Christian Horner, Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Ecclestone: Red Bull and Mercedes wrong to use team orders

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Christian Horner, Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone isn’t happy with the use of team orders in the Malaysian Grand Prix.


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Ecclestone slams Red Bull (The Telegraph)

“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is.”

Vettel should be suspended – Watson (BBC)

“The only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say ‘you will stand out one race'”

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier indicates he’d be interested in signing Robert Kubica if he’s fit enough to race in 2014.

Hamilton denies Ecclestone RBR claims (Autosport)

“It makes me a bit nervous because we have quite a good relationship and I’m quite open with him about a lot of stuff.”

BBC Radio 5 Live: Tony Livesey

Hear me discussing the Red Bull team orders row at the 1hr 26min mark.

Unhappy Webber considering his future after row (NBC)

“Webber?s dissatisfaction is about more than just the situation at Red Bull. He has repeatedly criticised F1???s current generation of tyres.”

Synopsis of FIA Race Director?s media Q&A session (FIA)

“A points-based system [for driver infringements] is still being discussed. There is significant support for it but not unanimous support. It?s a complex question and we need to get the balance right because banning a driver is a serious issue. We need to make sure a driver genuinely deserves any ban. We will be monitoring offences and running a [hypothetical] system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice. We need to do that for a while.”

Ego Management Tips From Ron Dennis (F1 Speedwriter)

“The relationship between any two human beings is a very complicated thing, like in a marriage, and the drivers’ relationship is very, very complicated. But the negative aspects of having two such drivers can be turned to produce a motivating force.”

I’m sorry for Webber, but bloody-minded Vettel saved us from a procession (Daily Mail)

Jonathan McEvoy: “And what does [the lifting of the team orders ban] lead to in practice? It means that Red Bull’s pit wall can order one of their drivers not to overtake another. It means that a three-time world champion, namely Sebastian Vettel (whose actions I do not condone given that Mosley’s rule has been discontinued) cannot race as freely as he could. It means that when he defies his team’s instructions, disharmony is created and his reputation sullied.”


Comment of the day

FormulaLes has some thoughts on how Sepang could be improved:

1. Getting to and from the circuit is a nightmare. It?s 60km from downtown Kuala Lumpur and they have a freeway running all the way to the circuit, and the airport which is next door, but normal traffic rules don?t seem to apply. At the circuit people park on the freeway blocking lanes – no joke.

On race day for the Moto GP it took three hours to go 60km on a bus to get to the circuit. The buses that run to and from KL are infrequent and seem to be managed by completely incompetent people, they have buses full of people going nowhere, they have drivers who stop at service stations to buy a news paper etc… There is no priority for buses, they have to sit in the same traffic jams as cars, and the end up driving in the shoulder to get anywhere.

But what really frustrated me is that there is a train from KL to the airport, that stops at the airport, that could have been extended 4-5km to the circuit, and used to get people to and from the circuit. Why this never happened makes no sense to me.

2) Timing, as far as I can tell it rains every afternoon in Sepang, both the Moto GP and Formula One start the races too late. It’s hard to get spectators to a race, especially from overseas if they can’t even be guaranteed that they will see a whole race.

3) The circuit is a bit run down – well the circuit isn?t but the spectator facilities are. The toilets get blocked up, the grandstands are rusty and look like an abandoned ship that has been left to rust away. Also pedestrian movement is not particularly well thought-out.

What I mean is it appears that it was well thought-out by Tilke, but the operators of the circuit do strange stuff like put the signing stage at the main entrance of the circuit reducing footpath width down to like two metres, causing massive bottlenecks.

4) You cannot walk around the circuit. You look at the aerial photo and there is heaps of green space, but you?re stuck in your one spot. If you bought a grand stand tickets that is the only place you can go. Unlike the Australian Grand Prix, if you buy a grandstand ticket you can walk around the whole circuit and watch from different general admin vantage points with no problems.

From the forum

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Happy birthday to Alianora la Canta, Fallon, Henrique Pinheiro and Jake!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Jean-Pierre Beltoise who is 76 today.

Beltoise scored his single F1 win in the rain-soaked 1972 Monaco Grand Prix:

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  • 171 comments on “Ecclestone: Red Bull and Mercedes wrong to use team orders”

    1. Explaining the Vettel thing to my non-F1 friends was so funny today. Pretty much wondering why everyone is complaining that we got to see proper racing instead of staying in position.

      1. Yup, and true, and funny enough earlier I was also telling my non-F1 friend the same thing, and his like, but isn’t winning the point of racing?

      2. Yep, my wife is practically incredulous about the whole situation.

        1. Made for interesting dinner conversation though.

          1. “Multi 21, darling. Multi 21!” :)

            1. @jcost: Hahahaha, see what you did there.

              “Darling, box box box” :)

            2. “Darling, I can’t wait to spray my champagne everywhere” :-)

      3. For those having trouble explaining this to people, may I suggest you point out the following facts:

        1. Vettel is the greatest monster of our time

        2. Webber is the most excellent and righteous bloke ever

        1. Surely that doesn’t need pointing out, does it? Its only natural :-P @aka_robyn

        2. Wow, the arguments are getting better by the day… Mark good, Vettel evil….
          cute it is wrapped as “facts”….. the only glitch is, I think TommyB’s friends are adults.

          1. @antifia I think @aka_robyn is joking.

            1. If that is the case, sorry @aka_robyn. It is rather difficult sometimes to identify whether something in writing is a sarcastic statement or not – the absurdity of the content is by no means a sure guide.

            2. @antifia I guess this is one of those situations in which an over-the-top exaggeration is all too close to what people are actually saying. ;-)

      4. Turning down one car isn’t racing either

        1. Shoulda responded, by turning it back up

          1. @proesterchen sums the race scenario up well

          2. By the time he probably had, Vettel was gone…

          3. Shoulda responded, by turning it back up

            He will have done. However, by that point his lead has evaporated. He is in a fight for position. His mind had also probably drifted a little, as he didn’t expect an attack: The only man close enough was his team mate who should have been coasting to the line too.

            So while it did give an exciting end to the race, it was by no means fair. Had neither been given the order to hold station, I do not doubt we would have seen an entirely different outcome.

            1. But Webber’s lead evaporated because Vettel pitted first for the final stop (after Webber pitted first for the previous couple of stops), and was faster than Webber was before MW started his final stint, where he found himself in that battle for position.

      5. Webber was turning down the engine to map 21. Vettel was running under map 31 (full revs). What we saw was not proper racing. We saw a very brave Webber giving a hard time to a guy with more power engine than him.

        1. Yap, because turning the engine map to 31 was impossible, once you have set the map 21 the situation is fixed.

        2. That;s like descibing a certain other team orders incident in Britain between the 2 drivers as “a brave Vettel fending off a guy with a functional KERS”.

          1. Of course Webber has never had to deal with that problem in his career, and can be thankful that Red Bull’s ultra-reliable KERS has always been there when he needed it.

            1. @ilanin – And whenever Mark has problems, he is miles behind his teammate regardless. What is your point?

            2. @david-a Oh is he? EVERY SINGLE TIME MW has problems he’s miles behind SV? Are you 100% positive on that very scientific statement mate?

            3. @montreal95 – It was hardly scientific, just like Ilanin’s sarcasm wasn’t scientific. But still, how often does SV finish ahead of MW owing to a car failure, first and foremost?

        3. So during those long straights in which Vettel trailed Webber with the DRS wide open, Webber had his engine turned down? Let me ask it again: Driving with equal equipment, Webber beat Vettel in a straight line with his engine turned dow while Vettel had the DRS on (time and again for a couple of laps)?
          I know you guys don’t give Vettel much credit, all his title being a great injustice agains Mark and all that, but sure even you would concede that the kid can accelerate on a straight line, can’t he?

          1. @antifia You’re assuming they had the same setup. How do you know what wing levels they were running? Mark might have preferred less wing giving him better straight line speed, but less downforce. The drivers decide on their setup.

            Plus we have first hand confirmation from the team principal and the engineer that Webber’s car was running a lower setting. Its not like webber is the only one saying it and using it as an excuse. I think you are looking for things which arent there.

            1. Ok, so you are saying that even though he resisted Vettel’s attacks (and resist he did), it didn’t occur to him to turn the engine knob up?

              But in the end we are having a little dance around the point here, aren’t we? The real underlying question is: Is Vettel able to overtake Mark in a straghit fight with equal equipment? I tend to believe that the answer is yes, what about you?

          2. comment of the day imo

      6. @tommyb89 overtaking someone when he has one hand tied behind his back is not racing, and not expecting you to race him. How difficult to explain can that be?

      7. jimscreechy (@)
        26th March 2013, 7:53

        Actually your comment is quite interesting. I find discussing the tacticts to non F1 fans or more poignantly to individuals who have not participated in a TEAM sport often prompts notions of confusion, even bewilderment.

        I have found People who play team sports, certainly generally, have a far better understanding that the team succeding as a whole is a lot more important than the plight of an individual. For example I have a friend who does track a field (specifically 400m 800m and highjump) and deplores the tacticts used in Cycling events like the “Tour de France” where teams members make huge sacrifieces for the strongest competitor… or at any rate one individual. I think the characteristics of the individual, their perceptiion of themselves (self image), their role and how they interact within a group have huge ramifications on how these very intricate developements play out. It is not adequate enough to say ‘Seb is this or that, wants it more than Mark etc’. There are far more signficant factors at play in how these situatios play out and for the most part F1 has ignored these even if they have for a very long time been subtly aware of them. The psychology behind how people interact with each other should perhaps be a more serious consideration for teams when they employ drivers to represent champion them, because very serious events and condtions come into play when certain cercumstances arise… which they inevitably do during the course of a season

      8. it reads like an article from the onion. “Scandal in F1: Driver wins by overtaking opponent”.

      9. I’m very surprised that viewers don’t care about what is right as long as the fight for the win exists.

    2. “At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is.”

      The old man appears to have some wisdom.

      1. @david-a he must have lent some of his senile thoughts to Watson.

        1. Traverse (@)
          26th March 2013, 0:37


        2. @guilherme Watson is right, Vettel should be punished severely, but of course he won’t be. When you’re such a great champ, you’re allowed to be a spoiled brat and a total $$$ any time you want. Just ask a certain 7-time champ Scum

          1. Was Michael ever ‘spoiled’? He just seemed to think ‘yes, I’m the best. Don’t like it, **** off’…

            1. @optamaximal Yes MSC was very spoiled. I t was more like: “since I’m the best, I’ll do any unsportive thing I want and let’s see you punish me”. It worked for him the first time in Adelaide. It didn’t work in Jerez but the punishment he received was laughable. Then in Canada 98 he ran Frentzen off the road at 180mph and again nothing. He made mockery of the sport during his Ferrari years and nothing happened apart from Monaco 06 in which his punishment was again laughable, when you think of implications of what he has done. So yes, “brave” Seb has a great role model to look up to

          2. @montreal95 No he isn’t. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, suspending Vettel deliberately for a race would be the most absurd decision in F1 ever. Even my girlfriend, who doesn’t understand a thing about F1, knew how absurd Watson’s claim was I told her.

            1. @guileherme To clarify, I backed Watson up in that Vettel should be severely punished. I also don’t think suspension is the right way, but punish him they must. but as MW said they of course won’t

      2. I am fully with Bernie here, but its funny that when the WERE banned, he was amongst the first to say he they really are part of the thing!

        1. Bernie is trying to protect the product. One of the features he is selling is Exciting Racing. So if the racing is managed by team orders, it devalues the product and means Bernie has to sell it more cheaply.
          If the tyres are made of plasticene and the engines have to last four or five races, teams will do as little real racing as they can possibly get away with. And that makes the races less exciting and that means Bernie’s price goes down.
          Bernie doesn’t like that.

          1. Exactly right @timothykatz, Bernie is trying to ” have his cake and eat it too”, he constantly makes up rules and regulations without thinking through the result. Bernie wants teams to spend less but still put on the same show they put on when they spent more but the teams have to react to the rules and race accordingly. Worst of all is that Bernie only wants the teams to spend less so he and CVC don’t have to share more of the revenue the teams generate.

        2. @bascb
          Saying that team order is part of the sport and now saying that the second race in the season is too early to have them does not contradict itself. I actually feel the same about it, to be honest. Not that I’m trying to defend Ecclestone…

      3. @david-a Bernie’s totally right. Both in RBR and Mercedes case. Teams should let their drivers race at this stage of the season without any restriction. This doesn’t make Vettel’s crime any less severe. Once both are agreed to do it and you betray your agreement it’s Imola 1982 all over again.

        Also, this will not end here and RBR’s title aspirations in both championships will be severely hurt by this. RBR have only themselves to blame. As was written in the Times, Horner looked like Dr. Franckenschtein who doesn’t know how to deal with the monster he created

        1. @montreal95 @david-a
          I don’t think the stage of the season has got anything to do with it. There are two types of team orders which are quite separate:

          The first is where there is a number 1 and number 2 driver (e.g. Alonso and Massa) and in this case I agree that team orders to manipulate their position early in the season is wrong since both should be allowed to put together a title fight with team orders being implemented only towards the end of the season to secure the title for the driver with the best chance.

          This was not the case in Malaysia, as we know if any Red Bull driver is considered number 1 then it is Vettel and not Webber, and I think that this shows that the Red Bull pecking order isn’t quite as badly skewed towards Vettel as number one as was thought to be the case.

          The second type of team order, and the one applied by Red Bull and (I believe) Mercedes on Sunday, is an order for the benefit of the team. In this case the team has no preference which driver finishes in front of the other since the team points are the same, but the team wants to protect against losing some or all of those points due to fuel shortage/tyre wear/reliability/accident and by applying orders to keep the drivers in their current position they can protect against those risks. This type of team order makes sense from race 1 onwards since teams need to maximise their constructors points through the whole season.

          For that reason both Red Bull and Mercedes were right to impose team orders and talking about it being too early in the season shows a failure to understand this difference.

          1. @jerseyf1 When I said “teams should let their drivers race” I meant both type 1 and type 2 orders. I know it was type 2 and not type 1. The only thing I disagree with you on is that type 2 is reasonable at any stage of the season. IMO it’s only reasonable at later stages of the season when the teams know where they are both in terms of WCC and of WDC. Can’t see any justification for what both Mercedes and RBR. It’s the start of the season-cut the c$$p and let the drivers race

            1. It’s the start of the season-cut the c$$p and let the drivers race

              +1. RBR were wrong here and in 2011, as were Mercedes here.

            2. it’s only reasonable at later stages of the season when the teams know where they are both in terms of WCC and of WDC

              You are entitled to your opinion, but I strongly disagree. Thinking like that is a good way to drop a few places in the final rankings. Points count from race 1. Therefore if, say, Vettel and Webber had come together, the team would have lost 43 points in the WCC, as well as giving more points to their opponents. That could easily be the difference between winning the WCC and coming 3rd or 4th. Just like the drivers, they need to fight for every point in every race.

        2. This doesn’t make Vettel’s crime any less severe.

          Hold on guys, overtaking a team mate is now illegal, I’ll call the racing police right now and get him arrested. The judge should have no problem sending Vettel to prison with a life sentence, I mean it says right right, article 1, subsection A of The Code of Law I took from my rear end: Overtaking a slower team mate while under the influence of the desire to win a god damn race iis illegal.

          1. @churaragi, sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, but as @jerseyf1 correctly explains and @timothykatz has pointed out, this is the way the teams have to work in order to win their championship and maximize their share of the revenue F1 creates, and that is the money that they use to build the cars and pay the drivers.

            1. Grojean should be a convicted criminal then, his necessary accidents surely deserve jail time, for all the money the team lost as a result…

              Seriously though, I was more concerned by the wording on the quote… which admittedly is quite silly.

              As for your point, how would you answer when the driver is a pay driver, and he is part of the money that maintains the team. Is a pay driver then allowed to disobey orders, and salary earning driver is not?

              Sorry, that is silly, without a driver to deliver the performance, there wont be any money in the first place.

              At best the relationship between a team and a driver should be on equal footing, the team is not superior in any way, and neither is the driver, but then unless we see Vettel deliberately ramming Webber out of the track next race, there is very little to complain.

              If a driver can’t race for a win, there is no point in racing, and I’d say that is exactly what Vettel is thinking.

          2. @churaragi +1 LOL

            Vettel – How could you overtake a team mate ? This is F1 Remember. Only Webber is allowed to defy team orders and overtake. BTW you are the No 1 Driver of our team but you should finish No 2 Behind your team mate.

          3. @churaragi Really can’t believe to what lengths will Vettel apologists go to justify his “overtake”. When they can’t lie anymore that it was a legit overtake, not a repeat of Imola 1982, they reserve to argue semantics. How sad

            P.S. I obviously meant crime in racing, not legal terms, or “crime” if you want. Satisfied now?

            1. I can’t believe the lengths that the anti-Vettel groups goes to justify how terrible Vettel’s “crime” is compared to the cases of ignored team orders in the past.

    3. Wonder whether this is just generic Kubica talk from Eric Boullier… Or whether Grosjean hasn’t quite lived up to his expectations so far this year in his eyes.

      Though Grosjean hasn’t been fantastic, he is currently eighth in the championship, and beat Raikkonen this Sunday.
      Though I guess in Australia when he came 10th to Kimi’s 1st is where this may hold some truth.

      1. Grosjean was solid last Sunday and P10 and P6 is not that bad for two GPs compared to what he did last year.

      2. Could also be that they do not expect Kimi to stick with it forever (or just that he does expect Kubica to really be able to do it anyway).

      3. There is nothing in this, he was asked if Kubica could be a candidate for a 2014 seat and he said that if he is completely ready for a return then he will be among the candidates.

        Let’s just say that Eric Boullier has functioning eyes and brain and can see like everyone else that no matter how good a fairytale it would make Kubica isn’t likely to ever drive an F1 car, let alone drive one competitively, in his life again. Would he answer the question differently? I don’t think so, he answers in a fashion which is fair to Kubica and doesn’t focus on pointing out his severe lack of mobility, but at the same time doesn’t suggest that he is actually considering anything of the sort.

        Kubica almost certainly won’t be “completely ready for a return” and therefore the rest of the sentence is meaningless.

        I think that Kubica’s crash was a tragedy and he is a huge loss to F1, but I don’t understand why some people can’t accept that he has been lost to F1 and move on.

    4. Bernie’s a weird fellow. He comes out with some right wacky ideas sometimes, and occasionally he speaks sense, i.e. in this case.

      Watson is clearly on something strange. I don’t really think it’s likely RBR will tell Vettel to sit a race out because of his actions somehow…

      Kimi and Kubica? Sounds like a devastating partnership if the latter is up to the job!

      1. Traverse (@)
        26th March 2013, 0:44

        Kimi and Kubica? Sounds like a devastating partnership if the latter is up to the job!

        Devastating is the right word. With the amount of crashes Kubica has endured recently, I’d fear for the safety of the other drivers on the track. I just don’t think that his judgment and reflexes are up to F1 standards anymore. I never thought I’d say this, but I think it’s time for Kubica to retire. :'(

        1. Yeah, because crashing out of a one minute lead at your ERC debut in a new car, with a new co-driver, at a new rally, is definitely a reason to retire from motorsport.

        2. Stating that a crash or two in rallying means he can’t compete in F1 is a huge jump in logic. They’re completely different environments, and it won’t be until Kubica can get a run in a proper F1 car that his ability can be truly determined. I still have hope he can make it back.

          1. Well said, didn’t Kimi have quite a few crashes in Rallying as well, as he was pushing it to the limits?

        3. With the amount of crashes Kubica has endured recently

          I count one in 2 years. How many others am I missing?

          1. Traverse (@)
            26th March 2013, 2:54

            His crash a couple days ago:

            He crashed during the shakedown of the San Matino Rally last september:

            He then crashed during the Rally two days later (15th September 2012):

            These incidents show a lack of good judgment from Kubica, as only a fool would continue to compete in rally whilst trying to recover from a career threatening injury. If he is going to race, then he should compete in Touring. Why take part in rally and risk doing more damage to what must be a fragile hand.

            1. This makes me angry.

              Conquering your fears, if anything, is admirable. Of course rallying is dangerous, but let’s be straight here, his accidnet was out of the ordinary.

              He decided against DTM because in his opinion, even though it would be easier for him, it would be worse for his recovery. Rremember that despite spanking his oposition as, essentially, a rookie, he is still handicapped – he just as often talks about being glad to have physically made the whole stage, as to have finished it from a driving point of view.

              Regarding the crashes, I guess it is a mixture of (a) not particularly caring about the result (which I believe is largely true, as he doesn’t seem to bother about the ERC crown – his sights are set on WRC or F1 next year), (b) in the case of the Canary Island Rally, inexperience (his rear went light under braking on a downhill section – again, the man is not used to driving with pacenotes, is in a new car which he has never really driven before, and ignored the fact he was on a downhill section).

              If anything, he shows he is working really hard. Crashes happen. Ever heard of McRea? He turned out alright.

              I for one respect the man to even contemplate going back to racing and being rational enough to comprehend that what happened to him was bad luck. Regarding his fragile hand, he has claimed time and time again that driving improves his condition. Why the hell not go rallying then, considering that his future in motorsport may be there?

            2. And everyone daring to climb a mountain, or indeed going racing in a bloody fast car is a bit stupid as well. And all of them racing down a hill on skis, or doing so lying on their backs on a sledge, etc. As was trying to reach the polar circle at its time, or indeed trying to find (the sea route to) India @hellotraverse

              I think that racing drivers (and others doing what I mentioned aboe), do have a different limit to drawing a line between a good idea and too dangerous than the average populace, Isn’t that what makes their achievements special?

            3. @bascb
              If Kubica’s goal is to race in the WRC than his decision to compete in rally is a good one. However, if his goal is to one day compete at the highest level in F1, his decision to take the needless risk of rally is indeed stupid.

              At no point did I mention mountain climbers, skiing etc. A more apt comparison would be a footballer that has suffered an horrendous, career threatening leg break, choosing to play Aussie rules football during his recovery.

            4. Instead of mentioning Aussie rules football, a more fitting comparison would be the player picking up off road cycling.
              The point is, that Kubica has no clue if he will ever be able to race F1, so its not so much as an interim therapeutical drive in rally, but about choosing a field where he can race to the limit right now and be successfull.
              No doubt the moment he feels he can manage to drive a single seater he will go for that and leave rallying be.

        4. Devastating is the right word. With the amount of crashes Kubica has endured recently, I’d fear for the safety of the other drivers on the track.

          Have Kimi been dangerous? He crashed out over half of his rallies :-)

          1. Traverse (@)
            26th March 2013, 2:28

            Kimi didn’t almost sever his hand.

            1. @hellotraverse Yeah, strictly speaking, Kubica probably should stay away from rallying, although I’m in total awe of him that he hasn’t. But If he can race rallies at all, much less at a seriously competitive speed, his reflexes are probably just fine. (You may have a point about his judgement, but I think that goes with being a race car driver.)

            2. But Kubica seems a much better rally driver than Kimi who was a complete joke.

        5. Traverse (@)
          26th March 2013, 2:29

          Granted my “fear for the safety of other drivers” remark was a bit sensationalist, but I stand by the rest of my post. I fail to see how a driver that suffered a severe hand injury that has ruled him out of F1 for near enough three seasons, can be touted as a good prospect for a top team. Why would any team take the risk?

          1. I imagine they would assess his on-track ability first, in which case there would probably been less risk than a rookie.

        6. If you’ve ever watched any rallying you would realise that crashing is fairly common. Every time Kubica crashes it makes F1 headlines, but in reality most of the time it’s not a big deal (apart from the original arm injury crash of course which was unusually severe but largely down to bad luck) and I certainly don’t think Kubica seems to be any more crash-prone than other rally drivers .

    5. I thought Grosjean did a good race for what Lotus had on offer, as for him in Australia, every driver has an off race… Like Kimi in Malaysia…

    6. I mostly agree with you Keith, but the difference between Silverstone 2011 and Malaysia 2013 is that Vettel overtook Webber presumably knowing that the latter had his engine turned down and did not expect a fight (although this cannot be entirely true, given their history). Had Vettel made it clear that he was going to ignore team orders and go for it, there would not be such an outcry. The point though is that Red Bull slowed Webber down by telling him that Vettel was going to do the same. Had Webber known there was a threat from Vettel (as Vettel did in Silverstone, hence his request to impose team orders in the first place), he, his statements lead us to believe, would have gone faster. Having said that, however, after Vettel’s first attempt Webber must have known what is going on.

      I agree that this is mostly a popularity contest, but the difference seems to be that Webber did not expect to be challenged, whereas Vettel was aware of the threat of Webber. In other words, people bashing Vettel has less to do with obeying team orders as it does with a sense of sportsmanship.

      1. @victor That’s all I saw from Vettel during the race. A pure lack of sportsmanship.

      2. Also in Silverstone vettel had massive lead in the championship already and they were fighting for second place not for the victory.

        1. @mantresx
          But it was a race when Ferrari was suddenly up there after moaning long enough to have Red Bull’s engine mapping banned. That made their exhaust, around which the whole car was built useless. Vettel did have a massive lead, but it could have been the turning point of the season.
          I’m not saying I agree with what Red Bull did back then, because I don’t, but it’s again not that simple.

      3. Vettel overtook Webber presumably knowing that the latter had his engine turned down

        When would have Webber turned down his engine? Before the pitstop? At that time the race was still on. After the pitstop? Unlikely as he was fighting Vettel continously until being overtaken, and he didn’t seem to use less power.

        1. engine maps can be changed by just turning the knob on the wheel..i guess that was too hard for webber to do in almost 2 laps of racing…and now everyone wants to sympathise with him…just cos he turned his engine down…lol…seems everyone is biased towards webber.

          1. Two people are playing football. After a while they both agree to hop. Then, when he/she eyes a goal, one of them stops hopping, runs past the other player and heads for the goal with the ball.

            The second player can quite easily stop hopping and give chase, but the damage has been done.

      4. Did you watch the race?

        VET moved into second behind WEB in lap 39, and started gaining on him.

        VET pitted at the end of lap 42, WEB one lap later.

        After WEB’s stop, both cars were neck and neck.

        VET finally passed WEB in lap 46.

        No one can truly belief WEB was unaware that he was in a racing situation with VET, that’s insulting to not just WEB’s intelligence.

        Fact is: VET was faster (as per usual), he made the move, and made it stick. WEB fought and lost, consequently falling back as VET widened his lead.

        Also, there’s apparently a sizeable contingent of people interested or involved with Formula 1 that take issue with the quickest driver winning the Grand Prix. Which just about tells you everything you need to know about this “sport”.

        1. @proesterchen Hamilton had his engine turned down and repassed Rosberg twice. As he did vs. Button in Turkey a few years ago.

          I guess you can turn it back up and fight in less than 1 minute… I guess

          1. But it did probably mean he’d have to go even slower to save more fuel afterwards, with his teammate safelt behind @jcost ;)

            1. Sure @bosyber. I just wanted to point that because @proesterchen sounded like he didn’t believe WEB had turned down his engine…

      5. Vettel was slower in Silverstone due to KERS problems, Webber knew that and
        was given an order not to overtake, he tried to do so anyway and later said so (ignoring 4 or 5 radio messages in the process). How exactly is that sportsmanship?

        Pointing out that 3% of the two examples is diffferent doesn’t discredit the other 97% of where they are exactly the same. It also doesn’t make Webber any less of a Hypocrite in this situation..

        1. +1 @roberto

          So Vettel was wrong? Or both were right?

          1. That is the question isn’t it. I’d have to say they were both right to go for it. I’d rather see overtaking action then boring formation laps. Incidentally, the two examples also demonstrated who the better racer is out of the two IMO.

          2. @jcost

            I’m a bit sad that so far everybody is talking about Webber and Vettel, while I think Red Bull is at fault to even bring their drivers into these sort of situations constantly.
            Telling Webber to let Vettel go in Brazil 2012 is natural, and should be a no-brainer for Mark. But asking Vettel to stay behind Webber in the second race of the season is plain wrong. Same with Silverstone 2011.

            1. I have to agree there, and in the article that’s alluded to as well: RBR are too eager to ‘manage’ such situations which leads to overuse of team orders and drivers becoming sceptical of the need to follow them – that’s now a real problem for RBR.

        2. The difference is there was an agreement at MAL 2013, whereas GBR 2011 was a racing situation.

          1. This, in a nutshell.

            If we both agree to bring 10 players on the pitch but you bring 11, that’s poor sportmanship. If we both bring 11 players on the pitch but I get one of mine sent off, well that’s tough luck.

      6. +1.

        The thing here is that fight would never happen if both drivers were running the same engine mode.

        1. Wrong, the fight would never happen if one of the drivers doesn’t have the same map engine, if both of them have the same, they will be fight

          1. I thought more power means advantage…

            1. It didn’t seem that VET had more advantage in the straight.

      7. why did VET do it? he even said sorry to WEB after.
        what do’s that tell you?
        VET is a out and out ahole “even he admits that” who cant even stop himself from competing if there is a challenge in front of him,
        so what do’s that make him? a racer from hell beyond our comprehension.
        he is the most competitive driver on the track, even though i dont like the guy he has given us a reason to keep watching.

      8. It’s so good to be here and read all the comments. I just read a few things on Facebook and G+ and I was shocked on how “fans” see this – but being here it feels there is hope for F1 after all.

      9. In Malaysia 2013 they had an agreement to race until the last pitstop, then hold positions. In Britain 2011 Vettel and Red Bull had basicly secured the titles yet Webber, the same guy who had to surrender his front win one year earlier, wasn’t allowed to fight, and we haven’t heard anything about an agreement from before the race. Plus for as much as Webber told the world he ignored team orders, we don’t know if he actually did, it’s possible that he just wanted to show the team he didn’t want to do it but maybe he wouldn’t have taken the position had he gotten the chance?

        1. @oel-f1, I believe you have it right, at Silverstone 11 Webber showed his nose to Vettel to prove that he could have passed safely if the team had allowed him to, afterwards for team PR he had to claim he tried but failed, in Mal Webber gave up a healthy lead to Vettel because the team told him that Vettel would respect the agreed team strategy of holding position after the last pit stop if the drivers were safely in positions 1 and 2. Had Vettel announced that he would not abide by that agreement Webber would have been able to maintain a lead that would have prevented Vettel from being in a position to pass.

          1. I think Vettel reeled in Webbers lead due to the undercut and a different strategy, which was also what had brought Webber in front after the first pit stop. As someone cleverly pointed out earlier here 2 drivers on different strategies must be allowed to fight till the end of the race otherwise it will be very unfair to the driver who ends up behind his team mate after the last pit stop, but as in this case he was able to win. Same with the Hamilton vs Nico case. Lewis had benefited from running lower on fuel in the early stages, why shouldn’t Nico be allowed to use his advantage in the closing stage? Why should the driver only be allowed to use his strategic advantage in the first half of the race?

      10. I think @keithcollantine raised some excellent points in that phone-in and that he pretty much represented what most fans would like to see, if we delete Vettel’s & Webber’s name from the equation and replace them with “driver x” and “driver y”.

    7. I can’t believe that Ecclestone underfueled a car on purpose!

    8. “Unhappy Webber considering his future after row”

      I think it’ll be ridiculous for Webber to quit at this point. It’s okay that he feels a sense of betrayal. But walking away would make him look like a sore loser. Vettel won’t give two hoots about him and get on with winning more races.

      1. Tbh, it’s about all Mark Webber has left – to up sticks and leave on principle. He’s won races and has finally challenged championships after many years in the doldrums with rubbish cars, about all that’s left is the championship win, which is unlikely given the circumstances.

        It would really **** RBR over though – they’d either have to put Seb. Buemi in the car or draw straws at Toro Rosso. Of course, none of them would be able to put as many points on the board as Mark.

        1. I think JEV would put as many points on the board as Mark. Or Bianchi for that matter.

    9. Zantkiller (@)
      26th March 2013, 1:31

      I agree with John Watson here.
      What Vettel did was hugely disrespectfully to the team and he should be punished by the team for it.

      I also disagree with Bernie.
      I’ve got no problems with team orders. I think team orders are important for the team and I can see the point of bringing both cars home in a particular order.

      1. @zantkiller Yeah, because making your triple world champion and lead driver sit out and lose possibly 25 points, and likely at least 15, in what is shaping up to be a very close season is the perfectly sensible thing to do. Vettel won his first title by 4 points and his last by 3. I’ll eat all the hats in the world if Red Bull suspends him for a race.

        1. Bring in Buemi for a race, love to see that!

          1. @kelly: It’ll be fun to see two Sebastians in the RBRs.

            Just imagine Rocquelin (or whoever is Vettel’s radio guy) saying, “Sebastian, Sebastian is a second quicker than you.” How baffled will you be!

      2. @zantkiller

        Marko, Horner and Newey? No way.

        José Mourinho would sit him in a minute, but those guys? No way.

        1. Big difference. If Jose only had Ronaldo as his one man team, he’d think twice about it as well..

      3. @zatkiller

        Nothing’s gonna happen – both Mark and Seb have a history of disobeying orders and they always managed it internally. I would be really surprised if they handled it differently and it would also be wrong to suspend him, because F1 is neither a team sport nor a sport of individuals it’s a mixture and therefore requires a balance act.
        What Seb did wasn’t far less stupid than his move in Turkey 2010 and actually imo the best thing he could do.

        1. last sentence should be:
          What Seb did was far less stupid than his move in Turkey 2010 and imo the best thing he could do.

    10. I loved the comment of the day from @FormulaLes. It brought back happy memories of living and working in Kuala Lumpur, shuttling back and forth to Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil (on the way to Sepang).
      It’s not just race day in KL when everything stops, or goes pear-shaped, it’s every day. Normal life in KL is hemmed in by appalling levels of inefficiency and a carefree (careless?) attitude which is really nice when you get into the swing of it!
      Coming back to Europe was a shock. To the people of many countries, I think we must seem coldly, ruthlessly efficient and inhumane. But we do run F1 races better.

      1. I was really surprised by the comment! The only time I’ve been to KL, I thought the motorway between the airport and the city was surprisingly traffic free and everything was pretty civilised. We were thinking of going to Sepang next year… maybe not!

        1. @dirgegirl I think the complaints were a bit off the mark. I went there in 2009 and had a great time (and that was after they were racing in the monsoon!) The train transport (which not only exists, but is dirt-cheap as well) was excellent, and the fans were great. Even got an autograph!

          It is also one of the cheapest F1 weekends you will get anywhere. Well worth the trip.

          1. Sepang can get a bit messy on the way in and out. I have never had too much trouble though, try to get there early and leave a little later. There are plenty of bus services, but Ive never tried it before, always drove in.

            The comment about a train to the circuit is a bit stupid. There is no discernable justification for the expense required to build a train track there, because the circuit only attracts this much of a crowd twice a year. Just like any track that is placed far away from the city centre, getting in and out is a bit of a challenge.

            People should just take it as a part if the experience, every country has its quirks, cant expect the same everywhere. Malaysian drivers tend to get rather creative when the roads are jammed up, its often a free for fall, every man for himself situation…but thats just the way the country works.

            1. Forgot to add that the circuit itself is in need of a facelift. The problem is, they just dont have the money. They have been keeping prices low to attract crowds, and it shows. It was nice to see the grand stands relatively full. Due to the general Malaysian’s lack of enthusiasm when it comes to F1, SIC has had to throw in post race concerts to draw the crowds..but still, I doubt they make enough money to keep the circuit up to scratch.

          2. Don’t get me wrong, I love Malaysia. Friendly people, great food, beautiful country – but having lived there, it really could be so much more. There are many pockets of excellence but the general attitude (for example to road safety and politics) is one of relaxed unconcern.

            As I said, when you learn to accept the culture, it’s fine. Just don’t expect anything to get done fast, or well, unless you supervise it yourself.

            I’d recommend KL as a great place to visit, F1 race or not. Just be patient when your bus breaks down, or a train driver decides to have a nap, or your dessert arrives before the main course.

      1. Traverse (@)
        26th March 2013, 2:32

        Just goes to show that Keith Collantine knows his beans! My faith in this website just shot through the roof.

    11. Ego Management Tips From Ron Dennis? Haha, what’s next? Sportsmanship tips from Vettel?

    12. Well if Ecclestone was paying the teams more, they could afford to have their drivers knock each other out of the race while giving us a good show and not have to suffer the consequence of very low income.

    13. I actually laughed pretty hard when I read Watsons comment. All I could think of is an englishman screaming: STOP RBR and Vettel dominance at any cost!! grasp any straw you can!! LOL

      1. @roberto – He’s not English – he’s from Northern Ireland. It’s possible his age rather than his nationality is a larger factor in his feelings on this matter. Or his shoe size.

        1. My bad. Not that the nationality has anything to do it, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. :)

      2. Also, ignoring the fact that despite its Austrian operating license, RBR (nee Stewart GP, Jaguar Racing) is a resolutely British team.

    14. Good Lord! Seems like Vettel has committed a crime close to murder? Race was well until team orders came to play for RB and Mercedes. Felt like a procession though. I just can’t accept applying team order/s at such an early stage of the season. Also wished Rosberg did the same by disobeying and that would have made my weekend complete at the track as weather was fantastic throughout. BAN TEAM ORDERS!!! It does kill the excitement for us fans, and do we need to know the corporate side of the teams? NOPE! We just want wheel to wheel racing.

      1. @johnbt Speak for yourself. I can watch racing anywhere, F1 however is unique.

    15. I don’t agree with Watson at all, a ban doesn’t go far enough.

      Red Bull should have him lined up against a wall and executed by firing squad, that would be the only proportionate response to this truly horrific situation.

      What a pathetic, headline grabbing suggestion from Watson.

      1. imagine that was michael schumacher in front of rubens barichello. where would all the rage be now?

        1. Obviously not, because Barrichello and Vettel have been treated by their teams completely different.

    16. @keithcollantine What thread was this on? Would love to reply to that directly.

      Just to reply to FormulaLes’ comment.

      1. You CAN go to Sepang by train. You’d then go down at KLIA and your ticket gets you a free shuttle ride from there to Sepang. That system worked very well when I was there.
      2. I suspect the timing is deliberate, especially in F1. And not just because of European TV times. Remember, Bernie joked that he wanted to install sprinklers at F1 circuits… ;)
      3. That’s always been the weak spot of Sepang – they can do a lot better in maintaining spectator facilities. I remember in 2009, the stands were leaking during the rain.
      4. I suspect they limited access for crowd control purposes, which can be abused if not handled properly.

    17. Lots of rose-tinted views of the team orders ban. The kind of orders we saw on Sunday (hold station at the end of the race) were deployed throughout the time team orders were supposedly banned, apparently because they didn’t “interfere with the race result” in the same way that getting one driver to let another through did. Think about Monaco 2007, where Hamilton publicly complained that he hadn’t been allowed to challenge Alonso.

      1. As in real life, we can only hope that a majority of drivers ignores enough of them to make teams think twice about using TO in cases where it really matters more than just to give them a less stressfull time on the pitwall because they are keeping margins.

    18. shut up, bernie. this guy is the first to feel the wind change direction.

    19. “Ecclestone criticises use of team orders • Watson says Vettel should be suspended”

      Slightly wide range of opinions in the paddock on the moves then. :D

    20. Recalling a similar problem he encountered while at Brabham, the team he owned for 16 years from 1971, Ecclestone explained: “I had one driver challenging for the world championship – I’m not going to say who it was – and the other guy that weekend happened to be b—– quick. I said to him, ‘Whatever you do, you ought to take it easy and let the other guy pass you’. He said, ‘I wouldn’t do that.’ So I replied, ‘Well, you can stand up in the seat of the car and wave him past, so the whole world can see this if you want.’ But he insisted, ‘I’m not going to do it’. So we just made sure he didn’t have enough fuel in the car to finish the race.”


      1. That’s brilliant. And it shows that while drivers are out for #1, teams are also out for #1. In a battle, one has a distinct advantage over the other.

      2. @paulipedia – it’s worth noting though that he said team orders shouldn’t be imposed this early in the season, but that’s brilliant!

    21. I for one hope that Dietrich Mateschitz shows his loyalty to Webber and makes sure at least there is some action against Vettel for this.

      1. Why? What’s the point? If I were Red Bull I would start negotiations with Kovalainen. Webber has had his time at RBR.

        1. Certainly has – he’s off to Lotus! (Kimi’s a better fit for RB than Kovy)

          1. But Kov would be the better choice for Vet. A team with a clear No.1 driver yields more fruit.

      2. @oel-f1 Mateschitz will ask Horner why he didn’t let them race till the end – we saw how he thinks in 2010 and 2011 in similar situations and I would be surprised if his views have changed. The reason why RBR didn’t went all out and had some sort of team strategy so far is Marko and we all know where his allegiance lies.
        Though I wish Mateschitz would take Marko down a notch and hand out the same order they received in 2010 – let them drive.
        Because, Mark and Seb are only a great team if they are both let loose. And with 1 exception they showed countless times that both are excellent racers and can go wheel to wheel without crashing.

    22. Who the hell is John Watson???

      1. 1982 world championship co-runner-up and five-times Grand Prix winner. Also holder of the record for winning an F1 race from the lowest starting position (22nd).

        1. With this amount of F1 experience Watson ought to be wiser, so the (rhetoric) question made by @sherlock is fully justified IMO. With the number of times Horner has experienced that he can’t control his drivers, Horner should ask himself what is needed for him to either learn the lesson or learn a method to confine his nervousness during the racing action between his 2 drivers – its a glitch in an otherwise good management, not to trust his 2 experts ability to judge and apply their skills on track to satisfy their personal drive to try to win, even if the closest competitor is Your team mate.

      2. you’re obviously not much of an F1 fan if you don’t know who John Watson is

    23. I’m not a fan of team orders as a rule, but what happened on Sunday is hardly comparable say to ‘Fernando is faster than you’ or ‘Let Michael pass for the championship’. Both Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ orders to their drivers were based not on promoting one driver over another (maybe in the case of Merc) but mostly by wanting to get maximum points for the team and preserving the cars for later races. If you want to place blame somewhere, place it on the tyres, place it on the engine and gearbox per season limits. Or don’t place it anywhere. Both teams told both their drivers to cool it and 1 out of 4 didn’t listen. It’s just that he happens to be the one who’s won the last three championships and so this just makes him look like a greedy little bleep who’ll throw his teammate under a bus to win.

    24. The difference between RBR and Ferrari in terms of team orders is clear. Ferrari would have pitted Webber 2 laps later and handed Vettel the victory.
      RBR tried to be equal to both but didn’t factor in that Seb can’t control himself .5s and an overtake away from a win. it’s like they never met him before.

      Vettel showed bad behavior and you can blame him for being a crappy teammate and an egomaniac – but I respect him even more as a racer. to quote Senna: “And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, we are competing to win”

      1. But Webber was competing for a team win, Vettel was only competing for himself.

        1. @hohum Everybody competes for himself. So is webber. He had made it very clear. He raced and almost took Vettel out of the race in Brazil 2012. Had webber been a team player he would not have done that.

          Lets not make Webber a saint !!!!

        2. @hohum – at the end of the day, there’s a drivers and constructors championship: the drivers care much more about the former than the latter and as Senna said they will always go for the win.

          Besides, team orders weren’t right to be imposed at all this early in the season: I agree with Bernie in that respect entirely. Teams may want to just bring the cars home, but they have to recognise they have drivers who want to win also. Things like this would make me support a team orders ban.

        3. How would either Vettel or Mark’s win influence team points? it wouldnt.

    25. and Thus the Boss Speaks. I really agree with him. There was no need of such team orders at early stages of the race. Let both of them race and let the sport be enjoyable. It now looks as if team orders are the most holy thing in F1.

      I can understand the frustration of Anti-vettel fans. The last 3 years had been really bad for them. On top of that he comes back to take the lead in wdc this year. So when people say I lost respect for vettel i can understand that it is their frustration speaking.

      By not obeying team orders, Suddenly Vettel has committed a huge crime and by obeying team orders Webber is a saint. While some time ago, Webber was a saint for defying team orders :)

    26. I agree with Bernie wholeheartedly and strongly disagree with Watson: why would Red Bull suspend their number one driver, when he is the most likely to win them the driver’s championship? It’s hardly as if nobody in history has disobeyed team orders (Senna to name just one) and he wasn’t suspended for a race, so why should Vettel? Absolutely discipline him, which is what Watson is trying to get across, but the way to do that is not to suspend him – that is opening the door for Alonso or the like to steal one of the trophies Red Bull I’m sure wish to retain.

      1. Not wishing to sound dismissive of Webber’s talent, but he has been beaten the last three years and I see no reason why that would change. Red Bull would only be shooting themselves in the foot by suspending Vettel.

    27. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      26th March 2013, 17:12

      Vettel should be suspended – Watson (BBC)


      1. What a ridiculous thing to say.

    28. Maybe if Bernie thinks red bull and Mercedes should not have team orders he should fly over to Germany and discuss it over some lunch
      O wait he can’t do they he would be arrested

    29. Absolutely right. Now we have a situation where neither driver is comfortable and both’s confidence is shaken. Does not bode well for the next race.
      This is what they should do; tell Vettel OK this once, tell Mark to stop sulking and get on with the racing, and stop interfering team orders unless we are at the stage where the championship can be decided by a positional change.

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