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Ferrari team orders: did the FIA get it right?
Ferrari team orders: did the FIA get it right?
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Sep 2010   |  10:09 pm GMT  |  277 comments

Ferrari walked away from the FIA World Motor Sport council today with no further punishment following the decision of the stewards at the German Grand Prix to fine them $100,000 for breaking a rule regarding team orders.

And this evening the FIA put out a brief statement saying that the whole team orders rule is being reconsidered in the light of this case.

Photo: Ferrari

“The Judging Body has also acknowledged that article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations should be reviewed and has decided to refer this question to the Formula One Sporting Working Group,” it said.

The Sporting Working Group is made up of representatives from the teams, mainly sporting directors and heads of race engineering as well as the FIA.

The 37 members of the WMSC upheld the Hockenheim stewards decision, but voted not to apply any additional punishment, as a result of hearing all the evidence, which will be published by the FIA tomorrow (9th September).

Although Ferrari said that they did not use team orders and therefore did not breach Article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations, the Hockenheim stewards didn’t believe them and applied the fine. They also recommended that Ferrari be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. This did not get very far in today’s hearing.

Ferrari were represented by team principal Stefano Domenicali and by its lawyers Henry Peter and Nigel Tozzi. The drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were not in Paris, but made themselves available by phone if any evidence was required from them.

Soon after the session dissolved, Italian WMSC member Angelo Sticchi Damiani briefed reporters that Ferrari had escaped punishment. Confirmation followed this evening.

Until the evidence and the details of the judgement are published there is not a lot of point going into analysis of this decision. It is a controversial one, with many fans around the world disappointed that Ferrari hasn’t had the book thrown at them for spoiling their enjoyment of the race.

Also there are suggestions from some fans that Ferrari personnel must have lied to the stewards, as Lewis Hamilton did in Australia last year, but the evidence clearly doesn’t bear that out, as it did with Hamilton.

However, so blatant was the process by which Massa was moved aside, with his engineer Rob Smedley afterwards apologising, “Good lad, Sorry”, that many fans felt let down. This was exacerbated by the fact that the whole saga with radio clips was carried by the world feed TV coverage.

As I’ve been arguing here on JA on F1 Ferrari should be punished for breaking the rule, as they have been up to a point, but the rule needs urgent review. The Todt regime at the FIA is very different from the Mosley regime and it does things in a much more collegiate and procedural way. This may not be as much fun for people who liked the mischief of the Mosley era, but it is more fitting for F1 today.

Todt himself was a firm believer in team orders when he was a team manager, employing them regularly with Peugeot and Ferrari, to suit the company’s objectives, regardless of what fans might think.

I’d like to see the SWG embrace a complete reworking of the team orders rule, certainly with some indications of when they are appropriate, such as once 75% of the season has elapsed or when one team’s driver has less than 60% of the other drivers’ points or something along those lines.

There also needs to be consideration given to team order switches lower down the field. To switch the lead cars is very high profile and controversial, but it happens for 10th place too, so how can you allow for that? In fact what happens if it isn’t covered by the TV? Does that mean it doesn’t matter?

Please send in your suggestions for how this can be worked out. I’ll pass the good ones on to the FIA and FOTA.

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Oh well. . . Another lost opportunity for Integrity.


Sorry im confused. Is Ferrari guilty or not? If they are guilty then they should have had the book thrown at them as the race stewards found. The fine remains and they have been told to pay court costs. However todt says there was not enough evidence. So if no evedense they are not guilty, no costs to pay and no $100k fine to pay!

FIA are pathetic. Ferrari broke the rules. Everyone knew instantly and the stewards already found them guilty.

No other court in the world allows the guilty (already decided by the stewards) to argue that the rulkes are not strict enough so they should be let off. Unbelievable!!!!

Those cricket players have been suspened and will be punished. Athelets who say they never dopped but missed drug tests get banned for years. Ferrari blatently use team orders, spit in our faces by denying it and then get the rules changed, the very rulkes that were brought into place because they stuck fingers up at the fans in 2002.

There was no reason for massa to let alonso past from the teams point of view. they got the the same points but the fans were cheated and massa was cheated.

I feel sad for the pathetic shell of a driver massa has become and dislike alonso even more for his tantrems that have an effect on millions of people watching around the world.

Just pleased that webber is already ahead of vettel otherwise before team orders became ok if you can afford $100k otherwise he'd already be supporting vettel, who is clearly not world champion material yet. Alonso by the way in my humble opnion is no longer WC material either... Gutted about this out come. Why i am having to conitually defend this sport when i dont agree with the govenense and people laugh at you for being a fan!

Team oreder rule should stay until one driver is mathmatically out of the running. This is how its been run since 2002 without any team taking the piss!


I must say I am disappointed with the whole Team orders situation in F1. It is making a mock of the whole concept of motor racing!!!

Clearly there is no integrity and now no rules which protect the outcome of a race or championship.

So the next time we see a Ferrari one two no prizes for guessing who will be in the lead.

It will be interesting to haer what Massa has to say this weekend.


Massa won't say anything against the team again. Being number#2 at Ferrari is better than joining (at best) Renault or sliding down to a mid-placed team.

The team owners make the decisions, for their interests, not the drivers. Drivers are then made into superstars and paid millions. It's not so bad.


Can anyone remember when last integrity and the the FIA had any common ground what so ever?

We do not live in the world our forefathers live in, our is a world where spineless cowards become leaders and where people devoid of morality and integrity rule the day. Worst of all, the crowd love and embrace them, we are not a society of morality and respect.

Truly Ferrari's popularity is a reflection of our time.


1. By allowing the fine that the Stewards imposed to stand, the FIA is accepting that team orders were used to affect the results of the race.

2. By accepting the results of the race, the FIA is accepting that team orders were used to affect the drivers, albeit not the constructors, world championship.

3. Team orders are illegal. Whether the rule is a silly one or not (and, personally, I believe it is), the fact is that the FIA has accepted that Ferrari acted illegally but is saying it doesn't matter.

4. The FIA has failed to act enforce its own rules. Therefore,it has failed to act with any integrity whatsoever.

I expected better in this post-Mosely era. Yes, by all means review the regulations and involve the teams and the fans in that process, but don't say the law doesn't matter because we might repeal it one day as it is unfair to other teams, to fans and to anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of races and championships.


i agree with you up to number three. as to number 4, the team were fined by the FIA, a noticeable sum. the WSC simply deemed this punishment enough.


Cacarella, please note my first point: "By allowing the fine that the Stewards imposed to stand, the FIA is accepting that team orders were used to affect the results of the race."

If they did not have a case, in the the cause of justice they would have surely overturned the fine the Stewards imposed.

I agreed the rule needed to be reviewed, but at the time it was the rule and therefore it was the FIA's job to apply it - not to say, effectively' "You cheated, but it doesn't matter.'


All 4 of your points suggest that a rule was broken. Obviously the FIA does not have a case against Ferrari as there is absolutely no way they could prove that 'Fernando is faster than

you' is a team order. This is why the rule needs to be examined, so they at least have a chance of enforcing it.


Give it a break. It's just a game. Should Ferrari be punished because they were less "sneaky' than all the other teams? If anyone is culpable, it's Rob Smedly and his driver, who made it look so obvious (as did Rubens back in 2003). Those are the ones who should have some stick. If you are disappointed, don't back a number two driver.


I never said don't root for your your driver. I admit I was being facetious. One cannot avoid disappointment when backing a driver. To construe that I said that one should only root for a number one driver, and to give me credit for deciding who to root for is erroneous, and besides that, futile to think that anyone who matters in F-1 takes even the remotest interest in what I have to say about the matter. You give me too much credit.


So all the fans should only root for a number one driver Mark? How nice of you to decide that for them. Why don't we just decide the number one drivers ahead of next season and then just divide the wins among them? The essence of true sport is competition. The best man wins, anything that interferes with that is a shame, and for you to suggest who another person should root for, outs you as the worst kind of fan.


Or not?

Answer the following questions with a simple Yes or No?

Imagine you own a company which you have invested easily 150million every year for the past decade or longer. One of your highest paid employees refuses to do what you ask, even though it is to the possible detriment of the company... As the owner are you being cheated?

Unenforceable laws are a waste of time.

Virtually all the F1 teams have used team orders previously and according to many/ most spokespeople will continue to do so.

Would you rather know the result was affected by team orders than believe the result was simply racing when it wasn't?

As I thought, you said "yes" four times. It's not nice. It isn't what we would all like. It is real life, not a make believe "show", with faked "fights".


team orders early in the season is not rite. it spoiles the racing..as you say nrar the end of the season is ok if one driver as no chance.but to bring them back will make f1 like amerecan wrestleing.wats the point in watching a race that can be interfered with...by the way .whoo"d wanna be massa right now


I see it as a team sport, i.e. teams against teams.


yea to an extent..but its also a drivers sport ie.2 drivers in the same team fight for the title..if team orders come back then only 10 out of 20 will be fighting for the title..that is not wat i want to watch


I hope people remember US Grand Prix 2007, if not let me refresh your memory.


FA wants LH to move aside. FA does not get his way, and we all know what happened next. Mclaren lost WDC that year because they let their drivers race. Had Ron forced Lewis to step aside FA would have won WDC 5 times by now and would still be at Mclaren and Lewis may have gone off to some other team and we would have seen another Schumi\Ferrari like era. Thank Ron that it did not happen.

This is the same FA now at Ferrari, shouting on the radio “This is ridiculous” the same way he punched his hands towards the team pit box.

US GP 07 was the turning point.

My wish is a breakaway series( aka GP1 ). No FIA, no Ferrari, No Fernando Alonso, No Vettel.

Ideally FOTA minus Ferrari, Mercedes and some loose change.

GP1 rights are held by Bernie ( unlike F1 heald by FIA )

Come on Bernie make it happen!


"Mclaren lost WDC that year because they let their drivers race"

I think they lost WDC just because they did not how to manage the situation. By the way, there was something about McLaren spying their rivals, was it?

So you think that Ferrari should be out of F1 because they are cheaters... what do we do whit McLaren?

"Had Ron forced Lewis to step aside FA would have won WDC 5 times by now"

Err.. 2007, 2008, 2009... I count three.


sorry, I forgot 05 & 06!


My wish is a breakaway series( aka GP1 ). No FIA, no Ferrari, No Fernando Alonso, No Vettel.



Your memory isn't so great. It was in Monaco where the McLarens were cruising to a 1-2 and Hamilton wanted to take the fight to Alonso and the team wanted them to hold station. Thats when things started. At the US GP, Alonso could have passed if Hamilton didn't block him several times. He then ran down the inside at pit straight to show his anger to the team. Then in Hungary, that is where it all went to hell.


Sorry John, Ferrari and F1 go hand in hand, and breakaway series without Ferrari is dead and every team knows it. I agree the FIA should be told to disappear and so should Bernie. I think it is stupid that the teams (the show) generate billions and they get only 50% of the profit in return. They should get all of it less running cost.

And as for Mclaren, they screwed up. I dont think hamilton should have pulled over in USA but i do believe Mclaren should have imposed some type of orders to ensure title victory. Because there stupidity cost them the title. That would not have happened at any other team on the grid.


Breakaway series? That was a real disaster in America with the CART vs IRL war which has badly crippled, perhaps permanently, open-wheel racing.


No Alonso , no Vettel?!?! So basically just backmarkers + Hamilton.. you want a another Schumi\Ferrari like era but with Hamilton\McLaren as the stars... Like the Thai people say: same same but different.


No your totally wrong. The problems started at Monaco. Lewis was held back by mclaren to protect a 1-2. Just thought and other team order lol and after the race Ron said to alonso to say thanks to Lewis but fernando was like what for I had the race under control. Lewis wasn't happy and was at Ron to not let it happen again. Afterall fernando was brought up with Renault and they always always moved the slower driver out of the faster drivers way in races even costing alonso points in his champ years


The FIA should have reversed the result. Massa ahead of alonso. No one else involved. Easy. FIA are gutless to ferrari and they know it.


I would always allow them. If Ferrari are not fined or given any sort of penalty for what they did then it is hard to police and it is better off scrapping the rule altogether. Fans may not like it when teams make a mockery of the sport, but id rather them do on the track and for it to be legal than to give it a bad name by dragging it through the mud and having a high profile court hearing in Paris.


F1 needs to decide if it is a primarily a team sport or a competition for drivers. If it is first and foremost a team sport and team orders are to be allowed then scrap the drivers championship and make it all about the constructors.

At the moment the drivers championship carries the most prestige and yet if Ferrari and supporters of team orders have their way then half the drivers on the grid would, in effect, not be allowed to take part.

Alonso had his chance to overtake Massa fair and square and failed to make it happen. Massa was still mathematically in the hunt for the championship and his car and pace were good enough to win that race, and yet Ferrari felt it necessary to take that away from both Massa and the fans. Had Alonso challenged and beaten Massa on track then we would all have been cheering and celebrating his achievement, but he wasn't good enough on the day and instead took the cowards victory.

"Win at all costs" may have brought much glory to Schumacher and Ferrari in the past, but it also brought an equal amount of ridicule and criticism. I would rather see my World Champion give away certain victory to stop and help an injured competitor by the side of the track than run him over in a bid to win for the sake of winning.


"Alonso had his chance to overtake Massa fair and square and failed to make it happen."

If Massa had been fast enough to stay ahead of Alonso we wouldn't be having this discussion. He would simply have driven away to a clear victory.

Instead, despite the fact that Alonso was quite a bit faster throughout the whole weekend, and the season as well, he decided to block Alonso's passing attempts.

If a driver has to block another what does that tell you? Does it deserve defending?


So basically you're saying that drivers should never race?

Massa was faster on the option tyre, and Alonso's one chance came when Massa had just left the pits and had cold prime tyres, giving Alonso a grip advantage. Once the tyres were up to temperature Massa had no problem pulling out a bit of a gap.

According to the transcript from the FIA's investigation both cars were then told to turn their engines down, and then subsequently Alonso was told to turn his engine up again giving him a power advantage and allowing him to close up the gap to Massa. Any pace advantage around the time of the team orders was merely an illusion.

Alonso had a chance to overtake Massa, failed to take it and then didn't have the pace to challenge him again. This was why he wasn't able to open a significant advantage even after he had been gifted the lead. It was a most undeserved victory and a complete farce.


And had Alonso attacked and hit Massa? What would you have said then?

You don't seem to consider the risk of being aggressive overtaking your team mate...Alonso did it in China after following Massa on several other occassions and we all saw what happened then.


Same as in every other instance when team mates race - these guys are supposed to be the best in the world but cannot be trusted to race each other cleanly?

Alonso should have attacked Massa on track and made his way past as he would have had to do with any other driver in the race. Instead both he and the Ferrari management took the cowards way out and refused to prove their worth on track.


Team orders are ingrained in F1 in so many forms and many degrees. Whether visible to the public or not.


Disappointing decision by the WSMC, but it's to be expected. Ferrari seems to be able to get away with a little rulebreaking here and there more often than not, Im guessing owing to their perceived 'golden chalice' status.

In any case, im for team orders ONLY if one driver has been mathematically eliminated from the championship and the other stands to gain significantly in the standings by virtue of gaining that place.

However the order should not be so callous as to just say 'let him past', it should be in the form of a coded message.


I'm not happy with the result. Rules are rules and Ferrari clearly broke them. Whether the rule is right or wrong does not matter. I feel the FIA have let down the fans considerably.


I agree that the FIA let the fans down. Also makes me wonder in my cynical mind if Jean Todt is still a bit too close to Ferrari, not pursuing the issue further. the only time team orders work for me is the one and only order that Roger Penske gives his drivers...... don't take each other out.


...and WHAT other team didn't...


I can't say that i'm happy nor sad at hearing this today. After all how can you police an unpolicable law?


Exactly right. You can never - NEVER - police this rule, so it is absolutely pointless to outlaw team orders.

The best way forward? Educate the public (and the media) so there is not such an outcry - that's what brings the sport into disrepute.


Agreed. This was originally a manufacturers' series, and with the amount of investment involved, should still first and foremost be about the teams not the drivers. But our preoccupation with personality, glitz and tabloid glamour has obscured those behind the scenes who make the drivers look like geniuses. All agree in the paddock that the car is 60%, 70% or even more of a driver's chance for the WDC so how could the WDC really have any meaning. Many great drivers have fallen through the cracks for want of a great car at the right time.


True, the Constructors' Championship was formalised in 1958, but Grand Prix racing in the broadest sense was always a constructors series, a means of showcasing superiority in engineering. The drivers were always considered employees.


Wrong. The WC was always a drivers' series. The contructors' part came later.


And Ferrari get away with it. Again.

"FIA" and "right" do not go in the same sentence James - havent done for a long time. They couldnt manage a toddler's party without getting the clown drunk or the cake made of sand.

Why have rules if you havent got the guts to enforce them? Just scrap them (or those that Ferrari don't like to obey) and make F1 a free for all - less hassle for the FIA then.

Pathetic decision - or lack of it - today.


Agreed. Wonder how it would have been if it was Ari Vatanen in Todt's place. Been cleaner if that was their decision (or lack of) to refund the 100K.


For the poll - only allow them at the end of the season, when one driver is mathematically out of the WDC. Otherwise there is nothing to stop teams taking the mick like Ferrari did in Germany. When one driver is out its fine, but otherwise most people pay to see a race, not a pitwall orchestration.

As for if the FIA get it right, in my view they didn't. It doesn't matter how silly some people think the rule might be, the fact is it is a rule and Ferrari blatantly broke it. The fine they have got away with is relatively miniscule. They should have got some sort of suspended ban at the very least, as now they have effectively paid 100K so that they can break a rule, and that sets a dangerous precedent.

Just for the record, I am not anti-Ferrari at all, and I resent that I was being lumped into that earlier today. My view is that any and every team has to be accountable to the rules, no exceptions.

FYI James, your twitter hub site thing isn't working.


Unfortunately many people only have a problem with the issue whenever team orders are implemented at Ferrari.
When certain other teams implement team orders, such people vigorously defend the action because of reasons which are apparently specific to the incident.
In my experience, such people think that it is acceptable to implement team orders under the following circumstances.
1. It is a championship-deciding race and a certain team (from a certain country) does not want to impede one of the contenders, so this team alters its strategy during the race to prevent impeding the contender (who races for another team that hails from the same country). In the final laps of the race, it is permissible for the team to instruct its drivers to swap positions and then have the championship contender move aside for the drivers of this team. Oh, and it helps if the championship contender is instructed by his engineer that the driver behind him has been helpful during the race, the year is 1997, and the circuit is Jerez.
2. It is the first race of the season and the same team, knowing that it has immense pace but being concerned about reliability, instructs its drivers that whoever gets to the first corner FIRST remains in front for the rest of the race. Ideally, the year in question should be 1998 and the circuit should be Albert Park.
3. A race is taking place in torrential downpour, and a team informs a driver not to overtake his team-mate for the lead. This is only acceptable if the driver in front is a former world champion who hails from a certain country (the same country as the teams involved in cases 1 and 2). Again the year in question should be 1998, and the circuit should be Spa-Francorchamps.
4. The drivers of the team involved in cases 1 and 2 are in first and second places at Monaco. The year should be 2007.
5. One driver from the team involved in cases 1, 2 and 5 is behind his team-mate, and is lapping considerably faster. The year should be 2008 and the circuit Hockenheim.

These are only some instances. For example, one of the teams involved in case 1 previously had a clause that one of its drivers should move over for the other driver under certain circumstances. This was acceptable because…?
I have no doubt that this list will grow whenever one of the teams in question implement team orders in the future.
Personally, I only take issue with what occurred during the final lap of the 1997 European Grand Prix.
Team orders always have been, and always will be, an integral part of motor racing. It is just a shame that our sport is infested with so many hypocrites.


If you do what you suggest you end up with the same problem we had since 2002: it cannot be enforced, and the only possible interpretation of the rule is "do what you want as long as you lie to the TV audience." But I am not an idiot and don't want to be treated as one by my favourite sport.

I say remove the rule, F1 was fine until 2002 without it.


Well, the other option is to fine Ferrari heavily for it, making clear that breaking rules, even if you don't like them is wrong. And then changing the rule.

And I have to say: no F1 was not fine without it, or 2002 would not have happened.

I read about a supposed FOTA/FIA "gentleman's agreement" that teams would be reluctant with team orders, and in exchange it would be no problem - Ferrari has shown now at least twice, why that won't work, teams value their own team more than F1 as a whole.

I agree that the rule was unclear and probably impossible to enforce the way it was written down, but teams should be stopped from issuing team orders in such ways. And I don't want clever codes either.

f they do it, it should be clear and in the open, declared before the race or the season that one driver is their preferred man, or will be absent problems for that driver over the season. I will probably not support such a team/driver, but there are other teams that won't do it which I can support. And this way I might still be able to root for Ferrari as a team and respect their ways.

I would prefer if it is only allowed when one of them is not mathematically (or close to that: like needing to win every race with no one else scoring any points) able to win anymore, and in such case I would have no real problem with any team doing it.


Ferrari was already fined more than the countless other teams who implemented team orders since 2002.

I don't see why the rule was necessary from 2002 on. I mean, the MS/RB incident was unnecessary, but all involved, even RB, chose their actions freely and for the world to see and judge. I prefer that to the ridiculous charades I was subjected to since then.

I guess I kind of like, or could live with, your idea about declarations, though I have no doubt that RB in 2002 knew what was expected even without a declaration, and he acted accordingly. Though I'm sure there are some problems to such a rule that I don't notice now.


I know, it's a Twitter issue. We're working on it


The team orders ban should be removed. Instead the FIA should make it difficult for team orders to happen during the race. Pit-to-car radios should be banned. This would mean the only teams orders that are given are before the race or via the pit board. Both of these would have their big limitations on affecting the result of the race. For safety reasons e.g. debris on track, the FIA could use the standard ECU to display pre-set messages to the driver.

I think this would work and may also improve the racing as a result because the drivers will have less information. For example the instruction to the driver from his race engineer to save fuel at the end of the race would be gone. The drivers would also have to make more decisions themselves during the race which would open up more room for mistakes or master strokes by the driver. Imagine it starting to rain during a race the driver alone would have to decide when to come in.

All of these could go towards improving the overtaking during the race.


Eliminate radios? They'll just use pit-boards.

Here's how they could use code for team-orders:

"+1.4" means "he is 1.4 seconds behind you", because they only used one decimal place.

"+1.42" means "your teammate is 1.42 seconds behind, slow down and let him pass", because the number is shown with two decimal places.

They're smart; they'll figure out any number of ways to implement team-orders without most people knowing. In fact, I am surprised Ferrari didn't do something like this... might have saved them 100,000 euros plus legal fees.


The reality is there will always be team orders in a sport with teams. My point is they should just make it more difficult. Removing the radio WOULD make it more difficult. Driving past a pit board with covert information, I would say is more difficult to read than to listen to a message over the radio. You can only fit a little amount of info on a pit board and it is shown once a lap remember so it does limit it more. It also makes it more of a driver decision which would hurt the drivers rep more than ever and more likely they would choose not to.

I think it is logical for a driver not able to win a championship to help his team mate that can. It is called common sense and we shouldn't remove the small amount of common sense there is left. The problem is Ferrari do it so blatant and unnecessarily.

Having no radio would make the sport more exciting no matter how the teams are able to get around it.

Make the driver work harder and he will feel he earns the position more than giving it up.


F1 cars are too complex, rely on too much technology, and are too fast to be able to be left in the hands of a driver without a radio. Teams need to inform drivers of a lot more than just where they are and what lap they're on. Drivers and teams talk constantly, about changing track conditions, tyres etc. If the drivers tyres go off suddenly, they need to tell the team they're coming in. If it rains, especially at one point on the track, the teams need to tell the drivers

F1 cars are too fast these days for pit boards. I don't know why the teams still use them!


I think this is a very good idea.

If I may offer an additional safety feature - allow radios, but only from race control, not from the teams. Then Charlie can still ask individual drivers what they think about stopping in times of heavy rain etc. Plus blanket transmissions could inform of dangers.

Good thinking.


I would prefer no radio at all but that is a good compromise for safety. As long as Charlie isn't inadvertently used as communication between the team and driver for 'safety'.


It wont stop team orders planned long before the race - or the season - has even started


But that would respect the history of the sport and in reality there will always be team orders. In Germany Ferrari never planned for Massa to leap frog Alonso in the race so without Pit-to-Car radio the result would have been much more difficult to fix. Pre-race team orders can only do so much. Anything in a race can happen where the 'favourite' driver ends up behind the 'second' driver. In that case it would be totally down to the driver decide.


Very interesting. Like the 70´s and before. It gives more room to the brain and ability of the drivers.


Love your thinking mste!


I like this - a lot.

The problem currently is that the ban on team orders is not enforceable, so it's a bad rule. We have a drivers' championship but the teams can influence the outcome of that using team orders. The teams already have their own championship so the drivers' one should be down to the drivers on their own - really on their own!


Not really viable because of saftey reasons such as if there was something wrong with their car there would be no quick way of informing the driver. Plus I am sure teams could get around not being able to issue team orders over the radio via pit boards and pre race agreements which could actully increase the likelihood of team orders happening in the race.


Pre race agreements and pit boards would affect the race less than having a radio. It would be purely a driver decision. You also have to be realistic that there will always be team orders. The idea is to make it as difficult as possible.


If this is a team sport, it should be up to the teams whether or not to influence team orders. Drivers will know before they join a team whether or not team orders are part of the teams culture.

I don't like the idea of allowing team orders after a certain point in the season cause it makes things more complex for the viewers. How can the FIA ensure this does not happen before the cut-off as well? If a rule cannot be enforced with complete clarity let's throw the rule out.

Regardless of which way this rule goes, the best driver will win at the end of the season. Let's keep it simple.


It's easy: no team orders favouring one driver over another until one of the drivers mathematically has no chance at the WDC title.


Great theory, but the crux is - how do you prove there has been a team order?


And then technically Ferrari did nothing wrong because they "just gave information to Massa and it was his own decision" yadda yadda. Just as with Kova and Ham, and in countless other cases. It's unenforcible.


I agree 100%. The FIA missed an easy opportunity to move the "sport" ahead with what a majority of the fans want. Instead they basically did nothing and will probably make team orders within the rules again.


I think that would trivialise their scope of use and like the current rule, it's grey and unenforcable.


Huh!.. So manipulating a WDC is ok but not a race!??? Its either allowed or not allowed.


Manipulating WDC is part of the teams business - they are in it to win the WCC and WDC if they can. I would prefer if teams could only influence the WCC and had to stay out of intra-team WDC fights, but that might be hard to enforce over the season. If a team decides, in the open, and before the race, that they need one driver to do the job, I can accept that.

Manipulating the race is a different thing: they are interfering with the on-track fight, making the "show" - for I now accept that that is actually all F1 is providing - less good and honest for those who payed to see it.


I can't imagine how big the punishment would've been if the team being tried was McLaren instead of Ferrari.

FIA = Ferrari International Assistance.


The FIA's meeting today is a farce.

1) An F1 driver's rule breaking on public roads (which the FIA has no domain over) will be punished by the FIA. However, their rule breaking on the track (which the FIA is entirely responsible for) will be variously ignored, covered up, downplayed, massaged, over-hyped, over-punished or generally mismanaged in an inconsistant and unreliable manner befitting a 6 year old's tree house club.

2) The FIA proposes to license key players so it can more easily punish them. However, it doesn't ever propose to actually punish anyone for anything if it might harm "the show" or powerful vested interests.

3) The FIA accepts the steward's verdict that one of the key rules of the sport was broken. But the piddling fine (which the stewards clearly knew wasn't big enough) won't be increased. Equally, it is blatently obvious that the "most serious" charge of bringing the sport into disrepute was pretty much indefensible - F1 hasn't had such bad press since the Singapore bit. Yet despite all this nothing was done and no punishment imposed - indeed, the FIA appears to be bending over and accepting Ferrari's point of view that the whole team orders thing is a waste of time and they should just be allowed to do what they want.

"It's a team sport" - Abolish the Drivers' Championship, then.

"It's unenforcable" - With all the telemetry and video/audio feeds? Hardly. If it wasn't enforced before due to beaurocratic mediocrity, that's not the same at all.

"It's always been part of the sport" - So was no safety belts, no armco barriers, no ambulances. So was 3 or 4 deaths a year. So was Nazi propaganda, at one point. So was racing in SA during aparthied. So is cheating and doping in cycling. That doesn't mean it should stay in the sport in the modern age.


Well put.

Just one thing - you say : "it doesn’t ever propose to actually punish anyone for anything if it might harm “the show” or powerful vested interests."

And yet curiously, they've done all they can to scupper "the show". Truly proof that they don't know what they're doing.


I think the FIA should just allow team orders.

Even if the FIA put another rule regarding team orders in place (Not untill 75% into the season, only when one drivers out of WDC contention Etc....) Teams will still find ways to implement them. We've had a team orders ban since 2002 yet I've still seen plenty of team orders & not just late in the year amongst the big teams.

Something to consider about Hockenheim & the 'Only when one drivers mathamatically out the title hunt' argument is that how do you call that if both drivers are mathamatically able to win the WDC but one has a far greater chance?

In the 'Only at 75% into the year' argument, What happens if we have a situation where one driver needs points at say 50% in to remain in championship contention & by not been able to use team orders untill 75% into the season that teams title hopes end far sooner than they otherwise would have?

Regardless of what wording you implement in a team orders ban rule there are problems which will still see teams want to use them & if a team wants to use them or believes they have to use them then they will find a way to implement them.

I've been an F1 fan for 21 years, I've seen hundreds of examples of team orders, Some i've liked, some I havn't but I've always accepted & understood them. There a part of the sport, Always have been & always will be regardless of the rules.

One last point for now.

I've heard arguments that allowing team orders will damage the sport, I disagree. Team orders have been in the sport forever & they have never damaged the popularity, Even after Austria 2002 the popularity of the sport remained undamaged as the fans still continued to watch on TV & attend the races. Even people who back then said they were so appauled they would never watch another race still tune in to watch.

We also see team orders in pretty much every category & they don't damage those series.


I know I above it was my last point but here's another one.

Everyone is focussing on team orders for championship reasons, However what about for strategic reasons?

We saw at Montreal in 2008 for example Heidfeld been asked to let Kubica past, Not for the championship but because he was on a different strategy.

The refueling ban has eliminated that a bit, However if you have team mates on different tyre compounds or one on very worn tyres & one on fresh tyres going significantly faster then teams may want to consider team orders to benefit the teams overall race result & not purely for the championship.

Thats another problem with the 'only at 75% in or only when one drivers mathamatically out of contention' proposals, team orders are not just done for championship reasons.

Do you then say well orders are not allowed untill 75% into the season, Unless your outside the top 10 or unless your on different strategies?

There are so many different scenarios that regardless of how the team orders ban rule is written it won't work.


Team orders should only be allowed when the situation is in concurrence of three criteria: at least 50% of the season has elapsed, the in favour driver has got a points advantage over his team mate that is greater than a win, and over 85% of the race has been completed When team orders are being issued over the radio they should be broadcast on the TV so the public are aware what is happening so it is clear and it does not have a negative deceitfulness about it.


This may be confusing, but a lot of F1 technical stuff is.

I think everyone would agree that Massa was (at the time of the Hockinheim) not in serious contention for the WDC, even though, mathematically he still was.

What if there is some sort of projected points table where race results for each driver are averaged and then forecast over the remaining races to give a 'predicted' points tally for the end of the season. This table would take into account DNF's and other variables like wet races.

If a driver, even early on, as in Massa case, is not predicted to seriously challenge for the WDC (say, come within 50 points), then team orders should be ok.

I don’t like the idea of the rules changing/coming into effect, 1/2 way through the season, like what they do in MotoGP, this way at any point in the season, a team can use team orders to support a driver that has realistic chance of winning.


I've read much recently about "they did it here and no one cared" and of course the historic examples of drivers giving up cars for a team mate.

But there's one big difference to me that no one seems to care about; namely the difference between a driver choosing to give up his advantage and being forced to do so.

I have no problem with a driver deciding it's unfair or unrealistic to impede a team-mate's progress but I do object to a team telling them to do so.

Massa is a blatant example of this and clearly an emotional one for obvious reasons. But another recent example is Hamilton & Button earlier in the season when Button got the run towards the end of the race because Lewis thought they'd both been told to turn down the gas. From that point on it wasn't a race. Jenson may well have had more fuel available due to strategic driving in earlier stages - but we were robbed of that element of racing by a team's desire to preserve a safe points haul. Sure, Jenson didn't complain but then he's paid a few million quid to soften the blow. The rest of us give up time and money to watch F1 and I for one don't like the contrived results we see regularly.

There's a certain irony that the end of the race is when we have the greatest opportunity for good racing and mistakes (light tanks, worn brakes, sore necks, grained tyres, different fuel mixes available, etc.) yet it's at this very point the teams call for an unspoken status quo to get to the end. It robs us of the exciting moves F1 desperately needs to expand it's horizons beyond it's current fan base. To support my point, two of the most talked about moves of the year which both made mainstream news media; Schumi passing Alonso at the last corner and Rubens' pit wall pass on Schumi. We need more of this stuff and we'd get it if team mates were allowed to race.

In short, I'd say to the team bosses.... let the drivers go for it ALL the time. They find a way if they want to (e.g. Alonso passing Massa at the pit lane entry).

Yes you might lose the occasional point here and there but I think you may well be surprised at how good it is for F1 PR and the business overall for us to have great racing to the end.


Right on.


No james they didn't why have rules if they don't enforce them , sure they got a fine from the stewards but whats 100,000 euros , peanuts for a team like farrari , Does any one think it would have been the same if it was mclaren ? Keep up the good work. James love the site a must for all F1 fans


Thanks, spread the word!


Ferrari attitude to rules.....I don't like that rule so i'll ignore it and then demand it should be changed/removed.

Lobby for a change to the rules,....i'm all for that! The rule as it stands is flawed. But Ferrari should abide by the rules in the meantime otherwise they are taking an illegal advantage over the other teams that are playing by the rules.

The FIA have sent an appalling message to teams here that says, any rules you don't really like, you can break them and lobby for change afterward.....recipe for a free-for-all!!!


"The Sporting Working Group is made up of representatives from the teams, mainly sporting directors and heads of race engineering as well as the FIA."

This is where the problem lies in my opinion - I think a representative of a formally recognised F1 fan association should be included on this committee - I vote for JA for the job!

Shame about today's decision in my view - Ferrari should have received more of a punishment.


On the surface, a rare common sense judgement from the FIA - depending the evidence put before it. It will be most interesting to see what the transcripts say. But it was always going to be difficult to prove, with hard evidence, that Massa was ordered to move over in the face of Ferrari denials.

In the future, isn't the only way to avoid further waste of time 'trials' like the ome today to just accept that F1 is a team sport, and so team orders are allowed? Unless you ban all pit to car communications it will always be impossible to prevent team orders.

One way to at least mitigate the situation might be to insist that all driver contracts must be published, except commercially sensitive parts, so that the concept of the 'number 2' driver ceases to exist. Then you will at least help avoid the debacle of Austria 2002, where Rubens was contractually obliged to move over, and create a more equitable scenario in each team. fans don't like to see a talented driver get thwarted. If drivers have contractually equal status, it will, at least publicly, be a up to the driver if he wishes to comply with the team order.


Personally I don't like team orders as they have a slight aura of secretly fixed results such as with professional wrestling, but I honestly can't begrudge the teams for doing it (unless of course it goes as far as last year's crashgate). After all, it's not uncommon in other sports, especially bicycle racing where it is expected that there is a team leader who is paced to victory by the lesser "domestiques" on the team.


To those saying that the rules should be enforced, how is this rule policed? It has to appear on the tv feed to be enforced? That's clearly unfair in my view. The FIA cannot punish team orders because there are no means established to register them.


Always allow them. The drivers are employees of the team and the team should be whatever they want with there own personel. At the end of the day the history of the sport was built on team orders though even as a ferrari supporter I admit 2002 was uncalled for.


Wrong decision has been made, the stewards can't feel good about this they've effectively been undermined. Time to get rid of the rule if the FIA aren't going to give the stewards more power to levy worthwhile punishments.

I'm interested in how they can be guilty, and yet the drivers didn't lie to the stewards. They certainly lied to the public.

The Italian motoring organisation shouldn't have an influence, they're just a lobbying arm of Ferrari.


Data from the cars telemetry is available to the stewards, surely they can police what excuses are given for a perceived team mate over taking another, quite often its blatently obvious whats happened but its proving it afterwards

everyone knew what the message was to Massa, but because it wasnt an outright " move over" command it becomes a grey area open to interpretation and thus cannot really be proved

If the stewards inspect the cars after the race then presumably they test brake wear etc so the excuse for pedal fade wont wash if theres enough meat left on the brake pads

Any dubious manoevre must be looked at technically despite what ever radio transmission depict.


Let the teams compete any way they want. They spend 50 mil+ to compete for two championships. It should be their option to assign points in whatever serves their objectives best. Driver egos aside. Sure there will be hurt feelings. Sorry. True F1 race fans will understand. Casual fans will be dumbfounded watching the likes of Felipe racing his heart out and then capitulating. We all know he could have won. Only the record books will be wrong. Maybe an asterisk for these situations in the future.


I suppose the non-tiffosi will never stop whining now eh?


I disagree about the 'one driver mathematically out of the running' idea - that would mean a driver could be, say 74pts behind the leader with 3 races left and the team still can't prioritise the driver who is only 20points behind.

'Realistically out of the running' is the point I think most people mean, but how to define it? I would say:

leave it with FOTA to decide when it's acceptable


declare a number 2 driver at season start (so the gambling public aren't misled)


say team orders are allowed when one driver is relying on DNFs/0pt finishes from his teammate in order to overhaul him


IN ALL CASES the teams must declare when they get to that point before the 1st race when they implement the team orders, otherwise the betting public is being seen off.

Incidentally, I'm not a gambler, I just don't like the idea of people betting in all good faith and losing their money because the team has decided to support one driver over the other.


James we all no team orders will always be there no matter what the rule is. It's just a fact. Even if a team does it the driver just has to say all day long that it was his decision and what can they prove. I don't really see the point of the poll when that will never be an optio to never have them. Open it up because everyteam already does it. Just no lies and fakeness would be better for all


There is the smell of politics all over this decision.

Luca de met with Todt recently, that's post cheating and pre absolution, to discuss the new concord agreement for 2013. Ferrari's cooperation is essential to the FIA. F1 is its main source of income. Without F1 the is no authority with the FIA. Every other motor sport costs them.

Ferrari have the power to oust CVC, that is if anyone has. If Ferrari do so then the old pals act (fair enough there is no friendship, just joint interest) between FIA and FOM collapses and both lose authority.

Ferrari were not so much caught cheating as deliberately challenging the authority of the FIA. They have, without a shadow of a doubt, got away with it. The FIA has backed down. This can be interpreted as a signal that the FIA knows it cannot risk offending Ferrari.

It would seem that the only thing the FIA can do to exert its authority over the teams is to do what Ferrari wants them to do.

Mosley lit the touch paper and it has exploded in Todt's face.

Make no mistake, the new concord agreement is the most critical thing to happen to F1 in 60 years. It will be the defining moment of the sport. There are any number of different ways it can go, most of which would have a negative effect on it.

What would ruin it, however, is for Ferrari to gain authority over the sport. And this decision, as well as the face-to-face between the old enemies of Todt and Luca, is very worrying.

There have been times in the past - FOCA fighting any number of acronyms - when the sport has been at risk, but never anything as potentially crippling to the sport as 2013.

The FIA was at risk from the time it all but gave away its major asset to FOM. There is every possibility that one 'side' could get total control of F1. Ferrari can buy out CVC and with it will be able to have total control over F1. Pyrrhic is the word most likely to describe their victory.

The FIA’s position as the international regulator for all motor sport is not set in stone. There are many who would love to see it stumble and have to concede authority. Indeed the ACO seems to do what it wants when it wants already.

This decision seems to me to be a vote of no confidence in the FIA by the WMSC.

Please keep sharp objects out of my reach.

In memoriam: F1, 1949 – 2012.


They could have sent shivers down strategists spines up and down pit wall today. They could have sent a real message. That if your caught cheating you will suffer severe consequences. That would have been great for fans and for motorsport.

There is a great deal of irony in the efforts invested to achieve more overtaking in races while at the same time not expecting the best drivers in the world to make a pass the old fashioned way. In my opinion it only lessons a champions legitimacy if they are gifted championships.

Race manipulation should not be tolerated. Sure a pass here a championship there. Then what... a crash here a safety car there...Singapore 08 style?


Arguments whether the rule should exist or not are a mute point. The fact that the rule does exist, and the fact that Ferrari blatantly broke that rule, a greater punishment should have been handed down.

But then a precedent was set with weak punishments with Hamiltons pole in Canada with no fuel.

I disagree with the low speed limits on Australian roads, but i still obey them. And if i didnt i would get an appropriate punishment whether i agreed with the rule or not.


Throw away the Team Orders rule, its useless and unenforceable, otherwise why have two car teams. Then do away with radios between teams and drivers , except maybe for emergencies. Just like in cycling, radio to the drivers provides them too much information and the driver no longer make any independent decisions. The racing will be better and we would see who the great drivers are once again.


"the driver no longer make any independent decisions"

NO matter how much you give him HE will always make decisions based on immediate data....no matter who is talking in his ear.


I beg to differ. When told to turn down the fuel rate, move over for his teammate, or pull in for a new set of tires, (because the team is monitoring wear to a fraction of a mil), the driver is following orders, not making his own decisions. Removing radios would enhance the experience for the consumer, who is actually the one paying the bills for all this.


This momentous decision warrants a lengthy post!

That Ferrari received no (further) punishment has set a dangerous precedent that team orders are now allowed in F1. For, the FIA had the opportunity to punish a team for blatantly using team orders, following the rule that they’re banned; yet it did not do so. The only way for the FIA to be consistent, now, is to likewise not punish any other team who uses team orders. The FIA might as well formally renounce the ban: it’s the only action that makes sense; it would at least provide clarity.

With the dangerous precedent in place, teams will now be able to employ team orders without fear of reprisal. So Ferrari will do this again, much to the annoyance of the fans who want to watch a genuine sporting contest; the fans who bankroll this sport: directly, through TV money; indirectly, through sponsorship. Whether the rule is sound or not is irrelevant: the rule exists and must be followed. By analogy, I can’t just declare that a law, such as those governing speed limits in a built-up area, is silly and choose to flout it without fear of sanction. Ferrari broke a rule (regardless of the merits of the rule) and should have been punished accordingly. There must be rule of law: Ferrari cannot be above the law. With the dangerous precedent in place, Red Bull, to be sure, and perhaps others, though not McLaren, will follow suit: much to the fans’ further annoyance.

And don’t think that the ban on team orders is ‘unenforceable’. The stewards and the FIA have access to all the telemetry on the car: they will know if a driver makes a suspicious move in the car. They have driver advisors, too. Moreover, they have all the radio conversations to police. A team will find it very difficult to get away with a team order. A further important point to note is that team orders will almost always be executed clumsily. For drivers have egos. They want to win. So if they’re told to cede a position, they’re going to make sure the whole world knows that they did this because of a team decision and not because of their own error. Hence, I further dispute the contention that team orders ‘happen all the time in F1’. I challenge anyone to cite eight instances (just eight for such an allegedly commonplace phenomenon) of team orders in the past eight years – since they were made illegal. And I suspect most, if not all, examples will be from the last few races of a season, when team orders have always been accepted by all involved. So much for that contention.

One final point: Ferrari did lie to the stewards. They said that there were no team orders! Every fan watching the German Grand Prix knew that a team order had been delivered. Namely, that ‘Fernando. Is. Faster. Than. You’ is tantamount to ‘We, Ferrari, are telling you, Massa, to move over for Alonso’. There is no difference, in substance, between that message and once such as: ‘Massa, this is your boss speaking! You are to move over for Alonso, now’. Any such message, howsoever phrased, of course leaves the decision up to Massa: he’s driving the car! But there can be no doubt that Massa was given a team order. Ferrari categorically denied to the world that there had been a team order (it’s not a good defence to openly admit to your breaking the law). Ergo, they lied. In the interests of consistency, a vital component of law, they should have received the same punishment as Mr Hamilton: all points from said race to be deducted.

(M)assa; (A)lonso: (F)errari (I)nternational (A)ssistance Inc.!?


You ranted on a bit there!!!

I am a ferrari fan and can't believe that ferrari didn't get a bigger punishment.

BUT lets move on like james says if this rule can't be enforced how do we change it.

Team orders have gone on since the team orders ban in 2002 in many different guises but ferrari's was bad i'll admit.


I read somewhere that Rob Smedley was going to give evidence. Did this happen? He would have to have confessed or lied. Either way he would have difficult questions to answer about his role in the action that day.

I am neither a fan or hater of Ferrari, McLaren or any team, but the inconsistencies in decisions and punishments in the last few years is strange.


In my humble opinion, the rule should be thrown out.

The racing will not suffer, Fernando Alonso is not racing Felipe Massa any more than Jenson Button is racing Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel is racing Mark Webber. Ferrari is racing McLaren is racing Red Bull. Formula One is a team sport, always has been, always will be.

Sure the teams all allude to their drivers being allowed to compete with one another, but when push comes to shove, the team is king.

In Ferrari's defense, Alonso was faster, he proved it multiple times by leaving a gap and closing it at will. Massa was holding him up, one Ferrari driver was impeding another Ferrari driver, why shouldn't Ferrari be allowed to modify their running order how they see fit? Imagine what would have happened had Alonso sat behind Massa for the entire race only to have Vettel and Webber attack for 2nd at the end. I can envision a scenario where Alsono is forced to attack Massa only to watch Vettel and Webber slip by and stand atop the podium. I can all but guarantee that Ferrari were concerned about this.

For those of you who feel sorry for Massa, he should drive faster. He was given two opportunities to do so and failed both times. I like the guy, he seems genuine and I think he has been good for Formula One, but in this case he wasn't fast enough. His antics in Germany, and those of his race engineer have, however, sullied his reputation in my mind.

Ferrari, and every other team that is spending millions on these races should have the freedom to do what they deem best for their team.


Formula 1 is a team sport as you say. Now in Germany with Ferrari, as a team, were awarded 43 Constructor's Championship, the team event, points. A Massa win with Alonso second would have also resulted in 43 Constructor's Championship points being awarded to Ferrari. No net gain in the team championship to swap the driver positions.

Someone earlier alluded to McLaren losing the Driver's championship because they didn't tell Hamilton to let Alonso pass, at that point they hadn't been excluded from the Constructor's Championship, in fact the first hearing on 'spygate' had not been heard either, and so swapping positions wouldn't have changed the points tally the team would be awarded. Adding together the points the drivers were awarded during that season amounts to more than Ferrari were awarded, so the not changing positions did not have any direct effect on the team championship at all. Driver's championship is irrelevant to the team if it is a team sport right ?


Absolutely, the driver points are irrelevant to the teams, as far as the "team sport" discussion is concerned. That is precisely why Ferrari should be allowed to tell it's drivers to do whatever Ferrari deems best for Ferrari.

I agree 100% with Ferrari wanting the fastest driver out front. While stuck behind Massa both drivers were at risk from RBR. Once Alonso was past Massa he was able to pull a comfortable gap to both Massa and RBR securing maximum points for Ferrari.

There are a number of scenarios that could have played out for Ferrari that may have been disastrous had they not been allowed to do what was best for Ferrari.

Imagine Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Button all queued up in close succession behind Massa all pushing towards the finish line. With a lap to go, Massa's engine lets go forcing Alonso to evade. This allows both RBR cars to get past on the inside of turn one to take P1 and P2. Once Alonso is able to recover, he launches a last lap attack on Webber, currently running in P2, he moves to the outside and is abruptly blocked by Webber. Hamilton, being the amazing passer that he is sees his opportunity and strikes, deftly passing both Alonso and Webber on the last lap to take P2. Now Ferrari have gone from a solid 1-2 to a measly 4th while the primary competition in the Championship have taken maximum points. All because Ferrari weren't allowed, by a ridiculous rule, to put their best foot forward.

My little work of fiction aside, the Driver's championship is still important. The teams want to win both of course. The teams will do everything they can to promote their drivers as high up the points ladder as possible. But when we get down to brass tacks, the team pays the bills, the team builds the car, the team drives the car, the team is Formula One.

I honestly don't understand why anyone is so concerned over Ferrari promoting their faster driver. I wouldn't care if it happened in the first race, on the first lap, before the first corner. It is Ferrari's team, just like it is McLaren's team, or RBR's team or Lotus' team. The team comes first.


Completely disagree with you. From a fans point of view your scenario would be absolutely fantastic and something to write home about; versus a mundane procession to the end of the race and people left with a sour feeling they had been cheated (a la Hockenheim).

In addition with your scenario, given that Massa has had a mechanical problem there is no reason why exactly the same situation couldn't happen if Alonso was in front (i.e. Alonso's engine blow up and Massa forced to take evasive action) - Ferrari would still end up with one fourth place. Hence no net benefit to the team by swapping positions.

I can accept team orders, but only in the context that we have a constructor's championship only; or if people want there to be a drivers championship then only one person from the team should qualify for points - let's make it completely transparent.



This is an absolute farce..Contriving results in any sport is unacceptable...The FIA should have a look at what is being done in cricket and the stance that is being taken for the slightest implication on fixing, THIS IS WHAT FERRARI have done, It is unacceptable, and the FIA are spineless weak people who have succumbed to Ferrari...I have no respect for them at all, or Ferrari!Just when the sport is getting exciting and with great action, the faceless men in this sport ruin it...(I think you only have to look at the Speed Racer Movie to see the unacceptable comparisons)


I disagree, all that Ferrari have done is place their fastest driver in the bowler's position, to best suit their teams needs.


There is an inherent contradiction in the championship system. Why say it's a team sport, and then have a drivers championship? Quite a large chunk of the media surrounding F1 is focussed on the drivers. It's sold as a drivers sport. Hence why the WDC takes a far more prestigious position. No one remembers that Ferrari won the 2008 WCC for example.

We are then are told "No, it's a team sport". So we are left in the tricky position of "Why have a drivers championship?".

We can debate for hours about the ruling, but in reality it appears the FIA and F1 is in an impossible situation. F1's popularity is largely based on the drivers. It can't sacrifice the WDC, it can't afford to.

Did the FIA do the right thing? I think it's the wrong question. How can F1 cure the inherent conflict that arise from this being a an individual pursuit VS team sport mish-mash while maintaining sporting integrity?


They can cure this ambiguity by getting rid of a bad rule, simple.

Every team sport has this contradiction, their are MVP trophies, people count goals by players, yards accumulated by individuals, bases stolen, etc...

I agree that the FIA and FOM have done a poor job of promoting the Constructor's championship though.


Every game has an inherent contradiction somewhere along the line, but rarely in the prestigious reward - the ultimate goal.

We have a drivers championships which is actually a team championship. F1 is promoted as a drivers sport yet the drivers championship is not actually for the drivers.

I guess what could be done is remove the WCC and the WDC and just have an "F1 World Championship".


The team orders rule should be scrapped in its entirety as all variations on how the rule should be implemented will actually encourage teams to fully back one driver whilst simultaneously holding the other one back.

If I was Ferrari and the rule stated that one driver had to be mathematically ruled out of the WDC before I could use team orders I would be rigging Massa's car to shut down after 40 laps/be generally slow whilst tailoring the development to Alonoso's need to give him the best chance of winning. By about the half way point in the season not only would I have a hugely competetive driver in Alonso, but I could bolster him even further by using Massa to block other cars/allow Alonso through as necessary.

Also to people that say team orders should only be allowed at the end of the season please bear in mind: Points are worth exactly the same at the first race as in the last. Its just arbitary to give one team a possible advantage at the end of the season if they happen to be in a situation where they can take advantage. As the WDC is the premier championship this would force teams to put themselves in a position at the end of the season where they had a clear reason to employ team orders by tailoring the package to one driver to give him an early season lead.

Please just scrap the team orders rule.


TO's should be allowed after the halfway point in ANY race, but before the last quarter of the race - thus giving teams a window to get their most promising driver up front, but keeping the end of race result open.


There is no way the 'mathematically eliminated from the championship', or '60% of teammates points' or whatever rules will work. What if you're mathematically out of the championship, let you team mate win, then another team or your teammate breaks a rule (perhaps team orders at the wrong part of the season?), gets a points penalty and then you're back in the championship!

Of course team orders have always been a part of F1, and are impossible to police. They only problem comes when they're used in an unsportsmanlike way, as Ferrari have consistently shown themselves to do. Personally, I say let them do what they want, the booing and the drop in support will be the most effective deterrent, rather than a $100,000 fine.


Very disappointed in the decision but why am I not in the least surprised.

Very sorry for Massa, who deserved the win.


The FIA and WMSC have said team orders are allowed so long as you use the words "your team mate is faster than you".

Why not just end the farce and get rid if the rule. Allow the teams to do what they so anyway. If you were fair dinkum about stopping team orders, Ferrari would've got a caning today. Everyone knows they did it.

Honestly F1 takes pride in being a soap opera.


Did they get it right?

One word: No.

Carte blanche for Ferrari to cheat as much as they wish. As usual.


YEP...they sure did get it correct....


"Also there are suggestions from some fans that Ferrari personnel must have lied to the stewards, as Lewis Hamilton did in Australia last year, but the evidence clearly doesn’t bear that out, as it did with Hamilton."

Absolute rubbish. ferrari claimed it was not team orders, the 'punishment' administered by the stewards was upheld, therefore ferrari lied in Germany.

I usually enjoy these blogs James, but not, as now, when your pro-ferrari bias is clearly in evidence.


The goof was in outlawing blatant orders several years ago. This is a sport that, by design, with each team required to field two cars with identical livery, with only one pit crew, has a favorite driver since there is only one optimum strategy. People also forget that what Ferrari was making the drivers championship race more interesting by getting Alonso closer to Webber and Hamilton. Getting drivers from three teams involved makes it more interesting for fans.


Some random thoughts:

Looking at the actual wording of Article 39.1 in the F1 Regulations:

"39.1 Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited."

It doesn't just say team orders are prohibited. Team Orders have to "..interfere with a race result.." - the broad language doesn't exactly help here (e.g. interfere not manipulate). Does this also mean you cannot give an instruction for No.2 driver to protect the position of a No.1 teammate who is ahead on the track to create a gap to other drivers attacking from behind?

You might have better luck enforcing it if the rule was "Teammate frowning on the podium is prohibited."

I think the WSMC realise the problems with interpretation of this rule (and how easy it is to work around it e.g. McLaren).

It seems more commonsense to clarify that the rule apply to any blatant manipulation of a race result (Rubens lifting off for Schumi just before the line in Austria '02 or Piquet Jnr wall hugging in Singapore '08) which is not in the spirit of the regulations or the F1 championship.

Another solution might be no orders or artificial swapping of track position by team mates after the race has gone over 50% race distance - it's then up to the driver to get over the line from there (pitstops, traffic, safety cars, reliability, weather etc). Fans basically like to know drivers have done most of the work & also want real, close racing in the final laps rather than the boredom of predictability or foul play...

BTW, I don't think the Alonso/Massa incident could be classed as a blatant interference with the race result - it wasn't pretty but it wasn't exactly the last lap & didn't trigger a safety car - it would have been more acceptable on lap 33 or earlier instead of lap 49 of 67 though...

Oh yeah, Ferrari probably have pretty good lawyers too...


I am disappointed, but there is NO practical way to monitor it and the rule should be abandoned.


It is clear from this judgement, that Ferrari's driver switch, obvious to everyone, was impossible to punish. The lawyers would have been all over this one demonstrating that no direct order to cede position was given. If they had punished Ferrari further, they would have been effectively saying that team orders are banned if they are obvious.

The only part of the rule that should remain is one about integrity of the sport to prevent teams from ordering a driver to "Piquet" himself.

It seems F1 fans really only covet the WDC title, but teams covet both, so will inevitably come to a decision to enhance one driver's chance over the other in their attempt to win both.

It's simply not enforceable, so the rule should be discarded. I don't think team orders are a bad thing. It adds to the drama within a team as each driver vies to become #1 at some point in the season (or from the outset as in Ferrari's MS days!). And we get to watch teams with different team order strategies try to win both championships and not blow it (like McLaren did in 2007; and Red Bull are well on their way to doing this year).

If you don't like Ferrari's tactics, then buy a Red Bull or McLaren shirt instead! I for one, enjoy the different approaches and how it affects the team's efforts overall.


Any one else wonder if having this hearing 4 days before the Italian Grand Prix may have made it "difficult" to make an objective decision?


The team orders debate is almost a distraction from the main problem here. The FIA has a set of rules to apply and they don't. That is the reality. It is totally immaterial how silly/difficult/obscure a rule is, the FIA have to apply it. They are a massively legislative body with rules for everything, and teams of legal experts to prosecute as appropriate, yet in this most public event, they fail to fulfil their function as the sports governing body. Ok - we have to see the reasoning, but to be honest I don'tt believe it will make any difference, and to say that they will change the rule in the future does not remove the rule now.

One other aspect is the way they gave the race marshalls a really two-faced declaration of support. If the FIA really believed that the race marshalls had got it right, they would have followed through with some further sanction, even if only a fine, but to do nothing is tantamount to saying that the FIA does not agree with the marshalls decision.

No wonder the fans are disenchanted. it is going to take alot more than new engines in 2013 to get this sport to a point where people can actually compete on a level playing field.

BTW - I liked the one-car-per-team idea above -- shame it's not workable.

Thanks James - looking forward to the analysis later on Thursday


If team orders are currently not allowed in the regulations and what Ferrari did was as blatant as what it was, how is it any different to any of the betting scandals that have been ripe of late and how can the FIA not hand out a punishment in the same way the ICC for example have done in cricket, for me there is no difference.

I hate team orders but accept it has always gone on but the current rules state they aren't allowed and i'm afraid it smacks of "F1 needs Ferrari so we can't rock the boat"

McLaren had photo copies of some blokes homework and get thrown out of the championship and the largest fine in sports history, Ferrari openly manipulate the results of a race and get fined less than the equivalent of one customer driving of without paying for a 458!

How can that be right and just?

If half the population of Brazil had put £10 on Massa to win all lodged a law suit to get their bet back It wold cost Ferrari around £920 million to reimburse them all and what court could disagree that they have a case?

The F.I.A set a precedent when they fined McLaren now they are too scared of Ferrari leaving to at least impose a bigger punishment on them.


It's one way or the other and no grey area... that would be the only solution. Either allow team orders or not. Regardless of how you look at it; and one's bias against Ferrari or Alonso, teams do what they do tactically and strategically to win.

Look at it this way, people keep asking drivers to take chances, risks et al, basically being true racers (whatever that is) but once the pit wall shows determination to do what's right for their winning chances, and help their sponsors, people start grumbling?

Look, i don't like manipulating results but to me if billions of dollars is at stake, using one's brain may make it more worthwhile for everyone.

This 'mathematically out of contention' exemption don't hold water. Isn't Jensen still mathematically able to win his WDC? Does everyone think he can do it? in the unlikely scenario that Jensen is always one place in front of Lewis from now on, and Webber in front of Jenson still, do you think Whitmarsh should go tactical or let them race it out?

I say all OK for team orders and let teammates decide who should be number 1 gauged by overall performance from season's first race.


I mean really there is no way to ban team orders becoz you can always have a different code or even a piece of computer sound that can be sent to a driver radio and he is paid to know what that means and he is paid lift.

If you don't want team orders, you have to have only one car per team and no constructor championship.

May be Team Massa & Ferrari vs Team Alonso & Ferrari. If you can split those teams that way, yes no team orders.



Like you noted, until the FIA publishes their reasoning behind the verdict, it is futile to go into the rights and wrongs. However, I do feel there is nothing that can be said to hide the fact that Ferrari broke the rules, and also were not punished. So why were they punished even 100,000$? They should be left off or punished completely.

Unfortunately, team orders have been, are, and will always be an integral part of F1 and their will be always be incidents like this.

But at the end of the day, all team bosses must realize that this is a SPORT.

And if they can't recognize this fact, and they want to treat this as a boardroom corporate job, well, they are free to take up a job in my local bank.

In my opinion team orders are those that take the team forward, where people co-operate to move forward, at the cost of no one in the team. Take example of Hakkinen getting a tow from Coulthard down Indy's straight in qualifying. That hurt no one, and yet it was co-operation between team mates. Excellent work!

It really pains me to see that an iconic team like Ferrari choses to mis-use their power by showing that they can flaunt it, by doing what they want, and trying to do damage limitation off the track with heavy politics.

P.S. This comes from a guys who calls himself TIFOSI.


Common sense prevailed. Ferrari has done nothing wrong, as far as im concerned team orders are part of f1. Mclaren told Hamilton not to attack button in China like button was told not to attack hamilton in turkey. This is just as bad, the difference was there was no change in position so no body cared. I bet come Singapore If hamilton is still leading the title and button is a mile off there will be a swap of positions.

As far as im concerned there should be no rule, Ferrari, like mclaren are there to win the title not just individual races. Massa got a race victory of Kimi in 08 like Kimi got one of Massa in 07. It doesn't matter when it happens the reality is this. Every team on the grid is there to win the title and they are entitled to manage there team as they see fit. They invest the millions the drivers are paid millions so when you are asked to pull over you pull over. It harsh but fair. Massa has been getting well and truely beaten by Alonso all year.



I am fully in favour of eliminating the 'pseudo-rule' of banning team orders.

From a team's perspective, they have always been in place and, in play, it was the communication of orders where the rule circumvention occurred.

It is a competition thing. All drivers want the opportunity to win, and all team/ constructors aspire to win. This is an inherent conflict ( eg. there is no "I" in team).

Eliminating the rule obtains the desired result. Drivers either win, and are therefore favoured or drivers sign to their best available opportunity and contribute to team victories. I find it odd that this concept seems so singular to F1 racing.

In any other sport, it is always for team victory. Perhaps, the drivers understand this better than most spectators. They drive the cars built and paid for by other team members and sponsors. Literally, in every interview I can recall, the driver first thanks the team for their hard work and effort which produced a winning or podium result.

Dumb rule. Even dumber administration of a dumb rule.


Andrew C.


It's not quite the same as in other sports where it's all about the 'team' victory though is it? In football, rugby, cricket points are awarded to the team only - there's no "centre-forward" or "scrum-half" championship to tempt individuals into achieving personal gain before the team's gain.

As others have said, if F1 is predominantly a team sport, why have two cars? Why not have one car and have the drivers swap half-way through? That would be the 'epitome' of a driving 'team' sport. It's not workable because individual drivers secure sponsors who want maximum exposure over the course of a race, for the money they're paying.

Ultimately, a winning driver thanks his team for many reasons, not least because I doubt many of them would be able to manage a sub-5 second pitstop by changing the tyres themselves.


Minimum the FIA should have done is remove the constructor points for that race.

Now, it's worse for F1. More fans will leave the F1 circus.

Complicated issue for teams and FIA.

The most practical solution will be to favour the driver who's closer to the WDC during the last few races which has been done for decades.

IF Alonso does win this year's WDC, majority will not accept it by merit.

I suggest we all enjoy Monza this weekend unless you want to stop finding out and watching from now. Can you? and will you?

Wondered what the result will be if James had a pole for fans

•I'M IN and •I'M OUT.


As much as I hate to say this, they should make team orders completely legal. The reality is:

a) Teams will do continue to issue team orders, regardless of the rules

b) You can't properly police a ban (as we've seen amply since 2002).

So, with the option of covert orders or obvious ones, I'd prefer the obvious ones - at least we can vent our disaproval at it with confidence, rather than feeling like conspiricy theorists all the time.

Dan in Adelaide, Australia

James, how about this for a solution:

ONLY where teammates finish consecutively, ie 1st and 2nd, or 4th and 5th etc, then after the race the team can choose how to distribute drivers points between the 2 drivers. That allows the "number 2" driver to get the glory of finishing above their teammate, get the trophy etc, and avoids the sickening farce of watching them pull over to let the other pass.


I really like this idea.

F1 is a team sport, and it is because it is a team sport that the teams are interested in competing. Without the teams, it is less. The teams should have the right to manipulate the results between their drivers, without ruining the sport for the fans. This solution does seem to fit that criteria.

Gets my vote.

As an addendum, I'm disappointed that Ferrari have seemingly got away with blatant rule breaking. But I guess if the proof wasn't there to convict them, then so be it. Dangerous precedent, as many others have said.


What so when Ferrari sees fit they can give points from one driver to another?

Somehow I see that system being abused from Race 1.


A good idea in principle, but this would surely further reduce the wheel to wheel battles everyone craves. Using Germany 2010 as an example, Alonso would have had no incentive to attempt to pass Massa because he would get the points anyway.

Hussein Lokhandwala

Also, this years turkish grand prix would have been an advert for the boringness of F1, instead of a great race.


True - but is that any worse than Alonso passing Massa because Massa dived out the way? And at least Massa could have claimed the top step.


Team orders should not be allowed, certainly not in the middle of the season, if a driver is mathematically out of the running and his teammate still has a chance in the WDC only then it alright. Let's say for example I was fan of Felipe and I saved money to go and watch the race which was at the same time of his accident last year and where he was almost killed last year. I would have been devastated that he didn't win the race because of team orders, especially in the middle of the season where the championship is still open. F1 races are expense and fans are being cheated out of a result.

But there is a solution, why not just have different sponsors for each car in the team? That way the team would have to treat the drivers equally or risk losing sponsors or potential sponsorship. Sponsors are already dictating to the teams, so why not let them govern equality amongst themselves? As soon as a team's cash flow depends on equal treatment I am sure they will be inclined to treat the drivers more fairly. Things like match fixing are not tolerated in any other sport why should F1 fans still accept race fixing?

Society has changed consepts surroundding equal oppertunities and rights have become much more important, but with team orders it sometimes seems like F1 is still stuck in the decades gone by. Team orders have always been around but people's frame of referance surrounding these type of issues and also consepts of equality and fairness have changed in general. Therefore it might just be time that F1 also change with the times.


I agree with Martin that simply banning team orders that manipulate the race result is not going to produce a clear result and that it would be better to restrict communication. But perhaps best of all would be to let the teams do what they want - then we fans will simply support whichever team we approve of, as always, and our support and purchasing power (for merchandise) will tell the teams what we want. Personally, I'm glad that McLaren & Red Bull seem to let their drivers race with less interference than Ferrari, and rather despise Ferrari's bland way of managing a race as shown at Hockenheim. I could never be a Ferrari fan while they contradict the spirit of racing so miserably. Perhaps this type of personal approval and disapproval are all that's appropriate, rather than a rule.


My primary contention (and I don't want to beat the drum until the hide splits on this issue but it's relevant to the topic) is the drivers need to be afforded the chance to race AND PASS one another.

AND the BEST way to achieve this, in my view, is fuel stops. If Alonso pits one lap after Massa he has an opportunity to put in a "hot lap" to win the race. If he pits one lap before, he has the opportunity (albeit less) to "hot lap" on fresh rubber. Schumacher used to be able to do this, and in Britain 2006 he leapfrogged Kimi despite pitting a lap earlier. Alonso did the same to Kubica at Fuji 2008.

I'm not sure Alonso could have reasonably been expected to pass Massa (in the same car on a dry day) when they were each pitting once a lap apart for tyres only?

It doesn't have to be fuel stops, but I'd argue... as well as fashioning the rules about team orders, why not give the drivers greater opportunity to race one another for the win?


Maybe I miss something about all this, everyone has been debating since Germany about team orders and should or shouldnt they be allowed.

To me and any judicial system its pretty black and white. The rule exists its still part of what Ferrari has agreed to abide by it might be a bad rule but its still there at least for this season.

So we are saying the governing body will allow teams to break there rules with no penalty for the rest of the year.

To any fair and open minded person it makes no sense.

Sorry officer I know I was speeding but they are changing the speed limit here next year so its ok, Sure


I think the only practical solution is for team orders to be DECLARED BEFORE THE START OF A RACE. Then there is no mis-information, no hidden agendas and fans wont feel cheated. They may disagree with a particular team's decision, but surely that is the team's call to make in their own interests.

Team orders happen in so many subtle and different ways that any black and white rules (particularly ones written by the FIA) are bound to cause future problems. Wat about 'hold position' orders to guarantee a race result (don't Red bull wish they did in Turkey?)... or 'let the faster driver through' (perhaps due to different tire conditions or a different strategy?... or which driver gets a preferred race strategy... or the latest development part.... the list goes on and on and on.

IMO the ONLY thing the teams should be obliged to do, particularly with crucial decisions like backing one driver for the championship, is DECLARE IT BEFORE A RACE STARTS.

My 2 cents.


I repeat, you will NEVER get rid of team orders...


While I found the whole event very distateful I don't think any dramatic sanction was enforceable - at least legally. No doubt Ferrari lost a lot of friends through this. I am a huge Felipe Massa fan and like Fernando less and less due to his petulant rantings. Ironically I think that day has WAS faster and could have got past eventually - thus avoiding all this.

I am in favour of "team tactics" whereby if necessary drivers are told to "hold station"/not to race each other to preserve their machinery and to prevent team collisions. But when one has to move over for the other - at least early in the season - leaves a very poor taste. If we were into the last couples races - it wold be a lot more understandable.


Ferrari International Assistance - AGAIN. This is not right, they did not take the fans into account here. maybe in the last 1/4 of the season should they be allowed but not so early on when one brat of a driver wants the other one out the way !


I think allow them with the following procedure:

1. Team declares they want to use team order before race ends (or starts?) with both drivers' consents.

2. 2 drivers must be in adjacent position.

3. Drivers do not swap track positions.

4. Drivers earn swapped points.

For example if this rule were to be applied in this year's German GP, Ferrari would state publicly they wish Alonso to gain Massa's points. Massa and Alonso radios back in that they allow it. Massa would be allowed to win the race but only gains 18 points while Alonso gains 25 points for coming 2nd.

What do you guys think?


Ferrari did not "get away with it" at all. The fine stands. The WMSC declined to take further action. They have a discretion and they exercised it. End of story.

I think a lot of knee-jerk comments about this issue have more to do with hating Ferrari and seeing some injustice relative to some of the pastings that McLaren have received under the previous FIA regime.

The argument about team order in one part of the season or another is specious. 25 points is 25 points whenever you earn them.

Overall, I think there are two separate issues here. Firstly, I think Ferrari made a PR error in swapping them as the goodwill etc from Massa winning on the anniversary of his accident would have been immense. Secondly, if Ferrari chooses not to take that PR opportunity and impose team orders, let them do it.

And finally, if this interferes with betting in F1 - good. We don't want it going the way of cricket now do we?


They did brought the sport into disrepute with ridiculous team orders? And by agreeing to pay the fine after the event didn't they agreed that they had broken the rules? Whats there to argue anymore?


A terible outcome from my perspective. After Hockenheim, it was very clear that the fans don't want to see races manipulated like that any more.

This was a great opportunity for the FIA to, not only increase their credibility by removing the 'Ferrari International Assistance' jokes, but also to stamp out team orders for the future with a large fine or suspended ban.

If Massa leads from Alonso this Sunday, is there any doubt what they will do...


Hmm, at Andrew Bensons's blog, the first comment by Kalma1212 suggests that team orders should be allowed, but if a driver refuses it, he should somehow be protected. Dunno how this can work, but sounds interesting.



Unless the sport moves to an A1GP style of one car per team then I can't see how any such ban can really be policed.


Not surprised.

I think that while it makes sense intuitively, a rule that is applied at x% of the last races is too heuristic. It's not likely that Todt's presidency would implement it.

Today's decision would indeed have set a poor precedent for future team orders, if they were planning to keep the rule. They seem to be lining up to remove the rule, and I would have to agree with that as being the best of all the awkward options.


Why was the manipulated 1-2 race order, specifically the points gained, not simply reversed ?

If, and thankfully it is a big IF, Alonso was to cheat his way to the WDC by a few points, this decision would be grotesque.

Now it has been revealed that the FIA WMSC decision was far from unanimous and that Spanish and Italian members were strongly lobbying for Ferrari to be let off.

Formula 1 has lost out for the sake of Nationalist cheats, a sad day for the Sport and Fans. Happily, it looks like we will not have to stomach looking at Alonso benefiting from his shameless cheating. Again.

Apart from this farce, Jean Todt has surprised many and made a very good job of running the FIA, sadly he could not influence this terrible decision.


I think that the working committee would do well to consider the response of the fans. Nobody wants a repeat of Austria. Ferrari's crime then and in Germany this year was disrespecting the people that pay the bills.

I remain sceptical though as the self-interest of the teams will likely be the determining factor. What everybody seems to forget is that without the fans there are no sponsors and thus no revenue. Without that F1 is simply a bunch of rich folks playing with a giant car racing game.

If F1 wants to be considered a sport it has to be quite clear about who is in competition. If a driver is number one then is it fair if this is not applied by all the teams? The teams seem to want it both ways at the moment and that sends out a misleading message and thus expectation from the fans.

It is also ironic that if Alonso does not get a 'good' result at Monza then Ferrai are going to concentrate on 2011 anyway.


I think it is nonsensical to stop team orders: coding and decoding is a very old art known to many.


It seems that the fans don't mind team orders as long as they don't know about it. How silly!

There have always been team orders and in one way or another always will be, so let's have them out in the open.


I personally don't like it when a team switches drivers in the way Ferrari did but I do understand that sometimes it may be necessary.

However, I think a team telling the team mates to hold station (i.e not overtake each other) is just as much a team order. Again, I can understand it but it is still a team order and it happens all the time.

As it's such a complex issue I think they should leave it up to the teams and rely on the fact the fans backlash will prevent too many blatant incidents.


I would like to see team orders always allowed. It is possible to switch drivers around in a way that nobody notices, so I can see policing problem here. Removal of the rule removes the problem.

Anyway if I was Felipe Massa I wouldn't listen and just carried on to win the race. We only have this problem because of drivers like Massa - too weak or too intimidated to stamp their feet and say 'no'. Cannot see Mark Webber moved aside like that.


Good decision. The rule is very silly and that's why it is fitting that the only penalty is 100K.


this year ferrari instead of fighting rival teams they are fighting FIA and changing/refining rules, may be this is preparation for their future, hope alo will be there too.


so James.. the "smart money" is looking pretty stupid right now hey ??? 😉


Yesterday was a joke! ferrari broke the rules but got away with it simple as that. ferrari think they are above everyone else & take the piss out of the FIA.

If it was mclaren who broke the team orders rule,they would of been punished.

team orders should be allowed,BUT only when a team mate has no chance of winning the title (ie: too far behind in the points,NOT a team favouring one driver!).

The FIA are making themselves look weak!!!!!


Why would someone spend all his childhood training and his parents spending a lot of money to become a ferrari second driver? right now, i have more respect for kobayashi than Massa. Kobayashi may never be in a fast car but at least as a driver, he has more dignity.

If team orders is back in F1, i'm done with this so-called sport. I'll just see in the news if my driver do well but will no longer waste my time watching a fixed race with only half of te grid actually racing. Why call it a sport if there's no competiton? Why don't they just have one car per team? Who would support a driver who only goal in F1 to help his team mate to be champion?


I do not see any problem with team orders, maybe it would be better to scrasp the driver championship and concerntrate on team/constructor championship. In other sport (i.e football) players may be changed to benefit the team, why cant orders be given in F1 to benefit the team....


I'm disappointed. Not because I am anti-Ferrari (I am actually an eyes wide open fan) but because the FIA need to listen to the fans here who I think have quite vocally made clear that the team orders as deployed in Germany are not acceptable.

I understand nothing has been decided yet but the FIA really should have made clear that this rule will remain although in a tightened form.


Drivers should be allowed to pass under team orders if it has been proved to the fans that the rear car is really faster.

The rule should say something like:

"A Team may allow one driver to overtake the other if: For 3 (or 5) continuous laps the rear driver has been within 0.5 of a second of the driver in front. Then a clear instruction to the front driver to move over can be given within 3 laps"

Although I do agree that any test can be a justifiable reason for Team Orders at least with something like this it becomes a strategic move and if the rear driver is not faster they have to travel at the slowest drivers speed to allow the switch which will feed into the 'fun' of the race.

It also means that the front driver has the opportunity to drive as fast as they wish and break the .5 second gap if they can or wish to.

If nothing else it will be a clear set of rules that can be appealed and punished if it is not followed.


Make it simpler:

"Any team that instructs a driver to yield position to a team mate, which in the stewards' opinion interferes with the sporting nature of the event, shall result in one or both drivers being given a drive through penalty."

There. Leave it up to the stewards to make their own minds up.


Make it simpler still, if you are faster, then overtake. Otherwise call it a day and stay behind!


As long as teams have two drivers in two cars and there is a drivers championship to win as well as a constructors championship then there will be team orders. We look on this example as being blatant because a car let another past. But what about a situation where one car drives off while another car holds the rest of the field up? And so on.

The best thing to do is to abolish the rule and thus level the playing field so everyone can get on with the job of trying to win a championship after spending so much money to do so.


This is really, really simple.

A rule against team orders cannot possibly be enforced 100% of the time, unless the FIA has an observer following drivers and all team members who're in a position to affect the race result around, listening to their conversations 24/7 -- clearly not possible.

The fact of the matter is that team orders can be agreed before the race starts, and they can be hidden very easily, by feigning a human error on track or in a pitstop, or in literally hundreds of different ways. They needn't even be agreed on the day -- they could be arranged days, weeks, or months ahead of time. Their application can be triggered with a completely innocuous-seeming radio message or pit board communication that means absolutely nothing to anybody except the driver receiving the order, and it's even possible with the "bad" pitstop technique to implement team orders without the driver's knowledge, should the team choose to do so. (All it takes is one individual to "accidentally" delay the pitstop.)

There will never be any way to prevent team orders, nor any way to definitively prove when they've occurred in any team, at any race.

The rule against team orders has never been about preventing their application, but only about hiding them in plain sight -- the bulge under the carpet that anybody who's paying attention knows is there. Today's ruling by the FIA, leaving Ferrari with no more than the tiniest smack on the wrist, is a confirmation of that fact. (One day's salary for their top driver is not a meaningful fine to an outfit like Ferrari. Their penalty for applying team orders is laughably small, by comparison to their penalty for letting their drivers stand on the wrong steps on the podium, a further confirmation that outward impressions are all the FIA truly cares about.)

The issue here is that if we have a rule whose sole purpose is to hide things under the carpet, that rule can never be fairly and evenly applied. How is it fair that one team can be allowed to get away with something scot free, that we all know happens, and another team can receive *any* form of punishment for the exact same infringement, solely because they did it more visibly? It very clearly isn't fair, and never has been from the day this rule was instituted.

The only possible answer is to revoke the rule, at the first available opportunity, and permanently.

Unfortunately, too many fans don't understand these facts. They believe that -- in a team sport like F1, where it is sometimes (often?) in the team's best interests to determine their finishing order -- the drivers can ever truly be able to race each other. The F1 media is to blame for failing to educate the public to the simple facts, and to point out the honest truth: that negative publicity is the *only* way to prevent inappropriate team orders.

When Ferrari made a mockery of the sport with their team orders in the past, there was an immediate backlash from fans and the media -- but the F1 media told the wrong story. Instead of rightly castigating Ferrari and at the same time pointing out that a ban on team orders could never work, the F1 media pandered to public opinion and joined in the cry (very vocally, to my memory) for a rule that deep down, you all knew was doomed to failure.

The F1 media failed in its responsibility to the public, and it continues to fail in that responsibility by propagating even the faintest suggestion that a team orders rule can be made to work in the future, with tweaks that aim to polish the turd to a perfect, glossy shine.

It's time that we all woke up, admitted the truth to ourselves, and got rid of a rule that's made a laughing stock of our sport. Team orders have always been part of F1, and always will be. In the right circumstances, they're actually a positive thing to everybody (apart, perhaps, from the fool betting money on a result he knows hasn't a snowball's chance of coming to fruition -- but you know what they say about fools and their money.)

Public sentiment will always punish those who apply team orders without good reason, and in an unsporting manner. Hasn't Schumacher, for example, long been mocked by many fans for his insistence on always having clear number two drivers throughout his career at Ferrari? And even in this latest instance, where Massa and Alonso were clearly too close to each other in points for Ferrari to have a clear moral ground for applying team orders, the public sentiment has been strongly against them from day one.

So, James... as a member of the Formula One media, will you admit the truth, and do your duty to the public by telling them why the rule should never have been created in the first place?


"How is it fair that one team can be allowed to get away with something scot free, that we all know happens, and another team can receive *any* form of punishment for the exact same infringement, solely because they did it more visibly?

It very clearly isn’t fair, and never has been from the day this rule was instituted.

The only possible answer is to revoke the rule, at the first available opportunity, and permanently."

...which isn't fair for the fans who expect to watch a race.

Just because the rule can't be applied consistently (I'm not going to use the word fairly) doesn't mean it should be ditched. Leave it up to the stewards to decide. Some might escape, others will get caught. But at least team will think twice if they know the stewards gave a drive-through to driver X at a previous race.


The rule exists for all and it was broken by Ferrari (not only Ferrari, one would argue, but this does not make the Scuderia innocent), period.

Judging the rule itself is another conversation and has nothing to do with Ferrari being punished or not.

My suggestion: team orders to be allowed only when the yielding driver has lost any mathematical chances of getting on top of his team mate in the end of the championship.

This covers all cases, from the fight for the championship to the fight for 10th place.

This also grants an official period of internal battle to the teams so as to decide their contender, much like primary elections in politics.

In case of doubt, the team shall be obliged to provide technical proof that a suggestion to slow down (e.g tyres, save fuel) has been reasonable at the time.


Its the right decision. The best thing to do is to get rid of the rule altogether. I doubt F1 will lose any fans. It survived long enough having them anyway.

The only reason people are so fired up and calling for fines and bans etc is because Alonso is not as popular as Massa and people feel that Massa deserved a win after his accident last year.

If it was Alonso who was asked to move over to let Massa through there would not be such an outrage. In fact I think a lot of people would have been smiling.

The only way to get rid of all favouritism in a team is to only have one driver.


To paraphrase someone: "I no longer consider F1 as a sport."

It is an utter disgrace!


I've got to say that all I'm intrested in is fairness.

The ruling ISN'T fair because Ferrari broke a rule, irrespective of whether that rule is right or wrong.


it's a TEAM sport, there has been and always will be team orders BUT the rules said there shouldn't be any, Ferrari were caught blatantly using team orders, they should have been punished more at the hearing, they weren't. The rules may change to allow team orders if so keep it simple, either they are allowed all the time or not at all, simple!


It's clear that teams will always find a way to impose team orders, so the rule is useless and should be scrapped.


Team orders, as they may affect drivers' positions, delivered during a race should be strictly forbidden. Offenders should be required to 'show cause' why a penalty should not be applied and the penalty should be loss of all driver and team points for the affected race.

Team orders should be allowed to operate without restriction in the last 6 races of the year.


Did they make the right call in this instance? No. They broke a rule. They went unpunished. That sets a very bad precedent.

Whether the rule itself needs reviewing is a seperate debate. The fact is, Ferrari International Aid is at it again.


As a sport, this sport needs spectators and that's not just 'us' sat on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, it's thousands of people milling around a track with an edge of excitement in the air, having just spent about a grand to be at such a race. Why bother if the outcome is controlled? Would any of us go to a horserace to watch one horse slow down for another to win? That's the knock on effect I fear "let's watch it on the TV instead as it's fixed". All should be considering that as without a crowd, you haven't got a sport.


I think team orders should be allowed only if the driver being asked to rescind his position in favour of his team mate is not mathematically able to win the championship.

If both drivers are not in a position to win the championship then it's fair game. It's up to the driver to ensure that he is compensated fairly if asked to move over.

The advantage of this idea is that early on in the season no team orders (e.g. Austria 02 would not happen) but later in the season, where sensible they would be allowed (Brazil 07).

Make sense?


James. if a driver has only 60% of his team mate´s points , I don´t think it should be allowed for the team to issue orders. The reason is simple: in the beginning stages of a championship the percentages vary wildly, and if say, in the first race one driver collected 10 points and the other dnf you already get a loop hole in which to exploit the rule. The rule is simply unworkable: all the teams issue orders and any fan knows or should know that: that Ferrari made a ridiculous show is unquestionable, but so it is that anyone who believes that this only happens with the Scuderia and Alonso is blindfolded: scrap the rule altogether. Cycling is an example: there´s a leader and the teams (not just 1 teammate, but up to 8 or 9) are there to help that guy win: everybody seems to accept this. Why is formla 1 so different?


I don't like team orders but like many above cant see how a "no team orders" rule is enforceable.

I would therefore allow team orders but remove Pit to Car radios. Use the Pit board, agree strategies beforehand whatever- the driver still has to make the decision on the track.


Don't forget his two championships he already bagged. . .


Yessss !!!! Good on you, FIA, you made the right decision!!! (For once). I'm not a serious Farrari fan, but I certainly don't have a problem with their team orders!!!! (Or any other team's for that matter).



I think the problem most fans have with team orders is not whether they ARE USED, but whether we can SEE it. It seems that fans simply want to be deluded.

If Massa had pretended that he was fighting with Alonso, everything would be alright and nobody would have said a word. So the real problem is that people want to THINK that they are watching a real fight, though the outcome is already fixed, they only don't know it yet.

For me this is ridiculous - I don't like to be cheated and I see no point in fooling myself that everything is just fine and the drivers are fighting for the position when in fact they are following the team orders. So I personally have no problem in watching team orders (we all know they exist anyway) and I think they should be allowed when one of the drivers has no mathematical chance of winning the championship.

(I might have no problem with that, but I definitely wouldn't like to see one of the drivers moving for the other one from the very beginning of the season. That would just kill the fighting spirit of the No 2 driver and wouldn't be good).

When it comes to the FIA judgement, I don't know yet what to think about it, but I know that I was hoping that Ferrari wouldn't be punished too severely, because that wouldn't be good just a few days before Monza.



Some people seem to think that all would be well had Ferrari been more disingenuous!


If Ferrari, at the start of the season (or even before the German race itself), had stated that Alonso was now their main man with Massa supporting him, there would not have been such a hostile reaction from fans in relation to the German GP result - we'd have known "the pass" was coming and been prepared for it - but they didn't.

I feel both approaches (a No 1 and No 2 driver or equal treatment) are viable and worthwhile, if a team chooses to do so... but just give us (the fans - the people that you exist for) clarity over what we're watching before proceedings start.

As for "team orders"... we all know that they exist in one form or another (so do away with the stupid rule!); we all know that one driver will "support" another if their own title challenge is not mathematically possible - I don't think any of us are perturbed or disgruntled about this.

Some of us are disgruntled because we wanted to see Massa and Alonso race\fight for the win, as they'd raced in China\Australia for lower positions. What I didn't wish to see was Massa timidly move over and allow Alonso past, I didn't wish to see Red Management say "oh no, no team orders were given, Massa gave Alonso a gift". If Red Management had decided that all their eggs were now in the Alonso basket, just say so, then I'd have known what was coming.


The rule banning team orders is bonkers. If you don't want team orders then ban 'teams'. What's the point in a team running two cars if they can't work together to achieve a result... I believe the term is Team-work, and is normally encouraged. If you want an open race then each team should only be allowed 1 car, simple.


All that needs to be done is to change the rule to say:-

"Only when a driver is mathematically out of the championship should it be permitted that team orders are used to change that drivers position with his team mates."

If all the team cares about is "the team" then why would it matter to them what order their drivers come in? They got the exact same points for Hockenheim, irrelevant of order. What EVERY fan wants to see is a fair battle for the drivers championship, by allowing each driver to fight individually until they are mathematically out of it!

If drivers such as Alonso were that good then they would be able to overtake the car infront and not have to have them be told to pull over!


ANYTHING that frustrates 'real' racing is the sport setting itself up for periodic foot-shooting in my view. I don't agree with James's view but I DO accept the difficulty in identifying team orders throughout the grid is impossible. Lets not forget that whilst we gnash our teeth at the high profile examples, if we are not careful F1 will simply make it less obvious. The competitive spectacle will still suffer and the fans will simply be duped without realising (....wrestling anybody..?). Lets also not forget that team orders could also be given for one driver to hold up another team driver in support of their colleague – how about engine deals – is it conceivable we could see opposing teams with the same engines being given ‘manufacturer orders’? Whichever way you look at it, team orders are an anathema..... but how do you regulate against them in practice? How about teams have FIA approved contracts with drivers’ and team members that (eg) specifically state the driver is free to compete – possibly even standardised financial rewards to the driver and their engineers/mechanics based upon race position?


Those of us who thought that Mclaren was poorly treated by the FIA in the past would look quite partial and hypocritical to wish the same treatment on Ferrari now.

I think people should not get focussed on previous FIA decisions during the Mosley era, especially in relation to Mclaren. The new regime should start with as little of Mosleys nonsense as possible. The man was immeasurably damaging for the sport and the best way for F1 to grow and move on is to forget his nonsense.

The decision is a sensible one, Ferrari were punished with a fine for the way they conducted the switch, that should be all.


The other teams appeared to be allowing racing. Ferrari gained an unfair, against a current rule, advantage. Am I wrong? I am certainly not impressed.


James, I don't see how having team orders for only a small part of the season makes it any more policable. Which is the whole problem in the first place - the no team orders was impossible to prove/enforce. Could someone explain?


As far as breaking a rule, I feel that it should've counted that the rule created by their own past actions should count more than if it was another team, so I'm disappointed for what Ferrari got. But it seems the focus of the decision was that the rule itself was a stupid one and inadequate, which in my view is more important than what to give Ferrari, so I'm generally OK about this.



There should be no team orders full stop. I have been watching F1 for the best part of 40 years and it has been going on in one way or another

the rule should state clearly, NO TEAM ORDERS.

If a driver isn't good enough in equql machinery to pass his team mate, then I am sorry, he should sit behind him.

These drivers are born racers, so bloody well race and stop crying, 'oh, I need to pass him but can't' get out of the sport we don't want you we want people we enjoy watching not spoilt brats who are overpaid and big headed.

Give us back the racers of yesteryear not the odd cry babys we have now.

I don't need to name anyone we all know who it is mainly.

I have had my rant many thanks for reading it whether you agree or not is your opinion, but I think this is an issue that also needs addressing.


Hi James

I personally would allow team orders for each race, but only after a certain percentage of the race has been completed, probably the last 5% of the race, and only allow it to affect points finishing.

In reality most teams would only do it when a driver has more to gain than his team-mate, so the chances of it happening early in the season are seldom, and it may cut out what happened between Fernando & Felipe as well as Lewis & Jenson until the end of the race, because whichever way you disguise it both instances were team orders.


Can McLaren demand the return of their $1,000,000 fine please now that FIA are not prepared to fine Ferrari for any sort of rule breaking? A fine of £65,000 is meaningless!

Yet again this proves that FIA are in the pockets of Ferrari - to find them guilty but not give any appropriate punishment, especially when Ferrrari was brazen in denying team orders. Compare that to how FIA treated McLaren! Disgusted!


I think you will find that the figure was $100,000,000!

I think you should remember that the 'persecuted' McLaren team escape any form of sanction or investigation when Kovalainen waved Hamilton past at the same circuit two years earlier, and again after McLaren made clear what "save fuel" really meant at Istanbul Park.

The FIA suspected, but was unable to find any proof, that team orders had been applied. Therefore Ferrari's denials were not refuted.

As for the comparisons to the fine issued to McLaren in 2007...


I was unable to make an edit on the website. How could anyone forget such an absurd fine by FIA!

FIA are now using a much higher test of proof than they did in the past otherwise Ferrari would have been punished.

Your comparison with McLaren at Istanbul is a poor one and your attempt at trying to make light of rule breaking by Ferrari. McLaren cars were racing each other side by side unlike Alonso who was unable to overtake his team mate and needed SD to do it for him. So it's a win without any merit for Alonso at Hockeheim.


When Hamilton asked the team if Button would attempt to overtake him at Istanbul, he was told "no". What does that mean to you?

The evidence can be found in the race highlights at http://www.formula1.com.

Should a team only receive punishment for issuing orders if its drivers obey the orders?

Any views on the Kovalainen/Hamilton incident?

There is no precedent for such an incident, so I don't see how the FIA is using a "much higher test of proof".

I think that rules need to be applied consistently, or not at all. If that is your interpretation of making "light of rule breaking", then so be it.


Hello James,

As an aside, there is a very interesting interview with Tilke on Autosport, in which he shares the different aspects track design etc.

As fans, and also on this forum, we have a alot followers cribbing about poor tracks, but the reality is far from it.

My suggestion to you would be why don't you cover a piece on race tracks since we have 2 new tracks coming-up in the F1 calendar.


I've said this before, but I maintain it's a good idea, so I'll say it again...

I think any team should be free to execute team orders at any point in any season. That is provided they have previously issued a press release stating who their favoured driver is.

Make it legal, make it transparent. If Ferrari want to put all their eggs in Alonso's basket from race 1, let them.

Team orders only infuriate fans when they come as a surprise. If we know #2 guy is going to make way for #1 in advance there's not nearly the same degree of annoyance.

Also, if gamblers bet on any team's acknowledged #2 they can't complain when he's ordered to yield.


I think all of the above comments show that there is no answer to this issue - both sides have a fair argument. The only thing I don't like is having a rule which goes unpunished but as James said why punish ferrari because it was considered too early in the season - that isn't a logical given everyone accepts it when it's the last race.

I think team orders should be allowed but on condition that - at the start of the season each team must declare whether the wish to 'opt in' to team orders and if so how that would work - ie after a certain number of races and percentage of points etc. They won't eed to favour a specific driver - it depends how the season unravels. I think that would make it really interesting at the latter stages of the season particulary as for example webber is so far ahead of vettel...


I'm still very surprised at the outcry on here about this incident. I'm seemingly in a minority (though not necessarily according to the poll results James published), but I just do not see a problem with a team deciding to swap driver positions if they wish. It's part of motorsports and has gone on in F1 since team orders were banned after 2002 anyway. Instead of pretending that drivers have to save fuel at the end of a race, for example, just be open that the team is asking the drivers to hold station because they want to ensure they bring home the points.

As an aside James, do you have any information on the internal Ferrari reaction to the way Rob Smedley conducted the team orders at Germany? It would be interesting to know as it is the main reason (along with the manner in which Massa allowed Alonso past) that Ferrari were investigated in the first place. If the message had simply been "Alonso is faster than you" and Massa had let Alonso conduct a "normal" pass on the main straight, I don't think we'd have this controversy.


Team orders should be allowed. Otherwise it is going to be endless argument, whether a fan on a granstand waveing a flag/cap/balloon (with symbols of a certain team on it) is actually a coded message "mr x is faster than you, do you understand?" or not. It doesnt make my feel better, if harsh and strict rules are written for remaining races. Coded messages will stay anyway, teams have taken their lesson now, that this kind of wording is not acceptable.

Possible solutions?

1)One car per team.

But interests of engine suppliers still remain. Remember the "Blue Ferrari" thing?

2)Just a thought. Is it possible, to make all drivers contracts public? Or at least somehow ban "who gets first corner first..." or "who breaks his front wing first,gets the only remaining wing first" and "no Senna" type of clauses in the contracts?

That would allow to say different things over the radio and give "suggestions". But technically, or at least contractually, nobody is left without wings to fly before the lights go out.


Congratulations to the FIA and WMSC for using common sense with this matter.

As I've mentioned before on this website, I'm a huge McLaren fan and would, in normal circumstances, laugh out load when Ferrari makes mistakes and is punished for any wrong-doing. But in this case I believe that the FIA/WMSC has got it right.

I agree that nobody likes to see team orders used in certain circumstances, but the bottom line is, they are and will always be used in F1 because F1 is a team sport. I don't see what the big deal is with what happened in the German GP apart from the way it was handled by Ferrari. This season is turning out to be one of the best and closely faught championships we've had for a long time, with 5 drivers fighting for it. It is clear to see that, as much as I dislike him, Alonso is in a much better position to fight for the title than Massa. Therefore, it is only fair that Ferrari put all their weight behind Alonso now ... It is nothing like the Schumacher era where everything was in his favour, even when he had a huge points advantage over everyone else!

Like I said previously, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see Ferrari lose and/or be punished. But to punish them further in this case would have been extremely unfair.


Either the FIA can't overrule the stewards on-day decisions, thought that was the only the case for racing penalties?, or Ferrari are guilty. At least Mad Max would have had the stones to quash the judgement, or give a proper punishmen.

This just leaves the sour taste of being told the drivers are guilty but we don't care.


I find the reported basis of the FIA decision bizarre - i.e. that there was insufficient evidence of team orders.

(1) The stewards decided that there had been an infringement of the rules and imposed a monetary fine.

(2) I don't understand Ferrari to have appealed that decision. If they did, it is self-evident that they were unsuccessful (given that the original monetary fine has stood).

(3) The present situation is about as clear a case of team orders as could possibly be imagined, as the stewards properly appreciated. Witness the many commentators who expressed a cynical realism about the existence of team orders but chafed against the blatant way in which Ferrari had implemented.

(4) The suggestion that there was insufficient evidence of team orders is an insult to the intelligence of the stewards, the competitors and the audience generally. In order to make a finding, it does not need to be shown that team orders was the only possible logical conclusion from the evidence put before them, just that it was more than likely than not (if the standard is the civil one) or that the tribunal felt sure beyond any reasonable doubt (if the standard is the criminal one).

(5) I'm not sure how the tribunal actually works but a likely drawback is that in cases like this it is probably not adversarial in any real sense - i.e. there is no professional advocate for the prosecution cross-examining the witnesses rather, I imagine, a somewhat diffuse series of 'probing' or not so probing questions from a panel. (Cf. in the UK the rather unsatisfactory spectacle of the Chilcot inquiry).

(6) The message that the decision sends is pretty clear: no-one is going to get any substantial penalty for team orders even where the case is as crystal clear as the Ferrari, let alone where there is some slightly more sophisticated dressing-up. It's a message which insults the fans who have expressed their considerable distaste for team orders which resulted in the implementation of the rule. It also results in a position where teams are positively encouraged to nominate number 1 drivers and, by practical implication, encouraged to implement team orders in a way which is contrary to the clear rules. The likely consequence is that fans will be robbed of the spectacle of teammates in identical machinery going at each other hammer-and-tongs - e.g. can Maclaren really decide now not to favour Lewis over Jenson? Is that what fans of motor-racing would want? Is that what real racing drivers would want?

(7) It may be that my thoughts adjust when the full reasoning of the FIA is made available but at the moment I doubt it. At the moment, it looks to me utterly spineless and short-termist.


Well, it turns out that the basis of the FIA decision was entirely different to what was earlier reported (on the basis of an interview with Todt). The tribunal was entirely satisfied despite Ferrari's protestations to the contrary that team orders were given, but declined further punishment because of inconsistent application (or more accurately, consistent non-application...!) of the rule on earlier occasions. This I find a more understandable decision.


Team orders exist, whether we like it or not. Weren't Red Bull exercising some sort of preferential treatment when they took something from Webber to give to Vettel!? There are times when I think Mclaren are telling Jenson to cool his jets to let his team mate gain an advantage. Most if not all the teams exercise some sort of team orders, they're just more subtle about it. And in this respect I think Massa has a lot to answer for to his team because in that race there were better opportunities to let Alonso by. Once he made the decision to go with it, he had to then keep in mind his team's needs, but instead he made it all look really deliberate. I think that overall team orders are kind of unfair to the individual driver, but is in the teams best interest and at the end of the day it is a team. Just to make it clear, I am not a Ferrari fan and for years I thought they, more specifically Schumacher, got away with way too much. But I think too much was made of this, the only good thing is that they are rethinking a rule which clearly isn't working.


I think there just needs to be a lot more openess and honesty with regards to team orders. Rather than ban team orders why not make it the drivers decision or perogative.

If Ferrari had said to Massa on the Radio look heres the score, we have 2 options, let Alonso past and keep us in the fight for both Championships or you go ahead and win either way we respect your decision. Then I dont think many people would have had a problem with the outcome.

It is a team sport regardless, If I was in charge of an F1 team I would have done the same think. The sooner everyone wakes up and stops pretending the sooner we can all accept it and get on with the racing.

No one bats an eyelid when mark Renshaw moves out the way for Mark cavendish in cycling.


I watch F1 for the racing and if we remove team orders what's the point of watching something that is manipulated. If it's an issue have one car teams.



At the time of writing this, there are 80+ feet of scrolling comments. I've no patience nor time to read them all (I leave that to you), but it's a measure (in feet!) of your blog's success.

I like the idea of leaving team orders for the last 75% (or so) of the season. However, a reality check tells me it won't work. When "Look after your tyres" is good advice, when it is team order? Leave it as it was until 2002 and ask the teams to keep manners.


I think the teams should sort this out behind closed doors not live in front of the viewing public.

A simple pre-race strategy meeting with both drivers to lay the ground rules. Once the race is underway no further intervention is required from the team and the fans are none the wiser.

It was perhaps the manner in which Ferrari assisted Alonso that caused such backlash. A couple of second longer in the pit or turned down engine rev limit for a few corners and no one would have noticed.

The use of KERS next season may make this whole process much easier. Disable one driver’s KERS temporarily so the other can boost past. Job done.

I was happy to see Kimi win the championship in 2007 and this was only possible by the gallant actions of Massa. Not a lot of people complained then, quite the opposite in fact.


I hate the idea of team orders - for a start, what sort of competitor/driver would want to be told that they cannot even compete for the title because their boss/team wants the other driver to do it. It isn't about "who is best" because before this year, everyone thought Vettel would slaughter Webber, but look what has happened. Drivers could have a year when everything falls into place and it is [i]their year[/i] so how dare anyone presume at the start of the year that so and so should be the main title contender? It takes everything away from the sporting aspect of it, and I think any driver who kowtows to this instruction or signs a contract to this effect, shouldn't be in an F1 car because they are not a true [b]competitor[/b].

So, I think that ALL team orders should be banned, i.e. telling a driver however subtly, that he must hand over his position to his teammate who is behind and even if faster, hasn't the skill to overtake. This rule should be STRICTLY enforced with penalties such as WDC and WCC points being deducted.

Some say this is a Team sport, but there is also a Drivers championship. If team orders are allowed, they should remove the WDC from the championship and just have the WCC.

There should be one clause to that rule. If there is a point when one driver in a team is not mathematically able to win the WDC and the other one is, then team orders are allowed and can be done openly. If neither driver is mathematically able to win the WDC, then team orders should never be allowed.

This does not include instructions to save fuel, as some people keep bleating on about. If a team has fuelled their cars to the bare minimum and they need them to both save fuel otherwise they won't be able to complete the race, then that is NOT A TEAM ORDER, it is common sense.

I think the above is perfectly reasonable and workable and would ensure true competition and excitement and not the kind of deflated cheated feeling most get when you can see blatant race fixing going on to sate one driver's greedy ego.

Christopher Snowdon

Who did wrong - Ferrari and Massa!! The team for giving the orders, Massa for executing them. That’s all the evidence shows, so really you take away Massa's points and the teams. How can you punish Alonso in all of this, I’m not saying he’s blameless, I’m not silly enough to think he is given his history with Mclaren, but there’s no evidence as far I know to prove he did wrong? My view - super harsh to punish Massa, not so harsh to punish Ferrari.

Rules where defiantly broken, punishment should have been given, I think the view was taken it would have been morally wrong to punish Massa (which it would have been), morally wrong to punish the team and not the driver, so best result, leave it alone. Remember Ferrari did get fined the maximum they could money wise (the smallness of the amount is another argument), move on guys!

James a quick question, with budget caps, would that fine come out of Ferraris budget?


Ban radio - that's the only true way to stop team orders. If no radio they cannot tell the driver to move over...


I think Massa's & Alonso's points should have been swapped. There was clear breach of the current rules.

I realise that there has always been team orders & there is maybe a case for them, but I think the 'team player' argument is spurious. There is already a team trophy & that is the constructors championship. The drivers championship is & should be am individual competition.

If there must be team orders in the drivers championship, then it shoud only apply to a driver when it is arithmatically impossible for them to win the championship.

As a fan since I was 5 (that's over 40 years) I find the sort of move pulled by Ferrari at the German GP spolit my enjoyment of the race & left a sour taste. Every time it happens I feel, whats the point in watching, when the results are stage managed like wrestling.


James going on from Dan in Adelaides idea above.

I really like the idea too. but you could add another dynamic to this and not make it complicated. The teams could use this rule upto a set amount of times in a season. At least then if the team use up all their alocation of swapping points its then up to the driver to go out and win.

This could bring a new dynamic into the end of the championship battle - for example you could relish the prospect (if 5 swaps were permitted each season) of Ferrari having used 3 of their point swaps, redbull have used 4 and mclaren 4 it would then bring in a bit of strategy and make things interesting. Would teams gamble on swapping 5 points for 7 and use one of their 'get out of jail free' cards or save a 'get out of jail free' card for the next race where the team could possibly swap 1 point for 9.

Rules would be simple.(x) denotes a number to be agreed.

1...(x) amount of times in one season can this be used to distribute points between each driver after this allocation it is forbidden.

2...The swapping or distribution of points can only take place after the (x) round of the world championship.

3...Both cars MUST finish in the top 6 scoring positions. (this way drivers would not plod round in 10th place if their team mate was winning thinking i'm going to get the points anyhow they would be enticed to push to be able to gain some points).

This way the driver knows he has to put himself in the strongest position before the race where this rule can start being applied.

The driver would still be enticed to race his team mate to save his @get out of jail' cards as if he has a bad race at the end of the season but is the preffered driver in the team to win the WDC he knows he can swap points (take spa for example if Alonso had finished in 8th or 9th he could have swapped points with Massa).

I think this would work James any views or if you think it could be a solution are you willing to take it to the SWG or FOTA?




Ignore the bit about Spa what I meant to say was it would have enticed Alonso to push for 6th place to have been able to swap points with Massa.

I think the whole point of this would be we would not have glum looking podiums and team mates being told to pull over and its up to the team how to use their points allocation to shuffle drivers, After all the whole debate rests around it being 'a team sport'


It's going to be fun if some team will decide this year's championship by pulling a team order during the last race in Abu Dhabi.

That's going cost them $100.000. Not too bad for a championship.


It is impossible (and not entirely desirable) to enforce a no team orders rule at any point in the season. Codes, precautionary pit stops and going wide are always possible without the casual view being aware. Ferrari a not the worst team for using them, they are just crap and being sneaky and have more opportunity as they like to a have a stronger and weaker driver in their team.

I say let them happen, teams who abuse the privilege will lose out in Merchandise sales etc as their fans desert them.


I suggest the following to be applied to every team in every race:

1 Change name of the rule to Voluntary Team Preference
2 Have a standard term in every drivers contract saying they may let their team mate pass them at any time but cannot be compelled to do so
3 The team may suggest such a move but must use the standard phrase on the radio of "It would be good for the team if you let XXX pass you, but you don't have to

This approach would add to the drama of F1 but not turn the public off a fixed sport.
4 Every move of Voluntary Team Preference must be logged straight away with Race Control


I as a fan just feel cheated by all of this I want to see cars battling against each other and not being just waved past. I agree that from time to time the team needs to back one driver over another. But for goodness sake do it subtly. I feel that in the words of Eddy Jordan that Ferrari treated us all like Muppets, we the paying public need to be treated with more respect.


I still maintain that Rob and Felipe did a very bad job of what we all know exists in F1. I find it a very valid point that if team orders are ought to be banned, they should banned for any position in the field. In Nurburgring,'07- Heikki was given clear orders over the radio to move over for Fisi after he had put intermediates. As rational as it is, thats still a team order. People who have chosen toturn a blind eye all this while, either to save the interest of their favorite team or driver, need to wake up and acknowledge about that fact that team order has been existent in every team.


Suggestion for the panel reviewing team orders:

Legalise team orders but only for competitors who are arithmetically out of the running for the drivers championship.

Underpin this by lowering the standard of evidence required to find against a team where an order has been given to a competitor who is not arithmetically out of the running.

....or just do away with the rule altogether.


Hi James

I am a little surprised that no further sanctions were applied as, even though it is a bad rule, badly worded, it still is a rule. However with regard to the redrafting of the rule I would suggest that it does not matter how a team approaches the ‘team orders’ issue so long as it is announced beforehand. Then we would know say that team A has, for financial reasons say, a pay-driver in the second car who also has to play second fiddle at all times, team B may say ‘race until there is a mathematical impossibility of one or other driver winning the title’ and team C has a system that kicks in after say 2/3rds of the season and favours the driver leading at that time. I think the public would understand easily but probably have more respect for the team A & team B approach as anything else will always be seen as potentially destabilising within a team. However whilst this may bring about a welcome increase in transparency the real crux of the issue will always lie in the minutia of a driver’s contract. I would also suggest that this will probably never be known.



I would say the only way to eradicate the team orders rule is to make the cars easier to overtake. This is the only reason Alonso was complaining. If he was able to follow Massa more closely he would've passed him.

Standard front and rear wings specifically designed to minimize dirty air would go along way to solving this. F1 has enough geniuses in the aerodynamics department to make this happen.

Why would this be a bad idea? I struggle to find a downside here.




No, the FIA did not get it right. By letting them off, despite upholding the steward's original verdict, they have practically legitimised what was done. They broke the rules - no one is in doubt of that. what was the penalty? $100,000. Or, to you and me, 2p. 'What's that? You're going to fine me? Hang on, let me check down the back of the couch...'

Plus, they've opened up a whole new can of worms. Now that teams know they face nothing more than a slap on the wrist, it will happen more and more. This is a dark day for spectators.


Todt: Not enough evidence to punish Ferrari.

So why do Ferrari still have to pay the $100,000 fine?



If you could please read this when you get the time. I have come up with an idea for re-writing the team orders regulation and, more importantly a way of measuring the 'cross over line' when they could become available to a team. I actually think it could work and I'd be very interested to see what you think of it or if it were worthy of passing on to a higher authority. The point made in (3.) and the example that follows it are most important.

I think if they would like to keep such blatant and unnecessary team orders banned, such as in Austria 2002 and at Hockenheim in 2010 then they need to consider the following:-

1. The differentiation between a team order deployed solely to swap two drivers who, if left to race, would most likely finish in the order that they currently are, and a team order deployed to make a strategy work (for example) and help out one drivers cause, while not harming the others.

By this I mean, if one driver is on a completely different tyre (or in the days of re-fueling, fuel) strategy and they need to let that driver through to make the strategy work, when he would eventually pass his team mate anyway, then I do not really see that as harmful team orders.

2. Once a driver is mathematically out of the championship then there is no harm in him being told to let his team mate through - infact, for most teams, you would expect that would have been agreed behind closed doors anyway.

3. Possibly some common sense could be used, such that if it can be shown that, while still mathematically possible for one driver to win, it is highly unlikely that they could and would require a quite unforeseeable set of outcomes, then it is understandable to favour one driver.

The difficulty with this is measuring when that cross over line occurs. I just thought, what could possibly be done is, by taking the best result of each of the two drivers at each race up to that point in the season and then averaging the points scored per race by the highest positioned driver in that team, they could then multiply that average figure with the number of remaining races and see if it is foreseeable that, that driver could still win. In that scenario, if Massa was say 100 points behind with 5 races to go then he could still mathmatically win if he won every race and all his other competitors scored next to no points, however, if Ferarri's average top score per race was say 15 points, then you'd do (15*5) and get 75, so he could be deemed to be unrealistically able to win. To make that ruling more realistic with massive changes in speed throughout the season based on development, you could possibly take an average of the previous 5 races to get the average points scored per race.

If you did this, or implemented a similar system then there would not be this awkward situation of drivers almost waiting to hear when they're going to have to move over for their team mate, because they would know when they were out of it based on this system that they could be told to. Also, it would be better than just saying, "once someone is mathematically out of it", because that still leaves the scenario where, while a driver is mathematically in it, it is almost impossible to do so. People may say, what about Kimi in 2007. Well, this ruling wouldn't have affected him because he was already the leading driver and therefore it only applies to the driver on lower points to his team mate.

If we take an example and look at how this system (point 3.) would have worked for the Hockenheim incident:-

Ferrari's 5 best previous finishes (i.e. highest finishing driver in the team) in the 5 races leading up to Hockenheim were:-

(out of points, 8th, 3rd, 7th, 4th) = (0+4+15+6+12)/5) = 7.5 average per race

However, if you tweaked the rule to say the last 5 points scoring finishes, you'd get:-

(8th, 3rd, 7th, 4th, 2nd) = (4+15+6+12+18)/5) = 11 average per race

Before the race at Hockenheim started, Massa was 78 points behind the championship leader, Lewis Hamilton. Therefore, with 9 races remaining, lets see if he was still in it under this ruling:-

9*7.5= 67.5 (so under last 5 explicit races, he would have been out of it and Ferrari's team orders would have been legitimate)

9*11= 99 (however under the last 5 points finishes, he would have been in it still and Ferrari would not be allowed to deploy a blatant swap)


To summarise, team orders need to be available at some point in the season and in certain circumstances, however, nobody wants to see a driver who deserves to win the race having to let his team mate through when he is still in with a feasible chance of winning the championship. Massa, still had a chance in my opinion and under that ruling (taking the last 5 highest points finishes from both drivers in the team) he still had a chance. What we don't want is a situation like in Austria 2002 when one driver starts helping another from early on in the season and I fear that unless we have some kind of ruling that actually defines this cross over line then it will start coming to that with some teams *cough* Ferrari Alonso.

The difficult part is writing the regulation to outline the cross over line and with my experience of computing and quite ironically, very closely linked to the MSc project I am currently undergoing where I am investigating the problems of specifying safety critical systems, natural language specification is very problematic and often includes ambiguity. Therefore, what they need are some kind of measurements as you cannot argue with maths!


The problem in the Ferrari case is that the team favours one driver over another - that offends fans of one driver when the presupposition is that they are equal.

Quick solution is that teams declare number 1 and number 2 driver before the opening round (or declare equal).

However my preference is for a more elegant solution.

The real issue here is that the Ferrari incident was not about team orders, it was about driver orders. Team orders can be defined as orders that benefit the team (ie in the constructors championship). Driver orders can be defined as orders that benefit a driver (ie in the drivers championship).

The Ferrari incident made no difference to the constructors championship, but it did favour Alonso in the drivers championship at Massa's expense.

So the solution is to ban driver orders, but to accept team orders. Team orders that disadvantage a driver should not be allowed.

Simples, really..


I like the concept here. I am not sure in practice if the differentiation would work but I think it is a good differentiation to maintain for further reference.

What seems to be forgotten, is that F1 started out as a drivers championship, NOT a team championship. If they can't treat the drivers championship with the respect it deserves then make them a one car team (mentioned above)

Also mentioned somewhere above, if you don't maintain some control over team orders, the WDC becomes shallow,hollow and pointless and may as well be dropped.

Whilst the teams probably might favour this (notorious control freaks) the fans and TV audience surely won't.

I am totally against team orders, but I can see how the team are required to push one driver over another at some point.

There are many proposed methods listed here but the majority are too complicated. I concede that the no driver orders UNTIL one or the other has no mathmatical chance is the best one.

This is absolutely black and white, no grey and could not be argued over.

We get good hard and fair racing until one team has to promote one driver. The other driver could hardly complain if he had all season and didn't get enough points....

Spectators can't really complain as we would know the rule ahead of time and I think everyone here understands the business and financial aspect of the teams using all resources to get a championship result.


I'm not exactly happy with the outcome of this, Ferrari were found guilty as the FIA upheld the stewards decision so there should have been a further fine, if only to make it penal in some way.

I agree with many that we do not want to see manipulated races but then they have been that for many years. These days many suggestions are put forward to increase the entertainment in F1, to increase overtaking etc - most of that is of the "let's have 2 tyre compounds, a go-faster button, etc" - they are all designed to affect the outcome of the event in some way.

I think the problem is that whenever we see a race in F1 there are different agendas on the go. Every driver is trying to win the Drivers championship, every team is trying to win the Manufacturers championship.

How can you expect to see a level playing field when there are differing priorities in existence.

It's been suggested do away with the drivers championship and just have the team/manufacturers championship. That at least would mean everyone would know that team orders were in play and would have to accept it.

For the individual drivers, if the sport wants it, then push for some sort of 2 race system - one race for them where they race in perhaps a short fast 25 laps race to get points as an individual, no team points, maybe extra points for pole and fastest lap.

Then another similar race for the team, no individual points only for the team.

We the fans get more action, know exactly what we would be watching.

Why waste 2 hrs for these manipulated races

when we could have 2 one hour races to settle both championships.

There is so much that could be done to get F1 back in good order, but you need people to put it there and the money makers to see sense - not much chance of that.

I have watched F1 for many years and like it on so many levels, the teams, the cars, the drivers, the technology - but I can't honestly consider it the pinnacle of motorsport as such these days. Such a pity.


I tihnk it was correct not to add further punishment to Ferrari's fine. I am not a particular fan of Ferrari but it would have been hypocritical to add further punishment as surely all the team know they use 'team orders' when necessary - why have 'teams' as entrants into F1 otherwise? If each entrant was allowed only one driver then that would seem to be what some fans of F1 want. Don't support F1 if it is not the way you want it. Despite the moans I don't think F1 is short of support or lucrative TV contracts! The real nonsense was the introduction of the team order rule in the first place, and the sooner it is scrapped the better. If a team repeatedly uses team orders in a way that upsets and alienates the fans then that team will become very unpopular and presumably have difficulty in attracting sponsors and so will suffer in that way.

I like Rob Smedley from what we've seen and heard of him but I would think he got a good b*ll*cking from his bosses at the way he spoke to Massa, making it seem like he didn't really want to carry out his teams instructions and wanted to make sure the team got into trouble with the FIA and stewards. In any walk of life if you don't like the the way your employer carries out his business then up sticks and go somewhere else! Behaving the way Smedley did will usually save you the bother of having to resign.


Surely the only people that can police this is the driver themselves.

I understand it wont bode them well within the team, but they should be offered some form of protection from the FIA with this.

If a driver is asked to move over, or play any part in race fixing, then they should be able to inform the FIA of this and have protection.

The last 3 race of the season then fair enough team order should be granted but up to then it should be racing.

Maybe someone else can think up incentives for teams not to abuse there driver if they do have to 'police' the situation


allow them but conditionally... the 75% and 60% rules seem fair.

i think even for the sake of transparency... perhaps some kind of inform-race-steward system should be applied...

if a team wants to apply a "team order", it should inform race stewards... race stewards have it displayed on tv... "team x applied for team order, race stewards concurred"

so there will be zero afterwards discussions... lying etc.. team orders will be openly and transparently part of the game


or even like in tennis... a player can ask for 3 challenges...

same in F1... a team over a season can apply 3 times max. team orders... let them apply it at their own will... 1st race... 7th race etc...

but have a system in place that gives an overview of the "team order status per team"...

and if FIA smell that a team broke the rules... and gave team orders beyond its credit, the punishment will be deduction of 30 constructor points + 15 driver points.

in other words: lets make team orders part of the game... same as tire allocations per driver


Team order are disrespectful to the drivers, and this ruling proves that there is absolutely no point in continuing the ruse that is the World Drivers Championship. There is no reason to have the World Drivers Championship to the drivers are not actually allowed to compete amongst their teammates.

If the teams are going to continue this wretched pattern of disrespect to their drivers, why not eliminate the World Drivers Championship entirely and just have the World Constructors Championship? At least that way the manipulated results won't matter whatsoever...


Remove the current rule and leave it to the Team and its two drivers to work out. As long as the team is open and honest about any decisions I have no argument with it.


If they allow unconditional team orders then I believe every team will feel the need to run one driver as their No.1 and another as a 'blocker'. The No 2 driver's role -- written into his contract -- will be as 'wing man', with the aim of assisting the No.1 driver by any means at his disposal to build up as big a lead as possible. No other configuration of drivers will make any business sense for a team.

I believe such a change will severely reduce the opportunity for good racing, and damage the enjoyment for spectators. As a consequence, in the long run it will also damage the sport for the teams.



Here are my thoughts on a revised team orders rule.

Require all teams to declare their intended finishing order the ahead of qualifying. The three options would be, ‘Car A’, ‘Car B’ or ‘No Team Orders’. For the teams it allows them to tactically prepare knowing other teams’ team order strategy. For the audience it will result in anticipation of “When will it happen?” rather than the disappointment of, “I can’t believe what just happened.” This rule should also produce plenty of intriguing talking points both during and after the race for the media.

There would be no penalty for not implementing the declared team orders, however if team orders are clearly implemented contrary to the declared order, both drivers on the team and the team themselves would automatically lose their points for the race.

I believe this approach addresses the majority of the concerns for the involved parties.


my problem was never team order let be honest its practical to have it so teams dont loose out big money,but its the way it was done by ferrari that i find insulting and franckly if the teams can not make it as profetional and realistic as possible so the fans and childrens dont feel that its a fix, then the credibility issues will remaing for a very long times,that will be very damaging for f1


This matter entails a clash of interests from almost all points of view of Formula One. Cash (and not sport) then becomes the overriding point of focus. Investment versus profit.


James, do you now think in light of what the FIA has done, the race Stewards at the German Grand Prix should now appologise to Ferrari and pay them Damages?


In 2007 the FIA put an inspector in the McLaren garage to ensure that Alonso received equal treatment from the team and McLaren wouldn't favour Hamilton.

To avoid looking like a hypocritical bunch of Ferrari/Alonso supporters, maybe the FIA could extend this scheme and have FIA inspectors in each team's garage to try and make an "unworkable" regulation workable. Potentially this could have been funded by the more punitive fine that should have been given to Ferrari.

I'm sure the likes of Massa, Webber, and pretty much every former team-mate of Alonso or Schumacher would like someone fighting their corner.


I agree with the FIA that there is not enough evidence, so will FIA reimburse Ferrari the fine that was charged?

I mean either it was a crime which means fine and punishment or it wasnt a crime no fine and no punishment. I dont understand this middle path!!


After this decision it is obvious that F1 wants team orders. It ia now also obvious that it should set out clearly by the sport that they are allowed, Qualifying the rule by point percentages or the what stage of the season it is will be ignored by the teams whenever it suites their needs.

If everything is clear for fans they can take what they want from f1.

For me the drivers championship is lessened but at least with clarity then in the future when this happens again it can taken in context.

If as you have said a great part of f1( for the teams ) is Brand recognition. Then Ferrari havent shown themselves in a great light. It speaks more of arogance and ineptitude rather than quality and performance.


Intentional position changes within team during a race allowed only by pitting the leading car.

If done any other way, forfeit car owner points for both cars.

Team orders are usually concocted by the team on the pit wall. Penalise them, not their driver employees.

Most TV viewers know little about the Constructors Championship and it's financial rewards to the team.

Using this season's Ferrari example; they would have to think long and hard at what moving Alonso ahead would do to their Constructors Championship standing. By enforcing the team orders by the "pitting Massa

method" mentioned above, they would risk him losing second place points.

Makes it a little bit harder decision, doesn't it?


So wait........

There is enough evidence to fine them $100,000, but not to take further action?

How does that work? Surely if you can fine them, you can ban them, legally speaking.


I think that they should just let the team declare team orders when they feel it is the time to do so. The team would have to declare their number 1 driver when they want to. As long as both drivers agree that regardless of the position, if they are running one behind the other and as long as they have let the oublic know prior then that would mean the fans would expect it.

The teams would always be aware not to put their eggs into one basket at the start of the season as an incident like Schumacher breaking his leg in 1999 could damage their chances. But it would be upto the team to decide, just as long as they made it public. Up until they do that then the drivers can race at will. Not all teams will want to do that, but they probably would have to when the mathematical chances come into play. Some might look at realistic chances and operate that way instead.


Not enough evidence?

Let me see:

- radio communications such as: "Fernando is faster than you . . . do you understand?" and "Sorry mate"

- car telemetry: no missed shift, no wheel spin, no off track excursion just reduced accelerator depression.

- Massa's disposition on the podium and his shirking of the shoulder embrace of Domenicali

- Massa's response in the post race interview.

- track stewards finding Ferrari breached the rules and imposed fines.

- and over 100 million TV viewers who all saw the same thing.

Yet again the Ferrari International Assistance(FIA) model has kicked in, some things never change.

Personally, I think the team order restriction should be abolished. Since as we all saw in Germany, when a team breaks the rules the FIA doesn't impose a penalty since they too feel team orders should be allowed.

The fans who expect fair play in sport and the standard to which everyone is held, are the ones who feel betrayed. It really doesn't matter how a rule is written, we just expect everyone play by them.


The ban on team orders has been argued to be un-enforceable because it runs contrary to the interests of the teams, and their sponsors, and so will always be contravened covertly, or indeed overtly as in the recent case.

The fans resent the manipulation of results and now these assertions have increased their distrust to the point that no result is immune from suspicion.

Any rule on team orders must therefore seek to achieve a compromise between team interests and a level of fair competition that can be understood and accepted by the fans. The suggested format below attempts to set out a basic frame-work to achieve this.

1. Drivers shall start each season on equal footing and no driver shall be contractual obliged to accede to team orders that would negatively affect his chance of success in pursuit of the WDC.

2. A driver may not , by his own volition or in response to a team request, cede a place to his team-mate unless:

a. It becomes mathematically impossible for a him to win the WDC

b. His overall pace proves to be slower than that of a team-mate such that he is hindering the team-mate’s chances of competing for a higher position in that race. This not to apply where the driver is the race leader unless condition 2a also applies.

3. A driver, whether by his own volition, team request or team instruction, shall not deliberately reduce his race pace such as to obstruct the following field thereby allowing his team-mate to benefit from an increased lead.

Such ‘reduction’ shall be determined by the delta between his ‘reduced’ speed and his average speed over n laps immediately prior to the adoption of the ‘reduced’ speed and/or his average speed following a successful pass by a competitor.

The reduction shall be judged ‘deliberate’ if no contributing factors can be shown by examination of telemetry data and/or tyre degradation.

The penalty for a breach of these rules, whether by the driver’s own volition, team request or team instruction, shall be loss by the team of all Constructors and Drivers Championship points gained in that race.

(I have suggested methods for defining terms in 3 above only to deflect summary dismissal of the idea as impossible.)


"Indeed, a few laps prior to the contentious overtaking, Ferrari drivers reduced their engine speed at the request of their respective engineers. Then Mr. Fernando Alonso increased his engine speed without Mr. Felipe Massa being informed. Mr Fernando Alonso was therefore benefiting from a definite performance advantage over Mr. Felipe Massa in the moments preceding the contentious overtaking".

How can anyone defend Ferrari for this?

Regardless of what we think of team orders (they should be allowed).


Ban team to car radio - pit boards only, lets get back to some proper racing!


I've not read all the comments but it seems like the ban on team orders are unenforceable and they'll be having them back.

So how about this?

A request to swap team cars must be made to race control who will announce it (like when cars are under investigation) before the end of the following lap. The swap cannot take place before then.

Requests will be denied within 5 laps of the end of the race or where there is more than 20 seconds between cars whilst both cars can mathematically win the championship.

Least we'd all know what was about to happen before it did then


Stuey - sounds like an excellent idea, at least it would allow for some transparency which there isn't right now.

For me there are 4 key points:

1. The other teams seem to be keeping their heads down on this issue, so I assume by their silence that none of the teams are feeling they can claim to be whiter than white on the team order debate, suggesting a definite need to redefine that rule

2. Most of us are upset with Ferrari's blatant 'we didn't do it approach' - when to the entire world it was very obvious what was going on. They must think we are all either stupid (or muppets to quote Eddie Jordan) or just don't care too much about how fans view them & their behaviour. If they wanted to do the switch there could have been a lot more subtle ways of doing it! I think they should have put their hands up to it straight away after the race and been honest

3. Fernando Alonso: James you know all the drivers pretty well and they are no doubt a ruthless bunch but I am struggling to understand how you can take much pride from what was clearly a 'thrown' victory - if he were to win the championship by that margin of points surely in his mind he would know he only won it because Felipe was told to (don't get me wrong I still believe Fernando is a tremendous & well deserved double champion). When his grand kids say 'tell us about that time you won in Germany' me thinks Fernando would be saying wouldn't you rather hear about that time I took Schuey on the outside of 30R!

4. Felipe - the bit that I really find hard - he nearly got killed in Hungary last year and yet what loyalty did he get back from his team when a victory he deserved was taken away? Just look at the footage of him on the podium after Germany & remember Hungary last year.

I agree that the rule should be changed & morally I think Ferrari have shown their true colours or perhaps it just shows what a clinical ruthless place F1 is with no room for human emotion? Perhaps all teams would have done the same although maybe in a less obvious way?


1) I think all the teams would probably like this rule to go. Williams and Sauber gave Ferrari letters of support. If the rule is abolished it's not like every race someone is going to have to move out of the way. We only really see it a couple of times a season.

2) Though to be fair to Ferrari - they had to say that, if they admitted breaking the rule up front the punishment may have been harsher.I'm not a Ferrari supporter, but I do believe that any team would go for the deny and damage limitation in the first instance, then get your story straight and defend it later. Thats why I'd like the transparency - admit you want to swap places and the fans know what is happening. At least then we're not being insulted.

3) The Constructers pays the cash, but we the fans are interested in the drivers. And the teams understand that too - and having the world champion from your team probably rakes in the sponsorship! But I agree with your sentiment. If he wins the championship by a smaller margin than the points he gained from the swap, he can justify it by knowing he had a car that was capable of being in that position on merit.

4) It would have been a feelgood story for F1, but we all know this sport is not sentimental when it comes to results!

Other teams would have done it and the FIA acknowledge its being happening in their statement.

I think we need to look at team orders in the same context as a substitution - it's about the team getting the result over the individual. Don't get me wrong - I would love to see them battle it out to the end and have no one give anything away, but Team Orders, strategy and preferential treatment have been around since the sport started and the teams will find a way to implement it where need be. So say to them - it's ok but you have to be open about it beforehand. That way we're not being treated like muppets!


I don't think there should be team orders at all. We currently have 24 cars on the grid and each one of them should do everyting they can (within the rules) to finish the race as highly place as possible. Whilst it is impossible to legislate against general team policy it should he possible to have a rule where the team cannot give an instruction to one of their drivers to let the other past. THat doesn't just mean messages during the race but include pre-race briefings such "if you find yourself ahead of driver X towards the end of the race, let him through". I consider it acceptable to have team orders on the lines of "you're free to race each other but don't take each other out". We want racing and not a team orchestrated procession. If teams cannot be trusted not to issue "Team orders" during a race, the radios should be taken away.


In my opinion we don't need any team orders rule. I like Massa, but I don't think he has a chance of winning the title this year, and Ferrari have a right to make the decision. I think the establishment of the team orders rule was an overreaction to the Austria 2002 incident. Everyone was sick of Schumacher winning everything, and because of their dominance the call for Rubens to move over seemed exceedingly crass. Obviously it was exceedingly crass and unneccessary because Schumacher won the title by July that year... but you can't just wipe out the history of the sport because of one outcry. Or decide the future of it.

This is different. Alonso is an outsider to win the title even with these extra points... and Massa even more an outsider, I would say there's more chance of Tiger Woods being bisexual than Massa winning the title at this point.

I don't agree with an earlier comment that said this rule makes F1 a "laughing stock". There are plenty of people who believe in this sort of "fairness" and rules that try to enforce it. That's how it got established in the first place... but nothing can be ever be fully fair and I think this rule goes too far.

But boss, I seem to recall you mentioned something briefly earlier this year or towards the end of last year in one of your posts, you said you've spoken to other members of the press in the UK and they regard F1 as something of a circus - that thought has flitted through my mind whenever F1 is seen on TV at one of its many court dates... I do hope the rule is abolished just for that reason.

And these suggestions for more subtle or nuanced team orders rule are just making my head spin. I think that's the last thing F1 needs - another rule that takes 10 minutes to explain.


I think team orders should be allowed only when one of the drivers is mathematically out of the championship race. That will naturally push these decisions to the very end of the season, and it's a simply described rule that I think would coincide with a lot of people's gut reaction when this comes up in a race.


Well you know, I know, stewards know, everybody knows about team orders and I think, that is no point for hiding this kind of things. It is a question of how we can find out who use Team Orders ? I can compare this situation to piracy in www. Almost everybody download something from the internet, what is not always legal, everybody knows that, but if you get cought, than you have real trouble.

So, is it possible to stop Team Orders ? Never. Because if you try it, you`ll have comedy like in Hockenheim.

So maybe they should earn for better treatment in race weekend. How ? Maybe given by the best overall performance in trainings and qualifications time. If so, trainings and qualifications will be more important for the drivers than they are now and for each race (not season) we can have first or second driver.

Maybe this is good solution ?

P.S. - Question

How they choose to listen the team radio ? Is it random ?


Outside The Box

Ok, here is a radical notion to chew on. Why should teams be competing with themselves?

Instead of individual points between drivers in the same team, the points earned by both

drivers in each race could be added together. The focus (by teams and media) would then be more on the direct competition between teams, rather than driver drama inside the teams. The incentive for team orders might then be eliminated because it wouldn't matter which driver finished ahead of the other.

At the end of the year there would be a team champion that includes EVERYBODY in that team. The separate constructors championship would be redundant.

Of course the sport is driver-centric which means there would be a natural resistance to this notion. But if the primary focus is changed to the teams, that would seem to be a

plus - for the team: more publicity, less friction, and probably lower driver salaries. It seems like something they might favor.

There are surely countless obstacles to such a radical change. This is just an outside-the-box idea to explore what those obstacles and advantages might be. So what are they?


Because what we all want is a driver who is world champion. THe team thing is secondary


Problem 1: The team of the race winning driver would not necessarily get the most points and therefore that team would not win the race. That's a big problem.


Can't help but think if it were Button told to move over for Lewis, the FIA's decision would have been far different. (and no, I'm not a diehard McLaren fan).


We seem to have 2 questions here ...

1. Should team orders be allowed?

2. Did Ferrari break one of the FIA governing rules in force, namely that of forbidding team orders?

Yes, they broke the FIA rule which forbids team orders. and they should be punished in the same way as if they ran an 'illegal' car

The question of "Should Team Orders be allowed?" that debate will rage on for a long time


I feel thoroughly disgusted at the usual incompetence of the FIA... There simply cannot be a worse sports regulatry body in the world.

The FIA are a bunch of goones.

I'm beginning to hate f1.


Why? Because the FIA didn't pander to the Alonso/Ferrari haters?


what an absolute FARCE! what a FIX! this proves ferrari international assisstance still xsist! i cant understand how people claim alonso is so good if he needed massa to move over dso EARLY!! what a CHEAT!!! they sould have been banned! i wont be watching f1 anymoe if he wins the title by 7 points!


I don't believe anyone is truly convinced that the FIA can police team orders. Many argue that team orders are a product of what's best for the organization, and that the drivers are working for the team. The obvious counter argument is that Formula 1 is not for the suits, but foremost a spectacle to be enjoyed by the fans. I must be honest, I like so many F1 nuts sit on the fence with this one. But it's more or less a matter of opinion as to when a team should get on-board with one driver...or when to let your drivers race.

I believe that a sound solution is that after each race, teams should be required to produce vehicle data. This would further provide fans with the opportunity for to become truly engaged with the sport. It would spur on discussions about strategy, driver ability, team strategy... and of course, our beloved topic of the day, TEAM ORDERS!

Drivers would also benefit because they would get fair representation, because data doesn't lie. As much as I love this sport, it fails to deliver on so many levels when it comes to revealing the truth about how Formula 1 teams are operated, especially on game day.

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