Red Bull and Mercedes not the only ones resorting to team orders

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Red Bull and Mercedes attempted to impose team orders on their drivers in Malaysia with varying degrees of success.

But they aren’t the only ones to have done so this year. Team radio excerpts not broadcast on the main television feed reveal more of the orders others teams have issued and the dissent they have faced from some of their drivers.

Here’s what was heard during the first two races including more details on the controversies at Red Bull and Mercedes during yesterday’s Grand Prix.


In Australia at least three teams intervened in the proceedings to impose a running order on their drivers. As early as lap 13 Caterham were orchestrating a position swap between their drivers, telling Charles Pic: “Giedo [van der Garde] will let you past on the main straight. Use DRS.”

Williams tried to do the same after their drivers’ first pit stops but with less success.

Pastor Maldonado came out of the pits behind Valtteri Bottas on lap 16. Shortly afterwards Bottas’s race engineer Jonathan Eddolls told him “Pastor’s faster than you, don’t hold him up.”

But the change of places never happened. The two FW35s came past the pits for three consecutive laps with Maldonado less than half a second behind his team mate.

A Williams spokesperson told F1 Fanatic the message was given to Bottas “to position the drivers ahead of the pit stops for strategy,” however the teams’ engineers were “comfortable that Valtteri was not able to let Pastor through”. Given they weren’t under immediate threat from cars behind it’s not clear why that was the case.

After being rebuffed by Bottas for several laps Maldonado dropped back and was around five seconds in arrears when Bottas came into the pits. At the very next corner Maldonado spun into retirement.

If Bottas spurned a team instruction in the manner of Vettel, Paul di Resta was grudgingly compliant in the manner of Nico Rosberg.

Di Resta was hauling team mate Adrian Sutil in at a considerable rate in the final stint of the race when Sutil was suffering with graining on his super soft tyres. The team told Di Resta to hold position, though no instructions were heard during the race broadcast.

However after the race Di Resta made his displeasure clear, telling his team it was “unfair on the last lap to stop me pushing”.

Another change of running order between team mates attracted speculation over whether team orders had been involved. Felipe Massa lost a position to Fernando Alonso when he had he advantage of making his second pit stop early.

Though the team did not indicate whether this was a deliberate tactical move to at Massa’s expense their track record on this subject understandably makes it hard for some people to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Malaysia: Red Bull

Red Bull’s preoccupation with not destroying their tyres is the vital context to understanding the controversy that unfolded during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“You still have to drive the grands prix these days at eight-tenths,” said Mark Webber after the race. “It’s not like the old day when grand prix drivers are driving flat out and leaning on the tyres like hell because the tyres are wearing out.”

Vettel lost the lead to Webber during the first round of pit stops and by the middle of the race he was on his team mate’s tail. Around lap 26 race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin warned him to drop back: “Try to look after your tyres, you’re too close in the fast corners.”

Meanwhile Webber was being given a lap time target of “high 41s” which he rarely went quicker than, setting a 1’42.5 on lap 27. But Vettel had Hamilton on his tail and was more concerned with overtaking the car in front of him – Webber.

On lap 28 Vettel said: “Mark is too slow, get him out of the way, he’s too slow”. “Understood, look after your tyres,” replied Rocquelin. Shortly afterwards came the confirmation the team would not be imposing any orders just yet: “Sebastian be patient, only half race yet.”

Despite falling 4.2s behind Webber while being stuck behind Hamilton, hard in- and out-laps brought Vettel onto the tail of his team mate. “Careful, Sebastian, careful,” said Rocquelin after his final pit stop. “Sebastian you need to make it to the end with these tyres, 13 laps with these tyres don’t forget.”

This was similar to the situation Vettel faced in Korea last year, when Rocquelin repeatedly warned him about potential tyre damage. Perhaps on that occasion he drew some conclusions about how realistic his team’s warnings about tyre life truly were.

The urgency with which Red Bull were telling Vettel to back down from his pursuit of Webber can be gauged by the fact that the messages started to come from Christian Horner instead of Rocquelin.

“This is silly, Seb, come on,” said Horner. By that time that was broadcast Vettel had already passed Webber. Simon Rennie tried to placate his furious driver: “OK Mark, he was told.”

An excerpt from Vettel’s explanation for his pass was also played, though it sounded like it had been edited for broadcast: “I was really scared… main straight all the time he was moving and I had to leave the line.”

Webber didn’t take it lying down and put in some quick laps of his own in an attempt to put Vettel under pressure. “Obviously Seb and I had a push in the middle in our last stint,” he said afterwards.

Vettel responded, and Rocquelin again pleaded with him to back off: “Sebastian you need to get out of the KERS button, get out of the KERS overtake button, the system won’t take it. No KERS overtake button. Use KERS normally.” Later he added: “Sebastian be careful of front tyre wear, front tyre wear is high, both front and rear high wear.”

Rocquelin’s final words hinted at the recriminations that would follow: “Good job Sebastian, you looked like you wanted it badly enough. Still, there’ll be some explaining to do.”

Malaysia: Mercedes

The dust had only just settled on Vettel’s sensational pass when another dispute over team orders arose at Mercedes.

Rosberg had passed Lewis Hamilton immediately after their final pit stops, but Hamilton hit back, re-passing his team mate on the next lap.

Mercedes had been telling Hamilton to save fuel for most of the race and now their warnings grew more serious: “OK Lewis so that was on target, on target. That is the minimum we expect from you,” he was told early in the final stint.

Behind him Rosberg was getting impatient: “I can go so much faster, just let me go past,” he said. As at Red Bull the team principal was on hand to lay down the law: “Negative Nico” said Ross Brawn.

“Nico, Lewis’s pace is what we’re asking him to do, he can go a lot faster as well so please be in control as well,” he added. “Then let’s go try and get the Red Bulls,” replied Rosberg, “they might have tyre problems”. “Understood but hold position please Nico,” was the reply.

As Hamilton’s lap times rose an increasingly impatient Rosberg complained again: “Tell him to speed up a bit this is too slow.” It was to no avail: “Nico please drop back, leave a gap,” said Brawn, “We have to look after the cars. There’s a massive gap behind and there’s nothing to gain in front. I want to bring these cars home, please.”

After telling Rosberg Hamilton “can go a lot faster”, Brawn pressed the radio button for Hamilton and told him to slow down some more: “OK Lewis we need maximum fuel saving for this last part of the race, please.”

When the chequered flag came down neither driver was happy with what had unfolded: “Fantastic job this weekend guys,” said Hamilton before adding it “definitely didn’t feel right for me”.

After complimenting Rosberg on a “good drive” Brawn added: “We’ll discuss the last stint later.” Rosberg’s parting shot was simply: “Remember this one”.

Team orders in 2013

Is 2013 going to be a season in which we see much more in the way of team orders? Webber believes it will, and he singles out the current generation of tyres as the cause:

“At the moment we’re driving at eight and a half tenths, eight tenths, conserving our pace and some more situations like this will probably happen in the future because there’s a lot of ambiguity in who’s (on the) pace and who’s quick.”

“I’m a big sports fan and the fans of any sport will want it to be a perfect world always,” he added. “We want it to be pure, we want it to be as we see ?����ǣ football, boxing, cycling, whatever. We want it to be real.”

“But there is an element of naivety… for me watching some sport as well and in the case of some Formula One fans watching this situation. It’s impossible for everybody to understand everything and that’s the same for me watching a football match or a Champions League match.

“Sometimes there are things you don’t understand because sometimes there is naivety.”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Image © Williams/LAT, Red Bull/Getty, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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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195 comments on “Red Bull and Mercedes not the only ones resorting to team orders”

  1. Thanks for this article, quite enlightening!

    1. Traverse (@)
      25th March 2013, 23:45

      Indeed. High quality, insightful, debate provoking journalism from KC once again.

    2. I’m afraid after years of keenly following F1 I’m still at a loss to understand under fueling the cars.
      They tell us that extra fuel costs about 1/10th per lap and that’s fine.

      But tell me this – how much time did Hamilton lose in the last few laps of the race? 10 seconds? 15 seconds? 20 seconds? So was saving 1/10th per lap during the race really worth it? Hell no!

      It happens time and time again, especially at Mercedes. How many times have we heard the drivers being told to conserve fuel and subsequently go MUCH slower than they could if not fuel saving.

      As far as I’m concerned under fueling the cars is a gross false economy!

      1. This is an excellent question. Does anyone have any insight on this? Or is underfuelling simply a case of engineers trying to keep the car as light as possible but getting their calculations wrong?

      2. @nick101 @shimks Mercedes said the pace of the race was quicker than they expected. This might have been for two reasons.

        First, the lap times are quicker this year, due to car development and Pirelli producing tyres which give better performance. And the faster a car goes, the more fuel it uses. It’s still early in the season, and this was the first race run in hot conditions, so they may still be perfecting their calculations.

        Then there’s the circumstances of this particular race. It began in wet conditions and there was an expectation further rain might arrive. F1 cars go slower in wet conditions and hence use less fuel. Mercedes may have been expecting the race to be wetter for longer and therefore put less fuel in the car.

        1. Very interesting observations. Many thanks, Keith!

          1. @keithcollantine

            I understand the reasons why they do it, I just think it’s stupid. I know that they’re a bunch of very highly paid men and women much cleverer than I, but all I can do is look at the evidence.

            We always here the same thing about the race pace being faster than expected. It’s always the same thing. And as I said earlier, how many times have we heard a driver being told to slow down and save fuel. It happens far too often.

    3. Would like to sneak in a quick congratulations to McLaren for creating a World Record of scoring points in 60 consecutive races… Way to go team..

      KC, well written article… very apt for the current atmo in F1

  2. brilliant article Keith. Enjoyed it to the fullest. Just shows the brutal atmosphere in Formula 1. I do think Hamilton and Rosberg being friends gives Nico more of the upper hand in the mentality section. He sounds more confident and calm and believes in the team. Lewis is new and he genuinely seems like a person who feels bad to get one over his team-mate who happens to be a close friend even though Nico was simply better throughout the weekend. I now feel Lewis isn’t the same type of character such as Vettel and Alonso who are just bloody ruthless, just like greats like Schumi, Senna and Prost.

    1. I think Hamilton would do the same actions as Senna. He’d rather win by being the best but in order to win he’d be willing to take things into his own hands. Having said that he’s probably also a bit like Moss, he’d want to win genuinely, without using team orders.

      If that sounds like the biggest suck up to Hamilton, it wasn’t intended to be. I don’t think he’d be quite as gentlemanly as Moss and gift his opponents points but he wouldn’t want to take every point at the expense of his team mate if it wasn’t deserved.

      Anyone agree?

      1. I think that’s a fair assessment.
        Aggressive, but not selfish.

    2. did you watch the schumacher or senna eras at all???????
      they were the most ruthless of all the drivers, they are the only 2 that have crashed out drivers on purpose to win championships – life endagering moments – that is more ruthless then anything, Alonso and Vettel are nothing like that, gentlemen compared to those 2. go back and watch the races of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s

      1. The rules don’t allow that level ruthlessness anymore. If they did it is very likely Alonso Vettel and Hamilton would have purposefully crashed each other by now.

  3. Traverse (@)
    25th March 2013, 23:23

    Funny how people complain when Rosberg is instructed not to overtake Ham, yet nobody bats an eyelid when Di Resta is given the same instruction (at the Australian gp). After all, you could argue that Di Resta managed his strategy better than Sutil and so deserved 7th place. Or is it only an issue if Ham is the recipient?

    1. Traverse (@)
      25th March 2013, 23:25

      *If Ham is the Beneficiary

      1. Yes its a bit of a double standard. I think its because most people (everybody?) hates Diresta and also there was a feeling with Sutil being up front and impressing on his comeback that he deserved better.

      2. I don’t think that’s the case. No one is jumping down Hamilton’s throat because he is genuinely embarrassed by the situation and the first thing he said was “Nico should have been here”. No ifs, no buts, no making excuses, he admitted Rosberg was faster and admitted that his result wasn’t deserved. That’s what the public wants. If he had given a rambling answer, starting off at “well I obviously respect [Driver X]….but I messed up….we’ll discuss it later, you’ve got enough to write about” the situation would have been different.

    2. Di Resta was closing in on the final 5 or so laps. The team had nothing to gain with him overtaking but a lot to lose if they came together. Hamilton went into fuel saving mode pretty early and if Ross had let Rosberg past at that time he may have caught the the Red Bulls

      1. @stig Does that really make sense to you…if we are to believe what Mercedes said, which is that Nico was also running low on fuel then it would have been as moot a point as Lewis to chase after the RBRs and run out of fuel before getting to them. Also if you agree with what Vettel did, then surely you would have to agree with what Di Resta wanted to do. So my main point is this, if you think Di Resta should stay behind due to “nothing to gain”, but Nico should have continued even though the data was saying he had nothing to gain either. I think both have the right to be mad cause it could have been one more position and more points at the end of the day, and one can’t just pick and choose which drivers get to stay behind or go ahead. Either you believe all drivers should get to race for position no matter what the engineers say or they should hold position.

        1. I didn’t hear Mercedes say Nico was low on fuel too. Why didn’t they tell him to drive to a number then? On the messages broadcast on the radio channel Brawn never said anything to Nico about having to save fuel. He was consistently doing fastest lap after fastest lap before he got stuck behind Lewis which is why I believe he could have caught the Red Bulls. I don’t agree with what Vettel did, I never said that anywhere…my whole comment before was only about Mercedes and Red Bull so not sure where you got any of that from :S I was just highlighting that Di Resta and Rosberg’s cases were different

          1. @magillagorilla @stig
            One thing I wud like to add, as to why it was unfair on Vettels part, bcoz Webber was instructed to turn down the engine assuring he wud not be passed and he did that, but Vettel did not… If none of the drivers listened that wud hav been different…

          2. @Stig As Keith pointed out in an article from this weekend, other teams have done team orders and the FOM didn’t play them. Do you think it is possible that all of Nico’s messages weren’t played? Also it becomes even more possible due to the fact that teams run same car fuel set up thus to optimize the most points haul.

            The Vettel comment was in general, not only to you. Nico and Di Resta’s cases are not different at all, both only had one spot to gain and that was over their team mate. Rosberg didn’t have the car to gain on Vettel and Webber due to tires and fuel. Brawn has said this and so has Wolff, if people want to believe that this team didn’t run same fuel set up to get the best out of both cars you’re more naive than me for trusting the PR.

          3. @jjjj
            Yeah totally agree there. If team orders exist there needs to be a mutual agreement. RB could’ve told Mark that Seb wasn’t complying so at least Mark could be prepared to defend himself.

            Well if it wasn’t broadcast you can’t really assume that it was the case. When Brawn kept declining Nico to pass he didn’t say “Lewis is saving fuel, you should too”. It is more than likely that they run the same fuel set up which is why Rosberg was conserving at the start when they told him to look after his tyres. They then told him towards the middle he didn’t have to worry about tyres anymore and that he could push hard. This WAS broadcast on the Pits Radio. I don’t think the team would tell him to do that if he had to conserve fuel. In the end we will never know if Nico had the car to chase the Red Bulls but it was definitely worth a shot at the time. If Vettel and Webber had an incident at least one of the Merc’s would’ve been close enough to pick up the pieces. It’s not like Nico was trying to pass dangerously either, he was making full use of the 2 DRS zones. I wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of Brawn’s mouth to the press after the constant excuses and lies about their performance and staff over the last 3 years, not the mention the Schumacher situation last year.

    3. Everybody was complaining about Di Resta saying that he should have finished higher. People said that if he did deserve to finish ahead, then why didn’t he pass Sutil? They suggested he wasn’t able to. It seemed obvious at the time that it is was likely due to team orders, but people like to complain about Di Resta’s complaining too much.

      1. Traverse (@)
        26th March 2013, 0:13

        Precisely, They blamed Di Resta for not taking the initiative during the race and then moaning about it afterwards. Yet with the Rosberg Hamilton situation, people are saying that Ham should’ve moved over and let Rosberg pass. The general consensus seems to be that everyone feels sympathetic towards Rosberg, yet hostile towards Di Resta, despite the fact that both situations are almost identical. Typical double standards…

      2. A lot of people were harsh with Di Resta BEFORE we learned about that team order, not that many afterwards @matt90, although some keep saying he is a bad loser etc. more or less on principle it seems.

  4. It’s getting more and more obvious that Redbull wanted to gift Webber a win on his 200th GP and it seems Vettel was not aware or just forgot it. These radio messages do not prove that Mark was told to slow down rather than he was told that Seb will just simply not attack because they ordered him to maintain the gap..

    1. Traverse (@)
      25th March 2013, 23:27

      It’s getting more and more obvious that Redbull wanted to gift Webber a win on his 200th GP

      *SIGH* Come on…you can’t seriously believe that.

    2. @vettel81

      Redbull wanted to gift Webber a win on his 200th GP

      I think the chance of that being the case is zero.

    3. The messages don’t tell all the story because they have a standard agreement beforehand. I dont think any team ever gifted their second drivers any wins before the championship was decided. Redbull least of all.

    4. It all makes sense now. They also asked Alonso to crash into Vettel and lose his front wing, so that Mark could have a chance at the victory! Shame on Vettel for spoiling the party!

    5. Of course the guy named @vettel81 is going to strap on his tin foil hat and claim an RBR ruse against Seb.

      1. After a bit of thought, here’s my take on the whole team orders thing, especially with Vettel. If Vettel had come out after the race and said something like this, the whole situation would be very, very different: “No, I do not agree with team orders, I was clearly faster than Mark, and I wanted to win both the race and the world championship, so I deliberately ignored the team because I am a racer and I want to win. Sure, we had an agreement but I said to the team before the race and I say now I do not agree with the idea of not trying my hardest for the win. I do not apologise for what I did, I’d do it again and I would expect Mark to do the same. The team should not ask either of us to ‘hold position’ again and if they do, I’ll ignore it. Mark should too. We are racers. We race. We won’t be stupid about it, I’ve learned from Turkey a few years ago so I’ll try my hardest not to put either of us in a situation where we could take each other off, however I’ve decided that racing is everything to me – it’s what F1 is all about.” Now if he had said something like this, and had disagreed with the arrangement before the race (like Senna did in 1990 regarding what he would do to Prost), on the radio and after the race, I’d have massive respect for him, even though as an Aussie I’m a Webbo supporter. But, and here’s the point, he didn’t say anything like that. He acted like a naughty child, never stood up to the team on team orders (probably because he thought they would end up having to use them to hold Mark in p2) and then when it did not suit him he ignored them, apologised to just about everyone in F1 when he ignored the team orders and then gave a very silly-sounding press conference. All the commentary about how this race is a game changer and now everyone will race until the end is rubbish. However, had Vettel grown a pair, been a man about the situation from the very start, then we would all respect, but not necessarily agree with, Seb on this one. It’s what Senna would have done.

        An opportunity for greatness lost, and a massively awkward situation gained.

  5. That was an interesting read.

    It’s interesting to see that team orders were being applied just 13 laps into this season. That is absolutely crazy. I did feel for VDG a bit there!

    I do agree team orders should be legal, but with justification. I do think stopping another driver from overtaking just because he may have got a tiny bit unlucky with the strategy is a bit silly, as strategy is a major part of the game.

    The whole RBR case is one that will hurt the team a lot, and I sincerely hope it does not escalate into full-on war between Vettel & Webber. I felt the two drivers should have been free to race, whatever their engine settings. Put them both on 80% power and let them race, as they were so far out in front. Mercedes could have done similar.

    The fact Williams’ attempt at team orders failed because Maldonado spun off made me chuckle a fair bit!

    The problem is, once team orders are applied, you’re in a no-win situation. Either you obey the order and finish behind your teammate and look like the inferior driver (Rosberg/Di Resta), or you overtake and look like the villain amongst fans and even within your own team (Vettel). Even worse you could take you and your teammate out (Vettel/Webber Turkey 2010). Perhaps something could be done about this.

    1. @craig-o

      or you overtake and look like the villain amongst fans

      Is that the case for all drivers, though, or just ones some people take a particular dislike to like Vettel or Pironi?

      1. @keithcollantine It does appear that it’s only towards the ones people tend to dislike. I don’t agree with disobeying team orders though, and personally I would lose respect for somebody who refuses to follow them for their own selfish gains. I would like to say it was towards all drivers, but that does not seem the case. However, I do wonder though, what would the reaction had been had Rosberg overtaken Hamilton despite the order, or had Di Resta overtaken Sutil if it was for a podium spot?

      2. @craig-o
        The trouble is Vettel used sneak tactics to ”overtake” when Webber was under the impression that both cars would coast to the finish. He turned his engine down only for Vettel to put his engine to full power and blast past him. No fan would have any trouble at all to see them battle as long as both drivers understood that they were not under any team orders. I am sure Webber would never have let him get within the DRS window if there were no team orders.

        1. The trouble is Vettel used sneak tactics to ”overtake” when Webber was under the impression that both cars would coast to the finish.

          No matter how many people repeat this, it remains patently untrue.

          “Sneak tactics”? Did you even watch this race? Stevie Wonder could have seen that Vettel was trying to pass.

          1. agree

          2. If Vettel didn’t use sneak tactics, why does he feel guilty about it, said he’s not proud of his win, and needs to apologize to Webber? If the playing field is fair, why on earth will someone say sorry for his win? It only shows deep in his (Vettel) heart, he did something wrong.

            Webber turned down his engine and was assured the drivers would cruise and drive until the end. Vettel used that to his advantage to overtake Webber.

            I don’t know what race you and Stevie Wonder watched, but i’m sure it’s not this race. Try to watch more post race interviews aside from the one sanctioned by FIA then maybe you’ll see the light.

      3. I think part of the problem is if the leading team mate actually knows that a pass is coming or not. Webber clearly fought back hard, but the initial move by Vettel sounds as though it was unexpected.

      4. @keithcollantine It’s amazing to see how this issue of team orders has blown up over VET, but in the very same race, people accept team orders that benefited HAM.
        I’ll be very keen to see how Horner and RBR handle the situation going forward. Its a PR nightmare for sure.

        1. @dragoll)
          The difference in this case is that Webber was caught by surprise when Vettel attacked him. Twice the team had assured him that Vettel understood that they would finish in that order so it was okay to turn the engine down. It was the sneak tactic by Vettel that has caused all the furore as it was clear to everyone that Webber was not even aware that a fight was going on. I’m sure you still remember the term ‘sucker punch’ from your school days?

        2. In addition, it wasn’t the driver’s initiative that governed the Mercedes case, it was the team principle’s. It wasn’t Lewis’ fault that Brawn ordered Nico to stay behind him. What annoys people about the Vettel case is that Vettel demanded team orders early in the race and then renegaded on them later when they didn’t suit him to gain an unfair advantage over Mark.

          1. @kibblesworth some people are concerned about VET taking matters upon himself, but that is no different to the situation where WEB took it upon himself to attack VET in the British GP a couple of years ago.

            I’m more concerned with the issue of Team Orders in general, this is the issue that most people I’ve spoken to in Australia who don’t follow F1 have the most problem with.

        3. Isn’t it more that we are intensely discussing the more interesting case, the one that decided the outcome of the race and upset some order inside the team more than the other one where ultimately one teammate did follow orders? I am interested to hear your views of the second TO case, but don’t accuse “people” of not minding it just because they are discussing one of them here.

      5. Clearly a dislike, I initially disliked the fact that Vettel attacked based on his teammate running a leaner map and not wishing to break from orders that Seb did. However, after a day of looking at it, the reality is that racing for spots is what everyone is there for and Seb as a racer did nothing wrong. However, I do understand from the engineer aspect to bring the cars home safely.

        1. ^ comment directed @keithcollantine…but at the end of the day people can’t pick and choose what they want and if they do they must or should face reality that they are doing so based on bias and emotion. In other words if people are mad at Vettel then they should be mad at Webber as well for when he did it. And vice-versa, if they liked Vettel doing it, they should equally be happy when Webber has done it.

    2. Maybe Pic was faster and it was in the tams interest not to have him held up?

  6. Very interesting, but from this detail i can only conclude that Horner failed to make it clear to Vettel early enough. The ‘bit silly’ comment sounds weak and ignorable compared to Brawns more urgent and forceful tone.

    1. @vodaclone I thought like you did, that the message was not clear enough to Vettel, but Christian Horner is left in no doubt the message was loud and clear. So I have changed my mind.

      Interview with Christian Horner by Adam Cooper:

      “At the end of the day in a situation like today you have a position from a team, which is clear, which is from our position to maximise the points from a team point of view from that last pit stop to the end of the race. From our point of view as soon as that pit stop was complete, Mark was ahead, it was very close on the pit exit, but as far as we were concerned it was a matter of managing the tyres to the end of the race. The tyres we’ve obviously been marginal with all weekend and last weekend, and the instruction was given to both cars effectively to hold position.

      At that point Sebastian has obviously chose to ignore that. The interests of a driver compared to the interests of a team are different, and he’s focussed on the eight point difference between a win and second, the team is focussed on the 43 points, and for us it didn’t matter which way round it finished, we just want to close the result off.

      source: Adam Cooper F1

      1. Ok, so Horner made it clear before the race then. So why the slightly half-hearted implementation during the race over the pit radio? Knowing what Vettel is like (a determined racer) and knowing the previous history between Webber of the very same thing says to me that RB were happy for Vettel to take matters into his own hands. They certainly are the talk of the town after all.

    2. I can imagine Webber would have got something less weak over the radio if it were the other way round as well.

  7. By far best and most entertaining racing in this entire rather boring event was the contest between Vettel and Webber. If the wretched tyres really mean that everybody must hold position for the last 15 lap laps of a GP, why on earth should I waste my time watching one?

    I repeat – why on earth should I waste my time watching one?

    The FIA really need to rethink what they’re doing here. Put proper rubber on the cars and find some other way of leveling the playing field if you must.

    1. @jonsan There are many reasons to watch F1, if a contest between VET and WEB is the only reason you watch it, then it is your choice.

    2. @jonsan
      Not ”everybody must hold position for the last 15 laps” as you suggested, but all teams wait till the last stint to see where they are and react accordingly. As soon as the Mercs fell away understandably Horner wanted to secure a 1-2 and not risk tyre delamination or the drivers coming together. By the way, if you think F1 is a waste of time in it’s current format why do you bother watching at all.

      1. Not ”everybody must hold position for the last 15 laps” as you suggested,

        The drivers in positions one through four were under such instructions in this race.

        understandably Horner wanted to secure a 1-2 and not risk tyre delamination or the drivers coming together.

        I understand his thinking perfectly, thanks. I reject it. The comment I made above does not mention Horner – it’s about the race and F1 in general. If drivers coming together is to be avoided then lets have the qualifying order maintained between teammates for the duration of the race. No dreaded teammate coming together then.

        People who in other contexts bemoan the lack of tough wheel to wheel racing in F1 seem to be struck dumb here or worse, perhaps because they can’t bear to side with Vettel in anything. All of a sudden everybody is all about how the drivers must defer to the teams the teams must be very cautious. But the issue is bigger than any one driver or team.

        1. People who in other contexts bemoan the lack of tough wheel to wheel racing in F1 seem to be struck dumb here or worse

          @jonsan I don’t believe many people are bemoaning about the lack of tough wheel to wheel racing in F1, if anything I think people are a little tired of the likes of Maldonado and Grosjean who have made mistakes and taken out other drivers whom have done nothing wrong.

          There are plenty of examples of close wheel to wheel racing, with or without DRS in recent years.

          1. if anything I think people are a little tired of the likes of Maldonado and Grosjean who have made mistakes and taken out other drivers whom have done nothing wrong.

            Apart from making fun of them (and criticizing Maldonado when it gives the impression of being intentional), I do not know that many people who have much trouble with that taking away their enjoyment of the sport @dragoll.
            Not to mention that Grosjean did not crash in either of the races so far this year and had a very solid race on Sunday

  8. I have to say, the more I think about it, the more I’m glad Vettel did what he did.

    By ignoring team orders Sebastian gave us a show, albeit only for two laps, but if he’d held position as he’d been told, the end of the race would have been a lot duller.

    If team orders were still banned, we’d have got fantastic racing between the two Red Bull’s, and the two Mercedes’, but we were deprived due to the rules.

    While Mark Webber remains the victim, the culprit in my mind is not Sebastian Vettel, but instead the FIA for allowing team orders and depriving us of some truly fantastic fights.

    I should imagine people will respond to this by saying, ‘Well the teams could just not use them’, but it’s like having a cheat for a game. It’s just so tempting, no matter how properly you want to do it.

    If team orders were still banned I’m sure we’d have had an even better race, but then again, people will say ‘they could have still used them illegally’. We will never know, because it wasn’t the case. But one thing I do know is, that at least that way, they teams would have been punished for ruining the show.

    1. Unless you buy int the widespread fiction that Webber was running on “reduced power” while Vettel was on “race power”, then no, Webber is not in any sense a victim here.

      He and Vettel raced hard and fair, and Vettel came out ahead.

      1. At the time Vettel made his move, Webber was running on reduced power. As soon as Vettel passed, he cranked it back up, but the damage was done however.

        It’s clear as day Webber is not as quick as Vettel, and despite all the criticism towards the German, his race-craft is also better than Mark’s. As soon as Sebastian was ahead, it was over.

        I’d also like to add, for the record, I am not a fan of Seb on track.

        1. At the time Vettel made his move, Webber was running on reduced power.

          Your repeating this does not make it so. Ten million people repeating it does not make it so.

          1. Your contradicting it does not make it so. You do not have evidence.

        2. Perhaps, you would care to look at the laptimes? It isn’t too hard, is it? Both Seb and Mark set their fastest times on lap 45 (Seb – 1’40.446, Mark – 1’40.685) – before Seb made his pass on lap 46. This completely rules out any difference in the engine mappings at the time of the pass.

          1. Sorry but all the lap 45 times tell us is that Vettel was up Webbers exhaust pipes.

          2. Nope, it tells us that they were on equal power settings (or, at least, Vettel did not have any advantage in engine power). They both set their fastest times on lap 45 and yet Seb didn’t on that lap. There is a huge back straight in Sepang, and Seb also had DRS, and still was not able to pass Mark. If you think that Webber was down on power on that lap, you must be a huge Webber fan.

      2. IMHO in case Webber was on reduced power Vettel would pass him easily with DRS and a slight tyre advantage. My guess he could have been on reduced power during the 2-3 laps around the last pit stops.

      3. It was hardly fair. Firstly Webber wasn’t expecting a sudden challenge from Seb for position. If he had been, he would have been better prepared to mount a defence. The fact is, Seb disregarded a prior agreement between team-mates. Very poor conduct in my opinion. Secondly, Webber was actually very generous to his team-mate. Just before Seb overtook, Mark had a very clear option to regain the racing line which would have, in effect, forced Seb to drive of the track. I imagine he didn’t because as much as he would have loved to force Seb of the track, it wouldn’t have been good for the team and he probably would have been reprimanded. Seb got very lucky there, it wasn’t just his supreme driving talent that saw him take the position. Finally, I hardly think the team would have let Mark try to regain the position of Seb after that spat of racing, do you?

        What we saw happen between Vettel and Webber was not a race. What we saw was Seb unfairly taking advantage of a previous agreement to wrestle position of Mark, knowing that there would be few serious repercussions for doing so, and knowing that Mark wouldn’t be permitted to regain position afterwards by the team. That isn’t racing.

        1. Well said you are the only person talking sense and reporting what happened and not supposition.

      4. @jonsan
        What other fans seem to be disregarding is that even BEFORE half race distance Vettel’s sense of entitlement to the win came shining through the team radio with the disdain in his voice as he said, ”he is too slow, get him out of the way”. Vettel had already decided that he was going to win and to call what he did afterwards ”racing hard and fair”, well I can only surmise that you are a die hard Vettel fan and nothing anybody else says will matter.

        1. Your getting all emotional about Vettels radio messages has zero bearing on the question of whether Webber was “not expecting” a passing move or the question of whether Webbers engine was on reduced power while Vetels was in ‘race power”. Lets try to stick to factual matters here.


          1. @jonsan

            The indications from Red Bull, for example, their radio messages, suggest strongly that Webber would have turned his engine down. Secondly, I believe Webber said that he had. I can’t provide a photo, but I think it’s a clear cut issue. Webber was on reduced power at least leading up to the pass.

            The issue, is that Vettel unfairly took advantage of the situation. His earlier comment, shows that he has little thought regarding the effects of his actions on his team mate.

            Whether he was right to do so, I don’t know, however the fact that Webber was under the impression that there would be no threat, and that Vettel surely would at least be aware of that, makes it in poor taste in my opinion.

          2. @mike

            “Webber was on reduced power at least leading up to the pass.”

            I’m not quite sure how long the window of reduced engine power was. I’m certain that Webber was maxed out once Vettel was within the one second DRS window. I refuse to buy into the argument that Webber was naive enough, to not crank his engine knob once he saw Vettel in his mirrors. The broader point which people are missing is that Webber put up a very handy fight, especially on the main straight. Vettel did not cruise around Webber to take the lead as some seem to suggest.

            Here are two reasons why Webber was truly mad:
            1. Assurance from the team that the win was his. Yet Horner was unable to contain Vettel.
            2. His inability to successfully defend his position. And no I don’t mean because of low revvs or whatever. His inability to match Vettel in wheel to wheel combat. Vettel suddenly made Webber look inferior on a day where he clearly had the same race pace as Vettel.

          3. @sankalp88

            once he saw Vettel in his mirrors

            His team had told him Vettel wouldn’t pass. From that point on, Webber’s race was compromised.

            For sure, I don’t think Vettel realised that. I think on his part it was a misunderstanding.

            As for 2. That is ridiculous, Webber could have very easily ran Vettel out of track, he didn’t. Probably because he didn’t know why Vettel was passing him. You have to remember Webber was told the race was his.

            If they had of said, You are racing Vettel for the win, the race would have been different (but not necessarily the outcome) but obviously he was angry because he felt he was shafted.

          4. Guys, if you truly think that WEB at no point during the roughly twelve minutes between VET moving into second place and his final pass became wise to the fact that he was in a racing situation, you’re insulting Mark Webber’s intelligence.

            They were fighting wheel to wheel for 2 1/2 laps, FFS!

            “This is silly.”

        2. “even BEFORE half race” was exactly when Hamilton was within the DRS zone of Vettel. Not being able to build a gap to the cars behind because of Webber was the reason Hamilton came in front of Vettel after the pit stop, which made his race more complicated than it should’ve been.

          1. I noticed this as well. Webber was apparently giving his tyres a few laps of rest at the expense of his team mate, who was being caught and overtaken even during the pit stop. Vettel being annoyed of Webber’s pace was quite understandable in hindsight.

    2. The problem with banning team orders is that the teams do them any way. They will, and used to do, issuse orders before the race and then used some code-word (multi21) in the race. The only difference would be that we would wonder why Webber was so angry and why Hamilton looked so ashamed on the podium.

      1. Perhaps, but at least if team orders are illegal then drivers can protest when they are used and teams can be punished when it is obvious. Ferrari were at least reprimanded after the infamous “Fernando is faster than you…’ incident.

        1. @kibblesworth Drivers will never complain to the FIA against their own teams because it will just hurt them more than the team. The closest who came to doing that was Alonso in 2007 (and he got his own steward in the McLaren garage in Brazil for doing that). What came out of it? McLaren fired him, and Alonso was stuck in a mediocre car for 2 years before he got the drive at Ferrari.

    3. I have to say, the more I think about it, the more I’m glad Vettel did what he did.

      This showed more people what some of us have known all along that Vettel is not a sweet well behaved little kid. Every time DC or Brundle kept saying how nice and honest Vettel was I vinced, it’s better to have it in the open

    4. Agreed. We need 22 Vettels on the grid !

      Maybe he did it because he is protected at Red Bull and it’s not afraid of consequences for disobeying orders (I don’t know). But the thing I know is that if you obey orders so early in the season, you instantly get the 2nd driver label (just look at Barrichello, Massa, Irvine etc..)

      We need more disobeying drivers like Senna and Piquet for old times sake racing…

      1. Yes the problem at the moment for everybody except Vettel is that the teams have to much power over the drivers. The best for the fans would be if no driver accepts teamorders, but as it is they know that the team could just fire them and somebody else would pay millions to take their place.

        The unpleasant thing about vettel is that he benefits from teamorders but does not respect them himself. In the cases of Senna vs Prost and Piquet vs Mansell they knew that teamorders where out of the question but the teams still kept them which made for great viewing.

      2. We don’t need 22 Vettels on the grid. I would agree with you if you said we need 22 Ayrton Sennas or Piquets on the grid.

        For me, the difference with Vettel compared to the great Senna and the like is that Vettel feels sorry for what he did and he knows it’s wrong. Senna on the other hand drives and makes decisions for whatever he thinks is right without having to say sorry or feel so guilty about it afterwards.

        F1 is full of politics and PR crap nowadays. I miss the old days.

        1. For me, the difference with Vettel compared to the great Senna and the like is that Vettel feels sorry for what he did and he knows it’s wrong.

          People actually buy that? That “apology” was PR speak and maybe to keep the team from trying to choke him. Once he was sure that there were no cameras on him, he was probably grinning his **** off.

  9. Perhaps those people who were defending these Pirelli tyres (on the dubious grounds that they would make things difficult for Red Bull and that this was de facto a good thing) will now start to reconsider.

    We’re faced with the prospect of an entire season where every dry race is treated with the extreme caution wet races used to be as teams try to nurse their fragile tyres across the finish line.

  10. Team orders ruin racing, it’s really as simple as that. Watching the Malaysian Grand Prix end like that was a great shame. I would love to have seen Mark race Seb wheel to wheel for dominance over the last couple of laps. I can understand why the team principles would be worried about it, but you have to be able to trust your drivers. If you don’t think you have two drivers who can race without ramming each other of the road or putting themselves in a position where they lose a lot of time to the cars behind, then maybe you should think about getting some different drivers.

    That being said, I certainly don’t support Vettel in his disregard for team orders. What Seb did was thoroughly unsportsmanlike as Mark had already turned down his engine, as per pre-race team agreement, and was at a signficant disadvantage when Seb decided to go his own way. It was disgraceful behaviour, especially from a man who had been crying out for team orders earlier in the race and had been petulant when he couldn’t overtake Mark on his own merit.

    1. What Seb did was thoroughly unsportsmanlike as Mark had already turned down his engine, as per pre-race team agreement, and was at a signficant disadvantage when Seb decided to go his own way.

      Do you have any evidence that this happened? If so I’d love to see it.

      I watched the race and at no point did Webber look like he was down on power relative to Vettel. If such had been the case Seb could have simply cruised past him on the straights rather than fighting him dangerously in the corners.

      1. In fairness, I have no evidence; I am only going by what Mark and numerous media outlets have said. But even if that isn’t the case, the fact that Mark thought the race was over put him at a disadvantage if it was Vettel’s intention to overtake all along. I imagine Mark would have done more to maintain a gap instead of allowing his teammate to cruise up right behind him if he thought he was going to be defending his position momentarily…

        1. I am only going by what Mark and numerous media outlets have said.

          I’ll take that then. Do you have a link to Mark saying that he was on low power and Seb was not?

          the fact that Mark thought the race was over

          Why would mark have thought the race was over? hHe spent several laps racing wheel to wheel with Vettel in the most intense and exciting action of the entire GP, and you’re telling me that while this was happening he thought the race was over? I have a higher opinion of Marks intelligence than that.

          This story seems to be an urban legend which has taken on a life of its own.

          1. Actually, you may be right on the former. I have to admit, that when Mark said that he had turned his engine down, it seemed to imply that Seb, in turn hadn’t. But Horner says in this interview that he thinks that they both had the same engine settings.

            But I still do believe that Mark thought the race was over. From his comments, as well as team orders, it seems that the intention was to maintain relative position to one another after the final pitstop. Once the engine(s) were turned down, the race was essentially over between them. Seb disregarded this disagreement. Still unsportsmanlike, im my opinion.

          2. “I still do believe that Mark thought the race was over.”

            That’s impossible to believe if you watched the race. He cannot have believed the race was over as he and Vettel spent laps racing one another mere centimeters apart. To believe that I’d have to believe that Webber is a phenomenally stupid man, and I simply do not believe that.

            There was no “sneak attack The two men raced and Webber came out behind. It’s that simple.

          3. It’s not at all impossible to believe! If your team tells you via radio that the race is over, your teammate won’t be challenging you for position, and tells you to turn down your engine so that you can coast to the end of the race, then you simply aren’t going to be all geared up for a race with your team mate! You certainly aren’t going to try and extend your lead as it would wear down the tires. The fact that they raced early on in the race is irrelevant. The truth of the matter is that after the final pitstop the team orders were to maintain position so that both drivers could rest the engine and manage the tires until the end of the race. Mark complied with this and Seb renegaded on it. That is why Seb took the lead.

          4. The fact that they raced early on in the race is irrelevant. The truth of the matter is that after the final pitstop the team orders were to maintain position so that both drivers could rest the engine and manage the tires until the end of the race. Mark complied with this and Seb renegaded on it. That is why Seb took the lead

            Based on that description of events, there is only one possible conclusion – you did not watch the race.

      2. Why would you be able to see it? Slightly lower power doesn’t mean another driver will necessarily cruise past, but does clearly give that driver a disadvantage.

      3. @jonsan

        Mark Webber said it more than once during the press conference.

        Obviously I had to mark Lewis off a little bit in the middle there and then after the last stop obviously the team told me the race was over, we turned the engines down and we go to the end.

        Yeah, well I turned my engine down and started cruising on the tyres and the fight was off.

        I turned the engine down. We have some codes in terms of getting the cars to the end.

        So there ;)

        1. I must be missing the part where Mark says that Seb did not turn his engine map down. Can you underline it for me?

          1. Are you for real? You demanded evidence that Webber was told to turn down his engine. You got it. Which part was unclear to you?

            Now, if you claim that Vettel turned down his engine before attacking, then YOU have to provide evidence for it. It’s called the burden of proof.

    2. I’m not sure that team orders always racing. It depends on how they are applied. I have much more sympathy with a team asking their slower driver to make way for their quicker driver than with a team holding their quicker driver behind their slower driver. That frees the quicker driver to pull away and potentially catch the next car up the road (except when they’re first, of course, but even then, the quicker driver could benefit from a cushion at the front just in case they develop a problem), and risks putting the slower driver into a battle with one of the cars behind them. It’s basically the team acknowledging that one driver would overtake the other in a fair fight, but choosing to eliminate the risk from such a situation. That’s just sensible. My mind always goes back to the situation with the Jordan team in Spa all those years ago, when Damon Hill urged Eddie Jordan to call off Ralf Schumacher’s pursuit. If I had been EJ, I would have said, “you’re right, Damon, it would be silly for you two to fight, so please make way for Ralf”.

      Asking the quicker driver to hold back somewhat ruins the spectacle, on the other hand, and can’t be justified purely by WCC standings, as the team would pick up the same amount if their drivers switched positions. It’s a tactic that should only be used well into the latter half of the season, if and only if one of the two drivers is out of contention for the WDC. I think most fans will understand it being used then, while they won’t readily accept it being used in the first and second races of the season.

      So my sympathies lie with di Resta in Australia and Rosberg in Malaysia, and they would have extended to Vettel as well, had he not disregarded his team’s orders.

    3. I think that the problem is the tension inherent in teams running more than one car. You have a situation where you’ve recruited two drivers who have spent most of their lives ruthlessly fighting their way to the very top of the tree, and now you want them to play nicely together. So the motivation for the team and the drivers is not completely aligned, and you get awkward situations.

      But at the end of the day, F1 is a team sport, where team orders are allowed, and the drivers are expected to abide by them.

  11. Great article!
    This might be ignorant, but who chooses the radio transmissions we hear at the TV broadcasts? I imagine FOM? Do they have something as a real-time-censor who decides what’s appropriate to be public or not?

  12. team orders certainly have captured the spotlight, but it’s not like this is anything new. team orders have always been there and always will.

  13. Is it possible that Vettel truly did not realise that he should not overtake Webber?

    The more I read this, the less I see the differences between the messages given to him at this race, and the messages given to him towards the end of many races over the last years, when he was leading and going for fastest laps.

    The latter were shrugged away afterwards (“Great drive by Sebastian although he almost gave us a heart attack in the last few laps”); so maybe he was conditioned to ignoring these orders. Especially that the team did not explicitly say “Maintain the gap, Seb” but gave the same message as in other races “Careful with your tyres!”. There may also be a language issue; although Vettel speaks English very well, it can be hard to understand the subtleties of a statement like “This is silly, Seb, come on”. To me (as a non-native English speaker), this does not seem very strong at all, it almost seems like joking!

    He was also celebrating while crossing the line and after getting out of the car and his mood only changed once he saw Newey. So I am starting to get a feeling that he was being truthful when he was apologising in a strange way (“I heard the message but I accidentally overtook anyway”).

    1. Yes, that he as disregarded instructions before and been awarded for it later is part of his problem but I dont think that means that he didnt realise what the team wanted him to do. It just means that he did not expect them to be actually angry with him this time. The previous times he ignored instructions only himself would have suffered if he had a puncture but this time it has caused a mayor problem for the team. If Horner had been harder on him earlier this would perhaps not have happened.

      1. Yes, that he as disregarded instructions before and been awarded for it later is part of his problem

        You’re talking about Webber and Silverstone 2011, don’t you?

      2. I agree with that statement, however, it’s not like Mark Webber has been punished in any way for his “misbehavior” either. Webber got so much good press for going after Vettel in Silverstone 2011 regardless of team order. And he wasn’t really been told anything after Brazil 2012 (at least not openly, like now Vettel).

        So it’s a general problem within Red Bull, not only concerning Vettel.

    2. Given the inscrutable vagueness of the messages to vettel during the race (the ones we know about at least) it’s hard to see quite what they’re so upset about. The message ” “Pastor’s faster than you, don’t hold him up” is clear and unambiguous. What is “This is silly” supposed to mean?

      The way the RB pit carried on you’d think nobody told them that team orders were legal this year and that they were perfectly free to say “Seb, hold your position” if they so wished.

      1. “Seb this is silly” means that they had already told him and that refusing to do what they told him was silly.

        They don’t normally outright say teamorders, instead using code like multi21, because even though teamorders are allowed its bad publicity if it gets out.

        1. They don’t normally outright say teamorders

          Yes, they do normally outright say team orders. The orders to Rosberg and Bottas, for example.

    3. @mike-dee

      I think this is the case, his celebration as he crossed the line makes me think that he thought was was going to, yet again, be welcomed home the hero.

    4. One thing that might work in seb’s favour is that everyone in Red Bull has said the agreement applied to the running order after the last pit stops. Given how close together they came out, I could see why Seb might have considered the initial attack as a reasonable attempt to get in front before they settled in and held position for the last stint. (And then obviously he kept going even after the radio messages.)

  14. All of this “do not hold him up” and “hold this gap” makes me wonder that it’s time to start thinking of one driver per team. F1 always had team orders, but now with it being legal, plus these extremely damned soft tyres… It’s more and more likely to spot them on recent races. And that was only the 2nd race of the season…
    It’s sounds nonsense and unnecessary, but it’s frustating for the drivers and especially the fans.

    1. Going to one driver per team doesn’t make sense in light of cost-cutting initiatives.

  15. I’d like to stand up for team orders being legalised here. It was impossible to police not to have them due to all the coded instructions (some less obvious than others!) but now we actually get to hear what the teams and drivers are saying and the subsequent tension the individual/team dynamic produces, something unique to F1.

    I think it’s great we’re talking about the people behind the wheel and their respective characters here, even if there aren’t quite as many ‘overtakes’ as a result.

    1. I agree completely. It was impossible to control team orders when they were banned, so there’s no way they can be changed.

      1. @craig-o

        It was impossible to control team orders when they were banned

        When the team orders ban was scrapped following the 2010 German Grand Prix the only thing that had been missing in terms of enforcing it was the political will on the part of the FIA to apply its own rules. It was not “impossible” to enforce at all, they just bottled it.

        1. @keithcollantine I’d agree there is no such will to enforce it at this point (I mean, Jean Todt is president for crying out loud). But most people seem to be in agreement that it’s difficult to enforce. Yes, the ones on the radio are obvious. But even so, you can have less obvious ones, like “running wide” for a moment, or a sudden pitstop or even a delay in the pitstop.

          We might be missing something you’re not, so how would you enforce it?

          1. Its only difficult to enforce when the FIA backs out of punishing such glaringly obvious ones to decide a race as that one in Hockenheim 2010.

            The FIA has all radio communications, they have access to all telemetry, etc, so if the FIA had really wanted to, they would have been able to show the complete picture of how much “faster than Massa” Alonso really was.

        2. I disagree. Team orders can easily be give out in code during the race (or in a different language). Knowing when a team order is actually given is a grey area and hence un-policable. The Ferrari example really is an extreme one and not really appropriate to the general debate IMO.

          1. The way Ferrari did it was actually the fairest possible way to do it to Felipe. They let the world know (without admitting of course) that he was the “real” winner that day, rather than turning down his engine, giving him a poor strategy, making a slow pitstop for him or something even dirtier. They could’ve avoided attention easily, but they did it to let the world know that Felipe did nothing wrong.

    2. @john-h I agree with you.

      I remember Monza 1993 when Williams brought in Damon Hill into the pits to inspect a suspected suspension issue, which nicely handed over the race win to teammate Nigel Mansell. Or Australia 1996 on Jacques Villeneuve’s debut, Williams pulled him in to inspect an oil issue, and then sent him straight out again, handing over victory to team mate Damon Hill.

      Team Orders have been around for even longer than that, and they will remain to be there if it assists in helping the team in some way. If that means keeping the #1 driver happy because in his contract its mandated that as #1 he gets preferential treatment than so be it.

      1. Don’t also forget the very famous, “Temp Slow” pit board message for Villineuve on his very first race for WilliamsF1, which allowed Hill to overtake him and win the race.

      2. I remember Monza 1993 when Williams brought in Damon Hill into the pits to inspect a suspected suspension issue, which nicely handed over the race win to teammate Nigel Mansell. Or Australia 1996 on Jacques Villeneuve’s debut, Williams pulled him in to inspect an oil issue, and then sent him straight out again, handing over victory to team mate Damon Hill.

        Lets not forget that since then, there were many changes, like Radio not being encrypted anymore and a standard ECU giving the FIA access to all data in case of a dispute @dragoll. I am sure that we could never fully get rid of TO (after all, Renault almost got away with Singapore 2008), but it would mean far less use of them to manage the race results.

    3. I think it’s great we’re talking about the people behind the wheel and their respective characters here, even if there aren’t quite as many ‘overtakes’ as a result.

      Couldn’t agree more

  16. It’s weird but if it were the opposite( webber overtaking vettel) under team orders then everybody except the vettel fans would see him as a hero who stood up for himself.

    1. You might be right, it certainly seems to be the case that Mark has more fans than Seb does. Mark was certainly celebrated for his disregard of team orders in 2010 (Turkey), although the circumstances were a lot different in that race than they were in Malaysia.

      But I think people don’t like Seb’s on-track behaviour in general. He seems to behave in quite a petulant manner, as if he is entitled to be leading a race or in front of his team-mate. The disrespect he demonstrated towards Mark in Malaysia was astonishing. First he calls for team orders to allow him to overtake Mark has he thinks he is too slow (even though Mark was faster than Seb that lap) and then he completely ignores team orders when they are applied against him. I think that’s the aspect about Seb which people don’t like.

      1. Agree with the last part however turkey 2010 wasn’t webber ignoring team orders it was the same situation

        Webber told to turn engine down and vettel told to push

        Only difference in Malaysia he was applauded for racing when in turkey he spoilt both their races which is whet I think the team were worried about

        1. Really? I seem to remember that in Turkey 2010, the team order, or at least the team ‘suggestion’ (as the orders was illegal back then) was for Mark to turn his engine down and let Seb pass by, which Mark refused to do; hence the crash.

          I think the reason Mark was favoured then (even though he disobeyed team orders) was because spectators quite rightly don’t like one driver stepping aside to let another driver through there being some sort of a race involved.

  17. Great story. I’m left feeling that the mateiral difference between the RBR and the Mercedes situation was that Hamilton, fuel be hanged, kept fighting Rosberg back unitl Ross had had enough. Webber by contrast gave up too soon. As in many conflicts in business, life, and law, its not who has the “right” or the moral footing, but who has thing of value in hand, when the music stops. Possession is 9/10ths of the law, the saying goes.

  18. I don’t think the main reason for team orders in the races so far this year is worries about tyre wear, certainly when we’re talking about orders relating to passing or not passing team mates. I think it may be part of the reason, fuel usage possibly plays a part on occasion too, but I think the main reason we’ve seen team orders implemented so far this season is simply team tactics.

    Sometimes teams want their no.1 driver to finish in front, and sometimes when the two cars are next to each other on the track, the team doesn’t care which driver finishes in front, so doesn’t want to risk losing places, and money (in the shape of spare parts and prize money), just to let them fight it out. This was probably the case for Force India in Melbourne and, arguably, also the case for Red Bull and Mercedes in Malaysia.

  19. Nobody likes team orders and for different reasons red bull and Mercedes both showed this

    Mercedes for not allowing drivers to race and red bull for abiding by the legal rules but one driver deciding to take matters in his own hands and disrespect his team mate and team

    What people have to remember is even if it is made illegal teams are still smart enough to make it happen anyway very sneakily and deceivingly anyway

  20. There should be a race edit with all this radio drama and narrated as read in this great article. Maybe like does great Super Bowl documentaries. Great stuff Keith.

  21. agenda’s,agenda’s everywere

  22. MB (@muralibhats)
    26th March 2013, 1:14

    Reduce the points for the constructors for the race by half if they issue a team order. I think that will be a trade off for them and they may not blindly use it.

  23. I’m assuming the same people applauding vettel for racing and ignoring team orders are aware that vettel was requesting team orders halfway through the race by complaint like a little girl webber was too slow and holding him up despite webber then responding with fastest lap and pulling away from him

    1. WEB didn’t go pink during his third stint, in fact, his quickest lap, and the only one in which he managed to meet the “high 47” target, was still slower than VET went a couple of laps prior, before he got stuck in WEB’s diffuser.

    2. I didn’t think he sounded like a little girl at all, I thought he sounded completely contemptuous of Webber, and probably dislike that more than him actually going for the win in the end.

  24. RBR should not try to give team orders to Webber from now on… Mark must try and win for himself, Seb did the right thing by ignoring those orders nor Mark should push hard for himself.

  25. The Red Bull and Mercedes team orders cannot be compared in any way.

    According to Ross Brawn, neither of the Mercs had enough fuel to dice it out to the end. As a team principal, at that point he had to make a clear decision – either enforce a truce and pick up 3rd and 4th for the team, or score no points at all. Easy choice.

    Red Bull didn’t want a repeat of Turkey 2010 (when their drivers collided on a straight in rather odd circumstances) and apparently decided to let the drivers race until the last round of pit stops, after which they would just manage tyre wear and bring home the points. (Comments from Horner when interviewed on BBC highlights programme.)

    To all those reading comments about Webber “not expecting to be overtaken” when Vettel was clearly pushing him, please consider the mind games involved – even if your team mate has been clearly instructed to turn down the engine, save the tyres and so on, he will want to show his displeasure by jockeying around in an obvious show of speed. Thus Webber may well have been surprised by Vettel’s dive down the inside (so close to the concrete wall!)

    That’s how I saw it anyway.

    It it just me, or is Webber starting to sound like the father of a tearaway teenager?

    For amusement: After the race McLaren tweeted “feel free to pop in and say ‘Hi’ any time @lewishamilton.” – very dry.

    1. I don’t think the Mercedes teamorders were as simple as that. We can’t know for sure but during the race Ross never told Nico that he needed to save fuel, only that they needed to “save the cars”, and Nico didn’t seem to be aware he needed to save fuel. As was said in the article, Ross told Nico that Hamilton could go faster just to tell Lewis the second after that he could not go faster. Its seems as if he fooled Nico into believing that lewis could go faster, but what he actually meant was that Lewis could Drive faster (but then not finish).
      What they said after the race can’t be trusted as they then go into “publicity mode”.

      It seems to me that they had the same agreement as Redbull that they race until the last pitstop and then cruise to the finish. What Nico was asking for was an exeption to that not only to get past lewis (which would do nothing for the team) but to race and take positions from the redbulls (which would benefit the team, and lewis was unable to do due to fuelsaving).

      The redbulls where already 1 – 2 and could gain nothing further.

  26. vivalacitta94
    26th March 2013, 2:26

    If RBR and Mercedes are going to put their efforts behind the one driver and ignore the other, Ferrari are going to have to do consider doing something similar pretty much immediately and get behind their leading driver in the championship…

    …can’t wait to see Fernando’s reaction..!

  27. From a fan’s perspective – You either race to win or not race at all.
    I don’t care about the other stuff – all I care is the wheel to wheel racing which is the reason for watching F1.

    1. +1 (2 if I could)

    2. You should watch NASCAR then.
      F1 goes a bit deeper than that.

      1. So you mean the occasional racing fan shouldn’t watch F1 unless you go deeper into the politics of F1? Aren’t we supposed to be entertained by what we see on the race track after all that’s why we bought the tickets for yes?

        no wonder it’s called an elitist sport, those who don’t go deeper should be watching…jeez

  28. Just after the race Massa said to Brazilian television that he and his engineer thought it was too early to pit when Alonso did, and given that Massa is usually open about these matters, or at least doesn’t lie when asked about it, I don’t believe that was a team order.

    Unless of course Domelicali went to Rob Smedley and told him to make Massa believe it was to early to pit, but I don’t think Domelicali would find necessary to employ that kind of tactics given Massa’s subservience on previous occasions.

    1. Ferrari was always open with Massa when asking him something, which is good, because he doesn’t have to feel that they are doing something behind his back. He knows he will be told the score straight.

      Problem in Red Bull is that there is A LOT of mistrust.

      Ferrari might use team orders, but they are always straight with their drivers.

      1. I think I agree that if you issue team orders, at least be clear and unambiguous about it to your drivers @brace, and make sure it is an exception, so doesn’t demotivate. Again, if you use them, which I prefer teams not to.

  29. Great Great …. Great .. Article so Far for 2013 Keith. You Put Your view as Prof journalist .. So Evenly balance no party and emotion include in article (although its maybe hard for you as a big fan of this game)

    I just want to read my feeling not my view. honestly its so hard to keep my eyes open in last stint, I’m so confuse because i don’t know which driver goes quickest. Gap Buildup or reduced suddenly and then they play safe. My mind and hand so itchy doing something else

    Then VET cut his gap to WEB, I’m still Okay let see .. ROS got HAM gearbox .. mmm still Boring cause they will play safe in rubber manner

    ROS pass HAM, HAM re-pass again in second straight .. Okay Game ON. I feel so Fresh.. Than VET and WEB fight. VET attack WEB close the door, its so exciting.. smile build on my face, my eyes stuck in LCD TV, my heart beat so hard .. adrenalin rush on my body. Searching lap time, gap, position, radio, every corner of my TV. Great and BULL PASS from VET ..

    But Then MERC turn ON Autopilot then my head say Buuuuuu (still feeling my adrenalin rush and heart beat fast corner)… But still hoping ROS doing something Silly (HORNER says). Then my eyes searching lap time hoping WEB Turn the punch back to VET .. But Then nothing Happen. Finish, I dont know why but I enjoy drama happen from Parc Frme to Podium Haha

    Not Wrong or Right, I Think what VET do make us have something to discuss as a Fan. Right or Wrong its People choice to

  30. I am coming to the conclusion that “Team Orders” are the symptom rather than the “problem”.

    And we have to acknowledge that there are different forms of team orders, first priority is for team championship and some way down the list is the orders given so that the best placed driver wins the championship. Other types of orders are required, such as when the drivers are on different strategies. So team orders have to be allowed to cover all eventualities, they cannot be banned.

    In this particular case the requirement for maximum team points was the priority and comparison to other events in the past probably do not apply. Therefore the only conclusion is that Vettel is guilty and should be punished accordingly by the team.

    Unfortunately the obvious penalty of suspending him for a race or two is superceded by the need for the team to harvest as many points a possible.

    As team orders have to be considered as part of F1 then maybe the model used to distribute prize money needs to be changed.
    As an example in the Tour de France (that’s a cycling race) prize money is awarded for team performance and individuals performance in sprints, hill climbs, stage wins and a few other things. All the Prize money is paid to the team and is used and distributed by the team as per contracts.
    Would a similar model in F1 work and would it produce more competition between drivers, if the “standard contract” said the driver gets X% of his prize money?

    1. So first Spark for VET move for 2014 maybe?

  31. MB (@muralibhats)
    26th March 2013, 4:55

    Why is Red Bull or Mercedes so scared to let the team mates battle it out? Do they doubt on their drivers capabilities? At the highest form of sport, such measures do seem silly.

  32. Let’s say Vettel followed team orders and Mark won. Would everyone watching F1 be happy or dissapointed by the 15 or so lap procession? Its like the equivalent of match fixing or tanking. Would Mark have felt the same way as Hamilton — that the win didn’t feel right because they weren’t allowed to race? Seems like the only race happening these days are in the pits rather than on the race track.

  33. If Mark knew Vettel would race to the end he would have simply pitted first and denied Vettel the chance to try the undercut. Mark was pulling away by the last pit stop, which Vettel knew was when the race between them would be over.

  34. Some people really know how to make mountains out of molehills…grow up, guys!!!

  35. I think Mark Webber really nailed it with that quote at the end: we as fans want to see fair racing between teammates, but it’s just not feasible. With the amount of money that goes into Formula 1, teams more than often want to fix the results to be as beneficial to them as possible.

    Maybe comparing this to soccer, another sport where the amount of money is ridiculously high: there have been allegations of teams fixing the result before the match has started. For instance, the way Ajax was eliminated in the previous Champions League season was controversial to say the least: Lyon needed to score a lot of goals to go through to the next round, and sure enough they won 7-1 from Dinamo Zagreb. I can also remember a match with Real Madrid where at the end players with a yellow card deliberately got another yellow card, so they woudn’t be suspended for the next match.

    Returning to the actual discussion: I don’t like it when a team doesn’t let their two drivers race for position. But you cannot simply ban team orders, as the exact meaning of a ‘team order’ is in a grey area. Sometimes their two drivers are on completely different strategies, so this team order could be described as commensalism. But other occasion like Mercedes and Red Bull in Malaysia are clearly detrimental for one driver. And how is the FIA ever going to ensure that no team is using team orders – does a pre-race agreement count as a team order? A driver ‘accidentally’ running wide to let his teammate through? Bringing in one driver before the other? Faking a gearbox issue to let your teammate win the season finale?

    In my opinion, it’s up to the teams to decide whether they have team orders or not, and we as fans just have to deal with that. It would be great if teams would allow their two drivers to race fairly, like Red Bull claimed they were doing a few years ago, but in today’s Formula 1 we can almost assume this isn’t going to happen. I thought it was at least fair of Red Bull and Mercedes to not give either driver a ‘number one’ status but let the result of the race depend on the position they were holding at some point during the race.

    That being said, I think the worst thing a driver can do is ignore team orders: at the end of the day, Red Bull pays Sebastian Vettel more in a day than a common European household makes in a year. And then to disobey an order from your boss is just unacceptable, as it is incredibly disrespectful.

    1. How conveniently has Mark wisened up! Look at his quotes after the British Grand Prix 2011. It was perfectly feasible for him at the time to ignore team orders and attack Seb (whose KERS failed) because ‘he’s a real racer’. Personally I have lost all the respect I had for Webber because it is clear to me now that he is not an honest-to-god guy but rather clever PR manipulator who enjoys painting himself as an underdog. I’ve seen enough from Webber (including Brazil 2012) to realize that he, in fact, doesn’t give a damn about ‘the team’ and only remembers the word when it suits him.

      Now Horner faces a very difficult situation, but most of it is of his own doing. If he had put his foot down and reprimanded Webber for his blatant disregard of team orders earlier, maybe this wouldn’t happen the way it did. It is hardly possible to convince one driver to follow orders, when the other one was stuffing them on multiple occasions (and was being publicly proud of that to boot) and got away every time.

  36. @keithcollantine – could you have missed the radio message instructing Chilton to stay at least half a lap behind Bianchi?

  37. At the end of the day, some people still value sportsmanship and gentlemanly behaviour in motorsport, some prefer the ruthless, tough-as-nails, out-and-out racer, and most people like Webber over Vettel.

    Personally, I can take both, as long as the drivers have the balls to say “I did what I thought was right”. In this age of manufactured press statements and interviews, I suppose that’s an unrealistic expectation. But if Vettel had said, “I’ve won the championship by 4pts and 3pts in the last three years and I don’t want to give away 7 today” that might’ve been unsporting, but justifiable. To say he didn’t do it deliberately, to pretend he didn’t know he was supposed to hold station was insulting to the viewer’s intelligence. Atleast when Webber went against team orders at Silverstone 2011 he had the courage to admit he needed every point he could get and that’s why he went for it. In 2011 Seb was leading by a huge margin, and in actual fact it would’ve made more sense for Red Bull to get Webber ahead, thus increasing their chances of having a 1-2 in the driver’s championship.

    Also I suspect people are taking Webber’s side because we’ve seen Red Bull take Vettel’s side too often in the past. Some people might say Red Bull was right, and Seb’s three world titles prove it, but Mark’s a popular bloke, and if the fans feel he was unfairly treated by the team over the past few years, of course they’re going to root for him. In the fans’ eyes he becomes the poor man fighting the evil empire single-handedly and Vettel becomes the tyrant who misuses his power. Right or wrong, that’s how people are going to see it. Vettel’s characteristic condescension on the radio ‘he’s too slow, get him out of the way’ only made that worse.

    1. exactly right! Vettel is such a sore loser, I struggle to remember driver who goes from child like tantrums, calling fellow drivers cucumbers, so ungracious in defeat when he dosent end up at the top step of the podium to petting his car and reminding everyone who is the number one driver in the world with his index finger when he wins. Maybe he will mature one day and show some likeable sportsmanship but atm I enjoy seeing his sulking when he loses

  38. Thanks very much for the article @keithcollantine, its a bit sad to see how common team orders are. And I think we should support drivers not to heed them often enough to make teams think twice about using them.

    I have been thinking a lot about where the difference is between DiResta complying but complaining, Bottas ignoring them, Rosberg protesting them but complying and Vettel deciding he will take his chances thank you. I think Bottas clearly did the right thing, because I did not get the impression Maldonado was all that much quicker. On the other hand VdGarde also did the right thing, because Pic seemed to be able to get much further in the race than his teammate. DiResta holding station in the last 2 laps – I guess its a bit disappointing but I do have some sympathy for the team not wanting them to fight with Sutil struggling to keep it on the track, that could have ended badly.

    Is Vettel a hero for ignoring them and taking a win as the competitive animal he is? Is he a villain for disregarding his team principal and showing no respect? And is Rosberg a douchebag for heeding instructions to stay behind? I think they were in very different situations, because Vettel had a lot of evidence to suggest that a. the team were holding them back more than needed and b. he had ignored them before (as had his teammate) without much repercussion. As shown by the comments from Horner (would a boss say “this is silly Seb” and stating there would be no use in calling him to give it back). I am pretty sure that had Rosberg ignored Ross there, his boss would not have gone over his driver ignoring him that easily.

    I would say that in both cases it had to be done (its not always nice), Vettel ignoring TO made it harder for the team to apply them when its just being overly carefull. Rosberg making this public has already gotten Mercedes to think about themselves (Niki Lauda on live TV mentioning he did not like them), so both helped in keeping teams honest – as in not overuse them – and that should be applauded.

    1. Very well said @bascb, I completely agree – and another great article from @keithcollantine to separate facts from emotion, providing an objective view of how team orders work (or don’t) in current day F1.

      I don’t care much for the way Vettel excused his decicion, but it certainly provided one of the best bits of racing of the race, as did the Merc. back and forth, instead of a boring last 15min.

  39. Any guesses to what Webber was hinting when he said he thought about a lot of things in the last laps (when Seb already did his thing), needing some time off surfing and to see if that would be enough medicine for him, and then a quick wink to the Sky interviewer?

    My guess is he is really thinking hard about what to do with his career at this point. He could well be in his last year even without this latest tussle with Seb, and it would be highly unlikely for him to get a seat at another top team. His choices are:
    1) to just accept Seb’s apology and continue on with business as usual, and help Red Bull with another WCC (you need both drivers for this as Seb can’t win the WCC for Red Bull by himself)
    2) try to win the WDC for himself, team orders be damned
    3) quit now and retire as a “screw you” to Red Bull for losing control of Seb, because with Mark vacating his seat, it could probably be quite detrimental to Red Bull’s WCC chances (who would they get to drive in his spot?) and a replacement driver probably can’t give them as much useful info about the car as Mark can since he’s been with them for so long.

    Not many people talking about scenario #3 but I don’t think it is that far-fetched.

    1. It’s not being talked about because it is silly.

      Do you really think RBR would have any issue adequately filling the quickest car on the grid? You can’t think of at least half a dozen out-of-work and 19 1/2 current race drivers who want nothing more than that seat?

      Seriously, WEB had his chance in 2010 and threw it away. (Oh what a fun time that was, with all the ridiculous arguments in favour of another ’96.) He’s the slower driver, it’s been proven over and over again.

      Throwing tantrums might feel satisfying in the short term, but there’s no leverage there. No one will come to WEB and plead for him to return. It’s silly, and I expect WEB to realize that.

    2. @alzarius

      Option 3) appears close in the heat of the moment but in reality is extremely far fetched.

      He’ll continue his drive and there will be tension till the end of the season just like 2010 and RBR will try to manage this somehow.
      For 2014 – it depends on so many variables that it’s too early to tell but everything seems possible.

  40. I’m fine with team orders, as long as there’s a modicum of transparency – and decency – in the issuing and execution of such orders! (unlike what we saw w/ Vettel) As long as cost-savings is seen as important in Formula 1, teams will use orders to manage resources and preserve consumables, like engine kms!

    “I’m a big sports fan and the fans of any sport will want it to be a perfect world always. We want it to be pure, we want it to be as we see – football, boxing, cycling, whatever. We want it to be real.”

    I like Webber because he’s a no-** straight-shooter (unlike Vettel). He admits and accepts his own naivete outside the realm of his professional competency. For example, Mark speaks of wanting to believe that the bike race he sees on the telly is “real,” but team orders have been an integral part of pro cycling (my sport) for decades! Perhaps the most famous instance was the 1996 Paris-Roubaix Classic, when Mapei team swept the podium, with the result dictated from the team car after a conversation captured by the mobile broadcasters!!

    Their conversation over the Mapei team car radio signal was picked up by Italian satellite TV station Italia Uno:

    Lefevere to Bortolami: “You’ve got to convince Andrea to keep cool- if he doesn’t, he’ll be looking for another team!”

    Bortolami to Tafi: “Andrea, don’t forget the deal. Don’t try anything, Johan has to win.”

    Tafi: “I don’t want to win; I just want you to let me take second. But you won’t even let me do that!”

    In the previous year’s race, Bortolami and Tafi, the workhorse stalwarts of the team, had been away with Italian teamate Franco Ballerini, and provided textbook team support as he soloed away to victory. This time they both thought they had earned a chance at individual glory and were less inclined to throw away a rare chance to win the Queen of the Classics.

    Spectators along the race route and all over the world via television were treated to some very animated discussions between the Mapei trio and the team car, with each man taking a turn to drop back to the team car to plead his case with Lefevere, their raised voices easily heard on the televion coverage.

    1. My point in sharing that anecdote is that Formula 1 is hardly unique in the world of sport with respect to the existence of team orders, and as spectators we can still derive great enjoyment from the spectacle, as long as there is as little ambiguity as possible, per Webber’s comments.

      “But there is an element of naivety… for me watching some sport as well and in the case of some Formula One fans watching this situation. It’s impossible for everybody to understand everything and that’s the same for me watching a football match or a Champions League match.”

  41. Why doesn’t Charlie Whiting just walk onto the front of the grid before the beginning of a race, read out a list of where everyone is to finish? Then they can all pack up and go home.

    1. A lot safer that way too!

    2. But maybe we should then bring back single lap qualifying (in random order), so no cars cannot obstruct others too @ajokay, its been far too exiting and hard to control the outcome lately :-)

  42. I don’t necessarily like team orders and would rather see racing from lights to flag but this is a different era of F1. You can’t compare this era of F1 to the senna/prost era. The reason for team orders isn’t just to guarantee the points for the race, but also to preserve the cars. Remember this is a long season and the teams only get so many engines a year and have to make the gearbox last 5 GP. Therefore we have to presume that the racing between Vettel and Webber wasn’t fair as one driver was handicapped over another.

    The bigger problem for Red Bull and Christian Horner is can he honestly say the next time a scenario occurs where he has to use team orders that his drivers are going to listen? I doubt it. I would rather be in Ross Brawn shoes knowing that his drivers respect him and will listen to what is ultimately there boss.

    Also, food for thought. 1956 Italian GP. Peter Collins is holding P2 and is poised to win the title hands his car to Fangio so that he could win the title. Can you say that this would happen in the modern day F1? Shows how one era can’t be compared to another.

  43. I can’t stand the term ‘Team orders’. It has such negative connotations and is a term that is so often mis-used or understood.

    A team has to manage two drivers and get them BOTH to the finish in the best position. ‘Team orders’ happen all the time, during practice, during qualy, determining pre-race strategy, as well as during the race. They are an un-avoidable and totally necessary part of managing a team of TWO. Most team orders happen without our knowledge, so we accept them even though they may provide small but real benefits to one driver over another. Other times team orders happen in a slightly more visible way, such as those mentioned in Keith’s article above, but again we accept them because the drivers are only racing for minor placings or they happen at a non-critical part of the race.

    Then sometimes ‘team orders’ are highly visible and affect the major placings and they create headlines and up-roar amongst some fans. Why? The are no different in principle to the ones mentioned above that we commonly accept. For a team principle, compromising the result for the team by having one driver negatively impact on the performance of another, or risking a solid result for no potential gain to the team, is basically F1’s equivalent of an ‘own goal’.

    If any of you were in Christian Horner’s shoes for that final stint in Malaysia with a 1-2 in the bag, and you radioed Vettel during that last stint in Malaysia and said ‘push Sebastian push, you must go for the win. Engine and KERS settings on maximum for the entire stint please’… then radioed Webber and said ‘we have told Seb to push for the win Mark, do not let him past, repeat, do not let him past. Engine and KERS settings on maximum. You’re racing to the flag’… if this is what you would seriously say to your drivers then IMHO you do not have enough of an understanding of modern-day F1 to contribute to this topic.

    Great article Keith in trying to shed more informed light onto this topic.

    1. @aussierod – in hindsight it’s easy to judge but if I were Horner I would have considered 3 options
      a) pick Mark for the win an pit him first
      b) pick Seb for the win and pit Mark 2 laps later
      c) stay off the radio for 3 laps

      a and b would be the stress free solutions but then it wouldn’t mean equal status.

  44. Excellent article here Keith. However, i am not sure if the fuss is about Vettel overtaking Webber despite a team order or Red Bull having a team order in the first place. I think Vettel did the right thing in ignoring the team order but it was also wrong considering the fact that there was an agreement to hold the position between the team, Webber and him after the last pit stops. If a Vettel wanted to ignore team orders during a race, he should not have agreed to them before the race itself.

  45. Great article Keith. I just wish we got to hear more of the team radio on the main FOM feed during the race. Alternatively it’d be great if FOM could offer a website or app where you could choose the team/driver who’s radio you wanted to tune into throughout the race.

    1. @bpacman I put as much of it on F1 Fanatic Live as I can during the races via the Twitter account.

  46. Many people are saying that Vettel did what he did as he is a true racer and I do see where they are coming from. However all he has done is proven that he behaves like a spoilt child when things do not go his way. You would expect someone of his talent to realise that it is early days in the championship and that he was just taking a massively excessive and unnecessary risk.
    And I know that himself and Webber have never had the greatest of relationships but surely as it is early days he would have just given him a small repayment for all of the times that Webber has been harmed by the teams preferential treatment to him. Although I know that you need a certain amount of ruthlessness to succeed in this sport.
    Finally I think Vettel has just caused himself and the team a certain number of problems for the future. Although Red Bull have had the best car for the last few seasons, what driver with any ambition is going to want to go there when they know that they will have to fight their corner alone almost every weekend? In terms of other teams signing Vettel, as Ferrari are often reported to be trying to do, they all now know the full extent of the baggage attached to Vettel, although you would expect him to have matured ina few years time. I personally hope that he does move to another team in the future. I know that Hamilton moved to try and prove himself and he might well do that, but I hope that Vettel gets the mother of all wake up calls sometime in the future

    1. all of the times that Webber has been harmed by the teams preferential treatment to him.

      Can you list “all” of those times for me? It’s going to be a one instance list.

    2. In terms of other teams signing Vettel, as Ferrari are often reported to be trying to do, they all now know the full extent of the baggage attached to Vettel

      Yes, I’ sure Ferrari would be simply appalled if their No 1 driver expected to be treated differently from their No 2 driver. Nothing but strict equality between the drivers, that’s the Ferrari way!

  47. It’s amazing what the broadcaster can do to shape the views of the supporters.
    Ross Brawn is now being vilified for something the entire field is doing….?

  48. I’m by now means an expert on F1 and i’ve just read a few comments. In order to reduce team orders and increase the excitement in the racing…why not disallow communication between car and pit? Only allow the Race officials to inform drivers of emergencies and what not?


  49. Why watch F1 anymore?Drive at 8/10th.No passing allowed with 13! laps remaining.At least three teams with team orders.Common ECU.No tweaking of engines.No testing.Boooooring…….Wake me up if anyone’s going racing.

  50. @KeithCollantine A very good article. Moving aside from the center of the Storm, It could be very well that Red Bull has more to gain from this storm than people think. I guess Red Bull is sending a strong message to Pirelli and FIA that ” because these tyres are so sensitive this year, the whole quality of racing has come down and teams have to resort to these kind of tactics”. That is the same suttle message coming from Webber. Red Bull were pushing Pirelli already to change the tyres even before this race.

  51. Team order should stay.. Formula 1 is a team sport after all. And the team are well within their right to instruct their employees (drivers in this case) as wished, within the letter of the law of course…
    It may not be the most exciting thing for the fans, but the teams care less for that, than their championship position. At least the viewers know where they stand. The instructions aren’t coded and the whole situation isn’t blurred or murky (ie Ferrari, German Grand Prix 2010).

  52. Caterham was really ruining the sanctity of fighting for 16th by asking Van Der Garde to let Pic by…

  53. can somebody find me another sport where team leaders issuing instructions is frowned upon or prohibited? or for that matter, another sport where practice is prohibited?

  54. A few days have passed now and I have had time to think about it. Everyone saying sure Webber did it at Silverstone so Vettel should do it in Malaysia. Ask urself why did Webber try and do it at Silverstone? It goes back to the day in Turkey in 2010 when Helmut Marko came out and criticised Webber for causing the crash between himself and Vettel. No one else in the team came out to say both were at fault for the incident. Vettel came out on the higher ground.
    Then we get to Silverstone, both drivers get new wings, Vettel’s one falls off during practice and is damaged. You could say tough luck, he won’t get another wing as he is treated equally to Webber in the team. What happens when there is only 1 wing available? Yes thats right it is given to Vettel. Webber goes on the race to prove a point. You can see clearly that Webber sees that he is treated as a 2nd class driver. gets an order to slow down in the 2011 Silverstone race, Webber thinks, screw this, I am not treated the same, I am going for this. inished behind Vettel who already had 6 wins in the championship and miles clear like Schumacher in Austria in 2002.
    Comes to last Sunday, Webber is told to turn down his engine and is reassured TWICE that there will be no racing between him and Vettel. Vettel then uses his full power to catch up and overtake Webber. All Horner says is “this is silly”. comes out later and says “I couldn’t tell him to give the place back as he wouldn’t have given it back”. What a team manager. Webber says Seb will be as usual protected by the management. You can hardly blame Webber for his outburst. The trust is definetely gone between the 2 drivers and Webber won’t be around next year for sure at Red Bull. Maybe Lotus instead of Grosjean

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