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What the FIA should do about team orders in Formula 1
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What the FIA should do about team orders in Formula 1
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jul 2010   |  1:17 pm GMT  |  1,135 comments

A day on from the furore over the Ferrari team orders row in the German Grand Prix, it seems to me that there has been a bit of an overreaction, with some sections of the media calling them ‘cheats’ and others calling for them to be banned by the disciplinary arm of the World Motor Sport council.

This is nonsense. Yes, it is a serious situation because they violated a rule which says that team orders are banned. And we should be in no doubt, despite the denials of Alonso that team orders were invoked here. But you have to look at the wider picture and acknowledge that it is a question of degree and that some common sense needs to be applied when sorting this matter out.

No-one was left in any doubt about what was happening by the tone and language of the message to Felipe Massa, nor by his subsequent yielding of the lead to Alonso. It is clear that Ferrari have a case to answer in terms of breaking a rule. They have been fined $100,000 by the stewards in Hockenheim, but further sanctions may follow from the WMSC.

People will of course point to the irony of FIA president Jean Todt presiding over this, given that it was his team order to Rubens Barrichello in 2002 which led to the introduction of the rule. But Todt has separated his position from the disciplinary procedure of the FIA, part of his distinction from the previous regime of Max Mosley. So he will not be sitting in judgement on this one. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a force for change once the case has been heard. Because change is needed here.

The outcry back in 2002 was against the cynicism of the decision to give the win to Schumacher when he had been outclassed by Barrichello all weekend. It was very early in the season and Schumacher was already well clear in the points in an unbeatable car.

This situation is different on many counts. leaving aside the rule specifically banning team orders for a second, the championship is well advanced and it is closely fought. Ferrari feel aggrieved that they are at least 30 points worse off with Alonso than they should have been, largely due to some stewards decisions which have gone against them, rightly or wrongly. Massa too has lost points, but hasn’t been on the kind of form Alonso’s been on, so the Spaniard is clearly the one to go for the title, if Ferrari can only get him in the game.

He was faster than Massa all weekend and qualified in front of him, but then lost the start to the Brazilian and then couldn’t get ahead of him in the pit stops. If Ferrari had wanted to do a subtle switch, a slightly delayed pit stop for Massa would have done the trick. A second or two is all that it would have needed.

A big part of the problem here is the way it was handled, with Rob Smedley being given the task of giving his driver the bad news. It should have been Stefano Domenicali, the team boss, or Chris Dyer, the senior engineer. Smedley’s close relationship with Massa meant that he would inevitably struggle to deliver the message impartially and when he felt obliged afterwards to apologise – “Good lad, keep it going, sorry” – it sealed the conviction in our minds that this was a team order.

Eddie Irvine, who has been on the receiving end of a few “move over” orders in his time, said last night that he felt Smedley and Massa had overblown it to make a point and in doing so had let the team down. It has certainly landed them in hot water.

But the wider question is, should F1 have this rule banning team orders, should teams be able to act in the interests of the championship and are moves like this acceptable in some situations?

Think back to 2007, when Massa moved over in Brazil to let Raikkonen win the championship or the following year when the roles were reversed – did anyone object then? No, so that means that fans can understand there are occasions when teams do need some mechanism for shuffling the order, it’s just a question of the circumstances.

Given this, much of the hype in the media today is just that. It’s not race fixing and it’s not even in the same league as the Renault fix in Singapore with Nelson Piquet (which was ironically also to benefit Alonso).

There is a case to answer before the WMSC, but I would like to see the FIA take this opportunity to review the team orders rule and I would like to see FOTA stand behind Ferrari and come up with some proposals as to how this rule can best be adapted to work in the best interests of teams and of fans in modern F1.

It’s all very well for Christian Horner to say that he lets his drivers race, but come Brazil or Abu Dhabi when, for example, Hamilton is leading the championship and Vettel has a chance of beating him, if only his team mate, who’s well behind on points lets him through, are you telling me that he won’t make the switch? Of course he will and Webber will know before the start of the race what the score is.

People would expect it and understand it. The problem comes when it’s considered too early in the season. Perhaps the rule should be that there can be no team orders until the final third of the championship? That would be a simple solution.

But to reinforce the rule that team orders are banned full stop, would be a terrible mistake. It would create yet another artificiality, which would be more damaging to the sport in the long run.

Please send in your suggestions for how the FIA should handle the hearing and what changes if any should be brought in to the team orders rule. As always I will forward any that I feel have some merit on to the teams and to the FIA.

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  1. Parthi says:

    It should be completely up to the drivers.

    A driver knows what they need to do for the team.

    This wasnt a situation that Massa needed to move over for Alonso, but I’m sure if he was out of the title hunt, and Alonso needed to pass Massa,
    Massa would know what to do.

    1. splidge says:

      I completely agree with this.

      If it is obvious to the driver, as hyper-competitive as they are, that there is no possible benefit to anyone of them finishing in front of their team mate, common sense should prevail.

      If it is not that obvious, and the team feels the need to intervene, then it is manipulation.

      It’s very hard to draw a solid line in the sand on this one; you could have a rule about the mathematical possibility of winning the championship but realistically the point where it makes sense to move over is well before the point of mathematical impossibility.

      The fact is that in this case Massa and Smedley clearly felt that his championship cause is not lost enough to justify the switch, and the same seems to be true for a lot of fans.

      And the big problem for Massa is that having done it this weekend, the extra 14 points that Alonso is now ahead of him (38 points vs. 24) makes it all the more likely that the same thing will happen next time.

      1. Daniel says:

        I don’t like this maths idea either but I don’t care about the team, I barrack for a driver and every time I watch I want to go into it believing he has a chance of winning the race. I like the idea teams can be punish if they put their own selfish interests before the fans. How would you like it if you were about to win Monaco and your team told you bad luck. How would you like it if you loved that driver and were devastated at what he would be FORCED to do. What if it’s his home grand prix and everyone has invested millions and people have saved up their hard earned money to watch their driver win their home grand prix. Then on the last turn just as he is about to win it, he pulls over to let an unworthy winner through. It really takes the sport out of motorsport.

      2. Simon R says:

        I agree totally, and disagree with the premise that the rule is unworkable as it will create an artificiality. Alonso and Massa should have their points docked, and if the FIA enforces the rule that it created properly, then teams will have to get much sneakier if they are going to ‘cheat’ the fans of their drivers in this way. If they get caught, dock their points, simple as. Its up to the stewards to determine if they implemented team orders or not. If the teams knew that if they got caught they would lose their points, then they would think much much more carefully before attempting this kind of unsportsmanlike behaviour again. Unsportsmanlike being the operative word here.

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        Formula1 is one of the very few sports where team members compete against each other. Because of this, fans support individual drivers rather than teams. As a result, the WDC has more marketing value than WCC even for the manufacturer. That is why switching team mates is actually fixing a race as it goes against the intuitive fundamentals of the sport i.e. people racing against each other. Look at how much competition there is between Lewis and Jenson or Webber and Vettel – its the people factor that attracts the fan. If it were not the driver factor that is attractive, we’d all be glued to our TVs watching radio-controlled F1 cars from different teams – now what fun would that be? To manage the team orders issue and retain the sporting aspects of F1, FIA either introduces the one-car team concept or continues to ban team orders.

        Interestingly in 2010, FIA has subsequently amended all controversial rules that have involved Ferrari towards Ferrari’s logic and all that involved McLaren away from McLaren’s logic. If this holds, we should see the WMSC re-introducing team orders.

    2. Christos Pallis says:

      I don’t like to say weather Massa needed to do this at this point of the season. This year Ferrari have had a bit of a Hamilton vs Kovalinen situation. One driver on it consistantly and one who is not. Did Kovy have a chance at the title, no. Does Massa on season performance to date have a chance of winning the title, no. Has Alonso on season performance so far shown enough pace to have a chance at the title, yes.

      I don’t like Ferrari, or Massa Or even more so Alonso but can i understand their reason and perspective, Absolutly.

      They broke the rules, yes. They need to be punished for that, yes. Is the rule wrong? yes, when we consider teams up and down the grid have orders weather delivered over the radio or in a private meeting 5 min before the race.

      The article points out how in recent years there have been examples of team orders but just in a more palitable way than Ferrari managed it…………

      1. Rodrigo says:

        Why do you think Alonso had such an edge over Massa? He had only one victory before Germany, so Massa would be tied by now. Massa was also very unlucky, but the points difference in the championship is not due to a huge difference in pace/performance.

        Both were on the title fight until the last race, but I feel now Massa have given up.

      2. Rafael L says:

        Not to mention that he was “only” 30 points behind and a race win is 25.

        If you stop and think about it for a second or two, Massa was really not that far behind Alonso.

        This was extremely unfair.

    3. Mikael says:

      Well, Massa has half the points of Hamilton in the lead and we are more than halfway through the season so Massa is/was more or less out of the title hunt.

      Massa would need to win 3-4 or even more of the 8 races we have left to be able to take the WDC. Looking back at the previous races in this season, I don’t see that happening. Alonso has a better chance at the WDC and have outperformed Massa this season, but duo to bad luck etc has lost a lot of points.

      1. Andy W says:

        Lets just flip last season on its head…. Jenson (a poorly rated driver by many) won 6 of the 7 last races after making a poor start to the season.

        Or maybe we should go back to the last time Ferrari won the drivers championship…. at this point of the season Kimi was in a similar position to what Massa was up until he let Alonso past.

        Regardless the regs….

      2. IDR says:

        “won 6 of the 7 last races after making a poor start to the season…”

        Jenson won 6 of the 7 FIRST races of the season, last year.

        If that is a poor start to the season…

      3. Andy W says:

        Lets just flip last season on its head…. *DOH*

      4. aezy says:

        Read it again IDR – Andy is saying it is feasible for a driver to go on a run and claim 6 victories in 7 races towards the end of the season i.e. flipping last season on its head.
        I happen to disagree with the specific point that Massa could win 6 races from the remainder of the season and believe it will not happen this year, but the wider point of the potential for Massa to come into contention WAS there until he let Alonso through.

      5. Rafael L says:

        I sort of agree with this. But Massa was only 30 points behind Alonso – and a race win is 25 points in of itself. Point being that Massa wasn’t THAT far off Alonso.

        Massa proved that he IS STILL IN FORM! He just needs a good car. Is Alonso faster? Maybe – but he is also unreliable. False starts, crashes, etc. Massa consistently seems to have better starts than him and I think it is unfair for Massa to continually have to move over.

        With that said, I think James’ suggestion about only allowing them in the last third of the season makes sense.

      6. Paul says:

        I think a lot of the reaction relates to the personalities here.

        Remember how McLaren always had a special bond with Mika Hakkinen after his crash at Adelaide. Perhaps we are all disappointed that Ferrari don’t seem to have the same supportive approach to Massa.

        Conversely, Alonso was guilty at McLaren of working on the stolen Ferrari data with De La Rosa (then threatening the team as a result); it seems impossible to most that he was not involved in the Singapore cheating incident; and now he seems to have a contractual right to insist on a free pass to help him in a season littered with his own mistakes. A charitable popular view might be to call him “unsporting”. There are other words.

        Perhaps with this background the reaction is unsurprising

      7. Oph says:

        Paul ask your doctor to change your medicines

    4. F. Alligatore says:

      “It should be completely up to the drivers.”

      If that were the case then any driver who had the
      competitive fire in his belly would never allow his team mate past.

      Clearly you lack an understanding of how this game is played in the REAL WORLD of huge amounts of money and the need to please those sponsors who bring that money.

      1. David Smith says:

        Those sponsors who bring that money?? Isn’t it us the paying fans that go to watch races and view it on TV that attract sponsors after all if F1 had a global audience of a couple of hundred fans I don’t think anyone would sponsor F1. Its the fans that are moaning saying something has to be done after all If i had paid good money to go to hockenheim and witnessed that I’d be after a refund.
        By the way I am a Ferrari Fan.

      2. rafa says:

        yes, and in this case we would talk of target audience: Ferrari and santander have no need for english speaking audience as a whole: they do not have english speaking drivers and the team is italian, and moreover, that section of the market is well taken by McLaren, so what´s the point in trying to pursue that segment of the market? Ferrari is a private company who in the face of a hard decision which addresses the basic paradox of F1 -that two team mates should compete against each other- took a rational if horribly staged choice: tell the weaker link to move over and make itself useful in a subsidiary role. You see, Ferrari basically has no need to please every single one of F1 fans: just their fan base and potential consumers, and these are only concerned with one thing: winning.

      3. Andy W says:

        Completely agree, leaving these decisions upto the driver is ridiculous because no driver wants to give up a place to his team mate… its pressure from the team mate/team that is the driving force behind these decisions, and the idea that any team would willingly hire a driver who doesn’t want to win races for himself is just ludicrous…

        Yes Massa may have towed the team line, but to try and make it out was his decision to let his team mate past and that Ferrari weren’t holding a metaphorical knife to his throat is just ludicrous!

        Personally I would allow team orders, but make it so they have to be open and above board, that conditions are written into contracts that state when and under what circumstances the team will ask a driver to make such a move. I would also ask that any team orders should be explicitly given as TEAM ORDERS and should not be given by race engineers but by the team boss or a designated other. These conditions should also be published at the start of the season…

        For example:

        Team Apple might have a team stance that team orders will not come into play until one driver it is impossible for a driver to win the championship and will therefore race in support of his team mate.

        Team Banana, takes the view that driver Violin is occupying the second seat and will let team mate Trumpet past when ever Trumpet is behind him.

        Team Strawberry accepts that its drivers Knife and Fork will be left to race the entire season and no team orders or instructions will ever be given.

        That way we fans will know what the score is and can judge the different teams by their policies. If you happen to be a major player in the sports car market then you might find it fits your brand to have a win at all costs image, or you might decide that you want to tie your brand to ‘good sportsman image’.

      4. jose arellano says:

        +1 on this one, i just came here to post it, and find out you already did!

      5. David Smith says:

        Excellent comment.

      6. don knowles says:


        Team orders have always existed in multi-car teams, even at racing levels well below F1, and the current rule just is an abomination–does not reflect reality.

        Having said that, some constraints or conditions would be good–transparency being one Transparency alone may be enough for me. Or maybe some additional limits–last part of season, behind certain number of points, etc.

      7. Andy W says:

        Transparency is a must in my book, but beyond that I wouldn’t want to put too many preconditions on as they would only confuse the issue. Let the teams decide and ask them to make them public.

        If team banana choose to run a no1 and a no2 driver, where the no2 driver has to give full support to his team mate for the full season thats fine, as long as its done above board and in the open. The fact that this might mean they struggle to get a top flight driver in their 2nd seat is something that they will have to deal with… but I am sure that there are plenty of up and coming drivers who would ‘happily’ sign a deal for the no2 car for a couple of years for the opportunity of driving a race winning car, knowing that they will have a chance to get better offers further down the road.

      8. Rafael L says:


        James, please PLEASE forward this idea to whoever can make things happen.

        Letting the fans know what the official stance of the team is before the first race is crucial.

      9. Karley Hansen says:

        +1 for sure.
        I truley think that transparency is a must for the fan/team relationship.
        Also there should be tough actions if a team doesn’t abide by the contracted rules for the driver, like if they over-use this rule change!

      10. Mareks says:

        +1! Great idea! Team orders should be allowed, but both drivers should know their place in the team before the season.

      11. Alexis says:

        How are Ferrari’s sponsors being helped at the moment then?

      12. monktonnik says:

        Apparently there is no such thing as bad press. At least they are getting a lot of coverage.

        Although in this case I am not sure it is all that desirable.

      13. Zobra Wambleska says:

        My guess is that the sponsors didn’t fare well in Brazil with this decision, and that’s a non-English speaking country.

      14. Andy W says:

        Ask Renault how well their Singapore adventure went down with their sponsors…

        I can’t see them being that happy about having their brands dragged through the mud and the team they are sponsoring being dragged before the WMSC.

      15. Rodrigo says:

        I am brazilian and my bank is Santander. Actually, Santander bought the bank I had my acount, so it was not my choice.

        After last week, I decided to move my account to another bank.

        I am not doing that cause I am a fan trying to “defend the poor Massa”. I more disapointed at him than at Ferrari or Santander. But I am moving the account anyway.

        But it is interesting to see some advertising by the bank here using Massa in the car, something like: “Invest in you passion for racing”.

    5. Shane says:

      Massa is, for all intents and purposes, out of the WDC hunt. Alsonso still has an admittedly long shot and winning the WDC. Ferrari are still viable candidates in the Constructor’s championship. This order was needed, was timely and should not have been made into such an ordeal by Massa and Smedley.

      1. Andy W says:

        If Massa had been given the win his slim’ odds at winning the championship would be fairly close to what Alonso’s are having been gifted the win.

        Regardless the regs quite clearly state that the team is not to manipulate the race result, and Ferrari quite clearly breached those regs. If Alonso wants to be crowned World Champion then he should beat his team mate on the track not because Ferrari threatened to kill Massa’s puppies or whatever the implied threat was.

      2. RaulZ says:

        Well, Alonso allways has been better than his team mate on race, except with hamilton, so if once he was helped by his team I don’t think it means that he doesn’t deserve a title.

        Remembering 2007 and Hamilton I have to ask here where team orders finish. I mean that between make one driver let pass the other and just decide who has one lap more of fuel or who stops before or later, there’s a big lap, but it’s a team order in any case.

      3. Richard says:

        Spot on!

      4. senna says:

        agree. But it is undestandable that both were upset when they had the chance to set the record straight.

      5. SeanG says:

        Whose intents and purposes? Certainly not anyone who performs basic math with competency.

        The only strange thing is that Massa knows Ferrari. What the hell did he think would happen?

      6. Shane says:

        Whose? well, anyones I should think. Taking the pace of RBR, Maclaren and Massa into consideration from the first half of the season I think it is fairly obvious that Ferrari only have one driver that is capable of making a true WDC bid in 2010. I can certainly perform basic math, with competency even, but I can also see what is happening in the real world.

        There were 225 points remaining prior to the German Grand Prix. Assuming Massa won in Germany (or the WMSC reverses their points), Massa would have to best Alonso in 5 of the next 8 races. Maybe Ferrari’s ploy will light a fire in Massa, but I doubt it would be enough, especially taking into consideration that he has fallen to Alonso in 6 of 10 races thus far (excluding Germany). This of course assumes that Ferrari take 1-2 in all remaining races. Once you start mixing up the results a bit, it becomes more obvious that Alonso is the clear leader at Ferrari in 2010.

        Another scenario that proves my point, again reversing fortunes of the German Grand Prix. If Ferrari were to secure 3-4 from here on out, with Massa besting Alonso in all of the upcoming races, they would end up tied in points, but Alonso leads due to wins.

        Basically every realistic scenario that you can play out, Alonso ends up beating Massa in WDC points.

        Is Massa mathematically able to win the WDC? Yes. Realistically, No.

        So, after performing basic mathematics, with a touch of proficiency even you SeanG should be able to see that Massa is all but out of the WDC.

      7. Stuart Henson says:

        and it is not like mclosers have not issued team orders in the last 5 seasons and they live in a glass house!!
        German gran prix 2008:- kovalienen lets shamilton passed, no one bats an eyelid,
        1998 Australian grand prix:- david coulthard moves over mika cry baby,
        and even 2 faced eddie jordan issued a team order to Ralf Schumacher not to pass damon hill in spa for the teams first win.
        F1 is a team sport more than a driver sport, lets ask this question, Where would the drivers be without the team? or Where would the team be without the drivers?
        I remember Frank Williams being quoted once in saying that a driver is just an expensive employee!

      8. murray says:

        Shane: “was needed, was timely but badly handled”. You forgot illegal. If the FIA strips the points, it might remind people what illegal is, and what it means. Partisan illegality is usually argued as “it’s a bad rule, we’re justified because everyone else flaunts it, so therefore we should suffer no penalty, and everyone should go away and pretend that rule doesn’t exist, or failing that, pretend we didn’t break it”. Is there more to your argument than “Ferrari needed to”?

      9. Shane says:

        Illegal? What rule was broken? Certainly the spirit of the rule, but all that Ferrari said (as far as I know) is “Alonso is faster, do you understand?”

        Had they said “Let Alonso through, he is faster”, then clearly a rule was broken.

        It was my understanding that this is allowed, giving your driver information on his teammate. My contention is, it wasn’t illegal but very poorly handled by Massa and Smedley.

        I know this is ticky-tack at best, but I think once the lawyers get involved at the WMSC level this will be Ferrari’s argument. I imagine they will prevail, but only time will tell.

      10. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Shane , in your later post you say if Germany results are reversed Alonso would still win the WDC by virtue of more wins. I think Alonso would only have one win to Massa’s German win in that case and under the rest of your conjecture Masa would be at Alonso’s level.

      11. Shane says:

        Good point! I did not take that into consideration! So, if Germany is reversed and Massa secures 3rd with Alonso 4th in all of the remaining races, Massa will have the same points as Alonso, but will be ahead in wins. Not a likely scenario, but you are right, I stand corrected.

    6. terryshep says:

      Parthi, reverse that situation and assure me that Fernando would ‘know what to do’ – I suspect that Fernando would do what great champions always do, you’ve heard the expression ‘Nice guys finish second’?

      The fact remains that, since commercial sponsors and big budgets have come into F1, the team has an absolute obligation to deliver the best possible result, not only for the sponsors and the fans, but also the workers back in the factory with families to support. Consequently, while any rule remains on the books, there will always be covert manipulation, either by an unnecessary pitstop or a ‘you have to save fuel’ instruction. The problem at the moment is that Ferrari bungled it and also chose to do it too early in the season, when so much can still happen to either car before the end.

      As fans, we have to accept the realities of F1. As DC said rather too often in his book,’It is what it is’ We wouldn’t have the super-streamlined F1 we see today without the commercial interests which underpin it.

      One consolation for this loss of innocence from the big money budgets, etc is that the great strides in safety which we’ve seen since 1994 have largely been made possible by these budgets (and Max, to be fair) and I am thankful that I can watch my races on a Sunday afternoon with the reasonable expectation that no-one will be hurt for my entertainment.

    7. Crid [CridComment at gmail] says:

      > A driver knows what they need to do
      > for the team.

      No, it’s not an individual character failure, or even a team character failure.

      And people shouldn’t worry that this sullies the “sport”: People always want to race cars.

      Good for James for keeping his eye on the real problem: The financial incentives in F1 are perverted. I don’t think Ferrari loves Fernando more than Felipe… But there were millions in compensation at stake, so what were they supposed to do?

      Baricello’s a pretty cheerul guy, as is Coulthard. But I’ve always had the sense that both had their spirits wounded by these shenanigans, and now it’s sad to see it happen to Massa.

      This sports league should be configured such that when the grandchildren ask these guys about the olden days when they were doing something special, they’ll be able to say they always did their best.

      This is an FIA/CVC problem, not a racing problem.

      1. senna says:

        right. they will be able to tell their grand children. I was second fiddle to schumacher, so you could have the best schooling and this beautifull weekend hacienda. I swallowed everything that was thrown at me, just for you and your sisters to have the best oportunities live can offer.
        Alonso at least didn’t want to be second driver to hamilton in 08 at mclaren, and left. He ate some dirt at renault for two years, and now is going for it. Making mistakes and all.

    8. Stuart says:

      Spot on point. Drivers are well aware of the circumstances. If this was the last race of the year, and an Alonso victory would have given him WDC, then I’m sure Massa would have obliged for the good of the team. But with 8 or 9 races to go, I think that’s what fans are against. It’s too early.

      The worst part is the theft of a victory from Massa on the 1-year anniversary of his accident.

      1. JOSE says:

        Massa has NO chance of winning this season. It is hard for him, but this is the truth.
        So, from the point of view of a TEAM, why should Ferrary share their points between their two drivers, when only one can reach the WDC??
        I am sorry for Masa, as it would be fantastic for him to win a race one year after, but the WCD is more important than that.
        He behaved as a child and quite unprofessional.

      2. Stuart Henson says:

        FERRARI would have to do the same if Massa was just behind Alonso, and was 10 points from leading the championship and Alonso was about double behind the leaders, we say 8 or 9 races left, but this can only be significant if FERRARI win every race 1 and 2!!

    9. I agree it should be up to the drivers just as it was up to Massa yesterday. He was the one controlling the car after all. He could have raced on and risked a crash with Alonso who would surely have attacked him for race position. He chose not to.

      However, if you were the team principal of Ferrari would you not be inclined to conclude that the only realistic chance you have of winning the WDC is with Alonso? Massa has not shown good enough form so far this season compared to Alonso. It becomes easy to make a decision when a driver has no mathematical chance of winning the WDC but we are not at that stage yet. However, given the competitiveness of the top 3 teams (and often the 4th and 5th teams as well) Ferrari need to make a choice now, and they have.

      1. Lenny555 says:

        I agree and this is what the the Governing body and the fans need to look at. The teams are not here so 2 guys can go out and have a fun weekend in a car, they get signed because the team think they can get the results and Alonso has been so far and has the best chance of claiming the title for Ferrari.

        I feel sorry for Massa but with a stronger performance up to now this might not of happened.
        You could also argue that what happened to Mark and the wing situation was also team orders and could of affected the outcome of the race.

        Anyway i think this rule needs to be changed and yes i feel sorry for Felipe but we all now that championships are won and lost by the in situations like this.

    10. El shish says:

      Fully agree… Regardless of what we think, massa obviously considers (considered) himself to still be in the title hunt and his team obviously hadn’t told him otherwise before the race. We talk about what happened in 07 and 08 so it’s clear massa knows the score and knows what to do when the time comes…. It just seems he, like most fans it seems, wasn’t aware that, at halfway through the season, that time was upon us.

      This argument about alonso being quick irks me. The race weekend and points won, isn’t just about being quick – it’s about finding the best set up for the car, qualifying well, starting well, overtaking and defending as required, and looking after the car. To say alonso was quicker and as been all season is easily countered by arguments that he has consistently started poorly and has not been able to overtake as well as other leading condensers. Massa, in contrast, has consistently gotten off to hood starts… That’s also a strength and one that has served to counter alonso’s superior qualifying performance.

      What is worst in all of this is stefano d’s insistence that there was, and still is no number 1 and number 2 driver… At least if he came clean about this, massa – whether he would have liked it or not – would have known exactly what he had to do and it all might have happened without leaving such a foul taste in everybody’s mouth.

      1. Hans says:

        “To say Alonso was quicker and has been all season is easily countered by arguments…..”

        I’m sorry but if you look at it that way: Alonso had a clear advantage in the championship standings over Massa before this race started. In the end that is what counts.

        A lot of people did not give FA much of a chance of winning the WDC anymore, so lets not discuss the chances of FM.
        This teamorder brought FA halfway back to business.

        I think in the situation Ferrari was in, allowing teamorders only in the final third of the championship would have been far to late.

        I dont want to discuss about that particular situation with Ferrari now but it is to point out that accepting teamorders at a certain moment of the season is no good either.
        For one team it could be halfway the season the right moment is there as for the other team it could be only at the last race.
        This way teamorders will still lead to discussions.

        Accepting teamorders right from the start of the season is the only sensible solution to it. Teams and drivers should decide for themselves if, how and when they want to use it.

    11. A-P says:

      I believe that, between them, Parthi and Damian Johnson [2.] have said it all.

      I agree with Parthi entirely:
      “It should be up to the drivers. A driver knows what they need to do for the team” — indeed, drivers understand (or certainly ought to) before any given race begins what, if any, move might be appropriate under what conditions and at what point.

      The fact that Massa needed to be told indicates the move was inappropriate in this case. The move was in response to what amounted to an order, it was not a purely voluntary move based on an agreement with the practicalites of any championship situation.

      I agree with most of Damian’s points, especially:
      “I would advocate driver points reversal and Ferrari team points removed” — by judicious use of a 5 second penalty (or otherwise) in the case of the drivers, but make it clear to all competitors that outright exclusion will result from any further instance of orders communicated mid-race. “If Ferrari continue to deny team orders then a large fine should be considered along the lines of what McLaren received based on Ferrari’s ability to pay” — pretty much agree again, let them realise they really aren’t kidding anyone.

      Again from Damian:
      “All driver contracts to be vetted by FIA for evidence of inconsistency with FIA rules on team orders.” Is it not the case that either party can lodge their contracts with the FIA voluntarily, already? Whether I have that right or not, making it compulsory would indeed seem sensible in light of the current issue.

      All said, just enforce what is already in the rules. Very little needs to be changed … beyond Ferrari’s and Alonso’s attitudes.

    12. Bujang Tembawai says:

      I believed any team that is the situation where one of the drivers has a better chance in the championship will issued team orders in favour of him.

      In the case of Ferrari last weekend, they shot their own foot because of the blatant clearity of the instruction to FM. A more discreet method should have been employed. AND there should be clear understanding of both drivers on team priority which dictates team orders.

      As FM mentioned in the PC on Sunday, both him and FA worked for Ferrari and are paid by Ferrari, so they are obliged to fulfill the teams requirements.

      I’m not against team orders, but do it disreetly please, then you won’t annoy us supporters of the sport so much.

      As for the FIA and FOTA, I proposed that punishment is only meted out to ‘I saw that one coming’ team orders. The ones done discreetly should be left by its own.

      Formula 1 is a team sport, investment on each team is for the team to succeed, which is then supported BY THE DRIVERS who has the talent to fulfill the teams potential.

      1. Rishi says:

        It was fairly discreet in the sense that they won’t have said “Felipe please move over” but instead said “Fernando is faster,” although a pitstop switch would have been better.

        Rules-wise the one thing I can think of is to allow team orders only when it is mathematically impossible for one driver to win the title. This was the case in Brazil 2007 and China 2008 but not the case on Sunday (even though Alonso was clearly further ahead). A related subsidiary is if one driver is a certain number of points ahead of another or has accumulated a certain percentage of the points for their team/constructor.

        One thing that has been largely overlooked, from what I’ve read, in this furore is the new points system. Alongside rewarding teams down to 8th place, the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system was introduced to help stop team-orders on the basis that teams would be less inclined to do it for only 2 extra points. This year we instead have a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 system (I think) to give drivers a greater incentive to win than under 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. This may well have worked at races like Turkey and Canada, but at the same time it also encourages team orders – particularly when running 1st and 2nd. Could a difference of, for example, 5 points (with only 15 or 20 for the win) have helped avoid this? Or is Hockenheim’s drama simply a price to pay for a system that strongly rewards victory? I would inline towards to the former but there is definitely an argument either way.

      2. Rishi says:

        CORRECTIONS: Meant to say ‘a related possibility is to allow team orders if one driver is a certain number clear than team-mate/has scored a certain percentage of team points.’ This could be a subsidiary to a ‘mathematically impossible’ rule, but would probably work better as an alternative to it.

        Should also say that I inclined towards a 15/20 points for win system even when the new system was introduced so in bringing up the above point I am not, in American parlance, being a Monday morning quarter-back.

    13. Mark says:

      I think it’s time to make more point scoring opportunities to reflect the drivers performance over the weekend and not just the race result.

      Perhaps a point for topping each Q session on Saturday inc pole and a point for fastest lap and leading a lap or most laps lead, would make it harder for teams to make a calculation on points tally and therefore make the call to move over?

    14. David says:

      I believe there should be no team orders till minimum of 2 thirds of season. Then only if say 1 driver has at least 50 points advantage over team mate. 50 points is only 2 race wins. Probably diminishing race by race.

    15. Ikertzeke says:

      900 comments… Wow!
      Why not ban the pit radio?

    16. Racehound says:

      obviously Massa didnt know what to do!! Or he would have done it more discreetly maybe and not caused all this problem for the team!! This is like Hamilton at Monaco 07 standing on the podium with a face like a slapped ar5e and his little old man running up and down near the stewards mumbling “team orders” every 10 seconds!!!! Magnanimous my ar5e,,,I dont think that Smedley knows what the word means himself, so i cant see how he will translate it for Messa!!!! Massa, Smedley and Dyer are the weak link at Ferrari, and need to be replaces as soon as possible!!!!

    17. Leo says:

      Agree, it seems that the “big picture” corporate style has overtaken the real sport now.
      Massa beat Fernando thats it. If they wanted Fernando to win they simply should have delayed Massas pit stop and no one was the wiser!
      I can understand Smedley being upset and reluctant. poor guy, I hope thay dont sack him now!!
      Smedley and Dyer are OK its the top brass that need talking to !!!!

      Lets hope this does not happen again, it spoils everything.

  2. Damian Johnson says:

    Much depends on whether Ferrari continue to deny that they operated team orders. Ferrari also broke a rule and for that they need to be properly punished.

    You might say that other teams have used team orders. But Ferrari did it so blatantly that they were found out unlike the other teams. In that respect, one could say the situation is like spygate where all teams do it but it was McLaren that were found to have a case to answer.

    I would advocate driver points reversal and Ferrari team points removed. If Ferrari continue to deny team orders then a large fine should be considered along the lines of what McLaren received based on Ferrari’s ability to pay.

    In future, all team orders should be banned for the first half of the season to stop any team having a deliberate policy of a favoured driver from the start of the season and team orders can only come into play once the mathematical chance of one of the drivers winning the WDC is finished. That way, the supporting driver can have no compalints about equal treatment.

    All driver contracts to be vetted by FIA for evidence of inconsistency with FIA rules on team orders.

    1. Hussein Lokhandwala says:

      Ferrari have to adopt the denial position, because of the rule in place. To not do so would be openly admitting that they ‘cheated’ and consider themselves above the law.

      Its flawed logic to say they deserve punishment for the ‘blatancy’ of their rule infringement. The equivalent is punishing a team who attaches a visible illegal turbo to the engine but not one who races with illegal and subtle aerodynamic upgrades. It’s agreed by anyone who calls them-self a Formula 1 fan that all teams operate team orders, they should be allowed to take decisions that are in their own best interests, considering how much money they invest, and they should be able to act as they deem necessary from any point in the season.

      In terms of vetting the contracts, whats agreed between two parties i.e. team and driver is a matter for them. Assuming Massa does have a 2nd driver clause, nobody put a gun to his head to make him sign it.

      To start handing down judgement based on the subjective perceived cynicism to me seems very silly, for a sport that prides itself on its intelligence and pragmatism.

    2. mtb says:

      Such a rule would permit teams to instruct drivers to swap position in the second half of the season when neither driver has a chance of winning the championship – just like what McLaren did at Jerez in 1997!

    3. CTP says:

      yes, ferrari are certainly lying, and as such, should be strongly punished for such – spygate was as much about lying as anything else, according to herr mosley, so this should be too.

    4. Jimmy says:

      I’d go for the mathematical part of the solution. If your team has one driver fighting for the WDC and another that can’t win it, you won’t even need any orders.

      On the other hand, there’s a lot of chatter on the spanish media about concealed team orders being already used by other teams (namely McLaren) disguised as “We need to save fuel”. When this happens, maybe, in the best interest of sport, the FIA should check the team’s telemetry and see if that particular driver really needed to save fuel.

      1. Jack Holt says:

        They told Hamilton to save fuel again this race, presumably a codeword for let Jenson by? Or, and I might be way off base here, maybe McLaren – like every other team – factor in fuel saving periods when deciding the fuel loads: excess fuel costs time and wears tyres. Or we could just believe the Spanish media…

        …but it’s strange that neither Hamilton nor Button appeared to understand the “save fuel” message – Hamilton and his engineer seemed to think it meant the race was off, whereas Button thought differently. Isn’t it strange that McLaren dreamt up these codewords but then forgot to tell the drivers and their race engineers? Or we could just believe the Spanish media…

      2. Galapago555 says:

        And what about Hockenheim ’08, and Heikkii yielding to Hamilton? This was a clear case of team orders… or we could believe English media.

        By the way, you can check what Ron Dennis said, asumming that Heikki did actually yield to Lewis in the best team’s interest:

        Is this cheating or not? Yes, it is, but we know that Lewis is to get no real penalty from his friends in FIA… or we could just believe English media.

      3. Cliff says:

        The weight of the car at the end of a race can give the FIA that sort of information. Too light would get a penalty.

    5. F. Alligatore says:

      Your comments reveal that you wish for idealism which has never existed and will never exist, in the real world of F1.

      In any case, all this is nothing but “bread and circuses”, and it’s pathetic to see people get so upset over it, as though it was a life and death struggle or something of that sort.

    6. Col says:

      The complete denial by Ferrari is what grates with me the most. If Rob Smedley (although it shouldn’t have fallen to Rob to do) had come on the radio and said, “Look baby, you know what Fernando is like when he doesn’t get his own way so you’d better let him pass, in all fairness he is looking more likely to win the championship then you.” then I wouldn’t have been that bothered.

      What is a problem is when everyone at Ferrari claims that Massa wasn’t told to move over and that he had some mysterious problem coming out of the hairpin.

      More transparency is what is needed.

      1. Just A Bloke (Martin) says:

        Spot on totally agree, I don’t like being taken for a muppet.

      2. Rafael L says:

        Neither do I, but let’s be real here. Ferrari would be dumb to admit team orders when they are illegal…

    7. Igor M. says:

      I agree with the approach that team orders to be banned until one of the drivers mathematically cannot win WDC any more. That is, if I am not mistaken, how Kimi and Masa arranged it and publicly spoke about it. That way everybody knew that, when the time comes, Massa would move over to Kimi and vice-versa, and nobody objected to it.

      1. BurgerF1 says:

        The mathematical approach won’t work, though it sounds simple enough. Who’s to say a team won’t engineer it’s way into making sure one driver is mathematically out of the picture? Look at Renault in Singapore, and you quickly see that the teams can be very clever about manipulating a race result. What staggers me about this incident is the bush-league way Ferrari went about it, and the backlash it’s generated. The problem stems from the teams wanting to win both championships. This left Ferrari until after the pitstops to have to make the clumsy switch. In prior years with re-fuelling, a little slip of the wheel gun, or delay in removing the fuel hose was all that was necessary…

    8. Michael P says:

      Germany was race 11 so half the season was already over! :)

    9. GomerPile says:

      “team orders can only come into play once the mathematical chance of one of the drivers winning the WDC is finished”

      Completely agree – excellent idea. It’s based upon facts, so should be easily understandable and measureable.

      I’m sure we can all understand driver switches for the championship in the last 2 or 3 races, and I can understand (and even encourage) the team dynamic of letting a faster team mate through to challenge further up the field (Massa and Alonso in Australia this year, Hamilton and Kovy at Germany last year), but I think it went too far yesterday.
      From a Ferrari perspective, they got the same number of points either way, so no team benefit. And Massa is still in with a chance of the championship – he was only just more than a single race win back. I’m hoping for a run of bad reliability for Alonso now, and Massa missing the championship by up to 7 points.

      Perhaps we need to see a rule about swapping the LEAD of the race, with the swapper being mathematically out of the championship to make it legal.

      Or do we acknowledge that it will always happen, and enforce it like engines – saying that each team is allowed to swap driver positions up to a maximum of 3 times (or some other number) a season into any position and for any reason. Any undeclared or additional stops (i.e. bad pit stop, an overtake), should be investigated by the stewards to ensure everyone was trying their hardest.

      What do you think?

      1. GomerPile says:

        Just for clarification re my examples of allowing a faster team mate through:

        Massa and Alonso – didn’t happen, probably should have.

        Kovy and Hamilton – did happen, probably a team order as Hamilton was much faster and went on to win the race.

      2. GomerPile says:

        And another thing …

        After the race was won, on the team radio was Alonso prattling on about the pass, saying something like ‘what happened to Felipe, did he miss a gear?’ or some such nonsense?

        Or did I imagine that? I don’t much like Alonso, and don’t want to put words in his mouth, but if he did say that, he must think all F1 fans are mugs to be so easily conned.

        Anyone else here that, or should I be making an appointment at the physciatrist’s?

      3. Mikael says:

        I don’t think the drivers listens to the other drivers radio during the race… which means Alonso probably did not hear what Smedley said to Massa. Seems to me that there is a lot of Alonso bashing around when clearly it was the team that made the decision.

      4. Rafael L says:

        Mikael…Alonso new very well what was going on. To deny that would be silly.

      5. Arri says:

        Rafael…..have you asked Alonso? You just seem so sure.

        I think there is a misconception about Alonso place within Ferrari. Please remember that Alonso is an employee, he does not own nor run Ferrari….to think that would be silly :-). This order came from the team and there is no radio transmission notifying Alonso of the decision (we would have heard it fof sure)so how would he have known?

    10. Steve says:

      I agree with the part about alowing team orders only when one of the drivers is mathematicaly out of the WDC race. Also, I think the FIA should review the contracts, so that there’s no team orders before the fact, as that is breaking the rules as well.

      1. mtb says:

        Team A has one driver (A1) who has a strong chance of winning the WDC and another (A2) who can not.

        Team B has one driver who has a strong chance of winning the WDC (B1) and another driver who has a very slight chance of winning the WDC (B2).

        Team A is allowed to implement team orders to assist A1, but Team B is not permitted to assist B1 in a similar manner.

        Would such a system be fair?

        A team could deliberately hold one of its drivers back to ensure that that driver no longer had a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

        Either permit team orders, or ban them. If they are going to be banned, then the FIA should start doing something about these teams that instruct their drivers to “save fuel”.

      2. Mikael says:

        I fully agree with you! The mathematical-solution is no good since it will/could give an unfair advantage to some teams.

        There is no way to get rid of team orders since this is a team sport so I say permit them but let us see/hear what’s happening and why.

    11. swayze says:

      Excellent points and i would agree with all your points but if Ferrari are found to have lied to the stewards they have already set a presedent in Australia with Hamilton.It is clear Ferarri would have got a 1/2 at the race so it would be harsh to not allow them to keep the points albeit reversed but Ferrari got themselves into this mess so it is their own fault.

    12. Anil says:

      That’s ridiculous, you can’t ‘ban’ team orders, they will ALWAYS exist, no matter what a team manager or driver says.

      Just lift the rule and leave it up to the drivers. Tbh i’d be more happy with them banning team radio and seeing what happens from there.

    13. PeterF says:

      I agree with your recommendations for the punishment for Ferrari from the WMSC. If the TEAM looses their points it will send a clear message to all teams. Also, on the day, Alonso did not have the race craft to win, that honour was due to Massa, reversing the positions would be the fair thing to do.

      1. SeanG says:

        I love so many say that Alonso was faster over the weekend. To that I would say “Massa was faster when it mattered.”

      2. Eric says:

        Sport is all about delivering when it matters. Many people are not smart.

      3. Galapago555 says:

        No, he wasn’t. He was lapping 0.5 sec slower that Alonso. Should he not have acted as a child, and yielding on a corner – like Heikki did in Hockenheim’08 – and nothing of this would happen. But he needed to say loudly to the World that he was yielding… childish behaviour. If I were Team Manager, Massa would have been fired inmediately after the race.

      4. Paul Kirk says:

        Personally, I haven’t a problem with team orders, you can hardley expect a team and their sponsors, after spending millions and planning and working towards a goal, to not wish to have control over their results!!! I mean F1 is a business, not a game! Then there is the question of how much the drivers get paid, if one gets 20,000,000, and the other gets 5,000,000 it’s obvious where the team’s first priorities are, and should be!! I don’t believe Ferrari should be penalized!! I do believe the rule banning orders should be banned!! If I was a team boss/owner and I wasn’t alowed to boss my team, then why would I bother haveing it? I may as well sit in front of the tv and watch a bouncy ball game! (And there’s NO chance of that happening!) Many posters seem to be getting bitter and twisted about Ferrari and their orders, but for the life of me I can’t understand why!!!

      5. Paul Kirk says:

        Cont… And while they’re busy banning the rule banning team orders, the FIA should also bann KERs in F1 for ever!!! PK.

      6. PeterF says:

        In other words its fine to break any rule you don’t agree with!

    14. D@X says:

      Well said Damian! I think the record was set when McLaren had their wrist slapped for the spygate and for sure it does send out a message for all those willing to take the risk of bending the rules.
      So Ferrari should be fined accordingly for bringing the sport into disrepute, remove them from the contractors and annul their result in Germany for both drivers.
      Unless each team has one driver then I see no progress with team orders getting completely banned or being done without. Should the underdog dare to perform again, then Alonso and Massa should fall out very quickly just as he did with Hamilton.
      But then again this could be Alsonso’s dark cloud following him from team to team. Somehow he ends up in a team that will be fined heavily. Renault, McLaren and who knows what Ferrari will eventually get. Something that is not anticipated in good strategy…Karma!

      1. Hans says:

        To me Spygate wasn´t anywere near ´bending the rules´.

    15. A.K. says:

      Rubbish. Ferrari should not be fined at all. They have done nothing more than what they themselves and other teams have done in recent times, even this year. Recall how Kovaleinen moved over for Hamilton. That went by with hardly a whimper because the team in question was a British one. There was certainly no grilling from the media or from fans that have now weighed in with their opinions. The there were the “Vettel is faster than you” to Webber and Button being told that his “fuel situation is CRITICAL!” so that he should not attack Hamilton.

      1. Irish con says:

        Finally some one on here can see sence. The mclaren and British fans on here want Ferrari banned but won’t admit to the heikki lewis incident two years ago with the exact same thing happening. The British just can’t admit it and if they want Ferrari kicked out you have to take away lewis’s points from that race in 08. And Im not biased like the Brits so Ferrari should lose the points from china that year also. It has to be one rule for all. Since 2002 yesterday was the 200th time Id guess where team orders where involved yet Ferrari are first team pulled by media. Why bcos there not British

      2. dils says:

        How about Brazilian fans and media? I’m sure they’re a bit upset.

      3. Just A Bloke (Martin) says:

        I think its the disrepute issue which is causing Ferrari a problem. If they were more open and honest about the situation then what ever the rules, fair play. Personally I wanted to see if Alonso could pass Massa, Could Massa take the pressure? I think if Massa was under SERIOUS pressure from Alonso and VEttel was closing then he would perhaps have let him by anyway…….

      4. Arri says:

        That’s the problem Ferrari were worried about, look at how aggressively Massa was defending a few laps prior and nearly touched with alonso and also remember…they touched in Valencia. Fernando had the pace to attack but Ferrari were having none of it which is why they took the route they did. Clearly they couldn’t keep Alonso behind Massa yet again, Alonso would not have obeyed that order and would most definitely have attacked Massa at the end. The rest would have been history..

      5. panya says:

        Totally agree with you A.K.

        Team orders are in every team like it or not. Some people either can’t uncode them or just refuse to accept that other teams use them as well in different shapes and forms.

        I really want to see how next weekend result pan out. I am certain that Alonso will win and this whole issue will subdue.

    16. malcolm.strachan says:

      “In future, all team orders should be banned for the first half of the season to stop any team having a deliberate policy of a favoured driver from the start of the season and team orders can only come into play once the mathematical chance of one of the drivers winning the WDC is finished.”

      You do realize that it IS the latter half of the season, right? Hockenheim was the 11th of 19 Grands Prix.

      1. JimmiC says:

        I think the point was, Massa is still in the title hunt, especially with the increase of points for the podiums. A few Alonso retirements (or stewards penalties) and the situation is turned about.

      2. Brent McMaster says:

        Massa needed 80 points to tie what Hamilton had. How was he still in the hunt?

      3. Eric says:

        Brent, Raikkonen came from a similar distance back (in the old points system). Anything can happen in Formula 1 – and it usually does. (M. Walker).

    17. Brent McMaster says:

      I found Kovalainen moving out of the road at Hockenheim in ’08 almost identical. Kovalainen was no more subtle then Massa, yet nothing was said. The FIA has just as much fault as Ferrari for not enforcing their own rules. I have know problem with having a #1,2 system at a team, as long as it is stated in the contract the driver signs. I don’t understand why it was not clear to Massa before the race that Alonso was finishing ahead of him. Alonso was beside him at one point, Massa just had to come onto the gas slightly slower and it would be done.

    18. Zobra Wambleska says:

      This is a well reasoned response and I agree with it. The one exception would be to make the cut off at the 2/3rd mark, as opposed to the half way point in the season.

    19. Mart Hugh says:

      Damian suggests
      >All driver contracts to be vetted by FIA for evidence of inconsistency with FIA rules on team orders.

      I see where you are coming from, but this is a little naive. Contracts are often woven with nuance which are known internally to mean one thing, but externally to mean another. I really dont think this suggestion will hold water. And anyway just think of the cost of administering it compared to the amount of control and confidence it is likely to return.

      The only certainly for me out of all this uncertainty on this topic is that the first thing the FIA need to do is lift the ban on team orders because it is toothless and makes a mockery of any other regulations which are non-negotiables.

  3. ade says:

    Team orders should be reintroduced and all radio transmissions from pit to car concerning them should be broadcast so that the viewers know exactly what’s happening on track.

    It was a great move by the host broadcaster to relay Rob Smedley’s message to Massa. Remember it wasn’t that long ago that we weren’t privy to ANY Ferrari radio transmissions…

    1. Heffalump says:

      That was our luck as since Hockenheim all radio transmissions from all the cars are being made available to the broadcaster. Perhaps Ferrari weren’t aware of this. Or, which sounds more convincing, certain members of the team were very aware of this. It would have been interesting, though, to have Massa’s reaction relayed. Too funny if his first words had been “this is ridiculous”.

    2. Phil Curry says:

      Ironically, this was the first race where ALL team radio was open to FOM, the broadcaster of most F1 races. Before Germany, teams had the option as to whether radio could be made public or not, by pushing a button that seperated the radio feed from public channels to a private one. That button was unable to be used at Hockenheim

      1. Rafael L says:

        I wish the radio transmission could be downloaded :(

    3. Ewan says:

      I think what ade suggests is a suitable compromise, let teams do what they want, but try and make them be honest about their actions and the reasoning behind it too.

    4. Christos Pallis says:

      Totally agree, it was brilliant to get those messages aired as it happened!

    5. mtb says:

      …or any McLaren communications for that matter!

    6. Simon G says:

      What about the viewers at the track ? how are they supposed to know what is going on ?

      1. James Allen says:

        Well you could say that about F1 generally!

      2. BurgerF1 says:

        I’ve found that spending the extra money on a Kangaroo TV greatly enhances the ability to follow the subtler developments on track. The radio broadcasts can be heard on them, and in fact, they often broadcast more than what is being sent out to the main feed.

    7. F1_Dave says:

      wasn’t down to a local host broadcaster, every race bar monaco and suzuka is handled by fom.

      was also quietly agreed just prior to hockenheim that fom now have access to all team radio so teams are no longer to block access to certain broadcasts.

    8. Hans says:

      I fully agree with this one. Make teamorders legal again and make things transparent to the viewer.

      Let’s face it, if Ferrari would have done a 2s longer pitsstop with Massa due to a “wheel nut problem” one would have known Ferrari played it but no one could do anything against it.

      To me it is the way Ferrari handled it. Yesterday everybody knew what happened because it was played this indifferent way. I think this is causing all these boiled reactions.

      But because there is so much at stake, teamorders will always be there, like it or not. There are just to many examples of this in recent years.
      So either choose to accept it and make things transparent or know that you have been cheated but can not do anything about it.

      In the end, the race result will be just the same.

    9. That wasn’t the host broadcaster – that was FOM. Bernie’s boys (and girls) knew exactly what they were doing when they broadcast that

      1. rodrigo says:

        uhmmm… didn’t Bernei say something like “if there are no fires I set them”? This fire certainly has gone viral and will keep F1 interested over the summer break until the hearing… this will force the teams to reword the rule, not eliminating team orders completely, but clearing them up as to when they are allowed… enough to “spice up the show” but keep it a sport with the concept of fair play… isn’t Mac principal having a quiet chat with Ferrari? I wonder about what? Bernei is a freaking genius!!!!

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Brilliant point, mate!!

    10. chris scott says:

      That broadcaster would be FOM as it is at all races. I agree its good that the radio has been opened up. I wonder if the lack of the read button is what caught ferrari out this time

    11. Ivan says:

      That’s because the F60 is a box with 4 wheels?

      Back to the topic, I’m all for legalising team orders, cause that will bring in more intense competition.

      Sidenote: James, for this year’s Singapore GP is there any fan session organised?

  4. F1ART says:

    Team orders should not be allowed whilst a driver is in contention for the championship by winning 50% of the remaining points.

    E.G Driver has 200 points in championship, there are 100 points left to win this means if he wins 50% of the points left his maximum is 250 points

    A.If the leader of the championship has more than 250 points then the team may use orders in respect of this driver.

    B. If the leader of the championship has less than 250 points then the team may not use orders in respect of this driver.

  5. John Pugh says:

    The FIA should recognise that their Rule is unworkable and needs changing. ‘No team orders’ is unrealistic in a team sport. It is fairer all round not to ‘coerce’ a driver into ‘consenting’ to favour his team mate, ‘for the good of the team’. Let the driver do it under openly given team orders.

    They are racing drivers. They know the score. If a driver wants to avoid team orders let him dominate his team mate. It is part of the job. It is hard on the dominated party but they didn’t enter F1 for an easy ride.

    That may make some drivers opt for weaker teams and number on status. What is wrong with that? It is their choice.

    It does not detract from the spectacle if the rules are known to the public and the teams are honest about it.

    Teams want to maximise points for the constructor’s championship. That in itself limits the damage to the weaker driver.

    Can a driver really claim to fight for the world championship if he cannot dominate the driver in the same car? Would that be a worthy world champion?

    1. rodrigo says:

      I agree with the general idea of team orders… the team wants *both* the WDC (for sponsor & marketing $$$) and the WCC for engineering prestige and $$ from FIA. The logic behind the ferrari team order makes sense from a business case in order to strengthen the WDC chase. Having said that…

      FA’s obvious 1-2 swap did not annoy me too much (my sense of fair play and an honest win at odds with the team’s objective to win both championships), just surprised it was so obvious as it is supposed to be against the sporting regulations.

      What made me sick to my stomach, and obviously the media present at the press conference, was once I saw FM’s reaction after the race… he was not happy. It seemed to me he allowed the swap under duress, he was forced to hand over his win to the slightly faster (at race pace) team mate.

      Driver’s know the score, they know their chances of winning the WDC, they know they work for a team, and I think that unless they hate their team mate, they are likely to help him win races… in which case I would expect the team drivers to be jubilant for the team for a 1-2.

      That was not the case with FM and FA because it was a 1-2 swap FM didn’t want to do… how to fix this for the future? Maybe not allowing 1-2 swaps until leading driver is mathematically out of the WDC would an option. This way no one can say the driver was coerced, he has no chance of of the WDC, so he should concede the win for the good of the team.

      Letting a faster teammate through should be acceptable if not for a 1-2 swap, this way the faster driver can challenge the race leaders for more points, like Hamilton & Heikki in 2008.

      In any event, I expect changes to this rule for next year, changes that give teams flexibility to maximize points, and make it fair for the drivers so a driver is not forced to do a 1-2 swap under duress like Masa and Baricello.

  6. balint says:

    Great post James,

    In my mind, anything limiting team orders is very hard to police. The only truly effective thing would be one car per team! Even in that case engine supplier issues and other interdependencies may very well play a role in the outcome. I am content that a sport that competitiive as Formula 1 will always create ground for such issues.

    Moreover, the phenomena is twofold: (1) sometimes teammates are obliged to give away track position as was the case with Massa here, on the other hand (2) teammates sometimes will just tend to risk more when confronted with each other (Turkey RBR, or Alonso pitlane overtake in China, also I am inclined to say that Hamilton repass on Button in Turkey are allo good examples). I doubt that any of these moves would have also been done in a non teammate scenario.

    In my mind the negative effects of (1) are more or less balanced by the extra spectacle and unpredictability of (2). I also see a pattern in terms of the team orders issue (1) where in certain cases the public condemns the case (Austria 2002 or Germany 2010) while as James pointed it out validly other quite apparent team orders are not followed by such negative feelings from the fans. At this point, however, I depart from James and take the view that the general public problem always arises where the recipient of the team order (BAR/MAS) does not want to obey and wants to use the negative media as a means against its own team.

    So in a sense I would say that somehow punishing “martyr” behaviour would improve things….I am sure economics have already looked into this matter (which basically revolves around game theory) and smart policing is achievable at least to counterbalance these kind of public martyrdoms if not team orders.

  7. Another James says:

    In any other sport telling a competitor to act so they don’t win is called fixing and lands people in court.

    It’s almost impossible to prevent a lengthened pitstop, a call to change fuel mixture etc can all acheive the same effect.

    There are two different questions: first what to do if one car is clearly faster than the other, but behind – do you (1) Tell the faster following driver he can’t attempt to overtake or (2) Tell the leading driver that his teammate will attack, and not to defend as stoutly as he would against a car from another team, or do you (3) tell him to pull over and wave the other guy through, or do you (4) say “Well if Fernando thinks he’s going to be world champion he might have to pass his own team mate on the track on merrit once or twice in a season.”
    My heart says (4) but post Turkey Red-Bull would not agree. What we got, in effect was option (3) which looks dreadful. Ferrari maintained that they told Massa to expect an attack, not what he should do if it came, and he lamely moved out of the way.

    That’s different from saying before the race “Even if driver a is faster, he must let driver B win”. When winning a championship can depend on a driver doing that we all know, and a team will usually come out and say so beforehand. 8 races left is too early for a team to back one driver – it could still be Massa who finishes higher up in the championship, and wouldn’t be an Irony if he lost it by fewer than five points.

    The best quote on the subject appeared in the Telegraph

    *Fernando, where will this victory rank in your career? Is it up there with Singapore 2008?

    1. JF says:

      F1 is a team sport. It would only be race fixing if a team did something on purpose to cause itself or another team to win a race illegitimately (like Renault did). Switching two drivers on the same team is not race fixing as the victory goes to the team either way and no other competing team is affected.

      1. Another James says:

        In F1 the competitors are the drivers not the teams (who are entrants).

        It isn’t like football where the result is the result whichever team member scores the goals.

        If it were a horse race and the trainer told two Jockeys from his stable which order they should finish he’d end up in court. But there is a team of people getting the horses ready …

        Alonso has form when it comes to unsportsmanlike behaviour: his time at McLaren and Hungary in particular. Did he really know nothing about Piquet’s action in Singapore ? Passing Massa in the pitlane, and now this.

      2. Arri says:

        Another James: To me it looks like your issue is with Alonso rather than with what FERRARI…yes you read it correctly ….Ferrari as a TEAM decided. I think this is also the major issue here cause if the exact same thing happened and it was lets say…Fisi moving for Massa there wouldn’t be half the furor there is now….don’t you think?

      3. Another James says:

        Arri, I have an issue with Alonso’s unsporting behavior, but I have a bigger problem with Ferrari fixing races (Barrichello moving over for Schumacher), even the Mclaren incident where Coulthard moved over for Hakkinen felt wrong (and that wasn’t a team order)

        Given that (as the only team still getting Tobacco money) Ferrari have deep pockets they’d probably think paying $20,000 per point to move points from their #2 driver to their #1 is quite a bargain. We’ll have to see what the council says when they go over it, because the precedent is you CAN issue team orders and write a cheque. I hope the council says the penalty should be disqualification even if that is suspended in this case.

      4. JF says:

        I would still argue that Ferrari didn’t fix the race based on my previous comment. The teams are the competitors and the individuals drive for the team. The driver switch did not affect any other team. I do agree with you regarding Alonso’s behavior, he should have just manned up and thanked Massa rather than make up a lame story about how he was able to pass him.

  8. James says:

    Drivers should only be ordered to move over for their team mate when they are mathematically incapable of winning the drivers championship. Until then all drivers should be racing.

    1. eric bhoy says:

      Agree. This is the most simple but logical solution as it put things into perspective like the Massa / Kimi switch in 2007

  9. Jonathan says:

    Some interesting points James.

    However I think the big difference between the historic events and yesterday is down to Bernie Ecclestone. That might sound a bit bizarre until we think about it.

    There are two significant changes – both technological.

    The first is down to the gearboxes and the sheer amount of data created by a car. Nobody was certain that a fluffed gear change was hiding a team’s orders to allow a team mate pass. It happened so easily and frequently (especially when under pressure) that these events were not questioned.

    The second is down to Bernie’s efforts to enhance the show. Certainly in schumacher’s early days we did not hear the team radio conversations and on board camera footage was rare.

    ferrari’s biggest crime yesterday was bringing the sport into disrepute – for which it should be punished harshly – preferably by the very least removing Alonso’s undeserved 25 points.
    The rules ban team orders and, therefore, unless the FIA are planning to abandon this rule they need to make an example of ferrari’s cynical abuse of the current rule.

    Without hearing the team radio this would not have been anything like as bad. ferrari are obviously guilty of a lack of thought – far too many are guilty of disregarding the way the media has given such wide access to all sports. This furore is no different to tennis players who get fined for inappropriate outbursts.

    I feel that nobody really complains about a driver helping his team mate seal a championship – once his own chances are effectively finished. Most drivers would feel honoured to have made sure a team mate won a title and, as such would more than likely choose to move over without any need for public encouragement.

    It would not hurt if the team orders rule was abandoned… as long as all team radio transmissions were adequately monitored and any orders (tacit or otherwise) for a driver to move over resulted in the automatic loss of all points as they are damaging to the “sport”.

  10. MorrisOx says:

    How about a simple rule which says that no contract between a driver and team may contain a clause which could be interpreted as giving him a right to track position relative to his team mate?
    This leaves the door open to consensual orders which are in the interests of a team’s championship pursuit in that final third of the season, but stops a driver being legally subordinated in an entirely artificial manner.

    1. A.K. says:

      I don’t think this is the case with Massa anyhow, as he wouldn’t/shouldn’t have taken it so badly if it were.

    2. JF says:

      Has any of the “experts” frequenting comment boards ever seen an F1 contract: FA or MSC for example. There is no proof that anyone ever has had a contract forcing him/her to to be number two or allowing someone to be number 1. That said, I suppose many will believe what they want regardless of proof (eg. Loch Ness monster and alien abductions).

  11. Jeff says:

    James, as a brief aside to the Massa/Alonso incident, there was also the moment where Petrov was told by his engineer to adjust his shift pattern to avoid engine damage or to conserve fuel. I thought I heard the engineer say something along the lines of: “…If you don’t do this we will have to adjust the mapping/settings” (sorry but I am paraphrasing as I cannot remember exactly what he said). Did you hear that order and, if so, what did you make of it? Does this mean that the team could dynamically upload a new throttle mapping to the car without the driver’s consent/knowledge as I thought this was forbidden under the rules? Wouldn’t this be yet another way the teams could affect the race result (in addition to subtle – or not so subtle – ‘fuel save’ codes, ‘accidental’ pitstop finger trouble etc..)?

    1. Tim B says:

      The engineer was telling him to change up early into top gear, and saying that if he couldn’t manage it then they’d have to go to a different engine map.

      Martin Brundle interpreted this as a requirement to save fuel, with a threat to go to a very conservative fuel-saving mode if Petrov couldn’t manage it manually by changing into top early.

      1. Jeff says:

        Thanks Tim for stating what was said more clearly than I recalled. What I was wondering, with respect to the team orders controversy, was whether it is possible (and legal) for a team to remotely force a switch to a new engine mapping onto the car without the driver’s consent or even knowledge. I do remember a rule from a few years back stating that telemetry can only be downloaded from the car and not uploaded to it. Do you, or does anyone else, know if this is still the case?

      2. John O'Neill says:

        A few months ago on a late evening train out of London Liverpool Street I had a couple of ex-F1 engineers (one Renault, one Cosworth) talking too loudly on the table opposite about some of special projects they had worked on whilst in F1.

        One of the things the Renault guy mentioned was that they could remotely change car settings by locating a team member out on the back of track, with a box that could establish an infra-red link to the car (downside being that it would need line-of-sight to the car to work, much like a TV remote control)

        Presumably by operating in the infra-red frequency range, and basing an employee outside of the pits, it could get around the detection of two-way telementry, which is banned (and hence why I was so intrigued to eavesdrop on their conversation!)

        Not sure how accurate what they were saying was, but it certainly sounded convincing at the time.

  12. Robyn says:

    I honestly can’t get past the idea that a driver who wins only because another driver lets him past simply is not the rightful winner. No matter what the circumstances or what part of the season it is. Clearly, I have a lot to learn.

    (I’m not saying that sarcastically, by the way. I know I do have a lot to learn!)

    1. A.K. says:

      So long as there are multiple cars per team you’ll have plenty of chances to learn the lesson.

  13. Brian says:

    If a driver has NO mathematical chance of the title, then and only then, are team orders acceptable.

  14. Crispy says:

    If Alonso was so much faster, then surely he would, could and should have past Massa. Then it would be up the pair of them to drive sensibly and avoid taking each other out. For such a large and influential organisation, Ferrari appears to lack a degree of intelligence when it comes to handling PR…

    And Alonso – yes he is a great driver but he’s also got a massive ego which is increasingly showing him in an extremely negative and unpopular light. I wish he’d just stop whining and throwing his toys out of the pram, every time something goes wrong. Maybe he has been on the end of some dubious stewards’ decisions, but get over it dude. Act like a man, not like a spoilt brat. Let your driving do the talking.

  15. bill says:

    the rule should say “team orders on switching positions between team mates is banned until the moment one of them has no mathematical chances of winning the championship” thanx

    1. bill says:

      as for driver not fighting for the championship the rule should say ” team orders on switching positions between team mates are banned until the moment one of them has no mathematical chance of beating the other one in final championship standings”

  16. Bill Nuttall says:

    A few years ago Lewis had his race result annulled when he was caught telling porkies to the stewards. As Alonso and Massa have clearly been caught doing the same then at the very least they should both be retrospectively thrown out of the race. And if Ferrari don’t have the balls to admit they fixed the positions then they should follow a similar fate.

    As a fan you have no idea how pissed off I get when I see results being so blatantly fixed. I suspect I am not alone.

    1. Cabby says:

      You are not

    2. Mart Hugh says:

      You are not alone. And I have no strong allegiance to any particular team, I just love the sport.

      What I dont get is, if Alonso was really that much faster then why didnt he have a crack at overtaking (Red Bull/MacLaren style). The guy is unmistakably a fast driver, but his antics of his time at McLaren in 2008, his “convenient” win at Singapore last year and the last race, means he hardly comes up smelling of roses. Alonso is has quite a bit of baggage.

      Astonishingly though, he does not seem to care how gifted a win was. If I was able to compete at a high level in any sport, I would only want to win if I was best. What does it mean for competitors when the guy who is second best is gifted the gold medal. What on earth do the people in control of the regulation think that it means to the viewers when the whole outcome of a race is a sham.

      Formula 1, 2010. Possibly at its lowest ebb for decades.

      1. John Gibson says:

        Yes, F1 2010 – at its lowest ebb since Peter Collins gave Juan Manuel Fangio his car at Monza so that Fangio could have half of the car’s points and win the title by 2 points over…Collins.

        Or perhaps its lowes ebb since Fangio very clearly drove slowly to allow Stirling Moss to win at Aintree.

        Or perhaps its lowest ebb since Gilles Villeneuve was informed prior to the 1979 season that the intention of the team was for Jody Scheckter to be its championship contender from the very outset of the season.

        Doe this hysterical clap-trap about how awful team orders are have no end?

  17. Welshracer says:

    but what constitutes a “team order”

    Telling your drivers they can race?
    Giving your lead race driver information for him to make up his mind?
    Telling your lead race driver to back off to save fuel whilst his team mate is right behind him and is not told same instruction?

  18. Tim says:

    Very well written James and I totally share your view.
    Everyone understands team orders will always exist in one form or another, it’s impossible to take it of out the sport, as Massa could have easily ‘run wide’ at a corner and gave Alonso the place that way, or there are really an infinite amount of possibilities.

    I really hope the result stands as Alonso was the better driver over the weekend anyway.

    But what this has also shown is the difference in class and experience between Christian Horner and Martin Whitmarsh.
    Horner is pushing this hoping for Ferrari to be disqualified for RBRs own gain, whilst Whitmarsh is showing a bit of class and style to his management even though McLaren can benefit from the disqualification of Ferrari. I feel MW stands much more for the FOTA unity whereas Horner just wants to win the Championships and doesn’t care so much about the bigger picture.

    Formula 1 has always been dubbed a team sport so whatever is best for the team should be allowed, this type of thing happens in many sports where some ‘takes one for the team.’ If the drivers are not happy with the situation they can leave or should sign a contract that says they will not be subject to any team orders. Either way it should be down to the driver and the team rather than the FiA to decide.

  19. Chris Partridge says:

    I feel that the teams are caught in a contradictory situation within F1. On the one hand, the team has to win but inevitably that can only mean one driver winning the WDC. On the other, it cannot do everything it wants to win because it is not allowed to operate team strategies to engineer that win in a particularly tight points scenario for that one driver. That risks handing the WDC to another team. What on earth do people expect them to do?

    1. Mart Hugh says:

      Chris Partrige said :
      “On the one hand, the team has to win but inevitably that can only mean one driver winning the WDC.”


      Do you really think that that the points that Ferrari received in the constructors championship at the last grand prix were different because they swapped drivers ?

      Are you watching a different sport to the rest of us?

      1. Chris Partridge says:

        True — if you feel the CC has the same prestige as the WDC for the team. And that was my point.

    2. Damian Johnson says:

      Answer: Do what the other teams do and let their drivers race without team orders.

      1. Chris Partridge says:

        What would you do if you were a Team Principal in the following situation: last race of the season, one driver is leading but is 40 points behind his team-mate who is just 24 points away from the WDC and second in the race. If that driver does not win, the WDC goes to a rival team. Would any team seriously allow free driver racing?

  20. I couldn’t really comment, as I turned off the TV after the switch. Many other people did too and that’s what F1 should be worried about.

    I was looking forward to a good battle; indeed Alonso had already been all over Massa earlier in the race. Ferrari should have pitted them differently, and put Massa on “fuel saving” to enable ALO to put in some hot laps. Switching the way they did just ruined the race. Waste of my afternoon.

    1. Simon R says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Allowing team orders = making fans turn off the telly. Banning team orders = teams risk losing lots of points if caught breaking rules. Strict enforcement will lead to less unsporting behaviour.

      Its like saying diving is just part of football and should be tolerated. If they gave cards for diving based on tv evidence after a game, you’d see a lot less diving. Would it eliminate diving altogther? No, it wouldn’t. But it would vastly improve the spectacle which is what matters most of all to fans, who ultimately are the ones who pay the team’s bills.

  21. Rhys says:

    If Massa has won the race, and Alonso 2nd, the gap would now be 24 points between the two drivers, or 10 points in old money. For me that does not mean team orders should be used as this article suggests.

  22. Matthew Hopson says:

    I don’t understand how you can come to the conclusion that banning team orders would be artificial. Any instance where a driver pulls aside for his team mate is an artificial move, artificially altering the championship. It is a race and every car regardless of colour should be overtaken fairly. If a driver decides to do so of his own accord, when he feels he is completely out of the championship, then fair enough. But the team should have no say.

    I’ve watched a lot of the Aussie V8 Supercars recently and have been impressed with the amount of overtaking going on between team mates, regardless of championship chances. Some have ended in disaster, but they just shrug their shoulders and get on with it. That is sport. What we saw on Sunday wasn’t.

  23. It’s the blatant lying about the situation and the cynical way Ferrari carried out the move. An easier way to clarify the rule could be to say it’s allowed when only one driver is mathematically out of the running for the Championship.

    I think there is a huge difference between making a switch on the track as we saw yesterday and favouring one driver through upgrades, strategy or whatever.

    Banning Ferrari would be an over reaction, disqualifying the team from constructor points and possibly driver points from the German Grand Prix wouldn’t be.

  24. Pawel says:

    I was dissapointed with the fine of 100K only instead of at least 1MM.
    That team order damaged the show should Vettel caught Alonso behind slow Massa.
    The team order was in interest of Alonso only because they seemed to make up their mind to Massa being past over by Vettel.

  25. Phil Curry says:

    Team orders that will change the result of a race should only be invoked when one driver does not have a mathmatical chance of winning the championship.

    Asking drivers to hold station will not necessarily change the result of a race, but asking a driver to let another pass will. If the driver in front is in no position mathmatically to challenge for the title, then the team can ask for him to help.

    As for this race, Ferrari should lose the points they gained – however the drivers should keep their points. This was a team order, not a driver order.

  26. Banjo says:

    I don’t think it’s team orders that are the real problem – i think it’s the way in which Rob Smedley and Ferrari handled it which let the media make such a big deal of it. Like you said James, if it had been a subtle switch nobody would have minded.

    That said, they did break the rules – so should be punished, and $100k doesn’t seem big enough to fit the crime. I would like to see both drivers keep their points, but, Ferrari to lose the 43 constructors points. Some have suggested switching the position of the two Ferrari’s, but, this would be rewarding Massa for agreeing to the team orders and breaking the rules while punishing Alonso (who while not innocent) was put in a position where he had to over take Massa. Was he to stop behind him and insist Massa stayed in front? Massa was put in a position no driver wants to be in and i understand why he did what he had to do.

    How to stop it happening in future ? Either scrap the rule, or, enforce it heavily so no team will be prepared to take the risk of repeating what happened.

    1. Phil Curry says:

      $100k is the maximum amount of money the stewards at a Grand Prix meeting can fine anyone. Any higher fines must be handed down by the WMSC

  27. Sam says:

    Overblown? Now you are insulting our in itelligence too James, like Ferrari?

    It wasn’t the fact they did it, it was the WAY they did it that makes this a farce and a shame to F1.

    When Ferrari did it in 2002, they got a 1 million dollar fine and it wasn’t even against the rules back then (!).

    Now it is against the rules and just a 100K fine? And they will just get a stern talking from the WMSC, that’s it.

    They should be stripped off the points, period.

    Nobody pretends there are no team orders in other teams over the years and present day. There are obviously.

    But this was way too blatant, obvious and insulting to the viewer. And they did it a few races too soon. The fact Alonso was whining like a little baby how ‘ridiculous’ it was and demanding everyone to just let him pass also doesn’t help.

    He comes across as a very nasty backstabbing kind of person.

    Ferrari did it the wrong way. It is not overblown, they broke the rules, insulted the intelligence of the viewers and then lied about it in the press conferences and interviews. Like we are all stupid.

    Disqualification is the only way…if F1 wants to be seen as a serious…ahum….sport.

    Also, next time Webber is told to let Vettel pass because he is ‘faster’, or he gets an update that Webber won’t, I except none of the people who defend Ferrari now to whine then, including Coulthard, Brundle and you James ;)

    Because RBR would say ‘we think Vettel has a better chance of winning the championship’, which is what Ferrari and the defenders of Ferrari are now uing as excuse to break the rules. So why all the drama 2 weeks ago by the same lot who now defend Ferrari?

    Bias is the answer.

    1. AgBNYC says:

      Bias? So the fact that other drivers this year have received reprimands or penalties that resulted in nothing other than a nod to the pit crew are perfectly ok? Hamilton was penalized for overtaking the safety car – yet the penalty meant nothing. He could’ve easily been black flagged – but was defended in that he was “punished” and can’t be held responsible for the punishment not costing him. Fine. Ferrari was punished – “fined” and what Ferrari did, did not affect the result of other cars/teams in the race…

  28. Dom says:

    James there is a wider issue that you haven’t touched on here. It was an obvious team order, clear for all to see. For ferrari to come out and bare faced lie about it, repeatedly contradicting reality and each other is taking us all for fools. We didn’t like it.

    1. Arri says:

      Ferrari have no choice really. I’m sure they didn’t expect Rob and Massa to behave that way which, lets be frank, is what caused this whole issue. If Ferrari admit to it they can and probably will face serious penalties. Besides, it’s been happening all the time and all other teams deny it yet we know they are lying….why all the fuss now? No one was calling for RB to be banned over the front wing issue or Mclaren’s “save fuel” orders when we all know the underlying meaning to all of those “orders” As Sam said….bias and the fact that Alonso is involved…nothing more nothing less

  29. Rungs says:

    Like with the Hamilton weaving incident and then his issue with the safety car – it would be more appropriate to just clarify and maybe tweak some rules to clear up what is and what is not acceptable, so that this doesn’t happen again.

    It was the cynical nature of the team order that riled people the most. It ruined the race – because after Massa allowed Alonso through, was Massa then banned from trying to re-take the place? I would imagine he would have just given up and concentrated on staying ahead of Vettel. This is anti-competitive and spoils the fun for paying spectators and for the people watching at home. If I’d paid to watch the race, I’d have felt robbed.

    I do think it was made worse by the fact it was a pretty dull race anyway, and there are lots of people overreacting also. But something needs to be done to stop the races being manipulated like this so early in the season.

    If it’s, as James said, the last race of the season and the championship is at stake, fair enough. If it had been like that, Massa would gladly have moved aside and no one would have a problem with it. It’s different if he’s ORDERED to do it though. It should be his choice. He earned the right to stand on top of the podium and it was taken away from him which is not right – the record books will forever record this race as an Alonso win which isn’t right.

    Maybe a gentleman’s agreement within FOTA or something like that is needed?

    Or maybe you could allow team orders, but strip a team of constructors points in any race it uses team orders?

    I don’t think there’s any way to stop it other than for the teams to agree amongst themselves to have more respect for the fans and only make these cynical moves when there is more at stake.

  30. Chris says:

    Team orders should be allowed, this is a TEAM sport, i agree with Ade, all radio transmissions concerning this are should be broadcast so we the fans can see what is happening and understand why it is happening.

  31. My problem with the arguments made by the pro-team orders people in the last 24 hours is that pretty much all occasions can be covered by one driver conceding that the other has the best chance to win the championship and doing the gentlemanly thing and letting him through. The same occurs when two drivers for the same team are on different strategies and it does not benefit either for one to hold the other up.

    In such circumstances it would be absolutely fine for one driver to choose to give advantage to the other and I would support them in doing so. Where problems occur is where the team dictates to their driver that they will no longer be allowed to compete for the championship.

    What Ferrari did in Germany was to effectively tell Massa to give up on this year because he won’t be able (or allowed) to beat Alonso, despite the fact that it appeared he was finally getting back to form, was beating Alonso fair and square (especially after Alonso messed up his shot at overtaking), and was within one DNF or Alonso in the points.

    If Alonso is as good as he thinks he is then he should have been able to get past on track, instead the win had to be gift wrapped and handed to him.

  32. Monji says:

    They should in my view be allowed to some extend. The idea in such isn’t bad at all but it’s not fair to deny a driver the chance of fighting for the championship.

  33. Adam says:

    Maybe a rule forbidding a driver with a mathematical chance of winning the championship from pulling over could be introduced.

    That would allow team orders in crucial stages of the championship and everyone would know it would happen if they’re running together on the track. And it would be fair on the Massa in that situation as he would only have to concede position because he was slower in the rest of the year.

  34. gadi says:

    well, its a matter of real not understanding the sport for favouring any farther sanctions on the scuderia Ferrary.
    If you do (or if you are a Ferrary fan) than u know that 4 Ferrary , it’s rather “now or not this seasson”.
    Albeit ,like u’v very clearly written, they could have done that in a diff. way 4 the nonunderstanding peoples w’ont have to “cry” so much. ( like did both of the Israelie’s commentators….).

  35. tonio says:

    teams should possibly be allowed to “switch” their drivers points but not their positions. so yesterday for example, massa wins but only gets the points for second and alonso comes second but gets points for win. this only to be allowed if two cars are not split by another. [McClaren, Ferrari, Ferrari: yes / Ferrari, McClaren, Ferrari: no]. Alternatively points could be added together and then split between both drivers. Admit it is messy, but at least the real ‘winner’ finishes the line first.

  36. Richard's F1 says:

    I certainly wouldn’t take the ham-fisted approach that Ferrari did, with a very obvious switching of positions and then an inconsistent message being delivered by the drivers and team management. That Fernando’s approach came across as so arrogant as to impress that his win had nothing to do with Massa’s moving aside irked the press and the fans even more.

    Indeed, it is Ferrari’s arrogance and sheer bloody-mindedness in spite of the wealth of evidence that it continues to deny it pulled the switch.

    Has Ferrari broken the rules? More than likely. Does their alleged disregard of the rules show them to be thumbing their noses at the governing body? Almost certainly.

    How the FIA and the World Motor Sports Council responds to this is going to set the precedent for years to come. If they penalise Ferrari heavily, they will look foolish for their years of inaction where team orders blatantly occurred post-2002, but where the authorities (and the fans, as you pointed out, James) turned a blind eye. Let Ferrari off scot-free, and it then sends the message to all teams that it can disregard the letter and spirit of the rules and get slapped with a feather for doing so.

    A $100,000 fine is a drop in the ocean for the Scuderia. You can’t even buy an entry-level new Ferrari for that money.

    But at the end of the day, I understand and accept that Formula 1 is a team sport, and there will be times when allowing your drivers free reign to race each other can backfire just as badly as when you try to manage the situation too closely. Just ask Red Bull after the Turkish Grand Prix, Williams in 1986 and McLaren in 2007.

    What I’d simply ask is that the teams not treat the average fan like a complete moron when they’re going about it.

  37. Rhys says:

    As for your question, a way forward would be Team Orders (TO) are permitted in the last 3 races if the 2nd drviers is more than 25 points behind the no.1 driver in the team.

    As for Ferrari, well, i would take away there WCC for the German GP, that would hurt them as the WCC is very important to Ferrari.

    It dosent matter if you think TO should be allowed or if Alonso was quicker..overtake, your a 2x WDC, its pathetic and if Alonso was my fav driver i would be ashamed he has two illegal wins.

    Finally, as for Rob and Felipe making it clear was was happening, if they had not have done this, then we would all be bashing Massa for being slow and getting overtaken by Alonso again. He was going to loose out what ever he did, but I a glad we know.

  38. I like Cake says:

    I like team orders. They are a great marketing scheme. I think maybe the FIA can introduce a subscription service whereby fans can pay a fee and get to know in advance which races will be fixed and on what lap. The remaining poor idiots like me can maybe place a bet with skybet on the lap on which the race will be manipulated.

    Odds for Hungaroring
    Laps – 1-20 – 10/1
    Laps – 20-43 – 6/1
    Laps – 43-70 – Evens

    1. BurgerF1 says:

      Poor are those that bet in any case. I don’t have much sympathy for the gamblers and bookies in the crowd. Team orders has been part of F1 since the sport began. You should be factoring it in when you make that bet!!

  39. Iain says:

    I believe team orders should be allowed, but only when one driver is mathematically out of the title race and Charlie Whiting can confirm with the teams when this is the case. Ok, there would be complications, but this seems to be the unofficial rule anyway. It then also lets the drivers know officially when they can expect assistance and when not.

    Although then drivers with a clear Heikki will be at an advantage.

  40. Daniel says:

    I could fully understand if this is done near the end of the season and massa was not able to win the wdc, then he is just helping his teammate.

    We are only just over half way through this season, a couple of wins for massa and he could have been back in the championship.

    This just highlights to me that this is what alonso demands, to be the number 1 driver. This is why he left mclaren because he was told to race. I mean what is wrong with alonso if he was quicker use your ability to overtake your teammate.

    1. Daniel says:

      the other thing that really annoys me is that they seem to think the fans are really stupid.

      This must have been discussed before the race so they could have made it more convincing if they wanted to do this. RS could have made the radio message less obvious and massa could have switched engine mixture so alonso got closer and maybe go deep into a corner, lock up.

      By coming out of the hairpin at half throttle just looks a joke. Then he could have simply said oh a made a mistake and alonso got past

  41. Dom says:

    Also, here is a definition of cheating:

    “Cheating is an act of lying, deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition. Cheating characteristically is employed to create an unfair advantage, usually in one’s own interest, and often at the expense of others. Cheating implies the breaking of rules.”

    I think this a fair description of what happened yesterday.

  42. Will Woodhouse says:

    Ferrari have broken a rule, they have lied to the press and will no doubt lie to the FIA. This is ok is it James? Cheating and lying is ok in certain circumstances, as long as you hide it well and don’t get caught. What a brilliant philosophy! I think you should be made an honoury Italian with that attitude.

    1. James Allen says:

      No It’s not okay. Read the article with a balanced view, not a Ferrari hating view

      1. Aaron James says:

        I’m one of the most Ferrari-vicious F1 fans alive, but even I could see where JA is coming from.

  43. David Wright says:

    Team orders should definitely be allowed.

    The current ruling can easily be sidetracked by private discussion between the team and drivers beforehand.

    Team orders have always existed in some form or another and will continue to do so.

    I appreciate that for ‘fans’ its annoying (especially if you put a bet on Massa to win) to see drivers make way for a team mate in these circumstances, but thats MOTOR RACING.

  44. JR says:

    Some people are calling for the ‘no team orders’ rule to be dropped. This is a bad idea. It was in introduced in 2002 for a very good reason and that reason has not changed.

    If it’s dropped all teams could be forced to adopt ‘team order’ strategies to be competitive, which could mean that half the field — all the No2 cars and drivers — will become ‘blockers’ with the remit just to defend their No1 drivers, get in the way of opposing teams cars. It will all so spoil the race for the spectators. Might we also see a new breed of driver — drivers with no chance of winning but with highly developed defensive skills?

    Motor racing is not a team sport; it’s a sport where every driver who starts should be trying to win — and the rules should aim to ensure that each driver has a chance of winning if he can.

  45. Zdravko Topolnjak says:

    id say that team orders should be allowed within a team only when one of its drivers is out of WDC battle.

    I mean, that is what made Massa moving for Kimi and Kimi moving for Massa OK, they werent in championship battle and they helped a teammate when they couldnt win the title by them selves.

    Massa was just a bit more than a win away from Alonso yesterday, thats like 12 points in last years system, and that isnt much considering that we have alot races to go.

  46. Josh M says:

    It is a knee-jerk rule that was badly implemented originally and which (unless you are living in some weird fantasy land) has been completely ignored by all the teams ever since.

    The outcry against Ferrari is ridiculous. Losing a championship because a team-mate takes away vital points would make a mockery of F1 having teams at all.

    Ferrari were (deliberately?) clumsy, but good on them for doing what they did: (1) because it was the right thing to do, and (2) because this has focussed attention on how weak this rule is.

    All the teams have orders or find subtle ways to manage their drivers. JB held station behind Lewis on Sunday . . . where was the racing there? There are countless times when teams have told their drivers to hold station after the final pit-stops. Getting in a huff with Ferrari is just immature.

    Essentially, people are just annoyed with Ferrari for not being subtle. What they are saying is that they applaud subtle flouting of the rules, but not obvious flouting of the rules. That’s an unsustainable, illogical and ignorant position for people to take. Do people want a championship to be won by the most ingenious deceit, or would they prefer to have everything open and above board?

    I would suggest this change: if a team’s drivers finish in consecutive places, then both drivers should be awarded the points of the leading car. On Sunday, this would have meant Massa winning the race, but both he and Alonso getting 25 points for a race win. Similarly, both Lewis and JB would have got 10 points for finishing 4th.

    This would stop the need for teams to switch drivers’ places and would even lead to racing where team-mates would try to nurse each other into the best possible position.

    Yes, team-mates would not need to race each other for a single position, but it may even spur them on to overtake other drivers. For example, if Lewis needed to finish 3rd on Sunday to win the WDC and to stop JB (who, for the sake of the argument, is on identical points to him) then Lewis would know that he would have had to catch and overtake Vettel without JB also passing Vettel.

    This is the only open and honest way of acting in the teams’ best interests without having to switch drivers on the track/pitlane to manufacture a result.

    It is open, honest and transparent.

    The FIA should act now to scrap this rule before any more GPs place.

    1. Josh M says:

      No one like this idea?

      1. Arri says:

        It’s makes sense to me

      2. Josh M says:

        THANKS ;-)

    2. Josh M says:

      James – any thoughts on this idea? It is already proven in speedway where a team with a 1-2 finish means the second rider gets a “paid” first.

      Instead of paying first, we award the points of the leading driver (so long as the team’s drivers finish consecutively) to both drivers: an incentive for drivers to race as a team (could lead to very interesting tactics with drivers backing each other up to help a team mate) and saves the need for team orders to put drivers into set positions.

      It does everything the sport needs and puts an emphasis on team tactics.

  47. Usi says:

    F1 is a team sport, why not combine the two drivers of the same team to achieve the championship as a pair. Or what about breaking the race distance to half by switching drivers for each race. I know it may sound absurd but you need to evolve the sport. Look at cricket for example. The evolution from test match to t-20 cricket has changed the game and t-20 cricket is generating a lot of revenue and breaking new grounds.

    1. Swarf69 says:

      Cricket…That is no comparison, its boring and slow to start with. What BPM do you think the team get to on average >120BPM. At the end of the day, a driver has spent his life to win the WDC and will not want to share that one.

  48. Blanchimont says:

    No further punishment for Ferrari on this one – because as you say, every other team would do the same.

    Here is a radical suggestion that I suspect will be laughed away by everyone, but here goes. Why not give the teams something to really think about: allow team orders, but if you use them in a race you sacrifice the constructors’ championship points you would otherwise receive. So you might enhance your chances of winning the drivers’ title, but you seriously compromise your constructors’ title chances. At this point they would, I think, really stop to consider whether the extra points for their favoured driver are really worth it, it would give the teams a stick with which to beat drivers who think the team is just about them (driver: “think about the championship” team: “we have two championships to consider”), and fans will know that a meaningful punishment has been applied. Query whether it demeans the constructors’ championship to do that, though.

  49. Dino says:

    I believe Team Orders (in any form) are a great blemish on the sport as a whole. People within F1 forget that they are there to entertain the fans who watch the sport and as a result, a “switch” like this only serves to make fans like myself feel cheated and leave the GP with a hollow feeling.

    If Alonso wanted the win, he should have fought for it and won it properly. We have seen all season that “faster” cars have difficulty passing slower ones, and that’s one of the things that makes for great television and separates the men from the boys. Those drivers capable of making the moves get the wins – isn’t that all part of the spectacle of F1? Isn’t that why we’re all watching in the first place?

    I honestly, hand on heart, would have bowed down and admitted what a superlative driver Alonso was should he have passed Massa with skill alone – and how fantastic would that have been for the sport? You only have to look back a few races to Turkey to find out how races should be fought between team mates (admittedly with varying degrees of success). One party rolling over and admitting defeat cheapens the whole sport.

    You can begin to understand why Ferrari want to run three cars per season now…

  50. JP says:

    I agree with Irvine (never thought I would say that) Massa made a real pig’s ear of things. All this stuff should be kept within the team. It’s true that the last few laps could have been exciting, with a defending Massa trying to keep in front of a faster Alonso. But this scenario would have sucked in Vettel onto the back of them and then anything could have happened. It was a no-brainer for Team Ferrari and one they could easily justify. Pity the ‘pass’ was executed in such a gormless way.

  51. AP says:

    Dear James,

    instead of the 2/3 of the Championship rule you propose, it might make more sense to allow team orders when one driver is no longer mathematically in the title fight.


  52. Beth Ashton says:

    James, if the FIA decide to reintroduce the legality of team orders, I will have no problem with that. After watching the coverage yesterday and listening to the views of those involved in F1, it would certainly be the consensus that that would be the way to go.

    I have two main (yes, I have other minor ones!) problems with what Ferrari did yesterday:
    1. It’s Alonso’s job to get past the competition and win races. He had one chance in the race and couldn’t make it stick, and the fact that he was being Massa for so long actually shows me that no, he wasn’t the better or the faster driver. If he was either of those, he shouldn’t have needed to be gifted a win. If he can’t win a race on his own, he’s clearly not the standard of a world champion.

    2. I am not a stupid person. Neither is anyone involved with F1, and neither are the millions of viewers worldwide, and I object to the way in which Ferrari treated us all like idiots. Like you said, they could have bungled a pit stop, and noone would be any wiser. But to blatently go on the radio and give that message just shows that Ferrari truly believe that they are above the sport and above the rules. Even more so when you look at the way that they lied through their teeth afterwards. And that to me is the definition of bringing the sport into disrepute. I was ashamed to be a F1 fan yesterday.

    I personally believe most of the problem here lies with Alonso acting like a petty, spoilt child, and unfortunately, scared of his temprement, Ferrari caved to him. If Button had been asked to move for Hamiton, or vice versa, or any of the other teams, he would be the loudest voice out there shouting for them to be punished.

  53. **Paul** says:

    Remove the ban on team orders, it’s virtually impossible to police and all the teams break it.

    As you mention the 2007 title decider, there is also the 2008 German GP incident at the same corner as the Massa thing involving Lewis and Heikki, both moves were team orders yet nothing was done.

    To call it cheating or match fixing doesn’t really show an understanding of the sport. I see it like cycling at this point, we’ve completed about half the stages and it’s now time to push ypur best rider to the front of the pack when possible. That’s what Ferrari did, and that’s what I believe every team manager (including Eddie Jordan) would do in the same situation, Ferrari have a chance to win both titles this year, they have to try and take that chance.

  54. John S says:

    Team orders are going to happen irrespective of any rule. Banning them in the first two thirds of the season, the first half or any of those ideas will have little effect. Just as we’ve seen the limited effect of the outright ban. If a team feels the need to order its drivers to change the result of the race it will do so, whether it’s the final corner of the championship deciding grand prix, or to satisfy the petulance of a stroppy superstar.

    In my opinion, to try to legislate team strategy out of a team sport is both silly and unworkable. F1 is a team sport, without the team the drivers are (to steal DC’s phrase) sitting on track in just their underpants. The FIA should reinforce this, remove the silly team orders ban and make public any radio transmissions around this.

    I disagree, however, that calling Ferrari cheats is too strong. They deliberately broke a rule to gain an advantage. What is that if it’s not cheating? It may be an ill-conceived rule, but still…

  55. RBB says:

    F1 is for the drivers championship. Sports cars are for team championships.

    What the FIA should do: ban all pit to car radio communication. Yes, it is radical and so will never be adopted but it would solve the problem of team orders and make the strategy a lot more interesting.

  56. Mark Edwards says:

    For me there’s a few of things to not lose sight of in this.

    1 If Ferrari wish to put there eggs in FA’s basket that’s up to them but do not be so arrogant about it and do it on fuel save or whatever. Don’t take the P**s and be so blatant! That way we all smell a rat but accept that if that’s the way they go racing then fair enough.

    2 Ferrari were relying on their own interpretation of the rules. They thought by not actually saying “move over” would be good enough! But the intent is clear. The evidence is damning and legal terms, this would be an open and shut case.

    3 The Massa Brazil 07 and Kimi 08 moveovers have been banded about and “who cared then”! And James you yourself mention Christian Horner making the same call if he needed to etc, but both Massa and Kimi were not in with a shot of the DC on these occasions and these races were Championship deciders, and in that instance the team game comes in. Yesterdays events are quite frankly not in the same ball park as these.

    I think that Ferrari has put the WMSC in a real position here and there will be many off the record phone calls going on between the team and the FIA. I could well see Ferrari making a sacrificial offering to the FIA! Maybe Stefano Dominicalli will be relieved of duties in order to show that the team have put there own house in order and avoid any further punishment!

  57. olavs silis says:

    No team orders until last third of the championship is a good idea.take all Alonso’s points away because he seems to think we are all stupid by saying he knew nothing and because i dont like him.Give Massa the win and an extra 50 points for having to drive for Ferrari and have alonso as his team mate.Finaly make the Ferrari management dress as clowns at the next race.

  58. Paul says:

    Whatever the arguments are in favour of having team orders, the fact is they are banned under current rules. Ferrari clearly broke that rule and, by doing so, brought the sport into disrepute and they should be severely punished. Ferrari clearly deserved a one-two finish, but by switching the positions of their drivrts they have put that result at risk. I have every sympathy with Massa, who deserved to win, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he was a party to this rule-breaking and will therefore have to take his punishment along with Alonso and Ferrari. As for the future, I still like to think of F1 as a sport and not just entertainment and therefore team orders should not be allowed. That is not to say that a driver should not allow his team-mate past when the championship is at stake.

  59. Martin says:

    A couple of thoughts that occurred to me were that a better coded instruction could have been given. “Mix 10″ or something like that where available settings only go up to 8 for example, means “let your team mate past when you can safely do so”. Each team to have their own version of this. Alternatively Ferrari could have asked Massa to drive through the pits because they wanted to check something visually at slow speed. In this case he would have lost a place as well but may well have caught Vettel up again and had a chance at overtaking him. Ferrari could have done either and us spectators would be none the wiser.

  60. Solidus Octothorp says:

    “Eddie Irvine, who has been on the receiving end of a few “move over” orders in his time, said last night that he felt Smedley and Massa had overblown it to make a point and in doing so had let the team down. It has certainly landed them in hot water.”

    I think Eddie has it spot on. The call left me in no doubt that Smedley wanted to hurt the team for putting him and his driver in that position.

    1. Arri says:

      Exactly!! yet everyone is blaming Ferrari for making it so obvious and Alonso for denying it. Rob and Massa caused this, they made it obvious. Ferrari certainly would not have wanted it done so blatantly and Alonso had just finished his race and was bombarded with questions, what did everyone expect him to say….”Yes it was an order”?? Besides, as I’ve mentioned already, I doubt Alonso even knew that it was going to happen he was forced into a corner by the way Massa and Rob handled the situation.

  61. Galapago555 says:

    There must be equal rules for all the teams and drivers. It is as easy (and as difficult) as this.

    Obviously, this case is not having the same treatment by the media as if the team and drivers involved were others. I have been reviewing the press conference yesterday at Hockenheimring and the behaviour of English journalists against Alonso was simply incredible. Don’t remember what they said in this same scenario, two years ago, when Heikkii “blatantly” accepted team orders and let Lewis overtake him. Even the fans were laughing (you can check in youtube). In some races this year we all have seen team orders given, just to avoid sitations like that with the two Redbulls hitting each other (“no, Lewis, Jenson is not going to overtake you”). Could anybody tell me why is this different from yesterday race?

    It is clear that there is a strong anti – non English speaking drivers bias in the media covering the F1 WC (being James Allen an exception, as he gives a fair treatment to all drivers as long as I am following this blog).

    In my opinion, team orders will always be there, so the best thing is to accept the possibility that the teams use them. If they keep banned, systems will be more sophisticated: imagine that Massa’s engineer just told him “you should reduce your fuel consumption”, and two laps after Fernando overtakes him in a “more normal” way… it will be impossible to tell if they were team orders or normal racing.

    As Eddy Irvine said last night at “Talksport”, the point is that both the engineer and Massa wanted to said loudly to the world that Felipe was yielding to Fernando.

  62. AP says:

    Otherwise, it seems very very hard to define and control what a “team order” is.

    Why was yesterday “team orders” and not Turkey when McLaren told its driver to “hold station”?

    Simply because they did not swap positions? They were still prohibited from racing each other!

    Why was not “save fuel” by Red Bull “team orders”? It had the same purpose as the message yesterday, to slow MW down so that Seb passes.

    All in all, as Schumacher said:

  63. Francisco says:

    Great analysis over a very common issue in modern F1.

    To add to mix, Germany 2008, Heiki did exactly the same that Massa to allow LH win that race.
    Think about this, was McLaren or any of its drivers penalised for that action? NO
    Should they be penalised? YES
    Is it fair? In my view, NO
    I did not hear any fan calling McLaren cheaters. That season LH ended up in front of FM for a miserable point. McLaren with team orders affected the win of that race and WDC.

    Let’s be pragmatic, if Ferrari receives any penalty, McLaren should have it as well for 2008, otherwise we apply “double standards” for the same situation.
    In a nutshell, the FIA should not take further action against Ferrari, however it should amend this very stupid and unworkable rule. Team orders should be allowed on the open.

  64. Sam says:

    But Massa didn’t let Kimi past at Brazil 2007… Kimi passed Massa in the pit stop phase. It was a completely different situation to yesterday. It was more like Hamilton-Kovalainen Hockenheim 2008, Schumacher-Massa 2006 Suzuka and Kimi-Massa 2008 China.

  65. Steve Rogers says:

    Allow team orders when there is no chance of one of the drivers winning the Championship, but not when there is a chance for both or when there is no chance for either.


  66. Josh M says:

    What should the FIA do in the hearing?

    (1) Exonerate Ferrari

    (2) Rescind the fine

    (3) Remove the offending rule

    (4) Apologise to the fans for having such a stupid rule in the first place.

  67. Chris J says:

    To me, this is easy. Absolutely no team orders until one of the team’s drivers is mathematically eliminated from the championship. What Ferrari did yesterday disgusted me, as it did in Austria 2002. Fans do not want to see manipulated races, no matter “the tradition”. I sense that a lot of Formula One insiders, including journalists, still don’t get this point.

  68. Kirk says:

    My points in this shameful episode:

    1) Ferrari and its drivers have lied to the stewards after the race when they said “there were no team orders” – that is a serious offence (remember Hamilton in Australia last year), therefore if the WMS Council establishes that they did issue team orders (and anyone following F1 knows that is exactly what happened here, no doubt about it) all parties will/should be punished further for this.

    2) This is the same Felipe Massa who lambasted Piquet Jr for the Singapore race fixing incident, right? The one that claimed he was whiter than white and that he would never do such things? Yet Piquet Jr was a rookie under pressure from his team to do this or get the sack – pressure that I do not think Massa has at Ferrari. Yet he bowed to the pressure and when it was his turn to stand firm, do the right thing and say “no” to a fix he just couldn’t. And Massa wasnt even big enough to admit what went on, he lied to cover for his team and for himself. No wonder in Brazil people have lost respect for him after what went on yesterday.

  69. Rob croydon says:

    From Hockenheim remove the Ferrari’s points but don’t move the others up. So Vettel still gets points for 3rd etc etc. It is too blatant to allow it to go with just a $100k fine. And Alonso needs taking down a peg or three….

    Then no team orders until last 3 races of the season and then make it open season with the teams allowed to do what they want and play games with other cars to make the championship more interesting like the Nascar chase.

    OR No team orders at all until it is Mathmatically impossible for the other driver to win.

    What happens at the last race if a Toro Roso is stopping a Red Bull from winning the Championship…..

  70. Ben Johnson says:

    I think to get rid of team orders, team radio’s should be banned from F1 I also think this could improve racing also. Its my view that the engineers should keep their work in the garage and the debreif room and the driver should be on his own in the car and rely on his own feel to conserve tyres, brakes, fuel etc rather than being talked through the race by his race engineer over the radio. This should stop these ridiculous coded orders and leave it to the disgression of driver if he decides to help his mate in the championship.

  71. Peter says:

    Ban radio communications! Go back to the boards, it works in Moto GP. Problem solved.
    Otherwise all teams has its own coded message not just Ferrari. McLaren play with their fuel mix and include that into their message etc.

  72. Peter says:

    All the while that F1 is a team sport i.e entrants can enter more than one car, then team orders have to be accepted as part of the sport. I can think of no other team sport where such orders are ‘banned’. The essence of a team sport is that the team does its best to win as a team and when this requires a team member to defer to another team member rather than doing what is best for them as an individual, this will be done quite naturally and openly. Think cycling for example or any team ball game.
    So I don’t think any version of restriction on team orders in F1 will ever work and therefore there should be complete acceptance. If the rules were to try and specify something like ‘only if a driver is within 2 seconds of his team mate can the team mate be asked to give way’ then all that will happen is that the leading driver will be asked to slow a bit until the gaps comes down to 2 seconds. So lets see team orders openly accepted and enjoy the extra tactical dimension that this will give to racing – one that has always been there but now we can see it happening openly and we will all know what is going on.

  73. Oliver N says:

    By the definition of the word, they are cheats, the broke the rules of the game to take advantage. Red bull played by the rules on a similar situation in Turkey and threw away a bunch of points.

    However, trying to ban team orders is a pointless task as you can’t enforce it, there are too many ways around it. Irvine was right, Smedley appeared to be making it blatent, he must of known the likely effect of this action.

    Given that you can’t ban it, you have only one option left, which is too sell it to the public as part of the tactical battle of a race. Sell it more as a team sport than an individual sport, and you might just crack it.

  74. David says:

    The evidence was very clear and the rules have been broken. Even if we disagree with the rules they still have to be obeyed. So the only action available to the FIA is a punishment which prevents any gain being made by the team and sends a signal to others not to do the same.
    Ferrari should be stripped of all constructors points for the event.
    Alonso should be excluded from the classification (losing the win from his record) and lose the 25 points gained.
    Massa was in some ways the injured party, so possibly leave his 2nd place as is. Otherwise his points should also be removed to send a clear message to other No 2 drivers that they will be punished if they do not comply with the FIA rules.
    Finally, all remaining places to remain as recorded, so no uplifting of places.

    The key thing here is that Alonso and Ferrari must not gain by the deliberate action of breaking the rules.

  75. Andy Will says:

    Why not allow team orders to exist, drivers are team mates, both working for the same team.
    Allowing team orders would cut out any ‘cheating’ accusations. The WDC is won over a season not just one race.
    If one man has a chance of winning the WDC and the other man is too far behind to win (not mathematically,but obviously too far), then team orders should be allowed, and followed more graciouly than Massa showed.

  76. Tom says:

    if team orders can’t be policed (apparently) how can we ban them for part of a season let alone a whole season?

  77. Ross Evans says:

    “Eddie Irvine, who has been on the receiving end of a few “move over” orders in his time, said last night that he felt Smedley and Massa had overblown it to make a point and in doing so had let the team down. It has certainly landed them in hot water.”

    I do not like these comments at all. God forbid a driver/engineer partnership should express their passion towards racing without thinking of media image and negative publicity first.

    Smedley had every right to sound disheartened and apoligise over the radio, it was a badly handled situation on a massive scale by Ferrari.

  78. Ola says:

    If Team Orders is to remain, it should be in the last third of the year.

    But in this instance Alonso could not overtake Massa, period.

    It all started with Alonso’s radio transmission “This is ridiculous……” and then Tim Smedley Radio transmission sealed it as a Team Order “MOVE OVER FOR YOUR TEAM MATE”.

    I don’t think ALonso can function with a team mate that performs better than him.

    Conspiracy Theory: What secrets does Ferrari have to hide that they made Massa move over, if he didn’t Alonso would have spilled the beans a la MacLaren.

    Controversey follows him around, What secrets did Renault have that they had to tell the driver to crash so Alonso could win?

    This time around Ferrari needs to punished ecause other teams will start doing it.

    F1 just started coming back online and then this happens, it is not good for the sport, it needs to be curbed.

    My 1p

  79. Érico says:

    The FIA (or anyone else) should not have a hand in this, it’s up to the team and its drivers.

    I’m disappointed in Massa being such a lap dog. Ferrari’s antics and Alonso’s cynism (sp?) are well known to everyone.

  80. Tom says:

    Hi James,
    I think Formula 1 either allows team orders or it doesn’t. So that means it’s either open-slather, or you adopt a far more meaningful strategy to see it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t agree with the line of argument that it could’ve been handled better. Whether Massa comes to a complete standstill, and rolls out the red carpet, or a switch is made at high speed, and everyone has a cuddle at the end of the race, the fact remains the team ordered them to swap positions.

    The FIA has effectively said you can pay $100K and institute team orders. That is pocket change for a team like Ferrari. The punishment has to mean something if it’s going to be effective. Teams will hardly have the fear of God put in them as a result of Ferrari’s punishment.

    I personally don’t like the idea of team orders. The purist in me would like to see all the drivers racing each other to the end, and team-mate battles generally serve to spice up the racing. The in-house dramas at Red Bull have been one of the biggest talking points of the season.

    It is hard though, to stop team orders. The point about Red Bull (or any other team) instituting team orders if the championship is on the line is absolutely correct. Given that, why persist with the charade that is the outlawing (and I use that in the loosest possible sense of the word) of team orders? We know it happens, we really can’t stop it, so let’s have it all out in the open and allow teams to do what they do anyway.

  81. Nicollers says:

    Ferrari have once again underlined everything I hate in F1. I am not a Ferrari fan, but when Massa was winning the race, I was actually cheering him on.

    Alonso could not overtake him as once again, the FIA insist on tracks like Hockenheim and Hungary, that offer little or no overtaking opportunity. This is the way it has been though for years and Alonso needs to get a grip of himself and realise there are some you can win and some you can’t.

    The team orders situation should completely be looked at from a viewer’s point of view. Here we had Massa about to win the race and return to Hungary, the scene of his near fatal crash, with bags of confidence knowing he had a car and a team behind him to face a track which no doubt holds a certain degree of fear for him. Now he has to return there knowing his team don’t back him at all and with his confidence blown to pieces. I’d be surprised if he finishes in the top 10.

    Ferrari moan when the rules don’t suit them, and moan when the rules suit other teams (McLaren, Valencia). I totally agree with Eddie Jordan, that it is cheating in its highest form. Alonso would not have won that race if Massa did not pull over. Ferrari even endangered their 1-2 finish, as Vettel at one point was reeling Massa in!

    In 2002 they managed to destroy the USA public’s interest in F1 and it’s taken over 8 years to re-build that interest. Imagine if they pulled this stunt off in Austin in 2012??

    Shame on Ferrari and shame on the FIA if they don’t change the rules to penalise teams harder who breach such an important rule as team orders.

    1. Nicollers says:

      Also, there is no way Alonso would have done the same thing for Massa and the fact they are not appealing the decision speaks volumes.

  82. opsin says:

    There’s nothing ironic about it being Alonso who benefited from two events of ‘team orders’ in the last few years. The fact that he not only cheated at McLaren but then sold the team out because a rookie showed him up, I think, proves that he’s not above the shadiest of behaviour, so it makes perfect sense that he’d win races based on these kinds of incidents.

  83. Rich Tysoe says:

    I think the FIA should give up on the pretense of banning team orders and remove the ban – with the proviso that teams have to publish whatever orders are in place before the start of each race. punishment would follow if the team then instituted an order change that contradicted the pre-race statement.

    team orders have been a part of F1 fora long time, and the ban has been totally ineffective – so let’s bring things out into the open so teams can be judged on what happens and the attitude they take.

  84. bodmonk says:

    At last, a sensible report on yesterday’s events. Another reason why this is the best and most balanced F1 site on the web.

    I think team orders should be allowed, although, if we really must pander to the tabloids and their readers, perhaps only once one driver has no mathematical chance to win the championship.

    I don’t think the FIA should remove Ferrari from the results. Its clear what happened, they broke the spirit of the rules, but they didn’t say “move over”. They just did what every other team does when they want to switch their drivers around, but with zero subtlety.

  85. Erik ( Brazil ) says:

    Since this is a rule that is impossible to enforce the FIA should get rid of it. Like you said the teams can influence the outcome of a race in many ways so it might as well be done openly and legally.

  86. Calum says:

    Mentioned this in the original race thread but I have a suggestion regarding the team order situation.

    First though I think the F1 world should acknowledge that team orders are used by every team on the grid, just some teams are more blatant than others.

    I’d like to see team orders re-legalised, with the added element that a team must declare after qualifying whether a driver is free to race his team mate from start to finish or if the driver is assuming a supporting role dependent in track position.

    Should a team declare a free race and then switch tactic afterwards then they can have the usual array of sanctions brought against them. At least that way the audience should know where they stand regarding each driver and we wouldn’t have the absurd protestations that we witnessed yesterday and on previous occasions.

  87. Robert McKay says:

    “Think back to 2007, when Massa moved over in Brazil to let Raikkonen win the championship or the following year when the roles were reversed – did anyone object then? No, so that means that fans can understand there are occasions when teams do need some mechanism for shuffling the order, it’s just a question of the circumstances.”

    Of course people can understand it’s a question of the circumstances. There’s a world of difference between doing it in the final race or two, as opposed to just over the halfway mark.

    The question is, do Ferrari understand.

    But I agree that the rule is unenforceable and ultimately detrimental. There are plenty of circumstances where people would not have a problem with that sort of switch and trying to write into the rules what is essentially an instinctive feel for when it’s right and when it isn’t is impossible. Thus, they may as well just scrap it and hope the PR backlash stops the most blatant and cynical examples of it.

    People are annoyed though because we want to feel we’re watching a proper sporting contest, not some scripted WWE equivalent of a race. Up until the first radio message I thought we were having a great, brutal, uncompromising battle for the lead between the two, the highlight of a reasonably uneventful race. It turns out I was wrong.

    1. mcr says:

      No, both actions are equal, both change the outcome of the race and the outcome of the championship. If we agree that a driver has to overtake his team mate on track properly, then he should have to do it everytime. How are viewers and fans robbed in one case and not in the other? You don’t feel cheated if it’s the last race of the championship, and do if it’s the eleventh race? why? I think here it depends more on who the driver is, if it had been Alonso moving over for Felipe, people would be wetting his pants over it.

      People know and acknowledge team orders happen any time in any race of the championship and in any team, so I don’t see where this sudden sense of being robbed of the spectacle arises.

  88. MichaelT says:

    At the end of the day the problem boils down to the fact that whether or not team orders are a ‘given’, it doesn’t make for a level playing field when some teams are being seem to work to the spirit of the rules, and others flaut them.

    This is unfair as you cannot plan your strategies and identify your closest rivals accurately, thereby rendering the relevance of the position and points system useless.

    Quite simply I have two suggestions, one pragmatic, one rather extreme.

    1) Allow the teams to nominate and officially declare a No 1 driver. This will allow the fans’ and teams’ expectations to be set accordingly and will be more in keeping with the team-led ethos of the sport whilst making it clear who the actual contenders for the title are.

    2) Allow the teams to interchange the points allocations for their drivers at the end of the race. Following this model, the drivers are merely a two pronged attack on the constructors championship as a priority with the drivers’ championship being offered as a carrot to the best drivers.

    Either way, what really gets our back up is the arrogant manner in which Ferrari knowingly flaunt the rules after kicking and screaming at the FIA and the stewards all season long to detract attention from their lack of competitiveness.

    Expose the opportunity in order to make it official (via an official submission of who is the number one driver) and embrace what is, after all, a given in Formula 1.

  89. Edward Cohen says:

    Funny how the people who defend Ferrari now for favouring a driver by breaking the rules are the ones who attacked Red Bull last race for favouring a driver without breaking the rules.

    Especially commentators and pundits are showing their true faces.

    Of all the commentators and pundits, Eddie Jordan is the only truly neutral one. He rightfully attacked RBR last race and grilling Ferrari now.

    All the others are or fans of certain drivers and let that cloud their judgement or just good buddies with them (waves to Webber).

    I.e. if RBR does it to Webber without breaking the rules all hell breaks loose, if Ferrari does it to Massa by breaking the rules then it is fine and reaction is overblown.

    Will this get passed the censoring on this site? We will see :P

  90. Francos says:

    I think you’re right that ferrari could have just botched Massa’s pitstop but that would mean they’re running the risk of someone jumping him while he’s stopped. My suggestion is that the consistently faster driver amongst the teammates should be given way – most especially if it’ll bring that driver closer to the WDC. It’s pointless to block your faster teammate and risk doing a ‘Vettel-on-Webber’ crash. If the drivers AND the team already agree on this principle before the race itself then it shouldn’t be considered ‘team orders’.

  91. Stevie P says:

    If a team states it has distinct No 1 and No 2 drivers then I have no issue with “team orders” – it’s obvious they are favouring one driver over another with development parts etc, so why not on the track too?

    I would implement a “ruling”, that no team orders should exist (unless a team has a blatant\clearly defined No 1 and No 2) until one of the drivers is mathematically out of the equation to win the Drivers Championship… then it becomes fair to swap positions, in whatever way you wish – which seems to have been the unwritten “rule” for a time now eg, Massa letting Kimi by in Brazil ’07 (I think) and vice versa in China ’08.

    Where the waters become mirkier is where a team continually says we have equal drivers (where fans believe this, people lay bets on this etc, etc)… yet all evidence points towards that not being true.

    On Sunday, Massa was given a chance to win… Smedley sent a radio transmission to Massa, before the “move over darling” message, saying (in essence) “keep pushing, you can win this”, which confused me, as Massa was already in the lead, had completed his stops and thus had track position; so was a scenario already in place? Did Massa and Smedley know that if they couldn’t build up a big enough lead or prove Massa was faster, positions were to be reversed? What does Massa have written into his “new” contract?

    Ferrari left Alonso behind Massa in some of the early races – Australia springs to mind – and Brundle in commentary was suggesting Ferrari\Massa should let Alonso through as he’s faster… yet they didn’t.

    If Ferrari had come out with a “we’re now favouring Alonso” statement, I wouldn’t have an issue with this… as it stands, Massa should have just let Alonso through early-doors in the race and then held back Vettel, giving Alonso a massive lead; instead they let them race… and then let Massa down, in a massive way, leaving him in an uncomfortable position with the press and media.

  92. JohnN says:

    Here is a drastic one worth considering. One car per team

    1. RBB says:

      A good one JohnN. I suggested banning pit to car radio transmissions. I think we are the only two people with ideas that will solve the problem and not just put vague, fuzzy, rules in place. Let’s all be creative.

      1. BurgerF1 says:

        And another insane idea: get rid of the driver’s championship. Then there’s no reason for a team to need or want to orchestrate a driver swap on track!

  93. Tomi Tallgren says:

    I think that if a team end up in a situation where only one of it´s drivers has the possibility, even theoretical, to get the title and the other on does no have, then it would be most logical and understandable that the team mate can assist you (like in Brazil 2007). However, it is crucial that even in these cases they can only swap places and not for example block other competitors.

  94. TM says:

    James, I totally agree with your analysis.

    I am, and always have been, in favour of team orders being legal. Coulthard was right when he said that team orders are in F1′s history, and I fear that yesterday’s outrage stems in large part from this incessant drive to appeal to new fans – people who don’t really understand F1, especially the point that it is, and always has been, a team sport.

    My point is highlighted by Nick Fry, again (as FOTA and Ecclestone frequently do) banging on about the ‘show’ being the most important thing.

    F1 used to be a (team) sport, not a ‘show’. I wholeheartedly welcome new fans and understand that to begin with they will not understand all its ins and outs. I also understand that some only want to be casual viewers, and this is fine too. But this constant drive for new fans really really is now increasingly at the expense of the knowledgeable, passionate, loyal, long-term fans.

    I’ve said before and will do so again. I don’t like football, and I don’t expect FIFA to change the rules every year to try to get me into it. To do so would be grossly unfair to existing and loyal fans.

    Should Ferrari be punished? Perhaps; because as the rules stand what they did was illegal. However why was this worse than what other teams do? The simple reason is (and it sums up my whole argument): it was deemed worse because they made it so obvious that people who don’t understand the sport could tell what had happened. The same, by the way, would go for Austria 2002.

  95. Spenny says:

    There are two different questions:

    1) Given that the rule is in place, it needs to be enforced. The obvious way to correct the issue is to remove 7 or 8 points from Alonso and the team, sending the message to the teams that there is no benefit in risking swapping positions.

    2) Should the rule be in place? The answer to me seems to be an uncertain yes, in that the issue of team members racing each other is often the only way on an individual race that we will see drivers in balanced cars competing. A driver knows when the championship is over for them, so at the end of season phase, no orders need be given, and the audience understand it – even appreciate it as good teamwork.

    The trouble is that whatever rule you put in place, team orders can still be pre-programmed, even if you ban communications entirely. There was no real need for team orders in Schumacher’s Ferrari days, it was clearly understood that they were a one driver team.

    Surely Massa must have been briefed before the race – or did Ferrari believe their own propaganda (well Alonso’s) and simply fail to conceive that Massa could be the faster driver?

  96. Walter says:

    I think the FIA should look into the driver’s contracts. FIA wants a sport where it’s about the driver competition in the first place and team competition in the second place. They’re doing everything to bring teams closer together so drivers have a better chance to race each other.

    When a driver demands a number one status in a team (by contract) then the competition has become unfair. It stikes me as no coincidence that Alonso has so much events surrounding his number one status (Renault, McLaren, Ferrari).

    If FIA were to have the power to eliminate number one status by contract the rules on team orders have a chance to solidify.

    I think it’s important for the sport to have a field of drivers that know that, if they perform well, they can win (championships or intra-team competition). In this case it wouldn’t have mattered for the team if Alonso came second and Massa got the win so if Alonso gets the #1 status this early in the season the Driver’s Championship is no longer about the best driver but ALSO about the faster car, eg. a Team Championship. Therefor banning team orders is essential.

  97. Ashley says:

    Nice to see a balanced article from someone in the media James. I agree with everything you have wrote.

    The problem is not the team orders as such, its the way they were applied. Obviously Felipe was upset and made a point by moving over in such an obvious way that has landed the team in some big trouble. However why should the teams have to code their team orders, anyone who has been watching F1 for a while knows that they occur alot. Telling two drivers to race to the final pitstops(in the refuelling era) and then saying ‘hold station’ is a team order and McLaren were very open about doing this and no one complained one bit as its a logical decision.

    In this case we have a different team order of ‘switch’ but that doesn’t change the fact that they are both team orders and both are acceptable. One is much more subtle and most wouldn’t notice and the other is very noticeable, especially whens its for the win. If Felipe had of artificially raced Fernando for a few corners then yielded it would have been fine as most wouldn’t have seen it as a team order. The way it happened is the reason for the overreaction.

    As for the rule, well currently it doesn’t allow ANY team orders which is ridiculous. As you point out James many championships have been decided by a team order. Brazil 2007 is the most recent example but it was very subtle as it was an intentionally slow pitstop for Felipe to allow Kimi past, i’m guessing quite a few fans didn’t even notice it. Therefore the rule needs to encourage the teams to be less blatant about it.

    Ferrari’s way yesterday was the simplest way for them to switch the position but putting it in perspective with Brazil 07 you can see there are more elegant ways they could have done it. Maybe the rule could involve only allowing switches through a pit stop phase, therefore if the teams want to switch their cars they have to do it early(under the no refuelling rules anyway) and they do it in a subtle way.

    Either that or scrap the rule all together and let the teams decide when it is appropriate to give team orders. Another idea would be to make the teams prove that the switch is necessary ie. after the race they have to provide evidence that the car they let through was indeed faster(telemetry should cover that). Finally they could allow teams to switch drivers only if there is a certain points gap between them(say 50pts under the current points system), obviously only in favour of the driver who is 50pts or more clear.

    Hope that the rule changes in some way as its not right at the moment for either the fans or the teams.

  98. Kenny Ramsey says:

    In an ideal world there would be no team orders at all and every driver must race for the win or to defend their position unless it actually costs themselves time in which case it may be more prudent to let a faster driver through. However that just can’t work in F1.

    You also can’t leave it until one driver is mathematically out of the title race as we all know being ‘realistically’ out of the race happens much sooner.

    Perhaps a solution where team orders are permissable if both drivers approve and there is a 150% of race win points gap between the 2?

    There’s no ‘clean’ solution. The only way is to allow them providing the lower placed driver is faster. A sub section of the rule could then kick in when a trigger point is reached (ie a set percentage points gap between the 2 or as you say, in the last 3rd of the season).

  99. Mark Crooks says:

    I agree with the first post, let the drivers sort it out between themselves.

    It would be facinating to hear the drivers speak to each other over the radio transmission.

    The important thing to me is being honest and open and this wasn’t the case yesterday. We are not fools.

  100. Chris says:

    If team orders are to be allowed, what is stopping a team from using one of their drivers consistently to be used as a tool to manipulate races, back up the pack, etc.?

    Further, if teams are allowed to chop and change positions of their drivers – regardless that it is a ‘team’ sport – what becomes the meaning of the word ‘race’ in F1? Why not just allow 1 car per team?

    I do get all the arguments *for* team orders… but that turns F1 into a very boring sport that I don’t think I want to be a part of as a fan who has paid hundreds of pounds and made great efforts to attend live race events.

    I’ve got better things to do with my Sundays than crank up excitement and expectation for 2 weeks, only to have them extinguished by the likes of Ferrari.

    If you want to win a constructors championship… you damn well go out there on the track and earn it.

    1. Jason C says:

      But team orders are here and with us right now: the teams just have to clumsily make stuff up about why one driver let another past / stayed behind.

      So to answer your main point about what becomes of F1 with team orders, well, it’s exactly as it is now, except without the embarassing excuses.

    2. swayze says:

      You make a very valid point Chris Remove team orders and also tell the FIA to tell Webber and Button to look for another drive next year as both red bull and mclaren need a wing man each.

      Makes you wonder why Ferrari are so keen on a third car they already have one wing man in Massa if they had another they could virtually garuntee Alonso the WDC

    3. TM says:

      “team orders… turns F1 into a very boring sport”

      But team orders were legally used in the World Championship from 1950 – 2002. Surely you can’t be suggesting that 2002 to present has been the most exciting era of F1 can you?

      Of course everybody would prefer to have seen Massa and Alonso fighting it out. But this is a team sport and that is deep in its history, it’s nothing new. Most of the cyclists in the the tour de france are only there to help a few individuals in their team.

  101. Ian says:


    Although it it clear in this situation that Ferrari broke the rules, I’m glad to hear someone suggesting that team orders do have a place in Formula 1.

    I’ve always maintained that F1 is a team sport and the drivers are part of the team effort. If moving aside is good for the team then I can easily understand why a team would want to do that.

    It’s sad for a driver if he’s the number two and has to move over for his team leader but signing a contract and agreeing to be a number two is voluntary and comes with a healthy financial reward.

    Finally, as we saw yesterday, banning something won’t stop it happening…

    1. Chris says:

      How did the switch made between Alonso and Massa benefit the team. The team points are still the same whichever driver leads a 1-2 or a 2-3 or a 3-4 etc finish?

      The switch solely benefits the driver taking the lead position.

  102. Sebee says:

    As I said, those that have been around understand the situation, buy it still leaves a bad taste.

    The rule should be as follows.
    Switch to occur on last lap to give the other driver’s fans no doubt over the victor. Plus it eliminates the on-air bashing.

    That’s it.

    There is no way to police anything else realistically. Infact, I’m not sure why they even use the radio to do it. It should arranged pre race. The evidence even from this Ferrari example would not stand up in court. They are guilty in the court of public opinion, but not according to rules. No one said move over, and that’s the smoking gun needed to make this beyond doubt. Massa is my driver, but his puss face did nothing for team as he claims. If you’re going to be knoble and agree to move over, don’t sulk about it later.

    1. Sebee says:



    2. TM says:

      Interesting theory – but coincidentally that’s exactly what got us into this situation in the first place – Austria 2002.

  103. Chris says:

    I think a system along the lines of this might work.
    No team orders at all during the first half of the season.
    In the second half it would be accepted that a driver can let his team mate through, i.e. a team ordered switch, if he is mathematically unable to win the championship.

    This leaves the driver moving over losing nothing as he already has lost the championship whereas the drivers who still can win it are given the advantage. This should also go a way towards improving the show towards the final race(s) of the season.

    A more percentage based system might be better if the championships are going to be as close as this year going forward but I think the idea has potential.

    1. Stuey says:

      I think if you are going to go down have team orders when it’s not mathematically possible for one to win it, you’d have to write in an additional rule allowing team orders for all in the last race. As you could end up with a situation where the team with 2 drivers in with a chance at the last race need to make a team call to ensure one of their guys wins the drivers championship over the team where only one driver is in it. This would be fair if team orders are allowed to shape the outcome of the drivers championship.

      1. Chris says:

        I don’t see why that would be necessary.
        If at the last race both drivers could win the championship then they race – No team orders.

        The point of the system would be that racing is ensured between those who can win the championship yet the teams are able to use the other driver, if available, to assist the teams position/result.

        It gives fans the racing they deserve and the teams a legal way of using team orders. It provides justification of those orders to both parties.

      2. TM says:

        But what Stuey means is:
        Let’s say for example, at the final event, Webber Alonso and Vettel can all mathematically win the championship.

        2 laps from the end, Massa is second, Alonso third, Webber 9th, Vettel 10th.

        In this configuration Vettel will win the title. Webber has no chance because he needed to finish 2nd or higher, but Alonso will be just short so under your rule, Ferrari are allowed to instruct Massa to let Alonso by to win the championship by 1 point. But if Alonso gets 2nd in the race, if Vettel gets 9th he wins the title (as he won more races).

        So under your rule, even though Webber has no chance of winning the title with 2 laps to go, Red Bull are still not allowed to let Vettel by, even though Alonso will only win because Ferrari are allowed to let Alonso by.

        Wouldn’t this be slightly unfair?

  104. Gordon Divitt says:

    I believe that the team should be able to tell the drivers to do anything it feels it needs to do for the betterment of the team. Except crash of course :)

    The drivers are jockeys and need to remember that without the car/team etc would be in the stands with the rest of us. Of course it is heart breaking to see a decent fellow like Massa (and Rubens for that matter) get the short straw but as we all know they happily take the gift it it comes their way.

    F1 already suffers form far far too much rule making of a picayune nature which was drafted in response to some very specific situation but applied widely.

    1. TM says:

      Bravo Gordon I completely agree.

      While I felt a bit sorry for Massa because of the anniversary of his accident, nobody forced either him or Barrichello to sign those Ferrari contracts. Clearly the downside to not being there is that they probably wouldn’t be in a top car, but it’s their choice to weigh up whether being a number 2 driver in a top car is better than being an equal in a lesser car.

      Far to many rule changes as you say.

  105. Nate says:

    If the call comes for one driver to pass another so that he can go chase down another team’s car, that’s fine – it’s better for the team. In this case, what does it benefit the team to swap drivers? They probably have to pay ALO more money for a contract and receive the same amount of points/no improvement in constructors position/no more money from FOM. VET was clearly not pressuring ALO at the end of the race. Check the lap chart
    James, I think you hit the nail on the head that the fans think in the last few races – say 5, they don’t think it’s a problem. I never really had a problem until I saw Massa on the podium…

  106. AlexD says:

    James, I like reading this website, I come here everyday, but this one just 100% reflects my thoughts!

    My interpretation of the situation was that Felipe was told not to do anything crazy in case Alonso will try to overtake again as he was clearly faster and he is the only driver to pick up the fight against Hamilton or Vettel this year. What else could they do?

    This is the team sport and this move is not different from British GP in 2008 with Hamilton and Kovalainen involved, no different with Massa and Kimi, Kimi and Massa, no different from “save fuel”. I was made to look that bad, but people are overreacting.

    Most of the Ferrari fans are upset with the team, but come last race of the season and Alonso is going to win the WDC by several points, would they understand then? Will they love the team again?

    It was a tough call, but Alonso was consistently faster, not just this weekend, but all year.

    1. KesNZ says:

      I agree this is a TEAM sport they should be able to make the calls when needed and when you look at the facts it was the right decision.

      1. Alonso is further ahead in the points than Massa (considering how far we are through the season that mathematical garbage only works if the Red Bulls & Mclearns finish well down the points which is unlikely.

      2. Massa has been much more inconsistent this season than Alonso there’s no guarantee that he will carry this form for the rest of the season.

      James great site and glad to see some commonsense, I also noted that your mate Martin Brundle had similar thoughts on the day.

  107. chris green says:

    Everyone lost at the German GP.

    Massa supposedly did the “right thing” for the team and now Ferrari have laid the blame at his feet for the ensuing furore. He is now the official Ferrari whipping post.

    Ferrari have been dishonest about what happened and are now widely seen as cheats. I’m sure the Ferrari sponsors are not impressed and it would be understandable if they walked away.

    Alonso’s already battered reputation has taken another dive. I’m convinced that Alonso would not have moved over for Massa. Even if Alonso wins the championship it will be seen as a hollow victory.
    Once again the fans have been let down by the shenanigans in F1. My friends who are not F1 fans say to me “how can you follow a sport which is crooked.”

    The rules are meant to be followed. If your child had watched the race then consider this. The message is – nice guys finish last – cheats win – rules are for other people – if you get caught cheating then lie your way out of it or blame someone else – winning is everything.
    Historically the better season’s have been when team orders weren’t prominent. When Williams and Mclaren were dominant they let their drivers race. During the Schui Ferrari years people turned off their tv’s in large numbers because they knew that even if Schui’s teamate did a better job they weren’t allowed to win.
    The message for the FIA is this – People expect a sporting spectacle.

  108. Aaron James says:

    A timely piece of objective journalism James, thanks.

    After the hysteria of yesterday, I hope there a few embarrassed journalists in the English press pack.

    Indeed your replacement in the PR press conference half started it off.

  109. Bill Johnson says:

    The rule needs to be rescinded, to the point that some teams have explicit 1st drivers. Why didn’t I mention 2nd drivers? Because the model I’m looking (ignorantly) at is TdF. Alonso needs his peleton. You know, in case Ferrari runs three drivers, or Red Bull absorbs Toro Rosso..

  110. Tracy says:

    Let the drivers race. If they are good enough to be in F1 (or any racing championship) they should be able to challenge the team mate for the position and not take each other out recklessly. A team mate is a challenger and should be seen no differently to another driver in another team when racing. Yes, a team mate will always be more difficult to overtake because of the inside knowledge that team mates have. Here in lies the challenge.

    A win when you have earned it is more worthy than being gifted it. It shows the driver has talent, skills and knows how to use their judgement and experiance to their advantage. It will also spice up the drivers market and really show the men from the mice.

    To say that at the last race ‘XX’ driver could of won the championship if their team mate allowed them to overtake them at ‘YY’ race is wrong.

    Can a team prevent a car from breaking down or get caught up in an accident through being in the wrong place at the wrong time..? NO. They field the car with the best chance that they can to win points to take the ultimate prize. The rest is down to Murphys law and ensuring that the car is as good as it can be.

  111. Owen Hayes says:

    James thank you for some common sense in what has been an overblown incident.

    Seriously, looking at the circumstances Ferrari find themselves, why wouldn’t you make the switch? I would have done it in an instant, though I would have been smarter about it and used the pit stops or told Massa to conserve fuel like Mclaren does. They made the best decision for the team and the championship, they know that, Massa knows that and Alonso knows that. Alonso is their only chance for WDC, even then it’s going to have to be a hell of a second half of the season for him and the WCC honestly looks out of reach as it is.

    Sometimes I think, when did Formula 1 stop becoming a team sport? they might as well only have one driver per team if they don’t expect the drivers to work together!

    I hope the FIA look into this to try and make the best policy and make it better.

  112. knoxploration says:

    The rule against team orders is completely unenforceable at any point in the season, and always has been, from the very first day it existed — which is why I’ve decried it from the start, and continue to do so today. There are any number of ways that team orders can be applied, and many of them don’t even require a message on the team radio for their implementation. They can be agreed ahead of time, behind closed doors. Literally the only possible way to prevent team orders would be to require each driver to be accompanied by an FIA representative at all times, 24/7.

    Given that the rule is unenforceable, it never should’ve been created in the first place, and should be dropped from the rulebook immediately.

    That said, we don’t get to pick and choose the rules we like, and Ferrari clearly and very publicly broke the rules in this instance. For that, they deserve a punishment that would deter them from repeating their crime — especially given that they are the team that decried another driver being allowed to profit from a rules infraction of similar severity in very recent memory.

    The intention of the rule, given that it is unenforceable, was clearly to push team orders below the surface and out of sight, where only knowledgeable fans would recognize their continued existence. Ferrari chose to bring them back to the surface, and have only themselves to blame if they’re to be punished.

    $100,000 might sound a lot to the casual fan, but it’s a laughably small fine to an outfit like Ferrari, and wouldn’t deter them from repeating their actions today (though the public outcry almost certainly would — I’ve seen this rated as the worst race of the year, and I’ve seen polls showing 80%+ of fans believe a penalty is called for.) By way of comparison, Ferrari’s fine for letting their drivers stand on the wrong step of the podium in 2002 was $1.2 million, when adjusted for inflation, so today’s fine is well under ten percent of the size, a mere drop in the bucket for an outfit like Ferrari. (Incidentally, this huge difference in fines suggests that the FIA actually considers appearances to be vastly more important than the rule book itself.)

    To prevent a repeat, it seems to me that the only punishment that fits the crime is to remove points from the team, since it is the team that made the decision. Ferrari should hence be stripped of their constructors’ points at the race, and the episode put behind us. Any lesser punishment would not have deterred the team from applying team orders, and any greater punishment would be disproportionate given that we know other teams — McLaren, for example — have unquestionably applied team orders already this season, with the sole difference being that they were applied just slightly more subtly.

    To repeat, though, the rules as they stand are unforceable, and we shouldn’t allow any unenforceable rule to remain in the books. This is a team sport, and team orders will always be a part of the sport. It is simply unreasonable to expect a team not to favor one driver over another at any point in the season, and if we accept it in the last race, there’s absolutely no reason not to accept it in the first, even if we personally find it distasteful of a team to consider doing so early in a championship. Better that the teams apply their orders visibly, where the public will shame them into allowing a fair fight for the start of the championship, than that we sweep everything under the carpet while teams apply their orders contractually from the first race of the season.

    If this rule still stands as we enter the next round of the championship, Formula One will be doing itself a disservice.

  113. hesus says:

    There is no good solution – banning TO will be artificial as you said. If they are fully reintroduced – it will be a slap in the face to fans (gambling fans especially). The teams should be forced to use team orders in white gloves only when necessary. The whole media crying is not about TO in generall but about the manner Ferrari and Massa did it. (If Nando have passed Felipe in pits no one would have said anything).
    Maybe limited number of “free team orders” would do the trick ? (two times per driver a season for example)

  114. splidge says:

    I do take issue with the statement that Domenicali or Dyer should have given the order.

    With things as they are, Smedley has the defence that it was a routine communication with his driver, even if his tone and subsequent actions made it very clear that it was not (and arguably it was not smart on his part to make it so clear).

    If Domenicali or Dyer had come on the radio and said something then plausible deniability goes straight out of the window – they do not routinely tell drivers who is faster or not during a race.

    So basically Smedley having to pass on the order is a consequence of the “no team orders” rule – if it were legal to have team orders I’m sure it would have been Domenicali giving the order; I don’t think it would have left much less of a sour taste in the mouths of fans though.

    1. Oblique View says:

      There’s no arguably about it. Smedley was very silly to make the call the way he did. Massa too for the way he let Alonso through. I know emotions are involved here, but they are both highly paid professionals and should have known better.

  115. Charlie B says:

    All the FIA can do is allow team orders, if they don’t, they will still happen and people will be more annoyed than if they were allowed.

    I agree James that this has been one big overreaction. Team orders have happened up and down the pitlane for years even with this “new” rule.

    What is the difference between a team order now and one in the last round, nothing. They both have the same affect, but people seem to allow it because “the championship is at stake”. The championship is always at stake so I don’t think a time when team orders are allowed is fair. It might not even work, if Ferrari (or any other team) is willing to break one rule then they would be willing to break another.

    Team orders will always be in F1, a bit like diving in football, it’s a shame it happens but we have to live with it.

  116. Dan says:

    I was so dissappointed Felipe was deprived the opportunity to take a win.

    It is a PR disaster for Ferrari, and everyone knows a $100,000 fine is a tiny amount in this sport. When you contrast that with a $100m fine for breaking the rules (and lying about them) for Mclaren, you gain an appreciation of what constitutes a ‘large’ fine. Obviously completely different scenarios, but a fine that is a 1/1000 times smaller for a rule break that is very open, blatent, has upset the fans, and then been lied about Vs an offence the casual observer couldnt give two hoots about seems crazy.

    My point is, if no further sanctions are given, no team will even bother trying to cover up team orders. $100,000 will just be the de facto rate for issueing one.

    As Damian suggested, swapping the drivers points, and excluding the contstructors points from Ferrari would dissuade anyone from doing it again.

    Going forward, no team orders until the final 3rd of the season, unless it is mathematically impossible for the 2nd placed driver to win the title.

  117. Dan says:

    Ferrari have broken a rule which has affected the end of a race which is against the rules. How much money have people lost in betting and should an enquiry be made into the betting and fines be placed on Ferrari to repay some of those? (Just a suggestion)

    Another thing is how many times has this happened in the last couple of years when we didn’t get the radio???

    From above i think a fair solution is:
    Allow team orders once one driver mathematically can’t win the championship or in the couple last races.
    All driver contracts must be submitted to the FIA so that they can protect the drivers from being forced to break rules or lie to the stewards.

    1. ronmon says:

      Anyone who bets real money on the outcome of a motor race is being foolish. And if they did bet on a red car it would probably would have been Alonso.

      1. Oblique View says:

        Anybody who bets on something they don’t fully understand is being foolish.

        Team orders have been and will always be part of F1 no matter what the rule book says. If you think otherwise you either do not fully understand the sport or you are delusional.

      2. senna says:

        delusional like alonso.?

      3. Dan says:

        Yes but if you can bet on a race then some people would. Also what about the betting companies? Should they be allowed to claim back the money they lost due to Alonso winning??? Would people not think of betting for Massa if the odds were 100 times better???

      4. Oblique View says:

        I wouldn’t loose too much sleep over the betting companies. When was the last time you saw a poor bookie?

        If the odds on Massa winning were a lot better then obviously that’s a much higher risk bet. I should imagine the odds on Massa winning another GP this year have just got an awful lot longer too.

  118. Racyboy says:

    As a Ferrari fan, the thing that upset me the most was the fact that it was the first anniversary of Felipe’s frightening accident and a win would have been fantastic for him.
    I was looking forward to the feelgood story and hoping it would give Massa the boost he needs.
    The decision to let Alonso through did seem to come as a surprise to Smedley and Massa though.
    Isn’t the possibilty of a switch discussed prior to racing?
    As you said in your piece James, maybe a longer pitstop, or at least going into turn 6 and not coming out of it and making it blatantly obvious.
    I have no problem with team orders when necessary, but it’s too early in the season, unless you have a designated #1 driver or a massive points difference between team-mates. (There are still a lot of points on the table)
    Maybe in the final third or quarter of the season.
    And maybe there should be a “gentleman’s agreement” between team-mates (especially in a 1-2 situation)that they maintain station at 2/3 or even 3/4 race distance.

    What Kimi and Felipe did for each other was fine. Austria’02 was wrong. Germany’10 wrong.

  119. Mr.B. says:

    For me the principle here should be simple; if a driver has a mathematical shot at the championship, then no team orders.
    Beyond that; all is fair in Love, War and Formula One.

    As for what the FIA should do with Ferrari this time; a slap on the wrist is due. A small fine ($500,000) and a time penalty to Alonso to correct the race result.

    That said between the Mclaren and Renault spying scandals of 2007, the precedent has been set that not owning up to the crime results in a $100m fine.

  120. Mark Jenkins says:

    James, I agree with your comments, the suggestion I posted on my blog ( is as follows:
    “I have no problem with Ferrari applying team orders – it is a strategic choice that they have made in how they run the team. I believe each team should make an explicit and verifiable statement to the FIA and the public about their approach to team orders, so Ferrari can stop pretending to be doing one thing while clearly doing another. It might be embarrassing for some number 1 and number 2 drivers, but at least the fans will know where they stand and allegations of race fixing would become a thing of the past, imagine that!”

  121. Kevin says:

    If this is the only way Ferrari and cry baby Alonso can win then I`m out

  122. Deez says:

    James, one point that needs to be made is that this is being blown out of proportion ONLY because this year FOM has full access to team radio and can play it over the air at their discretion. Otherwise, we would’ve heard McLaren tell Hekki the same thing in 2008 before he let Hamilton pass him on this exact track. From what I’ve read afterwards, McLaren told Heikki that Lewis was faster than him, but it was never aired. I’m sure the same thing occurred in China 2008 when Massa was let through by Kimi and so on.
    In regards to a suggestion, the earlier comment is very spot on. Which is that team orders should be banned for the first half or two-third of the season while a driver has a mathematical chance of winning the championship unless there is valid evidence that shows one driver is consistently struggling throughout the season and his being ahead is ultimately affecting his team’s possibility of success. The reason for this last part of the comment is to prevent a couple of things… One, a situation where a slower teammate is in front, in Monaco for example where passing is next to impossible, and his being ahead of a faster teammate prevents that teammate from chasing after the rest of the group which is ahead and pulling away. Another reason is to prevent something similar to what happened to RBR in Turkey from happening.
    The truth is that in F1 right now, passing is very difficult when following another car, so even if you’re in a faster car or a faster driver, you will not necessarily get pass another driver if he doesn’t want to let you through. And this can lead to unnecessary accidents which are safety risks. Remember Valencia with Webber and Heikki? The RBR is how many seconds faster than the Lotus? But they were fighting for position and Heikki held his line.
    A teammate blocking another teammate unnecessarily when he’s struggling ALL season with the car hurts the show because it prevents that faster teammate from going and attacking the rest of the grid and providing a more interesting show to the fans.
    Here’s what I mean by this… Massa has been struggling ALL season with the tires and the cars and hasn’t been able to keep up with his teammate. Anybody saying otherwise needs to take the blinders off. Alonso qualifying half a second clear of his teammate for example in Germany is no small feat. So if Ferrari doesn’t put their full weight behind Alonso, they could potentially be out of contention for the driver’s title. So we’re given less of a show because we have fewer drivers fighting for the championship at the end.
    The FIA needs to keep all that in mind when revising this law.

  123. chris Linford says:

    If this were McLaren they would be thrown out of the championship and suffer a massive fine. As this is ferrari I would not expect the FIA to give them anything other than a warning. It is unfair but it is the way of the governing body.
    Persoanlly I would remove all their points from that race and team points for the year, like McLaren had.
    They still will not get the massive fine

    1. mcr says:

      Yes,like they were thrown out of the championship after spygate, liegate….
      Don’t make us laugh, please.

  124. Lee Gilbert says:

    The rule is wrong – it cannot be applied fairly anyway except for cases where individuals within the team are SO blatant about it.

    Team orders are part of F1 and it’s a team sport – the rule therefore has no direct place

    However, we must not lose sight of why the rule was introduced in the first place. A set of blatant actions in 2002 causes an equivalent media and fan uproar.

    I think the genuine F1 fan knows and accepts team orders are part of the sport. What the genuine fan does not like is when they are being deceived and blatantly told things that are not true

    Ferrari do need to take a long hard look at some of their post race behaviour and comments – they were bordering on immoral as everybody knew what had gone on and they were coming out with all kinds of stories to explain what happened. All of these comments, of course, were to protect them legally but they were a joke at the same time

    James, there is no point making reference to the “Alonso was faster over the weekend so it was right” story. We all know that and I believe the educated fan has no issue with the principle of team orders. In this case, it’s the execution of them and the post race comments from Ferrari that annoys the fans

  125. anthony says:

    There should be no team orders until it is impossible for one driver to win the championship, that is what happens at illiams and Mclaren.

    When Kovalienen was asked to let Hamilton through he was clearly faster and left Kovalienen behind and went on to win the race. That is completely different from asking a driver who is in the LEAD to let a team mate through when he still has a chance of winning the championship. Likewise letting drivers race the first 40 laps and then hold station is OK.

    What we are faced with now is knowing that Massa even if he out qualifies Alonso will give his position up and be used to protect Alonso’s position on the track. Meanwhile the other two teams will have to decide whether they have to prioritise their drivers in order to counteract this move from Ferrari. Because obviously there are going to be team orders for the rest of the season.

    There should be no team orders until one driver cannot win the championship.

    The FIA put an official into Mclarens garage to ensure fair play for Alonso, IRONIC.

    Also wasn’t Alonso complaining about manipulated races recently, well he’s proved his point, this one certainly was.

    As for Ferrari feeling agrieved by recent decisions, it’s called bad luck. The intention was to punish Hamilton but the safety car and Koybaiashi ensured he wasn’t and it was bad luck there was a safety car when he had to do his drive thru penalty, I don’t know how Ferrari thought they wouldn’t have to cede position to Kubica after the incident at Spa with Hamilton. as for saying Kubica left him no room therefore he shouldn’t have to cede position, well Raikonnen gave Hamilton nowhere to go and Hamilton gave the position back and was still penalised.

    I feel desperatley sorry for Massa for the rest of the season he is destined to be Alonso’s whipping boy and no one deserves that.

    Ferrari have lied to the FIA and the media and look what happened to Hamilton for lying.

    1. mcr says:

      Yes, it’s going to be so hard for Maclaren and Redbull to prioritise their drivers….

      What have Red Bull been doing all this time? Wing taken out of Webber’s car and given it to Vettel….

      And Hamilton isn’t preferred over Button, there is no team order there, that’s why Jenson has finished behind Hamilton in the last two races, not even a remote sign, not the least intention to overtake his teammate.

    2. Oblique View says:

      People keep saying the Hamilton Kovalienen incident at Hockenheim 08 is different.

      How so?

      Kovalienen got a radio message that said Hamilton is behind you and faster, he let Hamilton through and Hamilton won the race. Massa got a message saying Alonso is faster, let Alonso through and Alonso won the race.

      The only difference that I can see is that this incident involves Ferrari and Alonso. For many they are the pantomime villains of F1.

      However you try and restrict Team Orders they will still happen, as we’ve seen countless times since they were banned in 02. Just scrap the rule.

  126. Alexis says:

    Ok, so we already have the rule that states “Team orders which interfere with the race result are banned”.

    ‘Interfere’ is open to interpretation and degree.

    So just leave it as it is, but grade the penalties to fit in with the amount of interference and leave it up to the stewards to decide.

    ie. specify a range of penalties at the stewards disposal, ranging from a reprimand, up to $5000 fine to the team, to adding a time penalty to one or both drivers.

    Really the stewards should have just added 5 seconds to Alonso’s time. I don’t know if the rules allow this, but just spelling out the penalties a bit more clearly to fit the ‘crime’ would enable justice to be seen to be done.

    Leave it to the stewards, but give them clear max and min penalty guidelines.

  127. Padeepa Manoj says:

    James, why must there be radio? Driver’s are receiving far too much instruction from the pit…. to change fuel settings, brake temperatures and to change position. Let them race and get the driver to manage the car out on track without the radio. We’ll see much purer racing and the smartest drivers that are sensitive to their machinery winning.

  128. To get around the issue, they needed a botched pit for Massa. The radio message was cruel.
    Massa beat him fair and square, but Alonso cried to Mommy. The fine is a joke. While unfair to Massa, removing their points is the right decision. Both cars took part in the order, both should be DQ’d. This point system has many scrambling, and panicking because the differential in positions is so high. If we had the 10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1 system Alonso would not be so far behind and require this assistance. If the team has one driver with a shot, then yes, a formal understanding should be how the team cooperates. If both fight like McLaren in 07, that Ferrari took advantage, but it could have been either of them. I see a Red Bull McLaren battle, Ferrari had the setup this time, but I doubt it will continue. Fans would love to see 4 drivers battle, or 6, but reality by race 16 should narrow the selection.
    5 more races from now.

  129. Michael says:

    I think transparency is key. Allow team orders but there must be some way to open up all radio transmissions to the viewers, or at least provide more radio transmissions to allow the viewers more of an insight into the workings of the team.

    Look it is a team sport, but I think that the biggest amount of outrage is the lack of transparency and the attempts to cover it up. I know the biggest problem I have with this situation is how the message was delivered, and how adamant Ferrari was after to race to play on as if nothing had occurred.

    If a driver is willing to sign a contract so that he can drive one of these magnificent technological achievements in anger, than they damn well better go over their contract to ensure that it is something they are willing to live with. (Including being the possible #2).

    Maybe this would lead to every team having a #1 and a #2 driver, but is winning the WDC so much more important to a team than winning the WCC ? Sure, maybe putting all of your money behind one horse gives you a better chance, but what if that one horse comes up lame?

    The better teams will know and attract 2 good drivers, that know they have the freedom to race each other until the point where it is futile for one or the other. At that point, they are playing for the team.

    It wasn’t too early here. Massa is out of the championship. But Alonso complaining over the radio (‘This is ridiculous’) along with the way he has treated his teammate from the beginning (China anyone?) has also contributed to the outrage. It has always looked like the team (Ferrari) was immediately more in Alonso’s camp than Massa’s.

    I think it would be interesting, if the positions were swapped,i.e. Massa was in form and Alonso was not, Massa having the better shot at the WDC, if Alonso would move over for Massa.

  130. Henry says:

    Good point James. Without the call Alonso would have tried for sure to pass Massa. There is a high risk in doing that as we saw in Red Bull. Nobody would like to win a race that way, but it is worst to break your car in the fight. Should the WMSC punish the drivers? I don´t think so. With all the media talking like they are about race fixing I think it’s enough to prevent any further calls. Anyway there will always be some kind of race fixing at every team, at least at the end of every championship.

  131. Ben says:

    James, I agree with everything you say regarding the circumstances of yesterdays race and how it is different to Austria 2002. However, there is a big difference to what happened in Brazil 2007 and what happened yesterday.

    That is, going in to the weekend of Brazil 2007 before a car had even taken to a practice session for Ferrari there was only one goal for the weekend – Kimi had to win the race. There was no order ever given during the race to Massa to concede the position – he would have known before even arriving in Brazil that if he was leading the race and Kimi was in second he would pull over and give him the win. There was no need for a team order to tell him to do that.

    Yesterday, that was not the situation. Even during the race, Rob Smedley radioed Massa to tell him “Keep pushing, you can win this race.” When the order to change positions came along, it was something of a shock because it went against the narrative of the season so far, where the other two top running teams have let their drivers race.

    It also went against the previously established Ferrari ‘rule’ that the drivers are free to race up until the last third of the race.

    Yes, common sense says Massa has no chance of winning the championship, however with Red Bull and McLaren allowing both drivers to fight for the championship, even with his 34 point disadvantage I would argue that it now gives Alonso a better opportunity to win the championship than any of the four drivers ahead of him.

    In fact, assuming Red Bull and Ferrari share the top four positions, with McLaren finishing 5-6 over the last eight races, with equal bias between the Red Bull and McLaren drivers and an Alonso bias in Ferrari, Alonso will gain 20 points on the Red Bull drivers and 88 points on the McLaren drivers, giving him the championship.

    Obviously, the season will be more organic than that, but going out of Hockenheim that is the current ‘model’ for the rest of the season that best represents the current performance of the teams.

    At the start of this season Formula 1 was advertising itself as having 4 strong teams with 8 drivers all being given an equal chance to win that world championship. The greatest selection of drivers on the grid in a generation – possibly of all time, all with the same chance of lifting that world championship. That narrative played out in every race until yesterday. That is the reason there was so much controversy over the Vettel/Webber incidents which suddenly pale in significance to what we saw yesterday.

    As for possible solutions. The fairest solution I can see is that when a team finishes with two consecutive positions on the track they can switch the points reward between the two drivers. That way, they could have let Massa win and provided Alonso was second he could be given the 25 points and Massa 18. He can even be given the countback for that position. That way, the rightful driver wins the race but the championship contender gets the points without having to manipulate the race.

    To engage this mechanism I think that a team would have to register with the FIA that there is a favoured driver (so they say “Alonso is favoured in the championship”) prior to the race start so once the race ends the points allocation is done automatically to ensure the reporters and fans know what is going on.

  132. It seems to me the most sensible punishment would be a suspended race ban. That way everybody knows not to do it again, but the potential chaos of having the results changed weeks after the race is avoided.

    After that, it’s necessary to have another look at the rule. Either remove it, or clarify it. The way it’s worded right now, it’s unworkable, and just encourages the kind of televised fibbing that patronises the audience and leaves a bitter taste.

  133. gpl_rulez says:

    Before each race each team should name their No.1 and No.2 drivers. If a No.2 driver finishes just ahead the No.1 they would automatically swap their positions. If someone classifies between the two drivers, no changes in the results.

    Race: Hungaroring
    Ferrari driver No.1: Massa
    Ferrari driver No.2: Alonso

    Fig.1.: Alonso 5th, Massa 6th –> in the results: Massa 5th, Alonso 6th

    Fig.2: Alonso 3rd, Massa 6th –> results remain

  134. Alan Dove says:

    Firstly it’s the fans don’t like this behaviour. And it’s the fans that provide the value to F1 for all the sponsors that pay for the show.

    But there is a much bigger picture here James I think many are ignoring in the media. The FIA are trying their up most to boost the credibility of motor racing as a sport. The perception of team orders in the general public is it’s nothing more than race fixing.

    Various schemes like the Under-18 World Karting Championship, The Karting Academy, and Formula 2 place 90% emphasis on drivers and their talent. This is a clear intention the direction the FIA want motorsport to go in. Yes F1 needs to remain the technical pinnacle, but it appears, not to the detriment to fundamental sporting principles.

    The reason it’s vital to do this is for a number of reasons. If you were a parent and wanted to do karting with your child would you seriously invest thousands in a sport which doesn’t reward the best driver on the day? What we say in germany was not really something that encourages parents to invest in motorsport

    Another, maybe more influential point is this – With the increased pressure from green groups in future years F1 and motor sport in general needs credibility to survive. Without credibility motor sport is weak and open to attack from groups that say it’s a wasteful sport that has no credibility.

    F1 needs to realise it has quite a large responsibility in the general motorsport world, and this idea that “it’s F1 team orders happen all the time” won’t wash any more. F1 needs to change so motor sport in general can face future challenges with credibility and strength. At the moment we look very very weak.

  135. Jim says:

    They are constantly in touch with Charlie, why not get an OK from him to give an order and let the media know. Give the order in a clear unambiguous way. Then the press would report “And an official team order was given in the interests of…”.
    I like to see them racing against each other, but you’re right, there are times when they make sense.

    1. ronmon says:

      It takes Charlie 20 minutes to make a decision. That would be a problem :)

  136. Graeme Brown says:

    The Massa / Smedley relationship is hugely entertaining and brings a human side to a sport which is at times somewhat sterile. Rob acted emotionally, but what else would you expect, he clearly feels the pain just as much as Felipe. I expect he received the mother of all bollockings, but that would be unfair – team orders should come from the team not the engineer, and it should have been Stephano Domenicali on the radio to Massa.

    No-one seriously believes that team orders don’t happen, but where both drivers have a mathematical chance of winning the title then it makes a mockery of the sport. We the fans have indeed been cheated of watching Massa and Alonso duelling for the lead of the race as we have seen other team-mates do in the past – it could have been one of the highlights of the year.

    1. Oblique View says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. He’s not paid to act emotionally, but professionally.

      In this case he didn’t nor at the time did Massa.

      If they had Ferrari wouldn’t be in the hot water they’re in now.

  137. Andy says:

    While the need for team orders is understandable at some point of the season, a too frequent use of them destroys racing. I have no interest in following a race where the winner is not resolved by racecraft but by intra-team politics, especially if it’s not obvious from the start that something like that might take place.

    My suggestion for a rule change is the following:

    Team orders that would change the results of the race are forbidden, unless the WDC standing of the disadvantaged driver is such that he can not by his own merit challenge for the WDC.

    For example, before this race, Massa was 78 points behind the WDC leader (Hamilton). Even if Massa had won all the remaining races, he would be able to get only 63 more points than Lewis, if Lewis were to become 2nd in all the races. Thus, Felipes claim for WDC is not entirely in his own hands anymore, but requires misfortune for Lewis, and thus team orders could be used against him.

    Such a rule would forbid team orders early in the season, but would give a chance for them eventually, before the very ending stages of the season. Also, with a rule allowing team orders at some point, everyone would know to expect them and such shock that at least I experienced this weekend could be averted.

  138. Ruud Denis says:

    In theory it is not that difficult as there are two championships (one for constructors and one for drivers).

    1. The swap did not alter anything for the total points Ferrari scored yesterday.

    2. The drivers were in those positions because of on-track events, by swapping places the public was robbed of a straight fight.

    The fact that the driver championship is more valued than the constructor is not the public’s fault.
    The sport evolves: teams cannot field more than 2 cars, drivers can no longer jump into their team mate’s car if theirs break down during a race, a driver has to qualify his car himself, we (the public) do not want to see staged results, etc. etc.

    Therefore I think team orders in any shape or form should be banned completely!

    In reality it is more complex…

    Maybe we should ban radio communication and only allow the pitboard to inform the drivers about the position and the gaps to other drivers, thereby empowering the driver to race his race!

    A button could be installed in the car that after the driver presses it notifies the pitcrew of an unscheduled stop for fuel, tires or a new front wing.

    This would mean that a driver himself can decide wheter or not he wants to let his team mate through…

  139. Spark says:

    Well, I would like to make two points.

    Fisrtly, to me teamorders should be legal when one driver is running for the championship, while the other driver is mathematicaly out of the equation. Only exception I can think of during the season is when both drivers are on a different strategie.

    I mean Red Bull got the blame in Turkey that it wasn’t handled properly, but I would rather see that kind of action than the charade of last sunday. But may be I am just a stupid fan who lives in an ideal world.

    Secondly, what I don’t understand is why Ferrari is willing to jeopordize their 1-2 finish in handling this in such an abviously amateurish way. I mean instruct Massa to miss a corner or whatever, Vettel was 5 or 6 seconds off so there was no danger. But by doing it like they did, they are putting their heads on the chopping-block and are just anxiously waiting whether the FIA will strike or not.

    Don’t get me wrong I think Ferrari totally deserved the 1-2 as they were quick all weekend, but as usual they have to do it the Italian way

  140. Cheesey says:

    This whole scenario is just more evidence of F1′s self-obsessed, navel-gazing view.

    Evidently Ferrari don’t care what the audience thinks. They don’t care that we all watch F1 to see racing. Not only that, they genuinely seem to believe that we’re stupid enough not to realise what they were doing.

    What is more, the reaction from some F1 journalists, like James here, David Coultard, and Martin Brundle seems to be that team orders are ok, and just a fact of F1 life. Well, they shouldn’t be!

    Whether it was “right for the championship” or not is largely irrelevant – the show on Sunday was completely ruined. The quality of the show must always take precedence over the needs of any individual team or driver, otherwise F1 is doomed to fail in the long term.

    We want to see genuine racing. Is that too much to ask?

  141. Mark A says:

    For me the problem yesterday was that we were denied the sporting contest that we thought we were watching. I have followed F1 for many years, and yesterday was really looking forward to the race. I had the live timing screen on my laptop and the new Car Position tracker on the BBC website, I commented that it felt like I was on the pitwall! I am not a Ferrari or Alonso fan but I was enjoying the race as it unfolded – particularly wanting to see if Alonso could get past Massa. I cheered when Massa got ahead at the start, was enthralled through the Pit Stop phase and enjoyed seeing the tension that developed when they came up behind back-markers. It was great following that part of the race through the new interactive tools.

    But what was the point? What a team like Ferrari will never understand or presumably care about is that I felt stupid when they pulled their stunt! Why had a let myself get emotionally caught up in a race that was never really a race at all? Some might say that I shouldn’t get that involved – but isn’t that why we watch sport?

    On the other hand … I agree that there are times when team orders are appropriate – and the case where Raikkonen won the Championship is an excellent example. No outcry because F1 fans are more sophisticated than many give them credit for. It fitted with the emotion of the race – we knew that Ferrari had to do that to win the Championship; I would defend it as the right thing to do. So, there is a ‘line’ where team orders are acceptable and where they are not. All we want – in relation to team orders – is that you don’t make fools out of us! If it’s clear what is going on and there is a good reason for it – then tell us before the start of the race. Then we can understand what is happening and it becomes part of our enjoyment of the spectacle.
    This could be done very simply – at a certain point in the season allow the teams to designate a Number 1 and Number 2 driver. Then the teams know, the Drivers know and the Fans know what is going on. The point when this designation can happen can be debated. So it could be 2/3rds of the way through the season. It could be when it’s no longer mathematically possible for one driver to win the WDC, or it could be a combination of the two. Let’s say that Ferrari had lodged that Alonso was No 1 with the FIA – this would have made an enormous difference to the fans perception of the race. Massa gets a great start, but can’t break away from Alonso. Everyone knows that he is going to have to yield for the sake of the Championship – including his competitors – so Vettel knows that he has to get past Alonso before they switch places and attacks in order to do so. How it would have gone from there of course we can’t say. What we can say is that it would be better than the mess F1 has got itself into now!

    1. k2san says:

      I’ve been reading the comments for the last 15 minutes and am amazed on a lot of the reactions being a bit naive untill yours Mark. I was in exactly the same position with laptop and all; enjoying how the race was unfolding. I had a deep look at myself why I felt so disgusted when it happened and came to the same conclusion. It is how you receive it. Everyone can understand team orders when it is indeed logical or appropriate as you mentioned. Almost all fans simply cannot accept this one. Too early and too obvious. The solutions given like half way or mathematical or switching points within the teammembers etc etc are no solutions. When you have two competitions at the same time: driver and team; it (teamorders) cannot be excluded and actually it should not be excluded since to exclude it contradicts the purpose. The only solution the fans would really understand is transparancy. Let the team publically announce their intentions and with it risk the wrath of the public with it. Before the race! Like you said everyone understands when the need is there and is it wrong? No. But do it openly and give a reason for it. That will lead to discussions and with it the fanbase will pressure the team (and therefore the sponsors) for making the right descision. There’s no need to make this “official” with paperwork to the stewards. Openess by making the statement to the press before the race would suffice. Open statement to the driver “teamorder move over” would then be as clear as it can be. So within mine (and I believe your reasoning) would the pressure of the public be enough for this to work? Now that question I cannot answer. I believe myself it would but James I’m very curious on your opinion about it!

      1. Mark A says:

        Yes, I can go with that … and there is probably no need to have any sort of time limit through the season on it because teams will have to think through the logic of their positions when they come to negotiate driver contracts and so on.

        I think that underlying this is a fascinating philosophical discussion about the limits of ‘law’ in controlling human nature – especially in a highly competitive world like F1. Fascinating to see if they can resolve it!

  142. Bill Mapel says:

    Banning team orders has always been a farce. It is and always will be unenforceable. It is just too difficult to distinguish. What if Ferrari did run a two second slower pit stop for Massa? Without employees testifying against employers you cannot prove it. The only real way to deal with this issue is to repeal the rule.

  143. Luke Benjamin says:

    What Ferrari did was wrong not because i think that but because its in the rules. I think the WMSC should make an example of this or clarify/tighten the rule.
    If Alsonso goes on to win the championship by just a few points then $100,000 would seem a cheap way to win a second championship and in my mind would also be a “what if” chanpionship.

  144. Aaron says:

    The difference is the arrogance with which Ferrari handled the press, and through them the public. Had Ferrari stonewalled – exactly as Massa wisely did in the press conference – everybody would have been a little miffed, but it would have blown over in a day.

    Instead, they somehow found the stones to stand up and imply repeatedly that *we* were the foolish ones for questioning their obviously distorted description of events. They broke a rule (however impractical it may be) so I understand that they can’t come right out and say it, but they really should learn the graceful art of silence.

    Just for being such jerks, to the public and to Massa, they should have their race result invalidated. Woo hoo, another Hamilton victory :)

  145. Owen says:

    I think it is too early in the season to have ordered this kind of team order and not allowing Felipe the chance to defend his position – perhaps Fernando would have found a way past, perhaps not. It left a very bitter taste and was unnecessary. I think “team tactics” can be acceptable where drivers are asked to “hold station” late in the race and not fight for a position – but to ask a driver to move over for the other is shocking – except when it comes down to the last race or so when one of the drivers is no longer in contention for the championship as given the example when Massa allowed Raikkonen through to allow him to win the championship.

    PS. The more I hear of Fernando’s rantings on the radio the less I like him …

  146. Chris says:

    I’m a big McLaren fan and have no wish to see Ferrari win in F1. In other circumstances, I would normally laugh out load if Ferrari were severely punished and/or disqualified from any race result. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “hate” Ferrari – However, I felt that manipulated the result in that fateful day in Austria 2002 and that was unacceptable.

    The result in this weekends’ German GP was a totally different set of circumstances and I, for one, feel that Ferrari were totally justified in implementing team orders in such circumstances.

    2010 is turning out to be such a superb F1 championship with at least 5 top drivers fighting for the title. As much as I like Filipe Massa, Germany aside, he has not really been on the same form as Alonso this season and it is understandable that Ferrari feel that Alonso is the driver within their team who has a more realistic chance of fighting both Red Bull and both McLaren drivers for the title.

    Everyone knows that team orders have been present in F1 since the very beginning and should remain so, as long as they are not used in situations such as Austria 2002 when such a dominant car/team is present in the championship as was the case with Ferrari and a certain M. Schumacher.

    I, for one, see nothing wrong with what Ferrari did in Germany except for the way it was handled. I hope the FIA and WMSC sees sense in this matter and re-writes the rule as regards team orders. At the end of the day, all teams in F1 use team orders in one way or another, why should Ferrari be any different?

    1. Kev says:

      Great points mate. And coming from a McLaren fan makes me even happier.

      The point many fail to notice here is that Ferrari didn’t order Massa to move over for Alonso. They could have also meant to defending less aggressively in-case Alonso makes a move again, which I felt Alonso would have certainly done. Fernando was HALF a second faster in qualifying and has been the saving grace of Ferrari this season.

      I feel Massa intentionally left the throttle so as to show the world that he was being robbed. But he was just informed through radio that the car behind you which is your team-mate is faster than you, has more points than you and has been quicker than you all through the season; so try to maximise the advantage for the team.

      Massa chose a stupid move and is trying to get the sympathy of the press with his ‘I let him pass’ comments.

  147. Pete Schnabel says:

    Great, unbiased commentary James.
    Read some other blogs and some extremely biased viewpoints are expressed.
    As usual, when i read here i can be assured of quality F1 commentary.

  148. David Brown says:

    I think some transparency needs to be introduced.
    1. If it is in the contract make it known.
    2. No team orders, other than published contractual, until a reasonable point in the season (halfway?)
    3. None whilst the ’2nd’ driver is within a percentage of the ’1st’ total points.

    If this were the case there could be no more arguments about bets etc. People would then be making their punts on known info.

    I personally think yesterday was a disgrace, in their cynical denials, and for a very small notional gain.

    If for some reason Alonso is unable to race, and Massa suddenly comes good it will seem ridiculous. I remember Irvine handing a place to Schumi in France, only for MS to break his leg in Silverstone, and then spend the remainder of the season trying to give points back to Irvine.

  149. Jez Playense says:

    I don’t like team orders.

    Team orders clearly exist, and happen every race. It has always been this way and always will. I would rather know what is going on, than be deceived by hidden team orders such as save fuel and the like.

    SV said yesterday after the race in the press conference, “you do’t pay our checks, the teams do”

  150. Grockle says:

    F1 is a team sport and the drivers are part of that team and as such, under any form of corporate heirarchy, must adhere to rules and regulations ( health and safety and bridge crashing issues should be exempted)laid down by those who employ them. I don’t see any drivers bringing their own cars along to race.

    Team orders should be allowed at all times as long as they do not bring the sport into disrepect or put anyone in any extra danger than they would already be in by attending a motor racing event.

    However, if the FIA are going to allow team orders again, then they should also abolish the blue flag rule and stop forcing back markers to pull over to let front runners through easily.

    Perhaps then we will see even more exciting racing where those with the skills rather than just the better cars will have to prove their worth rather than just making sure their team thinks that everyone else owes them a right of passage.

  151. mtb says:

    James Allen

    I would like to commend you for being so rational about this matter, and avoiding the hyperbole that has been prevalent elsewhere.

    As for your point of only permitting team orders in the final 1/3 of the season, I disagree. Either permit them, or don’t permit them. If the latter case remains, then it is time that the FIA became more stringent on teams that, amongst other things, instruct their drivers to “save fuel”.

  152. irawan says:

    Dear James,

    I feel for Ferrari and your right that a complete ban is unjust. However, as a fan of formula-1, may i suggest that pass over, should be relayed to Charles Witting, during the race. maybe have a race engineer radio in to Witting asking permission to do so? That way a safety issue can also be looked at? Just a thought. cheers

  153. It’s all about the way Ferrari and Alonso handle such situations. Alonso actually tried to pass Massa on track and failed; not only once. Being quicker is one thing, overtaking is another.
    Leaving the actual racing aside, because of the rule about team orders, Ferrari could not plead guilty. Thus, they had to lie in everybody’s face and try convincing the rest of us we are just stupid.
    For me, this is the biggest concern, the one of honesty to the public.

  154. Steve says:

    Team orders should be banned, as long as a driver is still mathematically in with a chance of winning the championship. As soon as he is too far behind and cannot win the championship, I see no reason for then allowing the team to dictate the drivers order to maximise their chances of winning both championships.

    I agree orders should be allowed, but while both drivers are still in with a shout, I can’t see the reason why Ferrari did what they did. The team points are unaffected, Vettel wasn’t much of a threat and the difference in points is 7 between drivers. The order in the championship wouldn’t have been affected either, Massa would have been 1 place closer to the lead. Given Alonso’s propensity to blowing up his engine and crashing this season, who know’s what might happen in the next races.

  155. Adam says:


    Now we all know you are a fervent Ferrari supporter (having named your son Enzo does give the game away) but come on please you seriously cannot justify what happened on Sunday.

    Without fans there wouldn’t be any television coverage and zero advertising revenue therefore the F1 teams, drivers and journalists wouldn’t have a job, so I really get annoyed when people such as David Coulthard and yourself say that team orders are part of the structure of F1. People watch F1 because they want to see the best drivers in the world racing the best engineered cars in the world against each other, they don’t want to see the best drivers in the world race to the first corner and turn it into a procession, it turns off fans and ultimately kills the sport.

    So what if Massa and Alonso touch while fighting for the lead this is what makes F1 such a fascinating enthralling sport, fans want to see racing from the start to the finish and especially when its two team mates who have the same machinery its the drivers skill that wins him the race not the teams best interest.

    F1 teams and its following circus really should wise up to the fact that they don’t own the sport and believe they can do what they want whenever they feel like it, the fans determine whether f1 is a success or not and taking the racing element out of the sport will turn them off, just look at Moto GP Lorenzo fighting tooth and nail against Rossi both on Yamaha’s, racing to the line its why people tune in to watch no other reason.

  156. Wayne says:

    No idea how you can say this is not race fixing James. Did Ferrari fix the result of the race? Answer is unquestionably yes – therefore it is, by definition, race fixing and I’m suprised you would suggets otherwise. I have heard far too many commentators over the past few days saying ‘leaving aside the breaking of the rule part’ – but you can’t really leave it aside can you? Is F1 a sport or not? Continually saying that ‘thye all do it’ is no excuse. If you break the rules you should be prepared for the consequences. F1 is like an old boys network and everyone is constantly out to get away with as much as they possible can. As for the fine – would Ferrari buy a 1-2 result for $100,000? I would imagine the answer is yes so this is no penalty at all. F1 and its inner circle and its commentators continually demonstrates how out of touch it is with fans by glossing over rule breaking or even cracking a metaphorical wry smile. Why do we have all this fuss about increasing overtaking in F1 if teams are allowed to settle things between their own cars and remove the need for it? Alonso would have had to try and overtake Massa were it not for team orders – makes a mockery of the overtaking focus group does it not?

  157. Peter says:

    As James pointed out, Alonso is at the centre of this, as he was with the Renault race fix.

    And Spygate.

    Is there a connection here?

    Just a thought!

  158. richie675 says:

    This is a team sport. It’s strange that a team cannot manage their drivers however they feel appropriate for any race situation. We are talking about literally tens of millions of dollars and a single place difference in the Constructors’ Championship is worth a staggering amount of revenue from sponsorship exposure and Championships winnings.

    DC alluded to previous F1 races which allowed drivers to actually change cars with their team mates if it meant they would win races or championships.

    The only counter point is that team mates should race each other for the fans anjoyment – but we’ve seen just three races ago what can happen and the resultant fall out. Why should teams have to suffer for the sake of a rule everyone breaks anyway?! I’m pretty sure that fuel-saving, pit stop strategy, tyre strategy, wing allocation(!), coded messages etc, are all applied by all teams throughout every race – these are surely variations of ‘race manipulation’ of some kind….?

  159. dauné says:

    One of the comments above state that ´Ferrari did it so blatantly´. Sorry, a ¨Ferrari employee´did it so blatantly. I have to agree with David Coultard´s comment that this should not have been given to Smedley to deal with. Domenical should have done it. I have no problem with team orders and I have followed F1 since the very first race at Silverstone 60 years ago. OK. There is now a rule since 2002, forbidding them, but we are not stupid, they have been happening with coded messages ever since then. Smedley just decided to open the floodgates with this. I hope he has a cast iron contract, otherwise he could be unemployed in the near future.
    And thanks James. I have read several articles about this in the last 24 hours, but yours, as always, is the most concise, clear and unbiased.
    Love your website.

  160. Jeff Pappone says:

    Those who think team orders don’t come into play in every Formula One race are fooling themselves. And the result is that we get drivers lying to fans because the sport forces them to say there are no team orders in F1.

    As happened in Germany, how many times this year have seen the McLaren pairing hold station for most of a race?

    Does anyone truly believe that after the crash in Turkey that Red Bull didn’t tell Sebastian Vettel to stay behind Mark Webber the next time he’s in a similar situation?

    Banning team orders takes away teamwork in a team sport. For that reason alone, it is a dumb idea.

  161. The problem is with that argument in the last race of the season when you let your team mate past to take the title or have a shot at it. Its when you have no shot at the title yourself.

    Its natural, to defer to help your team mate and ultimatly the team take the title. If that was the case with vettel, mark wouldn’t need to be told. In fact you’d both sit down and work out a dual strategy to win.

    Both of these guys still have a shot and it is almost as bad as austria in 2002. Personally I say dock ferrari the 43 constructors points and leave the drivers intact. Thats a good precedent too i think.

    Thank god there was a bike RACE on later in the day.

  162. Al (21prods) says:

    Superb post, James! I would never have been able to put it the way you do, yet I totally subscribe it. Five stars!!

    As to the possible solution, I do not know what to say. Maybe the best would be to analyse it on a case by case basis because there are too many circumstances to be taken into account that it would make the wording of the rule simply unpracticable or leading to misbehaviours against the spirit of the rule. On the other hand, such policy would give too much power to stewards and disparity of results would turn to a feeling of despotism or favouritism (unless, there were permanent stewards, independently of the circuit where the race is held).

    Thank you for your work, James, I really appreciate it.

  163. I think that comparing it to an end-of-season switch when the championship is clearly defined is ludicrous. It’s an apples and oranges situation and people have a clear understanding of why the team need to manoeuvre their drivers at a close of season battle.

    But to do this mid-season with no real worries during the race is not sporting. Felipe made the best of his race today and deserved to finish first (if he continued to hold off Fernando for the remaining laps).

    Therefore follows our disgust.

  164. Phil Snell says:

    I think the biggest problem is that Massa is still in the title hunt. The gap between the two drivers is still only 38 points and would have been less if Massa had been allowed to win. If Alonso has one DNF and massa finishes first the gap will be really tight between them.

    I personally have no problem with team orders but only at a point when one driver mathematically cannot win the title.

  165. anthony says:

    Previous post was getting it off my chest.

    No team orders until one driver cannot win championship.

    Incidents like Hamilton/Kovalienen can quite easily be policed by time sheets. Alonso was not significantly quicker than Massa once past whereas Hamilton dissappeared into the distance.

    The FIA put an official into the Mclaren garage, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be one in every garage monitoring all conversation.

    Every car must carry the same amount of fuel this fuel saving nonsense is spoiling the racing and giving opportunities to implement team orders ie no overtaking after fuel saving insrtuction given.

    Anyroad fuel saving is diametrically opposed to racing, greener engines yes but foot to the floor PLEASE.

  166. Carlos E. Del Valle says:

    There was no outcry when Massa moved over in the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix, or when Kimi moved over in the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix.

    The reason?

    It was done in a subtle and respectful way, rather than in the “Autrian 2002″ way. Now, we´re back at the Barrichello days here in Brazil. I feel sorry for Massa. It´s his fault. He should have been more subtle, simple as that.

  167. Nihad Gluscic says:

    - Any switch in on track positions between team-mates to be carried out through drive-through self imposed penalty;
    - if any driver yields position on track by slowing down and moving over, he shall be handed a drive-through by stewards;
    - attempts to conceal this by going purposely off track, will be investigated after the race by studying telemetry.
    - infrigements will be treated with post-race drive through equivalent.

    So, you want to switch positions, ok, do so but at a cost of constructor points. It doesn’t make sense that any team does this and loses nothing in terms of constructor points.

    Otherwise, simply create one driver teams with support drivers who will know what exactly they do in that team.

  168. Ed says:

    I think Ferrari may have tried to do a pit-stop swap. Usually the leading driver would get first preference when to stop, so it seemed unusual that Alonso pitted before Massa.

    However, it is possible that Massa/Smedley elected not to pit, considering he is slow to get up to speed on the hard tyres and this could have given Alonso the lead.

  169. Rob Silver says:

    Given the confessed level of team orders that go on “behind the scenes” (thanks to the words of Anthony Davidson on Radio 5), frankly, I’ve lost all faith in there being even the slightest amount of sport left in F1.

    Until team orders are brought back and it is admitted openly they carried on with them all along, or they’re *ACTUALLY* banned and properly policed and the sporting qualities brought back into F1 the whole pretense of it being genuine racing is completely dispelled. It’s all currently a sham. I only hope more people step up and tell the powers that be that they won’t take such farce in the guise of racing. Here’s to hoping that some day we can enjoy the racing coverage in future without the whining, without the politics and without the pantomime farce. Feels like it could be a long way off.

    The only ones to come out of this, in my eyes, in a positive light are Rob Smedley and Filipe Massa. They did what they had to do “for the team” but made damned sure that they showed they knew it was the wrong thing to do.

  170. Rich C says:

    Eliminate the rule entirely.

    Then require each team to designate a #1 and a #2 driver before each race.

    At any time during the race they may then order #1 past #2, but not vice versa.

    Ofc the teams would never agree to this, but w/e.

  171. Jaitu says:

    The rule should be dropped. It is impossible to enforce at any stage of the season. It also has no place in a team sport. Team orders may sometimes be unpopular but they exist in all teams at a fundamental level. Having your cars hold position after a certain point in the race is really no different to having them change position. You can argue that the latter is altering the outcome of the race but, unless it’s Austria, it’s impossible to really know what the outcome would have been.
    Education is all that is required. Make the orders legal and transparent and educate the spectators (many of whom already understand even if they’re not happy about it) and the media that team orders are a necessary component of team sports and team strategy.

  172. gond says:

    Thanks for analysing the facts in such a balanced way. Some other journalist self proclaim that they represent the fans, but to me, I think you are the only one I have found that does that, without histrionism or total bias.
    I like team orders, it gives F1 another component of strategy that makes it even more complex and interesting, and that actually would end up making bigger and better fights amongst different teams.
    But thats me, I would understand others don´t.

  173. Treebeard says:

    Perhaps only allowing team orders when only one of your drivers has a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

    Also in this scenario I’d imagine most drivers would understand and would help their team mate without too much opposition

  174. Gary Naylor says:

    Question, why does a team have two drivers? The only way to avoid team orders is to have single driver teams, where the team “put all their eggs in one basket”.

    My view is that teams “require” two drivers to give them the maximum opportunity should an issue occur with one of their drivers. A consequence of this is allowing the team to maximise their advertising and branding, which drives branding and fundng of the team. Very much a self perputating situation.

    However unpopular, at the end of the day F1 is a business, where decisions are made that allow maximum returns for the stakeholders involved.

    For the drivers part, their talent allows them to *try* and influence the decision of their bosses.

    This is like any company that any of us work for. The way you go about your business, and portray yourself, allows you to influence your own outcomes.

    Fair? Probably not, but real life, yes!

    Entitlement and fairness rarely comes into it.

    Finally, I agree with James. I think this is being blown out of proportion from a media in the traditional low-news story summer season!

  175. rpaco says:

    From Ferrari’s point of view, they did not affect the outcome of the race, they still won, so did not break the rule.

  176. PaulL says:

    From a different perspective – how about re-instating refuelling during pitstops so a faster driver has that additional (and crucial) avenue to use his speed via in-lap or out-lap hotlaps?

    Take Britain 2006 – Schu used his outlap on fresh tyres to overtake Raikkonen despite the latter having an extra lap or two of fuel. Otherwise there is the attractive skill of pumping in hotlaps before a pitstop if your opponent in front has less fuel.

    I may be in a minority, but I really detest this one-pitstop-then-follow-the-leader kind of racing we’ve had in 2010. If you give two teammates in identical cars a reasonable opportunity to race each other on a dry day, then you’re less likely to find situations like yesterday when team orders are necessary.

    If you’re honest, could you really have expected Alonso to endanger a collision and pass his teammate on a dry day whilst chewing up his tyres sliding in Massa’s dirty air lap after lap?

  177. Gilles says:

    They should remove the rule and reintroduce team orders. It is simply impossible to police.
    In a strict sense, Massa was not given a team order; he was only told that Alonso was quicker and he took appropriate action. It is lame, but I don’t expect the FIA to do anything about it.
    Other teams are doing the same via ‘preserve fuel’ messages. I don’t see the difference and I think Michael Schumacher had a point yesterday and so did DC; in the last race all of a sudden they’re OK, but earlier in the season they are not ? Grow up will you !
    As fans, we should quite simply be aware of them in order to see through the PR mist.
    I find it actually strange that Massa even needed that message and that he made it so obvious: FA has been quicker all year, ahead in the championship and he got his contract extension. All he had to do was miss a corner on those hard tires he has problems with. He could learn a trick or two from Eddie Irvine and his sudden ‘brake problems’.
    An alternative solution would be to limit teams to just one car. Off course, then you would have team principles having a chat with other teams they supply engines to and who happen to drive in front of them …

  178. pb says:

    let each team have 3 chances during the season that they can issue a team order on the track. problem solved. outside of that, the teams will have to manage driver order through the pit stops, if there are any…

  179. Paul says:

    Team order ban should be removed and all radio messages made available to the public(Either on the TV feed or afterwards in highlights or transcriptions).

    If Team orders are employed the teams can answer to the fans and media.

    Pretending there hasn’t been team in orders in every race this season is insulting to the fans intelligence.

    Team orders are part of F1

  180. Wayne says:

    Team orders should be permitted once it is mathmatically impossible for one driver to win the wdc.

    Until then, as long as the rule is in force teams should be penalised for breaking it and I applaud the stewards for having some backbone.

    If I bet £10 on Massa to win a race I want to know that he has as much chance as his team mate of doing so. At times like this F1 commentators, pundits and the community circle the wagons, shrug and say ‘that’s F1′ – not good enough unless you stop calling F1 a sport and just label it light entertainment.

    I’m not interested in paying the price of a ticket to see a stage managed event. With the result being planned the way it was yesterday we may as well have all switched off by half race rather than waiting for a battle for the lead that never came.

  181. Sibusiso says:

    Personally I have no problem with team orders when they are logical (ie in Alonso’s case he is light years ahead of Massa in terms of points with Massa looking out of sorts up to now). I do feel that driver orders should be legal in the last third of the season (as you suggested) and only in the first stint of the race to avoid a situation where one driver leads for practically the whole race only to move over towards the end of the race.

  182. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    I would suggest:

    a) Fine for Ferrari should be raised to $500,000.

    b) No team orders over radio communication until it is mathematically impossible for one of the drivers in the same team to win the championship.

    These types of orders have an impact on the moral and perception of a driver.

    In some ways what Ferrari has done to Massa is so demoralising that it could be construed as “constructive dismissal”.

    He is not mathematically out of the championship, but has effectively been told that it is pointless for him to perform to the very best of his ability.

    1. senna says:

      you are well known, as an alonso hater. Don’t you think your penalty would be somehow different if there was hamilton the one that commited the rule brake?
      I think massa had the chance to disobey the order if he thought wasn’t right. Like barrichello before him, he went for the money, and the security of a dream job.
      IIt’s a pitty for massa, because he was the rightful winner last sunday, but this f1, has the weird hability to shoot itself in the foot, on many different ways.

  183. Daniel Dinu says:

    First I would like to thank you for this well thought and balanced view article. I saw some postings from people that don’t understand the essence of F1, which in my view is a competition on many fronts and a big business as well.
    The driver’s championship is just a portion of the entire mix. Let’s not forget F1 is a big business.Ferrari pays their drivers to do what they are told. And they pay them BIG.
    Ferrari imposed team orders to allow Massa a shot at the championship. Same with Raikkonen, as James reminded us. The same Ferrari gave full support to Massa when he was injured in Hungary. Nobody would have blamed them if they would not have renewed his contract this year, based on the mediocre showings of late. BUT, Ferrari renewed Massa’s contract, so he should be grateful.
    I’m sure Ferrari would tell Alonso to move over for Massa next year, if the champion situation dictates so.
    Let’s not forget that these casrs we see these drivers palying with, belong to their teams. The owners call the shots and F1 is more of a business than a sport.
    Where else we hear every week about sponsors money, revenue split, salaries, etc?
    People should think of the whole story from all angles, not only theirs.

    Now we’ll see an even more determined Alonso to prove he’s the better Ferrari man, trying to beat the Hamiltons and the Vettels of the world. And even a better Massa that would fight to show that Ferrari were wrong. Exciting.
    Ferrari have done what anybody else would have done.
    “Lewis, save fuel”. “Mark, the oil is running out”. “Seb, the brakes are marginal”, and so on.
    The way Smedley handle it was really bad, and as James said, let the team down and exposed them.

  184. Qiang says:

    I think your analysis in this article is well balanced. Ferrari had a few bad races already, so they can not afford to have something like a Vettel/Webber come together in Turkey. You just need to look at points of RBR driver to understand how stupid it was for RBR to let it happen.
    The team order ban should be lifted, but balant manipulation of race can be dealt with like race fixing, not team order. I am sure FIA can find a distinction between those.

  185. nash says:

    I think that we can assume that team orders can be “detected” i.e. the race stewards should be given more room to “determine” team orders, not only by listening to radio transmission but also look at track position, pit to car signals etc.

    I think the rules should also become more firm/concrete:

    I think team orders should be permitted under certain conditions:
    - if driver B has 50% or less points than driver A, then the team can employ teamorders
    - if a team employs teamorders outside the above, then the punishment should be exclusion from the race results. No need for WMSC etc.

    I think from a team perspective the 50% rule is also fair i.e. protects team and driver B

  186. david young says:

    excellent points James.Formula One is a a team sport. I voted “mildly outraged”. in my opinion this was in no way comparable to 2002 where if my memory serve me well, Barrichello was dominant and as you said, it was early in the season and MS was far ahead in points in a dominant car. the first year i followed F1 from beginning to end was 1964. in the final race Lorenzo Bandini moved over on the final lap to allow Ferrari teammate John Surtees to pass and thus win the WDC over Graham Hill. that was what was expected. no, i never want to see what transpired in 2002 repeated, but . . .i don’t know where to draw the line. to me it’s not a black and white situation.

  187. Dev says:

    Only the honest (or maybe literate) sections of the media are calling them cheats


    Cheater – To violate rules deliberately, as in a game.

  188. sky says:

    very nice article. I think team orders are inevitable in F1 and why not? you tell me dont the managers in football devise strategy for a match and sometimes they can even substitute the strikers with midfielders or vice versa depending on how the situation pans out.. F1 is still a team sport yet comprises only of 2 guys however the team should be able to use the 2 resources for the better results. previously as well in 2 races, massa caused Alonso to slow down in australia and china, had team been able to move alonso ahead, he would have better placed in the championship and hence more points for the “team”
    some would argue its individual sport and how u motivate the second driver, i think in order to “deserve” a win, you also need to show a close quali and no one knows how much setup work is done by alonso and massa? only team knows who is doing much of hte workload… who is contributing and who has earned the number 1 place… it makes sense.. it wasn’t like this in australia or china.. team have seen something that they are backing one over the other…

    1. sky says:

      i might just add.. enforcing team orders rule is going to be very hard.. teams already have code words like “conserve fuel” or please change to setting xyz etc… no one objected to these disguised “team orders”

  189. monktonnik says:

    Since we have had the ban on team orders I think that this has been good for the sport. I think the ban should stay and be more rigorously enforced. However, if there absolutely have to be team orders I think I could live with the following:

    1) They should only be allowed once one driver has no mathematical chance of winning the championship.

    2) It must never be allowed to affect the podium positions of a race.

    4) Team orders should be confined to allowing a pass only.

    5) No driver should be allowed to deliberately adversely affect the race of another driver to the detriment of his race, and the advantage of his team mate. I think that rule used to exist before the blanket ban on team orders.

    I do find it hard to agree that there has been an over reaction when 82.3% of respondents to the poll on your previous post where mildly or extremeley unhappy (65.6%) at the time of writing. That sounds like a majority of people espressing a reasonable opinion. I think that some people are under estimating the desire of fans to see fair play, I think that this is in fact an under reaction. If Ferrari get away with only the fine are we to believe that the damage done to the sport is 1,000 less than Mclaren’s spying without taking into account the loss of money from constructors points that year. I think not.

    If any other brand had run a customer survey and got such a negative response I imagine that they would be thinking very carefully about their future. Otherwise you could find casual fans (and those who feel completely disenfranchised) switching off.

    Perhaps it is time for another FOTA fan survey on this very subject.

  190. H says:

    This is a team sport with the drivers heading the game on the track. So allow all team orders and take away the need to “police” it.Whatever internal relations get affected by team orders, it will be up to team managment to deal with it.
    I say allow this and let us have a great rest of the 2010 season.

  191. Chris says:

    You miss the point again James I’m afraid.

    There is a rule, rightly or wrongly, and Ferrari broke it, end of story. That point was made by Eddie Jordan et al. A rule is a rule and neither Ferrari or any other team are able to pick and choose which rule they obey.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well I think you’ll find I made that point very clearly in the first paragraphs. Take another look

      1. Terry says:

        If you favour 1 driver, enter 1 car.

  192. Simon G says:

    Last time I looked there were 2 Championships . . a Driver one and a Team one. Ferrari had a 1-2 regardless of the order of Massa and Alonso so they got their points for the TEAM.

    For the TEAM they didn’t need to do what they did . . . they did it for Alonso and the Drivers Championship.

    What to do ? I would like the WMSC to come down hard on Ferrari to send a message to the other teams . . . Team orders are banned !

    Let the drivers make arrangements between themselves in the situation described by James, not the Team.

  193. Kevin says:

    “Banning” Team orders is laughable at best. There is not a plausible way to do so. It is a business as well as a competition, and the team is obliged to do what it deems to be best for it’s success. Expecting anything less is ridiculous.

    The governing/sanctioning bodies need to quit gerrymandering the rules to achieve perceived parity.

  194. Muzz606 says:

    I don’t think FOTA will stand behind Ferrari, i can’t see it, what Ferrari did was in clear Breach of the rules, (personally i think we need team orders but in a controlled way for example when one driver is out of the championship leader within a certain percentage so if you were to have less than 40% of the championship leaders points after round 13 then team orders can be intoduced) Ferrari should be punished they broke the rules, even if it was the right thing to do.

  195. nash says:

    and final rule:
    - team orders can be allowed when driver B is not anymore fighting for the WDC

  196. Chris says:

    Another point. Supposing you had put a bet on Massa to win and this had happened, how would you feel??

  197. Raf says:

    First off, the FIA will need to act logically and unemotionally when deciding whether to sanction further.

    I’ve read cries from all over to have Ferrari and Alonso stripped of points and the win. But why the need to punish Fernando – as a driver – exclusively? It was the team’s decision to have Massa cede the place, Alonso just drove past a slowing car! So if anyone is to be punished it should just be limited to the team and the results must stand because the drivers were just following orders from their employers. Plus, does anyone have any proof Alonso told Ferrari to let him through? Even if anyone did, the decision was still Ferrari’s AND Massa’s to make.

    Second, No one seems to have been complaining about Hamilton passing Kovalainen in a similar manner back in Germany ’08. And unlike the genuine sympathy for Webber back in the British GP, a lot of the negative reaction seems to be stemming, not from the situation itself, but rather from a direct hatred towards Alonso. Whatever it is the Spaniard does, people always try to find a way to undermine him. Now THAT is ridiculous.

    Yes, I was initially one of those people who cried foul right after Austria 2002, but through the years I understand the real culprit was Barrichello. Heading into that race Schumacher was on 46pts out of 5 races, Barrichello was on 6pts! So by then, Ferrari already knew who they were going to support. No matter how many races there were left to run. It’s always easy to ponder on “what ifs” – as Barrichello loves to do – but the world isn’t built on that premise.

    Team orders should be legalized. What should be banned are all those artificial rules and interventions from third party vendors (e.g. bringing Canada spec tires to other races so they degrade faster) to spice up “the show”.

  198. Jon says:

    I dont think the public would have a problem with team orders in the remaining few races of the season if one team mate is clearly out of contention. In that situation it is likely that two teams are fighting it out. However on Sunday the drivers should have been left to fight it out on the track. I’m getting a bit tired of Alonso constantly having to have his own way even if he is the faster driver. At this stage of the year he should have to pass on the track and not just be handed a clear passage to the win. I didnt think Massa was driving that slow for the majority of the race as he finished only 4 seconds behind Alonso in the end.

  199. Meeklo says:

    Its the controversies which keep me interested in F1 these days. This race would have been boring without it. Otherwise yeah I spent most of the race with it just playing in the background while I browsed the web.

    I guess keep the rule just as it is. Illegal, but vague enough to encourage players to brake it.

  200. Till says:

    I believe the current stance on team orders leads to hypocricy and needs to be reworked. Come end of season and its about positions, all that are complaining now are suddenly guilty of the same thing…

  201. chetz says:

    dunno if the final third of the season wud work james. thats five or six races. this year both webber n vettel or button n hamilton might be in with a shot when that point comes. then what?

    maybe team orders should be allowed only when one of the two drivers has a mathematical chance of winning the championship and the other the 2007 n 2008 example with ferrari involving kimi n massa.that would bring in only the last 2 maybe 3 races into count n is more acceptable than the current situation.

  202. tobi-wan says:

    At last some calmness in all the hype!

    My thoughts on the WMSC hearing: I think a slap on the wrist will suffice. Maybe something like a suspended one-race ban. Nothing to affect this year’s championship I hope.

    All F1 fans will know that team orders happen. Ferrari made a hash of it.

    So I agree a modification of the existing rule would be a good idea. No team orders for the first third of the year is one option, but is it policeable?

    I’m not sure how you can legislate for team orders as long as the teams can implement these subtly. E.g., slightly longer pit-stop, save fuel, etc…

    It’s a team sport after all. Drivers are paid employees of the teams. I prefer to see drivers race head-to-head, but I’ve watched F1 long enough to know that the teams act in their own best interest.

  203. F. Alligatore says:

    In “real life” we can take the example of laws which are
    ignored by the majority being laws which should be stricken from the books.

    And so it is with team orders. Teams know best what they want their drivers to do. We, the fans, may not agree, but unless and until we actually OWN the team,
    our opinions about what the team “should” do are not meaningful in the real world.

    So, team orders need to be made legal. Some fans might not like it, but that’s the nature of life : there will always be things you don’t like, and whining won’t change that.

    In the case of Alonso being given a free pass around Massa, it’s been painfully obvious that Alonso has been much faster than Massa, and this would lead any impartial observer to agree that of the two Ferrari drivers, Alonso has the better chance of winning the WDC. Ferrari are not engaged in a popularity contest, they are engaged in a contest for the world championship.

    And frankly most of you who are whinging will never own a Ferrari anyway, so why should Ferrari care what you think ?

  204. Kedar says:

    Christian Horner seems to forget that just a fortnight back he had removed the newer wing fitted on Weber and put it on Vettel’s car. Obviously he is at a disadvantage as Alonso now has closed up to Vettel. He would rather have Massa getting another 7 points from the race.
    Though it may be interesting for the public to see teammates take each other out of the race, There is a strong business case for someone spending hundreds of millions to make sure that both cars finish and finish in a particular order
    I think it just makes sense to legalize team orders we see this in almost all team sports

  205. Tom says:

    I just felt so sorry for Massa, but putting that aside. F1 needs to decide whether it’s a team sport or a driver sport. It seem to be either of these whenever it best suits, but it can’t be both. Until that is fixed then we will always be having arguments about things like this.

  206. AmandaG says:

    My suggestion would be that after qualifying the have the option of submitting a request to the stewards stating that under x circumstances we would swap driver positions due to x reason. It would have to be signed off by the stewards to allow it. They don’t even need to state the name of a driver if it is driven by circumstance.

    Lets take yesterday’s race. Ferrari could submit the request by saying that Alonso was in contention for the WDC. As mathmatically Massa is also in contention, the the stewards could decline it.

    However, if they said the if leading driver is slower than the driver behind, and the driver behind has another driver catching them with a realistic possibility of both cars been overtaken then the faster car could be let through. That could be a legitimate reason. However, neither driver can be disadvantaged at that point ie one is in fuel saving mode and the other not.

    As I say that would be an example.

    The scenarios would need to be run past the drivers and both sign an agreement to it, then signed off by Charlie. They would then have to notify Charlie during the race that the situation has arisen, criteria met and are they clear to give team orders. If they are, then obviously they may need to provide random scrutineering checks after the race to confirm that the criteria has been met.

    If a team has submitted a request, then it would be made known to the public that a request has been submitted. Not the reason why though. It would be up to the public to guess the reason. That would keep the betting fans happier.

    If for example in China 2008 under these rules, and Ferrari had opted out, it would have been a clear breach of the rules, say (as an example) the penalty would be a drive through for both drivers and a 50k fine for the team.

    They were just 2 obvious examples.

    So team makes a request.
    Signed off by Charlie.
    Team name made public, but not the reason.
    Situation does arise.
    Team makes request as criteria has been met.
    Charlie agrees.
    Switch is done.
    Criteria data is submitted to the stewards (if it is required depending on reason for request being submitted in the first place).
    Then if a switch has taken place, it is made public the reason why after the race.

    Sorry about such a long post.

  207. PNSD says:

    James, my issue with this order was that I still think it is far too early in the season.

    Alonso has lost points to outside influences yes, but that’s a function of the racing that F1 produces. It happens season after season, its something he and the team have to deal with and fight back in an appropriate manner.

    Massa still has a chance in this season. No single driver has dominated. I think the top drivers, Lewis, Jenson, Vettel and Alonso now all have 2 wins each with Webber on 3.

    F1 is unpredictable. We might think it’s safe to go on form and judge via that but form changes. There is no certainty that either one of these drivers will continue to show good.

    This race could have been Massa’s much needed turn around. This could have been the race which saw a floodgate of points open for Massa. We know from 2008 he is capable of fighting at the front, this year things havent favoured him and his head’s been down…. Alonso might have been quicker all weekend, but Alonso was behind when it mattered, and therefore it was his job to make it work and he didnt. In my opinion Massa could have controlled Alonso to the end. Instead Ferrari have now destroyed any chance of Massa getting back his confidence in himself and the team. A year after his accident this was a heartless move from Ferrari. They have ruined a man who has given them so much as a driver and I hope he leaves at the end of season for another team who will welcome his service and dedication.

    Just a little disclaimer. Had Massa been mathmatically out of the hunt, or close to it, then this move could be justified. I suspect this year team orders will happen again but only when the driver in question is out of the title hunt. With so many points left Ferrari seem to think they can tell the future, I just hope they can tell me the lottery numbers ;-)! And I hope of course that Alonso suffers from no mechanical issues to suddenly drop him in the standings behind Massa, but as Murray so greatly says, “Anything can happen in formula one, and it usually does.”

  208. Nathan Smith says:

    There is no irony in this involving Alonso. There is no coincidence. It is no coincidence he was heavily involved in 2007 either.

    Also, Ferrari have clearly lied on a massive scale. That is what McLaren got hammered for in 2007 and also in Australia last year.

    A $100k fine for the breach of a rule and for lying is unacceptable, the WMSC has to act.

  209. KidrA says:

    What sickens the people most is that Formula 1 is a pinnacle of the motorsport. Winning a GP should be something extraordinary. Ferrari makes it look like it’s worth nothing. Giving wins to whoever they want to and whenever they want to. It’s hard to see Alonsos smiling face on the top step of the podium, when we all know he would not won that GP or maybe he would. The most sad part is that we never know, who really was the fastest as the race ended at lap 49.

    Let’s say we allow team orders, then we would have Massa giving his wins away from race 1 and RedBull drivers fighting with each other till the end. Now that’s not fair, isn’t it?

    Team orders should be allowed when 1 of the drivers has lost mathematically a chance to become a champion.

    Talking about the penalty. Team orders are not allowed and Ferrari broke the rules. It was hidden message but still a clear team order. Nobody isn’t going to say: “Massa this is team order, move over!”. So Ferrari need to be punished. Taking away constructor points for current race, that’s 43 points. That’s going to hurt them and they think twice when doing the same again. I think it’s fair.

  210. RB says:

    No team orders until the last six races.

  211. Lilla My says:

    Great, reasonable post James,
    The outcry is definitely disproportionate to the situation. Ferrari broke the rule, but they did not manipulate the race itself as some suggest. They manipulated their own results and nobody else’s as neither Vettel nor McLarens were able to actually overtake them, no matter which Ferrari driver was 1st and which 2nd.

    When it comes to this particular case I would suggest taking the points from Ferrari (WCC), but leaving the drivers points. Ferrari definitely broke the rule, but when it comes to the drivers: theoretically Massa had a chance of winning the race – if he had built a big gap between himself and Alonso then FA would not have caught him and I don’t think the team would in such a case make Massa slow down deliberetly in order to be caught up by Alonso and let him through. They did it because Alonso has a bigger chance of winning the WDC and because he was already so close. Had Massa kept his advantage, there would be no case. Therefore, I would leave the drivers results the way they are as Massa could have won but he didn’t manage to keep Alonso at a distance, leading to the team order. When it comes to acusations that it’s all Alonso’s fault, I would really give that a break. No matter how much the driver is complaining and asking the team to be let through, it’s still the team’s decision in the end. I have no idea if Alonso was really insisting on using the team order, but I know that even if he had, the team did not have to listen to him.

    As far as the team orders go – I feel the ban is empty and they definitely should do something about it. Ferrari did it very blatantly, but if it’s not “he is faster” then we have “you have to save fuel”, one way or another – it’s still team order and the viewers can see it. There are smart people working for the teams and no matter how much they would try to ban team orders, people will always find a way to break the rule if they want to. However allowing it at every stage makes also no sense as we want to see some real fights + it’s unfair and not good for the sport if one of the drivers gets privileged treatment from the start of the season, no matter how good he is. So I would suggest to enable the teams to use team orders once one of the drivers has no (mathematical) chance of winning the championship. That way it would be applied for every team at a different stage of the championship depending on the points of each of the drivers. If the order is used then I personally, as a viewer would prefer it to be clear. People hate to be fooled, so it’s better to say “let him pass for the championship” that “he’s faster”, then we all know what’s going on (but only when the team is allowed to do it already). When it comes to the teams where both of the drivers have no chance of winning, it should be banned for them as there’s no point in using the team order if no one is fighting for anything.

    No matter how hard I try, I don’t know how to make sure that the teams would not use team orders at the early stages of the championship. I don’t think there’s any chance of granting that unfortunatelly.

  212. Briggykins says:

    My head knows it’s a team game and that it makes sense from a championship view and all the other arguments, but that doesn’t stop me feeling disheartened when this happens. You can’t help but feel you’re being tricked and the race has been fixed, even though you know it hasn’t.
    I’d propose a modified version of what you suggested James. Rather than say you can use team orders only in the last third of the season, I’d say you can’t use them in the last third of the race. If you haven’t made a decision by then or your drivers aren’t close enough, then tough. It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but it might seperate the orders from the result and let some different track action take place in between.

  213. Jack Holt says:

    F1 is not just a team sport, it’s both a team sport and an individual sport, so the team should not be allowed to compromise the driver’s championship bid. Some examples of good teamwork:

    - In Brazil 2007, Massa raced shotgun for Raikkonen, despite clearly having the pace to win his home GP. By sacrificing his win he maximised Raikkonen’s (Ferrari’s) chances of winning the WDC, which Kimi duly did.

    - In Canada 2008 BMW put Heidfeld and Kubica on different fuel strategies at the end of the race. This gave them the chance to race each other but avoided wheel-to-wheel combat. In order for Kubica’s strategy to work Heidfeld needed to let him through, from then on it was each man from himself. BMW scored a 1-2.

    - In Germany 2008 McLaren ordered Kovalainen to let Hamilton through. With 16 laps to go Kovalainen was languishing in 5th place and making no headway. Hamilton was out of position thanks to a safety car error and much faster. Hamilton went on to win.

    In none of these cases can the losing driver claim his championship was undermined. In each of these cases the team maximised its points haul. What happened on Sunday doesn’t fit into that category, Ferrari scored no more points and Felipe was relegated to a number two role with half the season to go and 200 points up for grabs. That’s just wrong.

    The ‘no team orders’ rule should stay, but it should be clarified to say that while a driver cannot be ordered to sacrifice his race for his teammate, a team can order a driver to move over when it won’t materially affect his championship bid. In the three examples above:

    - Massa’s WDC was already over, no foul.

    - both drivers were allowed to race albeit on different strategies (and presumably Heidfeld had first call on strategy since he was leading), no foul.

    - Kovalainen was so much slower he was never going to hold Hamilton up for 16 laps, all he could do was ruin his teammate’s race, no foul.

    There will always be grey areas, but I think most racing fans don’t want to see team orders of the type we saw last weekend, Massa has had to sacrifice his WDC bid well before he would have liked to.

  214. Can says:

    Funny how loose is the memory, when convenient:

    Germany GP, 2008. Heikki yields position to Lewis (from minute 2):

    The explanations from Ron Dennis:

    His own words: “Lewis was nearly a second quicker than Heikki through the race and when he was told Lewis was quicker he just let him past.”

    The situation sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But the english media didn’t make a scandal of it. Guess why…

    1. rodrigo says:

      because FA was only about .2 or .3 faster at race pace not nearly a second faster? because FM was *forced* to give his well deserved win to FA? because it was not 1-2 swap and Hamilton went on to challenge the leaders for a *deserved* racing win?

      1. Can says:

        Oh, rite: team orders are OK when you are 1 second faster than your teammate (and, therefore, should be much more easier to overtake him on the track). The logic of it is *beautiful*.

        Also, Heikki yielded his position *voluntarily*. Hilarious.

      2. Jack Holt says:

        Letting Hamilton through didn’t change Kovalainen’s race, he continued to trundle home slowly to 5th, but it did maximise the team’s points as it allowed Hamilton to race to victory: why then is it so hilarious that Kovalainen volunteered to let Hamilton through???

        Ferrari stole Massa’s win from him at the weekend, before he was ready to concede that he was out of the running for this year’s championship. The two are hardly comparable.

  215. Snitch7 says:

    Coultard and other ‘insiders’ have made a big deal of F1 being a ‘team sport’.If this is the case and everyone wants it to remain as such, and to also allow/accept team orders – the only way for it to work is to cancel the ‘Driver Championship’.
    If team orders are the reality, the Drivers Championship is not reflective and therefore should go. Leave only the Constructors Championship. Therefore team X won the Y grand prix. DRIVERS GET NO POINTS.
    That way teams get shuffle as much as they like .

    Mind you, I’m not sure I’d watch, see, I want to watch a RACE!

  216. Lu says:

    The media likes to forget that almost every single race has team orders.
    How many times haven’t we heard: “OK boys, just bring the cars home now. No more racing.? Or something to that effect, especially when the Red Bulls or Maclarens have a comfortable 1-2 going (this year at least).
    Those are team orders. Every single team does it, even for lower positions. They always have and always will.
    This rule’s been a total farce since it was introduced and it needs to go now.
    With Max Mosely no longer in charge, it’s situations like these where the FIA can show that they’ll be changing things for the better.

  217. Patrick Caselli says:

    You only have to look at bicycling for the answer. If a team can’t make decisions or issue orders to it’s drivers, then it’s no longer a team. Is the FIA saying we have 24 teams now, not 12?

    The team orders “ban” is one of the dumbest rules the FIA has come up with. Let the drivers race, but on the other hand the team should always come first when necessary.

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      And why is that? If the teams must come first then why do we even have a WDC?

  218. Anthony says:

    The rule should just be scrapped. Its clear with both Ferrari and Red Bull that there will always be team orders one way or another and so the teams should be allowed the transparency to do it clearly, without bringing the sport into disrepute in the process.

    Infact, the FIA should follow the British governments example of the great repeal bill and go through all of the F1 rules and strip out some of the excessive controls.

  219. Dave says:

    Maybe the FIA could define an agreed situation where team orders can be used. For example where a driver is more than 2 race wins (50 points) ahead of his teammate or in the last 2 races of the season.
    This would have to work both ways, so if Alonso is 2 wins clear in the championship and Massa needs a win to get second place, then this should also be allowed.

  220. Richard Edwards says:

    The rules are clear as they stand. And they should be enforced justly if Ferrari are found by the Council to have contravened them. Having the championship decided in a de facto court is no better than having a team deciding it through orders.

    With respect to the future. I would rescind the rule and replace it with one carefully tailored to the circumstances. There is a tension here. On the one hand the fans have an expectation they will be watching racing unless they are told otherwise. But teams are big business that need maximise their investment. The conundrum is how to reconcile this tension if at all.

    No solution is perfect. But in future teams should be free to nominate a ‘lead driver’ whom they can favour over the other driver through the use of team orders etc. This status should be a matter of public record and could be made before the mid point of the season. In the absence of a declaration by a team that one of its drivers has lead status both should be considered equal and free to race at all times.

    Such a rule would allow the teams to maximise the chance of winning the driver’s championship, which is what no doubt motivated Ferrari yesterday. It would also provide the fans with the prior knowledge that within teams wheel-to-wheel racing had yielded to a long game in the interests of the team.

  221. CTP says:

    Teams will find more subtle ways of instituting team orders, so it’s probably best to start allowing – and embracing – them. Look at the TDF, that’s all about team orders and supporting your team-mate. If the #2 driver does his best to (fairly) slow down the #1 driver from another team, then that in itself is a skill and an interest for viewers, so maybe it’s not a bad thing.

  222. George says:

    I was sickened yesterday by what Ferrari did, but I supported them in 2002, what’s the difference? the rules plain and simple.

    The team orders rule is a joke, name another Team sport where the players aren’t given instructions to follow by the management? For that matter name another Team sport where the big prize is given to an individual?

    I prefered F1 with team orders but I could live with a compromise along the lines of “the race outcome can only be effected by team orders when the losing driver has no mathematical chance of winning the drivers championship”

  223. Mr G says:

    The question is: how bad Ferrari has handled the situation during the race and after.
    If, for istance, Massa has made a deliberate mistake at the hairpin and gone too deep and Alonso passe him, the wider audience won’t have crucified Ferrari for that because it was a plausable mistake, Massa locked up there a couple of times already.
    Feathering the throttle after the hairpin and let Alonso passed the way Massa has done, it was too in your face and I believe Massa wanted to make a point.
    Eddie Jordan has commented that Massa has ben a very good team player, weel I don’t think so at all.
    He has created all this media frenzy letting Alonso pass where he did.
    Moreover I think Ferrari should get a grip and use a more coded language on the radio, most of the other teams have several different setting and coded words.
    The right punishment would be to restore Massa first and Alonso second, banned Domenicali from the pit lane until the and of the season and give Alonso and Massa a 5 place penalty in the next GP.
    Why ?
    Ferrari had the upper hand in this GP, Domenicali should have comunicate with Massa about letting Alonso pased and not Smedley, the Drivers shouldn’t have listened to the pit wall while requested to exchange positions.
    For argument sake.
    If Massa did not let Alonso pass, Massa would have been a hero, Ferrari the villan and Domenicali would have lost his job.
    By the way, I am a Ferrari fan !!!!

    1. Lilla My says:

      I agree with what you wrote about Massa. It’s true he’s been loyal to the team for many years and it might not seem nice to strip him off his victory, but no matter which driver you support it’s quite clear who’s the better one in Ferrari. It might not be the case e.g. in Red Bull, but when it comes to Ferrari, everyone sees that it’s Alonso who can win the WDC, so the team order might be somehow justified, though I (especially as a Ferrari fan) still feel bad about it.

      Anyway, Massa didn’t show loyalty on Sunday IMHO. If they tell you to let the other driver through you either try to prove them wrong and show them that you are also capable of winning by driving faster and escaping your team mate and then doing the same in next races or you decide to listen to them. If you choose the 2nd option you should carry it through, i.e. you should make it look realistic. Letting Alonso pass so blatantly and then actually confirming by your behaviour during the press conference that it was team order is not loyal. You simply have to decide on which side you are – you either listen to the team and stick to it no matter what or decide not to obey the order.

      Some people say that FA was pathetic when he was insisting it wasn’t a team order. I don’t think he was. It was the only thing he could have done. Yes – he gained from the team order so it was easier for him, but if the team decides to deny everything (no matter how pointless that may seem), the driver has to follow the team’s policy. So people now call FA pathetic, but if he had admitted to have used the team order people would have called him disloyal. But then again – for some people everything FA does is wrong.

  224. Ken Staveley says:

    Reverse the finishing positions so that Massa wins.
    If Alonso is such a good driver how come he couldn’t pass Massa without any interfering from the pit wall.

    1. mcr says:

      if Hamilton is such a good driver, how come he couldn’t pass Kovalainen at Hockenheim in 2008, without any interfering from the pit wall.

  225. CTP says:

    Another thought: make sure that teams do not benefit one way or another from a driver winning the WDC. That is to say, make the WCC “THE CHAMPIONSHIP” and all else a sideshow – that way, the team won’t care which of their drivers wins.

  226. Romeo ( MEX in USA) says:

    James once more you are the best. I back you all the way. All your recommendations are right on the money. I agree with Eddie Irvine that it is sad that Smedley and Massa had overblown it to make a point and in doing so had let the team down. Massa has put a ding in his permanence in the team. Right now Alonso is the only chance Ferrari has to challenge the Driver’s Championship. Ade’s proposal is also a good one. F1 is a team sport also.

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      If it’s just a team sport, why do you care which driver wins?

  227. Craig Robertson says:

    I am glad to read a well balanced, objective piece on this issue – they’ve been pretty hard to come by today. There is no doubt that the media are making this a far bigger issue than it really is.

    What I find quite interesting is that the majority opinion within F1 circles seems to be ‘they broke the rules but the rule is stupid’ which differs from the majority public view that ‘they broke the rules, we want to see everyone racing all the time’.

    From the polls I’ve seen on various forums (including this site) it seems to be something like 75%/25% siding with the majority public view. I wonder how that split compares to the balance of die hard vs casual fans that watch races. I wonder if part of the outcry is people not quite understand how this sport really works.

    My opinion is that the rule is stupid. It cannot be policed in any accurate way and rarely will any contravention be backed up by evidence. You also raise the point in your article about ‘degrees’ of common sense. In principle I agree, but you cannot have good rules with degrees of interpretation. It’s been said on this issue already, but how can you objectively say that it’s ok for team mates to swap places in the last few races but not earlier in the championship? I can’t think of any other sport which has a rule enforced in such a way!

    Furthermore, was the plan that caused Red Bull’s incident in Turkey that much different from what we saw yesterday? Red Bull had told Mark to turn his engine down but not Vettel. Is handicapping a drivers engine really any better than just asking him to move aside? The reaction from the Red Bull pit wall and Mr Marko told us all we need to know about what they were trying to achieve that day. At least Ferrari still got their 1-2!

  228. Jason says:

    My suggestion: eliminate radio communication between the driver and the pit wall. Instead, limit all communication to FIA-approved standardized messages (e.g. “pit next lap”) that are transmitted via a display in steering wheel.

    The benefits would be two-fold: it would make it increasingly difficult for the team to issue team orders via a “coded” message, and the driver would have less detailed input from his race engineer throughout the race, making his job more difficult, which would create more interesting races.

    1. James Allen says:

      This seems a popular view

      1. PaulL says:

        Problem is, I think the radio messages over the air add nicely to the broadcast. You get to know the personalities just that bit more.

    2. Meeklo says:

      How about one-way radio communication Driver to Pits ie; “I’m comming in”, “need new tires” so that we still get to hear something on TV. And that combined with no PitBoard or DigitalDashboard messages so that Teams can’t relay any messages. Leave everything completely to the Driver.

      Now that would be interesting!

    3. hesus says:

      limiting communication is pointless – the teams will find a way to communicate.

    4. You could still get coded messages. A certain combination of standard messages = coded message.

      I’d rather we had open communications and just accept that team orders will happen regardless.

      I don’t think we should get too hung up on the odd occasion when a team decides to swap their drivers. Surely it is up to the other teams to make it impossible by getting into the fight and getting between them.

      If Vettel had stayed ahead of Alonso or let Alonso go and kept Massa behind then this situation would never have arisen. The fact is that Vettel was all alone due to Webber’s qualy problems and couldn’t fight both Ferraris. It is not really all that common for two teammates to be together on the track and in the “wrong” order like they were on Sunday.

      Let’s not overreact by banning radio comms just to stop the 2% scenario which crops up now and again.

  229. Rosenblaum says:

    To be fair, Massa didn’t “move over” in 2007. He was asked to box three laps earlier than his fuel levels required. Raikkonen had to put in a series of fast laps to jump him in the pits. In 2008, Raikkonen did “move over”, but he appears to have done it based on a pact with Massa and based on expectations from the team but with no instruction _during the race_.

    Subtle differences, but I can understand how they are all the same in the big picture.

    It looks like every rule breach these days is elevated into a whole “we should discuss and change the rules” argument (see Safety Car episode). Look at other sports, they seem to get along without all this navel gazing about rules.

  230. sky says:

    one thing we need to understand is that ferrari find themselves in a tough situation from championships stand point due to incidents in last few consecutive races… desperate times call for desperate measures and i think ferrari is justified to keep themselves in the run…
    this season would not be interesting if ferrari has lost its chance for championship.. simple as that

    1. Absolutely right! The racing is just starting to get interesting with Ferrari and I suspect soon McLaren taking the fight to Red Bull. It would have been a real shame for true F1 fans if Ferrari were to start to concentrate on 2011 at this stage.

  231. Craig says:

    The FIA should treat this matter very seriously. I would like to see a full transcript of events that took place between Ferrari (drivers and representative) and the stewards.

    Everyone knows that team orders have happened in more or less obvious ways – even after 2002 – but surely most people can agree that what happened was not palatable. There is a distinction of sorts in this instance that is difficult to put one’s finger on. Perhaps, in part, it was the fact that some people would have liked Massa to win for the first time since his terrible accident last year. But what is clear is that Massa had a good chance of winning and if Alonso was really faster then fans were robbed of what was potentially the only real great battle on-track between the front-runners. Alas, the game was up prematurely. Whatever the reason for fans’ unhappiness, one thing is for sure, something didn’t feel right about the events that took place.

    Now, even though some say other teams have imposed team orders on one of their drivers in the past, there is another distinction here and one that I think is the most important. That is, Domenicali told the media that Massa made an error during the race by making a mistake with gear shifting. In addition, the drivers could not give a straight answer in the post-race press conference. But Domenacali in particular owes fans an apology for suggesting in no uncertain terms to the media that Alonso’s pass was an entirely legitimite, run-of-the-mill racing move. Ferrari have underestimated the intelligence of the fans – they have been dishonest. There are many people in F1 who are exceptionally intelligent but the same can be said for many fans too. So instead of telling the truth about team orders being executed by Massa, Ferrari came out with an extremely weak and incredible defence in a somewhat shameless, arrogant and blatant manner.

    Remembering what happened in ther ‘liegate’ scandal with Lewis Hamilton in Australia, I think Ferrari too have a similar case to answer. I have not seen transcripts of their meeting with the stewards but were did Ferrari attempt to deceive the stewards too? Certainly they did if they told the stewards the untruths that they uttered to the fans. I recall that Hamilton and Mclaren scored no points in Australia for their misdemeanours.

    It is very difficult to say what must change, if anything. We need to stop and ask ourselves, does there need to be a dramatic overhaul of the rule(s) governing team orders? I think not. I think fans are more angry at Ferrari’s handling of the matter above all else (as discussed above). But I suggest that stewards be given flexibility and allowed to exercise reason as they have by punishing Ferrari.

  232. Ross Dixon says:

    This one is easily fixed. No team orders until mathematically only one driver on the team can win the championship.
    Holding station for a 1-2 is not team orders just changes in position. Then fans would not have a problem with alterations to the result. The problem here is Massa could still win the championship

    1. The problem is that every point can be crucial as we saw in 2007 and 2008 so we could easily find by the end of the season that this incident has given Alonso the championship by a single point. Similarly he might end up 100 points short or have 50 points in hand by the end of the season. We won’t know until November 14th.

      What about Renault? Kubica has a tangible (but unlikely) chance of winning the WDC whereas Petrov has almost zero chance. Would that make it okay to swap them around if Petrov was leading Kubica unexpectedly? Logically you would say yes but why is that any different to the Alonso/Massa situation.

      It is clear that Alonso has a better chance of the WDC than Massa but even for Alonso to win 2010 will be very hard work given the points deficit and competition from Red Bull and McLaren.

  233. Kurt Raphaël says:

    Dear James,
    Thanks for the great insight. It just annoys me and probably a lot more fans that Alonso himself, get away with it. Remember the controversy late 2008, Alonso won and could keep his win despite cheating. Poor Nelsinho. Fernando is a great driver but it seems that he always gets what he wants. I loose interest in him because he is so demanding to his team and teammates. Every Alonso teammate needs to play second fiddle. Alonso is not and will never be the King of F1. Ferrari signed him because he is a better team player than Raikkonen… If he really was, we would have seen a different race yesterday and he should have racet and given the fans what they all hoped for which was a great move from Alonso on Massa.. Shame on you Ferrari!

  234. B.Ware says:

    Well said, James. I propose that the only way to avoid team orders is to have single car/driver teams. This would also necessitate a pit box for each driver and eliminate the rediculous site of cars queing (and losing time) during safety car periods. Most importantly the FIA needs to make their decisions on merit and not, as has been so common in the Ecclestone-Mosley era, knee-jerk reaction to a over-hyped media only looking to stir up the fecal matter.

    1. Lilla My says:

      That sounds interesting and innovative (something definitely different from all the other ideas) and would reduce the costs I guess, though I personally don’t know how that rule could be introduced (especially that some of the teams opt even for three cars). Getting simply rid of half of these great drivers wouldn’t be good for the sport I guess. Imagine saying good bye to Button (or Hamilton), Webber (or Vettel), Massa (or Alonso). That makes no sense.

      One solution would be to keep two drivers and one car for each team, so the drivers would switch and each would race every second GP (as it’s more interesting to have more drivers fighting for the championship. E.g. take McLaren – if they were to keep only one driver then e.g. JB would have to leave for another team. He would probably find another place but not necessarily in one of the top teams as they already have top drivers and would have to decide themselves which one to keep, thus JB would be unable to fight for the championship, which would be harming for him and the fans). I think that would be the best solution in a suituation with one car for each team.

      Then they could introduce new teams so that the number of drivers would remain more or less unchanged, but that doesn’t seem easy as we can see this year that it’s quite impossible for a team to join and be competitive.
      Then you could also ask the teams to run two separate teams, one for each driver (in order to maintain the current number of drivers), but that would totally increase the costs, while everybody try to reduce them and would not work.

      O.k.these were just my first, absolutely theoretical, thoughts; I have no idea if right or wrong.

      p.s. I somehow got addicted to this site. It seems an island of reason especially after Germany, when so many other sites tend to overblow the whole team orders thing and want to crucify Ferrari and their drivers. Though I must confess it’s so time-consuming, especially that I would like to read all comments. Hopefully I won’t loose my job because of spending too much time here ;-).

      Anyway, thanks a lot James for not being bias and giving great insight!

  235. Shane says:

    I say, re-introduce team orders so long as a method is in place to ensure that a repeat of 2002 doesn’t happen. Maybe once a driver is mathematically eliminated from the WDC then orders can be issued. Maybe if there is a 20% difference in a team’s Driver’s points?

    I think we all want to see the better man win, but I think we also understand that the team is king. Perhaps the teams need to do a better job of promoting themselves above their drivers?

    On a side note, I wish they would alter the qualifying rules to allow drivers to choose their grid position based on qualifying performance. This would have allowed Alonso to start on the clean side if he wanted to. Of course this decision would need to be made directly after qualifying, maybe even upon weigh-in so that the teams can prepare.

  236. Snitch7 says:


    I hate being thought of as so dumb as to believe Ferrari’s lies in all those interviews.


  237. Ian says:

    Blatant team orders of the like we saw in Hockenheim on Sunday and between Schumacher and Barrichello in 2002 attract the fury of fans who are denied a ‘race’ between team-mates (and let’s face it, some of the best wheel to wheel racing this season has been between both McLaren and Red Bull team-mates) and howls of rage over what is seen as ‘fixing’ of the result. And who can blame them – who enjoys a ‘result’ which is manipulated – and whichever way you dice it, thats just what it was. I know I don’t; and Hockenheim was the low point of the 2010 season so far for me – as far as I’m concerned, the drivers championship is potentially prejudiced by the points difference between 1st and 2nd.
    For me, personally, team orders stink – and I think the drivers agree; you just need to look at their faces directly afterward to see that. Imagine the pressure that Massa has been under to perform this year after his accident 12mths ago and how he must have felt out in the lead at Hockenheim when he was told to move over? Junking the team orders rule just because it might be difficult to enforce won’t make any difference to how drivers feel or how the fans see F1.
    James points out that all a team needs to do to disguise team orders is to fabricate a delay through a deliberately slow pit-stop; On that basis, I can see the argument “what is the point of a rule that simply cannot be enforced”?
    The only answer I can come up with is ‘SPORTSMANSHIP’ – if teams want to become expert at the murky art of disguising team orders then let them – I suspect that the fans and sponsors will make their views known to the teams detriment. To give this some teeth I believe that the FIA need to consider a ‘balance of probability’ of evidence rather than absolute proof – the farce that was the Ferrari ‘stance’ at Hockenheim was probably more depressing than the act itself; the impression I got was “……prove it” despite the overwhelming evidence.

  238. Peter says:

    Strip off all the points by Ferrari in that race. A suspended penalty for team disqualification for the rest of the season.

    The biggest punishment is at their image. Alonso is no MS, he is not as welcome, and the teams will gradually feel the heat

  239. JamesD says:

    My suggestions are as follows. They could be thought of as over-complicating the matter though.

    Maybe the rule could be that team orders are allowed when one driver no longer has a mathematical chance of winning the championship (this would cover the ’07 and ’08 cases I think, from memory)

    Realistically however, while the above is simple it’s not realistic as you could say that Bruno Senna still has a mathematical chance.

    So, my second suggestion is to define a reasonable chance. So I propose that when one driver leads another driver by greater than 20% of the available points left to score. i.e. with 8 races left there are 200 points available so if a driver has a 40 point lead over his team-mate he becomes eligable for preferential treatment. The actually percentage may need to be fiddled with a bit.

    Also, to prevent another Austria ’02, ordes shouldn’t be allowed till the 2nd half of the season.

  240. Haas says:

    Team Orders are a reality in F1 and that cannot be ignored. If a team deems it necessary for it they can do it in so many ways that can easily go undetectable. So there is no point in policing this.

    Ironically if this was for P2 rather than the race win, nobody would have bothered too much about it.

    FIA’s approach should be to penalize the team for harming the name of the sport. What Ferrari did so blatantly surely cost F1 its credibility.

    The radio conversations only hurt Ferrari’s reputation and they will have to answer their fans at some point.

  241. Lionel says:

    Ferrari appear to do exactrly what they want. maybe the rule book should be transalated into Italian. When they say Teams should not test.. Ferrari have a Filming day. When they say no team Orders.. Ferrari say, it applies only to other people.. When a Front running Ferrari makes a pigs ear of passing back markers,, ferrari want back markers banned, When the Safety Car rules do not fall in their favour, they start questioning the existence of safety cars.. all that within 1 year.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      Actually Lionel, all that within a couple of races! Just Hilarious!

  242. Teddy says:

    Team orders could be authorized if one of the drivers on the same team is out of the points race. It’s as simple as that !

  243. Radoye says:

    Maybe if there was a cap on how much a driver can make from the team and team sponsors – very low set cap, as in just above the average working class guy’s wages – and they were instead being paid handsome reward money by FOM based on their finishing position and performance in-face (lap times, number of laps led, number of overtakes made etc), then their interest would be not to do what team bosses demand from them but rather what’s best for themselves, to race as hard as they can every moment of the race.

    The teams would then still have the constructors championship (with the money and prestige that comes from it) to battle for.

  244. Thomm says:

    James, if I may, I believe you as well as the teams have forgotten about the viewers.

    It doesn’t matter whether or not team orders are justified regarding team results – F1 is entirely based on fan and viewer support.

    If people prefer to watch a race that is not being tampered with – and who wouldn’t – the FIA and the teams better deliver .
    Or at least keep up appearances .

    Defending what has happened in this race is a slap in the face of every fan.

  245. Daniel Mawby says:

    Team orders (i.e let your team mate past) should only be allowed when it is mathematically impossible for the driver to win the title without other results going their way.

    i.e (in old money) If Hamilton led the championship, Vettel was 9 points behind, Webber 6 behind and there were 4 races left. Vettel can only win if Hamilton doesn’t finish 2nd in every race, where as Webber could win if he finished 1st in every race regardless of what Hamilton does. In this instance team orders can be invoked (in webbers favour).

    Or another suggestion is that a team can invoke team orders when they like, but if they do they have to agree to share the drivers championship, So if Alonso wins the chamionship goes to Alonso – Massa (much in the old days when they shared cars)

  246. Lionel says:

    Ferrari appear to do exactrly what they want. maybe the rule book should be translated into Italian. When they say Teams should not test.. Ferrari have a Filming day. When they say no team Orders.. Ferrari say, it applies only to other people.. When a Front running Ferrari makes a pigs ear of passing back markers,, ferrari want back markers banned, When the Safety Car rules do not fall in their favour, they start questioning the existence of safety cars.. all that within 1 year.

  247. DiegoP says:

    Team orders should be banned until one of the drivers of the same team does not have mathematical chances to get the championship. That happened in a natural way in Ferrari in ’07 and ’08 and both drivers were recognised for their professionalism and team effort. What happened last Sunday was a sad charade.

  248. Dave says:

    Much was said about how Massa was, before the race, 31 points points behind Alonso.

    It sounds like a big gap, but that’s only equivalent to something like 12 points in old money (1x win + 1x 7th place = 31 points with the current system). Hardly impossible considering how many races are left.

    Obviously, though, that situation would have meant Alonso would have been further adrift in the championship (only by 7 points, mind!). But with so many races to go, Ferrari should have let it play out.

  249. Jamie says:

    I strong believe the leadership of both Ferrari and Redbull need to get Public Relations training from Mclaren!They have both made a mockery of the sport with some of the decisions they have made.

    Millions of people around the world follow the sport, I personally live in Nairobi,Kenya. Taking this into consideration Ferrari should have looked for a better way of making the switch, for example at the Pit-stop. Incidents like this make Formula a hard-sell as a sport.
    After Schumacher’s retirement F1 was injected with Life again and I personal haven’t missed a race since 2007. The FIA must punish Ferrari severely for reversing the gains the sport has made.

    As for Fernando Alonso I have always been an admirer of his exceptional talent but it is now being overshadowed by his inability to control his emotions. He is quickly becoming the biggest villain in the history of F1. It would be a great tragedy if all the negative aspects of his career clouded all his achievements. He needs to start playing the PR game to save his legacy as one of the sports greatest.

    1. mcr says:

      The image we get of Alonso is the one the media and the participants in the blogs want us to have. If they insist on having a villain they will have it.

      No matter what Alonso does, there will be always someone who will find him at fault.
      Because he is obviously someone very powerful, who controls his team to the point of robbing documents of Maclaren without anyone at Maclaren having any idea of this, he can decide that a team mate crash for him and the team goes and obeys him….. Man, wouldn’t the other drivers wish to have the same influence that he has.

      I think everybody here should be more independent minded and stop repeating the same kind of things over and over again.You know by repeating them they just don’t become true.

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        The truth isn’t determined by a show of hands. Alonso’s actions and attitude have made his reputation. He alone has created this particular truth.

      2. Jamie says:

        Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is a great driver and at the end of the day he is human but he needs to control what people see and hear. That’s my opinion, to really go down as a Legend you have to work with the public’s perception. If that means changing your character so be it.

        Case in point, Nelson Piquet won 3 world Titles and Aryton Senna also won 3 World Titles but Senna is the driver nearly every F1 fan ranks as the all time greatest!Is it real?Maybe, but a big part of his Aura is perception.

  250. Vinola says:

    As you wrote, fans accepting or disapproving of a specific team order depends on the circumstance- even with the ban in place. I can’t imagine that anyone, Massa included would object to similar orders if Alonso alone had the mathematical chance of winning the championship when this occurred. Any future rule allowing team orders should have that criterion- that team orders will only occur when one of the competing drivers in a team no longer has a mathematical chance of winning the championship. That, in my view, would avoid teams being in a position to make judgments that inevitably make them vulnerable to charges of favoritism by the unfavored driver and his fans.
    As for this incident, Ferrari can claim (rightly or wrongly) that Alonso has the better chance of winning the championship. Most fans disagree with that and quite rightly so.

  251. Scott Mercer says:

    James, I thought I was in the minority in this and kept quiet!

    I completely agree with what you said regarding common sense. Of course many other teams would do the same chasing for the WC. It was exactly what DC was saying on the BBC1 coverage – the rules should be looked.

    I think decisions need to be looked at individually though, the case we have here is that Alonso is ahead in the championship by some distance of Massa, whilst at the same time, just as far behind the leading pack. Ferrari has the right idea as they need to get behind one driver now – why?

    We are well into the season now – past halfway. Whilst the competition is fierce from 4 other drivers taking up points.

    To sum this up briefly, my key points would be:

    It is a team sport – no question.

    Team orders should be allowed.

    There should not be a designated number 1 driver at the start of the season – perhaps this can only be done after the seasons half-way point.

    The driver should still ultimately take the final decision to move over for the good of the team.

    PS. I do feel for Massa in this situation. How gutting must it be, to drive in F1 for Ferrari, qualifying well and winning the race, yet you need to move over. Especially after the year he has had.

    Formula One can be so engrossing without the actual racing!

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a soap opera!

  252. stoikee says:

    Another great insights James. I can’t help thinking that the reason the “code” was so obvious was that maybe Ferrari didn’t have an agreement beforehand regarding letting Alonso pass. If they have they could have made it very discreet and have said something like “Go to mix 10! confirm?” and Massa would have understood it. But maybe they just want to convey a message to Massa that they think he will figure out and wanted Felipe to make a decision and he said Ok (even though he didn’t like it). Just my opinion.

    1. Garoid McG says:

      This is what I think happened, for the reason you gave. It had to be very obvious, and yet not be a literal instruction. If there really was no prior agreement with Massa, then Ferrari have not technically issued a team order. They have just supplied information which Massa and the rest of the world have interpreted as an instruction, when it actually technically wasn’t. This is a rock solid defence. If you allege team orders, what was the order? When was it issued?

  253. Guyon says:

    I have no problem with Ferrari getting a 1-2 finish yesterday, they ran the best two cars and deserved the points. However, I was not happy about the way in which they decided who should win. If Alonso was faster then he should have passed Massa on the track, or at least shown that he was capable of doing so. I found myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Eddie Jordan that the decision robbed fans of a chance to see some racing.

    I can’t see how F1 can have a ban on team orders while there is a team aspect to the sport (which I like). But at the moment there is a ban and that means that all the teams should adhere to it. If the rules get changed then they are changed for everyone. If Ferrari are not punished, or not punished enough, it will just open the door for the other teams to start ignoring the rules too.

  254. Steve says:

    I agree that were team orders legal then there was a good case for Ferrari using them in this race. Obviously the problem is that they aren’t legal and so the FIA can’t allow Ferrari to benefit from them.

    It is subjective when they are justified so difficult to codify. I like the two-thirds of the season rule, I’ve been thinking that myself. Of course we aren’t at the two-thirds point yet so Ferrari couldn’t have used them in this race.

    Everything should be transparent and should be clear before a race, so there are no surprises. Team orders should be explicit, not hidden by odd pit stop calls or unlikely driver errors.

    Team orders also apply to individual races, not just to championships. In Hockenheim 2008 Hamilton and Kovalainen were on different strategies and Hamilton’s strategy was affected by a Safety car. Hamilton came out of the pits behind Kovalainen, Kovalainen let him past and Hamilton went on to win the race.

    I think the following are legitimate reasons for team orders:
    1. To prevent one team-mate compromising another’s strategy, when they are on different strategies.
    2. When it significantly improves the chances for the team in the race, e.g. only one driver has a chance of winning.
    3. Asking team-mates to hold station after 75% of the race, as used to be common when we had refuelling.
    4. After two thirds of the season has been completed and one driver has been nominated before the race as the team’s main championship contender.

    I think it’s particularly important that it is transparent, let’s have the fuss before the race not afterwards.

  255. Matthew says:

    To clarify, in 2007, Massa did not let Raikkonen through, Raikonnen in fact got through during the second round of pit stops.

    The problem this weekend was that it was just so blatant. I think the current rule is fine. If Alonso had been quick enough, he would have got past, or he could have got close enough to Massa so that Massa could make a mistake….

  256. gaston_pdu says:

    FIA should penalize ferrari in the way of seconds added post race. In such a manner felipe became winner, alonso second and vettel third. will be the right thing to do this time.

  257. Henri says:

    The main problem is how Ferrari and Alonso (yes, he too with his comments/reactions that he was the deserving winner. Well, guess what, you were not!) handled the whole situation.

    You can’t tell your driver that he can win this race if he keeps it up and then when he does ask him 20 laps later to move aside.

  258. Mike says:

    Two points:

    1) Has the FIA got it in for Alonso and Ferrari?
    Like you said James, this is not the first instance of team orders, so why the Draconian measures?

    2) Can you belive the hypcrosy from red bull and mclaren? No team orders at mcmerc? Someone forgot about, ironically, Germany 2008. Or Spa 2005. Perhaps Whitmarsh should tell Coulthard about mcmerc’s no team orders policy.

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari felt that way this weekend.

    2. Tim says:

      Spot on you are…how quick they forgot when the can drive the bus over their opponent… themselves.

    3. Frank says:

      Spot on!
      I do not see everybody here calling cheaters to McLaren for Germany 2008, the same place different actors.

      If there is a future penalty in points to Ferrari drivers then by the same token we should remove the title to Hamilton for 2008. I know it sounds like a non-sense because it is a non-sense.

      I wish they leave Ferrari along and remove/amend the rule.

    4. Anthony says:

      So… if I kill you, it is not the first time somebody gets killed.. no fuzz about it, right?

  259. ian says:

    ‘leaving aside the rule specifically banning team orders for a second’

    maybe some of the teams who are just off Red Bull’s pace should hire a circuit and do a bit of testing. Of course it’s against the rules but some people think it’s a silly rule … so thats okay isn’t it?

    1. kayjay says:

      Good one, I like it.

  260. Jasper says:

    That’s a good point James about Brazil ’07 and China ’08 when Ferrari had to use team orders for the Championship. Which they had to do! What I don’t understand is that both of those occasions were both clear breaches of that same written rule, ‘Team orders are forbidden.’ But they went totally unpunished, that rule doesn’t have any conditions to it, but after the German GP they dish out a $100,000 fine? Let’s have some consistency…

  261. Rosenblaum says:

    If team orders are in fact allowed, what’s to stop a team from hiring a clear second driver just to drive around become a moving chicane to the teams rivals?

    If the rule is modified to allow team-orders in the second half of the season, he would use the first half of the season to earn a reputation for defending aggressively. In the latter half, when team orders are allowed, he would qualify just behind his team mate and drive just slow enough to hold the rest of the grid back and protect his teammate from aggression from behind.

    If you qualify the existing rule so that team orders are allowed only if there’s no mathematical chance left for the driver in question, that too can be orchestrated if they can find a driver willing to play this game (and as the story with Piquet suggests, there seem to be drivers who are willing to do a lot).

    Agreed, there is an existing grey area around the rule as it stands today, but if team orders are allowed in any form, the grey area can only become much much larger. It’s kind of an all-or-nothing rule, unfortunately.

  262. Toni says:

    It’s a bit ironic all of this when everyone knows that team orders are being given in every race or at least every race where the title contender or in the case of teams at the lower end, the driver that can make a mark are benefited.

    When Button was told to save fuel a few weeks ago, what did that exactly mean? Ok… I know it wasn’t an order to let anyone pass but it was an order for Button not to hastle Lewis. It is a team sport at the end of the day and you’ve got your pros and your cons in whether they should be allowed to happen or not.

    Obviously for the racing enthusiast it’s better not to have team orders beacuse obviously we want to see everyone racing eachother and we want a spectacle. But then again there’s alot of money involved in this sport apart from the prestige… What was Massa to gain from finishing in front of Alonso in a 1, 2 for Ferrari? Obviously fro Massa its the euforic situation of what he lives for which is winning grand prixs… But for the team, they couldn’t give a hell about Massa’s measly 7 point gain on Fernando whereas Fernando Winning adds pressure on the front pack apart from throwing the spaniard right back into the title hunt for sure because Ferrari are competitive again and look real hot.

    About the press goin loopy on this one… It’s obvious that it’s because it’s Fernando Alonso on the benefiting side because due to many reasons, some where Fernando’s at fault in the past and others where there were others at fault, well some or much of the press don’t like the spaniard to much.

    It’s all relative to which side of the fence you’re sitting on whether or not it upset you or not, with what happened in Hockenheim. But for Ferrari it’s a different story and they know they’ve got a very good chance of going for this year’s title and they’ve already made many cock-ups this season and they weren’t about to let this one go by without getting the right result. Only, that they cocked-up in the way in which they done it! hahaha…

    Alonso was fastest all weekend and he was faster than Massa yesterday and Ferrari know full well that Alonso is faster than Massa in general.

    1. "for sure" says:

      Alonso was so fast that he coudn’t win without it being gift wrapped!

      1. Toni says:

        Does the fastest driver always win the race? NO!

        If you’re incharge of a team that has the potential to win a championship and you have a driver who’s consistantly faster than his team mate, what do you do? Think of all the money riding on your actions!

        That second question is in the spirit of a team leader.

        I’m not saying that it’s a nice thing to see! As a racing fan, I only wish that things could just be more brutal and let the drivers go all out in search of a victory. I think we’d all like that but things don’t work that way and they never have done.

        There are team orders flying around all the time in Formula 1. Only that they’re not done in such a sutpid manner as they were on sunday. Also add to that Massa’s childlike actions in making it bloody obvious to all that he’d lad a team order and that he’s an inferior driver to his team mate. If I was Massa I’d feel the same way because he had to suffer the same thing driving with Schumi and Kimi! Nothing’s changed… only the name of his team mate has changed and if he doesn’t like it then he can move to another team, maybe HRT. He’ll be number one there for sure and he’ll have another brazilian as a team mate under the guise of a Senna.

        Nothing’s been gift wrapped! This is FORMULA 1… The question you should make it to your self mate… What are your motives behind your quiestioning…? What was that famous remark by William Shakespeare? There’s your answer! ;-)

      2. "for sure" says:

        I was hoping to find somewhere in your reply an explanation as to why Alonso could not win on merit.

      3. Toni says:

        ‘for sure’…

        You can search for whatever you like but I’m the only one who can tell you what I mean or what I want to say!

        Fernando was all over Massa but seeing as they drive identical cars, it’s always dificult to overtake. It’s difficult to ovetake anyhow in F1 and that makes ot even harder. Alonso had already tried one manouver when Massa almost took Fernando out and that’s where I feel that Ferrari knew thet had to take action because if Ferraro miss out on the driver’s title by 7 points, the ‘Tiffossi’ would be asking questions at the end of the season as to why these things weren’t sorted at the time.

        In 2008 there was another blatant team order, only this time benefiting Lewis Hamilton where Heikki Kovalainen was told to let Lewis pass… Where’s the difference? It’s been happening this season aswell as it does in every GP. The only difference is that Ferrari made a hash of the situation as we all saw.

        Michael Schumacher in an interview published today has said the same thing. It’s a team sport and whoever can’t understand that small part in their contracts where it says “you will comply with all team requests” then they shoud stick to racing a car in their own time wherever it’s safe to do so.


        I don’t know whether or not Fernando is the best overtaker or not. He’s definatley done some great manouvers on many big names in the past. If we look back to Imola in 2005, we’ll see that for 14 laps, Michael Schumacher in a far superior car couldn’t overtake Fernando… It was close and it was great to watch, but there wasn’t an overtaking move. With the way the top cars are so closely matched and the fact that same team cars shouldn’t have any difference in their output, then unless there’s an error by the other driver, there won’t be a skillful overtaking move by any of the drivers in the present Formula 1 season.

        In brief… Ferrari did what they had to do, only that they where terrible in the way that they did it. The only over the top remarks coming out into the public eye are all coming from one source and all I can say to that is “Sour Grapes” comes to mind! ;-)

      4. senna says:

        he is not the best overtaker in the grid. But he did a good job this weekend for a change. We should all be glad ferrari is back in the hunt, eventhough i think the chances of winning the chamoionship are long gone. Too many mistakes made by alonso and the team. This title was there for the taking, and they didn’t get the job done.

  263. David says:

    1.Punish the yeilding driver with a 1 race ban because he’s the one with the ultimate control and not the team.So Barrichello would get a 1 race ban for allowing Schumacher past.Massa gets a 1 race ban for doing the same with Alonso.
    Racing drivers are there to race.
    This rule would stop teams orders.

    2.Allow team orders only for the 1st half of the season.

  264. Charlie says:

    Surely team orders should only be allowed when one of the team members mathematically has no chance of winning the championship?

    That is why it is, to be frank, blindingly obvious that it is OK for Raikonnen to overtake Massa in Brazil 07, but it’s not OK for Schuey to overtake Barrichello in Austria 02 or Alonso to overtake Massa in Germany 10.

  265. Jonathan says:

    Maybe the rule should be team orders are allowed only when one driver in the team is no longer able to win the championship, i.e. at the point where it’s mathematically impossible for him to win. Who’s to say Massa won’t have some good luck in the next few races and end winning the title himself?

    Alternatively, teams could be made to declare at the start of the season whether drivers are equals or if one driver is subordinate to the other. In the first case, team orders never allowed, in the second the number 2 driver can be ordered to support the team leader.

    Or we could just have one car per team.

  266. PDS says:

    No team orders until the last third or 5 races sounds like a workable proposal. What I objected to most was that Ferrari treated the fans/viewers like idiots with their blatant lies, it makes a mockery of the sport and the rules.

  267. Ssk says:

    Team orders should continue to be banned.You cant leave it up to the driver to take the decision, as no driver would like to give the position away ,only he would be pressured by the team to do so.If they cant fight it out on the track and think its “ridiculous” they shouldnt be in racing in the first place.

  268. Nilesh says:

    Simple solution: Do not let the leading driver on track in the race be passed by the lagging driver unless the leading driver has no mathematical chance of finishing higher in and at the end of the championship than the lagging driver.

    This rule would make sense for both the ’07 and ’08 passes involving Kimi and Filipe as on both occasions the driver who was passed had no mathematical chance of finishing higher in the championship standings than the passer.

    This rule would work for any higher of the two possible driver positions in the standings, not just the first position in the championship.

  269. Jasper says:

    I think we should remember James, that Alonso’s and Ferrari’s Championship hopes were really on the ropes (to use a boxing analogy) prior to this weekend. So I can totally understand why Ferrari took the decision that they did, it was in the best interests of the team to give the leading driver in the Championship maximum points to haul him back into contention.

    However it didn’t make for easy viewing because we tuned into see a race. And I as I’m sure everyone else was, were enjoying a great race where Alonso and Massa were fighting for the lead and then just for Massa to surrender that lead to the car he had been fighting off at the hairpin shortly before just left me feeling cheated and empty.

    So yes I can totally understand why it had to happen, it is after all a team sport, but that’s not what the world wide TV audience tunes into see! So you see there’s conflicting interests there between what the fans want and what the teams want. And you just can’t keep everyone happy, unfortunately.

    I think you’re spot on, there shouldn’t be any team orders until the final third of the season. That’s the best compromise for both the fans interests and the teams interests.

  270. SPIDERman says:

    ANY ACTION that interfears with proper racing and final result should not be entertained at all
    VIEWERS worldwide want to see racing and this negates the purpose of formula one being the pinacle of sport if teams interfear with action on the tract to suit their purposes.
    THE FIA must clearly draw the line and protect these drivers from any team machinations that force them to tow the team line and “CHEAT”

  271. Dontmindme says:

    What your analysis misses, as do all the other I have read, is that the long term future of F1 depends crucually on whather television viewers watch the sport or not. This incident and the 2002 incident saps the credibility if the sport in the eyes of TV viewers. If they think in simplistic terms the races are fixed, then F1 becomes no better than wrestling, and TV audiences will decline accordingly. That will enforce budget cuts on the teams (via lost sponsorship) far more harshly than anything Max Mosley proposed.

    This is not about hardcore race fans, nor is it about the real politique of team racing. It about the sports image to the ordinary majority who want to see the best go motor racing.

    Whilst I understand what you are saying, and that there are degrees in this, I ask you to see that the vast majority of the TV audience that counts (the ones the sponsors want to advertise to) only hear the word “fixed” without any degree, and they dont like it. Worse they just might stop watching it.

  272. Henry says:

    Its cheating. Its a disgrace. It should not be allowed. Under any circumstances. It should not be excused. Every race should be fought for, every championship point should be fought for, especially with regards to the overall title, not gifted to a driver by his team-mate.

    I know people out there will say, oh its been going on for ever, and its part of Formula 1 dont be so naive, but I dont give a damn, I would like it to be fought between drivers, for every single point. Either that, or scrap the drivers championships and make it an all-out team sport. With overall point and standing for the team being the important factor. But the current situation is silly.

    1. James Allen says:

      Would you feel the same way if McLaren or Red Bull had done it?

      1. Chris says:

        I asked myself the same question James and the truthful answer is no! I would understand why peole were as upset as I am now buti would defend mclaren on the same basis as the ferrari fans are now!! God how I love this sport :) scrap the rule that is the only way forward!

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Let me congratulate you for this REAL proof of sportmanship!

      3. Henry says:

        I really hope so. possibly angrier. But, I am aware that it is part of the sport, and i can see that with the dual championship they are always going to want to issue team orders. But that doesn’t mean it has to continue. It would be nice, in my eyes, to see them outlawed and the teams stick to the letter of the law. Of course the teams wont like that, but maybe the fans will…or maybe just me(!).

        I do agree that the current regulations should be changed because the current situation is silly – either they should be illegal and the law respected, or not illegal. My position is clearly in favor of the former.

      4. monktonnik says:

        I would honestly feel exactly the same. This has nothing to do with partisan allegiances to a team, driver or even the fact that I am a native English speaker. I felt very disappointed that in Turkey when I heard Red Bull and Mclaren talk about fuel saving. I am glad that the drivers involved ignored this and went racing. It gave us two of the most exciting bits of racing this year.

        Arguably the best man won on the day, but in totally the wrong way. I have no love for Massa and probably prefer Alonso for his fighting spirit etc. But what was done was illegal and robbed the fans of an on track battle. That is why this is so unpopular. I don’t think anyone would have complained if Massa had been overtaking in that period after the pit stops when his tyres weren’t actually working.

        No team orders should mean exactly that. Whatever we say about the past, F1 should have moved on from this kind of thing. The fans showed their opinion in 2002 and now they are showing it again.

        These moves don’t just affect the championship in a positive way for one team. They also deny victory to someone else. I am not a gambling man, but if I had bet on Massa this weekend I would be furious! In fact when you consider that if Massa hadn’t allowed Raikkonen past in Brazil 2007 Lewis would have won the championship (just!) in his first year.

        Really, everyone should follow the example of the Brawn team last year. Their drivers fought up until the championship was decided and I think that added to the tension. All of a sudden Button’s WDC title doesn’t look so undeserved.

        At the end of the day I think that F1 really needs to ask itself who it’s customers really are. We saw a decline in the interest for the sport when Ferrari/Schumacher were doing this kind of thing. Is it worth risking that again?

  273. Nikolai Currell says:

    I was appalled by the switch mainly as it would have been nice to have seen Massa win the race after what he has been through and it is also nice to see the “petulant child” Alonso beaten by his team mate occasionally. Sadly I think this is the last we will see of Massa in the same race as the front runners – his confidence will be gone!!

    As for the suggestion, I suggest they ban team orders for the first 75% of the season and then fully allow them for the remaining 25% when it will be clearer which way the title is likely to go. The teams will then have a choice on how to proceed with their 2 drivers. All the radio communications are available anyway so it will all be out in the open then and as it is part of the agreed rules the fans will not feel cheated.

  274. george hopwood says:

    The whole thing was a farce.I watch the racing to see the drivers win,not giving up position to others.Feel very sorry for Massa and the Spanish driver was so childish in the BBC interveiw afterwards it made me cringe.Ferrari get banned for a few races,that will teach them to grow up.

  275. Ayrton says:

    James, agree that the rationale behind the decision might make sense (and probably other teams would have done, or have done the same)and that rules need to be reviewed. I think a lot of the overreaction by media and fans has to do with:
    - Very poor execution by Ferrari after making the decision. As you said this could have been managed quietly in the pits, instead of the way it was managed. Ferrari should have expected Massa and Smedley were not going to “digest” this easily and should have avoided creating the opportunity for them to make their point
    - Alonso’s radio transmissions during the race. From my personal perspective open broadcast of radio communications are quickly becoming Alonso’s worst enemy. His “this is ridiculous” comment showed an Alonso with a sense of entitlement that clearly does not play well and that gave the impression it was mainly him from the cockpit pushing (or more like demanding) the team order. Given his history and his past outbursts against “unfairness” and “manipulation” in the sport you can see the implicit contradiction (or should I say hipocrisy) that personally annoys me the most
    - Ferrari’s (and Alonso’s) ludicrous and ridiculous attempt to make us believe that it was Massa’s decision to let Alonso through. I understand they can’t just acknowledge what they did, given the whole thing will still be reviewed by FIA, but they should not insult people’s intelligence with their fairy tales

    All in all Ferrari shot themselves in the foot. I guess Christian Horner should not feel that bad about his questioned actions this year, seeing that even an experienced and well established team like Ferrari is making dumb management mistakes.

  276. Nick Pauro says:

    I agree with Nick… I mean James!

  277. Roger says:

    (One of) The explanation(s) given by Ferrari as to why they felt it necessary to switch positions doesn’t stack up. Yes, Vettel was close, but not close enough to manage to overtake, and yes Alonso closed up, but only by 1/10th a lap when Massa wasn’t impeded by backmarkers. Yes, Massa initially struggled to get his brake balance sorted on the hard tyres but once that had been done, he was fast enough to win the race.

    In one of the early transmissions that was broadcast, Rob Smedley said something like “You need to put the quick laps in now and you can win this race” – it sounded like Rob knew that the call would come unless Massa could prove he was “fast enough”.

    As for punishment? I’d advocate a removal of constructors points for both THIS race and the next. Hit them where it hurts – the FOM money awarded by constructor position / points.

    I’d also like to see Massa credited with the win, but I’m unsure if that will happen.

  278. Galapago555 says:

    Just to end with all this hypocritical comments from the British part of the media, may I recommend all of you to read the following words:

    “Heikki was troubled by oversteer in his first stint, which we attempted to correct at his first pit stop, but he still struggled a little in his next stint. That being the case, he wasn’t able to match Lewis’s pace today. But it’s the mark of both his professionalism and his sportsmanship that, aware of his situation relative to Lewis’s, he made it relatively straightforward for Lewis to pass him… and once again he showed a winner’s grit and determination. It’s a joy to have two drivers who are not only super-competitive but also super-cooperative.”

    It was Ron Dennis, after German GP’08. And I have just copied and pasted it from McLaren’s site:

    Please, can anybody explain me what is the difference between this (I imagine) “competitive, fair and square, wonderful, cooperative” behaviour and the “blatantly cheaters from Ferrari” yesterday.

    Or maybe the difference is that McLaren is a British team with a British star in those days(now 2), and Ferrari is a f***ing Latin team with st*pid Latind drivers??

    1. Irish con says:

      The British public is without the most biased bunch of jealous people you could possibly imagine. It’s the same with there football team and the arrogance. They think they can do what they like but scream blue murder when it’s happens to them. James I must admit you have changed my mind on you today after Reading your single comments. A big thankyou for being fair and trying to talk sense to your readers

      1. monktonnik says:

        I am sorry, I think you are wrong. I think that in general the British F1 fans are relatively non-partisan. For example, you don’t get people dressing up as Fernando Alonso’s family and taunting him as you do for Lewis in Spain, and you don’t get people throwing objects at drivers (again Lewis) after the race as you did in Brazil last year. Every country is going to support it’s own drivers and teams, this is natural, but certainly not to the point of xenophobia in the case of Britain. I can remember sitting in the stands at the British GP this year and hearing cheers for Vettel when he was passing cars.

        Here is a list of drivers that I have supported:

        Irvine (Easily the most colourful of all the drivers, and I was so disappointed when he didn’t win in 99)
        Schumacher (from when he joined Ferrari, because he showed tremendous strength of character and determination)
        Button 2007 onwards (in fact if JB hadn’t had a drive for 2009 I was going to support Vettel)

        As far as the English football team goes, make no mistake: the English fans blamed the players mostly for their performance in the World Cup. They were disgraceful and no amount of disallowed goals could have hidden that.

      2. monktonnik says:

        Just to be absolutely clear:

        I am not saying that all Brazillian or Spanish fans are partisan and guilty of those worst examples of behaviour.

        Sorry if anyone thought that and was offended.

    2. Roger says:

      From what I recall of the race you cite, Hamilton was not just faster than Heikki, he was seriously faster, both before the “pass” and afterwards.

      At no point on Sunday was Alonso significantly faster than Massa – on clear laps Alonso was perhaps a 1/10th faster at most.

      I admit to not liking Alonso because of his history of throwing the toys out of the pram when he doesn’t get his way – see Monza, time @ McLaren, time @ Renault. But I have a lot of respect for Massa in the way that he handled 2008.

    3. Henry says:

      I think what is actually the case is that the British F1 fans have a very short term memory, especially when it suits them. I am as guilty of that as anyone – shocked and appalled with the sport when the renault race fixing came out, when Lewis lied to the stewards, etc etc. But everyone loves the sport, and so despite being on the brink of giving up one week, in two weeks time by the next GP everyone will just glaze over and enjoy the show. I dont think it is particularly arrogant, jealous or biased. Those are excessively strong words; its simply a case of forgetting the bad bits about the sport as quickly as possible, because there is an apathy amongst the fans that cheating, or whatever you choose to call it, always has, and always will permeate the sport.

  279. Alistair says:

    This is only my second post, James; but I felt compelled to write it!

    Something serious must be done about this incident; and quickly. Otherwise, the message is that it’s ok to switch drivers around like this – at any stage in the championship. Contrary to what some might believe, this is actually a very rare phenomenon now. For it’s rare that a driver would relinquish a position, let alone a win, to his team-mate when it’s still mathematically possible for said driver to win the championship. This is because drivers generally want to win! It takes a ‘special’ sort of driver to relinquish a position in this way. A driver who does so cements himself in the eyes of the faithful as a subservient, second-rate driver: a DC, a Rubens – a Massa.

    Massa has officially capitulated to Alonso in full view of the world. If this goes unpunished, he will similarly be expected to get out of Alonso’s way at every subsequent race; and, for this, he only has himself to blame. It would be disastrous for the spectacle and integrity of F1. Think of the fans. WE make this sport. Not the drivers. Not the teams. Not the FIA. If we don’t watch, then F1, as we know it, dies. And the fans won’t watch if F1 becomes the motorsport equivalent of WWE. Many people already doubt (rightly) whether F1 can be called a ‘sport’. What are they going to think if it’s declared ok for a driver to give a position, let alone a win, to his teammate? When Football teams deliberately field an underperforming side, such as 11 reserves, to rest their key players for a big match in the near future, as Manchester United famously did, then it’s investigated and declared illegal – despite its being in the best interests of the ‘team’.

    Something has to be done by FIA. Otherwise you can bet your mortgage that Massa will do this whenever he can for Alonso; and that Red Bull and others, though probably not McLaren, will no doubt follow suit; again, at ANY opportunity…

    The Solution:

    This all has a simple solution! I.e., Team orders, in every team, should be banned, completely, until it’s mathematically impossible for one of the team’s drivers to win the WDC. That’s clear, fair, and obvious. Any alleged use of team orders prior to this condition being satisfied would then be investigated; and evidence would be considered on a legal basis: either beyond all reasonable doubt or on the balance of probabilities. It would be very difficult, therefore, to get away with using team orders, even if it were done ‘professionally’; and teams would err very much on the side of caution as they wouldn’t want the stewards or the FIA to come to a ‘judgement’, with their masses of evidence, on whether team orders were used.

    The Penalty:

    Now, on both of these legal standards, Ferrari is guilty. They also mislead the stewards by persisting with their poorly concealed lie, which, as Hamilton discovered at Australia 09, is a serious offence. So Ferrari must be punished. For the lie, Hamilton was excluded from the results; so, being fair, Ferrari’s two cars are similarly excluded from the result of the 2010 German GP: all points are lost; the other drivers move up and gain points accordingly. For the team orders, I would give Ferrari a two race suspended ban: if there’s any sniff of any foul play over the rest of the season, then, and only then, would their ban kick-in. This would clear up the mess, fairly, and send all the right signals out to the unimpressed world.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for coming in with that

      1. Nilesh says:

        Hey I said the same thing in my comment above!

    2. Nick Hipkin says:

      Very good point that most seemed to have missed, Ferrari’s lying is comparable with Mclaren’s from Melbourne 09 so the punishment should be consistent

    3. Freespeech says:

      A point well made and one which I agree with.

    4. Frank says:

      By the same token as I said earlier on, should we do the same for the Germany 2008 GP? or should we used double standards?

      It does not surprised anymore how the fans have very “selected” memory.

      In my view, team orders should be on the open unless we have 1 team = 1 driver. Anything else it is unworkable.

    5. Alan Goodfellow says:

      I agree 100%. Your suggestion of banning team orders until one driver cannot mathematically win the title is a fantastic idea!

      A tweak to the current rule to bring this in seems like an excellent solution to the issue!

    6. drplix says:

      A very well argued position. I agree wholeheartedly. As James so clearly articulates, to ban team orders would be counter productive and would likely reduce the excitement of the season climax.

      Making team orders permissable once a driver is mathematically out of contention clearly is in the best interests of the team and, ultimately the championship run-off.

      I also agree about Alistairs proposed punishment. It was not the infringement of the rule – a bad, ambiguous rule is arguably there to be broken. It was the cover-up and lying that deserves sanction – just as for Lewis and Mclaren last year.

      I think what most riles people is inconsistency. We demand fair play with rules we can interpret using common sense.

      James please do all you can to pass on Alistair’s excellent views.

      1. Tim says:

        I fully agree.
        For me the cover-up was far worse than the crime!

  280. Sharp_Saw says:

    Is it fair that one team is favouring only the driver closer to the championship leader even though the other driver still has a mathematical chance of winning the championship–whereas the other teams have both drivers in contention and cannot do the same.

    In Brazil 2007, Raikkonen had 2-3 laps of more fuel than Massa and was close to Massa all along and even when he exited the pitlane, Massa wasn’t far behind. Raikkonen had already annihilated Alonso at Silverstone in a similar way by staying out for about 6-7 laps more laps during his third sting when Alonso was about 5 seconds ahead of him; so there is every chance that Raikkonen won the Brazil race on merit even if it was pre-agreed by the team that Massa would let him pass.

    Raikkonen did not have that luxury in Brazil as he had to somewhat work for it. He also pulled away considerably from Massa during the final stint.

    In Suzuka 2006 Schumacher overtook Massa on the start and finish straight on the second lap and fairly ahead of Alonso before the engine faliure which was explained as Massa having a tyre problem.

  281. ronmon says:

    First of all, Massa was holding up Alonso, allowing Vettel to close the gap. Felipe also slammed the door on Fernando’s passing attempt a couple times and nearly wrecked both of them. What Smedley said over the air was true, but because of his closeness to Massa, he wasn’t as subtle as he could have been and the apology was an even bigger mistake from a team perspective. Then, the way Felipe allowed the pass was done so blatantly that all deniability was gone.

    Like it or not, team orders in F1 happen all the time. As you pointed out, James, if it is done subtly everyone lets it go with a wink and a nod.

    I don’t think the rule needs to be changed, but like any rule there are ways to get around it without creating a fuss. I agree that the easiest way to get it done was a slightly long pit stop for Massa. Smedley and Massa are too close pals for them to pull this off quietly and Felipe is desperate to prove that he is not a number two driver.

    1. johnpierre rivera says:

      great point… if only everyone could look at this in a more professional/racing way.

    2. Henry says:

      Vettel was not challenging them. He was not even close enough to see the switch happen, that is a very weak excuse.

  282. Paul says:


    To some extent I agree – the media reaction is overblown and I see it unfathomable that Ferrari will be thrown out of the championship.

    However there are some ethical issues behind that which need to be sorted. For example, and I’m not suggesting this happened yesterday, what if team members bet on one of their cars to win (or even come in a particular position) and then manipulated the race in order for that to happen. Also, what about the paying fans at the circuit; who paid to see a race between supposedly equal drivers reasonably early on in the season and were then deprived of it by actions outside of the driver’s control?

    In addition for the stewards to have made the punishment of a fine it would be reasonable to assume that they believed Ferrari’s story to be inaccurate, and as such at least some of the story to have misled the stewards. As such you could make the link with the Hamilton affair at Australia last year and it’s possible the WMSC would do that.

    As such I would expect Ferrari to receive a suspended sentence at the WMSC; possibly a one race ban suspended for one year. As it’s not as black and white as Hamilton’s case though, I would not expect them to lose any points.

    At the same time I think a change in the rule is justified; particularly as fans can draw a distinction between early and late races as the championship draws to a close. Your suggestion is a good idea; the other one I would suggest is that team orders (or the artificial/intentional manipulation of race positions) are banned until either one of the affected drivers is mathematically unable to win the championship. Your way would be simpler though and at least then is easy for fans to understand.

    1. James Allen says:

      I would be arguing this way whoever the team was, McLaren, Red Bull etc. This has nothing to do with Ferrari, more a point about team orders

      1. Chris says:

        If you are a gambler and follow F1 with enough insight to put large amounts of money down on a particular driver, you should also know enough about the way F1 works that team orders are a fact.

        If a gambler doesn’t factor this into his pitch, then the fool deserves to be parted with his money.

  283. Grabyrdy says:

    Punishment for this one :

    - Reverse the driver points so Felipe gets 25 and Fernando 18

    - dock Ferrari all the team points

    - two million dollars fine.

    The FIA brought in this rule – it’s up to them to police it. That’s what they’re for. The fact that the stewards have handed out the maximum fine should be a good guide.

    For the future :

    - Team orders only allowed in last 3 races, and then only if second driver has no mathematical chance of winning WC (or so close as makes no difference – detail easy to work out).

    It’s no use sll this stuff about realism and money. The fans pay for a spectacle, and they’re entitled to have one.

  284. Silverstone79 says:

    The public only feel frustrated when they believe they are watching a battle for position when in fact they are not. The people that follow F1 on sites such as this one know the score and would not have been surprised at the move….! certainly wasn’t

    A rule saying no team orders will always give rise to this kind of situation where the “instruction” is cloaked in coded messages. It is a bad rule.

    If a situation arises where 1 driver is clearly ahead in the championship then a team order allowing him to benefit should be permitted…however this should be declared at the start of the race.

    Press Briefing from Scuderia Ferrari reads
    “given the repective position of our drivers in the championship and the unfortunate loss of points suffered by our leading driver in the last 2 races we wish to announce that should driver Massa be in a postion in the german GP where he is leading driver Alonso, driver Massa has been instructed to yield this position. Driver Massa has agreed to this to assist the team in its goal of achieving its aims in the championships and will best suit the needs of the team etc etc etc”

    If we know whats going on it will not come as a surprise and the average viewer will not feel cheated from a battle for position which was never going to be in the first place.

    Allow team orders, but let us know before not during or after the race !

    With regards to the hearing the FIA should say that they are guilty of breaching a rule but thank them for highlighting what a poorly written rule it was, bank the cheque, thank them for their time and go for lunch.

    1. mcr says:

      That way the fans will know and so would the other teams. Why should other teams know how X team is going to proceed in a race?

      Besides,did any one really have any doubts that the ferrari drivers were going to swap positions?

      Team orders should be allowed and no, neither we nor the teams should be clearly made aware of it.

      Why is Horner so pissed off? Why does he mind it so much whether Alonso is in first position and not Massa? Vettel was still going to be in third position. Because aAlonso is now nearer their drivers in points. Because he fears Alonso in a Ferrari and not Massa.

      1. Silverstone79 says:

        It wouldn’t matter if the teams knew, as they would be expecting it anyway….it is the public that need to be informed and more importantly the casual viewer. It would allow the commentary team to explain what was going to happen should things develop on the track in a certain way. You only feel cheated if you do not know the rules of the game.

  285. Roger Korn says:

    The team orders ban is unenforceable. Team orders need not be written or given by radio, so the evidence of a violation might not be unambiguous. I don’t like the scenarios that emerge in the absence of a ban, but as long as there are teams, there will be orders, explicit or implicit. Any good ideas out there?

  286. Umar Ali Hayat says:

    It just a matter of Sour Grapes. It seems to me the media its getting any action on the track that they have to focus on Off Track Debates. So they told Massa to move over. Massa is not in this title and everybody knows that and people who thinks he is, is living in a cloudy dream land.
    The only Person able to challenge for drivers championship is Alonso and they would have hurt their own chances if Massa had taken point of him.
    A team does it in front of you or the back of you, Its the same thing.Ferrari runs a Team not a individual race they will want to see the ferrari driver champion and people are trying to say why ferrari why why make this guy the champion because this is the only guy who has a shot at it.
    And Secondly Horner already has had his bad taste when Vettel and Mark collided. Poor Lad they lost soo many points because they were stupid. this couldve ended in the same thing but it didnt.
    Its all Media Rubbish and As james said its over reaction.
    GROW UP people This is real life.

  287. Michael P says:

    Amen Mr. James Allen. Well said!

    Anyone who is calling this race manipulated and wants Ferrari banned is simply a casual fan and does not know the first thing about F1. Its been apart of F1 since the beginning and will continue to be a part of F1. The only reason the FIA introduced a rule to ban swapping places is because they did not want to make it so obvious and ruffle peoples feathers. However it continued to happen since 2002. In recent times Kovey let Hamilton go at this very race 2 years ago, Massa let Kimi go in Brazil and Kimi returned the favour a year later… and now Massa let Alonso go. Is it the fact that it was so obvious that is making people mad or that it benefitted Alonso? Even Christian Horner’s comments just go to prove that either he is incompetent as a team director or he is two-faced. First he lets his drivers race and they crash and he blames 1 driver and then he takes the wing off one car and gives it to the favoured son. So you telling me if Vettel needed to get infront of Mark to win the championship he would let them race. Gimme a break. People who are mad that this went down should get their head out of the sand.

    P.S. The only reason Ferrari is denying it happened is to meet the face of the rules but we all know every top team does it and will do it if they need the one driver to get more points for the driver’s championship. Whitmarsh said last week that he isn’t ready to make Lewis the number 1 driver yet… Enough said.

  288. StJimmyL says:

    James – Would you feel the same way if you had £100 on Massa to win yesterday? Imagine if you were due for a 16/1 rake and then Ferrari decided that they wanted Alonso to win instead! If you want to favour 1 driver ONLY ENTER ONE DRIVER IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think people who bet on F1 should be under any illusions that things like this happen. It’s part of the risk. I’ve no sympathy for those who bet, then bleat

      1. Alanis Morissette says:

        Indeed. These days you can always lay off your bet in play on betfair anyway. If you had done that halfway through the race, you could have got a very decent sum anyway.

        Always lay off bets in F1 once you’ve achieved a decent profit. I’ve learnt this lesson to my cost before through mechanical failures and accidents. And in a case like this, it was always going to happen. Who in their right mind believed that Massa would take the flag with Alonso behind him?

    2. JimmiC says:

      You pays your money, you takes your chance. Was anyone seriously putting money on Barrichello in the mid-noughties, or Irvine in 1998?

  289. Robin says:

    I think team orders should only be permitted when one driver is mathematically out of contention for the WDC.

    In my opinion the notion that Massa played a TEAM game makes no sense – Ferrari still received the same number of Constructor’s points and their actions only helped Alonso. The result helped Alonso, not the team – in fact, it’s probably had the opposite effect on the team! If FA wants to be the Driver’s Champion then go out there and drive for it!

    Points have been made about Fernando being quicker all weekend and how that should be taken into account! Why?! Like Ferrari were quoted after qualifying – the points are only dished out on Sunday afternoon. If you can’t deliver when it counts then that’s the driver’s problem.

    I’ve been an F1 fan for over 20 years but yesterday’s actions made me question what is becoming of our “sport”.

  290. Realyn says:

    Well, i would like to see it like this, even tho its nearly impossible:

    Allow teamorder
    Allow refueling
    Allow slowing down your rivals/blocking them(however you also need to “fix” overtaking)

    However what absolutely dont want soo is a fixed number 1/number 2 lineup from the start of the season. And thats where it gets nearly impossible.

    Another idea would be to allow teamorder, holding off your rivals and stuff for the last x number/percent of races.

  291. Nick B says:

    Take the emphasis (and temptation) away from the team, and make it an offence for any driver to deliberately allow his teammate to gain an advantage, unless he has declared he is not competing for the World Driver Championship, or unless there is a clear and measurable problem with the car.
    The penalty for breaking the rule would have to be automatic loss of points for both drivers – and by extension the team.

    Half way through the season driver A is doing OK but is slightly out of touch, and although driver B can mathematically still win, he (in conjunction with the team?) takes the decision to withdraw from the WDC.
    Driver B can still score points for the team and still pick up trophies, but because he’s dropped out from the WDC, his points don’t count towards the title, and he’s free to play a supporting role for driver A, without any ambiguity or deception.

    Policing the rule shouldn’t be any more difficult than policing the regulations regarding deliberate blocking or crowding, so any attempts to circumvent it would have to be done extremely well – i.e. not so blatantly obvious that it brings the sport into disrepute.

    Obviously not all driver would agree to this so early in the season, and in most cases you’d never get them to agree until it was mathematically impossible for them to win, but at least everyone would know where they stood.

    It might cause problems for drivers now again, but in most cases people want to see evenly matched teammates fighting it out in equal equipment.

    Finally, if the points were reversed, would Alonso have given way for Massa? Would Ferrari have even dared ask?

  292. Nick172 says:

    Ferrari should have their driver and constructor points taken away. Also a big fine should be given to the team for tryng to mislead the stewards.

    The blatant lying in public is what got most people’s backs up. If they didn’t think they were guilty of imposing team orders then they should have been honest about what happened. Either that or made it far less obvious.

    Alonso didn’t deserve to win the race just because he was faster than Massa all weekend or he was ahead in the Championship this early on. Anyone that suggests so is guilty of supreme arrogance. We may as well just hand out points for qualifying and not bother racing otherwise.

    If I was Massa I’d be seriously tempted to look elsewhere for next season as his position within the team has been made clear. Renault would be glad to have a driver like Massa I’m sure.

  293. Alex Milne says:

    Orders to over take a team mate mathematically out of the title race or holding stations late in a race to not over stress a car/engine
    that has to do more races is one thing.

    However how Ferrari acted yesterday insults the intelligence of the viewing fans that follow the sport.

  294. Michael says:

    The very cynical thing many people seem to forget (and which may play very well a big role in the final verdict) is that only a few weeks ago Alonso was screaming bloody murder because he was under the belief that the race outcome was fixed. And now his team goes out there and does it for him (again one might say, although the previous time he was driving for Renault). Had he been an honest man he would have screamed bloody murder now too.

    But then maybe Briatore gave Dominicale some expert advice on how to run a team when he visited them on July 21….

  295. tom says:

    the mathmatical chance of winning thing is a good idea, or if teams nominate a 1 and 2 driver at the beginning of the season (maybe).
    either way orders should be allowed because there’s no getting away from them as MB, DC and EJ have said many times before now.

    TBH tho James i’d rather you championed the following if you wouldn’t mind ;)

    1. allow flexible front wings and stop insisting that the bottoms of the cars must be flat. that would make a huge difference to over taking and it wouldn’t be a case of push to pass which is about as artificial as it gets.

    2. Bin KERS, F-ducts and DDs so there is better parity among teams, or insist they can only run one or the other at any given GP, whichever suits them best at any given track (OK, not so sure about that one)

    3. reduce the maximum size of the fuel tank to about 75% of the total fuel allocation making a fuel stop necessary and not just obligatory and retain the maximum fuel allowance.
    this would introduce a fuel stop and fuel stratagies, also if they start the race with less fuel they will be buring less fuel as they are lighter (play the “green” card, pardon the pun).

    then stop the tyre changing rule cos it’s stdpid and wasteful. you can run any tyre you like when ever you like….except…. in qualifying.

    each driver has only one set of tyres for the entire qualifying session. it’ll reduce trafic, save tyres and make stratagy all important, again. then something could be done about fuel loads as well. could be interesting (if a little confusing).

    seriously tho guys, do you agree with any of that?

  296. Alanis Morissette says:

    Hypothetical situation.

    Let’s say the constructors championship has been decided (Ferrari have won it).

    Subsequently, in the penultimate race we have an order like so after a strange start).

    1. Massa (mathematically unable to win WDC)
    2. Button (also out of contention)
    3. Alonso (in contention)
    4. Vettel (in contention)
    5. Hamilton (in contention)

    If we allow orders (which I’m not strictly against), should they then be allowed to ask Felipe to drop back two places, thus giving Alonso an extra 3 points which could be crucial? The team could genuinely argue think this is in their best interest to secure both championships – even if it means losing a race!

    It’s completely plausible. Would anyone accept a team making such a call though?

  297. Matas says:

    I think the rule banning team orders itself is overreaction to the 2002 episode and is not needed in Formula 1. The episode happened because in all those Schumacher years Ferrari was built completely around one person and functioned by the strict rules. But this is more an exception than the rule in the whole Formula 1 history, I think we can hardly find any team with such No.1 driver status as Schumacher enjoyed. So now teams aren’t using such blatant and unneeded team orders not because of the rule, but for a bunch of other reasons: teams harmony, fans reaction, possibility that favored driver can pick some accident that would write off his championship chances, etc. So nothing will change if we simply abolish the rule – we wouldn’t see a repeat of the 2002 episode anyway.
    So my suggestion is to abolish the rule completely – actually it haven’t changed anything. Teams were using team orders before and are still using today only in a more subtle way. And the rule simply punishes bad actors.

  298. Jordan says:

    I think overt team orders shouldn’t be allowed unless one driver is mathematically eliminated from the championship, such as Massa/Raikkonen in 2007. However, more subtle team orders should be allowed.

    I believe the best solution would be for the FIA to stress that, as things stand now, team orders are illegal, but it is not illegal for a driver to not defend his position. Therefore, so long as the driver has the pace to set up an overtaking maneuver, a team won’t be penalized if one of its drivers doesn’t prevent his teammate from overtaking. In this case, once Alonso made his overtake attempt, Massa could have conceded the position with perhaps more dignity for himself, and certainly more for Alonso, the team, and the sport.

    To me, this seems like the best compromise for a sport in which teams and individuals compete in the same arena.

  299. russ says:

    Team orders are for little boys on bicycles,
    There is NO ROOM for it where men are concerned.
    Rubens and all the other number 2 drivers at ferrari are an embarassment to the sport.
    Any reporter that feels team orders is ok is WRONG!
    Either the millions of fans are right OR the journos are right not both.
    Which is it?

  300. Jonathan Kelk says:

    I think there is no way to stop these team orders. Such a rule is completely unenforcable, except when a team has been a bit careless, like Ferrari this time.

    What I would propose is that when two team mates are next to each other in the standings of a race, the team can apply to have their points awarded for the race swapped. It’s not a good solution, it’s not ideal but I feel it’s the lesser of several evils.

    In that way Massa would have got the credit for winning the race, which is the main thing (provided of course he still won!) – because Ferrari then don’t need to swap the places. He would get the winning trophy, and stand on the top step, if that is what he deserved.

  301. James H says:

    If we have overt team orders then how can we have a legitimate WDC unless teams make it clear that they have No1 & No2 drivers? Sunday proved that it was in the interests of the driver (Alonso), not the team. Ferrari had a 1-2 finish with maximum points sown up already.

    I believe that half the issue is how Ferrari basically lied to the media and us, the fans, and tried to pretend that it was all Massa’s chosing – please, spare me the BS and don’t insult my intelligence. Alonso also tried to bluster his way through – At least MSC had the decency to push Rubens to the top box, gave him the 1st place trophy in Austria eight years ago. and was embarrassed about the whole affair.

    Reintroduce team orders but don’t expect us to have a punt on who might win the race when it can be fixed.

    As Damian has noted before me – take away Ferrari’s team points and reverse Alsonso’s and Massa’s positions. There will be an outrage and hell to pay should ALO win the WDC by 7 points or less.

    1. Rc79 says:

      You say “There will be an outrage and hell to pay should ALO win the WDC by 7 points or less” what were your thoughts when Hamilton won the title back in 2008 by only one point, bearing in mind that the German Grand prix was also manipulated that season by KOV letting Lewis past? Double standards maybe?!

  302. Geoff Osborn says:

    The simple answer would be to ban all communication between the pits and the cars, that means radios , sms to a digitial display or any kind of contact apart from the pit board.

    Then let the best driver win

  303. Oliver says:

    James, I agree with most of your points here, specifically the hypocrisy of the outrage at this race and not at other similar incidents in the past, and most importantly that regulation 39.1 is unworkable.

    However, when you say ‘leaving aside the rule specifically banning team orders…’ I must say that it skews the terms of the debate wildly. Consider this hypothesis: Situation: Ferrari run a movable front wing, are fined and ordered to appear in front of the Council. An F1 blogger the next day writes ‘Leaving aside the rule specifically banning a moveable front wing for a second, the championship is well advanced and it is closely fought. Ferrari feel aggrieved that they are at least 30 points worse off with Alonso than they should have been.’ – The facts of this hypothesis are exactly the same as your post above. The whole point of the fall-out from this IS the rule, it can’t be left out, even for a moment! The rule banning moveable front wings cannot be interpreted to factor in the
    fact that one driver has been ‘unlucky’ of late, or that he might have a better chance of winning a championship than a team-mate. Or that the end result has produced a five-way title fight. It doesn’t matter what Horner/Vettel/Webber or Whitmarsh/Button/Hamilton *might* do at Brazil or any other race. The rule as it stands now has been broken = which is the same as Ferrari having broken ANY other rule. If this rule is repealed, then fair enough. You can only judge the legality or otherwise of a driver’s or team’s actions based on the rules at the time of the incident.

    If you speed in the pitline, you take the penalty. If you pass under yellows, ditto. Skip a corner and take a position…Don’t obey blue flags.. this rule is no different. If someone doesn’t like the rule, like those who want blue flags removed and drivers having to weave through backmarkers, complain and lobby. If someone isn’t prepared to complain for an amendment or removal of rules until AFTER repugnant results occur, it entitles others to the view that that person/team was in deliberate violation of those rules and deserves to be punished accordingly.

    The question of the role of team orders in Formula 1 and whether we as fans accept that a) it’s fair game b) it’s always been a part of the sport and will continue to do so is irrelevant. It’s an interesting discussion to have in and of itself, but not the crux of what happened yesterday – a clear infringement of a rule.

    Moving forward, your suggestion of the ‘final third’ is good in that it gives clarity to teams, drivers and fans alike. We’d know when these things can and can’t be done. However some would argue that the ‘final third’ is arbitrary and doesn’t make the idea of robbing fans of a race any more palatable. What if an incident occured in the first race of the last third, instead of say the final race? I’d bet that this would be worked out by the teams behind closed doors in contract clauses or ‘gentleman’s agreements’ between drivers. I.e. ‘I’ll let you win this if I get a better contract/No.1 status next year’ etc.

    As Brundle said yesterday, if you want to punish bad behaviour (in this case giving team orders) how is it any better ethically for the same thing to be done legally in the 13th race but illegally in the 12th race of the year (assuming an 18 race year)

    We, the fans, want to see drivers winning the title by overtaking on the track, not secret handshakes and promises of contract renewals for ‘taking one for the team’ In those instances, we’d have situations like yesterday where fans are ‘robbed’ of a proper race.

    My suggestion is one of ‘mathematical possibility’ so that in any race where it is mathematically possible for one driver to win the Driver’s Championship, (so could be up to the final race of the year) it would be illegal for him to concede a place to his team mate who has more points. Where one driver has mathematically zero chance of winning the title, it should be allowed that his team mate could pass and bolster their own chance of the title.

    If any suspicions of ‘team orders’ surfaced the stewards would easily be able to look at the points and make a ruling accordingly. Similarly, we as fans would know precisely the point in a season when the drivers have a fair go at the title and when one must play second fiddle to back up the team. Commentators and pundits would also keep us aware throughout the year as such circumstances arise. If this rule had been in force this season, yesterday would be an example of where one driver HAD a mathematical possibility of winning, hence the move would be illegal. Of course, the big test of this rule would be where a driver HAS a ‘mathematical’ chance of winning, but in reality has little hope of doing so, (I.e he has to win every remaining race and hope his team mate failed to score each time) This amendments has its disadvantages, but hopefully the advantages to
    - The fans in CLARITY about when it is OK/wrong to meddle with races.
    - The drivers ‘I have a fair shot’ ‘Now it’s fair for me to help my team mate win’
    - The sport – it can say it promotes racing up until the point where nothing can reasonably be gained by 1 driver depriving his team mate.

    will all make this rule a good amendment to 39.1

  304. Laurence H says:

    I think this article has missed the point. We watch the races hoping for action and in the knowledge that there is a rule preventing manipulated results. Yesterday this rule was broken in such a depressing way when I was genuinely excited to see if Alonso could force his way past Massa.

    I know that ‘hold station’ orders are frequently given, and are questionable, but there was something particularly insulting to me as a viewer in yesterday’s ‘order’ and subsequent lies.

    You either have a rule or not. But if you do, then breaking it must be punished. And that includes ‘hold station’ breaches too.

    1. Oliver says:

      Absolutely agree Laurence and I think your concise synopsis is exactly what has not been made explicit in the fall-out from this.

      Everyone has their views on team orders, ‘hold orders’ dodgy pitstops, conserve fuel.. is F1 a team sport, will it always happen… This is part A of the debate.

      Part B of the debate is about the actual facts of yesterday’s Grand Prix vis-a-vis the sporting regulations. If rules are breached, they get punished. Part B is what Alonso/Massa did on Sunday, which broke the rules. Forget the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of Part A.

      The problem is that ‘Part A’ debaters keep referring to other ‘team order’ incidents both pre-and post-2002. Thus, the debate focuses on the role of team orders in general and not on a specific breach of 39.1.

      Part B debaters get sucked into having to defend one incident over another, unnecessarily embroiling themselves in the nature of the ‘Part A’ debate I’ve outlined.

      Please can we have the fans splitting this up more and saying LOUDLY and clearly that a breach of the rules must result in a punishment. Just like Spygate and Crashgate. As for not punishing previous similar decisions, two(or three..) wrongs don’t make a right. In football referees give penalties in one game where they might not have in another..

      The Council and Ferrari International Assistance need to think VERY hard about making a new law on the back of this one. Hard cases make bad law, after all.

      I’d hate to see some token ban to ‘please’ the fans, we’re not baying here.

      I know there are the Ferrari lovers and people who’d defend Lewis if he burst the tires of his opponents before the race with a needle, but the majority of fans regardless of loyalties demand and deserve a system that is clear and accountable and one which provides ‘due punishment of responsible persons’.

    2. Colin says:

      Agree, break the rule – pay the penalty! The rule may or may not be perfect, but it is the rule in force.

      Oh and wasn’t it Ferrari and Alonso who were complaining about race results being manipulated in Spain by the stewards.

      Ok for them to manipulate the results though it seems!

  305. Eyeteaguy says:

    I think the FIA should reverse the order that Ferrari created. Give Alonso a 5 second penalty and give the win back to Massa. It was a great race right up until that point.

    Most forms of racing don’t have team orders, why F1?

    And if you are to have team orders, make sure the viewers are not aware of it. Use a code word, then have Massa run wide at turn 3, oops! Make it clear to him before the race that he is to move over.

    If the FIA sees a team order it should reverse the fixing everytime. This will stop it or force it underground.

    I hope Massa knuckles down and out qualifies and out races Alonso for the rest of the year. Then lose the championship to Hamilton by 7 points. That will show Ferrari the error in its ways.

  306. herman says:

    It should be completely up to the drivers and the teams.

    There is no way the FIA can control and check this.

    What if next time the pitstop of Massa is a few seconds slower on purpose. It’s still a team order but no evidence.

    The only way FIA is able to ban teamorders in a teamsport they should only allow one car per team in Formula One.

    Also a teamorder is to give an advantage to one driver like in Hockenheim. But is giving one driver a new front wing not giving advantage to a driver? Same thing!

  307. guy says:

    Future rule change – no team orders UNLESS a driver cannot mathematically beat his team mate.

    If this rule is strictly enforced (ie a drive through during the race for the driver illegally let through) – then this will encourage competition between drivers because as soon as you are out of touch with you team mate on points- you can be legally asked to move over.

  308. guy says:

    FIA hearing – suspended ban for remainder of season – they broke the rules they must not do it again this season – hopefully this will spur massa on to keep performing.

  309. Olawale says:

    It is simple really. Ban team orders until it is mathematically impossible for the front running driver to win the championship. He can then choose (voluntarily) to give way to the driver behind only if the rear driver is still in the championship race (mathematically that is).

  310. John F says:

    Team orders should only be allowed once a driver has lost the mathematical chance of winning the Championship.

    Once he’s out on points, the team should be free to team orders as to maximize the chance of the other driver of taking the title.

  311. Keith Webster says:

    Team orders (as brundle and coulthard) said on the erd button on the bbc have been going on since 2002. its a team sport and a fiercly competitive one at that.

    I think to appease the fans the obvious scenario would be to reverse the decision and let massa have the victory with alonso in 2nd place.

    In terms of team orders, all we ask for is transparency and if your going to envoke team orders, dont be underhand – be open and honest!

  312. Olivier says:

    Team orders should be allowed if the sister car is mathematically out of the title hunt.

    The new rule could be as simple as that :)

  313. Col says:

    Fernando’s comments to this make me question how much he really did know about the Nelson Piquet incident……

  314. zxzxz says:

    how about: no team orders until one driver is mathematically eliminated from the drivers championship.

  315. kayjay says:

    Which ever way you cut it,the fans do not like to see the driver who’s in the lead simply pulling over to let their team mate take an undeserved win.Probably there wouldn’t be such an outcry if it was over second place instead of the win.

    I like to add,so what if Massa was fortunate to be in the lead,sport is meant to be about competitors grasping an opunity when it is presented.

  316. Aloh says:

    here’s one

    any change in position of two drivers in the same team through team orders must be made by one driver taking a drive through penalty

  317. bones says:

    No more radio transmissions from pits to driver,from now on whatever you want to say to a driver say it with a sign like “Prost-Arnoux” or Jones-Reut.
    Is an insult to us,the fans,that Domenically said yesterday that they told Massa that Alonso was faster to let him know what the situation behind him was…after racing for 20 years he needs someone to tell him that the driver that is 2 secs behind him is faster?? he is not able to realize that by himself??
    No more radio please,you need the driver in just hang and arrow by the pit wall to let him now.

  318. Jonathan says:

    James: “But the wider question is, should F1 have this rule banning team orders, should teams be able to act in the interests of the championship and are moves like this acceptable in some situations?”

    If you want to know the answer, look at your own poll!

    Perhaps some fans are overreacting, but you -like a lot of F1 insiders- are underreacting. Fans are justifiably angry about this.

    I think we need to distinguish two kinds of situation.

    One is a situation in which we are at the end of the season and, mathematically speaking, only one driver in the team can win the World Championship. In these circumstances, a compassionate and decent driver (like Massa) should WILLINGLY let his team mate through, without really needing to be told.

    The other kind of situation is one in which we are in the middle of the season and both drivers desperately need World Championship points. A petulant and selfish driver regards himself as No. 1 but is unable to pass his teammate on the track. The No. 2, thoroughly deserving of a win and in real need of a confidence boost, wants to fight to the finish. The team ORDERS him to pull over, against his obvious wishes.

    In the second kind of situation, no punishment is too severe. A £65,000 fine is far too lenient. This disgusting behaviour drags the sport through the mud.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but the poll says about 66% were angry with what happened in Germany, not that most fans won’t tolerate any kind of team orders

  319. Ivan Hollins says:

    If the roles were reversed with Massa on more points than Alonso, I hardly think Alonso would have let Massa through. In fact, I hardly think Ferrari would have even contemplated asking Fernando to let Felipe through.

    Just goes to prove the saying: Nice guys finish last.

  320. dren says:

    F1 is a team sport. Team orders being banned is rediculous. Yes, it is sad to see some drivers ordered to let another pass by, but not everyone can be happy. It’s only within positions between team members.

    Ferrari should be punished because they broke a rule, but on the other hand, the rule should not exist.

    You cannot have interpretation in this rule, it’ll lead to more chaos in the future, the rule has to be extremely black and white.

  321. Seymour Quilter says:

    As someone who watched Ferrari use team orders to change the result in Austria in 2001 AND 2002, then also at Indianapolis later that year (Schumacher gifting Barrichello the win in what was obviously a ‘thank you’ move) I could not disagree more with you James.

    Ordinary fans like myself have spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds of their own money going to races (willlingly paying the overpriced grandstand tickets) to see fair and decent racing. To manipulate the result is an insult to paying fans who want to see genuine on track action.

    There seems to be a disconnect between what the F1 teams think is fair racing and what paying fans expect to see, why pay £500 for a grandstand seat at Monza when it is clear now that if Massa is leading Alonso, he won’t be allowed to race? After all, it’s the RACING that we are here for, no?

  322. David says:

    What’s wrong with “No Team orders during qualifying or the race”. Leaves plenty of opportunity for the teams to sort out their “what if…” scenaro planning and explain it to the drivers outside of thse conditions, and if they haven’t thought it through then tough.

    Or you could always allow the drivers to talk to each other during the race…

    Couple of other points. James, I hate to disagree with you, but it was a race fix. Ferrari artificially altered the race order in a manner expressly prohibited by the rules. Now it was clearly a racing situation, rather than a premeditated fix, but never the less.

    Frankly, those within the sport are not the best placed to pass judgement on how bad it looks (Irv the swerve expecially). The viewers gave up their time, the fans at the race gave their money and their time, and all were robbed of a proper sporting experience. And it was all shaping up so well!

    Schumacher, Hamilton, Senna – in faster cars would have got past their teammates. It was up to Alonso to do the same. Felipe was entitled to race for the win, a slower car fighting to keep a quicker car behind it, has lead to some of the finest races in this sports history. It could have been glorious.

  323. Logic Al says:

    Every time a team tells a driver to “come into the pits”, “push”, “save fuel”, e.t.c. The teams are guilty of giving driver’s orders which can, and do, materially affect the results of a race. Telling the drivers about their relative performance compared to their rivals is also a coded instruction to inform the driver with the expectation the driver will know what to do with the information and act in his and the teams best interests. The only way to truly enforce this knee jerk rule is to either ban ALL communication (including pit boards) between the drivers and their teams or, allow teams to race only one car. Of course if you banned all “official” communication methods, you could still have coded instructions via people in the crowds, or worse still, teams deliberately slowing down a driver using wing settings, tire pressures or countless other methods available to them, and that is just during the race. The idea that you can ban team instructions/orders in a team sport is unenforcible, and actually undesirable because it misunderstands the essence of the sport. For what it’s worth I suggest the FIA remove the law and “fans” take the time to understand the reasons for teams deciding to do what they do rather than ill considered, emotive and knee jerk negative reactions to competitive people doing what they are paid to do, trying to win the Grand Prize. Finally, I know this is an unpopular opinion but, this episode is probably good for the sport, it gets peoples passions up, makes them talk about F1 and in the end makes them care more about it, surely the definition of good entertainment!

  324. Rodrigo says:

    I think the new points system is making everyone think Massa is now out of the championship fight.

    Under last year’s system, Alonso would now be less than 20 points after Hamilton. Massa would be less than 30. Its nothing with 8 races to go yet!!!

    Hasnt Raikkonen won a title being 20 points behind with only two races left???

    If Ferrari mantains its good form as the best car until the end of the season, Massa have a clear go at the title. Even more that this year we have 3 teams fighting at the front, so there is more points to lose if a car is underperforming for some races.

  325. Red5 says:

    This is a very interesting situation and has sparked enormous response from people; some of them fans of the sport.

    It was perhaps the manner in which Barrichello moved over in 2002 as well the manner in which Smedley delivered the news yesterday that caused such furore. Watching the drivers and team responding calmly to questions just rubbed more salt into the wound.

    Surely the team could have turned down the revs on Massa’s engine for a few moments, just enough to let Alonso get a good run into the next corner. Or as James says, a slightly longer pit stop.

    But come Brazil or Abu Dhabi I totally agree. There is significant investment from team and sponsors with the ultimate goal to win [both] championships. It’s a ruthless sport both on and off the track.

  326. Lee R says:

    I think team orders should only be allowed in the last 3 races or if a driver is out of the championship fight. Every example given where people have been okay with it has been because one driver is out and it’s towards the end.

    I think you’re slightly wrong in saying it’s not serious… it ruined the race on Sunday and it’s only just past half way, plus Massa still has a chance (albeit Alonso’s is a better chance) – it’s not quite in the same league as Singapore ’08, but it’s probably only a division down!

    I think Ferrari should have the points gained in Germany removed from the constructors’ championship and let the drivers keep their points for the drivers’ championship and perhaps a 3 race suspended ban and another fine – nothing too big, say $1m.

    I think this would go some way to show the FIA take it seriously (which is the least they can now do for the fans), and it also doesn’t ruin the 5-way race we now have by taking points of Alonso (although if he did lose them I wouldn’t be too worried to be honest – better to come down too hard than too soft in this case).

    One final note – I think what annoys people about Alonso and Ferrari is that they are both very vocal and then contradict themsleves… we all remember Alonso and Ferrari saying how wrong Lewis was in Belgium ’08.. yet in Silverstone ’10 Alonso is allowed to cut the chicane? And I’m sure everyone remembers Alonso’s comments in Valencia ’10 and Monza ’06 about manipulated races and F1 not being a sport.. yet Germany ’10 it’s okay it’s manipulated… that, I’m sure, are some of the reasons that add to the over-reaction you talk about James.

  327. Chris says:

    Funny how in the week that Flavio Briatore visited Maranello a “team tactics” decision was made on the Sunday. Now far be it for me to suggest that Briatore and Alonso have form for these kind of tactics…….

  328. Tripo says:

    What about allowing team orders, but since they will always be intented to favor one driver over another driver of the same team, maybe a reasonable way to ‘punish’ the team that is giving the order would be to disallow any points gained by the favored driver for the constructor championship? That way a team might think twice before giving a team order and I wouldn’t expect them to do it too early in the season anymore?

  329. Richard says:

    A bit of lateral thinking. Forget about outlawing “team orders”. Instead make it illegal for drivers to deliberately give up a position to their team-mate (unless they are obliged to do so because they are being lapped). The teams would still be able to manipulate things through pit stops. Whilst the drivers could engineer a mistake by going off, such a practice would be likely to disadvantage them to the extent that it would not be beneficial to the team to do so. Overall, I want to see racing on the track and not have results determined by team politics.

  330. Daniel Neves says:

    Gentlemen. Here’s the only thing we should not do–decieve. Whatever the solution, there should be no sleight of hand. It is not honorable to have a de facto and a de jure way of proceeding. I don’t really care how it’s done, just don’t insult me (the fan) by supposing that I am a child.

  331. Alchemy says:

    I think Ferrari should dock Massa and Smedley’s wages. As Vettel said it’s the team that pays their wages not the media or the fans. Alonso was much quicker than Massa and yes we were deprived of a sporting encounter but the message could have mean more coded like:

    “massa turn your engine down to mapping G9 as you will run out of fuel” or be more blatant and less pathetic like Ross Brawn was to Barrichello last year:

    “If you can’t pick up the pace Rubens then you must let Jenson have a go!”

    Team orders are totally acceptable and I think Ferrari have already been punished via a fine for being too obvious. No further action is needed by the WMSC other than a warning to not be too obvious! Afterall, it’s better for the sport that Alonso is back in the game.

  332. Toby says:

    Simply orchestrating the switch to have looked like a genuine pass–for example, if Massa had ‘accidentally’ braked too late for the hairpin and let Alonso slip through on the inside–would have been enough. As an F1 fan, Ferrari’s actions on Sunday felt repulsive; not only was the order undertaken so blatantly, to the detriment of the fan experience, but Ferrari’s attempt to cover it up post-race were no less than insulting.

    The endeavours of Smeadley and Massa to make the team order as obvious as possible clearly indicates how unhappy they were with the decision. If the championship had progressed enough to the point that Massa felt he had no hope of victory, I’m sure he would have been much happier to let Alonso through and would have attempted to make it more subtle.

    There is no need to amend the rules. Team orders should be acceptable when the second driver believes so, and is therefore willing to make the effort to keep them under the radar.

    I also feel that blame is being unjustly directed towards Alonso. He was not the man on the pit wall instructing Massa to move over; he merely took advantage of a situation presented to him, as any driver would. If anything, I would rather see Massa receive a reprimand for his collaboration in a blatant breach of regulations.

    I hope the WMSC give Alonso a 5 second penalty in order to revert the race to the original standings, and believe the team should have Germany’s points docked from the constructors championship.

  333. Freespeech says:

    I think you are wrong James, riles are rules otherwise what’s the point?
    Do we want F1 to be a sport or not? Do we want it to be fair or not? Do those involved in F1 care a hoot for the fans?
    If Alonso is the best as some (James included) have stated then he should have been able to overtake Massa – you can bet Hamilton would have!!!!!!
    Isn’t that what we want to see?
    I urge the WMSC to deduct the points won by Ferrari and adjust the standings acordingly.

  334. Mark Vincent says:

    Team orders have existed in F1 for many years and will continue despite any efforts by the FIA. Ferrari know this and played the game at the German GP. By getting RS to relay the information/instruction in plain English, rather than, unusually, having SD or CD radio a coded message, I would imagine it would be impossible to “convict” the team of any rule contravention, the defence will surely be RS gave regular data information to his driver and said “sorry” for not preparing a faster car, we all know thats not the case BUT just try and prove it.
    I believe that in a team sport, team orders should be a recognised tactic. Of more concern would be any bilateral arrangements between teams to influence the outcome of a race. I’m sure that there have been many instances of this in the past and the potential is there for this to continue e.g would a manufacturer team “help” a customer team to the detriment of a 3rd rival (Renault/Red Bull/Maclaren; Mercedes/Maclaren/Red Bull?)or vice-versa.

  335. Dave P says:


    With respect, your views are totally out of alignment with the clear vast majority of feedback from this forum and fans.

    The clear majority do not want team orders.

    What Ferrari did was similar to what Hamilton and Ryan did in Melbourne 09 – i.e. clearly lied to the stewards – but a least Hamilton had the decency to come clean and apologise. You seem to ignore that Ferrari and Alonso clearly are lying to the FIA, Media and paying public. That should not be forgiven. if they do not believe in the rule then have the decency to say so and not lie about it.

    The only reason fair play does not work is because Ferrari and Alonso don’t want it so. Other teams manage to at least ‘show’ respect for the rules, but not Ferrari.

    They should be thrown out for the singular reason of clearly lying to the stewards, no matter how they say it in their hearts … and they know it… gave team orders.

    I am constantly disappointed by those who cannot play fair, and the people that go along with it, be it drivers, teams, officials, and journalists…

    What they did – their actions totally put the sport in disrepute – just look at the press coverage.

    One minute, journalists and FOTA say they want to encourage the non ardent fans who have a passing interest in the sport to watch more, then Ferrari try to harpoon the very same newcomers by treating them with disrespect…

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t agree with you. I think under some circumstances they are acceptable to the majority, that’s my point

    2. Henry J says:

      It`s not lying. Ferrari gave some information, up to Massa to decide what to do. That’s not team orders, I think that’s the way Ferrari saw it. Alonso was clearly faster, they tried to avoided an accident, Massa took a decision.

      Hamilton case in Australia was totally different. Not point to compare it here. All of you that want the points out from Ferrari are afraid of McLaren loosing ground. Ferrari already got bad luck in the last two races, but this is not enough, I guess…

  336. Gaza says:

    Is this a sport or not.?
    This race was manipulated, is there any other sport in which this would be acceptable?.
    F1,s credibility is at stake, does anybody in F1 realize this?
    We the viewing public are being cheated of a proper race, we are not fools. As a fan I get fed up being told F1 is just a show, now it becomes even harder to defend.
    I appreciate the history but maybe thats the problem, times have changed. Team orders where wrong years ago, they are wrong now.

    1. Neil Barr says:

      “Cheated of a proper race”- yes. But the race results are a means to an end – the championship. That is the prize they are striving for. In the heat of the moment the fan can lose sight of that fact. But those engaged in the fight have a responsibility to those paying for their capability in that fight to maintain focus and resolve. Especially when clawing back points will need to be unfaltering and overwhelming.

  337. swayze says:

    “leaving aside the rule specifically banning team orders for a second”

    Unfortunatley James that is where your argument falls down It is in the rules so we cannot leave it aside.Are you condoning lying?

    Because the disrepute charge i would imagine would relate to the fact that Ferarri lied to the stewards Now it is hard to belive that they told the truth to the stewards yet lied to the worlds media.
    It is this that has upset me more than the team orders The fact that they treat us the fans with such contempt that they do not seem to think we (or you as a jouralist)are inteligent enough to understand what went on and for this reason alone they should be punished by the WMSC after all they do have a presedent regarding telling lies to the stewards if you recall.

  338. Mike says:

    I don’t believe the fans or the press are over-reacting. The fans feel cheated and have had their intelligence insulted. In any other “sport”, match fixing at this level would result in the points being stripped and a lengthy ban for those involved.

    Fans that bet on Massa winning have been cheated. Fans that bet on Alonso to win have been gifted and the betting industry has been scammed. A class action lawsuit would not go unheard or unrewarded.

    Yes, we all know that team orders exist to an extent within the sport. The rule was introduced to avoid the type of situation we saw on Sunday and has obviously been flouted. The rule is perhaps inappropriate, but the fact remains that the rule exists and the WMSC should judge and penalise accordingly.

    As for the future, it is likely that the rule needs to be revised. Decisions should be up to the drivers but not communicated from the pit wall. If for example Massa knows before the race that letting the other driver pass will enable that driver to win the WDC, let him decide to do it (or not) as a gentlemanly agreement. Massa should not be given any information from the pit wall that may encourage him to make that decision. The other driver may be encouraged (by the pit wall) to have a go and pass Massa, but he would not be able to rely on Massa giving way.

    Communication from the pit wall should be only about the drivers own car and no information about his team mate should be passed via radio.

    This is perhaps a simplistic approach, but the competition has to appear “real” to the spectators and fans. It is they that provide the ticket income, attract the sponsors and therefore fund the teams.

  339. MaxB says:

    F1 is clearly a team sport, but as a reward system geared towards an individual the driver world championship is at odds with the team-based reality of motor racing to some degree. However, driver championships are also the most popular aspect of the sport.
    Using a game design approach to the problem, below are two suggestions to incorporate the team idea into the achievement of becoming a world champion, with the first being a less aggressive rule change than the second:

    Suggestion 1: Pre-race car nominations
    The teams would be obliged to nominate one of their cars to be prioritised before the race, i.e. name one as the ‘A’ car that goes for Gold, and the other as the ‘B’ car that acts as rear gunner. Team orders would remain restricted, but allow tactics that favour the A car over the B car.

    As the nomination could be changed between races teams would handle them as they see fit, e.g. alternate them between two drivers according to internally set rules, or keep them the same all year. Critically the public would have full transparency of who is favoured during a race and is likely to support team decisions that comply with these rules.

    Suggestion 2: Podium Points
    There would be no restrictions on team orders, but the teams would nominate only one of their cars for Podium Points, whereby a nominated car that finishes the race in a podium position scores extra points to benefit both drivers (as well as the team).

    This could look as follows:
    1st place would score an extra 6 podium points (3 for each driver).
    2nd place an extra 4 podium points (2 for each driver).
    3rd place would score an extra 2 podium points (1 for each driver).

    The desired effect is that it would be in the second driver’s interest to protect and support the first driver, but also to increase the element of the first driver’s responsibility for the team.

    In regards to which car is nominated for Podium Points, it could be handled as described in Suggestion 1, where the team announces the decision prior to each individual the race.

    As a side note, if there is concern that the second car could be used to take out competitors in certain situations, an additional rule could be added that would require the second car to finish the race in order to score Podium Points.

  340. Luke A says:


    I think the point you said here is key:

    “Of course he will and Webber will know before the start of the race what the score is.”

    The context of that was that if Webber did not have a chance of winning the championship then he would let his team mate through, but there are two key things here.


    Webber cannot mathematically win before the race.


    Towards the later stages of the race, it becomes very apparent that with the current position of all competing drivers in that race, that only the driver behind is a possible contender.(i.e. Vettel needed 2 points but Webber needed 20)


    As you said, “Webber will know before the start of the race what the score is”, in which case, there is not any team orders during the race and the driver himself will know to move over at some point, it is therefore solely his decision.

    Point 2 avoids team orders, in the way we interpret them as a driver is allowed to let another driver through, or at least his team mate? I do not think that Massa had a deal before the race whereby if he was ahead, he would let Alonso through.

    While point 1, would provide a simple and unambiguous rule that would stop team orders happening until the end of the season. When you mention the occurrence of Massa letting Raikonnen through, that would have been OK, because at the time, Massa could not mathematically win the championship.

    This would stop it happening and also provide more fair and entertaining racing. I think it is a little unfair that Alonso is essentially getting full backing and help from his team mate, while McLaren and Red Bull drivers have to battle with their respective team mate. To me, that is unfair and shows he cannot win the WDC in the current climate by himself.

  341. Alan J says:

    Yep, everyone does it, everyone knows everyone does it, so why bother going through the charade of pretending it doesn’t go on.

    I’m not sure what’s more annoying – the failure of Ferrari to come up with a more subtle and graceful way of dealing with an entirely foreseeable problem, or the opportunist and grossly hypocritical attempts by members of other teams to claim the moral high ground.

    Just abolish the rule for God’s sake – who are they trying to kid here?

  342. Mike says:

    Sorry James. I can’t agree – disregarding the past for a moment. If I had bet on Massa to win that race as far as I am concerned the result has been changed by Ferrari.

  343. Red5 says:

    James, serious suggestions for rule changes:

    • Allow team to instruct drivers to use fuel saving mode for a couple of laps until team mate catches up and passes
    • Allow teams to remotely add wing for a couple of laps until….
    • Allow teams to make pre-race agreements between the drivers that do not need to be obvious to the watching [listening] public
    • Limit radio contact in the last half of the race
    • Limit the size of pit crews in order to lengthen stops
    • Limit the width of the front wing in order to reduce [potential] damage during overtaking maneuvers
    • Award championship based on results of first race of the season. For the remaining 21 races this will eliminate the need for team orders.

  344. PeterF says:

    I do not think that the need to change the rules over rides what happened here in Germany or how the breaking of the rules as they stand affect the other teams. Alonso won because Ferrari CHEATED! That’s a fact James. Had Alonso tried to pass and the Ferrari”s came together, Vettel would have won. The chances are small, but Ferrari broke the rules to avoid this chance and therefore they CHEATED!

    As to the question you ask, simply put teams should have to apply to the FIA in the final 4 races to be allowed team orders, they should have to make a case as to why, and if mathematically they stand a chance of winning through having team orders if necessary, then that team, ALONE should be given licence for team orders, cleared by the FIA at least 1 week before the race weekend.

    This is an individual sport as well as a team sport but without the FIA protecting the individual part of the sport, there is a chance the teams simply swallow it up. We need team orders!

  345. Maxine says:

    The whole affair was a farce. We all know team orders happen, F1 is a team sport after all but it was the circumstance surrounding the order that has caused me to once again lose faith in the sport.

    This was not the last race of the season, and in all fairness did not make a lot of difference to either championship. It’s just caused people to once again look at Ferrari and see them as a law unto themselves.

    Ferrari should be punished for breaking a rule and I do not feel a fine is sufficient, in fact it’s loose change and a price worth paying for winning the driver and constructor championships.

    The WMC need to clarify the rule, team orders are banned. Any advantage gained from team orders will be taken away. Simple. It can be done with cutting corners so why not this?

    I’ve been left feeling angry and let down, Ferrari are being allowed to manipulate races with just a slap on the wrist.

  346. Joel says:

    Regardless of being a fervent Ferrari supporter of 40 years, they deserved the fine for amateurishness alone.

    But this is a team of seasoned pros so why this clumsiness, especially considering 2002? Can it be that Felipe had agreed, either contractually or for this race, to move aside but decided not to and therefore had to be ‘reminded’, which would not have been rehearsed and therefore so badly executed?

    What ever the reasons in this case, team orders have always been and will always be applied. To mask the hypocrisy in such a way that spectators and press are unaware that it’s going on, as we have now, is not satisfactory.

    It might be better to declare in advance of the race which driver in a team is nominated to yield should the other find himself immediately behind. Everyone would know what the situation was and could acclimatise themselves to the team preference, if there was one, without the huge let down of a sudden swap.

    There might even be some value to having a ‘hare’ that you knew was going to yield some time later in the race.

  347. Irish con says:

    I would remove the rule totally as it is totally flawed. Also if Ferrari lose their points then you have to go back to 2002 and kick everybody out who did exactly the same thing. Just 2 years ago we had 4 examples that were just as obvious kubica and heidfeld at Canada, heikki and lewis at France and Germany and kimi and massa at china. The mclaren fans can’t just want Ferrari kicked out and not expect there team are as bad. It has to be the same set of rules for ALL. Not different interpretations when it suits them. James tell me I’m wrong?

  348. Robert S says:

    I agree with you james i think that ferrari had to do this as alonso is closer to the championship than massa, im annoyed that it happened but i understand why they have done it and would do the same. you cant ban team orders as it would become silly, you could argue than bringing a driver in 1st for the pit stops is a form of team orders ect. i think there has to be a rule change im just not sure what it is yet, maybe allowing team orders would work

  349. David Smith says:


    Excellent insight and report on this your the only journalist that knows whats what in F1!! I think the final third of the championship before team orders come into play would work very very well. Its simple and not complicated.

    I still cant believe what I saw yesterday – I cant wait for Hungary as I think we will see a fired up Massa – Alonso won’t get near him.

  350. Crys says:

    For me, it was the use of ‘Please confirm that you understood this message’ that made it a team order rather than a team hint. No one is naive enough to believe that the teams don’t have a way of suggesting to each driver that they need to get out of the way of their team mate, but this was a blatant attempt to fix the race long before it was necessary. I’d have believed Massa’s ‘I took a decision for the team’ if the message had stopped at ‘Fernando is faster than you’, but it didn’t. For me, even team hints should be used sparingly and only when there is a significant gain to be made – and an additional 7 points to one driver over the other when there are still 8 races and 200 points on the table is not a significant gain.

  351. joesat78 says:

    “If Ferrari had wanted to do a subtle switch, a slightly delayed pit stop for Massa would have done the trick. A second or two is all that it would have needed.”

    James – whatever it is, to hear you say this feels like this is a show or acting or something on those lines. I don’t want you to take sides pls. I agree and understand that this is blown out of proportion, but, please don’t suggest something like this.

  352. Jotorrent says:

    I totally agree with you James and generally appreciate your opinions contrarly to some lunatic colleagues of yours.
    You put exactly the problem on the table. Everybody knows that the FIA banned team orders because JEAN TODT. I hardly see anyone who worked in motor-racing do what he did in austria and I’am convinced that TODT see it as the right move even now.
    As you said, the FIA has witnessed cases of team orders Hamilton/Kovalainen eventhough hamilton wasn’t a contender in world championship and MASSA/RAIKONEN in the last race to allow RAIKONEN to win the title. Nobody objected in both cases because everybody and foremost the FIA understand that a team order is necesseray sometimes and logical sometimes.

    - at the last 3 or 4 races everybody agree on that unless the teammates are separated by a handfull of points and both can challenge for the title

    - when it is earlier in the championship it’s a delicate matter and drawing a rigid line to when it’s permitedd and when it’s not is really really hard.
    Let’s imagine hokenheim race with Vettel ahead then Massa then Alonso. If in this case Massa would have let Alonso through very few would have objected because everybody knows that MASSA chances of winning the title are far too slim. He’s less quick less consistent less comfortable with the hard tyres and far behind Lewis and Jenson. Most of the fans and the media don’t see him as a challenger for the title rightly.
    If he switched 2nd to 3rd it wouldn’t have mattered because he would have given his team mate a better chance to challenge for the title which by the way makes the upcoming races more exciting and 2nd or 3rd isn’t such a big deal.
    When he had to give the 1st place, he gave the victory away and that’s a completely different matter. It’s not the point gap that matters, it’s the fact that he gave a victory for himself and that by having a fake winner, spectators and fans feel like they have been fooled. We got the feeling that somebody has been stripped of his right and that the race has been manipulated to recall an ALONSO statement.

    I agree with FERRARI and yet that leaves a bitter taste after the grand prix, so what’s the solution. As I said very hard to draw some clear line. Should team orders be allowed only in the last 3rd of the season, maybe sometimes a driver is out of the hunt even before that ?

    Should there be a mathematical Formula which takes acount of the difference in points between the two team mates and the leader in tha championship… If someone comes with a solution like that it might do the job.

    Anyway, team orders has always been there and will stay there no matter what, so it is better to find a solution isn’t it !

    P.S : it was a bit funny to see Horner giving a lesson to FERRARI after what he’s done with the wing !!!!!

  353. Kalim says:

    Surely you know James, that those examples you gave were when one driver was mathematically eliminated from the drivers’ championship. The outrage from the fans (and possibly even the authorities) is because this happened at the half-way point of the title race, with plenty still to play for.

    Even Chris Horner’s comment about letting the drivers race surely referred to only a situation where everything is up for grabs. Surely even the FIA, in its quest to ensure sporting competition and fairness on track, would have an objection to a team that asks one driver to move over in favour of a driver overwhelmingly the points favourite.

    The media, the fans and the FIA have to look at these things subjectively as being objective in these matters is hardly helpful – nothing is ever in black and white.

    1. James Allen says:

      My point is that under some circumstances, it’s okay. The key is to define those circumstances

      1. Meeklo says:

        What do you have in mind?

        Laptimes at any given race is a bad idea.

        Perhaps if one driver has less than 50% of the championship points of his team mate?

  354. Joe Consiglio says:

    Yes I agree James, the rule should be changed to “no team orders until the last 3rd of the season”. That way everyone knows the story. Like you say team orders are fine and understandable when the championship is entering it’s final stages and things are getting critical. What us fans can’t stand is the way Ferrari seem to employ team orders half way through a season and then act all innocent afterwards.

  355. Kate says:

    The problem is if the rule is altered, there might be nothing to stop teams completely taking the mick like Ferrari did in 2002. I would strenuously disagree with removing it completely.

    Maybe the rule should be that team orders are only allowed once one driver is mathematically out of the championship, thats the only fair way I can think to do it.

    Horner is being a bit of a hypocrite over this considering the ambiguity on engine settings at Turkey. He says they were criticised for letting the drivers race – no, they were criticised for initially denying the drivers were on different engine settings, and for blaming Webber for Vettel’s mistake. But then they’d be stupid not to complain about Ferrari if there is a slight chance that they might get more points.

    I have to say, I find the almost patronising attitude about this of some people in the sport quite grating. If the public don’t like team orders, who are they to say we are wrong? Without the viewing figures, F1 and its teams couldn’t attract sponsors, and then where would they be?

  356. Khurshed Aga says:

    team orders have always been part of the sport since its inception…they have to be…its a team sport and a team should have the right to direct how it should fight to win the championship…its not a one make series after all…

  357. Will says:

    Sorry but i have to disagree, team orders are wrong and we the fans in general dont like to see this, and yet again this just seems like f1 snobbery to me, that we get from a lot of the commentators out there. personally i felt robbed of 2 hours of my life on sunday, after the first corner literally nothing happened, and the race was decided over the team radio, i feel even more sorry for the fans who went to hokenheimring, at least at home we got to hear the messages! they got royally screwed 400 quid to watch massa go easy on the throttle out of the hairpin!
    Whatever the ‘reality’s’ of F1 might be, the fans want to see racing, we want on track drama, and the sport is NOTHING without fans. Their is no need to draw up comparisons between ferrari’s actions at the end of 07, 08 because in both situations only one driver was still in the hunt, it would have been understood before the races that they would move over, we expected it, in fact their would have been no need to even issue an coded order over the radio. this time massa had the better start and then drove brilliantly to keep his lead through the pit stops, and is not mathematically out of championship, and on top of that rob smedley was radioing him earlier to tell him to keep it up and they can win! he never had any intention of kindly giving his place up till he was cleary ordered to do so. they done one over on a guy who almost lost his life driving for them exactly a year ago, and are trying to treat the F1 fans like mugs. In my opinion Alonso should keep his victory and points because he did nothing wrong, even if it was rather embarrassing to watch him trying to explain the whole situation as a genuine overtake! and ferrari should have their wcc points from the event taken away. A message needs to be sent that team orders are not on.

  358. Mauri says:

    Team orders are part of motor races well before F1 has been started. Who denies it, or has to say because it’s involved personally, or is making fun of others. The present Ferrari’s race direction is one of the worst ever seen, but only who believes in Santa can think other teams doesn’t do anything similar.
    Simply, other teams do it better, more elegantly, very often deciding in advance what to do and how messaging the driver about technical problems and suggesting to slow down. If we want to confirm this reality there’s not to look very far nto find examples. In 2008, just in Hockenaim, a smart Kovalainen did simulate a mistake and went straight, so Hamilton could pass him. In last Turkey is told RedBull decided to send a clear message to Webber and an opposite one to Vettel. The message didn’t arrive well to Webber because his race engineer didn’t give it. The primary effect was the collision between the drivers, the side effect was Ciaron Pilbeam removed from his role. It could be wise to stop now this sad comedy, thus avoiding a lot of innocent people still believe F1 is something that doesn’t exist, and never existed.

  359. JFB says:

    I think the issue is that F1 is trying to run two championships within one race. I posted yesterday to suggest that they could split race week-ends in two shorter races, half the existing distance. Practice and qualifying as usual then one race for the manufacturers crown, points only won for the team, and a second race for the individual championship where each driver is going all out for themselves.
    I also think that there is too much reliance on pitwall to car communication, limiting the type and number of messages being relayed could avoid this team orders issue to a degree. It seems at times that the engineers are running the races, with fuel mixtures, changes to settings via the steering wheel etc. If the drivers had to do a shorter run with no fuel saving or mandatory tyre changes, the absolute minimum of comms from the pit wall then they would be free to race with what they had. Let the drivers and teams take the good the bad and the ugly – wrong set up, wrong tyre choice, not enough fuel etc – well tough luck that’s racing.
    F1 is the pinnacle of 4 wheel motorsport supposedly but it’s actually become a huge business where sport comes second.
    I fully understand that within the existing framework team orders will come at some stage in the season, I think many fans feel they should only be allowed when certain criteria are met, e.g one driver can’t win the drivers championship.
    If orders are allowed, then do them in a transparent way so that all us fans can see what be done, not use code words on the radio. If teams want to play that way then let them take the flak that goes with it – it seems the fans are the ones losing out here. Why bother with a race, why not just do the qualifying and award points on that – single car at a time, fastest wins. Save a bucketfull of money and at least fans not have to watch the kind of farce we saw recently.
    I just want to see the teams put their best designed cars out on track with their choice of drivers and let them race until the best man wins. If F1 can’t come up with a workable set of rules then what kind of sport is it, or perhaps it is a business??

  360. Donna says:

    Of course Horner will expect whichever of his drivers is out of contention to do what is best for the team come the last couple of races of the season – and nobody will think any the worse of him for it. The problem is that at just past the halfway point, with 25 points on offer for a win, Ferrari have thrown all their eggs into the Alonso basket – publicly and unrepentantly. Is Massa mathematically out of contention yet? I doubt it!

    Then to make matters worse, they treat the audience like halfwits, claiming they were not up to what we all know they were up to. If you’re going to manipulate matters, have the courage of your convictions and admit it!

    Like Red Bull before them, they have insulted the intelligence of the punters. That can’t be good for business!

  361. Matt says:

    I would like the FIA implement the following;

    “A team may only ask a driver to move out of the way for his team-mate (which excludes drivers from satalite teams, engine partner teams, sponsor partner teams ect.);

    i. The driver that benefits is immediately behind the car that is giving way. i.e a driver leading cannot slow down to promote a driver that is in third, to second.
    ii. The driver that benefits is fighting for the championship and has a mathmatical chance of winning the WDC based on points going into that race.
    iii. Can only be implemented from the second to last race of the championship of the season.

    Any other suggestions, please add ;-)

  362. Konstantin says:

    Its an aesthetic case and by no means a rational one. Somehow people like to be lied to in style and not directly. Said in other words – people like to be fooled. They like masquerades and no frank situations. But hey, the masking doesn’t change the nature of the lie at the very end. How I screamed overjoyed, hearing David Coulthard say: there are team orders all the way, whoever deny is – lies! Ferrari’s position is bullet proof – they gave information to one of the drivers and he acted in the interest of the team. Who can argue about that? F1 is not that F1 anymore. Everything is so economical right now. A real fight between team mates in the remaining 20 laps would mean massive degradation: engine, gear box, clutch, transmission, all these limited components that hand you 5/10 positions penalties upon replacement will go down like that. The teams know that. Alonso might have overtaken Massa, but at what cost? The cost would be ridiculous and he is so right about that. The rationale behind is that you have a guy who is clearly ahead in the classification and outperforms the other guy by a huge margin, and you don’t waste your scarce resources to fight an opponent you control. Better spare resources to fight with the opponents you cannot control. If you can scrap the engine after the race, oh yeah, no problem, but not now!

  363. Dimitris says:

    Dear Alan,

    In your comparison of the Hockenheim events to the 2007 Brazilian GP you fail to note one very important detail. In 2007 Massa was already out of the championship, and all he could do by remaining in the lead would be to deprive Raikkonen of the title. However, in Hockenheim, before the start of the race Massa was barely 30 points behind Alonso (one victory’s worth of points and some) with 9 grand prix’s left to run, so he was definitely not out of it, by any stretch of imagination. Especially considering Ferrari’s latest development package which seems to have propelled them into Red Bull territory, Massa could conceivably have a go for the championship.

    Which is exactly what Ferrari have denied us, and it’s shameful and unjustifiable.

    You then go on to further analogies with Horner and hypothetical scenarios at the end of the season but, again, we are talking about the end of the season, when 2 or 3 drivers will be fighting out, not the middle of the season with everything still largely at play.

    What Ferrari did, at this stage of the season, is called race fixing, no matter how they want to paint it and present it. People have had bets on Massa winning the race and this sort of fixing should have no place in any sport, whatsoever.

    Unless, of course, we are to throw away the masks and accept that this is business and not sport. But to do that, the contracts of the drivers should be given to the public, and the same goes for the Concorde Agreement.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good point, thanks

  364. stuart fenton says:

    One thing that the BBC didn’t pick up on and I haven’t really seen discussed is the contract clause. It was rumored that Felippe had signed a similar ‘rubens clause’ and it was his only way to remain with Ferrari. When Smedley gave the message ‘Alonso is faster’ I got the impression that it was something they were expecting and dredding. Smedley does not sound shocked or suprised by having to give him the ‘alonso is faster’ code. I got the impression that it was a case of ‘we knew it was going to come at some time, but that doesn’t make it any easier’. Its a shame for Felipe. He’s been sidelined asa secondary focus. He was so bloody close in 2008.

  365. Zippy says:

    Actually, it IS race-fixing, by definition. Football players and managers have been prosecuted (in courts of law, not just by the footballing authorities) for manipulating matches in lesser ways (i.e., ways which didn’t affect the final result of the match, but changed some minor variable like the number of corners that people can bet on.)

    I don’t see how this is any different, and Herrs Domenecali, Smedley and Massa (and probably others) should be up before the Deutsch courts for race-fixing.

  366. Jamie says:

    Are there not many ways to see team orders Red Bull taking the front wing off of Webber’s to then go and place it on Vettel’s Car as he broke his own regardless of leading the championship or not?

    Team orders are all over the sport in my opinion and as a Ferrari Fan i agree the team should lose its points and a role reversal on Massa and Alonso should be sanctioned. It should all come down to the drivers if they feel the need to let their team mates pass or not, so i think team ordes will happen if they are banned or not.

  367. NJK says:

    Is F1 a team sport or not? If it is then let the teams do what they want. If it is not then run each driver separately (as in NASCAR) with no “team” communication during the race.

  368. Dave says:

    I am a Ferrari fan and have always been an Alonso fan but even I felt sad at what happened yesterday. I think a lot of the British media and British F1 fans, esp. since 07, have despised Alonso and have little time for Ferrari so they were bound to call for their heads at a time like this.

    Its about time we put things into perspective. Ferrari broke the rules (name a team that hasn’t at one time or another!) and have been fined. Delete the constructors points and leave it at that.

  369. otwin says:

    Good post if only you would change ‘Alonso’ to ‘Ferrari’ in this sentence: “And we should be in no doubt, despite the denials of Alonso that team orders were invoked here.”

    The whole Scuderia Ferrari denies it has issued team orders – why are you pointing out Alonso? If there is one guy at Ferrari who has done nothing wrong it would be Alonso. Although I think he should have just said:’Felipe decided to let me pass and I thank him for that’.

    One thing I noticed is that before they went out to the podium Alonso asked Massa: “Intentionally?” Massa nods. Alonso reacts slightly surprised – probably because, as the season went and even the start of the race, he did not expect any gifts from Massa.

  370. Kibby says:

    well how about banning team orders at all time. would be simple and equal conditions for all teams, best interest of sport and fans.

  371. Luke Potter says:

    I would suggest that team orders should only be permitted in the final two races of the season.

    Ultimately the reaction of the fans to these various incidents shows that they do not mind if team orders will create a situation that will definitely help the team win the championship (as in Brazil 2007). However, they do mind if team orders are used when they MIGHT (or might not) help the team in the future. That’s why there’s not uproar when this happens in the last race of the season because doing it then will always bring an immediate championship benefit to the team.

    I feel it’s also necessary to respond to several comments on the Internet suggesting McLaren have double standards in complaining about this by referencing the 2008 British Grand Prix when Kovalainen let Hamilton past. In that case, Lewis wasn’t just a little bit quicker like Alonso was, he was the fastest car on the track and went on to lap Kovalainen later in the race. Kovalainen may have let him past, but the team knew that it would happen anyway so may have chosen to speed the pass up. In that case, there was no doubt Hamilton would get past so the team just wanted to avoid undue risk – it was wet and Heikki was several seconds slower!

  372. Robert says:

    A sensible cut off point might be when the team-mate cannot mathematically win the championship.

  373. HowardHughes says:

    Superb post James – it seemed passionate and heartfelt. I completely agree; there’s way too much hype and, dare I say it, sanctimony being shouted by both the press and, strangely, the fans… every forum, message board and comments section on any F1-related site or newspaper webpage seems to be 90% filled with foaming-at-the-mouth, pitchforks-at-the-ready armchair warriors.

    It’s all rubbish. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, with the responsibilities of a team boss or team owner, would want to manoeuvre the ‘right’ driver into the optimum points position even from Race 1. Anyone who says that if they were sat on the pit wall with the team’s billionaire owner or major sponsor breathing down their necks for the most likely WDC winner to get ahead and wouldn’t make the switch is a liar. End of story.

    So, as you ask, what to do about it?

    My personal preference is to let the teams do as they please. They will anyway, even if they employ, as you mentioned, a far more discreet method of ‘blending’ the positions via a lengthier pitstop. I mean think about it, let’s say Renault had been far and away the fastest team during winter testing, and everyone in the paddock thought they were a shoo-in for Kubica to win the championship, and for whatever reason he was just behind Hulkenberg in the 2nd or 3rd race, with Kubica on 35 points and Hulkenberg on 7 – would anyone begrudge Renault doing a switch even so early in the season in order to squeeze every last potential point?

    I certainly wouldn’t. So if the FIA has a job to do at all it’s to ‘educate’ the more casual fans about the noble history of team orders in F1, and to let the people who actually invest in the sport – the owners who risk hundreds of millions, the sponsors who take chances on the teams in order to fund them etc – let them make the calls.

    And if the gamblers and dumber elements of the fans want to bleat about ‘unfairness’, well let them. I’m sure there’s some other, less sophisticated and multi-faceted sport they can follow…

  374. JR says:

    Totally agree James, all this reaction is nonsense. Yesterday for Ferrari was not too early in the season as it was almost a match ball to start the recovery, so the decision was 100% logical under a team point of view considering the situation of both drivers in the Championship.

    On the other hand Massa should have understood: “don’t take any unnecessary risk if Fernando tries to pass you”, in no way he was told to let Alonso pass, but the way he lifted after turn 6 was disgraceful and provides with plenty of ammunition to all the Alonso and Ferrari haters.

  375. Wingers says:

    Very sensible Post James.
    I brought up similar points in your comment section yesterday, which was radically full of absurd suggestions!
    I get the feeling that a lot of the comments were based on being a fan of another team/driver and that, should Ferrari’s points be deleted, they would benefit, rather than any care of whether the race was fixed or not!
    Every team has done it, and will do it again, until the silly rule is removed.

    Common Sense in F1 is something that is so severely lacking for a sport that boasts some of the finest engineers (aero/electrical/mechanical even civil)…
    Take the Valencia race issue, one of many heartaches for teams, the safety car. Here is a simple, simple solution. Allow the cars that want to pit do so, Shuffle the cars back into the positions they were the lap prior to the safety car coming out, same as if the race was red flagged and deemed completed… How hard can that be? Sure some cars may gain a bit of an advantage if they stopped earlier than others, but then that would give cars an incentive to pass, or try. Its better than having a delta to follow at huge confusion for tv watchers, never mind the poor guys at the track! The Valencia race was a shocker in terms of simple logic being defied. How did they not forsee the potential ramifications of half the grid doing speeds half that of delta times behind a safety car, while the others score free pitstops in a series, where you ONLY GET 1 pitstop, its amazing?

    This is just one in many times in recent years where at the heat of the moment, the sport crumbles, the length of time it took for the Alonso decision at Silverstone for Example, amongst many others. Is Charlie Whiting actually up to the task still?

    James you asked for a suggestion, I have watched this sport for approaching 20 years, and the men who are at the top of the food chain, are pretty much the same… its time for F1 to go and buy talent from other sports, racing series etc… The FIA/FOCA needs a makeover… The telestrial tv coverage is beyond outdated, and is RUBBISH, sorry to say, but its the truth. Whats worse is, its getting worse… I don’t know many F1 fans who give a darn about seeing Nicole Sherzingwhatever in the pits, or watching the pitlane while cars are racing… is the sport that boring nowadays? We so seldom actually see noteworthy laps in quali these days I wonder why I even bother watching it, as the cameras are focused on what the team managers, or 3rd drivers are up to, is it relevant?

    Besides the drama of the race yesterday, the German host broadcast completely missed Massa emerging from the pits in what was a crucial and relative part of the race. And we not ONCE saw a replay of that or Alonso almost passing Massa…

    Whomever takes this sport forward needs assistance from people who are NOT at the track week in and week out, they don’t see the coverage on TV, RADIO etc. So they don’t know, or worse perhaps, even care… I am in South Africa, praying one day we will have a race here again, but at the moment all I have is TV, and there are only 19 odd countries in the world that do have that privilege…

    I watched a motorsport feast yesterday, GP3, GP2, F1, NASCAR Indy, MOTOGP and the INDY race… F1 wasn’t the best race… by some distance! So its not like we can’t live without F1, but I’m very reluctant to give up on a sport I have given my life to for so many years, despite many a friend asking, why do you bother?

    So James, my idea, isn’t groundbreaking, its really simple… F1 must stop talking about the fans as the third party, and start watching the sport as if they were a fan, and therefore think like a fan.. change is as good as a holiday, and F1 needs a change!!

  376. Martin says:

    I think the ‘no team orders’ rule should be scrapped but also scrap all radio from the cars. So all tactics are either planned before the race or through the pit board.

    This would makes races more interesting because it would have to be a driver judgement to let his team mate pass or have been decided pre-race or through pit board which everyone would see.

    It might also have the benefit of removing fuel saving towards the end of the race, and make the racing generally more interesting because the driver will have less information in race.

    1. Martin says:

      And for any specific safety concerns then all drivers can have a set of standard messages that come up on their dash e.g. debris on track etc.. with a confirmation button.

      MotoGP manages without radios.

      1. Martin says:

        The standard messages should be set by the FIA through the ECU.

  377. spongbo says:

    It might be team orders, but the nomenclature has been bugging me. As long as the world championship goes to the driver with the most points, and not the team with the most points, it’s really the drivers’ title they’re after.

    They got as many points towards the manufacturers’ championship as they would have anyway… should both championships be consolidated into one set of points, and a team pronounced the winner? It’d fix that problem.

  378. Taib says:

    The rule regarding team orders needs to be scrapped. It is completely backward. Ferrari did the the right thing here because Alonso realistically can win the tite so priority should go to Alonso. Remember that Massa did not move over for Alonso in Australia so I think both drivers were on an equal footing to being with but since then it has been abundatly clear that Alonso much faster(Turkey aside)and can only win the title for Ferrari. As for being to ealry in the season, at this stage Alonso can realistically win the title for Ferrari so it is not too early. I think this entire affair has been overblown well out of proportion mostly by naive people far too obsessed with romantic attitude or with a stupid tabloid attitude. It was crass from Ferrari but team orders are an integral part of Formaula One and always will be. Ferrari got the the fine and it should be left like that. If further sanctions happen I will completely lose all faith in FIA altogether and Formula One. Their decisions show a lack of common sense this season. One should ask why it took the FIA stewards about half an hour after the race to confirm they were investigating the overtaking move fron Alonso not in the race when it happenned? Was it because of the predictable tabloid reaction from naive fans and media? I cartainly think so.

  379. Rob says:

    Lets remember that in 2002 it looked bad, but the only reason was because of the fact that Barrichello refused team orders,had he of moved when first asked and not made such a thing about it so as to move at the last minute, we would probably still have team orders and nobody would be making all this fuss other nothing.The rest of motorsport has team orders so why not F1,WRC teams use orders at nearly every rally and so what, it`s a team sport,it`s not always fair but needs must.

  380. Ricardo Diaz Marquez says:

    Dear readers and James: at the beginning, I m sorry about my poor english, so after this..
    I m very sorry about teams orders, because all of these are make for benneficts only to one pilot; and ever time the pilot are the pilot that more pay or the pilot who has the bigger patronship. So, we couldn´t see real races if this mater win.
    For example; what are now thinking the boss of Red Bull? “I m silly, and stupid, because if I ordered who was first and second, now my team are winning both championships, and my predilected pilot on front.”
    But, we (how viewers, fans of races) weren´t saw very nice races, with fight, crashes and drivers works. And was very nice we have seen them.
    Don t forget the times where ferrari and Mr german were winning all the races. It´s so boring.
    For me, Alonso will be pennalished with 5 second, so he will be Second, and game over with this politics maner.
    If the drivers or the team want the upper place it should fight for it; and they will have risk, indoubt, fair to get it.
    These are the races. Emotion, errors, fails, fair, wrongs and ups.
    And who do make this? the only people who wants rrisk are the pilots, if you buy all of the pilots how sclaves, we wont be races.
    Ok, thanks and I m sorry about my english again.

  381. Andy Kirkman says:

    As team orders have always existed and always will, to have a rule banning it totally is nonsense, as a clever team can if they wish, manipulate positions.
    The rule was introduced as a result of Ferrari’s poor team management in 2002 and their poor management again yesterday created the latest furure.

    I would like to see the rules amended so that a team cannot apply team orders to a driver who still has a mathematical chance of winning the championship prior to the start of each GP.
    This would be fair to the drivers, fans would know the possible options prior to the start of each GP and it gives teams some flexibility.
    It may also give some of the drivers an added incentive.

    The FIA would need to be hard on the teams to enforce this. Any driver saying ‘it was my decision’ as per Massa yesterday in an attempt to find a loop hole, should result in all driver and constructor points lost for that race.

    I don’t think it’s realistic or fair to say that teams can only use team orders after the half way point etc. Allow team orders but only when a driver cannot mathematically win.

  382. Tony says:

    Maybe part of the problem is that team orders are so systemic in Formula One, therefore some F1 personnel think that it’s right to have it.

    As a fan I really want to watch a sport that has credibility & integrity. Essentially a sport I can be proud of.

    I don’t want to be involved in a sport that is manipulated & fixed, or one that dupes the fans and insults their intelligence. Like we experienced this weekend with all the excuses on what transpired, how stupid does Alonso et all think we are?

    Am I naive, or is it time for F1 to evolve some more?

  383. Luca says:

    As all teams employ team orders in some form (whether its to hold station and cease racing or to swap positions) and that it can not be policed, added to the fact that regardless of how the drivers feel, the sport is ultimately a team sport, they should do away with the rule.

    If a rule can’t be policed properly then remove the rule, remove the ambiguity.

    If people think that takes away elements of racing, then show me a race where a team leading a 1-2 finish lets their guys race to the line… never happens anymore. Istanbul is a case in point – McLaren claim to let there drivers race… but after the ‘natural’ order was restored, they had to go into ‘fuel saving mode’…. sure, if that isn’t a team order of sorts – and the podium had the same atmosphere as germany.

  384. Paul Sivyer says:

    There are number of things here that need some consideration as to why this matter has attracted so much attention.
    First and foremost, I think it was the fact that there was no “race” to win once Alonso had been given the lead – it was then a foregone conclusion. To put it simply, the fans feel they were cheated of a proper race.
    Secondly, I think we also feel that Massa was cheated of a brilliant comeback win.
    Thirdly, it was blatant and that “innocent parties” were forced by the Team to be less than economical with the truth. In this latest debacle Alonso again denies all knowledge of the event.
    Fourthly, Ferrari cheated the result of the race and denied the German fans a home grand prix winner.

    If they were judged to be guilty were they not also guilty of misleading the stewards too? And again, if they were guilty should they not have been disqualified from the event?

  385. Cesar says:

    Bahrain Win= 25 points
    Abu Dhabi=25 points

    Points at the beginning of the season worth the same value that at the end.

    Just get rid of the rule.

    It´s really a shame how the teams now have to manage themselves to avoid the rule, “save fuel”, “faster than you”…

    We all should understand why Massa allowed Kimi to overtake him in Brazil, why Kimi did the same with Massa in China one year after, why Kovalainen let Hamilton through in Hockenheim, or why De La Rosa was ordered not to attach Kobayashi on Turkey, same way we should understand why Ferrari did what they did yesterday.

    And so the FIA.

    So just get rid of it and save us all this media (well some of them, the press conference yesterday after the race was a completely SHAME) circus.

  386. garza says:

    As you say James, when are “team orders” an infraction? when broadcast over the radio, yes, Ferrari should be fined, punished, given notice, etc., banned? hardly
    If any team gives the same instruction in the pits before the race, there is no knowledge of it but the infraction is the same, after all they are “teams”, other sports usually don’t enforce team rules
    Maybe 2/3 into the season is a good enforcement/restriction point

    Ferrari did it wrong because, as you mentioned, there were other ways to let FA through, and if you ask me, FM was not that much slower and SV was not that much quicker, Massa deserved the win and I don’t think 7 points will decide the Championship towards FA, he will fight for best after LH, JB, SV, MW, or Ferrari will come back with a vengeance and beat them all (I hope not, I’m cheering for Webber)

    I do think this has been magnified and we like to complain, if FM had not let FA through and they crashed, it would be SV-MW all over again, if SV would have caught the Ferraris, FM would be criticized for his lack of judgement and team spirit

    If FA lets FM through in Brazil because they are fast there but have no effect on the standings, just to return the favour, should they receive another penalty?

  387. JD says:

    Team orders should be explicitly allowed in F1. No other sport has such a naive assumption that team orders somehow nullify the competition as “sport.” All head-to-head racing activity, whether it be human-powered or motorized, inherently carries with it the need for “teams” to work for the betterment of the team.

    Attempting to write a rule to distinguish Germany 2010 from Austria 2002 is nearly impossible. Exactly where is the line drawn to define “well behind on points” or “too early in the season”? Situations are unique, and while it was necessary for Massa to move over for Raikkonen in the last race of the season in 2007, something that is quite obvious, proving that it was necessary for Massa to move over for Alonso yesterday is less easy to explain.

    If Ferrari want to win the driver’s championship in 2010, their decision was absolutely correct. Even now, it will be difficult to make up 34 points on Hamilton because Hamilton is doing a great job of consolidating his points lead. Compared to 2002, the situation is clearly different. Yet, how can a rule be written to encompass this distinction? The course of action is to simply re-allow the teams to manage their races the way they see fit.

  388. WildB0b says:

    It is obvious today that everyone KNOWS it was a team order. The issue at hand is – can the “no team orders” rule be policed.

    The stewards would not have reacted and we wouldn’t be here if there had been a coded message. But a coded message – no matter HOW coded – is going to go down well with a chap in Felipe’s position – 9 races to go and being told to move over – there is bound to be bad blood and ill feeling.

    He can still mathematically be world champion.

    Ferrari are hoping this rule can not be policed. For a team opposed to testing bans and the budgets they command, £60,000 is a drop in the ocean if it may win a championship for them. It’s worth the risk.

    You need to remove that option.

    The driver on the stewards panel has worked well this year. Let’s add another driver to the stewards panel. This removes the focus of any decision being on one individual.

    If any incidents occur mid-race which looks like it may have been an artificial change of position, the stewards are free to investigate, with a maximum penalty of a drive through for ANY car involved. Just like cutting a chicane to get an advantage – dangerous driving – it’s down to interpretation – we have rules like this now.

    As James mentions, remove this rule for the last 1/4 of the season. Team orders are allowed in the last 5 races. This removes the temptation to use them too early and get fingers burnt but teams know they will be available later in the season. And it provides an element of risk for teams if team mates are STILL closely matched – but it does acknowledge that this is also a TEAM sport.

  389. Chris says:

    Good balanced and reasonable post on this, I don’t get all the hysteria! I find it a bit strange that the stewards didn’t decide to investigate it until the media storm afterwards don’t you?

    I think a big amount of the problems have came from the way this was handled, surely it doesn’t matter if the order comes in the last race or the first race, an extra 7 points is an extra 7 points no matter when they came? If the FIA are going to get tough with Ferrari on this then surely they need to look into Brazil 07, China 08 (which was every bit as obvious considering Kimi was about 9 seconds ahead from my memory!!), Silverstone 08, Hockenheim 08 and Canada 08? What about every order we hear to hold station, the teams don’t even pretend they aren’t giving those orders so surely they would all need punished too?

    In my opinion they should scrap the no team orders rule, it seems like lunacy to ban team co-operation in a team sport! Team orders have been part of the sport for much much longer than they have been banned and it is time for them to come back. What is the point in pretending they don’t exist in every team?

  390. azac21 says:

    Clealry overblown situation by -mostly- the UK media and skippin and hoppin E Jordan….

    Any banning on team orders is un-policable and un-realistic. FIA should bite the bullet and scrap the rule. Keep the radio rransmission live to the audience so we can have an idea of what the drivers think of the team orders while racing.

  391. Mebz says:

    1st race of the season, mclaren, red bull who ever, drivers are one two, 10 laps to go, team radios in look after the car/save fuel etc. Blantently stopping their drivers from racing (I think turkey this year).

    Team orders will always exist!

    Ade has nailed it on the head, open up the air

    1. Tone says:

      That’ll pretty much be part of Ferrari’s argument at the hearing i think

  392. Hawknest says:

    I think that letting your teammate pass in the closing stages of championship is not really a team decision but more driver’s intention. There is no “must do it” order from pits, drivers understand it by their-selves and that’s ok.

    How to separate pilot’s decision and team? I don’t know.

  393. Emile says:

    As a Ferrari fan I was disappointed that Massa needed to be told! Your team mate is catching you at 0.2 per lap and then pulls back a gap to 3.0 to give you space then goes after him again and closes at the same speed. There is only one option.

    Massa should have known this himself, and to make such a fuss of the whole thing, with Rob saying “sorry” is simply inexcusable. Massa has never really shown any speed this year, or any year to be honest. Were it not for his accident last year I doubt he would be in a red car.

    F1 needs team orders, because it is a team sport. Cycling has it, and no-one questions the authenticity of the Tour de France (well not for that reason anyway).

    Lets get some perspective. It was poor for F1, but only due to a silly rule. There is only one optimum strategy, Alonso v Hamilton showed us that. Therefore there is always one driver being favoured. They should have been able to say “Massa, FA is faster, let him past and make sure you stay ahead of SV”. I used to love to see how Ferrari manipulated the field by using RB to block off others. It was intelligent and smart F1.

    Sorry for the rant, but there has been a disproportionate reaction in the press.

  394. chris says:

    How about no team orders until a driver is mathematically out of the championship.

  395. Spike says:

    Its not ironically that Singapore benefited Alonso. Somehow he is always present when there is controversy, whining or shady business taking place.

    Yesterday there were 225 points still up for grabs. The difference with 2007 was that there was no mathematical chance of Massa winning it. Also, it looked like racing to every one watching. For all we know Kimi passed Massa legitimately in the pits. But F1 fans dont like blatant displays like yesterday. Its like Ferrari saying ‘f*ck the rules. we do as we please. we dont care if it ruins the excitement’. Thats why the Ferrari drivers should be stripped of their points from yesterday.

  396. malcolm.strachan says:

    I was personally disappointed by the call Ferrari made; however, I was disappointed because I thought that Massa had a stellar pass in the first corner and earned his position (of course, if Alonso caught up and passed him unassisted, then Alonso would have earned it).

    The problem is that it is such a grey area. If two teammates had a history of crashing, then I would understand if a team wanted to tell one driver that if the other was faster to let their teammate pass. If the team made a mistake, causing a driver to lose a position to a teammate, then I can understand if they ask the drivers to swap positions. If a driver is having a problem, and is in the lead, I can understand if the team asked the teammate in second to hold position since it isn’t the fault of the leading driver to slow down marginally. If it is down to the last race or two, and the championship is on the line, I can understand a team wanting to let one driver pass the other for maximum points.

    There is the problem; when does the championship begin to matter? To me, I would say the last 3 or 4 races, but to Ferrari, it obviously means the latter half of the season (or 9 races remaining). Who is right?

  397. Mike Sheppard says:

    Hi James
    I think there is no way that the FIA can ban team orders. teams will just simply swap positions in the pits or turn an engine down a lap or two early for example. What offended yesterday was the arrogant way Ferrari implemented the order.

    I have a suggestion how we can avoid a repetition:-

    1. The race result should stand. Issuing a race result long after the race cheats everybody.

    However, with all the telemetry etc there is no place to hide and so if illegal team orders are issued and the offender found guilty they should face a 20 place grid penalty at the next race.

    and possibly too…

    2. To adopt the NASCAR Chase rules. The top 6 say with 4 races to go have their points haul increased by 125. From there on in team orders allowed openly.

  398. Tim says:

    They should sack Rob Smedley and employ the Harry Enfied character so in the next race he can say ” Felipe, we cant help but notice that Fernando is considerably quicker than yow”

  399. Mark Jackson says:

    The fact is that team orders were banned in 2002. This situation was undoubtedly as a consequence of a team order by the team management.
    As such the sanction needs to be against the team and not the drivers involved in order to prevent this and occurring in the future.
    $100000 is a paltry fine in the context of the team budget and in terms of Alonso’s salary.
    The team should have a realistic fine and the Constructor points deducted for the German GP.

  400. Eric says:

    The Raikkonen and Massa situations are completely different: both were very late in the season and the driver moving over was mathematically out of it. Massa may not have been as fast as Alonso ON AVERAGE this weekend, but he was faster when it mattered the most and thus deserved the win. Being fast does not mean you deserve to win. Being theoretically better does not mean you deserve to win. That’s what sport is about – delivering when it matters the most and the upsets wins/loses are what keeps people interested. Massa is not mathematically out of this championship yet. So you really feel cheated of a genuine sporting outcome of the championship.

    Alonso will not win the championship this year anyway, so it was a completely pointless thing for Ferrari to do.

    All drivers should be allowed to fight it out without being expected to or ordered to move aside for their teammates until they mathematically cannot win the championship. In this way you ensure that the driver that performs best over the season wins. If one driver is getting wins he shouldn’t get and those points determine the championship then that is unfair on the other 23 competitors.

  401. Jonny Kiehlmann says:

    Martin Brundle’s current line is interesting (and wrong):

    “I played the sportsmanlike and balanced role in my career because that’s my nature, like Massa, and I significantly underperformed my potential. I could have done with some Schumacher and Alonso unreasonableness. ” [I love the honesty of the first of those sentences.]

    And he’s wrong, because we’re not allowed traction control, active suspension, ground effects, much as everyone would like this to be the case. The rule as it stands may be unworkable, but that’s just a sign it should be made better. Massa should’ve had a spine, admittedly, but we don’t know his contract. It would be interesting were a driver to be sued for breaching a part of his contract which, were he to follow it, would require him to break the regs. Much as it was for Mr. David Ryan.

    The way to deal with this us simple have something in the regs that explicitly says that a team mate is allowed to cost his teammate the championship by blocking him from passing when he is mathematically out of the running, but also make it clear that drivers’ contracts are allowed to have clauses finining them many billion dollars for doing so. Simple. Work on that.

    Drivers have to deal with a lot of things, including keeping up relationships with their teams. Teammates should be among them.

    I would much rather watch a series where a spurned team mate could have the choice to try and stop his partner win the championship, than know someone like Felipe Massa is never going to be allowed to win, even though it’s early in the year.

    Keep a ban on team orders, but allow, recognise and praise gentlemen’s agreements! Or honour among theives, if you prefer to look at it that way. That’s what the show needs.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve had that conversation with Martin several times. He’s right.

  402. Jason C says:

    Very, very good post, James. Ferrari’s actions, while not what I like to see in F1, have been used as a stick to beat Ferrari and Alonso by all the ‘antis’ who have come out of the woodwork. Just checked a British tabloid’s website for their coverage, and as expected it’s pretty revolting.

    But what to do about it? Just let the teams do what they want, I say, and let them reap the whirlwind when it gets too stupid, as it did in 2002. Forget this silly ‘no team orders’ rule that basically means that although team orders are just as present as before, teams have to embarass themselves and all of us by pretending they’re not ordering their drivers around.

  403. C Pitter says:

    Re. punishment for Ferrari – both drivers should be disqualified from the German GP and the remaining drivers moved up two places. This is for lying to the stewards. The stewards penalised them for team orders, which they denied, hence they are lying. Wasn’t Lewis Hamilton disqualified in Australia 2009 for lying to the stewards? The penalty should be consistent with that.

    As for team orders. It just seems so wrong that a result should be decided in the boss’ office before the race and not on the track. I agree that at some point, the driver out of the championship should help his teammate, but that should only be if it is mathematically impossible for him to win, i.e. if he was 26 points behind at the last race. But if he was less than 26 points behind, the drivers should race until the end. Otherwise it is not fair, and the fans are being cheated of racing and battling on the track. No driver has a divine right to be no. 1 in his team. Even if the driver should reasonably help his teammate at the end of the season, there should be clear rules governing this. For instance, the public should be told otherwise betting on the race is unfair and there could be legal challenges. There are also “ways” of doing this that should not be brutal and seem unsporting. I don’t know how it can be done, but they should get their heads together to decide rules that are cheat-proof.

    Going by my suggestions above, it would be unlikely that team orders would be needed until right at the end of the season and up until then, the FIA stewards should monitor the teams vigilantly with severe penalties for stopping drivers racing where possible (this excludes when the teammates both have to slow to save fuel, thus eliminating the possibility of racing for fear of them stopping on the track). There should be ironclad laws banning any contracts allowing a no. 1 status in the teams (which should put Renault out as they seem keen on doing with Kubica what they did with Alonso). I really cannot understand why a driver would want to race in F1 if he was told he couldn’t compete on equal terms.

  404. CarlitosF1 says:

    James, you are spot on when you mention the moral dimension of certain team orders, for example those that happen way too early in a championship. Now, wether a certain team order shows complete disrespect from a team for a driver (Austria 2002!!), is an issue that would bring endless debates, but at least if the ban is dropped those wouldn’t be as filled with hype, cynicism and hipocrisy as this one has been (thinking about Horner right now!)

    So team orders might be a necessary evil, after all.

  405. jose arellano says:

    all teams have being lettind their drivers race because they havent reached the point where a decision has to be made.. ferrari was the first team that needed to do it. and its completely normal… rob smeedley and massa overreacted. they should know you cant be struggling half season and not expect this..

  406. Spike says:

    I have to add though that your idea of banning team orders until the final third of the season or maybe the final 5 races is a very good idea. Could you do some lobbyism for that James? :)

  407. chris says:

    You are absolutely right james i think! That is the case… The rule must be in the sport but once a team is handing the others what they can do?? Let them fight and maybe crash?? because the faster driver is behind… That’s not the case…Every team must react and think in a way that is good for the team but not bad for the sport too…The ban of team orders and open team radio makes the teams to code the team orders…This is not good too because maybe we can’t understand that one message was team order BUT this message maybe was a team order…I think that some teams doing that today (coded messages to the radio)

  408. Vik says:

    If team orders exist, then why not legitimise and control it’s use? Say, a maximum of three times a season?

  409. A.Rizos says:

    Thank you!

    for being a voice of reason amid all the shouting.

    The incident did leave a bitter taste in my mouth but let’s remember:
    - Alonso has respected his team-mate and not tried a banjai move in a couple of early races this season (despite having a better pace), when both had an equal chance at the WDC.
    - At this stage of the season (before Hockenheim), Massa doesn’t have a realistic chance at the driver’s championship.
    - Massa was slower than Alonso on Fri/Sat; still the pitstops were fair and afterwards he was given a chance to win – if only he could keep the gap above 3 sec, per the early Smedley message. He couldn’t.
    - So what do we want? Alonso to try a banjai late braking at turn 6, Massa to squeeze him off and both to go out?

    The team should be entitled to inform one driver that the other has better pace (meaning he might try to overtake you and don’t do anything crazy to hold him off). Of course from this to Smedley’s message and Massa’s obvious lift off in the straight, it’s too much (I agree with E. Irvine’s comment).

    Ferrari as a team should have handled the situation badly. I would have expected some discussions before the race explaining to the drivers that if you have the pace and are way ahead you win, but if things are close and Alonso is second but with better pace “don’t make things difficult when he tries to overtake”.

    So with the way it was handled, it’s pretty obvious that the rule was broken. Maybe a constructor’s point deduction is reasonable. Don’t penalize Alonso – he didn’t have the last say or order anything himself. Also, he has already had some bad luck with stewards’s decisions – it’s unfair to take him out of the WDC contention because of that [disclaimer: I am an Alonso and Vettel fan. Seems I like controversy :-)

    About future team orders? There is a difference between a driver who is clearly faster that weekend/race having to cede to a team-mate (maybe 1-2 last races only?), and a driver who barely can keep his team-mate behind him. But how do you distinguish between these? If there is a loophole, teams will exploit it and more…

    So maybe abolish all team orders completely, and request teams to inform us of their driver relative status as the season progresses?

    1. A.Rizos says:

      Typo correction. I meant:
      Ferrari as a team have handled the situation badly.

  410. D. says:

    James, I think you are right on, on this one. There should be some form of restoring team orders, perhaps as you said after a certain point in the season.

    The other thing is, a team order is not only when they tell a driver to yield position to his teammate, but also when they tell drivers to hold position (as McLaren did recently when they told Button to not attempt overtaking Lewis). As you correctly pointed out, this happens all the time, in 2007 and 2008 w/ Kimi and Massa, and in many other cases. And you are also correct that RBR, for example, would do the exact same thing later in the season, should Vettel have a chance for the title and need Webber’s “assistance”.

    Now I would like to ask you this: what probability would you give to Alonso actually overtaking Massa y’day, had they been allowed to race, and given that at that point in the race Alonso was about half a second quicker ?

    1. Mike says:

      What makes me laugh is that Alonso and Massa (and Ferrari) all say it was the best result for the team.

      If a team manager tells his drivers to hold position when in 1st & 2nd place, he is protecting the position of the TEAM acquiring maximum points. When they order the team members to swap positions they are not affecting the TEAM result but benefiting ONE of the drivers for the WDC. It’s not the same thing.

      Didn’t Ayrton Senna say something along the lines of “When a driver won’t go for the gap to overtake he is no longer a racing driver” (or words to that effect).

      Ban all radio communication from pit to car and rely on pit boards. We’ll see then who can pass his team mate in a race and who can’t without ‘fuel saving’ or other interference.

  411. Ian says:

    It won’t have done Massa’s self esteem much good, why should he bother to try any more? Which will ultimately destroy Ferrari chances of the constructor’s championship. They may have won the ‘battle’ but they won’t win the ‘war’. We watch this ‘sport’ to see racing, like Vettel and Webber (getting it wrong) and Hamilton and Button (who got it right, just!).
    It IS a sport, and may the best man WIN!

  412. mike says:

    if i had made a bet that massa would win i would be fuming

  413. Nigel says:

    I 100% agree with Damian Johnson, with that much sence he should work for the FIA. Although the blame is being put on to Massa and Smedley, as suttle as an air raid, don’t forget Alonso’s body language that tells a story.

  414. Curro says:

    I agree. After Turkey I posted about team orders and how they should be allowed so that everyone knows what’s going on. Team orders are as old as the sport, Fangio would use his team-mate’s car if his own broke down and nobody ever suggested he didn’t deserve his wins.

  415. Robert Edwards says:

    I think it’s much simpler than this. In my view Alonso is not the agressive driver he once was. This has been clear to see in various races this year when overtaken by much slower cars or even Hamilton, twice in one race. If Massa was much slower than Alonso, then Alonso should have tried much harder to overtake him, and if he couldn’t, then Massa should have won. I don’t agree with the ruling, as it can easily be camourflaged, as indicated above in the original article, so why have it?

  416. Michael says:

    It’ ridiculous, unless you have teams running one car and one driver you’ll always be in a position where the team will favour a driver. When championships are at stake and the team thinks they will have more chance of winning one by doing something like Ferrari did on Sunday then they will do so.

    So scrap the rule. It’s disingenuous and to be honest, what a lot of people are really saying is “we know it goes on, sometimes it’s okay but we want to be fooled a little and pretend that it doesn’t really happen”.

    The fact is team orders are, and always have been, part and parcel of F1. You can’t have it any other way. What happens when a team tells both drivers to ‘go for it’? They take each other out eg Webber and Vettel. How is that good for the team? Or either driver?

    If Massa was outscoring Alonso, if he gave Ferrari the best chance of winning the WDC then he would have been favoured, Alonso would be out there testing tyres but unfortunately for Massa he’s not done the business this season.

    Take Schumacher and Rosberg. Mercedes might have appealed the Monaco penalty but one reason they didn’t was because Rosberg saw extra points and it’s better he has them than Schumacher. I have no doubt that some of the pit decisions and tyre strategies that have harmed Schumacher and helped Rosberg were planned, no doubt Rosberg will be favoured for the rest of the season.

    If anyone thinks that McLaren or Red Bull or any other team would tell both drivers to go for it if one has a chance of the WDC and the other doesn’t then they are wearing some very hefty blinkers.

  417. Adam says:

    I would like team orders to be fully allowed as i consider F1 as a team sport. But this is not the case, Ferrari have broken the rule and they shall be punished respectively.

  418. Dave Cameron says:

    Ban team orders until it is mathematically impossible for one or other driver to win the championship.


    Regardless of this, I still firmly believe that the teams should only be interested in the constructors title, and not the drivers title.

    1. mtb says:

      Couldn’t such a rule create an inequitable situation, where a driver in one team is allowed assistance from his team-mate, whilst a driver in another team is not permitted such assistance?

      1. Dave Cameron says:

        Are we not in that situation already? Whilst Ferrari is telling Massa to move aside, I don’t see Red Bull or McLaren doing similar? And I certainly don’t expect them to at this stage.

        If you think through my proposal, should one team be in a position to enforce team rules whilst another is not, at least then their lead driver has earned their position on merit (i.e. they have absolutely blown away their teammate!).

        And given how competitive the top teams are in their driver line-up’s, its highly unlikely that either driver would be mathematically out of the championship race until the last 4 or 5 races of the season.

        Yes some teams will be in that position sooner than others, but how much of an advantage would that really be? I mean for a start Massa would need to outqualify Alonso AND the rest of the field in order to make any impression on his chances – and now that Q3 qualifying is on low fuel, he couldn’t even cheat his way to pole with a sub-optimal, lower fuel strategy.

        Personally I see it as the best way forward. McLaren have maintained that stance for a while now – sometimes it’s worked for them, and other times its not. But ultimately it puts more focus on the talents of the driver, and not on the race-fixing antics of the team management and/or sponsors.

      2. mtb says:

        You clearly need to do some research on the events Istanbul Park.

        If you think through your proposal, then you will see that what you are proposing is a rule that has the potential to be inherently unfair. This is especially true at a team like Renault, where for most of the last decade there has been a clear no.1 and no.2 driver. Whether this period of unfairness is only 1 race or half a season is irrelevant. An unfair regulation is an unfair regulation.

        You clearly need to review what went on at McLaren in 2008-9, where Kovalainen was undoubtedly Hamilton’s no.2 in everything but name.

  419. Stephen Farrall says:

    Lets remove all radios from the car. Let the drivers think for themselves. No more instructions on fuel saving etc.

  420. Good article James, it really saddens me to hear Ferrari accused of cheating when they as a team deserved a 1-2 this weekend more than any other team.

    A huge overreaction by the media and fans in general with a few exceptions of course… ;-)

  421. Richard Mee says:

    The majority of fans and I dare say race organisers don’t like team orders. At best they diminish the value of the occasion by immediately removing any potential for a truly memorable race; at worst they render the driver’s championship meaningless.

    Teams should announce on Sunday morning what their team strategy will be; a named driver for the win, or no preference. All expectations can be then be managed and there is no hint of smoke and mirrors. It could even introduce another element of strategy as team’s would know which drivers they are racing and who is simply out to help their team mate… tour de France springs to mind.
    That said – I’m not saying that this would be my own preference. I’d still prefer a situation where the best driver on the day has the combination of skill and aero to overtake for the win. End of.

  422. Michael says:

    A team order ban until the last part of the season isn’t going to solve the problem. They’ll still find devious ways of achieving the order they want.

    Isn’t the best idea to return to the rule about ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’? That way, when team orders are understandable, given the championship situation, they will be fine. And when they are blatantly to the detriment of one driver earlier in the season teams can be sanctioned.

    A might tricky one though.

  423. senna says:

    good article.
    James why drivers nowadays always follow a team order, while in the past drivers just disobeyed an order like the one massa received last sunday. Reutteman brazil 1981, arnoux paul ricard 1982 come to mind. Has the sport changed so much, that ha