Why we hear more drivers disobeying team orders

2014 F1 season

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When Lewis Hamilton decided not to let Nico Rosberg past after being told to by his team, he became the latest in a series of drivers to have refused such an order in recent races.

Drivers haven’t always been so ready to spurn a team instruction. Fifteen years ago today Mika Salo gave up his best chance to win a grand prix to help Ferrari team mate Eddie Irvine’s championship bid. Irvine ultimately lost the title, and Salo never won an F1 race.

In Hamilton’s case he was weighing his own championship chances against his team mate’s. But there doesn’t have to be a championship or a race win hanging in the balance for team orders to come into play – or for a driver to decide they don’t wish to follow them.

Here are examples of team orders being issued during the past year-and-a-half – and whether the drivers involved did as they were told.

Team orders obeyed and disobeyed, 2013-2014

Paul di Resta, 2013 Australian Grand Prix

Adrian Sutil waited until the final stint of the 2013 Australian Grand Prix to get his mandatory run on the unfavourable super-soft tyre out of the way.

In the final laps he was being caught by team mate Paul di Resta, on the medium tyres, at over one-and-a-half seconds per lap. But Force India decided they didn’t want a last-lap battle between their drivers, and told Di Resta to back off, which he did:

Post-raceGiampiero LambiasePaul di RestaOK Paul P8.
Post-racePaul di RestaGiampiero LambiaseBit unfair in the last lap to stop me pushing.
Post-raceGiampiero LambiasePaul di RestaOK, well done, P8.

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Valtteri Bottas, 2013 Australian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas made his debut for Williams in the same race, and on lap 12 his team mate Pastor Maldonado appeared in his mirrors on a fresher set of tyres.

Williams told Bottas to make way but he chose not to, and Maldonado spent five laps within a second of his team mate before beginning to drop back, seemingly vindicating his team mate’s decision not to let him through.

17Jonathan EddollsValtteri BottasPastor’s faster than you, don’t hold him up.
18Andrew MurdochPastor MaldonadoValtteri is slower than you, try to overtake, try to overtake

Sebastian Vettel, 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013One of the most notorious team orders episodes of recent seasons. Sebastian Vettel was told to hold position behind Mark Webber earlier in the race but in the final stint, with neither car under immediate threat from behind, believed he should have the chance to race his team mate for the win.

Vettel was given the infamous instruction “multi 21”, meaning the cars should run in the order Webber (two) followed by Vettel (one). He was familiar with the instruction, having requested “multi 12” during the Belgian Grand Prix the year before while running behind Webber.

Vettel may also have had in mind the events of the British Grand Prix two years earlier, when Webber had been told to hold position behind him in the final laps, but attacked his team mate for position. Vettel did the same, but unlike Webber he found a way past and went on to win the race – despite the chiding of team principal Christian Horner.

48Christian HornerSebastian VettelThis is silly Seb, come on.
49Simon RennieMark WebberOK Mark he was told, he was told.
49Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelSebastian…
49Sebastian VettelGuillaume RocquelinI was really scared main straight, all the time he was moving and I had to leave the line.
49Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelSebastian you need to get out of the KERS pattern, get out of the KERS overtake pattern, the system won’t take it. No KERS overtake pattern. Use KERS normally. Sebastian be careful of front tyre wear, front tyre wear is high, both front and rear high wear.

Nico Rosberg, 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Meanwhile in the same race Rosberg was not happy to be told to stay in fourth place behind team mate Hamilton, who lapping slowly to save fuel. After complaining to his race engineer several times, team principal Ross Brawn got involved.

Hamilton later emailled Brawn to explain he wasn’t happy with the use of team orders during the race.

51Nico RosbergRoss BrawnI can go so much faster. Just let me go past.
51Ross BrawnNico RosbergNegative. Negative, Nico. Nico, Lewis’s pace is what we’re asking him to do. He can go a lot faster as well. He’s being controlled as well.
51Nico RosbergRoss BrawnThen let’s go try and get the Red Bulls. We don’t know if they’re going to drop off the pace of not. They might have tyre problems.
51Ross BrawnNico RosbergUnderstood but hold position please Nico.

Romain Grosjean, 2013 British Grand Prix

The Lotus drivers crossed paths several times on the track last year. At Silverstone it was Romain Grosjean who was told to let Kimi Raikkonen by, which he did.

14Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanKimi is faster than you.

Romain Grosjean, 2013 German Grand Prix

The same happened again at the Nurburgring, though Grosjean appeared to have difficulty understanding the request. Earlier in the race he had complained he was being held up by Raikkonen.

52Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanGrosjean and Raikkonen are also lapping the Caterhams and Chilton while pursuing Vettel. Grosjean lets Raikkonen by on lap 55.
Kimi on the [soft] tyre behind you is coming up very quickly, do not hold him up. You’ve got ten laps to go including this one.
52Romain GrosjeanAyao KomatsuI don’t understand?
52Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanKimi behind is on [soft] tyre and he’s very fast so do not hold him up.
55Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanGrosjean is unclear whether he’s been giving a team order.
Kimi behind is on [soft] tyre, do not hold him up.
55Romain GrosjeanAyao KomatsuDoes that mean he’s faster than me?
55Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanYes, confirm, yes.

Nico Rosberg, 2013 German Grand Prix

In the same race Rosberg was told to let Hamilton through, and not for the last time that year.

12Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonNico is not in the same race.
12Tony RossNico RosbergNico you are on a different strategy to Lewis, don’t hold him up.
13Tony RossNico RosbergRaikkonen is immediately behind Lewis, Lewis is on a different strategy.
14Nico RosbergTony RossDo I let him by?
14Tony RossNico RosbergAffirm Nico, he’s on a different strategy, but remember Raikkonen is immediately behind him.

Felipe Massa, 2013 Japanese Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2013A ban on team orders had been in place until 2010, when Ferrari ordered Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso win the German Grand Prix with the instantly immortal words “Fernando is faster than you”. Like Salo before him, Massa did as he was bidden.

But by late 2013, after it had been confirmed that Raikkonen would replace him at Ferrari, Massa was no longer inclined to do as he was told.

“Multifunction strategy A” was Ferrari’s equivalent of “Multi 21” – an instruction for Massa to let Alonso past. But this time Massa refused.

8Rob SmedleyFelipe MassaMultifunction strategy A. Multifunction strategy A. Now, please.

Kimi Raikkonen, 2013 Indian Grand Prix

In India it was finally Grosjean’s turn to get the benefit of a team order, though Raikkonen put up a struggle to begin with, forcing him off the track at turn four. The team were clearly exasperated with the situation, but later apologised for the nature of the order.

Within a few weeks Raikkonen had left the team, and revealed he hadn’t been paid by them during the season.

57Romain GrosjeanAyao KomatsuCome on, guys!
57Ayao KomatsuRomain GrosjeanOK we are telling Kimi.
58Alan PermaneKimi RaikkonenCensored by FOM.
Kimi get out of the ******* way.
58Kimi RaikkonenAlan PermaneCensored by FOM.
Don’t shout, **** when I have a chance but not in the middle of the fast corners.

Giedo van der Garde, 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It’s not just the teams at the front who feel the need to impose a running order on their drivers. This exchange of positions between the Caterham drivers was over 18th place.

22Giedo van der GardeJuan Pablo RamirezHe’s holding me up a lot.
22Tim WrightCharles PicCharles, let Giedo past.
22Charles PicTim WrightWhy? We are in different strategy?
22Tim WrightCharles PicGiedo is faster than you. If Giedo does not pull away we will swap back.

Nico Rosberg, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix

The ever-obedient Rosberg made way for Hamilton again at last year’s season finale.

12Tony RossNico RosbergSo Nico, we’d like you to let Lewis through. We think you may be holding him up. Just to build a gap to Massa. We are in your Safety Car window now.

Felipe Massa, 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

Perhaps keen to lay down a marker at his new team, Massa was unwilling to let his new Williams team mate Bottas through earlier this year in Malaysia.

A few races later in Canada Bottas was given a similar instruction, but shortly afterwards was delayed in a battle with another driver which allowed Massa to slip by.

53Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaOK Felipe. Valtteri is faster than you, do not hold him up. Valtteri is faster than you, do not hold him up.
53Jonathan EddollsValtteri BottasYou’re faster than Massa, overtake him. You’re faster than Massa, overtake him. You’re faster than Felipe, overtake him now.
53Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaOK Felipe, Valtteri’s faster than you, he’s got fresher tyres, do not hold him up.
53Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaOK Felipe, Valtteri has got better tyres, we need to let him go.
54Rod NelsonFelipe MassaFelipe you’re slower than Valtteri, let him past. You’re slower than Valtteri, don’t hold him up.
54Felipe MassaAndrew MurdochGetting quicker.
55Jonathan EddollsValtteri BottasPull to the right to cool the engine on the straight, pull to the right.
55Valtteri BottasJonathan EddollsI have more pace but if he’s releasing full every straight there’s no chance I can get through.
55Jonathan EddollsValtteri BottasCopy that, we’re racing him.
55Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaFelipe we need you to cool the car for temperatures.
55Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaOK we need to lift and coast to cool the car, we need you to lift and coast to cool the car.
56Andrew MurdochFelipe MassaOK Felipe we’ll hold position, Valtteri will not attack you, Valtteri will not attack you. Just cool the car, keep cooling the car. Valtteri will not attack you, just cool the car.
56Valtteri BottasJonathan EddollsI can get him in the next lap. Can I get?
56Jonathan EddollsValtteri BottasWe really need to cool the engine. Negative on the overtake.

Sebastian Vettel, 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

In Bahrain this year Sebastian Vettel had to make way for his new team mate Daniel Ricciardo after suffering a DRS glitch:

16Daniel RicciardoSimon RennieWe’re losing time like this.
16Simon RennieDaniel RicciardoUnderstood mate.
16Daniel RicciardoSimon RennieWe’ve got to decide what to do.
16Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelSebastian, let Daniel go through please. Daniel is quicker than you, let him by please.
16Sebastian VettelGuillaume RocquelinCopy. I’ll do it 11 – turn 11.

Sebastian Vettel, 2014 Chinese Grand Prix

At the very next race Vettel was asked to let Ricciardo through again, but wasn’t as accommodating to begin with. Ricciardo eventually did get by, but whether Vettel let his team mate past or simply ran too deep at turn one is a matter of debate.

24Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelSebastian let Ricciardo through, let Daniel through please.
25Sebastian VettelGuillaume RocquelinWhich tyre is he on?
25Guillaume RocquelinSebastian Vettel[Mediums], but he stopped later than you.
25Sebastian VettelGuillaume RocquelinTough luck.
25Simon RennieDaniel RicciardoOK close up to him and overtake him.
26Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelSebastian, Daniel is on a two-stop, Daniel on a two stop.
26Sebastian VettelGuillaume RocquelinThink about boxing.
26Guillaume RocquelinSebastian VettelUnderstood. We’re looking at gaps.

Lewis Hamilton, 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Hamilton had fought his way through the field having started in the pits to get in front of his team mate and championship rival. Asking him to let Rosberg past might have been the fair thing to do from the point of view of Rosberg’s strategy, but Hamilton could hardly be expected to immediately throw away his hard-won advantage.

47Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK Lewis. Gap to Nico one second. He’s on the [soft] tyre. He has one more stop, so don’t hold him up.
48Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonSo there’s free track behind Nico. You don’t need to use the tyres up defending against Nico.
51Nico RosbergTony RossWhy is he not letting me through?
51Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonOK Lewis, if you let Nico past this lap, please. Let Nico past on the main start/finish straight.
51Lewis HamiltonPeter BonningtonI’m not slowing down for Nico. If he can get close and overtake, then he can overtake.
51Peter BonningtonLewis HamiltonSo stay in torque mode-zero, Lewis. And if you can let Nico past into this braking area.
52Nico RosbergTony RossWhy is he not letting me through?
52Tony RossNico RosbergHe’s had the message, Nico. He’s had the message.

Drivers ignoring orders to stay behind their team mates or let them past is nothing new – there are famous examples of it happening before.

When the ban on team orders was lifted at the end of 2010 the view was put forward by some that this would encourage teams not to try to cover up their messages for fear of being punished.

That has not entirely been the case. Some teams have resorted to code phrases – “Multi 21”, “Multifunction A” and so on. Others use language much the same as that heard during the years of the team orders band: ‘Your team mate is faster than you,” and similar phrases.

However there have been other influential changes since then which have increased the opportunity for teams to use team orders, made it more likely we might hear them – and perhaps also raised the likelihood drivers will disobey them.

The use of Pirelli’s ‘designed to degrade’ tyres since 2011 means pit stop strategy now plays a more significant role. Teams are more alert to the importance of not having one of their cars stuck behind the other, so the opportunity for team orders to be used has increased.

The other important change has been the increase in the amount of team radio traffic which is broadcast, particularly since 2012. It was easier to hush up team orders before, but now drivers and teams know anything they discuss might be broadcast to the entire world.

No driver wants to be beaten by the one rival who has the same equipment as them – much less be ordered to give way to them. With pride at stake, it would not be a surprise if this has made them less inclined to do as they are told.

2014 F1 season

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Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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

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88 comments on “Why we hear more drivers disobeying team orders”

  1. YEah, I think the fact that now its all too clear when team orders are being used and that helps a driver withstand them. Afterall, we were all clear that Hamilton was never going to get fired or punished for ignoring this just as it was clear that Williams wouldn’t do much more than give Massa or Bottas a stern talking too after the race.
    It shows that when the fans clearly express their dislike of it drivers dare to withstand more. Or maybe its a new generation of team bosses who either dislike TO themselves (see Lauda, Wolff) or are just not strong enough to enforce them from their drivers. And its out in the open so not only team internal anymore.

    As for Hamilton, it nicely shows how he has been starting to think the race through far more than he did a couple of years back, when he got caught out by things while flying blind on what his team made him do.

  2. Wow, these team radio transcripts contain some fascinating stuff. Even professional screenwriters could not think of better lines! I think I would put “Getting quicker” (Massa in the 2014 Malaysian GP) on the rear wing of my race car if I had one.

  3. Never a fan of team orders, I’m happy it was not followed in the last grand prix (so I won’t be raging if Nico returns the favor). What grates with me though is not so much the inconsistency of the drivers’ behaviour when faced with these orders as it is the inconsistency of the fans. When Webber decided not to follow the orders in Silverstone, a lot of people praised him for that. When Vettel did the same, they booed him all the way to India – literally. And then, there is David Coultard…. so team orders have to be given by the team principal, never the driver’s engineer? Since when? Most of the calls above were initiated by the engineers (team principals only getting involved after the driver becomes recalcitrant). Not with Lewis though. It will apparently risk the sacred bond between him and his engineer… what a bunch of ..

    1. @antifia
      To me, there is a clear distinction between disobeying a pre-race agreement with your teammate, and refusing an order made by the team during the race.

      The two have vastly different implications, because the first is a break of trust. That’s why Vettel got so much flak compared to other team order disobedience. Of course his post race comments didn’t help either.

      1. @john-h

        There was no pre-race agreement, Vettel just got flak because Webber (being the hypocrit that he is) immediately played the media. Vettel did the exact same thing that Webber would have done. Everyone who says that isn’t true is a liar.

        The only difference of course being the fact that Webber was rarely in a position to do so.

        His comments that they usually turn the engines down after the last series of stops is something they did from time to time depending on race situations. It has never been made an agreement like the ‘Senna vs Prost; whoever leads after the first corner wins’.

        1. It was obviously discussed with the drivers because they both knew what multi12 and multi21 was. That’s why Webber started cruising. To think Vettel didn’t know that Webber would have eased off is naive at best.

          That’s exactly why it went down so badly. Of course, if you are saying Webber lied when he said he started to ease off in the knowledge he wouldn’t be attacked, that’s something else @baron-2 . I’m talking about Vettel, not defending Webber’s behaviour at this or previous races.

          1. @john-h


            That just means it’s a teamorder, not a pre race agreement.

            And what really debunks everyone and Webber’s theory is the fact that Webber said they turn the engines down AFTER the last stop. Seeing as Webber hadn’t made that stop yet Vettel was fully entitled to keep on racing even with a supposed pre race agreement in mind.
            And if Webber had gotten out behind Vettel after his last stop he would have tried everything to get in front again.

          2. What angered people about Vettel’s behaviour was that he clearly took advantage of the fact that Webber and the team thought they were not racing, especially as the Multi-21 call had been given (correct me if I’m wrong). In most of the listed occurrences, the disobeying driver gives a clear message that they will not comply. Vettel decided to take Webber by surprise.

    2. I agree with you wrt vettel.

      I don’t mind Team order as long as its within reason and team situation. Is team is getting better result overall, i say let use it, if team result won’t change i say let driver decide it.

      case in point, Germany 2013, Kimi-grosjean, since grosjean tried for so many lap to try and overtake vettel and failed, team decided to go alternate strategy with Kimi to try and overtake vettel, Objective team victory. Only problem was, it took grosjean to respond, same with bahrain 2012. It was good decision albeit late decition.

      the other side: Webber- vettel(2011 silverstone i think and malaysia 2013)
      I’m neutral on this, team gain zero from this switch, when webber tried and failed to overtake vettel he was praised for going against TO and actually racing for real. But when it was reverse, when vettel succeeded all of sudden everyone are against him? why is that? Don’t say webber was saving fuel. Both driver start at similar fuel load, if webber uses more fuel in early stage then its not vettel fault, after all vettel could have been saving fuel earlier when webber overtook him and thus vettel might have said fuel earlier in race to fight at the end.

      Anyway, for me team order are more important for team which need more point, like williams, they got good car but they are not getting results as much as they should. I blame team management for driver handling. Both should be co operative with Team order in this case, because team need as much point as possible.

      For team like mercedes, its different, they are going to be champion at the end of the season anyway, i think team should let driver race for the any and every point on table.

      1. @droiddamudi

        If you read the transcript in the article above the concern was not fuel, but damaging their notoriously unreliable KERS. Frequent reliability problems were seen on both cars during that season, some of which were terminal and fiery. The big debate is whether Mark’s KERS was turned and Seb’s was at full, if so it was a sucker-punch and therefore unsavoury. Also as said in a previous comment above, his demeanour after the race was a little shady, rather than holding his hand up and admitting what he’d done until a week or two later.

        1. I believe that the pit wall have no control over the car @grez76, so Webber was the only one who could directly influence his own settings.

    3. I completely disagree with the sentiment on Vettel. Both drivers knowing what the instruction means does not equate to it being a pre-race agreement – Keith highlighted as much in the article as is clearly visible with the “Multi-12” request in Belgium.

      The sole reason Webber was ahead is because Vettel pitted a lap too early for slick tyres, which gave Webber track position. Otherwise, that was again Vettel’s race to win. He demonstrated throughout he was faster and was I imagine only forbidden from attacking due to lingering fears of a repeat of Turkey, which is slightly patronising as Vettel had clearly demonstrated improved ability in combat.

      The fact remains is that it has not been confirmed by the team that it was a pre-race agreement, so to form that as the basis for an argument against his actions is shaky reasoning.

  4. Hamilton didn’t refuse the order. He didn’t stop Rosberg from passing him.

    1. Ah, that time, when he pushed him in the grass?

      1. I have no problem with Hamilton not letting Rosberg pass, but you can’t say he did not refuse the order :)

        1. Hamilton agreed with the first order on the condition that if Rosberg got close he would let him pass.

          When Rosberg failed to do so, Mercedes instructed Hamilton to slow down to let Rosberg pass. Which Hamilton objected too.

          In essence you are both right and both wrong, depending to which Mercedes order you are talking about.

          1. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
            1st August 2014, 17:33

            Hahahaha joke of the day

        2. @spoutnik Did you even watch the race? When the orders were given, Rosberg never got close enough for Hamilton to defend. Hamilton defended during the last two laps when Rosberg caught but couldn’t pass. And yes, his defending was perfectly legit.

      2. @spoutnik – What’s that got to do with the team orders? The team orders were given whilst they were racing before Rosberg’s final pit stop. What you’re talking about happened after his final pit stop whilst they were racing to the finish.

      3. Eh? Think you’re confusing stuff, chief.

    2. Hamilton was told “let Nico past on the main start/finish straight”. He didn’t. Therefore he didn’t do as he was told.

      I think that’s pretty straightforward regardless of whether you think he was right or wrong to do so.

      1. Yeah I think there is straightforward, as in, he literally didn’t do as he was told, or, often enough they do, but then there is always the reasons, and circumstances, and the potency of and for the order, as well as the degree of insistence by the team.

        They range from the extreme case of the permanent team order for MS’s teammates to stay subservient to him from race one of each season, the one rooster rule, to cases like this weekend where Lewis agreed but with the proviso NR not slow him. When looked at on the drama scale there’s Austria 02, to this weekend which was merely a fumbled attempt at trying to maximize both driver’s day.

      2. Yeah, sort of, but somehow not quite. Lewis would have been blatantly disobeying the order if he had actually defended from Nico. But Nico never came close enough for that (ok, well, he did in the last lap, but that’s another story). Not slowing for Nico was disobeying the order, but only by half, I’d say.

        1. Yeah, and again, they weren’t ever asking him to slow. Why would they when NR was faster…just not fast enough to get by LH without slowing him? LH was not saying I won’t slow down even though you are asking me to, but because he could see that if he was to let NR go, which he said he would, NR had to be right on him and he wasn’t, he was just saying it’s up to NR to make it happen. LH was just pointing out that he shouldn’t have to slow to make it happen and I think everyone agreed with that.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    1st August 2014, 13:58

    Don’t forget “Tough luck”

    1. How did Keith Forget that? Keith come on now…

      1. Also, Korea 2013, grosjean requesting TO.

    2. Thank you. I was surprised that comment from Vettel from this season was left out of the article entirely.

    3. @omarr-pepper: Agree, so I thought I will add it here (2014 Chinese Grand Prix) …

      24 GR-SV Sebastian let Ricciardo through, let Daniel through please.
      25 SV-GR Which tyre is he on?
      25 GR-SV [Mediums], but he stopped later than you.
      25 SV-GR Tough luck.
      25 SR-DR OK close up to him and overtake him.

      ‘Close up to him and overtake” seems to be much fairer instruction than indirectly asking a driver to slow down i.e LH-RB (2014 Hungary). Full radio transcript here.

      1. sorry it should be “i.e LH-NR (2014 Hungary)”

      2. @shoponf

        Conveniently excluded the rest.

        After Vettel said “Tough luck” Rocky told Vettel Ricciardo was on a different strategy, which was true at the time. After that Vettel did yeild.

        1. @baron-2: Vettel didn’t yield, he asked to box. So, didn’t see the relevance to ‘Tough Luck’…Also I did provide links to the full transcript for anyone to access.

          1. @shoponf

            He did yield. He ran a very wide line in turn 1. Without locking a wheel or making sudden steering corrections indicating he made a mistake.
            Afterwards he did indeed ask to pit because he didn’t have the pace on the prime tyres.

          2. @baron-2: Let’s leave it to what the author of this article says:

            Ricciardo eventually did get by, but whether Vettel let his team mate past or simply ran too deep at turn one is a matter of debate.

          3. @shoponf

            A matter of debate, yes. And I presented facts to support my claim. All I’ve heard so far to support the theory that he overshot the first corner is that, well, nothing actually. Because there is nothing to support that theory expect the dislike some people here have for Vettel.

        2. @baron-2: We’re getting sidetracked here. What was interesting to me was what RedBull’s pitwall instructed to Ricciardo which was:

          OK close up to him and overtake him

          as opposed to Merc’s pitwall to LH which was:

          So stay in torque mode-zero, Lewis. And if you can let Nico past into this braking area.

          I just think Redbull handled it more professionally, and made it much more enjoyable for the fans.

    4. @omarr-pepper Good point – have added the Bahrain and China Red Bull team orders from this year.

  6. Why don’t they just let the drivers race? Regardless of strategies and championship position, drivers shouldn’t have to move over for team mates. If they say that the driver behind is faster than why are they behind and not making a move to overtake. I could tolerate it more if for example if one driver is going for the title and the other isn’t, not a fan of it, but I could understand. Drivers should have the balls to disobey team orders for their own races after all drivers don’t care about the constructors championship if they can win the drivers.

    1. @ryandixon: As has been said before, F1 is a team sport. But there is tension between the constructors’ championship, which pays money to the team, and the drivers’ championship, which is what the drivers care about. The team wants both its cars to finish as high up the order as possible and they don’t care which one is in front. The drivers, of course, want to beat their team mates.

      Even if one driver is faster than another it’s not necessarily easy to overtake, and apart from the risk of taking both cars out the normal demands of attacking and defending slow down both cars and can impede them relative to the rest of the field. Mostly I think that the drivers understand that if they’re not directly racing their team mate (for example when they’re on different strategies) they should let them past for the good of the team, in the expectation that they will benefit from the same treatment in the future.

      But I’d certainly say that the Hamilton-Rosberg situation in Hungary is a different matter. They’re the only realistic competitors for the WDC, and Mercedes have a commanding lead in the WCC. To expect Hamilton to give up points to his main competitor for a marginal benefit to the team is a bit of a stretch. Even “Mr Nice Guy” Rosberg deflected the question of what he would have done in the same situation. I think that this season he’s finally getting a chance to show that he’s as ruthless as the next driver when he’s in with a chance.

      There’s also the issue of the driver’s status. Stars at the front of the field can probably get away with more than newcomers. Drivers like Hamilton and Vettel who would get a drive at any team are not going to be sacked for disobeying team orders, but I should think that an up-and-coming driver who has “the balls to disobey team orders for their own races” won’t be up-and-coming for very long unless they have the results to go with it.

      Overall I’m not a fan of team orders but they have their place in a team sport. As someone else said here recently, the only way to end them would be to limit the teams to one car each.

      And I think that Hamilton did the right thing :-)

      1. Good points and a valid argument. I understand this whole team sport debate but at the end of the day, the drivers are the ones that are driving the cars and have should have a greater say in whether they ruin their race for their team mates.

        The use of team orders just annoys me because 9 times out of ten the team mate is on a different strategy and the team mate has the yield a place. Lewis for example did well because he wasn’t stopping again and needed to make keep the place. Team orders only should be used if it is beneficial for both drivers such as Lewis and not the whole Multi-21 saga.

    2. If they say that the driver behind is faster than why are they behind and not making a move to overtake.

      The hardest car to overtake is usually your team mate because they have the same car/engine which theoretically is capable of the same top speeds, Braking distances etc…

      If your faster in the corners but have very similar/identical top speeds down the straights & can both brake at the same point into the corners than overtaking is going to be a lot more difficult than when your up against a car with less top speed or thats having to brake a bit earlier.

      1. @PeterG: Why do we have DRS?

    3. @ryandixon, Another unfortunate effect of these crappy fast degrading tyres, spending a 1/4 of a lap trying to overtake a car can reduce the useful life of the tyres by several laps if not totally destroy their remaining life. The tyres are slightly better this year but tacticly the drivers should still avoid fighting for position and get their passing done with DRS or ideally in the pits.

      1. @HoHUm which posts the question which has been going on in my mind for a while now, if Mercedes knew that they would be behind Lewis isn’t that poor team management? Lewis had a great race and it would of been difficult to predict that he would be that high but surely they would of factored his refusal into this?

        1. @ryandixon, I think the pit-wall guys are sitting at their computers watching the race unfold like a game of chess with the prize being max team points, they probably don’t think about the human element or the WDC.

          1. @HoHum, They should of perhaps thought about his refusal though given that he was in fact giving up a position to his title rival regardless of strategy. They work with him week in and week out so why do you think they assumed Lewis would let him through?

  7. I’d forgotten about the di Resta one. That was odd. FI put him on a strategy to be relatively faster at the end of the race and then deliberately undermined it just because his team mate was next up the road. It would have been interesting to see what Mercedes would have done had Rosberg’s strategy gone more to plan (being overcut by Hamilton presumably wasn’t part of it) and only wound up behind him on faster tyres much nearer the end of the race.

  8. the messages in Nico Rosberg, 2013 German Grand Prix example are messed up.

  9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    1st August 2014, 14:58

    I thought this example was pretty interesting:

    Romain Grosjean
    Does that mean he’s faster than me?

    Ayao Komatsu
    Yes, confirm, yes.

    The fact that most drivers now know that “Faster than you” is a straight up “Move over (please)”.

    1. I thought the same when I read that.

      Smedley likely had no idea how infamous that phrase would eventually become.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      1st August 2014, 18:07

      @tophercheese21 yes, it seems so ridiculous to try to conceal a direct order saying many other things (multi 21, strategy A) when it’s the outcome is so obvious. They should always say: “Get out of the way”

      1. I thought “Kimi get out of the ******* way” was direct enough =P

  10. My view on ignoring team orders has changed entirely since last year. I always believed that a driver is part of a team and therefore if he is requested to do something that will harm his result, the best thing he could do is obey. I think it was an article from Motorsport Magazine, with a quote from Stirling Moss that made me switch camps. Something like ‘if it’s not in your contract to let your team mate past, he is as much an opponent as any other driver on the grid’. And I agree with that now.

    But my view on team orders hasn’t changed. A team should never ask a driver to move over for his team mate, during the race, under any circumstance. The fans pay to see drivers race, not to see a team rigging the race to get the best result. Just an example, during the 1932 Monaco GP, Caracciola was closing in on his Alfa team mate Nuvolari, but decided not to pass the team’s ‘number one’ driver. Allegedly, the crowd was not amused, with people jeering and whistling in contempt.

    The unfortunate thing is that with today’s commercial pressure, team orders simply won’t go away. I’m not sure if reinstating the team order ban will help that – it will only make team orders less obvious. I’m still in favour of banning team radio – reducing the number of team orders is a side-effect, but the main reason is that I want the drivers to be in control of their car and make critical decisions themselves, such that they have a story to tell once they get out of their car.

    Anyway, I’m happy that drivers are ignoring team orders more and more. I guess one of the things that has caused it is pressure from the media. Team orders is bad for the team’s (and therefore the sponsors’) image, so they don’t want to see headlines such as ‘Mercedes believe issuing team order was the right thing to do’.

    1. I’m still in favour of banning team radio – reducing the number of team orders is a side-effect, but the main reason is that I want the drivers to be in control of their car and make critical decisions themselves, such that they have a story to tell once they get out of their car.

      Banning team radio woudl not eliminate team orders & would not eliminate team input on how drivers drive because they would still come up with pre-determined strategies (The Melbourne 1998 McLaren team order was a pre-race agreement rather than a spur of the moment order) & they would still use pit boards & other signals to get drivers to change settings or drive slightly differently.

      Plus there is still all the data when they get back to the pits which drivers could still pour through & alter the way they drive based on that & engineer’s advice.

      A side issue which I would actually have with banning team radio, telemetry & other bits of electronics is that it would actually then put a lot of other categories above F1 in terms of technology.

      1. Banning team radio woudl not eliminate team orders & would not eliminate team input on how drivers drive

        I specifically used ‘reduced’ in my comment, because of course team orders have always existed in F1, even without team radio. My guess is that if you can’t hear your engineer directly during the race, you are less likely to defy him. But anyway, that’s not why I want to see team radio go away.

        A side issue which I would actually have with banning team radio, telemetry & other bits of electronics is that it would actually then put a lot of other categories above F1 in terms of technology.

        But who cares? Heck, even if they used a steam engine, if the racing’s good I would watch it.

        1. Have you not watched any races this year? The racing has been great. No thanks, I dont want to artificially recreate the 70s.

        2. @andae23

          But who cares? Heck, even if they used a steam engine, if the racing’s good I would watch it.

          But that goes against everything that Formula 1 has always stood for. It’s always supposed to have been about the ultimate racing technology and I think the modern formula provides a great mix of racing elements with 21st Century technology.

          I can totally get wanting to hold racing quality above all other elements, but I think that sacrificing technology to achieve that would be to go against the essence of the sport.

          1. @magnificent-geoffrey, I don’t know how pit to car radio got into this discussion but to suggest that it is the pinnacle of modern technology is to ignore last centuries ban on pit wall telemetry controlling and adjusting many of the parameters that the driver now has to adjust manually under instruction from the pit wall.

          2. @magnificent-geoffrey That’s definitely true, but with the rules being as tight as they are, I don’t think you can expect Formula 1 to be the leading group for technological innovation. Aerodynamics for instance: there’s still a lot to be gained in the field of active aerodynamics… which is banned by Formula 1 for safety reasons (safety over technology in this case).

            If F1 really wants to be seen as a proving ground for technological innovation, they should open up the rules, essentially like LMP1 at the moment. The reason they don’t do that? Because the differences between teams will become bigger and the racing will become less good.

            So I don’t see how banning team radio with respect to technology is any worse than what the current rules are doing right now.

  11. I’m happy every time a driver disobey team orders. It always makes look team principals like idiots. Horner said after Malaysia 2013 there would be no more team orders at RedBull, yet this season he has issued them on two occasions already. Vettel ignoring Multi21 was a move ahead of its time! #toughluck for everyone who decides to give TO…

    1. But most of the time, the drivers obey the order.

  12. I don’t & never have had any problem with team orders. There a part of the sport, Always have been & always will be.

    Like it or not there will be times when its necessary for a team to issue an order, Be it for strategy, A championship or just to ensure they get the best result for the team.

    The ban on team orders after 2002 was a joke & never even really worked, There was still team orders issued during the ban, All it did was mean that team orders were issued using code or via instructions given to the drivers before the race.
    I’d much rather know for sure that a team order was given than having some sort of codded message or other situation where its less clear if it was an order or just a driver getting out the way of his own accord (McLarens at Hockenheim 2008 for instance).

    Lets say Williams had a situation at Austria where Massa having come out behind Bottas after the 1st pit stops was in a strategic position to win the race. Bottas is ahead but with no chance of winning due to his strategy but with Bottas been just as quick as Massa down the straights & under braking overtaking on merit is extremely difficult would you call an order giving the team a shot at the win or do you let the drivers race knowing that if Massa isn’t able to get by you have no chance of winning & with Massa’s strategy ruined you may not even get a podium?

    There is also something else that needs to be remembered (Something someone else brings up above), Your team mate has identical equipment to you. He has the same power unit, Similar braking performance so getting into a position to overtake your team mate on merit is a lot more difficult than overtaking another car which has a different power unit/Top speed, Different braking efficiency, Aero efficiency etc..

    1. @gt-racer, Agreed unfortunately, 2 other aspects that make team orders more likely in the current era are the restrictions on replacing/repairing the PU/gearbox making on track battles undesirable and as Keith has mentioned the fragile tyres that can lose a significant portion of their useful life in even a short battle for position. The ideal way to win a race under the current rules is to pit strategically so as to run fast and smooth in clear air away from any traffic and come out of your last pit stop in the lead, ahead of drivers that have been slowed by batteling for position, of course the ideal way to achieve this to lead from lights to flag. The facts are that the lack of on-track action (this year excepted) is a direct result of rules mis-guidedly introduced to spice-up the show, or reduce team costs which they has completely failed to do.

  13. “but Hamilton could hardly be expected to immediately throw away his hard-won advantage.” – not really hard won by, Hamilton being behind was gifted about 30 seconds towards rosberg because of safety car, while rosberg being the leader was the most disadvantaged one during the race. Hamilton got greedy because he can not win the championship with his ability alone as rosberg is nearly as good at him in race pace. he is being paid a lot more then rosberg so it would be an insult to him to let him pass.

    1. Hard to say a racer is gifted anything when their car keeps exploding and a week after starting in the back of the field (through no fault of their own) it gets worse and they HAVE TO START IN PIT LANE. Your definition of “gifted” needs some adjustment.

    2. After the safety car Rosberg was 4rd and Hamilton was 13th. When the safety car came in Rosberg lost 3 places to Magnussen (after a mistake in breaking), Alonso and Vergne. Hamilton meanwhile jumped 4 places after overtaking Perez, Bottas, Hulkenberg and Gutierrez in one lap. Rosberg then spent nearly 17 laps unable to re-take the position from Vergne. As soon as Rosberg pitted, Hamilton took the place from Vergne immediately and then made his tyres last 7 more laps than Rosberg’s. They were both on soft’s at this point, only difference being Hamilton’s were not used.

      I agree with you the safety car bunched everyone up, and lost Rosberg 3 places by being caught out, but Hamilton was 9 places behind him at this point. You can hardly call that a Hamilton advantage. Hamilton created that advantage, or Rosberg lost it. Same thing in the end anyway.

    3. @kpcart by that logic Rosberg did not earn the 30 seconds either because it was essentially gifted to him when Hamilton’s car caught fire during Q1. I’d say starting from pitlane is a bigger disadvantage than being caught by the safety car.

      You’re just as bad as the Hamilton nuts. Just he other end of the spectrum

    4. Some of the stuff written about Ham on this sight is amazing. Hamilton being as close as he is to Rosberg in championship is a direct result of his abilities. He made passes when he had to and Rosberg didn’t. What about the “gifted” DNF, the unreliability “gifts” Rosberg gets?
      Ham won 4 races in a row to catch Rosberg after his DNF in Australia. That’s asking a ton from anyone on any professional grid to do that. Yet Ham did it. Hamiltons abilities are definitely better than Rosbergs at this point in time. To tell the truth though, I think Alonso is the best overall skilled driver on the F1 grid hands down. Ham and Ric are driving just under Alonso as far as abilities go, imo. Give Ham some damn credit.

      1. And LH also cranked his boost against team instructions in order to keep NR back for one of those 4 races. Give him ‘credit’ for that too.

        1. Yes but don’t forget that Rosberg began all this in Bahrain.

          1. Ok guys, this is why I said, “some” credit. It should be assumed that both drivers would/will/have done things to improve their chances of winning. So they’re both guilty of that and so is everyone else on the grid. It is what it is. I’m saying that not giving Ham any credit is ridiculous. That was my point. If the comment was about Ros, I woulda chimed in about giving him credit also. Even though I think he’s not as good as Ham.

  14. I think Team orders should only be followed if it will not change the Championship position of the driver that is ordered, not lose him a podium finish or if it will definitely Improve the championship position of the team at the end of the season.

  15. Interesting article, whilst Caterham aren’t the best at many things, atleast they have the best team orders, telling the driver they get the place back if they’re team mate doesnt pull away seems fair to me.

  16. A driver who obeys to team-orders is not hungry enough (yeah, I used that phrase) and therefore should not have a place in F1.

    This is allways my first thought on the issue. On a second thought I then realize I´m probably overexaggerating things, but still the first thought reflects my feelings well.

    The only time ever when a driver let his teammate through that has some positive ring to it was when Senna, after he already secured the title, gifted the victory to his friend Berger in Suzuka ´91.

  17. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
    1st August 2014, 17:36

    I know, I know, I know….
    ermmm….because we can actually hear them. Which wasn’t the case in the distant and not so distant past.

  18. Jody R McLeod (@)
    1st August 2014, 21:35

    I wonder how many people would like to tell their employer that they refuse to do what they are told, and get away with it? I know I would, but I also want to keep my job…

    1. Soetimes the driver is employing the team.

    2. If you belong to the world-wide top20 of those who are doing your job best, with this very circumstance known to both you and your employer, yes, you can get away with that.

    3. @jrmcleod How many people have been actively sought out and employed though? Plus how much money do drivers pump into the team added with the fact that many drivers are the reason why the team does well and attracts the money it brings in.

      1. Jody R McLeod (@)
        3rd August 2014, 17:52

        All I am saying is that the employee should do as his/her employer asks. Though with the car Merc has this year, even a mediocre driver could do well. But apparently once again only certain people on this site can have an opinion without being ridiculed…

  19. Why drivers disobey team orders? Because the teams lack the guts to punish them for it. Guys can be lucky I am not a team boss, because anyone who disobeys team orders at my place can make holiday plans, because an internal suspension is the very least that’ll happen.

    1. Haha, a desk jockey and a formula one driver are not the same breed. You would not be able to hang on to any decent driver worth his salt with that attitude ;)

      1. Thinking about it, maybe that’s why Helmut Marko never made team principal… maybe they should just go a bit further and gag him during race weekends or near journalists Lol

    2. So how many races do you suspend your driver for ?
      Will the reserve driver instantly have the same pace ?
      Are you willing to diminish your Constructors Championship Points ?
      Your team needs a new BOSS.

  20. My favorite is still the one where Button says he’s 2 seconds faster than Barrichello and Barrichello replies “Are you having a laugh?”.

    Unfortunately the YouTube clip was removed. Probably disappeared in Ecclestone’s bit shredder, because shudder the thought that people post links to funny F1 clips.

  21. Very good article, I forgot a lot of talkings.

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