa pulled over under “hints” from Ferrari. Ferrari and Massa should be punished if anyone – NOT Mr. Alonso.

        While you’re at it, let’s deduct the points from Hamilton for dangerously passing the Saftey car in Valencia- that was directly attributable to the driver and should’ve received a black flag not a feckless non- penalty in Valencia…. enough of these sophistic arguments – No one will lose sleep if Alonso wins the championship by 1 point – oh, those who do can put an asterisk next to the standings for this year (yawn)….

        1. … It was a clear order. Ferrari could only have been punished by taking away what they gained, otherwise it wouldn’t be a punishment… That was Alonso’s points.

          I think the results from the rate the race articles sufficiently show the difference in scale between what Ferrari chose to do, and what Hamilton did.

          Ferrari broke the rules, that isn’t acceptable. If Alonso wins the championship, He will have impressed me, Because I think this year, he has been the strongest driver.

          But not if he does it by (effectively) cheating. That’s not ok, is it?

          1. Again, Teams and Drivers are awarded points. Alonso did nothing wrong – Ferrari and Massa did. Was Alonso supposed to park his car after Massa lifted?

            Regardless, the governing body made their decision and that decision was not to take any points away from anyone and fine Ferrari $100k, just as they didn’t take action against other drivers earlier in the year (i.e. dangerous driving in the pits) passing a safety car and giving a penalty, that was not a penalty (even though both instances above were DRIVER infractions and dangerous to boot).

            It’s interesting that the other teams in the championship haven seemed to accept this (or acknowledge their own guilt in this area)… and have moved on…

  37. I think it’s telling that the evidence of the benefit of team orders for RBR and VMM is very weak.

    In the case of McLaren, the only solid alternativee course was for Button to drive behind a stricken Hamilton at Suzuka, creeping around on his gearbox. Not realistic at all, and of trivial benefit. The other examples are that Hamilton would not have made more dangerous moves at Monza and Singapore. Well, maybe, but probably not. Button has rarely been in a spot to do Hamilton any good, and likely won’t ever again this year.

    For RBR, both drivers were fairly even in their chances up until the moment Webber stuffed it in Korea. While it may have made sense to pick a winner well before then, there was no case for which one to pick, and thus no basis to do it. The drivers on that team are roughly equal.

    So at the end of the day what Keith’s analysis really shows is that the benefit of team orders is not possible to reap until it is too late really to benefit from it without very drastic actions. The point at which you have to do it, and when it does matter, is likely well before it becomes clear what the benefit is, that is, when both drivers are still in it.

    If you have a clearly better driver, shown by his relative greater points, at the time when it becomes critical that he is supported, the other driver is not in a realistic position to benefit him in actual championship points—because he is not as good. You have to start shifting points to the better driver well before he has been able to work up a points lead over the teammate, i.e, before the teammate’s chances are snuffed out. You may even have to do it before he has more points.

    Accepting Keith’s view, if you think about it, it is no mystery to any of us who the better driver is on most teams; assuming that team orders are now cool, what is the point of a team “letting them race”? And the argument that the points are currently even at some given time is all the more reason to have orders, not a reason against it.

    Thus, Button should have given way to Hamilton at China. If VMM takes Keith’s advice, and the logic of it is pure even if you question his sincerity given his past adherence to McLaren’s policy, they would ensure that Button gives way in such a situation next year, whether it is race 1 or 20, whether Hamilton has more points or zero. Somehow I think Keith, you would not like that to be the practice in the sport, but it’s really the necessity of what your recommend here.

    1. even if you question his sincerity given his past adherence to McLaren’s policy

      I think I made my feelings on that pretty clear in the last two paragraphs.

  38. 99% of the decision of whether to back, who to back and how to back was decided from when their driver line ups were signed. Webber and Button have both been assured they will have equal support to their team mates and have said they won’t stick around if that’s not true. This is the price of having two top drivers in one team who aren’t as spineless as Massa. Therefore the comparisons should not be made simply between a Button or Vettel prepared to aid their team mates but between them and drivers who are prepared to be the new Barrichello but who are not as fast. Would a Kovalainen – prepared to play second fiddle – finishing 6th or 7th each race be of more help? I doubt it.

  39. 1. You are making a lot of fuss about the race in Germany, but Alonso is right now 11 points clear of Webber. If you wish to subtract 7 points, then he is still first …

    2. If Red Bull finished 1-2 in both races, with Vettel first, then Alonso can be champion by coming merely third.

    3. Maybe you should also give a bit of credit to Alonso! He has been fantastic for the 2nd half of the season, relentless! Is that all due to the race in Germany? Is the argument about Hamilton not crashing in Monza also due to the race in Germany?? Please… In that line of thought, maybe the crash of Vettel on Button has to blamed on Alonso and Ferrari…

    1. 1. Again, disqualification would have been appropriate in Germany, It would take Alonso winning by more than 25 points, not 7, that would satisfy me that he won the title fairly.

      3. Alonso has been fantastic, but so was Schumacher in Austria! And you may remember that’s the reason the rule was brought in.

      3. I think you have missed his point completely, I believe Keith is arguing that Hamilton, knowing his team mate in 1st was going to help him, would not have felt he needed to be as aggressive, (which is what caused his accident). I don’t buy that line personally, but it is a good example of how knowing he is the number one, can influence a drivers decision making.

  40. No one has pointed out that this season how often has Button finished ahead of Hamilton?

    When Hamilton finishes – it is normally ahead of Button and on recent form I can’t see that changing.

    So its a pointless discussion for Maclaren!!

    1. Overall it’s 10-7 to Hamilton

      If you discount the races where either retired or had car problems, it’s a massive 8-2

      Crucially, if you look at what the drivers’ positions were before ill befell them, it’s an even more staggering 14-3. Button has only beaten his team-mate on track three times. I didn’t think it would be that low.

      1. Why substract DNF?? Why do not substract when one is out of the points?
        come on..
        I got lost long time ago, but apparently I can get further lost….

        1. Because when someone DNFs, of course they’ll be beaten by their team-mate (there haven’t been any double DNFs for McLaren yet this year). So it’s not fair to include them as evidence one guy did better than the other. But sometimes drivers DNF when behind their team-mates anyway, which is why I brought the third and most relevant stat into consideration.

          1. If I DNF all races your stats will say my team mate is not better than me, even if he wins WDC.

          2. The second stat does. Which is why I said it’s not the relevant one. The one I did say was relevant would take into account where you and your team-mate were when you DNF and show your team-mate was better than you (unless you DNF more times when ahead of him then when behind him). Hope that clears it up.

  41. I agree totally with fixy (page 1)

  42. It’s a no brainer for McLaren.
    The point is if Button was nr 2 or 3 with such a gap things would be different. Now he has to rely on all other 4 to have failures in both races.. Never going to happend obviously.
    I doubt Hamilton will have a big shot at it, Ferrari and RedBull are the better cars atm.
    Altough with a bit more luck he would have been leading with a healty margin (and so could Vettel).
    Hamilton was the best driver in the first half but then it went a bit wrong.

  43. As i told before after germany this thing would come around again sooner or later and here we have, can´t wait to brasil to see what happens.
    The BIG difference here is that Massa didn´t had a shot at this year´s championship by is own fault while some how Button kept in the hunt till korea and Webber against all the odds kept allways vettel behind him so it was real simple for ferrari to do what they did as for mclaren it´s easy too, button already said that he´s ready to help the team but for red bull going to be really difficult to sort this thing out, both drivers still have a shot at it, webber with a good one and vettel not so good.
    And vettel already said that he´s going for it which is going only to help ferrari.
    What a scenário, wouldn´t like to be horner, maybe the better thing to do is wait how the next race goes and then if something happens act in such way that at least put his best driver at the time to go for it.
    What i said before means the drivers can have team ordens at one point of the race and be sured they will back them.
    OF course this also means that the beautiful words of no team orders at red bull go to the toilet if they needed.

  44. Mclaren should start backing Lewis for Brazil because Jenson does seem out of contention for this championship even though he is mathematically has a chance.. It would be a difficult task for Mclaren with the car still behind Red bull and Ferrari. However, it is slightly different at Red Bull. Webber is slightly ahead of Vettel and they have the fastest car throughout the championship. It would be unfair on both drivers to just back one.

  45. events of 2010 teach us that sooner than later team play will have some more civilised form, and I support the whole idea, no sense to be selfish till the eand and lose the title because of that.
    However, I don’t support how it is executed today. especially I’m annoyed that it is the team that decides when this help is supposed to start. I believe it will be about 3-4 last GPs, and no team should expect anydriver shall agree to help before that moment. My advice would be that each driver should have it in the contract, no matter if mathematically he can’t be a champion. Driver statistics do matter for future career.
    In place of Massa I would resist pressure of the team until only last few races, unless otherwise specified.

    1. Diver A wins WDC over B by 1 point. A’s mate o let him pass at race 1 (+7 points to A) in race 4. B’s mate did the same (+7 points) in race 20.

      Was Team B action fairer?

      Do points count more towards end of season?

      Change As for Bs, Is now the winner (B) a more decent one?

      Again, this is all risk management, there are books (tones) about it and practical courses at betting houses. I do not think that all this is going to earn a PhD to anyone…

      1. In teams where officially there is no driver no1 and no2 – I talk about exactly that case – there is no reason why one driver should feel obliged to help his team mate already in the middle of the season, even if he’s underperforming. He might as well recover to good form later, and improve overall standing, salary negotiation level, etc.

        The case of Felipe Massa suggest he didn’t feel there was the time to bow for Alonso in Germany, he just obeyed the orders and proved his discipline.
        If I was a driver, I would insist that policy “team is everything” is applicable only since certain moment of the season. As today this practice is officially banned, there are no common civilised form for that and Ferrari felt they could push Massa whenever they find the time is right. This part is something I disagree with.

  46. I think Mclaren now need to support Hamilton but Red Bull do have a harder job Vettel and Webber are strong contenders but i think red bulls will do it.

  47. It may be tempting to draw comparisons between Button’s situation now and Kimi Räikkönen’s with two races to go in 2007 and claim he still has a chance. But the two situations are quite different.

    In terms of points Räikkönen, who went on to become champion, was in a slightly better position then than Button is now.

    Plus he only had 2 guys ahead, whereas Button has 4. The chances of the all 4 failing miserably are waaaaay lower.

  48. Keith, this is Hypocritical. According to your rules, all five drivers are mathematically in. Now when you see that Hamilton’s chances are slim, you are contradicting your own sayings. Even jean toad ratting got down because of this on your site. Come on. If a robber is not punished you can’t say robbing is good and ‘lets do it’. Wrong is always wrong. For Alonso, it was wrong, for Hamilton, it is pragmatism. great!!!!!!

      1. I know you would be criticized about this article because of the way you stand against team orders, i´m all for it if needed but i understud what you tryed to bring to us and you´re right, red bull must put all teir effort in webber´s or Hamilton´s if they wont to win something BUT if they do team orders aren´t they do exactly the opposite they stand for too???
        Is this pragmatic or hipocrical or what??

      2. Paul McCaffrey
        27th October 2010, 5:18

        You wrote in the second-to-last paragraph that, “the FIA chose not to enforce the rule banning [team orders].” Were team orders rules ever enforced?

        At the first moment they were not enforced is when you should have written an article that all other teams should use team orders. But an article like that wouldn’t have been news(Blog)-worthy at that time, especially since this was the first case that went to the WMSC.

        It’s not your best article. But we’ll still read you, just like we still watch F1 after all the horrendous failures of integrity and sportsmanship.

  49. hey Keith
    at least we now know that you weren’t serious when you wrote all the articles against ferrari team orders. you were doing it for fun

    1. Which article?

      1. Controversy as Alonso wins manipulated race (German Grand Prix review)
        25 July 2010 by Keith Collantine

        F1 fans slam rigged German Grand Prix
        29 July 2010 by Keith Collantine

        “I am much quicker than Felipe” – how Alonso urged Ferrari to use team orders
        4 August 2010 by Keith Collantine

        Why the team orders rule must stay
        27 July 2010 by Keith Collantine

        Massa ordered to hand win to Alonso
        25 July 2010 by Keith Collantine

        1. if button leaves hamilton pass will you consider it an order?

          1. I was really disapointed at the whole Manipulated race articles.

            I bet you if Button lets Hamilton pass you won’t see any of that “Manipulated” crap.

          2. He already let Hamilton pass in Japan. Didn’t you realise?

        2. All of which were before the WMSC decision. Read the last two paragraphs of the article.

          1. it was a direct answer keith you could have answered yes or no

          2. I was responding to your previous comment.

            And I’m not making any hypothetical assumptions because it’s a complete waste of time. What if one car has a technical fault?

        3. good work rbc. Just count anti-alonso / anti-ferrari articles. You are so biased.

          1. Keith is biased not rbc :)

          2. It’s not anti Alonso/Ferrari, It’s anti breaking the f1 sporting regulations and getting away with it scot free.

  50. in 2007, judochop, both drivers, Lewis & Alonso could win it going into the last race and Alonso had also catastrophically fallen out with the team.

    Im not sure of your point, are you saying that because in this instance team orders did not happen, they do not happen at Mclaren or RBR?

    Anyway its a bit dull this team orders debate, anti team order chatter seems to come to from the persepective of football or baseball (***?). Its roots are in car manufacturers advertising their wares not of corinthian sporting values. Its always had its dna in business, bottom line and not to put too fine apoint on it, underhandedness. Deal with it and move on.

    1. In America its all about the driver. We have teams but its still about the drivers. Americans won’t accept the concept or practice of team orders. another German GP in Texas would be catastrophic for F1 in the US.
      We won’t undertand it and won’t spend our money to watch it. That is sad, but so true.

  51. I saw a small puff of blue smoke come out the back of Alonso’s ferrari in the final 2 or 3 laps during the race… let’s hope no1 noticed and they use that same engine for brazil’s quali and race. ;)

  52. I think until now, Red Bull have had no reason to back one driver over the other. Nobody argued after Suzuka that Red Bull should have ordered Vettel to move over for Webber. They are only doing so now because they had a double DNF in Korea and Alonso won. Suppose RB did back Webber in Japan and Vettel’s engine didn’t blow up on Sunday? Then they could have lost Vettel the championship lead.

    However, at this point, I believe that there is a lot to be said for them getting behind Webber now. There’s 2 races left and they can let their drivers race and have a shot at the championship IF Alonso has a shocker at Brazil or Abu Dhabi, or they can get behind Webber and have a 90% chance at winning the championship.

    Do the maths: Suppose Vettel leads from Webber and Alonso in Brazil. If they let Vettel win the race:

    Alonso 246
    Webber 238
    Vettel 231

    Going into the last race, RB need Alonso off the podium if Webber wins or Alonso 6th or below if Vettel wins.

    Say they ask Vettel to move over for Webber:

    Alonso 246
    Webber 245
    Vettel 224

    This way Webber merely needs to finish one place ahead of Alonso to win the WDC.

    This is of course only one possible scenario but it illustrates the point that backing Webber is Red Bull’s safest bet.

    As for Mclaren, now it is a no-brainer, they have to favour Hamilton if they get the opportunity, simply because Button is a mile out of realistic contention. Despite this, I don’t see how they could possibly have favoured Lewis before now… He was only 3 points ahead of Button after Japan, which is 1 point in “old money” as Jenson would say. Hamilton had the opportunity to assert his place as Mclaren’s sole contender after Spa when he held a 30-odd point lead over his team-mate but he ruined it with unnecessary risks at Monza and Singapore. He was unfortunate with the gearbox at Suzuka but had he kept it on the track at the previous two races, he would have had no. 1 status at Mclaren for the end of the season and Button would have had to hold position behind.

    It’s all ifs and buts. Both teams need to back their leading driver now, but I don’t agree that the decision is overdue. We wouldn’t be saying this if Vettel’s engine hadn’t blown so there’s no cast iron argument that Red Bull have mis-managed their driver policy.

    1. Younger Hamilton
      27th October 2010, 1:04

      If only Heikki was still there,this would have a very easy choice and that would have put as in a situation like Alonso and Ferrari are in now.

      Anyway i have to admit and im so sorry but McLaren need to go with Lewis and its being interestingly suggested that they have already have,Whitmarsh quoted today:

      We are still very much in contention with Lewis. But there is little doubt now the championship decider is going to be in Abu Dhabi, which is great for Formula One

      Well as for Redbull Webber(his skills would be very good for Demolition/Destruction Derby) would be a much mature,safer choice like some said Seb has many years to come in F1 while Mark’s got a couple left likely just one more.Horner(BBC loves to pay a lot of attention to him)was asked if they were considering team tactics or ORDERS!!! and he said:

      I haven’t had time to look at all the mathematics and scenarios, but it is something that we will look at pretty closely between now and Brazil.

      Well Well looks like we’re gettting our answers in Brazil,an exciting weekend to com.First bets Lewis FTW(for the win)!!!

      Oh i love using these block quotes.

  53. As always, what’s to say that McLaren isn’t already using team orders? Every team does it.

  54. Well for Mclaren it’s a no brainer although considering Button’s lack of pace since about Montreal,Silverstone time he will be no use to Lewis.
    As for Red Bull again they must back Webber,this will be Mark’s best ever chance to win it,while Sebastian will have more chances,as soon as he learns to overtake he will do it.They simply cannot hope Alo has a DNF in Brazil and if they have a car advantage,give Mark the win and then get Sebastian 2nd.

  55. To repeat the same point made earlier: it’s NOT just a question of saying Red Bull and McLaren should use team orders. The drivers have to agree. Button *may* well decide that his almost non-existent chances should be traded to help Hamilton to the maximum, but it’s clear Whitmarsh will be talking to him about it, not ordering him. As for Vettel, I’d say there’s absolutely no chance Vettel will give in now. And it’d be deluded to think Red Bull could or would try to force him: alienating Vettel is the very last of their intentions. Ferrari ‘ordered’ Massa but the result was extremely contentious and blew up in their faces, though they ultimately got away with it, at least externally.

  56. I agree completely with you Keith and don’t think theres anything hypocritical about it. Redbull should have looked at the situation after spa for these reasons:
    Firstly they should have accepted Ferrari were playing by a different rule code, they had decided the only way they were going to win WDC was by fully backing Alonso even though Massa may have been mathematically still in contention – and they weren’t penalised with points. This doesn’t just mean moving over, it means giving preferences in qualifying and priority in the race – for example instead of strategically thinking the teans goal is to give both drivers the maximum possibility of finishing as high up the order as possible in whatever order, it means giving priority to one driver to ensure they finish higher than everyone including their teammate – Redbulls results at Monza would have been quite different for example.
    Secondly Redbull weren’t by any means so far ahead that they were guaranteed to show up at every remaining track and dominate over ferrari or mclaren for that matter.

    I think redbulls team stewardship and backing both drivers (i.e. Vettel to the end) is based more on pressures from marketing concerns and the european energy drinks market. The best thing for drinks sales and fitting with Redbulls image would be the young finger pumping Vettel as WDC. That would keep all the head brass happy. A come from behind win would be particularly good for sales.

    Horner (and the team) are now at a point where he has to rethink what is the better outcome for the redbull brand – finishing first or being runner up.

    Its a shame australia doesn’t rate in importance of global sales – it’s odd given the strength of the economy and being quite a wealthy country. After webber retires it may be some time before we see another aussie driver on the grid. Redbull should have kept Coulthard as Vettels no 2 driver – or better yet, Eddie Irvine and given him a blank chequebook, a license to party and be a rock and roll red bull ambassador and sell energy drinks.

  57. Younger Hamilton
    27th October 2010, 0:46

    For McLaren, the decision is a complete no-brainer. Neither of their drivers has a particularly good chance of winning the world championship


    They are both still in the World Championship mathematically and What McLaren(not sure about Red Bull)are doing is giving their drivers equal chances of winning the title who knows Jenson might win the last two races.

    1. Younger Hamilton
      27th October 2010, 0:50

      and also Keith, havent you heard of a little motto or phrase,known as Anything is Possible!!! you sound a hypocritical and Biased especially FOR Ferrari what are you a Ferrari fan i wont blame you there lots of ‘McLaren haters’ that follow this blog and Alonso gets into everyone Minds

    2. @ YoungerHamilton

      Even when Button wins both GP’s he won’t become world champion.

  58. .ooooookay…

    If they can run 2 drivers they will. But anything omre than 1 driver is better than 1. i.e. If they give suppport to Webber, and then give every other opportunity to vettel then they haven’t completely said no to vettel, they have him in case all goes to hell, but they aren’t risking the chance of a redbull purely to give vettel a sligthly bigger chance

  59. Who’s favourite in Brazil, Ferrari or Red Bull, that’s the first question.

    If Ferrari can get an 1-2 finish like they did in 2007, Alonso will be 21 points ahead of Webber and maybe more if Webber doesn’t finish 3rd.

    If Red Bull is faster, than it’d be stupid to see Vettel win in front of Webber while Alonso gets 3rd. That was also the case in Japan, I really expected Webber to win at Suzuka, but apparantly Red Bull doesn’t like to win titles.

  60. Beggars can’t be choosers. Priority for Red Bull is get the championship. At this point in the season it shouldn’t matter who wins it, but as long as hes driving a Red Bull.

    Given Alonso has claimed 133 points from a potential 175 points in the last 7 races for me its a no brainer to put all their eggs in one basket.

    1. Hamish – I completely agree. Any other strategy is foolish.


    Off subject, so my apologies:

    Am I right in saying that Alonso has no replacement engines for the last 2 races having previously used his entitlement? For how many races has he been using the same engine? What is the average life of a Ferrari engine? If he has to use a new engine, will a grid penalty be applied?

    Appreciate your time in responding,

    Kind Regards

    1. I’ll try my best:

      He has no new engines but can still use any old engines he has.

      He will use his Monza engine for the next 2 races but can still use any previous ones if they wish. The Monza engine is the freshest, it only did one race.

      I heard they can cover more than 2000km with a unit, so at least 4 races without counting practice. They tend to use older engines for practice.

      If he uses a new engine he will get a penalty unless his engine blows up during a race. If that happens i think he can get a fresh one for the next race without a penalty.

      I might be totally wrong in that last answer but i think that’s what happens.

      1. Monza plus Interlagos sounds a heavy workout before the final race.

        1. Regis/David,

          Thank you for your time in responding. Your answers make the situation a lot clearer.

          Kind Regards

    2. Alonso has used engine nº8 for the last 4 races (3 wins).
      nº 7 has done 1 race (i guess he’ll be using this one) and nº 6 has done 2 races.

      Great Ferrari engine reliability in the 2nd part of the seasson.

  62. Team orders always have, and always will be part of the sport, i dont agree with them being used when not Necessary but in the case of both red bull and mclaren i agree that it’s ok, if they arnt used then alonso is just 2 3rd places away from snatching the title away from teams (well RBR) with a faster car!

  63. if he takes anew/fresh engine then yes! a penalty will apply, not how many races his other engines have done tho…..
    an engine penalty possibly to cost a driver a title? that would be a farce…… but could happen

  64. Wheter it’s hypocrisy, pragmatism or something else – the fact of the matter is that as long as money is involved, team orders will always be there; hence the rule is absolutely pointless! Why is it better to be cheated into “believing” that no orders were given, than knowing up front that they are and always will be.

    I always loved racing for being a clean, gentleman sport without too many cluttering, nonsense rules. The fastest man wins – done deal. It is certainly pulling the other direction recently, by suddenly enforcing a rule broken by all, by punishing honest overtaking attempts and so on.

    Please explain how a rule can be sustained whether or not the math says this or that? If you add simple statistics to the same math, the result will be entirely different! Why should team orders be illegal while differentiating upgrades are not? Seriously: “Team orders” + “Illegal” = CONTRADICTION!

    Free us from the nonsense and clutter and give us the clean TEAM sport we used to have!

  65. Let us suppose that FIA handed a hard penalty to Ferrari after Hockenheim, thus reinforcing strongly the norm…

    But then in Abu Dhabi all three teams have a real chance to win the championship if they switch their drivers’ position during the race…

    How would they act? Open question for everybody reading…

  66. Poor Keith, getting a lot of stick here. Just think if it weren’t for Keith this discussion woudn’t even be happening.
    The situation now is different to Hockenheim, there is only two races to go!

    1. Ah, this is nothing. Wait until I write another article saying the world championship should be decided by whoever wins the most races :-)

      1. I’m definitely coming round to that idea. Too many races this year we’ve seen a close second place driver fail to push for a first-place in the closing stages, playing safe. It would also inevitably lead the front runners to push the car to the maximum, either chasing or keeping the lead, which would add to the drama.

        1. hmmm… ther are positives about the idea; maybe it would even promote more daring race strategies with tyres. It certainly would make each and every single race important to win, not just to finish well.

      2. I would actually agree with that idea, we need to see more fighting at the top !

      3. Well, the new point system implemented this seasson aims to benefit the race winner, doesn’t it? The difference of 7 points between 1st and 2nd is significant

        Thus this is a very close championship, the fact is that the driver that has won more racers is leading the championship:
        1 – Alonso 5 wins
        2- Webber 4 wins
        3- Hamilton 3 wins
        4- Vettel 3 wins

        1. Well maybe that proves there is no need for the medal system. The point gap between 1st and 2nd is about right

      4. Ive been reading all these comments Keith and what is clear that, you have been getting a lot of stick from loads of members, and quite rightly so I think, because sometimes ur articles are governed by your heart and are strongly in favour of Mclaren and strongly against ferrari. If Alonso wins the world title and its a big if, he would have deserved it and done it all alone, as many of your members have already pointed out, the only help Alonso has got from Massa is a net 1 place in Germany. Infact Massa has never been competitive enough to take points off Alonsos rivals and help him out. And because of his non competitiveness we all know that even with that victory Massa was never a real contender to the title. I personally am not convinced by team orders but I can see where Ferrari are coming from, and as for Mclaren backing Hamilton (they have done for years anyway), and Red Bull backing anyone, well I think that its a bit wrong to say “yes they should” after saying that Ferrari “shouldnt have asked Massa to move over”. The fact is Button has helped Hamilton all year by taking points of his rivals, Massa hasnt. And neither of them for me wee ever going to win the title.

  67. Every body has talked soooo much about it and so recklessly, that now, neither McLaren nor RBR can’t use team orders in the way they need, that it’s maybe swaping positions in the last race in a Ferrari way.

    But I really think that other kind of teamn order more “polite” are deployed since some races… And I’m not talking about “saving fuel”, but can you understand why the Team let Button to change tyres in Korea when he was going to come back to race behind 5 cars slower than him. I don’t know if that was a measured risk or just a way to definitely set aside Button from the fight for the title.

    Well never know it.

    1. I don’t know if that was a measured risk or just a way to definitely set aside Button from the fight for the title.

      I think I can be safe in saying… That was a stuff up by McLaren, and the intention was to assist Button (his tyres were completely shot) and not to hurt him.

  68. The team orders could trigger some very funny scenarios, imagine that:
    In Brazil, in the last laps the classification is:
    1-Vettel, 2-Webber, 3-Alonso
    What would Red Bull do? I believe they would switch the positions, finishing:
    1-Webber, 2-Vettel, 3-Alonso,
    leaving the championship with: Alonso-246, Webber-245, Vettel-224

    And Let’s imagine that in the last race, Alonso and Webber had some accident and loose ground finishing 6th Alonso and 7th Webber, and leaving Vettel in the first place. The championship would be:
    1-Alonso 254, Webber 251, Vettel 249.
    The decision of the previous grand prix would cost the title to Vettel.

    But the most funny scenario would be:
    In Brasil 1-Vettel, 2-Webber, 3-Alonso and no team orders.
    The championship would be:
    Alonso – 246, Webber – 238, Vettel – 231

    In the last race, at some point:
    1-Vettel, 2-Webber, 3-Alonso
    Red Bull orders Vettel to let pass Webber, and Webber would be champion if the race ends in:
    1-Webber, 2-Vettel, 3-Alonso
    Then Vettel does a slight mistake, misses one turn, and Alonso pass him to became champion, leaving webber convinced that vettel did that on purpose… The season would end with a punch fight in the podium while alonso celebrates is tri.

    1. Great scenarios but you can have even more.
      And what about this one ??
      Red bull play team orders and they win the championship but leave there proofs of team orders in such a way that FIA has to come into the game and give them penalties not only to the team but also to the driver that forces him to lose the championship.
      It can hapen, Ferrari found guity but no proofs, but what about there is proofs??

  69. Keith you are being hypocritical.

    You are stating a moral belief that contradicts actions you are advocating. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

    There’s no shame in it. It’s ok. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being hypocritical. Indeed hypocrisy for sake of pragmatism should generally be lauded, putting aside beliefs to do what is right etc.

    And really that’s the reality of modern sport: pragmatism. Doing what you must do to win or winning at all costs.

    Despite what’s best for their teams Button & Vettel want to win for themselves.

    Drivers are selfish, fans appear largely individualist but the fact is F1 is a team sport of which team orders are part. This should be celebrated not denigrated. People working together for a common goal.

    1. that’s what Ferrari did and Keith wrote multiple articles against it. Now the same guy backing same action because they need it for Hamilton.

      1. Now the same guy backing same action because they need it for Hamilton.

        No, as I wrote in the article and as I wrote immediately after the WMSC decision, both McLaren and Red Bull should do it because the rule against it isn’t being enforced.

  70. Accidental Mick
    27th October 2010, 17:05

    Oh Dear Keith – you do like a bit of controversy, don’t you? :) I do understand the point you make and can follow your reasoning but don’t agree with your conclusions.

    The closest analogy I can think of is in horse racing. A trainer might have two (or more) horses running in the same race. The horses will have been trained, coached and prepared by the same team of people but will have different jockeys.

    If a trainer were to suggest that one jockey concedes to another (even if it didn’t happen) the trainer might end up in prison. He would certainly lose his training licence and be “warned off” i.e. he would never be allowed on a race track again. The same applies if he gave favoured status (better food, more training, etc) to one horse over the other.

    If the jockey did as he was told, he would lose his racing licence. Both of these punishments are for life.

    Race fixing is cheating.

    1. That is a very good analogy. There is a much stronger moral code in horse racing whereby it is universally condemned as wrong to enter a race and not do 100% to win.

      1. I think it has less to do with moral and more with the fact that betting has always been the horse racing sustainer.

        Fixing horse races = fixing bets with somebody benefiting (boxing another clear example)

        Would anybody say that horse racing is a team sport? Don’t see the analogy

      2. Of course there is cheating in horse racing – but the point is that cheating is agreed to be wrong, and heavily punished when found out.

        In F1, race fixing seems to be acknowledged (by some) as so inevitable that it should just be accepted as “part of the sport”. That difference in attitude I cannot understand.

        1. my point is that I doubt that there is a stronger moral in horse racing, it’s more that the heavy fines are regulated to protect betting. F1 is a different business, advertisers finance the sport.

          Team orders (not exactly the same as race fixing) are generally accepted cause all teams use them (more or less blatantly). Conclusion: the current regulation doesn’t work, needs to be adapted

        2. I couldn’t agree more Casanova. In other professional sports, match fixing is a very serious issue. There are cricket players in certain countries that could face the death penalty, for match fixing. I don’t condone death penalty by any means, but it’s an illustration of how seriously wrong cheating by attempting to rig the result of a sporting event is okay.

          With the Massa / Alonso situation, in some countries people can legitimately bet on Formula 1, certainly can in Australia, and when Massa conceded to Alonso, what happened all the bets on Massa to win the race? All those people who betting on Massa lost their money, because the race had been fixed so a guy be gifted the race. In any other sport that would be considered match fixing.

  71. ” … If Horner gets this wrong will have to explain to Dietrich Mateschitz how his cars managed to take pole position for almost every race in 2010 without either of their drivers winning the world championship…”

    The explanation is simple: they chose to sign Webber. The guy is a moving disaster. He can’t win the title on his own, even in the fastest car, cause he is no better than mediocre. And in the process of trying to win the title, all he has managed is to take points off Vettel. Vettel has his defficiencies too, for sure, but he has made far fewer mistakes than Webber in losing points. Most points he lost due to car reliability issues. Anywhere Webber has been in his F1 career, he has done nothing. Now he will be part of the reason that RBR will lsoe both titles.

  72. If Alonso gets two 3rd places…it doesn’t matter what the other teams do.

    1. if Webber gets 2 wins it doesn’t matter what Alonso does

  73. The whole scandal around the Hockenheim situation was not the fact that Ferrari had implemented team orders, but it was the blatant way inwhich it was done. That is what caused such great anger. If Massa had been passed by Fernando under braking, locking up a wheel, everybody would have said what a great piece of racing it was.
    The fact is, in my opinion, Felipe Massa and to an extent Rob Smedley, wanted to show to the world how Ferrari were handing the result to Alonso rather than the Spaniard fighting for it on his own terms.
    From the team’s perspective, I think they had decided long before the season started how they were going to handle Alonso. The only way you can successfully, and that is to make him number one driver within the team. Any other way would have risked upsetting the team to the extent that nothing would work, and you would quickly see another 2007 situation rear its ugly head all over again.
    How a team wins championships is very much up to the team concerned, some pretend more than others to hold a more moral high ground, but at the end of the day only winning matters.
    McLaren and Red Bull both are now facing difficult decisions, but both teams have drivers in differing circumstances. Its difficult, but I can see them making their decisions long before the Brazilian Grands Prix.
    It is how they solve this problem, and the level of their discretion that will prove fascinating. They will certainly have to come up with something more clever
    and discrete than ‘Felipe move over’!

    1. “the blatant way in which it was done”? But how can you accept breaking the rule as long as it’s not blatant? You truly outline how crazy the rule is in the first place with this post. Just plain wrong – creating nothing but unnecessary controversy! Why should the teams have to go through trying to make it look like no orders are given?

      Sorry, I just find it absolutely ludicrous!


      1. well that’s exactly what this case is all about: how blatant it was made. Team orders exist in all teams but the huge media roar was orginited by the way Massa and Smedley did handle it. Who is to blame then?
        Well, in my opinion the regulation needs to be changed and adapted to reality. In the emantime, free team orders to all til end of seasson…

  74. Steven Padfield
    27th October 2010, 20:38

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think the FIA “chose not to enforce the rule” banning team orders. They fined Ferrari $100,000 and referred the matter to the WMSC for further review. That constitutes enforcement.

    The WMSC upheld the penalty and ruled that no further punishment was warranted. They did not state that the rule should not be enforced in the future. They simply stated that the punishment already handed down was appropriate for the infraction and they called for clarity in the rule. That doesn’t mean teams are free to issue team orders.

    1. That’s just splitting hairs. Maybe the phrase ‘chose not to enforce’ could be a little less glib. But please, no-one is making the case that that paltry fine was any kind of meaningful punishment or anything that would discourage other teams doing exactly the same thing. To all intents and purposes, they chose not to enforce the rule.

      1. Steven Padfield
        27th October 2010, 22:39

        By that reasoning, a paltry $5000 fine for speeding in the pit lane doesn’t count as enforcement either, and therefore is a tacit license for all drivers to break the pit lane speed limit whenever they want…?

        My point being that if a team or driver flaunts the rules knowingly just because the expected fine is affordable to them – in other words, treats a fine as a “fee” rather than a punishment – I would expect the FIA to come down harder than they would have otherwise.

        My understanding of the WMSC’s ruling is that team orders are still illegal, and $100K is the expected baseline punishment. I expect that if any team still knowingly broke the rule just because they calculated it was worth paying the fine (i.e. treating it like a “fee”), they would end up getting a more serious punishment (just as if a driver expected to be able to simply pay $5000 a race for the privilege of speeding in the pit lane).

        Bottom line, if Red Bull or McLaren were to issue team orders, there would be some kind of punishment, and I believe the level of punishment would be based on what’s at stake. If the offender stands to win $200M or whatever, I don’t think the FIA would stand by and fine them $100K and then still let them win. This close in the championship, they would probably revoke points or something more serious, especially since the WMSC has explicitly upheld the rule.

        I see it as analogous to Hamilton’s “unsportsmanlike behavior” flag. That was not an invitation for others to repeat the infraction. Rather, it was a warning to everyone that the next person who does that is going to get smacked down.

        That being said, there is definitely vagueness in the rule that could allow a team to issue well disguised orders… but if you were a team principal how much would you be willing to gamble that you could lie your way through another team orders hearing and come through with your winnings intact?

        1. My point being that if a team or driver flaunts the rules knowingly just because the expected fine is affordable to them – in other words, treats a fine as a “fee” rather than a punishment – I would expect the FIA to come down harder than they would have otherwise.

          Exactly. A very good explanation of why another flouting of the team orders rule, after it has been clarified post-Hockenheim, would and should be treated a lot more severely.

        2. Steven, that’s a rather weak comparison. You don’t gain points by speeding in the pit lane – unless to an extreme extent – which would almost certainly result in a DQ.

          When you order drivers to swap place you directly swap points between them and a monetary “fee” is equal to not enforcing the rule at all. Obviously they know that they’ve shot themselves in the foot by introducing it in the first place. How clear must the team order be before the rule is enforced? They are bound to end up with loads of uncertainty calling for too much entrepetation resulting in a less clean, less fair sport which should have lead intelligent decision makers never to suggest it in the first place!

          With rules like that we might as well start watching football instead: “That was a clear penalty kick offense!” – “Yes, but the referee didn’t see it.” “Now, that was NOT a penalty kick offense!” – “No, but it looked like it to the referee.”

          1. I think Steven is right. Despite the penalty the rule was upheld.

      2. Using that logic, the same could be said about Hamilton in Valencia – passing the safety car. Actually it’s worse, because the next team that does it would get black flagged or punished immediately so that the driver couldn’t maintain the position as Hamilton did…

        1. But Hamilton actually did receive a true race penalty even though the execution was clumsy.

          1. But Ferrari did receive a penalty as well. Again, how should Alonso be penalized when he did nothing wrong. Great, penalize Ferrari and Massa – how do you penalize Alonso?

            Hamilton received 18 points for Valencia and Alonso received 4 points. He was assured at least 15 points for 3rd place had Hamilton allowed both of them to easily and rightfully get in front of the pace car. Hamilton jumbled it trying to stick it to Alonso – illegally passed the safety car and could have been disqualified or received a stop and go, at the very least. That is really cheating by the driver, slowing down to try and get Alonso stuck behind the SC and passing it himself -Alonso did no wrong in Germany and the FIA agrees.

            Alonso lost at least 11 points in Valencia (3rd 15points 8th 4points) and also gave Hamilton a free ride in no pressure etc. for the GP…. so the 7 points everyone is crying about is a red herring – I don’t hear anyone in the paddock whispering about it (if I’m wrong, please advise)…

          2. You are completly right and I coulnd’t agree more. I have actually posted this in previous articles, specialy pointing out that Hamilton’s manouver overtaking the SC was deliberate to leave Alonso stuck behind the SC.
            1. Ham sees the SC
            2. Ham slowds down. Just keeping pace and him, Alonso and Massa would have passed the SC
            3. Ham speeds up miscalculating the SC line

            Watch video with Helicopter images:

          3. We had a discussion about this at the time:

            Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car?

            If the stewards had thought he’d done it deliberately I expect he’d have been given a very severe penalty.

          4. Thanks Keith, I missed that one. Readers opinion was clear:

            Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car?

            Yes (56%, 2,110 Votes)
            No (34%, 1,281 Votes)
            Not sure (10%, 395 Votes)
            Total Voters: 3,784

  75. casanova

    thats garbage im afradi. horseracing is rife with cheating. hay, sport is generally. like i said 3000 posts ago. if you watch top level sport dont use it as a touchstone for high moral values.

  76. After the 2010 WDC & WCC postings will choke the site.

  77. No-one at Red Bull will publicly say whether or not they are going to support Webber. We will just have to wait until the races to see what happens.

    If they are going to use team orders, do you think that they want Ferrari to know for sure?

    If they know that Vettel is playing second fiddle, then they will interpret his strategies as such. They will also know that if Vettel is storming away in clear air and Webber is 2nd…Alonso will only have to pass Mark and stay there…don’t worry about chasing down Vettel and increasing his tyre wear (or engine wear).

    Also, by saying that they aren’t using team orders, if they are subtle about the switch, they wouldn’t have to front the WMSC at all. Remember, team orders are still illegal and as shown in the past, the FIA isn’t a beacon of impartiality and use of a precedent in dishing out punishment.

    If RBR were going to be pragmatic about team orders, they would also be pragmatic about maximising their tactical advantage and covering their arse from the FIA.

  78. AgBNYC – for some reason there is no “reply” on your post but no; Ferrari only received a monetary “penalty”. I has nothing to do with the championship and as such, can not be regarded a penalty.

    1. Fair enough. A penalty is not a penalty if does not affect the Championship – then Hamilton’s “penalty” in Valencia is not a penalty – Hamilton keeps the 11 point difference it cost Alonso – keeping him alive in the championship…

  79. Please don’t pretend you don’t get it.

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