Should Lotus have used team orders in Bahrain?

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Lotus had their best finish of the year so far in Bahrain, claiming second and third place.

But could they have used team orders to help Kimi Raikkonen take victory? And would they have been right to do so?

In the second stint of the race, Raikkonen was running in third place on new tyres while team mate Romain Grosjean, second, was on used rubber.

Grosjean was doing similar lap times to leader Sebastian Vettel, while Raikkonen was catching the pair of them at around four tenths of a second per lap.

By lap 21, Raikkonen was within a second of his team mate, with Vettel a further 5.4 seconds up the road.


Raikkonen lost around two seconds trying to pass his team mate. Had Lotus radioed Grosjean on lap 20 with a clear instruction to move over for his team mate, Raikkonen might have saved that time and caught Vettel sooner, giving him a greater opportunity to overtake.

Lotus would not have been breaking the rules by doing this. The ban on team orders, which was introduced in 2003, was lifted at the end of 2010.

One team which did use team orders during the race was Force India, who instructed Nico Hulkenberg to let Paul di Resta past.


Team orders may no longer be illegal, but that doesn’t mean teams have to use them, nor that they’re always desirable. Giving second-rate treatment to one driver is not the way to get the best out of them.

Raikkonen was able to pass Grosjean of his own accord after a few laps. It’s by no means certain Raikkonen would have passed Vettel had he caught him sooner. In the third stint he only caught the Red Bull at around two to three tenths of a second per lap, and after a single attempt at a move at turn one he slipped back again.

Force India used team orders because their drivers were on significantly different strategies, unlike the two Lotuses.

I say

Lotus had every inducement to use team orders in Bahrain, so it’s interesting that they chose not to. It’s a reminder that not all teams treat their drivers the same way.

Raikkonen lost more time earlier in the race falling behind Felipe Massa. That, plus the difficulty he had passing Vettel when he caught him, means we can say quite confidently that not using team orders did not cost Lotus a certain win here.

It’s not hard to imagine how other teams would have handled the situation differently. Had the two cars been Ferraris, with Fernando Alonso catching Felipe Massa, we surely would have seen an early call for Massa to make way – after all, Ferrari had no compunction about doing so when team orders were illegal.

While Lotus would have been within their rights to use team orders on Sunday, they should be applauded for not doing so and leaving their drivers to sort it out for themselves.

I would prefer to see the FIA bring back and enforce the team orders ban to ensure all teams do likewise in future.

You say

Should Lotus have used team orders on Sunday? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Lotus have used team orders in Bahrain?

  • No opinion (9%)
  • No (48%)
  • Yes (43%)

Total Voters: 420

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Update: It seems there was a message from Lotus to Grosjean telling him to move over for Raikkonen. Details in the comments.

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

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126 comments on “Should Lotus have used team orders in Bahrain?”

  1. No. It didn’t cost Kimi the race victory. What cost Kimi the race was not being braver when he got that massive run on Vettel at turn one.

    1. exactly!

      1. I think it is way too early in the season for a team order…and especially one like this with questionable benefit. I think this would have sent the wrong message to Grosjean. The only way this would make any sense is if the cars were so totally out of sinc in terms of tires and strategies that a team order would not have even been needed…it would have been that obvious to both drivers and the team that the faster guy at that point in the race should be let past, with it in mind that both drivers would still be on a strategy to finish as high up as possible, neither driver hindered by an ‘obvious’ order, both of them simply on different routes to the same goal.

        As I say, it is way too early in the season and as a result I was surprised to see this come up as a topic.

        I think it is wrong to compare this situation to FA/FM Germany 2010. That was Race 11 of the season, not race 4. And at the time Ferrari was dealing with some very strong Red Bulls, I’m convinced they didn’t start that race looking to hang FM out to dry, and an opportunity came up with both Red Bulls looking to not finish that race for FA to grab some big points in an effort to reel the Red Bulls in.

        As I say, imho it is way too early in the season for any team to need to make a team order such as this. Let them all duke it out on the track while we have 4 different winners from 4 different races and nobody looking yet to run away with it. If we start to see one driver dominate like last year, then yes sooner than later someone is going to have to be favoured on some teams. But for now? Way too early in a season of close competition.

    2. Vettel was winning the race anyway in my opinion

    3. Regardless, Formula 1 is also a constructor championship, Lotus might have lost 10 points because fo that. At the end of the day, Team should come first.

      1. HOW???

        If anything, Lotus would have GAINED 7 more points( If Kimi was allowed past Grosjean and because of which had he been able to overtake Vettel ). And in case, Kimi had finished 2nd despite being given an easy pass, the order would have still remained the same.

        I think 4 factors stopped Raikkonen from the win.
        (1) The error in the opening stint
        (2) Being held up by his own teammate
        (3) Vettel being close friend, a daring overtake move resuting in any contact/crash would have strained their relationship.
        (4) But MOSTLY because, any F1 returnee is desperate to justify his comeback, and a P2 without a win *still* does more good than any bravery void of a podium!

      2. It was even way too early in the race for such a call to be made. How Grosjean and Kimi’s cars would’ve developed during the race and what not. They’re not running EXACTLY the same set-up so small differences in temperature and virtually anything could’ve gotten Grosjean the upper hand later in the race even. Completely ridiculous situation to issue team-orders.

        1. Kimi was catching them quickly and we can see from the times that he lost around 5 tenths for 3 laps and if they would have asked grosjean to move over kimi could have had extra 3 laps to attack vettel and the tyre would have been in a good shape !

    4. There is a school of thought to say yes it did. View Ted Kravitz’s video log from the race and it shows he lost a fair amount of time. Falling behind Massa at the start didnt help, pitting at the same time as Vettel meant things wouldnt have changed too.

      Let’s not forget that Vettel ran out of fuel (excluding the samples required post-race) after passing the line. If, through a combination of the above factors, Raikkonen had been closer to Vettel after the final pitstops, he would have pushed Vettel to the end, perhaps over the edge, causing Vettel to run out of fuel.

      However, I do admire the decision not to order Grosjean to move over. 33 points from one race weekend is a fairly sizeable haul for any team. Lotus decided to take the more conservative approach, no need to chuck away points like this early on in the season. Could make all the difference come Brazil.

    5. Would have been a bad call for the drivers’ relationship over the course of the year. To me, team orders are bad for F1, it would make a one car per team championship we fairly don’t want.

    6. If it was anyone but Kimi, most likely Hamilton or Kobayashi in that situation, they would have stuck down the inside of ‘finger boy’ Vettel. Rustiness in race craft possibly?

      1. He fought his way through half the field in the first stint,whereas your dear Hamilton couldnt get past a car which was a second slower(Alonso) in the final laps…so who’s the rusty one?

    7. It’s impossible to say, whether Kimi would’ve won the race if Grosjean had let Kimi pass sooner. But I believe one thing is certain – it would’ve given Kimi a better shot for victory.

      Formula one is a team sport and I think teams should use team orders every time one of their drivers is slowing another and it’s not likely they’re racing for position (in the final standings). It’s not even against the rules anymore, so I can’t see the problem.

    8. grosjean was to let kimi in front of him:’kimi is faster than you, don’t hold him up’. check it on bahrain race edit

      1. grosjean was told to let kimi in front of him:’kimi is faster than you, don’t hold him up’. check it on bahrain race edit

  2. Of course they should. Not convinced it would have changed the result, but if I was Eric Boullier, I woudn’t think twice about it.

    1. There is something I dislike about EB. I think EB is really nationalistic. I have a feeling that he would have made the order in a flash if Grosjean wasn’t his countryman.

  3. If I am Eric Boullier, I want my boy Grosjean to win.

    However, Keith is right – the time spent behind Massa’s unusually wide Ferrari was where the delay was. As I watched the race, it appeared to me that Kimi only maybe lost one lap behind the Frenchman, making a highway pass on him into turn 1.

    1. Being behind Massa is generally where the delay has been for the past 4 races.

      1. 4 races (years)

      2. Massa has to be ahead first. Which is something few seem to admit.

    2. I can’t see how the time Kimi spent behind Massa is somehow relevant regarding the decision whether to use team orders or not in this situation? If you were Eric Boullier, would you think “nah, Kimi already lost valuable time behind Massa, so I’m going to throw this victory away as a punishment! He’ll learn to overtake those slow Ferraris!”. Problably not.

      And no, I’m not saying Kimi would’ve won the race for certain had Grosjean let him pass. But I think the time he spent behind Massa is completely irrelevant regarding the decision whether to use team orders or not at the time Kimi was behind Grosjean.

    3. Weell, @d3v0, Boullier did say something along the lines of now wanting to use teamorders. Sounds pretty bad, after looking at that radio message to Grosjean that FOM picked up for the race edit then (“kimi is faster than you” – 1:35 into the video)!
      Thanks @tommyb89 for posting that one on twitter

  4. I don’t think so. I don’t think it would have meant Raikkonen won, as Vettel showed some pace towards the end. Besides, they would have only received criticism if they did.

  5. I think in this instance, team orders were definitely the right thing to do.

    I think the fact both Kimi and Romain were on different tyres could have been enough of an ‘excuse’ to tell Romain he needs to move aside.

    I don’t usually support the rule, but given the fact it’s a) legal, and b) were in with a real chance of victory in a season that’s all over the place (and the fact Enstone have not recorded in a win in a few years now..), I think they should have advised Romain to move over for Kimi.

    1. This is true, think back to China where Rob Smedley called Massa to allow Alonso through as they were on different strategies. In that instance, though, their strategies and relative track position, despite being one being behind the other, where far apart when pit stops are considered.

      However, in this case, Grosjean’s and Raikkonen’s strategies werent poles apart, more like one being the tropic of Cancer, the other the tropic of Capricorn. Not too much to seperate them.

  6. IMO if team orders are used to directly affect the order of two team mates in a straight race, then they’re wrong. However, if it’s half way through the race and the drivers are at different phases of tyres, then it makes sense for the team to swap the cars so that they maximise the speed for both drivers over the race. It would be like removing one car-worth of traffic from the track.

    As I say, if its a dirty trick to favour one teammate over the other or to chicken out of a good fight between teammates, then team orders are bad. But if it’s midway through a race and one driver happens to physically get in the way of another’s strategy, then I have no objection to them switching around and both carrying on on their merry ways.

    1. This. Raikkonen was demonstrably faster and a possible win for the team was at stake. Cynical race-fixing is something quite different.

      1. I think if they were on different strategies (2-stopper, 3-stopper) then there’s no problem with it. Like the way Force India do it. They seem to like splitting strategies. But to ask one driver to move over purely because he isn’t ready to pit just yet is a bit much.

        As as unrelated side note, a little maths chuckle.
        Bogz: plus one
        Casanova: e^(i*pi)=minus one

  7. I think they should have done it. Would it change the outcome at the end of the day? I don’t think it would, but they wouldn’t know that by the time Raikkonen caught Grosjean.
    Team orders aren’t very nice, but getting a chance of winning a race certainly is.
    Had I been in Boullier’s shoes that day, then I had made the call. Just to be sure that whatever the outcome might be, it would be the best result they could get.

  8. Nope, and I’m glad they didn’t. If this were the end of the season and Raikkonen had a shot at WDC and Grosjean did not, fair enough, wave Kimi through. Otherwise, leave the team orders for Ferrari.

    1. Yeah but the problem is that not using team orders early in the season minimise the chances of a driver being in a position to challenge for the WDC. You can’t claw back points that you have “given away”. But then again, healthy competition between team mates might be a better bet regardless…

  9. I voted no. Although it sounds reasonable to have issued a team order in this case, then this would be very easily generalizable to the situation where any driver who is coming up behind his team mate, should be allowed through. Can a team score more points in a race by letting the faster driver through? Yes, possibly, but that’s not the kind of racing I want to see.

    With regard to Raikkonen and Grosjean, who’s to say Romain won’t mount a championship challenge of his own this year? (And as for Ferrari, I even doubt they even have to come onto the radio anymore. Felipe knows what is expected of him).

    1. Because he is a rookie? No rookie has won a championship.

  10. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    26th April 2012, 12:54

    Remember the Team is the entrant and not the driver. The wishes of the team will always come first because they pay the entry fee, build the car and pay the driver (at least those in contention for wins do).

    True when it comes to sportsmanship and fair play it hardly seems fair on Grosjean to ask him to give up his position but if Lotus wanted to win then logically it was the right course of action. For sure it may have not made any difference in points to the team but it could have. It was close.

    If it happens to Lotus again you might see a different decision. Let’s watch and see.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      26th April 2012, 13:03

      As an aside, if it was logical to let Kimi past to try and get the win it would have been equally logical to let Grosjean back through into 2nd once it was obvious Kimi could not win. However because Kimi fought and past Grosjean without team orders then no-one can deny him his 2nd place wasn’t merited. If anything, this sort of makes a stronger case for applying team orders in the first place.

      1. I think its rather the other way around there @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk, both posts you made are more of an argument for NOT using team orders.
        It makes the drivers know they did the best they could and were not interfered with nor helped out by their team mates. Making for better racing and better motivated drivers at the same time.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          27th April 2012, 15:30

          I don’t disagree with you BasCB but I wasn’t trying to make a case either way for team orders. I was just implying they are inevitable in what is fundamentally a team sport.

          Auto sport is pretty unique in having two separate but concurrent championships. This will sometimes lead to a conflict of interests between team and driver. I am yet to see an effective method to legislate this conflict fairly. To come down on the side of team orders is the only logical solution until a workable rule to ban them is found. I agree with you we would be better off without them.

          The reason I believe Kimi passing Grojean far and square is a case for applying team orders is because it was practically inevitable and they just didn’t optimise their joint race times. Note I said a case for applying team orders and not a case wholly for them in general (which as you know I don’t really agree with).

          Does that make sense?

  11. sid_prasher (@)
    26th April 2012, 12:55

    I say why not. A team like Lotus needs to make every opportunity count especially at the start of the season. 40 points are a lot better than 33. I would have agreed even if Roman was coming from behind.

  12. i don’t why this has been used against…but
    Raikkonen losing time behind massa should be another reason why they should have used team orders….knowing that your driver has already lost time behind a car and may have compromised abit of his race….the team can’t just sit back and keep their drivers in a vulnerable position when they actually have the power to do the opposite…..when they actually could put their drivers and themselves into a better position…
    i think they should have used team orders….even after knowing how important the tyres and the level of degredation of it was there…

    1. Good point

  13. I can’t believe this argument is still going on – Formula 1 is a team sport and I’m pretty sure it always has been, even when teams had to hide behind secret codes and clandestine radio messages.

    1. @graham228221 If it were that simple, why did Lotus not use team orders?

      1. poor teamwork @keithcollantine – in my humble opinion it’s all part of the drama of sport, and moreso in Formula 1 where a good or bad tactical decision made in the first few laps can have a huge effect later in the race.

        Fundamentally, Formula 1 is a team sport and it annoys me when people seem to ignore that. Teams are welcome to let their drivers race if they think it best, and usually in a team’s long term interest that will be the best option (look at Ferrari and what they’ve done to Felipe Massa). But if a team is chasing a championship or a rare win, even a couple of places in the final championship table, I’d be pretty bewildered if they didn’t use team orders.

        1. @graham228221 but this could well have long-term implications. What if the Lotus drivers end up fighting for the championship? Grosjean denying Raikkonen 7 points could be crucial, in fact, if he had put up more of a fight and kept 2nd it could have made a massive difference. If they had imposed team orders now, how confident would Grosjean feel in his team when it came towards the end of the season?

          1. @jleigh that’s why the team orders ban never made sense to me, it’s to arbitrary. What if the Lotus drivers don’t end up fighting for the championship, then would it not matter? What if they only end up fighting for the constructors championship, and they lose by 6 points?

            F1 already suffers from too many rules that are not clear enough, so lets not pretend that a team orders ban that applies only when two drivers are not fighting for a championship (mathematically or not, or as good as, up to the stewards perhaps), are not fighting for a win (unless only one is fighting for a championship), are on different strategies (something else for the omniscient stewards to argue about) and one hasn’t got a mechanical issue that may hold the other one up (severity of said mechanical issue up for debate) would improve ‘the show’.

            It’s a team sport – hell, with literally hundreds of team members supporting those two little cars on track F1 teams are perhaps the biggest teams in all of sport.

          2. There is lot of talking about the lotus case but less about the Force India … Team orders probably helped Di Resta achieving such a result not being hold by Hulkenberg. Indeed he was quicker and would have overtake Hulk but having lost how much time ?

            We have already seen that all teams don’t handle the situation the same way : McLaren let their drivers fight each other while ferrari won’t take the risk that Massa goes overdefensive, as he uses to be, on Alonso.

            Now those are strategic choices, what is more annoying is when team orders come to switch position of the driver in case of a 1-2 finish. In the first place because it is not how race should be won and because the records will only remember the winner.

  14. I don’t think it would have made much difference either way.

    1. Why not??

  15. To everyone who thinks it wouldn’t have made any difference, I beg to differ. A few laps worth of life on tyres means everything now. And it’s not just wasting laps, it’s the extra deg you get from sitting close behind a car. The turbulent air ruins that rubber quickly.

    1. second that..

    2. it’s the extra deg you get from sitting close behind a car. The turbulent air ruins that rubber quickly.

      In that case, all Raikkonen would really be doing is swapping the degradation he got from sitting behind Grosjean … for the degradation he would get from sitting behind Vettel.

      1. The reason he only had one chance to attack is probably the degradation. The degradation he lost to Grosjean could probably have given him a few more attacks before he had to fall back, and the first would probably have been with a greater speed delta.

        OTOH, there is a lot of “probably” in there. Fact is, we don’t know.

  16. I voted yes because team orders are not restricted, and you should do the best for the team in this case, not favour or disadvantage another. Another 7 points would mean a lot to Lotus.

    However, I think team orders should be banned and this ban should be rigorously enforced by the FIA. But then the FIA can’t enforce the rules it has re:…… NO NO here I go again.

  17. Also, if it were Romain P1 and Kimi P2, i’d say it’d be very wrong to swap the order.

    But if you got one driver on the quicker tyre being slightly held up by your guy infront of him on the slower tyre, and you’re in P2 and P3, that’s entirely different.

  18. I think yes. Though with the other circumstances it’s likely it wouldn’t have made too much difference, the team should do everything possible to maximise any chance one of their drivers has of winning.

  19. They’ve should’ve told Grosjean that his tyres were older than Kimi’s.
    And let him decide.
    So, I voted No opinion.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. As many have pointed out in this thread, it is a team sport. So, that being the case, it should have been down to the key members of this team to read the situation. Although I guess you try telling that to an F1 driver…!

  20. No. I would have enjoyed seeing Raikkonen win the race instead of Vettel but team orders would have been unfair towards Grosjean. As mentioned in the article, both drivers were not on significantly different strategies.

    I would prefer to see the FIA bring back and enforce the team orders ban to ensure all teams do likewise in future.


  21. I think no. It’s up to Grojean to decide whether to race or let him through. If I had the data on the team wall, I would have suggested to Romain that it might help the chance of a race win to let RAI through, but ultimately leave it up to him to decide.

  22. It wasn’t the two seconds Kimi lost behind Romain that cost Lotus the win. It was the Lotus team being too cautious on pitting Kimi for his third stop. If they had pitted him a lap or two earlier, then he probably would have got Sebastian on the undercut when the Red Bull made it’s third stop.

    1. And I voted no opinion based on that

    2. Depends if Red Bull were going to react to the Renault mechanics coming out or not. I suspect they would have pitted at the same time regardless of what lap it was.

  23. From the team principal’s perspective, I would’ve used it to give ourselves a better shot at victory. Would it have changed the result? I doubt it. Vettel is not a super overtaker, but he’s a magnificent defender, and I think no matter what happened, he had Kimi covered.

  24. Flying Lobster 27
    26th April 2012, 13:42

    I think a full team order ban, like the one we had, is too much. Late in the season, at the last 2-3 rounds in which the title race is finally poised and we know who really is in the running, I’d have no trouble seeing teams putting the man who still has a chance forward. I have also little trouble with orders for lower positions, because drivers are on different strategies or to make a team-mate’s charge back up the field easier (eg the alleged order to Kovalainen when he was at McLaren).
    But beyond that, each driver must make his own points, even against his team-mate, until the final candidates are known. For example, it was not clear at Hockenheim 2010 that Alonso would be a title contender 5-6 races later, as he was 50 points – two full races! – behind the leader at the time. Add to that the possibility of a fairytale return to P1 for Massa a year to the day after his accident; that order really was misplaced on the day, although in the long term it nearly did allow Alonso to become champion.
    I think the two orders that are most harmful to the sport and should not be allowed and should be punished severely are:
    a) asking a driver to delibaretely crash, which is acceptable under no circumstances,
    b) asking a driver to give away the lead or a podium position, unless late in the year as explained.
    The “hold position” order isn’t as bad as b) in my opinion, as in case b) the team really is robbing a driver of his lead, but if the gap is substantial enough, holding positions makes sense.

    1. A team could use team orders under the previous ban if one of their drivers was fighting for the championship.

      With the 2010 Ferrari situation, yes Alonso was behind in the championship, but no-where near as far behind as Massa who was effectively already out of that years Championship, and although it was early in the season, it did give Alonso the chance to be World Champ at the last race, so for me it was justified, if a little clumsy.

  25. I voted no opinion.

    Ordinarily I would have voted one way or the other, but I don’t think Lotus believed they were in with a shout for victory. They were more interested in consolidating their points position and not making the same mistakes that they made in China as evidenced by their reactionary final stop.

  26. If they did use team orders, could you really think that Kimi could of overtook Vettel and kept the lead? I think that Kimi would of got close, but Red Bull would of just got the under cut and pitted before Kimi. If as someone above stated, was going to decide a title then obviously let him pass, but letting him pass just to swap podium places around doesn’t seem fair. It would of ruined the race for both of them, Kimi did well from 11th I think it was and Grosjean had a very quick, solid race and to be demoted to 3rd via a team order would of damaged him that’s for sure.

  27. Yes they should have used team orders. A simple “Kimi is on a different strategy to you don’t defend the position” or something along those lines would have been fine. It wouldn’t have had a negative impact, both Lotus would still be on the podium just Kimi had a a better chance to fight for the top step for the team. And Grosjean would have even saved tyres himself by not defending against Kimi.
    I can’t remember how strongly GRO was defending but that is how I feel about that situation.

    1. “It wouldn’t have had a negative impact”

      I would agree if KR and RG were on such different strategies that this would have been a no-brainer, practically not needing a team order such was it’s obviousness. But I don’t get that impression, or else they would have done the order.

      Otherwise, I think a team order in only race 4 of the season would have hit RG pretty hard psychologically, and I think there would have been a lot of F1 fans negatively impacted at seeing the racing taken out of F1 so early in the season.

  28. I’m not a fan of team orders when its just to benefit switch drivers places but when it benefits the team as a whole then I can understand and accept it. For example if the had let kimi past and he won the the race thats extra points for the team but if the lotus cars were 1-2 and they order grosjean to let kimi past that would be wrong.

  29. No. why should Grosjean move for him that takes the fun out of the racing for us. its not like he lost the race because of it. ok he could of caught up with Sebastian Vettel sooner but i think he could he have tried a few more time on both! I dont like team orders think they should ban them again! x

  30. in F1 Manager 1996 i would have left Kimi behind Grosjean. He would have pushed Grosjean to do good lap times as if he was on fresh rubber too ;)

  31. On an unrelated note, that Lotus picture looks great without any of the red endplates in there to spoil it.

    1. @matt90 That’s why I chose it :-)

  32. I voted yes. F1 is a team sport. That’s why there are two cars from one team on the track. Team orders are a tactic that can, and should be used by the team, whenever necessary to get the team over the line first.

  33. I do not see for that case where’s the point for team orders. I remember Kimi not having big problems overtaking his team mate.

    Generally speaking, I do not like team orders, but I understand that today, sometimes Teams have to give a driver a team order just to be sure, that driver is gentle enough with his team mate when the teammate is running with different strategy, or clearly much faster.

    I those cases, the driver who is ahead would not be fighting for anything, so he should let his teammate pass him not creating a big deal with that.

  34. its far TOO early in the season to be using team orders. if Kimi has a chance to win the drivers title, i expect Lotus to then imply team orders and vice versa if Romain was in a shot of winning it.

  35. It would have led to a more interesting race for the lead if Kimi had gotten by quicker and maybe been able to make two or more attempts to pass Vettel. I thought overtaking for the lead is what racing was all about. Besides that, if Vettel had been passed and was back in dirty air, maybe Grosjean could have closed and tried his hand at passing Vettel. That would have been interesting to watch

  36. The team should have ordered Raikkonen to stay out an extra lap instead of pitting right behind Vettel; having pitted right behind Vettel, they should have ordered the pit crew not to do a lousy pit stop. Also we can talk about their Q3 strategy. This discussion falls squarely in the basket of fruits and nuts that we could have had for Christmas. Should Grosjean have been told to let him by? Yes. But it was not nearly the most auspicious act or omission in that team on Sunday that affected the outcome.

  37. If you’re not stretching your machinery, drivers and the rules to the limit then you’re not going to win in F1.. It’s a no brainer for me, Yes! If you can maximise your % chance of a win by using team orders legally then do it.
    I, like keith has expressed, would rather teams didn’t use team orders. But I think theres no point in having rules you can’t enforce 100% of the time.

  38. Yes, They should. Altho Romain was fast, he couldn’t catch kimi let alone vettel on the whole match. Play as a team, it’s good for both drivers.

  39. I must say, this is not the first time that Mr Collantine has polarised opinion. It is very bad of Mr Collantine to say: “Had the two cars been Ferraris, with Fernando Alonso catching Felipe Massa, we surely would have seen an early call for Massa to make way”. You are no one to say that, you are clearly polarising opinion as regards Ferrari, especially using the word “surely”. Your job is not to assume what could have = happened.

    1. Sorry for the =

    2. @thekingofspa Seriously?
      You think if MAS was P2 ALO P3 catching him, Domenicali would just sit there and watch?
      Well maybe, for 1-2 laps, then Alonso would say something like this on the radio: I am mutch faster then Felipe.
      And this is not a polarised opinion, its a sure thing. I would not say you are polarising opinions if you said that the sun will rise tomorrow morning and then set at the evening.

    3. @thekingofspa

      this is not the first time that Mr Collantine has polarised opinion.

      Nor the last!

      It is very bad of Mr Collantine to say: “Had the two cars been Ferraris, with Fernando Alonso catching Felipe Massa, we surely would have seen an early call for Massa to make way”

      I don’t think it’s an unreasonable assumption in the slightest, given the example referred to in the article.

  40. While Lotus would have been within their rights to use team orders on Sunday, they should be applauded for not doing so and leaving their drivers to sort it out for themselves.

    That’s exactly how I see it. Teams that use team orders are basically showing a lack of respect to the leading driver. Grosjean was ahead of Raikkonen fair and square, and deserved the chance to fight for his position.

  41. With or without hindsight i’d say use team orders. The best result for the team has to come first and with Kimi fastest and more likley to catch him i’d have certainly move Roman over to give him the crack especially with Kimi on the faster tires. By not doing so it ruined his best chance of making a move and winning

  42. I think they did the “right thing” not telling Grosjaen to let Raikkonen past, on several levels. They’ve avoided the trap of mentally demoting Grosjaen to second driver and it could even be construed as a vote of confidence in that the team obviously didn’t think they’d crash eachother off the track while fighting fair and square for position. They’ve also avoided the negative connotations for Raikkonen of having to need team orders to pass his team mate in the same car.

    Whether it was the “correct thing” to do results wise, is a bit more tricky. Nobody can know one way or the other.

    Which means that on balance, the conclusion has to be Lotus’ decision was probably correct longer term. At the moment, they have two drivers totally fired up both with the car and their own ability trying to drive the team forward, and not one driver sulking (or worse) about having been made to pull over. There will most likely be other similar opportunities to come for which, again, they have two cars in the race now in a good frame of mind and feeling like they have the support of the team to try to make the most of these chances when they come along.

  43. There was a time when Redbull were a team that did not use team orders.I think Lotus missed a trick there.When the stakes are higher,or maybe the next time such a situation arises,the may very well use team orders.Every team does them.I would hate to bring the team orders ban back.We all know they do it one way or the other anyways.

  44. I, too, find it commendable that they decided to let the two drivers figure it out. If Grosjean had been in any other car, Kimi would have had to pass him legitimately in just the same way. It’s a race and likewise you must be able to prove your worth. With two cars on the same strategy, Kimi had the same tools/ability to put himself in the position that Romain was in. And he did thusly once he passed him. You’re there to race against your teammate just as much as every other car on the track.

  45. kimi had fresh rubber so he had to go ahead, team orders were fair. force india team orders were fair too. i think team orders is fine as it’s a team sport. it’s only a problem when we have two drivers have similar race strategy in terms of tyres & pit stops they should be allowed to race. but it’s the teams call finally we need to accept that.

  46. I think your ‘Against’ section pretty much covers my view, Keith. It’s far too early in the season to be deciding who should be number one in a team. As it was Grosjean let him go pretty easily so it was a bit of a non-issue.

  47. I voted yes. People are correct in saying it didn’t necessarily cost Kimi victory, but the team should make every effort to ensure that one of their drivers takes the top spot. F1 is both a driver and a team sport, and in this case I feel that the advantage should have been handed to Raikkonen, as Grosjean wouldn’t have been disadvantaged by the order – he would be overtaken anyways.

  48. You don’t see the team principal of Lotus coming on air to say, “we allow our drivers to race”, they showed that on track. This is a welcome change from the Briatore years, where a ‘button’ would have been pressed and car two self distructs.
    The proper thing was what they did, gave Grosjean some laps to respond before playing the strategy card. Even they didn’t expect to be so close to the lead after only just a handful of laps.

  49. I think it depends on the team’s priorities.

    If getting the best possible performance from each car and driver was the aim, then telling Grosjean to allow the faster Kimi (on a different strategy) past quickly would have made sense as neither would have wasted time and Kimi would have had a crack at overtaking Vettel earlier. If, however, team pride in no team orders was the priority, then the drivers had to work with that, even if it slowed them both down to some extent, Kimi being blocked for a while and Grosjean having to defend. (Having said that it probably was necessary at some stage to have the two drivers take on each other just to get the experience and to be evaluated on that point by the team.)

  50. If its a team sport, there is nothing wrong with using team orders, they should not have been made illegal from 2003 to 2010….team orders have been around since the beginning of automobile racing…

  51. there’s nothing wrong with issuing orders to players in order to achieve the maximum result possible. in what other team sport are instructions not allowed?

    1. I expect it has something to do with how the much of the fanbase, being the casual viewer, interprets the sport. I would hazard a guess that they see F1 as an individual sport so why should these guys at a desk pit-side decide the outcome? @f1yankee

      1. Honestly, I think even the casual viewer is smart enough to realize its a team sport. Its pretty obvious.

        I’ll throw in a cricket analogy seeing as we’re referring to other team sports. a batsman is on 96 not out, yet his team want to declare the innings as they are running out of time to pursue a win. Do they let the batsman scratch another 4 runs from somewhere and cost them a potential victory? Or do they play as a team and call him in? As hard as it may be, it always has to be the latter.

  52. I think they should do as Red Bull do and let their drivers race; anyway I don’t think Räikkonen would’ve overtaken Vettel, he just would have driven faster earlier and maintained the gap.

    1. Silverstone 2011?

      1. Your later comment justifying TO as “anything to beat Vettel” really makes this post lose credibility.

  53. No, certainly. Kimi passed Grosjean quite fastly and easily, as the French didn’t oppose.

  54. if they start to use team order again the races would be a lot more boring, without team order we can see who of the tow drivers of the team’s are much good.
    just a scenery what will happen at McLaren with tow champions who would be number one?

  55. I believe Lotus should have informed RG to let KR through. Kimi was significantly faster than Romain at that point, and it was obvious he would have gotten past eventually anyways. Lotus should have let Kimi have an easy shot at the victory. In my opinion when your cars are running 2-3 with a strong chance of getting a win, team orders are absolutely justifiable. It’s probably the most justifiable team orders scenario there is, far removed from a 1-2 swap. And Lotus probably surprised even themselves with their performance on Sunday, so who knows when they’ll get a chance for another race win? I don’t think Grosjean would have been psychologically impacted.

  56. I personally feel No, however if they had of done which I respect could have changed the race outcome, would have been good.
    My reasoning to voting no is that I feel that when team orders are used for a victory, the overall victory is tarnished and not won on merit, hence why I said no, I would rather see two drivers grapple it out so then one can challenge the leader than the team say inadvertably, he’s faster than you so let him through.
    But if they had of done they could have challeneged Vettel as we could have then seen some more batteling but to conclude I am sticking with my point above that if team orders are used for a victory the victory is tarnished as if I won a race with team orders I would not feel like I won a race, so no a victory is not a victory when team orders are involved as it is not done on merit.

  57. Anything to beat Vettel :)

  58. I didn’t expect this poll to be so tight, I’m surprised. Or not. Given the fact that it’s everyone’s favourite Finn.

    I say no, team orders would have been unnecessary. I’m sure it didn’t cross their mind at the time, but Lotus are in a position where they are a top team with one pretty much inexperienced driver and another who took a 2 year break. They perhaps need to establish their drivers on track in a more ‘organic’ fashion, particularly so early in the season. With 16 races to go, you don’t want handbags in the garage.

  59. I only voted yes because i’m pretty sure they wont get another chance, Enstone usually starts strong even though they are praising their economical condition, i think that as long as it is hot Red Bull will win every race again, the car was very easy to drive in Bahrain.

  60. I think they should have told Grosjean to let him through. The team’s job is to get the most points possible. It wouldn’t have held up Grosjean enough to change his finishing position and worst case for Raikkonen is that he finishes 2nd, which he did anyway so nothing to lose.

    Now they’ve set a precedent so if Grosjean has a chance at a win and Raikkonen doesn’t, they can’t tell Raikkonen to move over otherwise they’re favouring one driver over the other and they’d cop as much criticism as they would if they’d used team orders in Bahrain.

    The fairest way to do it while still getting the most points for the team is to always let the fastest driver through unless they are on exactly the same strategy and directly racing each other.

    I also don’t think there’s any point in banning team orders again because it’s impossible to police. Teams can, and most likely have, done it in a much more subtle way in the past than Ferrari’s ham fisted attempt in Germany 2010. Instead of having constant arguments and accusations of possible cheating when it’s impossible to prove either way, just keep it legal.

  61. I have no opinion. The team would be right to tell Romain to let Kimi go because he was significantly faster. But they did the correct thing. It is a race, Romain was in front, he might be faster than Kimi on another set of tyres, why tell him to give up a place? If Kimi was really much faster he would pass it anyway, as he did, and Romain was a good team player in the sense that he didn’t risk anything. I assume that Romain knew very well the time he was losting so defending hard to keep a much faster Kimi behind could cost them both.

    In the case they made the call and Kimi simple went by as soon as he caught Romain, I first believed it wouldn?t change much, since he would fall back again from Vettel on the pit stop and on the last stint could not have passed. However, someone mentioned a very interesting point: had Kimi pressured Vettel for a couple more laps, Vettel woudl have to manage the fuel in the last stint, possibly not being able to post the couple of fast laps he did and being under attack, or even ran out fuel before the end of race!
    But its just a case of “what if”…
    I just hope that Kimi (or Romain) can fight for a win in the Spanish GP, as I would love a 5th different team racking up a win.

  62. Yes, they should. Thats how BMW got their first and only victory in F1; not only that, but by using team orders, or just good pre-race briefing of their drivers, that first victory became a 1-2 for the team.

  63. The 42pc who feel that team orders should have been used are probably Kimi fans not looking at the situation from the team’s point of view

  64. Here’s a twist – Lotus in fact did tell Grosjean: “Kimi is faster than you, do not hold him up”. It’s not clear exactly when, the message is in the highlights video from the race:

    1. For me I don’t really mind, Kimi was quicker, and they were trying to catch Vettel. So, it’s not so bad.

      If Grosjean was leading, or had a decent shot at winning, as Kimi did, that would be different…

      1. Well, maybe he could have held Kimi up and gotten 2nd himself?

        1. utterly ********…the engineer told kimi to push, while kimi reply he had to pass romain to do that~~~ if there’s team order, wouldn’t Romain let kimi pass earlier??? And no…Romain clearly cant hold kimi off as he was almost 1 sec quicker than him~~

          1. actually grosjean was told to let kimi in front of him:’kimi is faster than you, don’t hold him up’. check it on bahrain race edit

      2. Agree with you.

    2. Interesting. I reckon this call was probably made when Kimi was within 1.5s of Grosjean, when it was clearly obvious that Kimi would be able to use DRS and very likely to pass Grosjean at some point.

      Still, we’re here talking about if’s and but’s, but what is done is done now. I’m sure Lotus will know themselves they lost a race win and shall take this forward to the future for the next time their in such a position.

  65. Peter Hermann
    28th April 2012, 10:02

    Obviously lotus did use team orders, so the article is based on false assumptions. A common ocurrence on this site, even more so when it gives an opportunity to have another dig at Ferrari.

    1. As you can see from the comments above and in the update in the article, the article was written before the “Kimi is faster than you, do not hold him up” message was revealed in FOM’s post-race highlight video.

      As for Ferrari, there is one reference to them in 19 paragraphs. I think you’re being a touch over-sensitive.

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