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Courageous FIA does the right thing on team orders

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Andrew Benson | 20:52 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, will undoubtedly be criticised for its decision not to punish Ferrari further for apparently breaking the rule banning team orders during July's German Grand Prix.

And its announcement that it will review the rule itself - which basically means it is almost certain to be removed from the statute book before next season - will also come under fire.

Ferrari, some will say, have got away with manipulating the world championship - giving Fernando Alonso seven points more than he deserves by allowing him to win a race that his team-mate Felipe Massa was leading.

Some will argue Ferrari have cheated the sport's fans by denying them the chance to watch a race to the flag in Hockenheim.

And, it will probably be claimed, the FIA is betraying the sport it is charged with protecting by removing a rule that is intended to stop teams doing what some have described as 'fixing' races.

The FIA will release the full reasons behind its decision on Thursday, at which point it may also become a little clearer why Ferrari handled the situation in Germany so clumsily.

But already, on Twitter and other social network sites, these criticisms - and others - have been widely disseminated. And they will doubtless get a further airing in other forms of media over the next few days.

They are all valid points of view. The problem is, they don't stand up to the reality of F1.

In an ideal world, of course team orders would be outlawed. All sports fans want to watch a grand prix in which the drivers are all competing equally for victory.

But, realistically, they are an inherent and intrinsic part of F1. Team orders are an inevitable, unavoidable and unpreventable result of the fact that only one man can win the world championship, and there are two drivers in each team.

Sooner or later, when drivers from more than one team are disputing the title, those teams have to make a call to ask their other driver to do what he can to help the man better placed in the championship to prevail over his rival from another team.

That was the position Ferrari, who had not won since the first race of the season in Bahrain, found themselves in at Hockenheim.

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Alonso passes Massa for German GP lead (UK users only)


Mathematically, Massa still had a chance of the championship - it was, after all, only the 11th of 19 races this season. Realistically, though, even by then Alonso was Ferrari's only title contender.

Ferrari had not won since the first race of the season in Bahrain and here they were looking at a one-two at a time when Alonso, after some appalling luck in the previous two races, needed a leg up to revive his title challenge.

As such, the German Grand Prix was the point of this season at which Ferrari had to make the call to back one driver over the other and ask Massa to support Alonso's campaign - hence making it clear to Massa, who had taken the lead at the start as Alonso fought to pass the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, that he should let his faster team-mate by.

Red Bull and McLaren - whose drivers have been more evenly matched and are both in the title race - haven't got to that place yet. But they probably will soon.

Will it be more acceptable for coming later in the season? Some will say so. There is, though, no logic in that argument - you get the same 25 points for winning the first race as you do the last.

Some teams have been arguing in recent weeks to keep the team orders rule, but not because they don't think they will be imposing team orders themselves in the future.

No one in F1 believes team orders can be eradicated. After all, if a team want to order their drivers to finish in a particular order, there are plenty of ways of doing so without it ever becoming public.

But some do believe that if teams are to employ them, they should do so in a way that is more subtle than Ferrari managed at Hockenheim - so they do not upset those parts of the audience who do not understand a) that team orders have been part of grand prix racing since it started more than 100 years ago; and b) that a rule banning them is unenforcable.

There is, though, an important philosophical question here for F1 - one that goes to the root of how it will conduct itself in the future, on all issues, not just this one.

Does it want to be a sport that deceives its public, or one that is open with it? Because for as long as it has a rule banning team orders, it will always be the first.

As far as the watching public is concerned, which is worse? To know that a driver has let his team-mate past to win in the interests of his title chances? Or to believe you have watched a race when in fact you have not?

Arguing to keep the rule but letting teams go on covertly breaking it is effectively saying you don't mind being lied to as long as you don't know about it. And that doesn't alter the fact that, even if teams do it covertly, they have still broken the rules.

And don't be under the misconception that only Ferrari are guilty of employing team orders.

As David Coulthard said after the German race: "Every team in this pit lane gives team orders and anyone who says they don't is lying."

The rule that has caused so much controversy was introduced during the reign of the previous FIA president, Max Mosley, following the uproar after the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, when then Ferrari team principal Jean Todt ordered Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Michael Schumacher.

In that case, the criticisms were understandable, for several reasons: it was only the sixth race of a season that Ferrari were already dominating and would clearly go on doing; Schumacher already had a substantial championship lead and didn't need the extra points; it was one of the rare occasions when Barrichello was faster than Schumacher all weekend.

Todt is now the FIA president and - aware of the possible conflict of interest, and of the fact that some would say he was favouring Ferrari - he did not take part in Wednesday's hearing, handing the reins to his deputy, Graham Stoker.

The decision was - as with other matters in this controversy - more to do with perception than reality.

It looked good, but it was unnecessary. Firstly, because Todt and Ferrari did not part on good terms, so he had no reason to want to help them out. But also because, as one of the more astute political operators in F1, it is hardly beyond Todt's wit to tell Stoker what he wanted to happen, should that have been his desire.

As it turned out, clearly Todt and the FIA were able to look at this important decision with the dispassionate approach it required.

So far, Todt has been a very different FIA president from Mosley, whose 18 years at the top of motorsport ended last year when he was effectively forced out by the F1 teams, who had grown tired of what they had come to see as his autocratic and arbitrary governance.

Todt, by contrast, has taken a low-key, conciliatory, inclusive approach. As the first major F1 disciplinary hearing of his tenure, Wednesday's events were being watched with interest to see whether that continued. Now, it seems clear that will be the hallmark of the Todt presidency.

Mosley, incidentally, made his position in this matter clear a couple of weeks ago, when he told the German newspaper Die Welt that he thought the Ferrari drivers should be docked their points.

If Todt had wanted to send a message that his is a new, independent regime, he could not have made it clearer.

He - and the FIA - should be applauded for recognising the rule banning team orders was not only unenforceable, but also a betrayal of the history of the sport. And for having the courage to do the right thing.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I read somewhere that someone (can't remember who) suggested that they lift the team orders ban, but protect the drivers if they refuse to carry out the order. Personally I think this would be a better rule, as it means a team can support a driver, but at the same time it can rule out unnecessary team orders, such as the case in Austria 2002.

  • Comment number 2.

    Todt will take great pleasure in getting rid of the rule as it was his call that led to rule being enforced in the first place.

  • Comment number 3.

    Fair point Andrew, but I think you missed the point - the rule does exist as it stands, so regardless of whether it does go on, when it is detected, it should be dealt with.

    Ferrari, by accepting the stewards decision in Germany, admitted their guilt. If they were innocent, they should have appealed. The stewards referred it, as they considered a greater punishment than they could give was required. By today's action, the WMSC has in effect, let down its stewards.

    Other people have, in different places, mentioned other instances, but none were as blatant, or so obviously a breach of the rule. The FIA have, in effect, allowed Ferrari to stick two fingers up at the rule and pay a paltry sum to fix a race.

    A rule is a rule - if the teams didn't like it, then lobby for it to be removed, but don't breach it and then whinge.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is a sad fact of F1 life that team orders are unavoidable and at least with the ban lifted the fans should know when team orders are being used, and they can judge each decision on its merits and sporting fairness.

    I'd like to think that, in a world where team orders were allowed, both drivers would start the season on an equal footing. If all teams resort to a clear No. 1 and No. 2 driver right from the outset, so only half the field have any chance of winning the title, then something would have to be done.

  • Comment number 5.

    There is one easy way to stop this whole issue, just have one car per team! This will have several benefits:

    1. the cost of running a team will be halved
    2. the number of cars per race will be halved opening up spaces for more new teams
    3. the best drivers, and mechanics etc, will be spread out over all the teams, meaning a more competitive competition
    4. proper racing with no team orders.

    Sounds simple to me or am I missing something?

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the rule should be removed, but I'm inclined to agree with Ian P's post above (#3). Very well summarised and exactly to the point.

    Whether the rule gets removed or not, it was in place at Hockenheim and was quite blatantly disregarded. There can't be anyone on this planet that believes Massa wasn't being ordered out of the way.

    To let it go unpunished ($100,000 is peanuts in this sport and is a really pointless punishment) makes a mockery of the rule book and the stewards that have been upholding it.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ferrari International Assistance.

    That is all.

  • Comment number 9.

    This was always a silly rule but it pandered to the public opinion that the Drivers Championship was more important. F1 and the FIA will need to do a good Public Relations job to help the public understand that it is the Constructors who matter most. The teams want to get the most out of any given season whether they focus on one or both of the championships. There are many very heavy investors in F1, team orders are not cheating, it is a team sport.

    If the public cannot get their heads around this concept it should be 1 car per team.

  • Comment number 10.

    please .please , did enybody but me think there would be any other outcome to this ..... ferrari will always fall in the s... and come out smelling like rose·s .

  • Comment number 11.

    In all honest opinion all the points the Team scored should've been deducted, but the drivers should've kept their points, reason being that at the time of the German grand Prix, no driver (no argument) was in contention for a world championship position at the time seeing how rapidly the standings are changing with every race. It was unnecessary for a relatively small number of points in the grand scheme of things and they treated the audience, spectators, critics like idiots frankly and thought there would be no consequence to this, and they've managed to get away with it

  • Comment number 12.

    Which other 'rules' don't really apply?

  • Comment number 13.

    The answer, then, is to find a solution to the '2 drivers in 1 team' problem. A team should not be allowed to interfere with the race otherwise you'd potentially have each team favouring one driver, so there'd be an "A" driver and a "B" driver in one team. What effect is that going to have on drivers and the amount of politics/bickering in F1?

    When Alonso spent his one and only year at McLaren, the team lost out the driver championship to Ferrari by just one point. Yet the end of that season was incredible - it would have been much less fun if Ron Dennis had put Alonso/Hamilton ahead of each other yet it would have benefitted McLaren. That tells me that McLaren truly don't have team orders - if all the teams agreed not to use them (as is proposed if the rule is abolished... why don't they just agree this now?) there would be no issue and it would add another dimension to the racing - team orders in 2007 would have resulted in an obvious championship win for McLaren and there wouldn't have been the suspense at the final race that there was.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    You are probably right that it's impossible to enforce a rule against team orders, and I would add to that that having a rule that gets enforced only when someone is stupid enough to be too obvious about violating it is unfair: if two teams do essentially the same thing, and one is punished and the other isn't, that violates a principle of justice going back at least to Aristotle.

    But there's a difference between the practical facts that teams can't effectively be prevented from giving team orders and the following paragraph from the article:

    "Sooner or later, when drivers from more than one team are disputing the title, those teams *have to* make a call to ask their other driver to do what he can to help the man better placed in the championship to prevail over his rival from another team."

    No one "has to" make that call. It is a choice. It's a choice that many—maybe all—will make, but that's a function of their self-interest, ethical scruples, financial pressures, force of the various personalities on the team (particularly the two drivers), and so on. No one holds a gun to anyone's head and forces him to give team orders.

    So if we have to accept that team orders will be given because there's no real way to stop them (short of having only one driver per team or eliminating the Drivers' Championship), perhaps we must yield to reality. But that's no reason to abstain from making ethical judgments about people's voluntary conduct. And for those of us who are generally sports fans but not especially passionate about F1, it's no reason not to change the channel.

  • Comment number 16.

    The simple fact is like Coulthard says this happens all the time, if the FIA bugged every garrage, every team meeting every team would be punished every week.

    Ferrari got caught, got punished by the stewards, the stewards thought there was a case for a tougher punishment, the FIA realised that Ferrari could very easily open a massive can of worms if they came down harder on them so backed the stewards on the day decision but said that should be the end of it. The fact that the teams have been quite (relativly) before the hearing, much more than say the spying saga, shows that they weren't really interested in a detailed investigation either.

  • Comment number 17.

    Team orders are inevitable, what constitutes a team order? Should Red Bull have been penalised for swapping Webber's front wing earlier in the season? They may have advantaged one driver over the other in that situation. Yes it happened in the pits rather than the race but does that make a difference it may have influenced the result.

    What about when the team mates are not racing one another. This surely bores viewers and cheats them out of a race aswell. Surely that's a team order, obviously it's in the team's best interest to come up one two rather than the embarassing situation Red Bull found themselves in earlier this year. We seem to live with these situations quite well!

    Also I fail to understand why Ferrari get so much stick for team orders. I seem to remember one of my first F1 races where a certain David Coulthard gave a race victory to Hakkinen in Australia (1998?), the first round of the championship? (stictly this wasn't team orders as Coulthard had made a gentleman's agreement off the track but as a child I thought this was cowardly). I fail to see how this is even remotely justifiable (also what was Coulthard thinking!) at least Schumacher was in the lead of the championship when he did it.

    On a side note. Todt shouldn't have distanced himself from this decision, he cannot possibly say he is biased everytime Ferrari is involved. Will he equally take himself out of any issues regarding Schumacher, Barrichello, Brawn or his previous Mclaren rivals as he could possibly be biased in these situations aswell?

  • Comment number 18.

    what a load of rubbish. Todt, Mosely and FIA have always been Ferrari men/supporters/on the payrole and Bernie as well so this result was always on the cards. lets face it if Ferrari are in trouble the FIA are not going to do a thing. Hey so nothing has changed, which is good, as they have a shopping chart for a car this season and the crash kid dose not get a leg up the table.
    Halfback9

  • Comment number 19.

    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.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ideal or not breaking the rules is breaking the rules if we like them or not i just think other times might as well blatantly break the rules to why not just make an underweight car or a over power engine it's the same principles they are the rules it cost £100,000 to ignore the rules go for it lads

  • Comment number 21.

    they made the right decision, Mclaren and red bull are going to employ team orders over the next few races for sure and if ferrari got serverlly punished today it would of had to follow suit for the remaining races of the season. now if at the last race the mclarens where 1-2 but the wroung way round in terms of the drivers championship i would have no problem with them swapping them around on track to beat proberly be one of the red bull drivers in the standings (proberly webber). now at least we all no where we stand. common sense has proveled

  • Comment number 22.

    They broke a rule and manipulated the race and been given a fine equivalent to what Fernando Alonso earns in a day.

    Towards the end of the season it could be understood and accepted by the fans but it was too much, too early and handled very badly. Given their experience of GP's 800+ they did a poor job.

    It seems that their plan has failed as they are going to come third in the manufacturers and not win the WDC and that is good.

    So that is now two wins that should be chalked from Alonso's total.

    Bad day for F1 - I would have expected at least the constructors points to be docked.

    Ginger.

  • Comment number 23.

    F1 was brought into disrepute by the individual - at FOM - who decided to broadcast the message to Massa to let Alonso through.

    Unless viewers/listeners are to be given access to ALL radio traffic - and how turgid would that be! - then we should get NONE.


    Spanish bank Santander is paying Ferrari oodles of euros, so no surprise that preference is shown to a Spanish driver.....

  • Comment number 24.

    Ferrari International Assistance lives on. Then there's also Teflon Fernando.

  • Comment number 25.

    #5 I think you are missing something!

    1) The cost of a team will most certainly not be halved! Perhaps it will be reduced by 25%. Drivers would command higher wages, teams would spend more (per driver) and cutting a driver would only halve the cost of certain things.
    2) There are no new teams! The FIA today announced that none of the potential teams met the required criteria. I don't think 9 to 11 new teams is feasible anytime soon.
    3) I suppose your 3rd and 4th points are valid. It would technically create many new jobs on the engineering side of things if there were many more new teams. And it would reduce team orders. I say reduce and not eliminate because what would happen if the Toro Rosso was leading the race with the Red Bull driver coming up behind him?

    I think the right outcome was reached. Personally, I am not a fan of Ferrari but I see know way of controlling team orders. They should be dealt with discreetly by the teams. Ultimately the teams pay to enter F1 and they are entitled to do what they can to be successful. If it means pushing one driver forward to improve his position in the Drivers' standings then so be it. I know it's unfair on many levels, especially to fans, but a lot of things in sport are and to be honest the controversy is part of sport. Perhaps it happens a bit frequently in Formula 1 but it gets fans debating! I am a huge football fan but would despise the introduction of technology in the game: fans may not realise it (especially when decisions go against them) but without the occasional controversial decision the sport can become repetitive. But that's another debate...

  • Comment number 26.

    Team strategy can be interesting, some teams take different approaches, McLaren prefer competition between drivers, Ferrari prefer having a clear 1 and 2. What's the problem? It makes the racing more interesting having the diversity but don't falsely try and stop team orders. TEAM SPORT = TEAM ORDERS = CASE CLOSED

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    If you add the points in question to Massa and deduct from Alonso there's not so much in it now, what would have amounted to about 6 points under last years system. Is that sufficient with 6 races left to rule out one of the drivers? It's quite possible that Ferrari made a bad error of judgement, I'm still not convinced that there's that much difference between Alonso and Massa but what I do know now is that they kicked the stuffing out of Massa and put him well and truly in his place. He knows now that his goose is cooked. What incentive is left for Massa.

  • Comment number 29.

    It would have been suprising and interesting had Ferrari received some kind of further punishment and Ian P has summed it up nicely - it doesn't matter if as a result of this incident they believe the rule needs changing, it does matter that it is a rule and it was broken.

    I was bothered by it because I like Massa and thought he deserved better and because I felt for any gamblers who bet on Massa, I wonder if they could get their money back from the bookies like they do in horse-racing where the race is found to be fixed in some way?

    Moving on I am curious to know what would happen where team orders go beyond a simple place swap to the point of instructing the rear guard car to breach the rules to assist the lead car? For instance if that incident with Vettel and the safety car was engineered instead of accidental, yes he got punished for the accidental rule breach but would the punishment be the same for a deliberate breach?

    It will be interesting to see what worms crawl out of this can now...

    Still enjoying this season very much so all in all FIA and F1 are definitely getting something right :-)

  • Comment number 30.

    Well nothing new here - Ferrari once again get treated lightly and as if they 'own' F1.
    Rules are rules, albeit one that needs sorting out once and for all.
    Their actions have put a shadow on what is otherwise an exciting and improved season of racing.

  • Comment number 31.

    To be honest, I thought the WMSC was going to be talking about the breaking of the rule of "Bringing the Sport into Disrepute" evidently that has been neatly swept under the carpet. I do wonder though, would that have been different if Ferrari had not accepted to pay the fine and not challenge?

  • Comment number 32.

    Of course they "got away with it", it's Ferrari! Now, if it was Lewis Hamilton and McClaren it would be a different story!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Who refunds my wager on Massa to win

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    I didn't win my money on the no ball either

  • Comment number 36.

    Sadly the only conclusion to reach is to cancel the drivers' championship...constructors only.

  • Comment number 37.

    Alonso has received a victory when his team boss ordered the other driver to crash and another victory when the team boss ordered the other driver to allow him to pass. Will the record be adjusted to reflect he didn't fairly win these races?

  • Comment number 38.

    Andrew, aside of the team orders affair, if you think that F1 is even close to being a sport that is open with the public then I think you're having a laugh with us. And, you surely don't think that we're ever going to believe that? I'm sure it didn't get it's fond term "circus" for no reason.

    I sometimes don't believe the controversy and hype it allegedly kicks up. As we all know and understand controversy sells. Whatever will it dream up next to keep us all avidly watching, listening and reading anything and everything even between races.

  • Comment number 39.

    At the end of the day it's a rule. Need's to be taken out but it's a rule that Ferrari broke and it will not be good for the sport if Alonso goes on to win the title now.

  • Comment number 40.

    Team orders are a part of F1. Having a rule to outlaw them is ridiculous. Its is a team sport. People should get used to that fact.

    Also, all this fuss about ferrari is crazy because no one says a word when teams implement team orders to prevent their drivers from racing each other. This has happened this season at Mclaren. It makes me laugh when jensen and lewis say how there would never be team orders within Mclaren. If a team orders say that you are not to race your team mate for position, it is just as bad as telling one driver to let another go.

    Therefore, allow team orders like the good old days. And all those who dont like it can go and watch somethin else. Maybe the eastenders omnibus would be a better option for you.

  • Comment number 41.

    Andrew, great blog as usual. Although many won't agree with you, you've presented your case well and have been largely impartial. Thank you.

    There is only one point I would like to look at though:
    "Will it be more acceptable for coming later in the season? Some will say so. There is, though, no logic in that argument - you get the same 25 points for winning the first race as you do the last."

    I disagree here - by making the call later in the season, you have given both drivers the maximum chance they could have to win the championship. I realise that it's often impractical to wait until one driver is *mathematically* out of the running, however in this case, Ferrari made the call when both drivers were equally in or out of the running - under the new points scheme, 7 points is not that significant, especially with 8 races to go.

    Personally, I would have like to see Ferrari getting a relatively light punishment, but *something* nevertheless because *they broke an actual rule*. Having said that, a light punishment (another $100,000 fine or something equally trivial) would have shown the conciliatory stance the FIA is looking for whilst also saying that breaking the rules does get punished.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hello everyone. There has always been team orders in F1. There have been team orders through out this season by many team in some different forms i.e. McLaren at Turkey and Red Bull at Silverstone .The only thing is that we haven't seen it played at so blatantly like Ferrari done it Austria in 2002 and then at Hockenheim in 2010. I can't understand why they did it in 2002 when they were in a dominant situation with Michael Schumacher. And why they did it in Hockenheim 2010 backing Fernando Alonso when his performances have been woeful at times. I can't understand why Felipe Massa gave up the position. I couldn't see Ayrton Senna giving up a position like that. Once you have the term team you are always going to have team orders. That is the nature of a team.

  • Comment number 43.

    Ian P nailed it with reply number 3.

    I think the rule should be changed... but it doesn't matter if a team doesn't agree with a rule, it must obey it.

    I enjoyed the people who complained about losing money on betting on it though. They deserved to lose it for not bothering to find out how the sport works.

  • Comment number 44.

    I wonder if McLaren would have been treated the same way had Lewis or Jensen gained 7 points over Ferrari using team orders. Ferrari always seem to wriggle out of rule misconduct but other teams receive punative punishment for rule infringement.

  • Comment number 45.

    An unenforceable rule that is punished is unenforceable.
    The rule was always a joke and the half-baked penalty in Hokkenheim was only brought in as the cacophony of dismay grew in the air.
    Alonso is victim yet again to circumstances beyond his control and we, the audience, must stop kidding ourselves that every team is beyond reproach when it comes to manipulating their drivers for their own gain. Their should be more transparency and openness within the teams concerning such tactics with a full report to the appropriate FIA officials when evoked.
    What's the bloody point in hiding it if we know it goes on all the time?

  • Comment number 46.

    The Sport pays prize money to the teams so no wonder team orders are OK with the FIA. The Drivers Championship is only there for the pleasure of the viewers and kudos among the drivers. The viewing public watch the battle between the drivers while the teams are racing against each other. The scenario acted out on TV - i.e. man and machine v man and machine - isn't being played out as the presenters and pundits would have us all believe so the way the sport is presented misrepresents what is actually happening on Pit Lane because the teams are racing each other while the viewing public watch the battle between the drivers which is mostly a myth.

    No wonder the FIA didn't punish Ferrari - they are not interested in the drivers championship. If team orders are a fact of life in the F1 paddock then so is spying on other teams ...

  • Comment number 47.

    Didn't a certain Lewis Hamilton win the drivers championship by 1 point when earlier that season his team mate had allowed him to pass very easily on Lap 50 after pitting late in Germany 2008?
    No team orders there I suspect..........

  • Comment number 48.

    Just watch those classic F1 videos that get put on this website in the run up to every event. Look at the vast amount of moves that must've been team orders. We've gotta live with it guys, F1 is made up of teams, just like any other. And the Constructors Cup is mightily important.

    But the fact is - team orders were banned. And Ferrari broke that rule. Not only this, but they decided to try and cover up what was a blatant command. I don't know who they think they are.

    But of course, the FIA love Ferrari. Can you just imagine what the situation would've been had McLaren been in that room? A penalty of enormous size would've been handed out. That is the tragedy of the whole episode.

    But we must keep up the fight nevertheless! Join together and show your love of the one team that has been the thorn in Ferrari's side for DECADES. C'mon McLaren!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Bring on Monza btw)

  • Comment number 49.

    Team Orders are an every race situation, it's just Ferrari handled it in completely the wrong way. Teams use codes like when they say change to, for example, brake mode 4 or something.

    I don't see McLaren fans moaning when Heikki let Lewis past at Germany in 2008...

    Examples of team orders (what I can recall) -

    Ferrari - Raikkonen lets Massa past in China 2008
    McLaren - Heikki lets Lewis past in Germany 2008

    And there is probably more!

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Once again the FIA show a consistant lack of consistancy - and dare I say it favouritsm!

    As mentioned above the team orders rule currently exists and therefore violation of it should be heavily punished with points deductions at the very least. I seem to recall Mr Hamilton was dealt with rather harshly at Spa in 2008, despite having apparently followed the rules of day by letting Raikkonen retake the lead after overtaking off the racing line!

    Why is it that F1 seems to be the only sport that can manipulate and change it's rules throughout the course of a season and in the process waste unbelievable amounts of money in legal fees fighting these matters when the sport is supposed to be saving money - it's an absolute joke!!

    It's about time F1 took a serious look at itself, got a grip, and came up with a clearly defined set of rules and regulations and stopped taking the viewing and paying public for fools.

    How about introducing a penalty system for starters (assuming clearly defined rules)- something along the lines of football as follows for example:

    1. Driver causing unavoidable accident - Yellow card.
    2. Overtaking under waved yellows - Yellow card.
    3. 2 yellows at one event (red card) - immediate disqualification (sending off).
    4. For every 4 yellows (say) accumulated during the course of a season - 1 race ban.
    5. Dangerous driving i.e. Schumacher on Barrichello at Hungary (or Alonso overtaking Massa entering the pits) - Red card and 2 race ban.

    Sounds simple I know, but it would make drivers and teams think twice - but only if the grey rule book is ditched for a clear 'black and white' one - come on guy's be brave!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    At the end of the day the buck stops with the driver. He is at the controls. Clearly Massa was not happy about the situation, but he always had the option of pushing on and trying to keep Alonso behind him. He could have ignored the team order, won the race, and dealt with the fallout later. He would have earned more respect that way, from me at least for all that counts.

    Now it's easy to understand, just going by body language and general demeanour, Alonso is the more arrogant, confident of the two drivers, and seems to have more of a backbone than Massa. Massa seems more reserved, more quiet, and clearly now is the submissive driver. I highly doubt if Lewis would budge over for Button or vice versa actually. Certain drivers, you get the sense would have had a sudden case of deafness upon hearing a radio transmission like that.

    Now the trouble for people like Massa; and Barrichello has already found this out is that if a championship is never won, and it is clear you are the bona fide No.2 driver, your legacy becomes nothing more than being a bit player, who gave victories to their team mate at their own expense and their own detriment. If you slow down and let your team mate past you clearly have lost the hunger to win, and the only hunger that exists is to not lose your race seat.

    The losers in all this are the fans and the drivers legacies.

    If I was in F1 I would rather get sacked for winning than be given a contract extension for losing.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Two points I want to make here...

    I've seen many people accusing Massa about this issue over Alonso since it was Smedley/Massa's handling of the situation that brought it to light in the first place (i.e it could have been done much more discretely). However, if Massa had masked it as a mistake or as Alonso's dominance, what would that have done for his image? As it is, everyone sees him as the rightful winner of the GP. Given his poor start to the season if he had played it "more professionally" and faked a mistake to let Alonso through, none of this would have happened. Instead he would be seen as clearly Alonso's inferior. So he made the right move in making it obvious. There is the added dimension of it being a year exactly since his injury, and more than a year since his last race victory.

    Second is the circumstance. The season is in no way decided yet, and definitely wasn't by the time of the German GP. Certainly Massa had a poor start to the season, but it was still too early to start favouring one driver, especially as Massa is in the ascendancy and Alonso insists on continuing to make rookie mistakes. Currently 32 points separate the drivers, reverse their points at Germany and it's 18, less than currently separate the McClaren and Red Bull drivers. There's a massive difference between a driver deciding to move over for a teamate to win the championship in the final couple of races, and a driver being made to move aside halfway through the season. Furthermore, consider the circumstances of the race, with Vettel pressuring the front two. Alonso is difficult to pass and would have surely made the better rear gunner of the two, allowing him past actually comprimised the teams constructors championship standing if anything, only Alonso personally stood to gain from it.

    Admittedly there is a fair bit of anti-Alonso bias behind this. I can't stand his attitude towards winning Germany 2010 or Singapore 2008 which he still claims to have won fair and square, compared to Valencia this year when he kept whining to the point where he forgot to race and Kobayashi passed him (all credit to Kobayashi still, he pulled possibly the first competitive overtake at Valencia ever) or Silverstone also this year, where he should have let Kubica back past immediately as the rules say (post Spa 2008) and not hung around and then complained. At least as things stand it looks like one of the two best drivers will win the drivers championship.

    I don't think my bias against Alonso discredits my original points.

  • Comment number 55.

    I wanna add to the above that the whole "Alonso was faster" thing was clearly just a cover. He was faster than Massa during some phases and then during others he was dropping back and under serious pressure from Vettel. Overall, there was nothing really to choose. Ferrari broke a rule. The FIA should have punished them them change or modify the rule later. Otherwise they show a they clearly favour Ferrari (in comparison to Hamilton, for whom they changed the rules then punished him by the new rules even though he was driving under the old).

    The rule doesn't work as it is. But obvious breach is obvious.

  • Comment number 56.

    The only thing that worries me about tean orders is how far it extends. If it stays within a team of 2 drivers I have no problem...if it extends to team alliances or smaller teams engine contracts depending on their compliance then it will have gone too far.

    Although Mosley was disliked by the majority at the end he did have 1 good idea to help make F1 more competitive.....Budget Caps...now that's in everyones interests, it may mean a scaling down of F1 activities but it is becoming a joke in terms of it's carbon footprint. Thanks to Bernie Ecclestone F1 will hit every habitable continent next year, there has to be some compromise.

    Nothing to do with the blog, sorry, I've already commented.

  • Comment number 57.

    Thankfully the right decision was made. Formula one is a team sport and its nonsense that the rules prevent a team from racing like one. Until each team is only allowed one driver it should be no other way.

    To those who say it was banned so should still result in punishment then I say this, would you rather the sport continued to have a rediculous rule in place that prevents a team sport from acting like one? An example was needed to take action against the rule otherwise nothing would change.

    What makes it even more of a farce to me is that ferrari didnt handle it badly, a petulant rob smedley did because he was upset at having to do what his job requires of him. Yet all the blame is placed on ferrari for handling it in an obvious manner? Does anyone really think they are that stupid? I certainly dont. His lack of proffesionalism is quite frankly amazing.

  • Comment number 58.

    The thing is, once you strip what you are saying down, it just confirms what many people have thought for years: F1 is not a sport. What's the point exactly? You're absolutely victims of technological progression: the engineers and technology gets better, the driver becomes less important- ok that's a natural consequence of the "sport"
    But admitting that team orders have existed for years, and should be allowed, is tantamount to admitting that the drivers are mere puppets- they aren't sportsmen, their talent is made to play second fiddle to the cars AND to the politics.
    So why not use computers to drive? A driver's machine is limited by its technology etc, a driver's skill is sub-ordinate to the orders he must follow. What is he actually there for then?! What kind of a sport doesn't allow its sportsmen to make ANY difference?
    Formula 1 is a non-sport, and i'm not sure the license fee payer should be paying £40,000,000 per year for a non sport.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am and have been a F1 fan for many years and understand the need for team orders and support them where needed. However I dont think this was needed so early or with the drivers so close. Look what happened in Spa, Alonso out and Massa 4th. It is to early for that sort of decision yet.
    Anyone remember the year Eddie Irvine let Schumacher through for 5th ish place? Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone and Irvine lost the championship by 1 point...
    Wait till the season is nearer the end or the drivers are further apart. I think that would solve most peoples problem with what happened.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's not a question of if you like the rule or not, I'd love to see a return of the big V10s and V12s, but if the punishment of $100,000 is sufficient for disregarding a rule that was in place and bringing the sport into disrepute by doing it so badly. If you don't like a rule work with the FIA to change it, don't just disregard it and hope to get away with it. Any team principle would be happy to pay $14,285 for a point towards there No.1 driver in a close championship, maybe they should start running under weight, fitting turbochargers or not bothering to stop and change to the 2nd set of tyres, they are all rules that some people disagree with.

    I believe team orders should be part of F1, I also know what ever the rules are teams will deliberately brake them to gain an advantage. If a team is caught they need to be punished in a way that discourages further rule breaking and for a team with the budget of Ferrari a $100,000 is no punishment at all.

  • Comment number 61.

    Andrew, I am personally disappointed at the BBC coverage and role in the debate on team orders. There are two fundamental positions.
    1. It is a team sport and the teams can instruct their cars/drivers to do what they want to achieve overall success.
    2. It is a driver competition and that there are 3 at the most, constructors capable of wiinning the championship and that the biggest fights are between competing drivers in the same machines. Six (6) drivers in total.

    Most of the die-hard "Team fans" are Ferrari supporters. "You" could drive a Ferrari and they would support you! The majority of fans are "driver fans" and they will support SV driving a Redbull or a Renault.

    The point is that there are only 2-6 drivers in any season who have a chance to win. Team orders reduces it to 1-3!

    How does the BBC suggest that F1 fans organize our distaste and influence the powers that be to move further to endorse the "No team orders" rule rather than eliminate it. I welcome your response and advice. . . John

  • Comment number 62.

    @andrewbensonf1

    see my comments in post 61 on your bbc blog

  • Comment number 63.

    I do not agree that the FIA have done the "courageous" thing.

    I do agree that team orders are an integral part of F1 and should not be banned, and I welcome a review of the rule.

    The singular problem here is that Ferrari broke a clear and unambiguous rule and should have been punished further for it. The FIA's decision shows weakness and disregard for the opinions of fans.

  • Comment number 64.

    Ferari owns F1 so they will never get punished

  • Comment number 65.

    2002: Jean Todt gives team orders. Barrichello takes a dive, Schumacher wins the Austrian Grand Prix.

    2009: Jean Todt becomes FIA president.

    2010: Ferrari issues team orders. Massa takes a dive, Alonso wins the German Grand Prix. FIA upholds $100,000 fine imposed on Ferrari but there is no further punishment.

    I am sure there is no connection whatever between the above mentioned events. It is all an innocent coincidence.

  • Comment number 66.

    Just listened to the Jonathon Legard interview where it was mentioned that Damon Hill had implied that Ferrari were subject to a hearing for breaking the rules in a gauche manner as opposed to other teams who have been doing it more subtly. Going on that, punish Ferrari for breaking the rule and you are almost obliged to investigate the other teams.
    Ferrari have already had their punishment (albeit what many will see as a derisory fine) not for actually breaking the rule itself but for bringing the sport into disrepute by the way it was handled. In my view, any points deduction would not be valid for this issue and would merely serve to spoil the championships.
    I don't buy into the Ferrari-favouritsm opinions that have been aired (noting that other teams have indirectly lent their support to Ferrari's case, whilst stating that the incident was not handled at all well).
    The rule itself is to be reviewed - virtually an admission that it is unenforceable - and I hope we can now draw a line under this and get on ioth the remaining races.
    Interestingly, many are questioning who will support who in both the Red Bull and McLaren garages as the competition moves towards a conclusion; any of these who are also outraged at Ferrari for applying team orders should take a long hard think...

  • Comment number 67.

    Ferrari broke the rules and should have been punished as regarding the points they won in this years championship. The FIA hav def been too leniant. However, why have a team with 2 cars in each if team orders are not allowed? Banning tam orders was a complete joke from the day they decided to do it. All top running teams have used team orders every year in every championship since. It would be crazy to suggest they haven't. Team orders must be allowed as it still is and always was a team sport!

  • Comment number 68.

    Great article Andrew. Agree 100%

  • Comment number 69.

    Yes, remove the ban, allow cheating just like cricket, snooker, football............

  • Comment number 70.

    Id be itnerested to know what happened to all of the betting that people will have placed on this race.

    There is bound to be millions of pounds lost by the people betting because of a fixed race basically.

    The people who made those bets should be legally allowed to get their money back because of a fixed result so all bets would be null and void.

    Bsically Ferrari have turned a sport that was slowly getting back on its feet and actually getting some shred of respect back into a complete and utter joke again.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    This shows Alonso can not win without something happening, The first race he won because Vettel had problems with his car, This race Massa has to let him pass, I don't think it was the right thing to do, Massa deserved the win and all 25 points!

  • Comment number 73.

    There are a lot of people watching formula one and betting on it.
    This makes what Ferrari did fraud. Its just the same as match fixing in any other sport.
    I stopped watching for years because there was no overtaking and this kind of match fixing went on.
    If they aren't going to race,it becomes sport entertainment like wrestling.
    In any other sport Ferrari and Alonso would lose their points,get a big fine and get a one or two race ban.
    The sports governing body bottled out because its Ferrari.
    Either clamp down hard on cheating or if the governing body have no bottle,only allow one driver per team.
    In any other sport there would be an investigation into whether the governing body had been bought.

  • Comment number 74.

    off the track, yes I agree team orders are fine... its called strategy.
    but on the track, mid race, to affect a race result?? thats just not right.

    The team play for the constructors title, the drivers should be allowed to fight each other on track for the championship.

  • Comment number 75.

    Here we go again. Ferrari getting away with it. Everything about this states that Ferrari broke the rules and yet they still get away with it.

    What the FIA should do from now on get rid of the rule book altogether and just let teams and drivers do what they want.

    If this was McLaren or indeed another team under the spot light then I'm pretty sure they would have been given further sanctions against them.

    I've been a huge fan of F1 for many years and feel right now the sport needs to look hard at itself and also at some point seriously consider the fans who pay hard earned cash to watch the sport - otherwise a lot of the circuits are going to look empty if things are handled more professional.

    Lets hope Alonso and Ferrari DON'T win the championships.

  • Comment number 76.

    Referring to post no. 5(above)
    "...There is one easy way to stop this whole issue, just have one car per team!..."

    Absolutely correct. However, I can see another option: scrap the driver's championship altogether.

    I don't believe that the teams, mainly those at the front, are that bothered about the fans' opinions. They want the constructors championship. The fans, generally I'd say, follow their favourite driver(s) and want them to win, and win fairly, on the track, on merit.

    If F1 is to remain a team sport, with a team championship, and you still have a separate championship alongside it for an individual to win, there will always be an inherent conflict of interests.

  • Comment number 77.

    Another option has popped into my feverish mind (the coffee's good this morning!) ...

    Let's go the whole hog and ban pit-to-car communication in all forms - radio, pitboard, gps et c. - and summarily throw any team flouting that rule out of the championship. Any essential communication must go through and be delivered by race control.

  • Comment number 78.

    I wonder if Todt issued team orders to Graham Stoker before removing himself from the discussion....

  • Comment number 79.

    Todt did not take part but unfortunately F1s impartial history when dealing with frari suggests he probably gave clear orders on the outcome. Nobody trusts them. This problem of team orders is ofcourse always going on, the only solution is to allow only 1 car per team and it would become a disaster if the third car being mooted would be introduced,

  • Comment number 80.

    so wrong, its as though ferrari already knew they would go unpunished and really it was done to make it public that massa is the number2 driver.

  • Comment number 81.

    "In an ideal world, of course team orders would be outlawed."

    They are, and that's the whole point. Ferrari blatently ignored a rule of the sport and have simply got a slap on the wrist for it. If F1 doesn't want to ban team orders then the rule can be changed but as it stands team orders are not allowed.

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm sorry Andrew, but I completely disagree with you here.

    Firstly, no matter what the rule is, it is a rule and rules are there not to be broken. Whatever the pathetic Ferrari argument is, it was clear as day that this was team orders. No question. And that was breaking a current rule and, no matter what you or I think of the rule, it should be comprehensively punished. Which it wasn't, because a fine like that means nothing to Ferrari. It's like encouraging them to cheat.
    Secondly, the sport only exists because the public are interested and want to watch it. And, in general terms, the public found the incident disgusting. In the end, F1 may lose a whole lot of followers just because of their inability to act on this one incident. It proves that no-one has learned since Austria 2002.
    If this had have been any other team, i.e. a team that wasn't the favourite of the FIA and WMSC, then there would have been further punishment. Ferrari have too much power in the sport.
    As for the rule itself, I think it should stay as a means of keeping team orders in the sport, but away from the public eyes. I couldn't care less if in future the same thing happened but in a very subtle way. The worst part this time was certainly the blatantcy of it and the horrendous lying that all in Ferrari tried after the race to cover themselves.

  • Comment number 83.

    F1 needs Ferrari as it is by far the most popular and biggest name in the sport. Personally I think they should change the rules so if a team has two drivers next to each other then they both get the highest number of points of the leading driver. So for example because Massa was winning and Alonso was second they should both get the 25points for a race win. This way it accepts that the team could allow either driver to win, but means they don't have to make that decision and rewards the fact you have the consistency of two drivers in two solid performing machines. This only applies if the cars finish next to each other though otherwise normal scoring applies. If you can't enforce a rule change the rule to make the problem go away.

  • Comment number 84.

    You said: "the rule banning team orders is unenforceable"

    Why is it unenforceable? All you need to do is 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!

  • Comment number 85.

    Surely F1 cannot be classed as a sport if you can't bet on the outcome of the race.

    Team orders means a bet on the second driver becomes a null bet. Betting is a massive part of sport and taking that away means the sport becomes as valid as wrestling

  • Comment number 86.

    Comment #5:

    There is one easy way to stop this whole issue, just have one car per team!

    [snip]

    Sounds simple to me or am I missing something?

    ===================================

    I seem to remember hearing Brundle say during one of the races earlier in the season that 1 car per team wouldn't work purely because of the space in the pit lane - there simply isn't room for 24 teams and 24 pit boxes.

    As it stands now, only 12 pit boxes are needed as each team has one, which is shared between their drivers.

  • Comment number 87.

    I'm confused.
    I thought F1 had rules and that if rules were found to be broken then punishment followed.
    Now it appears that if rules are broken and you don't like them you can get them changed, but only after you have been found to have broken them.
    The rules are there also to help fans understand what they are seeing.
    So, now we know that not all rules apply could we have a list of all the other rules that don't really apply or will not be taken seriously.
    Given this list, we fans that are not of the superior type "who really know what is going on" can catch up. Perhaps these "in the know fans" can start the list and that way we will know that they truly are in the know.
    I can start the list: if you start a race in front of your allocated starting position you will be penalized. New Rule - add "unless you are driving a red car" ( see example in last race)

  • Comment number 88.

    Ferrari manipulated the race. What's the difference between cheating in F1 and deliberately bowling wides in a cricket match? Hasn't Ferrari attempted to defraud bookmakers? Did any of the Ferrari team have bets on who would win the race? If FIA won't do anything, call in the police!

  • Comment number 89.

    team orders are not cheating, it is a team sport.

    If the public cannot get their heads around this concept it should be 1 car per team.

    ===============================

    Well, the counter argument to that is that if it is a team sport, you can't have the drivers championship running alongside that only allows for one winner.

  • Comment number 90.

    Many intelligent experts (eg Sir Stirling this morning) tell us the TEAM comes first so swapping positions is to benefit the team.
    Please can somebody explain how swapping two cars running in 1st and 2nd helps the TEAM's position.
    Isn't a 1 - 2 worth the same number of points whichever car leads across the line?

  • Comment number 91.

    RE. # 76. I totally agree. I personally watch/support the drivers not the teams and I was very disappointed for Massa at the end of the race - he was robbed of a win near the end of his career.

    For me the best wheel to wheel battles are, more often than not, within the same team and it would be a disaster to lose this but you cannot have team orders and also have a drivers championship it doesn't make sense, they will always be in conflict with one another. If one team is running two drivers equally i.e. McLaren and another is running a 1-2 driver policy i.e. Ferrari then this tilts the chances of winning the drivers title into the 1-2 camp. It does not effect the team title though.

    Can anyone name another TEAM sport where there are 2 league tables one for the idividual and one for the team - its nuts!

    They should have punished Ferrari and enforced the rule - this will change the sport for the worse in my view.

  • Comment number 92.

    Am i missing something but i thought it was the sponsors and spectators that funded F1 so without the spectators the sponsors would pull out and there would be no F1 perhaps all these people who are saying that team rules are part and parcel of the sport should just sit back take a reality check and give us a sport that is not fixed to support Ferrari.

  • Comment number 93.

    While I agree with both sides of the team order argument I feel the point is being clouded.Supporters of F1 will have their favourite team and driver but primarily they want to see all the drivers racing.Commentators have repeatedly told us it's one thing catching it's another thing passing.In this instance Alonso could not pass without assistance from the pit wall so how can one say this is racing.I have followed this sport for a good many years when drivers would race to the flag with little more than than a helmet gloves goggles and the will to win and give the public what they came for...excitement!!

  • Comment number 94.

    there is no real reason for team orders,the teams compete to win a championship seprately to the drivers so let the drivers sort it out.maybe ferrari have realised they can only win when they focus on one driver ?Renault should have a chat about the team orders to nelson to crash seems they may have been on to something !and who gained from that oh yes alonso but he knew nothing about it.

  • Comment number 95.

    I have followed the sport for 30 years and yes there have been team orders given on numerous occasions but not as blatently as this and definately not when there has been a rule in place that says it is against the rules to do so. As a result of this ruling it will mean all the remaining teams in contention will also ignore the rule and axcept the paltry fine. In a season that up to now has been really exciting, this effectively stops any out and out racing between the team drivers of Red Bull,McClaren and Ferrai. In other words robbing us of 50% of possible wheel to wheel racing. The favoritism shown to one team will have cheated us, the people who pay their wages,the opportunity of what probably was leading up to the most exicting coclusion ever seen in F1. Shame on the authorities, another massive blow to our sport, we are idiots continuing to watch a sport that is being orchastrated by the pit lane. What about letting teams run two cars for the drivers champion ship, but nominate at the begining of the season , which one of the team will be competing for the Manufacturers Championship points.

  • Comment number 96.

    This is a sensible decision by FIA and the best for the sport. It is good to see that the times of Mosley have started to finish. New times with a more exciting F1 are arriving thanks to Todt -- hopefully from next year we can concentrate more on what happens on the track and less on Charlie Whiting decisions.


  • Comment number 97.

    Personally I don't like the decision and I don't like team orders - primarily becaue I watch F1 to see which driver wins a grand prix and which driver wins the drivers championship. I'm more interested in stats on who is the best driver of all time, rather than the best team of all time - I support a driver not a team. IF I'm in a minority and most people who watch F1 care primarily if McLaren or Ferrari or Red Bull etc get the race win and win the constructors championship, then team orders are understandable and the rule should be scrapped. You could go the whole hog and rather than list the results as which car came in which position so a race with Hamilton followed by Massa would be recorded as:
    1st place - McLaren #1;
    2nd place - Ferrari #2 etc.
    If for most fans it's who wins the race and drivers championship is all that matters then team orders should be scrapped.

    What I dislike about the decision is that, as Andrew says in his blog, many people inside and outside the sport have criticised Ferrari for what happened and they did break a rule and put the sport under a cloud. Whether they or other teams agree with that rule is irrelevant. I and many others think that having to wait two corners to re-pass if you accidentally overtaken by cutting a chicane is a daft rule if you are lapping faster than your opponent by 2+ seconds per lap, but the rule is there (albeit unwritten) and is enforced with very stiff penalties, even though the race outcome wasn't affected. As it is Ferrari break a rule, cause all this outcry and get a slap on the wrist. The FIA could and probably should have increased the fine (it's not as if and extra £250,000 would hurt Ferrari) and perhaps given them a one race ban, suspended for the remainder of the season, to encourage them to be less blatant next time.

  • Comment number 98.

    Should F1 allow team order? Yes. They happen anyway regardless as to whether we hear them on radio traffic or not.

    This episode isnt about if team orders should be allowed though. This is about Ferarri disregarding the current F1 rules and to an extent getting away with it (par a paltry fine). The rule is currently in place, Ferarri were found breaking this and thus should be punished.

    Get rid of a ban on team orders next year. That's ok with me. It happens anyway. That doesnt mean Ferarri were right to escape without a more severe punishment THIS YEAR when the rule is IN PLACE.

  • Comment number 99.

    I believe there is a difference between everybody here who has taken the time to comment and read what others have written, and those who run this sport. They think that people exist to provide them with support and position, I believe that they exist to provide the people with entertainment.

    Let us not forget that we the people want one of four things from this sport, anticipation, expectation and inspirations but most of all and the thing that got me watching it when I was a kid, fun! Im not saying that its not fun anymore but it would of been more fun to watch Alonso earn his position at the waving of the flag then have it given to him. Maybe I am being too selfish about this subject. For that I apologise.

  • Comment number 100.

    Ferrari break the rules again, F1 politics rules ok!, can you bet on the outcome of a race,no. Can you bet on a cricket match, no. In cricket it's called "match fixing", in F1 it's called "team orders". Sorry to say I don't think I can watch this sport anymore because I won't know who the real winner of any future race is likely to be.

 

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