The problems with a two-tier championship


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The chase for the championship

Riccardo Patrese waving the sister Williams of Nigel Mansell by at Magny-Cours in 1992. David Coulthard blending out of the throttle at Melbourne to let Mika Hakkinen win in the other McLaren. A chorus of boos at Austria in 2002 as Rubens Barrichello surrenders victory for Ferrari to team mate Michael Schumacher.

A driver giving up without a fight is an ugly sight that makes a mockery of Formula 1.

We’ve seen it again this year and inevitably it’s sparked a long-running argument. One which never really went away after what happened at Hockenheim, but has increased in volume since Fernando Alonso took over the top of the championship standings in Korea.

But while anti-Ferrari and Alonso vitriol has been in plentiful supply from some quarters, the greater concern is the damage the sport is voluntarily doing to its own image.

Since Hockenheim we’ve been watching a two-tier championship: two teams each backing two drivers versus one team supporting a single driver, and that does not reflect well on Formula 1.

The weak case for team orders

Various arguments are put forward in defence of the so-called “team orders” that have allowed this to happen and none of them are very convincing.

Let’s be clear: we’re not talking about a team having to choose which of its drivers get the only example of a new performance upgrade, we’re talking about a team ordering a driver to give up his chance of winning a race to help his team mate.

The retort that team orders have been around for a long time is no argument for keeping them. It’s hard to think of any comparable examples in mainstream sport where participants allow themselves to be beaten.

Damp-eyed nostalgics recall the days when Peter Collins surrendered his car and his championship hopes to Juan Manuel Fangio, saying “I have plenty of time to win the championship on my own.”

The bit they leave out is that Collins was killed two years later having never won the title.

Another, even more cynical explanation insists that Ferrari were only in the wrong at Hockenheim because what they did was “blatant”. As if it becomes less wrong when it’s made harder to detect.

The idea that you can sweep it all under the carpet and everything will be fine is flawed. Circumstances will inevitably arise where a team will wish to swap the running order of its drivers and there is no subtle means available to them – especially now that refuelling has been banned.

A team sport, a drivers’ sport, or both?

“Team orders have to be allowed because F1 is a team sport”, goes another defence.

The problem with saying “it’s a team sport” is it isn’t true. Nor is it an individual’s sport. Confusingly, it’s both. We have a drivers’ championship and a constructors’ championship.

And this is the root of the problem: while teams have a championship of their own to win it tends to be treated as a “consolation prize” while the real focus of their efforts is making sure one of their drivers wins the drivers’ championship.

One solution could be to scrap the drivers’ championship. But I doubt that would ever happen because more people tune in to see who will win the drivers’ championship than the constructors’.

Ask someone who won the 2009 F1 championship and they’ll answer “Jenson Button“, not “Brawn GP”.

Why a ban is essential

The only realistic solution therefore is to uphold the team orders ban.

The idea that the ban is not enforceable is palpable nonsense. The FIA has access to radio communications, extensive telemetry from the cars and hours of video replays from every race.

In September the World Motor Sport Council had no difficulty in concluding that Ferrari had used team orders and interfered with the race result in Hockenheim.

The only thing that’s missing is a willingness to enforce the rules with meaningful punishments rather than tokenistic fines. Regrettably, the FIA now seems set on scrapping the team orders ban.

This is a great shame. The kind of race manipulation, of which Hockenheim was only the most recent example, is widely and correctly perceived as unsporting.

Who can say a championship is not devalued if it is won by someone who had one fewer competitor than everyone else?

The advantage of not having to compete against the only other person who has the exact same equipment as you cannot be underestimated. This is why the early years of the 2000s were a turn-off for so many.

This brings us back to the distinction between the drivers’ and the constructors’ championship. The teams may spend the money and build the cars, but it’s the drivers who take the risk of driving them.

Felipe Massa knows this all too well – the German Grand Prix was the first anniversary of his horror crash at the Hungaroring.

Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?


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Thanks to Neil Davies of the Caricature Club for allowing me to use his excellent illustration. See more of Neil’s work on his blog.

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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198 comments on “The problems with a two-tier championship”

  1. That is an exceptionally god picture. Poor little Felipe.

    1. Why do we keep harking back to Germany
      Massa was laying third and was constantly slower than alonso
      if vettle had not swiped accross at alonso massa would have been running third
      As to team orders i dont have a problem with them and to be honest 2008 was a stupid champion ship as was 2009
      lets be honest
      button not won a race in nearly ten years but sudenly due to FIA rules wins because of car is so dame fast like the Red Bull of 2010
      so do we really want another fake drivers champion winning in a super fast car that granny can win in or do we want the best racer to win
      mark webber nice guy but not great driver
      common last year due tocar and now this year is only wining because of car is so fast
      I know what i want do you

      1. I want you to go back to school and learn to spell, and after that to stay there and learn to punctuate. And then learn to form sentences.

        1. That’s a funny response ha ha ha…

        2. William Wilgus
          5th November 2010, 14:40

          It would appear that English is not his native language and not deserving of your post. How many languages are you fluent in?

          1. Oops, sorry if the link breaks the page for somebody.

          2. William Wilgus
            5th November 2010, 22:18

            REPLY TO PERF:
            That is true. However, have your read any British authors? They’re among the worst for punctuation and clarity of writing—despite ‘inventing’ the language!

      2. Please, if you are going to comment in such a confrontational manner, do take the time to make sure that someone may be able to read and even possibly understand it.

      3. I understand you perfectly. By the way, this is my best English School. A lot of F1Fanatic teaching as English. English are the best teachers in the world. They teach us English, F1, Football, Tennis better than they know. Thanks. (this is not a joke)

  2. Massa has no change of winning anything this year. He vows to help Alonso. Button has no change of winning anything this year, why does he not help Hamilton?
    If either Webber or Vettel would have helped the other guy they both would have been 1-2 in the champsionship. When Alonso takes the title, that is because he has done the impossible in the second half of the season. Good strategy as well.

    1. I think the question is formulated the wrong way around.
      Think about it, why would any competitor in any sport support his rival in winning it? And why should that not be frowned upon?

      Compare it to other sports with individuals competing from a supportive team.
      Lets give it a try: ice skating and cross-country skying are a bit alike in that aspect, they have teams operated comercially, are dependant on the technical preparations and training schedule set out by the team, but compete directly on track between each other.

      Can you imagine them giving up a victory in a race to help their stablemates win it or the championship? And would the sporting bodies tolerate such behaviour? In both cases I would seriously doubt it.

      1. IT happens in the Tour de France. In fact, team orders are standard in that.

        1. Absolutely. And it’s not boring to watch, is it ?

          1. Errr, extremely boring in fact. But that has nothing to do with team orders…

        2. But the team know before it starts who the lead rider is going to be, and there is no rule stating it’s illegal.

          It’s like trying to argue you should be allowed to smoke joints in the UK because it’s legal in Holland.

        3. That is a bad example. No matter how good you are a bike riders, you’d never win on your own due to the effort you save following your team mates.

          A F1 championship can be won by an individual driver much more easily. Yes, they have a team but not so much when they are on the track!

        4. Using the Tour de France as an example, is… Incredibly naive. The two sports are so far apart in this respect it’s not funny.

          The Ice Skating and Horse racing comparisons are much better to use as examples. In the recent Melbourne cup, Bart Cummings (I think) ran two horses, and there is huge amounts of financial interest in horse racing. If the judges were to conclude that either one of his horses had been ordered to perform at a lower standard than possible. Both both of his horses would be disqualified and Bart banned from the sport.

          1. You can’t use horse racing as an example, because it exists for betting!

            Cycling is a good example. In cycling you can use one of your riders to influence the pace of a competitor. You can do the same in car racing. In some cycling races you get time bonuses for being first to check points, so teams arrange themselves so their lead rider is in front. There is also the points race where it makes sense to try to get your team’s top rider in front (especially if they have lapped the field) every 5th lap when they score points. This is exactly the same as the team orders situation in F1.

            If team orders are banned then punish the offenders properly, but if they’re not then it’s like cycling, I don’t mind either way.

            If we ban team orders then does that include splitting the strategies of your drivers to give the team a better chance at victory, even though it might reduce the chance for one driver?

            What do we do when two team mates are together on track and the driver behind is on a different strategy? Should the team mate ahead be forced to hold them up? Because letting them go would be a team order. You wouldn’t normally let a competitor go in that situation but it makes sense from a team’s point of view.

            How about when one driver has an ailing car but is ahead? You’d probably still fight for position if it were a driver from another team, but McLaren did this recently and with Button being let go when he caught Hamilton with that gearbox problem and nobody blinked. That’s a team order.

            If you say letting your team mate go when you have a problem is fine, then how bad does the problem have to be?

          2. dyslexicbunny
            5th November 2010, 18:05

            McLaren did this recently and with Button being let go when he caught Hamilton with that gearbox problem and nobody blinked. That’s a team order.

            Did McLaren order Hamilton to let Button past? If yes, it is a team order. If not, then not really.

            The logic likely was this:
            -I’m driving a wounded duck.
            -My teammate is behind me.
            -He will eventually get past me.
            -Why risk team points unnecessarily?

            Would he do the same for another team? Probably not but there might be driver etiquette for it – similar to soccer when someone on the other team is actually hurt and you kick the ball out of bounds.

            I would contend that a situation like Vettel in Turkey is more team orders than this. Having the driver behind revs up on his lead teammate who is still in conserve mode is much more manipulation than letting a healthy teammate pass.

          3. Yeah, but this is my point, it’s only a question of degree. Where do you draw the line?

            Also, the No. 2 driver is also a member of the team. What, really, is the difference between them deciding the No. 1 driver needs to be in front of them right now, and the guy on the pit wall doing it? The result is the same from our perspective.

        5. Not really. Although team orders have been pretty common and still are, the organisers have been crashing down on them quite a bit lately (banning radio communication to the drivers etc.) to make the sport more pure.

  3. Awesome picture

    1. I love the cartoon. Keith is there anywhere we could download it or even buy it? I would certainly buy it if it were in a poster form!

      1. Keith, hope this doesn’t contravene the no advertising policy!

        Neil the artist’s blog says: Very happy to supply A3 prints of the illustration, price would be £12.50 – anyone interested can e-mail me on [email protected] :)

  4. I think the whole team orders debacle is flawed. It should be the choice of the driver to decide if comming second behind their team mate is a better outcome than winning.

    The problem is enforcing this by law. How can you make a distinction between a driver making the choice or a team order, when the driver in question (e.g. Massa) says that it was his choice (even when we all know it wasn’t).

    The unfortunate reality is that this is something that sometimes happens. We don’t like it, the FIA don’t like it, but the rule cannot be enforced.

    1. how about driver to driver radio and if it comes about we can listen to the drivers not the team during the race……

    2. Teams will just wield financial pressure to bear. Like conveniently not renewing their second drivers until the very end of the season… or structure the bonuses in such a way that both drivers are incentivised to make *one* of them the winner of the drivers’ championship.

  5. Oy vey, we’ve been at this for a while. Certainly the only real way to fix the existing ambiguities is to either enforce the ban unrelentingly or rescind it and only the first option is desirable in my view. What I must point out though, Keith, is that lately you’ve often brought up other examples from recent years of drivers letting team mates past, arguing that it was OK because they were on different strategies or out of the championship. Surely, if the argument is that giving up position without a fight demeans the championship, it applies across the board, no matter particular circumstances – doesn’t it?

    1. I agree completely with Maciek here. If a team order is banned that needs to be done irrespective of the timimg of it. So, if a Alonso win will be devaluated, than the same should be for all, like Raikennon in 2008 and not only “the early years of the 2000s”. But it is never said as Keith and many others here seem to justify here that the team orders are fine when the other driver is out of the chmpionship.

  6. No one respects a winner who has been given a race or a title. And if they are truly a champion neither will they.

    1. Just As Cynical
      5th November 2010, 18:57

      Agreed. If Alonso wins by 7 points or less, then what will the fans think of his championship. It will be analogous (well, a bit of a stretch, I admit) to his win in Singapore.

      Alonso a champion? Nah.

  7. I don’t have time to make a full response, which this article deserves – so I’ll just say this.

    Had Kimi Raikkonen not moved out of the way for Felipe Massa in China 2008, Lewis passing Timo Glock on the final corner of the final lap of the Brazilian GP would not have decided the Championship like it did.

    As a lifelong fan, I have no issue with team orders, as long as the situations in which they are enforced are justifiable. I honestly don’t care that ‘it’s not racing’ or that , but if you’re going to ban team orders full-stop, there’s no point having two ‘drivers’ in a single ‘team’. They may as well all run as individuals for their own purposes, like tennis players and golfers do, if that’s the case. That said, I believe Hockenheim was not a justifiable situation for telling a driver to surrender a win.

    One more thing. After all this debate, I’ll bet you now that the ‘Felipe Factor’ will have as much impact on the championship this weekend as it has ever since Hockenheim – namely, none.

    1. I honestly don’t care that ‘it’s not racing’ or that , but if you’re going to ban team orders full-stop, there’s no point having two ‘drivers’ in a single ‘team’.

      Sorry, that should read: I honestly don’t care that ‘it’s not racing’ or that it may count as ‘fixing’ a race to Sau Paolo officials or betting shops.

    2. I think a distinction needs to be made between team orders and drivers decision.

      For example, Coulthard compared the Hock situation to one in which he had agreed with Hakkinen prior to a race, that whoever got to the first corner first gets to win the race.

      I think this comparison is in error, as the team didn’t force him to give up the place, he chose to.

      1. So, what? It’s ok for drivers to manipulate the results of a race but not teams?

        1. The regulations don’t ban drivers from manipulating the race. We may not be particularly appreciative of drivers who choose to relinquish a place, but a team ordering a driver to slow down to let another pass is considerably worse because it shows a lack of respect for the regulations as well as for the sport and of the disadvantaged part of the team.

  8. It’s difficult for me to articulate my thoughts on this subject without sounding like I’m rambling and repeating myself, but I’m all for the ban of team orders. People say that it’s impractical and impossible to police and that every team does it subversively, so Ferrari should be applauded for doing it so openly in Germany. It’s somehow become acceptable because everyone does it.

    The pro-team orders argument seems to centre around the idea that Formula 1 is a team sport. And yes, it is – but at the same time, it’s the teams supporting an individual driver. It is the driver who becomes World Champion, the driver who carries the coveted number one on his car the next year. A driver can win the World Drivers’ Championship without his team winning the World Constructors’ Championship. Ask most people who they support in Formula 1, and they will probably answer with a driver’s name rather than a team’s.

    Look at me: I’m a Jenson Button fan. I have been since 2000, when he joined the sport (I needed someone whose career I could follow). When he left Williams, I didn’t care too much. When he left Renault, it was the same. I didn’t keep supporting those teams after he left them. I am completely neutral towards Brawn/Mercedes now that Button is driving for McLaren. And I think most people will be the same: driver first, team second. If you liked Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld last year, would you still support BMW Sauber now that they’re gone?

    Maybe this is just some romantic, idealised notion that I’ve come up with, but when I watch racing, I want to see racing. And one driver heroically moving over to let his team-mate through and let his championship challenge fade away is not racing. It’s a farce. It would be like going to watch the soccer, only to see everyone on one team take dramatic, over-acted dives at every opportunity, and then win the match by scoring penalty kicks. It’s not cool in soccer and that’s a team sport – so why is it suddenly okay in Formula 1?

    I can’t really speak as to what happened in the WMSC prosecution of Ferrari, but we do know that the FIA decided not to prosecute because of a lack of evidence. Part of me suspects they were cowed by Ferrari, who have enjoyed a relationship with the FIA that has been too good for two long. They were deeply critical of Max Mosley and his plans for a budget cap because it would create a “two-tiered” championship, yet they’ve gone and created a two-tiered championship of their own.

    This is going to sound really horrible, but I hope the stories about the prosecutor threatening Felipe Massa with an arrest are true. And I hope Massa does it and gets himself arrested on conspiracy to commit fraud. And because the legal definition of conspiracy is that more than one person has collaborated to commit a crime. I daresay they could get Massa, Alonso, Domenicalli and di Montezemolo (if he’s there) at the very least. If I were a judge presiding over such a case, I know I wouldn’t release them on bail, knowing full well that they’ll probably do it again a week later in Abu Dhabi.

    Sure, that might ruin the championship – but team orders are never acceptable. One driver should not have to give up something he has worked towards for the sake of another who simply cannot match him. Alonso might have been faster than Massa in Germany, but he clearly wasn’t that much faster if he needed team orders to win. To me, the World Champion is the best driver in the world. And if a driver cannot win a race or get a podium or whatever without his team-mate moving over to assist him, then he is clearly not the best driver in the world and he never deserved the title in the first place. But I’m willing to bet the FIA will revoke the team orders ban just to appease Ferrari.

    I hope Alonso’s engine goes in the race an he has to take a grid penalty in Abu Dhabi.

    1. I hope he doesn’t win, but I’d disagree with you that ‘team orders are never acceptable’. If I was leading the final Grand Prix of the season and I was out of the Championship mathematically and my team mate who could win the title by winning was second, I would have no hesitation to move out of the way. My team-mate and my team winning a World Championship is much more important than my winning one single race and it would be selfish in the extreme to not yield and let my team win the big one.

      If you really want each Grand Prix to be an all-out race for the win everytime, the answer is simple. Get rid of the World Championship. Team orders only exist because teams are trying to capture the ultimate prize and the Championship is what really brings the team dynamic into the sport in the first place. Eliminate the Championship, eliminate the team orders issue.

      I’d rather that not happen however. I watch a Grand Prix for the excitement of racing, I watch an entire season for moments like the final lap of Brazil ’08.

      1. Well said Magnificent Geoffrey.

      2. If I was leading the final Grand Prix of the season and I was out of the Championship mathematically and my team mate who could win the title by winning was second, I would have no hesitation to move out of the way. My team-mate and my team winning a World Championship is much more important than my winning one single race and it would be selfish in the extreme to not yield and let my team win the big one.

        I have no problem with that. But Felipe Massa was still a championship contender in Germany – for all we know, a victory on the anniversary of his accident would have buoyed him and he could have won the next three races, becoming a title contender in his own right. I don’t see why one driver should be made to sacrifice his own title ambitions for the sake of his team-mate, especially when that team-mate is already a championship contender and would continue to be so, even without the extra seven points he got for winning.

        1. I should clarify. I fully agree with you that Hockenheim was an unjustifiable use of team-orders. Felipe deserved and probably needed that win to help him recapture his rare but brilliant top-form and to have him win one year from the accident is something I’d have been thrilled to see even though I can’t stand Ferrari.

          What I reject is this idea that team-orders should be banned outright, with a universal ban under any and all circumstances. In my opinion, banning teams from pulling a China 2008 in order to prevent another situation like Hockenheim is an unnecessary overkill response.

          I also believe that Hockenheim was a very peculiar and unique situation and it’s actually quite unlikely we’ll see such a unjustifiable instances of team-orders again any time soon.

          1. What I reject is this idea that team-orders should be banned outright, with a universal ban under any and all circumstances.

            And this is exactly why it is impossible to enforce. There are circumstances where most people would agree that team orders are the right course of action (e.g., last race, team-mate out of contention). But, if it’s okay in one circumstance, how do you penalize it in another? There’s just too much gray area. I’d rather see races decided on the track (even if it is affected by team orders) than litigated at the WMSC.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of team orders. I just think it’s impossible to police. Subtle vs. blatant? It doesn’t really matter. Subtle somehow makes the fan feel like they weren’t cheated, whereas blatant raises peoples’ ire. If I’m going to get hit upside the head, I guess I’d just as soon have it straight, rather than getting a kiss on the cheek at the same time.

      3. “If I was leading the final Grand Prix of the season and I was out of the Championship mathematically and my team mate who could win the title by winning was second, I would have no hesitation to move out of the way.”

        But this isn’t team orders, its a noble gesture by a gentleman racer (and an act that would have you hailed the saviour by the team and give you boasting rights).

        Booting Massa out of the way mid-year against his wishes was a team order.

        1. Booting Massa out of the way mid-year against his wishes was a team order.

          Correct. However, you could say Kimi moving for Felipe in China ’08 was a noble and gentlemanly gesture and not a team-order, but an all-out ban on team-orders would not make that distinction. That’s why I believe that blanket enforcement of the ‘no team-orders rule’ would be a bad thing.

          1. you could say Kimi moving for Felipe in China ’08 was a noble and gentlemanly gesture and not a team-order, but an all-out ban on team-orders would not make that distinction.

            Personally I can’t see why they would not be able to make the distinction.

      4. If I was leading the final Grand Prix of the season and I was out of the Championship mathematically and my team mate who could win the title by winning was second, I would have no hesitation to move out of the way.

        But that’s not a team order, that’s your decision as a driver, so it’s not even against the current rules.

        1. Allways is a driver decision, don’t forget it.

          Massa could avoid the order as he did before in the same GP.

          I think Webber and Button received team orders in Instambul but they decided not to obbey.

          And I repeat again what I told then: In Spanish TV, before Hockenheim race, marc Gené, ferrari test driver, said that both drivers (and the team) had an agreement that if some driver was faster that the other this one will allow the overtaking. Thet’s strategy.

          I really will be allways misunderstanding why you talk about Team orders then, and now everybody is asking for them to RBR.

          What I really see is that there is something dark and deep with Alonso. If he hadn’t won that race in that manner now many people would be looking for new excuses to say he doesn’t deserve the title. i.e: Alonso only won 2 races because the rest were given by RBR, the flex wings (Extrange that noone go on complaining about that issue in RBR, but I’m sure in Ferrari would be another thing)… English press asking massa today about it but noone asking about it to RBR who for sure will do it on sunday or in abu-dabi. Shame…

          Guys, I think that many people had a real personal problem with Alonso. And it doesn’t make any sense to me…

        2. So what if the team asks you to make a noble gesture instead of telling you? Is that a team order?

          1. dyslexicbunny
            5th November 2010, 18:22

            I think this is partially a problem though too.

            Suppose you’re in the situation Daniel with Nick behind you. Before the race I, as your boss, tell you that you are expected to make a noble gesture if it is needed and your employment would end if not.

            Is that a team order? Technically I have given an order that would affect the outcome of a race. Can you enforce such a conversation? I highly doubt that.

            I strongly dislike team orders but the more I think about it, the more I think the ban is just not effective as written. Hopefully we can get sufficient clarification in the offseason.

      5. If I was leading the final Grand Prix of the season and I was out of the Championship mathematically and my team mate who could win the title by winning was second, I would have no hesitation to move out of the way.

        But this is not a team order at all, it is your own decision.

        1. Damn Nick beat me to it!

      6. Although I largely agree with Prisoner Monkeys on this, I do feel there is place for thinking about allowing team orders at situations like in 2007 or 2008 between the Ferrari team mates.

        But on your point about happily moving over for your team mate to win, I am not that sure I would.
        Fine, you move over, your a gentleman, team player and so on. BUT you might never win a race, and you will be judged to have been a loser because you did not have that winning instinct.
        That is where I think Massa should have called Ferrari’s bluf here and just made it to the finish and face the consequences. Would they have fired him? Would we see a inner team fight like we saw with McLaren in 2007? Maybe, or even quite likely.
        But if Massa would have been fired up by it and would have won the championship or even came close he would have made a huge impression on the world.

    2. I’m liking this… Ferrari seems to have touched a nerve. :)

    3. “It would be like going to watch the soccer, only to see everyone on one team take dramatic, over-acted dives at every opportunity, and then win the match by scoring penalty kicks. It’s not cool in soccer and that’s a team sport – so why is it suddenly okay in Formula 1?”

      Although I agree with much of your comment, I feel that I should just be slightly pedantic about this, because unfortunately if you did watch much football (sorry I’m english!) you would see the irony here; they do all try to dive the whole time, in order to gain penalties or free kicks or to penalise the opposition. In fact since football still refuses to use video replays to help with referee decisions, this has affected matches, championships, even the world cups. Footballers do cheat. but. at least most people will agree that it is cheating! whereas in our beloved F1 no one really will go so far as to say that dirty word!

    4. That prosecutor is just seeking media attention.

      The law he talks about is only applicable on NATIONAL sporting events, which is not the case with F1.

      1. If the French national law has anything similar, a case would still be possible since that is the country in which the FIA lives and the FIA would find it difficult to prove that an incident like the one in Germany was within the letter of the regulations (even if convention indicates otherwise). In that case, it would also be possible for someone to bring a case concerning Hockenheim itself. No sporting penalties would accrue since I’m talking about a civil court case (or two) here, but it would make teams think twice about what they were asking from their members…

  9. A two tiered championship? You make it sound like Massa’s had to move every race. For all the talk of Massa ‘helping’ Alonso, he hasn’t had anywhere NEAR the pace to do so. I’m so sick of this story, it just gives me the impression as always that Alonso would be an underserving champion, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    1. True. Thats the only time Massa helped him. Since then Massa has been useless to Alonso.

      My opinion is that it is a team sport, and also a sport which you cannot compare to other sports. The team wants a WDC, and if their weaker driver tries to prevent that from happening by getting in the way, then the team has every right to get that driver to move out of the way. After all, they pay the drivers pay check.

      1. Since then and before that too.

    2. yes, but there’s two reasons this has had such a huge impact and is still being squabbled over.

      1)Should Alonso win by less than 7 points, his win in Germany will be a huge factor in what won him the championship. It’s pretty crummy to think that someone could win by being handed 7 extra points he didn’t actually earn. It’s a driver’s championship which means the season’s points are being rewarded for their driving skills. I think most people can agree that whining for your teammate to pull over is not a “driver skill.”

      2)every event in the championship has ramifications on the following events. As many have said, there’s a lot of “what ifs?” that we can never answer, BUT it is likely that a number of decisions that were made after Germany would have been affected. Massa’s morale could have been infinitely improved and mayhaps he’d be driving better for the rest of the season. It could have been between six drivers seriously contending. Moreover, mayhaps he would have been competing with Alonso for later wins which currently have boosted him into first. We can never truly know how things would have been, but it’s a shame to have not been able to see. And if Massa did wind up in the same position, then Alonso could refute anyone that he’s winning on strictly his own merits.

      1. Full. Agree. With. You.

  10. i agree completely. but the reason the case team orders is so prominant at the moment is because red bull and mclaren have fantastic drivers who want to and can win the championship. if you look at 2000-2009, the world champion has been the driver far and away better than his team mate, hence no need for team orders (which is why austria 2002 was a complete outrage).

    Fernando and ferrari is a tricky one. Alonso has always been faster than massa, he just had an unfortunate start to the season. ferrari knew by hockenheim that alonso was their only real chance at the title despite them both being in mathematical contention. that’s why it looked so bad for the sport to fans and, particularly casual fans. I suppose ferrari had almost given up on the constructors by that stage too given that webber/vettel and button/hamilton seem to be better driver combinations. Similar to 2008 where hamilton carried mclaren on his shoulders while ferrari ran off with the constructors cause massa/kimi was a much more complete package.

  11. We can say a lot of things but one is for sure. On the grid there will be plenty of egoism, adrenalin and place for mistakes. I hope for a good weekend with a lot of turnovers. And as McLaren fan I say – Forza McLaren ;)

  12. Glad the caricature is getting good responses so far! I’ve put it up on my blog now also:



    1. You did them? you are a true artist, they are fantastic !!!

    2. That caricature image is marvellous… personally I think it captures the essence of this years championship perfectly

    3. Amazing work, thanks! :)

    4. Neil this is fantastic, I assume you must be an illustrator or artist of some kind by profession? Is the image being produced to be sold anywhere because you would have one eager customer right here!

    5. Very nice one Neil D. Really captures the situation excellently.

  13. AlonsoFollower
    5th November 2010, 8:37

    Massa is a good driver. And a much better professional. And a gentleman, in the old school sense of the world.

    His words two years ago when he lost the championship in the last race still resonate in my head when I think about an example of how to behave in a sport.

    Yes, the sport fanatics want a winner and that is important for a lot of them, and the sponsors and teams. There are loads of money involved.

    But for me, when watching a sport, it is not really important who “wins”. Usually, the winner is the one who deserves it most. But not always. And that’s not important. What is important is the effort they put into that. Massa has had to recover from a near fatal accident and has returned back to the track without much luck this year, but he has kept trying all the time.

    If he gave way to a team mate in a race was because he felt that it was the right thing to do. And he was probably right. But this is the time for Felipe.

    I really hope that Felipe wins in Brazil. He really deserves a victory. And I hope that the win does not prevent Fernando from winning the world championship. If Fernando loses the title because of this, so be it. The final races have proven that all contenders deserve the title equally well.

    Even if I’m a Fernando supporter, I’m not going to feel bad if Webber, Vettel, Hamilton or someone else wins the title. All of them have done an excellent job during all the season and equally deserve the title.

    1. AlonsoFollower: That’s one of the best comments I’ve read in some time on this site, thankyou!

      Keith: fantastic article, I rank it among your best, possibly your best ever. You have made a great argument, and well captured what I and many fans are feeling. Thankyou!

    2. COTD

      (comment too short)

  14. “Let’s be clear: we’re not talking about a team having to choose which of its drivers get the only example of a new performance upgrade, we’re talking about a team ordering a driver to give up his chance of winning a race to help his team mate.”
    Except when that performance upgrade could make a difference of a few hundred seconds per laps and allow to win the race.
    Can anyone explain to me the if one is more unfair than the other? There is no difference! Both give a driver an advantage, period!

    1. Good point. Say both my drivers had a car advantage at the last race of the season, both were mathematically in with a shot of winning th title, but only one had a realistic shot, and needed to win with his team mate second to guarantee it. What’s to stop me taking a few performance parts off the No. 2 driver to ensure he qualifies a little behind his team mate and only has the performance to finish second?

    2. It might be unfair, but it is all but inevitable at times when they constantly bring new bits and not ruining competition. Otherwise you would need to have a spec series.

      If the team is not capable of giving both guys the best equipment, than that automatically penalizes them in the constructors championship.

  15. Warning: I don’t intend to offend the British people in general, when I refer “British” in the text above, I’m talking about part of their press.

    I’m sick and tired of this talk. There are some british press who suffers of lack of sportmanship and fair play. They couldn’t stand a german winning (maybe because of a native anti-german feeling?). They can’t stand a Ferrari winning over the british teams, and since the events of 2007 they can’t stand Alonso winning.

    So, they (some press) start to make a huge noise, diverting atentions to one or another situation that happened, and try to sell us the idea that they only won because they cheated.

    Please, stop that.
    Team orders is a regular thing in motorsport, they started the first day a team put 2 cars on the track, even Fangio took use of team orders, do we complain that his 5 titles where unfair? Off course not. All teams do that, and I repeat, ALL TEAMS. Remember the save fuel in Turkey? Wasn’t Button giving up a victory without fight? Remember when… Well there are so many cases that I don’t have time to write about them.
    The strange thing is that we only remember the Ferrari’s, why? Read the first paragraph.

    P.S.: Anyone now a good place (caffe, bar, pub, etc.) to watch Formula 1 in Rome in the middle of real fans?

    1. exactly my thoughts.

      1. It’s not necessarily because they ‘can’t stand’ German drivers or Ferrari winning – it’s just what the British press often thinks is something we Brits we enjoy reading, or grabs our attention, based on many cultural stereotypes and myth. Trust me, when something bad happens to Lewis or Jenson there’ll be still be headline making a mockery.

        1. And (sorry for the double post) I hope that last comments about ‘real fans’ isn’t directs at us Brits either :(

          1. The real fans post isn’t direct to Brits at all. It’s just that I will be in Rome next sunday, and I’m looking for a place to watch F1, and I don’t want to see it alone in the hostel or in a caffe with a small TV in the corner…

      2. I couldn’t agree more. This article is nothing more than your average anti-Ferrari rant. British media are already campaigning in order to devalue Alonso’s hypothetical title. They hope that by repeating the same thing over and over again (ie Alonso won the title because Ferrari cheated), the fans will buy it.

        And let’s not forget the cheesiest sentence to ever conclude an article.

        “Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?”

        Thanks for the laugh.

    2. Remember the save fuel in Turkey? Wasn’t Button giving up a victory without fight?

      If you’re saying McLaren have been using secret team orders from an early stage to help Hamilton then why didn’t they instruct Button to hold position behind him in Japan instead of taking points off him?

      They couldn’t stand a german winning

      If that’s aimed at me then, frankly, it’s offensive. I don’t care about that.

      1. In Turkey there was a team order to keep places, that’s prety much obvious. An order that restricted Button for fighting for the victory. The goal was to protect the chances of both drivers and avoid a crash like happened in Red Bull, so what? It was a team order that reduce to zero the fight for the first place. For me it was almost the same that what happen in Hockenheim. But for me it’s ok, I never said I was against the team orders…
        I don’t understand is how some people can blame Alonso for what happened in Hockenheim and forget the rest of the story…
        For example, what happened in Hockenheim 2008, remember? Oh right, Kovalainen was too far away… Or not, remember the classification of the WDC before that race? Ham-48, Mas-48, Rai-48, Kub-46, Hei-36, Kov-24
        So, 24 pts, 2 and a half victories…
        Massa before hockenheim in 2010:
        Ham-145, But-133, Web-128, Vet-121, Alo-98, Ros-90, Kub-83, Mas-67
        78 points, more than 3 victories…

        So, the possibilities of Massa where smaller than the possibilities of Kovalainen in 2008… The fact that he gave up is place to help the best placed teamate is normal.

        Avout the anti-German feeling, I’m not talking about you. I don’t know you for that long. I’m talking about the Austria-gate of 2001-02, and for the noise that followed, motivated in my opinion by an native anti-german feeling off some british press. I don’t know if you shared that opinion or not.

        “Half of a true, its the same as a lie”
        “Repeating a lie constantly wont turn it true”

        P.S.: Sorry for my crappy English…

      2. Maybe because that would have been an obvious use of team orders? If Button was much faster than Hamilton, and they had to get on the radio and tell Button not to overtake that’s team orders clear cut. If they are taking the moral high ground, or want to be seen to be following the rules then they can’t do that.

  16. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    5th November 2010, 8:46

    Keith… A direct question to you… Why don’t you write this rant against team orders using a better example like Hockenheim 2007? I mean. Ferrari’s mess at Germany is easy to see for an untrained eye… but you should know it’s best to bring something a little bit more complex to enlight your position better.

    I ask you to rewrite your whole article using the Kovalainen-Hamilton 2007 Hockenheim team order… It would look better.

    1. You do understand that the Ferrari incident is used as it was so blatant to be undeniable don’t you? The Hamilton Kovalainen incident can not be proven at all (that is not to say that it was or was not a team order though). The only time a order was so blatant before Hockenheim was Ferrari again! Other teams may well be doing it in some way or other but they certainly do it in a much more subtle way. The other thing that makes the Hockenheim order so high profile is that people felt massa deserved to win that race more than anyone else.

      1. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
        5th November 2010, 9:30

        didn’t know your name was Keith…

    2. Younger Hamilton
      5th November 2010, 9:59

      It was 2008 not 07,There was no German GP in 2007 the Heikki and Lewis incident was the right thing to do Lewis had a much lighter car and was on a different strategy compared to Heikki Lewis still had a realistic chance of winning the race while Heikki didnt.

      Thats why that situation is going up on flames like the Schumi-Rubens Austria 2002 or Fernando-Felipe Germany 2010

      1. Younger Hamilton
        5th November 2010, 10:01

        Thats why that situation is going up on flames like the Schumi-Rubens Austria 2002 or Fernando-Felipe Germany 2010

        Thats why that situation is not going up on flames like the Schumi-Rubens Austria 2002 or Fernando-Felipe Germany 2010

    3. What 2007 German Grand Prix?

      And what 2008 German Grand Prix team order? He passed Massa and Piquet easier than Kovalainen, did they move over too?

  17. The only legit argument against Ferrari to me is they forced Felipe to give up a victory when he was also in the competition for the championship. This was wrong.
    But the whole idea of team orders is totally right from the strategic and purely sporting point of view and I admire Ferrari they don’t waste opportunities.

    Yes, it’s against what racing was meant to be, but since there are two cars in one team the modern racing is not individual sport any more. The idealists may not accept this, but they have no argument and just disillusion themselves – why teams cannot work like a team works? (again, not exactly like Ferarri did to Massa this year – it’s important the opponents differentiate those two different things). I was also such idealist until I admit I have no valid arguments.

    If Ferrari wins, they will deserve this title as a team for sure because they did all to win, while McLaren and RedBull can blame only themsleves.

    To sum up – I would ban team orders until a couple of last races of the season.

  18. Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?

    Because he wasn’t good enough to win it himself this year. And if he were, Alonso would’ve been asked to do the same for him.

    Let’s put this into perspective, using a nostalgic example (to counter Keith’s 1956 defence): 1958 – Mike Hawthorn wins the championship from Stirling Moss after Phil Hill gives him 2nd place on a team order. This was also the very first year of the WCC. Just as well Hawthorn won it; he was dead before the 1959 season could even get underway.

    F1 was much more dangerous before, yet if anything, team orders was much more prevalent before as well. If it was expected of drivers then, why not now?

  19. It’s hard to think of any comparable examples in mainstream sport where participants allow themselves to be beaten.

    Every other form of motorsport. It’s prevalent everywhere – WRC, WTCC, MotoGP, NASCAR. Yet it’s perfectly acceptable there.

    The idea that you can sweep it all under the carpet and everything will be fine is flawed. Circumstances will inevitably arise where a team will wish to swap the running order of its drivers and there is no subtle means available to them – especially now that refuelling has been banned.

    I applaud a team that can execute team orders for the right reasons and in the right style. After all, there’s still a mandatory tyre stop…

    1. Other sports? See professional cycling, where the designated team leader is supported by his entire team.

      But actually, how many other mainstream sports are there where individuals from the same team compete to win individually and as a team? That’s certainly not football, rugby or cricket where teams win and lose as a team. Nor is is tennis or golf where individuals are generally competing as individuals. And winning, say, the Ryder Cup relies on individuals from one team beating individuals from another team, not each other.

      Olympic-level athletics is one, I suppose. But how many opportunities are there to impose team orders in the 100 metre sprint?

      1. Think about sports like speed skating, cross country skying etc. where a technical staff from the team (often comercial teams with sponsors) support several athletes directly competing with each other.

        In a way horse racing does have some resemblance as well, although in that sport the betting is so intertwined any suspicion of influencing the results will be closely watched.

  20. 10/10 for that article. It summed it up perfectly.

    I hated it when we had this raft of articles/blogs being uploaded by ‘people in the know’, talking about the day of Peter Collins etc.

    We may as well be saying “Why have colour TV when black and white always worked so well?”.

    I also think it’s a great travesty that the FIA are admitting defeat. You’re right – they have so much access to data that to say it’d be “impossible” to govern is absolute nonsense.

  21. Great Job Neil by the way…

  22. Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?

    I don’t get this at all. Helping another driver has got nothing to do with risking his life.

    This is the real world anyway. If fairness must be applied here, make it 1 driver per team.

  23. well, team orders are common in le mans, cyclism, etc where the team manager decides of the tactics.

    personnally, I think the alonso/hockenheim thing is just insignificant.
    actually, i think the problem is that this story is coming back because of what alonso/ferrari have achieved, coming back from so far in the championship and take the lead.
    well hockenheim didn’t do it all. the others should blame themselves. redbull should have won it already and hamilton did many mistakes under pressure.

    at the end of the day all what matter is winning. incident like austria 2002 are only remembered by F1 fans, 95% of the people remember that ferrari was dominating in 2000/2004. those who care about being fair, following the rules to the letter etc, loose.

    it reminds me the football worldcup. england had a goal refused, and everyone focalised on this. “it is not fair, blablabla”. it became the reason why they didn’t do well in the rest of the competition. no, they lost because they were not good.

  24. The comment section of this article is going to send the site into meltdown……….

  25. Let me see if i can put my thoughts into words.

    Kimi raikonnen won the 07 title due to Massa moving over in brazil right? Now keith says its Ok to do it because Massa was not in the championship any more. So it didnt hurt Massa’s chances. But my point is it did hurt Hamilton’s chances. He could have won if Massa didnt move over. So was it the right thing ? Keith says it was logical? But if you dont win on your own and dont beat your teammate on your own,then its not deserving,isnt it? Kimi had the advantage which mclaren drivers didnt. Judging by that 2007 was also a two tier championship comparing Ferrari and Mclaren isnt it ?? But you didnt protest it at that time nor did any other media sources.

    So judging by this my reasoning would be that the whole post-hockenheim articles by you were based on fact that massa’s chances were supposedly robbed by ferrari. But ferrari didnt botch a pit stop or so.They may have asked massa to move over. But at the end of day, it was Massa who said that it was his decision to move over. In other words, he surrendered his championship chances or admitted he couldnt win it. He gave up. So a question of two tier doesnt arise so long as 2007 is justified IMO..

  26. Will you ban the “save fuel” orders when a driver is behind his team mate as well?

    What you are saying is that ferrari team orders should be banned while redbull and mclaren’s team orders should be allowed. Yes, “SAVE FUEL” IS ANOTHER FORM OF TEAM ORDER.

    1. Younger Hamilton
      5th November 2010, 10:05

      The ‘Save fuel’ order means hold position because the Red Bulls were just acting like animals and end up crashing into each other McLaren wanted to avoid that so they did that plus i think though unlikely that they had the Fuel consumption problem before the beginning of the race

      1. And, that’s still an order once you break it down enough.

    2. Yes it is an order by the team, who know exactly how much fuel they have in the car and how much they need to actually finish the race with a car running.

      This was rather about the team nervous with their drivers not only enthusiastically risking taking each other out of the race, but actually using the last kg of fuel to dice it out instead of making sure they finish.

  27. In it’s current form, it’s unenforceable. Fuel saving and other codewords cannot be proven and are used routinely. It can, and probably is even be done before the race starts

    Even McLaren who claimed not to use them, used to openly admit to allowing Hakkinnen and Coulthard to race to the first bend, only, so the other 98% of the race, they were under team orders not to overtake.

    It seems that people find it unnacceptable only when one driver pulls over for the other early in the championship, and although this is the least palatable, it is no different to, for example deliberately backing slowing down a pursuer in order to help your team mate build up a lead, in both casea one driver compromises his race for the other.

    The only way to do it would be to make it illegal under all circumstances and in all forms. And the only way to do that would be to split the teams in two, with different crews and chinese walls, or to have single drivers per team.

    1. Slowing down a pursuer to let a team-mate go has been banned, at least in certain forms, since Belgium 2005.

      It’s a bit like Article 30.8 of the Sporting Regulations: taken literally, it bans anyone going off the track in any way, shape or form, implying a drive-through penalty at minimum every time it happens. Everyone knows that it would be impractical, not to mention silly, to penalise everyone who does it whether they gain time, lose it, are unaffected or turn half their car into carbon fibre fragments in the process*. However, everyone also accepts that it would be a good idea to get everyone in the race to at least try to stay on the track.

      Kerbs, “how many tyres” and extenuating circumstances provide ambiguity, but as a general rule we can work out in both cases when the rule has been broken. Also, the bigger the breach, the easier it is for us to spot. Improvements in seemingly unrelated areas are making it ever more difficult to hide.

      I would argue team orders should be treated as Article 30.8 is (ideally) treated: as a principle where anyone taking advantage from a breach receives an appropriate penalty, proper efforts are made to spot those who take advantage and those breaches where no benefit was attained are left alone.

      * – In case you’re wondering, I can remember at least one instance where following a team order led to this [i]by accident[/i] in Monaco 2002, as well as the deliberate Singapore 2008 one. Hence why the variable results of breaching Article 30.8 did not deter me from using it as an analogy.

    2. But the fact that McLaren used to order Hakkinen and Coulthard around supports only the fact, that TO have been in the sport in the past.
      McLaren not using team orders nor wanting to favour one of their drivers started to be a thing with Kimmi and Montoya, was highlighted in 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and this have now spurred them on to go to great efforts from the start of this year to show their new WDC signee (JB) that they are serious and will support both drivers equally.

      It does not go against our (the Fans) plea to really cut them out and have higher quality competition.

  28. HAHA! That picture is amazing!

    What the FIA have struggled to do is clearly define that team orders are illegal, in a concise, quantative and easily interpreted rule. At the minute it states ‘team orders which affect the outcome of a race’ is way too vague. It should be ‘messages to and from the driver and the team, coded or uncoded, that deliberately seek to dictate the outcome of a race…’ etc. It’s the code bit which needs to be sorted out.

  29. Q. If you miss out, do you think you will have lost fair and square?
    MW: Yep.
    Q. You’ll have no problem with it?
    MW: Fernando won Hockenheim and was the fastest driver on the day.
    Q. But he wasn’t…
    MW: Absolutely he was. He passed Felipe and pulled away from him, otherwise he probably would’ve crashed into him. If Felipe was 10 seconds down the road, they would never have done that.

    Mark Webber, today.

    1. He’s got a point, but Alonso should have passed Felipe by himself.

    2. I’ve got big respect for Webber, he’s got such an no nonsence veiw of F1 and says it how it is. Its not politically correct to say Alonso deserved to win in Germany but Webber says it anyway.

    3. People have been stuck in second despite being faster than the eventually winner on quite a few previous occasions. That’s F1 aero for you…

      1. And more often than not we have applauded the guy in front for being as good in keeping the obviously faster one behind him and hailed his defensive driving.

  30. Younger Hamilton
    5th November 2010, 9:39

    Yeah anyone notice any Biased stuff,the two McLaren drivers are behind the others,Keith whoever made this should have put the cartoons in the Championship standings as of now.By the Way Haha funny cartoons, nice post

    1. I couldn’t put the drivers in the championship order they are in now because the team-mates needed to be together for the idea to work. No bias involved ;)

      1. Yeah that’s why they’re in the order they are. It also kind of puts them in order of team momentum at the minute and where they are on current form.

    2. It’s a bit difficult to do that when they’re running a three-legged race… ;)

    3. Ok, now you look at the picture in big format, then maybe you will get what it is about.

      Clue: how is the relationship between the drivers?

  31. When are teams going to introduce driver nr. 1 and driver nr. 2 (or 1B) Just every teams this is our driver nr. 1 and that is our teammate. It will make everything much more easier and discussion of teamorders is gone. If there is a moment of a error of driver nr.1 the teamdriver will gladly move over.
    Or if there is a ban on teamorder the teamdriver will make a brake mistake. Same results

  32. “Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?”

    Why should a driver risk his life just to come last in a Hispania? They do it anyway…


    From a F1, Ferrari and Alonso fan…what can I say?

    I love pure racing and I would prefer Alonso would overtake Massa by his own in Germany. For me that was a team order, team order are banned and I think Ferrari were very lucky with such a little fine.

    But when you have two drivers on a single team and overtake is real hard on this aerodynamics times and the WDC is the main target… I try to put behind the wall on the skin of team principal and… I don’t want a RBR-Turkey incident.

    The FIA has the team radios, video footage, everything to detect team orders…really? The team can give orders before the race to their drivers, they don’t need radio or coded messages, is as simple as ‘I you are in front of your teammate at the ending laps, let him go through’ And the driver only has to say it was his own decision for the benefit of the team. Team orders are imposible to eradicate

    There are many motor sports where team orders are allowed, are their champions unfair?

  34. Team orders exist, always have and always will, legal or not. If there is a complete ban do teams then have to prove in court that a pit lane engineer dropped a wheel nut by accident or a driver deliberately went wide on a corner? What happens in football when a striker passes a ball to a team mate in front of goal instead of shooting himself, ban him as well? Can we let it go please, it’s been going on much longer than most people on this site.

    1. HewisLamilton
      5th November 2010, 15:14

      I’ve noticed that the articles that draw the most posts and thus site traffic are the ones regarding team orders. Not a bad idea for Keith to keep writing articles about such an obvious contraversy that draws so many people.

      (I agree with you by the way)

  35. Just an example of how subjective this is: in 2008 Kovalainen was in the strongest team and had one only objective, to race the other teams and to let Hamilton past. This in Germany led to Hamilton winning the race instead of finishing in fourth (just watch the race if anyone is in doubt of that, Hamilton didn’t have a car capable of overtaking Kov – due to their specific setups, Hamilton’s was fastest but Kov’s was better in the infield where the overtaking could be made or avoided).
    Even so, in this community of F1 lovers one see from the comments that some people don’t take that in account just because they root for Hamilton. It’s an emotional support from all of us and that really makes reason blind, or selectively blind.
    So if the teams are going to have to have a good first and second driver or whatever their tactics will be, let’s leave it to them.
    The important thing is a team or a driver not having an unfair advantage and that doesn’t include a first and second driver because that’s how it works. So all these events and discussions are good so we fans become conscious of the state of affairs and don’t feel betrayed.
    I don’t devalue Jenson’s title last year but I’m sure Ross Brawn had to choose someone to back up and he did, right from the beginning of the championship.
    These nuances will evolve, as everything, as the sport evolves. It’s becoming more internationalized and also everything is becoming more open.

  36. I have no problem with things like the Peter Collins story because he genuinely did it on his own back. The Old Man never gave him an envelop that said “Juan is faster than you”. Like Keith rightly says, it has never been an example of the worth of team orders, even if you wrongly consider it one.

    To me there will always be situations where an actual team order makes sense. But if the FIA want to bring in a total blanket ban of every team order, then the teams know what they’re working with. By not enforcing certain situations, the FIA only have themselves to blame if certain situations are considered okay by the teams and so the arguments of “what about Monaco 2007, Canada/Germany 2008” are irrelevant to the discussion. Personally I don’t believe in “hold station” orders but the FIA do.

    The latter two situations interfered with genuine racing to a greater or lesser degree, but the rule states that it will be judged to be broken only if interferes with the race result. Clearly it didn’t in the latter example and probably not in the former (given the size of the gaps between the two in question at the end of the race and when the switches took place).

    (I bet someone will pop up with another use of the Turkey myth, so I’ll take the space here to say it was proven to be a genuine fuel issue.)

    So I have to say, wonderful article Keith and spot-on in everything )except the Melbourne example, which was a strange situation indeed because of Hakkinen’s mysterious pit order that McLaren never gave, but I agree it was very unbecoming for there to be an actual switch on the race track). Probably your best ever.

  37. “The problem with saying “it’s a team sport” is it isn’t true. Nor is it an individual’s sport. Confusingly, it’s both. We have a drivers’ championship and a constructors’ championship….and this is the root of the problem”

    For myself, I think that’s what makes F1 unique and unlike any other sport. I really don’t think it’s as big a problem as you feel it is. All these inter-team relationships make the sport more interesting.

  38. you can not separate drivers from teams, they are all a single body which we call as a team.

    fangio favoured by the teams he drove because ha was clearly the better driver of the team.
    schumacher favoured with the same reason
    so did alonso
    so did hamilton, i think people didnt forget mclaren team favoured hamilton from the race one when kovalainen was driving for them and they did the right thing, no need to remind hamiton won the title just by one point difference at the end of 2008 season.

    favouring a driver or team orders or what else you named it are all same and if you like it or not, they are just part of this game, an integrated part of F1 history and it can not change easily just because some people are not happy.

    teams which are making big noise about equal treatment this season may easily find themselves favouring one of their drivers next season. (mclaren is a good example of it). team orders or favouring a driver is just related with performance of drivers teams have and shaped according the performances of drivers during a season.

    i really hope alonso wins this year with just one point difference to show this is a team sport and as much as being fast tactics are a part of this game.

  39. Poor British guys… it must be frustrating to see that Hamilton’s star doesn’t shine anymore. TEAM ORDERS ARE TO SUPPORT REAL DRIVERS: GO FERNANDO ALONSO!!!!

  40. Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?

    Why? ..because Ferrari pays his salary!!
    So, if he prefers , he could leave and drive a Sauber or a Force India.. :)

    1. Agreed. Thanks to Ferrari, Massa will be able to retire at age 30 without a care in the world. Not bad work if you can get it.

      Ferrari’s handling has been fair this season and in prior seasons as well. Massa was given equal opportunity at the seasons start but simply fell to far behind. Next year will be the same.

      Massa has been frustrated at several points in his Ferrari career but has always acted in the team interest and been rewarded with lucrative contract extensions. I can respect that more then someone taking the money and then whinging after the fact ala’Rubens.

      1. Massa is a decent person but he will never be a driver of the caliber of Alonso or Lewis.
        he is fast but he is not an analytical thinker like Alonso or ruthless and pure racer like Lewis.
        He does the work but that is it. So consider himself lucky to get paid so handsomely.
        Oh, by the way that is valid for Ruben as well.
        They are just second tier drivers, no offense intended.

    2. That is not so much about the salary as it is about Ferrari giving him a car capable of winning.

  41. I don’t think a blanket ban on team orders is the solution. As others have said, it could make it difficult to distinguish between what is a team order and what isn’t – ie a driver moving over of his own free will. Teams would likely just find ways around the ban and before long you have the same situation as we’ve had for the last few years.

    Though I don’t condone what happened this year at Hockenheim, I do believe the team orders ban should be banished. As long as I see both drivers within a team given a fair crack at the whip (like Massa and Alonso had this year, unlike Schumacher and Barrichello in 2002) then I can deal with one driver being given preferential treatment in the interest of the team.

    1. I know, bad form replying to my own post, but I had typed the following and I don’t know what happened to it in the original comment.

      I also don’t believe that team orders devalue a championship. It’s easy to say that someone only won a championship because they had a subservient team mate, but it’s equally easy to say that someone only won because they had a far superior car, because of a favourable mid season rule change, or because their title rival was unlucky etc which could be percieved as ‘devaluing’.

  42. I would say that whatever the rules, team orders will prevail. Teams can ask me as a counselor and I’ll give them multiple ways of informing the driver of the team orders, whatever the FIA control may have from the radios, telemetry, video, etc.

    And your are only talking in the case a driver surrender a victory, but team orders apply also in the middle of the grid every weekend. People seems to be angry only in cases of victory, and forgets the other orders given without complain.

    The only one who can prevent team orders is the driver asked to be overtaken, who can ultimately refuse to follow them. Button is now ready to follow them in favor of Hamilton, Vettel and Webber will follow them in the case any of them crash this weekend, and Massa is now openly going to support Alonso. I’m sure neither of them were directly told to do it, and it doesn’t matter, they’ll do it.

    I would keep the status quo (no teams orders) and I would try to enforce them in case of surrendering a victory, but fining the driver who let the other one to overtake, and not the team neither the winner. It’s their responsibility to refuse those orders, and they have to balance the fine from the FIA or the fine from the team. Those two bad options for the driver could help them as an excuse to refuse in front of their team.

  43. team tactics are rife in Cycling, i think in some situations it’s common sense to imply team orders, hockenheim was perhaps borderline on the rules, but if it happened in the final 2 races when the driver giving up a spot is no longer in contention but his team mate is, is in my view, fair enough

  44. all the teams has used team orders this year!!!!

    even red bull giving two new front wings to vettel and no wing for webber and mclaren… (remenber german GP 2008 kovalainen – hamilton)

  45. alonso best pilot of the year, no doubt!!!

    1. alonso best pilot of the year, no doubt!!!

      I don’t know I was in a air racing blog…

      or was I in a sailing blog?


  46. one thing you keith have been overlooking the whole time: for each team in f1 the most important title is drivers championship, no matter that there is constructors as well. marketing and commercial wise drivers champion brings more to the team than constructors, that is why it’s more important.

    the best example is ferrari constructor title in 1999. although they won the team was disappointed because they actually lost – hakkinen won. and that is what everybody remembers.

    that is the reason ferrari backed up alonso over massa in germany, pure mathematics and logic, and they got it absolutely right, alonso is now leading, massa is nowehere.

    everybody remembers the champion AND the car he won it with, that is why f1 never was and never will be individual sport.

    1. ferrari tend to of late been more interested in the drivers championship.

      but that is not the case for any other team. remember williams constantly saying it was only the constructors that mattered to him.

  47. You just did an interview with 3 time WDC and former F1 team owner Jackie Stewart who seems to support team orders… Why didn’t you take him to the floor on team orders? From your interview:

    That cast is set now. I’m sure Alonso went there with a number one status. I’m not against that, by the way – team orders have been going on since the twenties and thirties and they still have a place.

    If you had invested three, four or five hundred million dollars in a team and you thought one driver was capable of winning it more than another driver then I think you’re allowed that prerogative.

  48. for me and like so many other ferrari fans, constructors championship is more important than drivers title.

    ferrari is an unique team and its name is more famous than any drivers or f1 teams.
    as they also indicated several times wcc is very important for ferrari and if you consider ferrari is at least half of f1, what is important for ferrari means also important for f1.

    1. Never hurts to have the No.1 on your car… did look a bit silly with Hill on the Arrows though.

  49. I think it’s telling that at the beginning of the article, none of the examples of team orders quoted occurred towards the end of the season. The consensus seems to be that if team orders are applied nearer the end of the year, that makes it acceptable. But – since 2002, I might add – all team orders that interfere with a race result are illegal. There’s no qualifier about when in the season they occur – it’s a blanket ban. Saying (as has been said over and over again) that “Hamilton and Kovalainen were on different strategies” (Hockenheim ’08) is missing the point. It doesn’t matter. The rule is there, it is clear and it was broken. So it’s not that the rule isn’t enforceable, it’s that it isn’t enforced.

    My second point, which I made the other day as well, is that teams nowadays very rarely have a pre-ordained number one and number two driver. McLaren saw in 2008 how having a significantly weaker “support” driver might make the drivers’ title easier to come by, but it can sacrifice the constructors’ title in the process. If team orders are applied then they will be because one driver has been much weaker than the other, to the point where the team considers them realistically (though not necessarily mathematically) out of the championship. So what is that driver doing in front of his “number one” in the first place? In such cases, team orders will necessarily be a rare event.

    But then, we’ve been over all this before. Nothing has changed since Hockenheim, and I doubt many people’s opinions have changed either. I stand by my view that what happened in Germany was no worse than what happened at the same circuit in 2008, or China that year, or Brazil the year before. I also stand by my view that the team orders ban should be lifted. Teams aren’t suddenly going to start fixing races left, right and centre like some people imagine. It might put an end to all of this “coded message” skullduggery that we see these days, but other than that I genuinely don’t think we’d notice any difference.

  50. Here’s an idea. Each team is allocated some drivers from a pool at the beginning of the year. This could seeded much like fantasy f1. Therefore the teams won’t care about the drivers championship and won’t use team orders.

    1. Mosley had that same idea some years ago (in 2001 or 2002), his idea was, 20 races -> 20 drivers, each driver does 2 races with each car.
      That seems a litle bit stupid, but certainly the WDC would be won by the best driver, and the WCC by the best team/car.

  51. I think I have a solution. Allow team orders and put the No.1 on the WCC and allow the medals system that Bernie proposed to be the reward for the driver. The car that wins the most points and the driver that wins the most races?

  52. The view of most “non-F1-fans” is that F1 is not a “real” sport since everyone is not given the same opportunities with equal technology, equal cars, equal budgets, equal engines. I defend this to “non-F1-fans” by pointing out that, let say, even professional runners in the USA are supported by an army of experts, specialists, sponsors, agencies etc, which if confronted with the poorer resources of, let say, African nations makes even running an “unfair” sport.

    But sometimes the odd Kenyan actually win. Or rather, they win alot. Except for the occasional bizarre underdog story (such as Brawn GP, Vettel’s first win in Toro Rosso or Damian Hill’s “almost” win at Hungary 1997, etc.) there are no “Kenyan wins” in F1. It is not a sport by many standards and even FIA/FOA tends to partially agree since the improvements of the F1 regulations have been described as “improving the show“. F1 tends to be described with the less flattering term “circus” although practically all other sports also involve complex travels all over the world. F1 is even by insiders considered a show, spectacle and circus.

    Whether F1 is a sport or not is a complex discussion. Nevertheless the general view as not being “a fair sport” is indeed a correct one – a F1 world champion tends to also race “the best” i.e. most expensive car, and this is no coincidence.

    I prefer to see F1 as a “unique sport” where technology, budgets, racing drivers and most importantly strategy are interweaved to create a sport where the actual confrontational element i.e. racing becomes “unfair” – but overall is a “sport” or race with multiple dimensions: drivers, technology, business, strategy, politics etc. The effort is indeed “collective” – in lack of better words “a team sport”.

    If we, as Keith, start arguing for ONE perceived inequality (“the team orders”) then you open up for a never ending doomsday discussion about the massive inequalities of this sport: why are the tenfold differences in team budgets? why aren’t there any women drivers? why is only the developed world part of this sport? why are all the driver’s (with some ultra-rare exceptions) white? why do we enjoy watching a sport that pollutes the environment (blatantly so in Singapore with its diesel-powered light system…)? why do we enjoy a sport that epitomises the very cliché essence of ancient regime capitalist decadence? why is the sport governed despotically and owned by a senile 80 year old former gangster? why does a billionaire from a country with millions of people living in utter poverty invest millions in a mediocre F1 team? etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc …..

    F1 is odd and unfair. Despite this I love it (worryingly much…)! Building cases of rhetorically isolated aspects such as ”team orders” with arguments of “fairness” and home-brewed ethics is just begging for trouble due to its ridiculous hypocrisy and one-eyed naiveté. And please don’t call me “cynical” just because you prefer to ignore the aforementioned inequalities. Democratising motorsport has been done before: Speedcar Series. That was as exciting as tax law…

    1. Interesting Miko!!! Good post.

    2. William Wilgus
      5th November 2010, 22:24

      Agree! Well put. Thanks for posting it.

  53. I think one major aspect Keith has forgotten here that Formula 1 is a business first and a sport later.

    If we list out all the sports of the world in descending order of money spent, Formula 1 will rank very close to the top. And the other sports coming close to F1 in that category happen to be team sports, such as football and basketball. So, the amount of money spent per person is highest in Formula 1. And in business, a strategy which leads to self-destruction is never encouraged. What Ferrari did in Hockenheim makes perfect business sense. Massa was 8th in the championship and was needed to get past 7 drivers in 7 races. There is a higher probability of Jenson Button winning the WDC now than that happening.

    The day one accepts that Formula 1 is not a sport but a business, believe me, it will be much easier for one to accept these sporting embarrassments one sees so frequently in F1.

    Why does F1 have so many more scandals than other sports? Crashgate, Spygate, Liegate, rivals crashing into each others, teams having a veto power over others, teams black-mailing each other to the point that the US GP of 2005 was reduced to farce. The reason for that is simply because the stakes are higher in F1 than in other sports. It is because F1 is a business, not a sport.

    1. I’m still not convinced that Ferrari’s move isn’t going to backfire on them. One has to wonder how close they are to losing Massa and possibly Smedley over this incident (a tension that, reading between the lines of di Montezemelo’s comments against Massa a few weeks back, is still there) – and that’s before one starts considering the little cracks that will surely have rippled out. In making that particular order, Ferrari weakened itself. It may not bear the full damage of it this year, but mark my words – it will before 2012…

      If F1 is accepted as a business, it will lose the majority of its audience (because they haven’t tuned in to watch a business – otherwise the TV schedules would be radically different). Being a sport is essential to F1’s survival as a sport and as a business – which is one reason why team orders cannot be openly permitted and why tightening enforcement may become necessary rather than just advisable.

      F1’s many scandals are due to the tensions between the multifarous facets of itself, not because it’s one particular thing or another. It is unlikely anything spanning one category of activity would generate half the scandals F1 does because multiple-element activities find those elements move in different ways, making collisions and awkward drifting apart that create creative tension and dissent along with the innovation and brilliance.

  54. I find it strange that you’ve pretty much recycled the same article every two weeks since Hockenheim. I know you feel pasionately about this but I honestly think every informed F1 fan has already made their mind up on team orders.

    Another, even more cynical explanation insists that Ferrari were only in the wrong at Hockenheim because what they did was “blatant”. As if it becomes less wrong when it’s made harder to detect.

    Its a simple fact that if Massa had deliberately ran wide and allowed Alonso through there would have been conspiracy theories but no uproar, and nothing could be proven. It doesn’t make it more or less right just makes a mockery of any rule.

    Who can say a championship is not devalued if it is won by someone who had one fewer competitor than everyone else?

    Like I’ve said before how can what happened in Brazil 2007, which you support, not devalue the championship when it denied Lewis Hamilton a world championship because Kimi Raikkonen didn’t have to every other driver on the track like Lewis did.

    The argument against team orders because the interferes with the integrity of the drivers championship is fair enough in itself, but it becomes incoherent when at the same time you support the conitunued use of team orders in races that decide the WDC.

    It’s hard to think of any comparable examples in mainstream sport where participants allow themselves to be beaten.

    Well there’s cycling. Watch any tour de france stage wiht a sprint finish and you’ll see teams together for the benifit of one rider. HTC Columbia and Cervélo TestTeam will control the pack and direct their whole efforts towards seeing Mark Cavendish or Thor Hushovd cross the line first.

  55. Great illustration!

    Unfortunately, Ferrari wish Massa put them in a position to be like McLaren and Red Bull. They desperately needed Massa to take points away from their rivals and the ironic thing is – Alonso has done it on his own this year as much or more than any other driver. Every time one of the other “teams” driver finished ahead of Alonso, it aided the standing of their teammate in the championship as well by taking points away from Alonso.

    Ferrari can run their cars as they see fit. As an extreme example since Massa has been so far behind, Ferrari would have been withing their rights to call Massa in every 10 laps to test new components for next year’s car if they wanted witht the lack of testing etc. Massa is free to hand back his $14million stipend to Ferrari and race for HRT if he wishes…

    I have my own views – and they are much closer to those actually involved in the business of F1 – like Whitmarsh and Webber.

    As Alonso said, he’s rooting for two Massa wins and I believe Ferrari will be very aggressive with Massa in the next two races. IF Massa can do that, the illustration will be not just a work of art, but more accurate as well…

    1. @AgBNYC, You have your own views, yes, but I fully agree with you, so we share what is “yours” and “mine”, I think many others are also sharing this as “ours” :-)

      Points wise, Fernando is beating Felipe 6,3 and 4,2 times more than Mark is betting Sebastian and Lewis Jenson respectively.

      If you take out 7 points from Fernando and add 7 to Felipe (even though I think it was ok what happened in Hockenheim) this difference is still 5,3 and 3,5 times respectively.

      Fernando would have benefited much more from a stronger Felipe taking points out of rivals than Hockenheim. And this is why two wins from Felipe would be mathematically excellent for Fernando (The only better thing is himself winning, but it is indeed be 3rd to Mark second, than second to a winning Webber.

      And I understand that you can jump of joy if your foe-driver of choice engine blows up, but it is more fun when he goes too wide in a bend… or gets in the gravel at the pit entrance… or crashes in spa when driving alone…. Every time I see one of these “hope the engine blows” I think that somebody is in a rather depressive mood.

      1. (The only better thing is himself winning, but it is indeed be 3rd to Mark second, than second to a winning Webber.

        (The only better thing is himself winning, but it is indeed better to be 3rd to Mark second, than second to a winning Webber)

  56. Amother way would be each driver to have a separate pit crew and enaough space for both cars to pit at the same time. Then cut communications to the car. Each driver on its own. and one big screen at start-finish line with current positions and times. Then good drivers wont have to pay. Also give chassis and engines to other people. see which team has good engineers and good drivers.

    1. I highly second the separate pits. I’ve been wanting that. Thinking back to when Alonso spoiled Lewis’ race a few years ago at McLaren, that told me enough.
      I’ve seen no other race series where a single car shares a pitbox (ok, there may be a LeMans exception in there, but it is the exception to the rule).
      Pit teams against each other and a lot of the “Team issues” do dissolve.

      However, as there will still be 2 cars owned by the same people, AND a team championship, nothing can truly preclude them from operating in a team manner, especially as it’s implied by being a team competition that they do have team rules.

      Essentially, if you have a team championship, yet, outlaw team orders,, well. That is just entirely illogical in any case.

      I really honestly don’t mind team orders, (there’s no I in team, but there is in Felipe, and he’s a great teammate! (There’s also an I in Barichello!)

      Seriously, either drop team orders along with the team championship and give them individual pits. Otherwise, there’s here to stay!

      1. Le Mans and the various sportscar series which can enter cars for it are indeed exceptions, but that’s purely because there are frequently more cars for those events than pitboxes, let alone teams. Which tends to support your suggestion.

  57. Guys, stop it :) This is a multi-million sport and team orders will always exists. Do you really think they care that much about the fans ? Any team, with no exception, would’ve done the same as Ferrari, if they had a suitable chance. None of them had, although I find it funny to think that Button can win the world title again, this is ridiculous, he’s clearly the second driver in the team, just as well as Massa.

  58. Why not keep both championships, but so that the price-money for the drivers championship only a fractional part of that of the constructors championship is. Then teams will undoubtedly focus on the WCC!!!!

    1. It’s not all about the prize money.

    2. As far as I know, there’s no money for the teams for the driver’s championship. It’s simply that the marketing boost to the big teams is of more value to them than the income they receive from the constructor’s position. The opposite applies to the smaller teams (even the ones who are doing well in the driver’s title).

  59. this is all getting dull now. mclaren did it in 05 with kimi/montoya more than once. remember spa? ferrari did it in 07 and 08. mclaren did it again in 08.

    why is this forgotten? are some of the fans and press really that naive? or do they just not want fernando to win? which is not the question. when discussing the subject teams and names shouldnt be apart of it as it creates a pathetic bias.

    end of the day the others HAVE(fact!) done it. and if the press dont like it then ok go and report on something else then.

    thats all their is to say really

    1. Agreed, much ado about nothing.

  60. So what does “team” mean? Two guys who happen to be driving cars with similar paint?
    If the beneficiary Button (or, as the BBC announcers insist on screaming every time his car shows up on camera – JENSON BUTTON! – ) this would be a non-story on a Brit site such as this. C’mon. This story is mere anti-Ferrarism, and if not for this team orders b.s., some other complaint would have to be – and would be – found.

  61. Paul McCaffrey
    5th November 2010, 12:43

    Oh please, Keith. GIVE IT A REST

  62. Can we please just leave the racing on the track? The fewer rules the better. The fact is, a “no team orders” rule cannot be consistently enforced. So ditch it.

    1. The “no going off the track” rule apparently cannot be consistently enforced either, but it’s still there…

  63. Keith, this is getting laughable. I think continuing the debate is starting to get slightly pointless and very tiresome now, especially as you turned down my offer of a “pro-team orders” reply piece :(

    The arguments you’ve used in this article in support of team orders are paper thin, and I think you know there are better reasons out there.

    I’m now really hoping that this weekend we see team orders abound among everyone (Jenson still has the slimmest glimmer of hope that he could still win the title, so imagine THE OUTRAGE OF EVEN CONSIDERING HIM SUPPORTING HIS TEAMMATE!!!!!!) and I hope that the FIA drops the team orders ban completely, as I think they will, just so you’ll shut up about it.

    Interestingly, the other main F1 blog I read (Joe Saward’s) is also anti-team orders; I sincerely hope that the FIA don’t blindingly look to these blogs as the voice of “the people”.

  64. William Wilgus
    5th November 2010, 14:49

    As long as there are two-car teams, this situation will exist. Regardless, as others have stated or implied within these posts, a ‘Driver’s Championship’ is really invalid because of the difference in the capabilities between the cars of each team. Likewise, the ‘Manufacturer’s Championship’ is invalid not only because of the difference in the capabilities of the driver’s, but the fact that only two teams currently manufacture both engine and chassis. Even those teams don’t manufacture the entire car. Therefore, the only valid championship would be a ‘Team Championship’.

  65. The last two paragraphs were right on the money, but Teflonso just is incapable of comprehending that in any way.

  66. However you look at this argument, I can never see this sport ever finding a solution to it. All the alternatives are at best unworkable unless the FIA hand out points deductions to teams that implement team orders. Then there is the problem of ‘proving’ a team knowingly broke the rules, so on and so on.
    At the 2007 Brazilian Grands Prix Kimi Raikkonen won the championship due to ‘assistance’ from team mate Felipe Massa. Many claim this was ‘legitimate’ due to the fact that Massa could not win the title at that stage and Raikkonen could. Personally that is frankly laughable.
    How can you have rules that are only ‘breakable’ in some people’s eyes at certain points of the season, but not at the one race where the championship itself is won or lost? It has to be even and balanced, but it is not!
    As I said earlier, this is very difficult to prove. Other racing series suffer from the same problem no doubt, having some teams with as many as three or even four drivers in the same team! Then there is the cash incentive. To racing purists it is all about the racing, but with the billions of dollars involved in racing at the highest level, there is far more at stake for those involved.
    The days of the leather crash helmet and bales of straw are long gone!

  67. HewisLamilton
    5th November 2010, 15:54

    I have a simple question.

    How many pit boxes are allowed (per the rules) per team during a race?

    1. As many as the circuit can provide. So that would be one pitbox for some tracks and two for others.

      1. HewisLamilton
        8th November 2010, 15:34

        You might want to double check that.

  68. I have been reading your Web site for years now Keith. I have never commented on any of your articles before. I can no longer keep quite. It annoys me that over the last couple months, since Hockenheim you been pushing this issue of team orders. Never done so before, as I can recall, when other drivers and teams done so, even to win championships. McLaren with Hamilton and Ferrari with Kimi. No body complained about team orders in the past decades. It all started when a clearly dominant Schumacher leading the points table was let passed by Barrichello, witch had a brilliant drive on that day and was faster than Schumacher on that day. There was no need for Schumacher or Ferrari to do so and would not have made the difference in that years championship.

    Hence the debate started. It heats up if Alonso does it. Not mention if Kimi or Hamilton did it. It seems that most (not all) of the British fans hate Alonso. Schumacher hatred was replaced by Alonso hatred by most British fans. As a South African, I lived in London for 3 years and the Brits were quite fond of Alonso when he was beating Schumacher. But when anyone races against a brit they loose there senses, just like soccer hooligans supporting there teams. Since Hamilton entered the sport and the British media hype around Hamilton made him a god like driver, they lost there objectivity. Now Alonso is hated by most Brits. They will say things like “He does not deserve the championship because he is a cheater”. If he wins the championship with less those 7 points they slam him as cheater. If he wins the championship with more than 7 points they will find other excuses to slam him. If he wins the WDC they will feel it is not deservingly and it will be tainted. No Max you are tainted. tainted in black. Then Kimi and Louis championships should also be tainted, should it not?

    When Alonso wins the WDC he would be the youngest drive to win a 3rd WDC. In my opinion he would have won all 3 championships with the 2nd fastest car.

    I believe he will win the Championship. Maybe even win a 4th and 5th WDC. Hamilton will also in his career win 3 to 5. He might be even faster than Alonso. But his championship will always be in a fastest car. Maybe in his later part of his career he will be able mentally to do it in the 2nd fastest car. He maybe faster on a single lap and maybe even in race trim, but he is far too erratic. But he will improve with experience. He will learn valuable lessons.

    Webber is solid; he has good days and then average days. His experience got him thus far in the championship. His mistake in Korea will cost him the championship. He will not get another change. He can still win in my opinion, if two things happen, 1 Alonso DNF, 2 team orders in Red Bull. This is highly unlikely. Vettel is fast, very fast, but an immature loose canon, unpredictable and can’t over take. But again give him time. He will also win a WDC. My prediction is that Red bull will look by on this year and wonder what went wrong. Outwardly they will pat them self on the back and says “we have won the constructor championship, we have done a good job and we played by the rules”. Nobody will remember that in years to come and in fact they have not done a good job, they did not manage the drivers well and they should have won 3 races ago the championship. Both McLaren and Ferrari would have if they had that car.

    Hamilton did not have the car this year and that is arguably why he “over drive” the car and made crucial mistakes that have cost him. But he will learn out of this.

    Button will not win another championship. Unless he gets a fastest car and 2nd class team mate. This is my opinion. All this talk about smooth driving style that looks after his tires is nonsense. He is average, and his tires were worst of than most by the end off the race. His strategies were based on luck and on the false premis that hiss smooth driving style looks after his tires. In his “smoothness” he can’t heat up the tires when need in Quali. In wet or cold weather, if he does not choose a lucky strategy, he can’t get heat in the tires and thus the tires goes off faster. In general I will not bet on him being faster than Hamilton.

    Team order will stay as it is and always be a team sport. The 150 + members of a team built and supply the cars not the drivers. It is there cars and they can develop it for there chosen driver as they see fit. No car can be developed for both drivers driving style. And if they tell you so, it is bull. Red bull likes to say they support both drivers equally but in the same breath they already said that they develop the car around Vettel. This year’s car and next year’s car. They don’t pay there divers equal salaries do they? So they can’t be equal. That then is what I call hypocrisy. Just by doing this it can’t be equal to both drivers. So Mark is still ahead of Vettel in a car developed for Vettel. That is wat I call Ausie spirit. This is why there is conflict in the team. One thing said to the fans, but an other standard is implemented in reality. We the fans are not stupid, maybe miss informed. The once “open and encouraged to speak your mind” team now under pressure to produce results doing the same as the big boys. Ferrari knows who to back as a driver and knows how to win WDC. They are open about it. In 2007 it was Kimi, in 2008 it was Massa. At some point in the year they decide to maximize there chances. As they do every year. Massa has had that benefit in 2008 but was unlucky to win the WDC. They give them all that they need to win to the WDC, to the detriment of there team mate. That is understood in the team by both drivers and that is wat is expected in the team. If the tables were reverse between Massa and Alonso this year they would have expected the same of Alonso. So don’t disrespect Massa when he is a team player. That is why they win Championships. That is why McLaren have lost Championships. Maybe the Brits just like in all sports they loose, will say “poor sportsmanship chap” and they grudgingly mock they guy or team that done the job and win. They have not learned this lesson yet. There is lots of money involved. Prestige of the WDC is much more worth than the Constructor Championship. These are not tennis players, or golf player all for themselves. They get a salary from the team, not price money. They can not do it without a Team. If they don’t want to do it, get another team. It is more like a Cyclists were the team assist one team mate to win the tile. Prestige for the team. One man takes the honor. Dislike it if you want, but just stop complaining.

    What is the alternative? One drive entrance and a car bought and supplied by who ever. Then it will be a driver sport only. Like golf, tennis or what ever. Not F1.

    So stop complaining about team orders.

    1. Can’t stop complaining if it is wrong. You say “one man takes the honor”, in this case it is being given to him. Massa was psychologically raped, violated by his team, in full view of the world. People who have participated in sport saw what happen and felt his pain.
      From their pain arose anger; anger at Ferrari, anger at Massa and anger at the FIA for it’s failure to truly address the wrong everyone saw. Indirectly, Hockenheim hurt a lot of people. That’s why this won’t go away.
      Again, I would suggest that F1 not bring team orders to America, it could kill the sport here.

      1. So it’s wrong only where Ferrari does it? You said nothing about the previous times it has been done, when it is no less “illegal” then it is today.

        1. My comment was not about previous times. It was about Hockenhiem 2010. And yes, Ferrari did it and had no remorse about it. FIA then gave everyone license to do it when every they choose by their response at the hearing.
          Fortunately, some drivers would not stand for it and refuse to move over. The first person that come to mind is Alonso.

          1. So all the outcry now, yet not then.

  69. As I’ve anticipated in my yesterday comment, I think money is the culprit.

    Let me explain.

    Why do a team want one of their drivers to win?
    My answer: cash. BIG cash.

    Nowadays, when a driver wins the DWC, money goes to the winner, money goes to the team.

    Now, my solution: only the driver should have an economical gain from winning the DWC, not the team.
    We just need to shift the money that actually goes to the team, by one of their drivers winning the Driver’s World Championship, to the Constructors World Championship.

    A simple, practical, example.

    Let’s say Alonso wins the championship. The driver gets 10€, the team gets 10€ too. Let’s say Ferrari wins the Constructor’s Championship too, and they get another 10€ for that.

    Teams obviously wants to win both, gaining a total of 20€, and they favour one driver out of another in order to do that.

    My solution is quite simple.

    10€ for the drivers who wins the DWC, 0€ to the team.

    Let’s shift the “old” 10€ to the Constructor’s WC, which is now worth 20€.

    Now the teams have NO INTEREST whatsoever in which of their drivers will win the DWC. They don’t even need that, because with that system they are prized for consistency. They’ll be interested in getting both of their drivers in the points at the end of that race.

    Take money out of the equation and you solve the team orders problem.

    You may also argue: “What’s the point in trying and win the DWC then, if the team doesn’t gain anything from that?”
    Sponsorships are the answer. You may not directly win money from one of your drivers winning the DWC, but you gain sponsorships from that. We’ve seen many times nowadays, the way big names support one particular driver. Take Sandander with Alonso, for instance.

    Obviously that’s a bit too simplistic. But I think the matter should be considered and evaluated.

    By the way, that were just my two cents :)

    1. Money comes from sponsors and sponsors want the WDC in their ads and campaigns. It is difficult to regulate a market and markets are not efficient on their own. On the other hand these inefficiencies are gold for the smart investor.

      1. The team already doesn’t earn any money from the FIA for driver positions, only team ones. You’d have to ban sponsors for the proposal to work, for it is the sponsors that give the teams money for their drivers’ deeds…

  70. No radio= No team orders (during race).
    It would be something like chess.
    There would be more DNFs, due to no fuel, no breaks, no engine. There could be some security problems. Perhaps the radio should be only for communication between drivers and Race Control.

    1. “No radio= No team orders”

      I like it!

      1. DeadManWoking
        6th November 2010, 2:38

        No radio=coded messages on the Pit Board

  71. Another, even more cynical explanation insists that Ferrari were only in the wrong at Hockenheim because what they did was “blatant”. As if it becomes less wrong when it’s made harder to detect.

    AUGH, yes, THANK YOU. Steve Matchett made this argument yet again during SpeedTV’s coverage of practice today — that team orders are a fine and noble tradition that must be upheld, but it’s important for teams to be really sneaky about it so fans don’t feel like they’ve been deprived of, you know, an actual sporting event. I like Steve Matchett, but man…I am so sick of hearing this.

    I was trying to explain this whole issue to my brother a couple of days ago — he’s a massive sports fan but knows nothing about F1 — and his response was “That’s a tradition in F1? Ah. Well, that’s why F1 will never be big in the US.” I hope he’s wrong…

    1. Hmmm… I’d say that US pro sports and integrity are not exactly synonyms, though.

      But besides that, when a player in hockey (granted, tot the most popular sport in the US) is going for his 50th goal of the season and everybody on his team tries to give him the puck so he’ll score it, no one cries foul.

      For me this debate is not really about team orders-it’s about the questionable ethics of collecting points that wouldn’t be yours if your team mate wouldn’t give them to you. Except that that applies to many other cases than Alonso at Hockenheim.

      1. dyslexicbunny
        6th November 2010, 3:10

        To be honest though, the guy also has to make a decent shot and the goalie is still trying to block it and the defense is still trying to stop him. They aren’t just giving him the puck on an open net and watching him tap it in.

        That’s not an example of what I thought happened in Germany.

        I do think it will be a hindrance to commonplace F1 acceptance in the US. I’d be curious what sports you think don’t maintain integrity. Pete Rose gambled as a player and manager and is banned for life. NFL drug tests and takes it seriously. You could argue baseball didn’t but they allegedly care now.

    2. I agree with your brother, the media will kill F1.

  72. First of all it tool me a while to understand that Massa was carrying Alonso on his shoulder. Nice picture.

    The rules aren’t clear as with the FIA, if they want to ban team-order then do it, you are right why will I risk my life for my team-mate? Or if they think that team-order is Ok as this is a team-sport then lets have it.

  73. One car per team, problem solved.

    1. Then who will drive for each of those team for 2011? & where will the other driver from the respective teams will end up?

      1. You know what they say, you can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs.

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