The drivers who defied team orders

F1 history

Carlos Reutemann, Alan Jones, Jacarepagua, 1989In three weeks’ time Ferrari face a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council to examine whether they broke the rules by imposing team orders during the German Grand Prix.

The rule banning team orders was introduced in 2002. We’d seen team orders used many times before then – but not always successfully.

Here are three drivers who refused to let their team mates pass – or overtook them when they weren’t supposed to. Food for thought for Felipe Massa?

Carlos Reutemann

1981 Brazilian Grand Prix

Round: 2 of 15
Points before race: Jones – 9 (first), Reutemann – 6 (second)

The scenario at the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix was simple. The two Williams cars led from the first lap, Carlos Reutemann ahead of Alan Jones.

According to Reutemann’s contract, should the pair find themselves in the lead of the race, Reutemann was supposed to let Jones win. The pair had swapped positions the previous year, in which Jones had won the world championship.

These being the days before pit-to-car radio, Reutemann was shown a pit board reading “Jones-Reut” – the 1981 equivalent of a cryptic radio message telling him his team mate was faster.

Neil Oatley was manning the pit board and was told several times by Frank Williams to display the order instructing his drivers to change places.

But Reutemann, approaching his 39th birthday and with his home Grand Prix coming up, decided he had other plans. He’d lost a win to Jones at Long Beach a few weeks earlier and wanted to keep this one for himself.

Peter Windsor, who was working for Williams at the time, shed more light on the situation last year in Maurice Hamilton’s book “Williams”:

In 1979 Carlos had a long talk with Gilles Villeneuve before Monza. He told Gilles [to] never play around with the world championship. ‘If you have a chance to win, take it. You’re not going to have many opportunities. Why would you want to give this race to Jody? Don’t even think about it.’

But that’s what Gilles did. And then he was killed in 1982. It upset Carlos a lot that Gilles gave the 1979 championship to Jody and then lost his life.

At that point, in 1981, Gilles was still in the shit and I think Carlos thought, ‘Well, I’m never going to let that happen to me. If I have a chance of winning the world championship, I’m going to take it.’ He knew 1981 was his big chance.
Peter Windsor

Reutemann narrowly lost the world championship to Nelson Piquet in the final round of the world championship. The events of the Brazilian Grand Prix turned him and Jones into bitter rivals.

Didier Pironi

1982 San Marino Grand Prix

Round: 4 of 16
Points before race: Pironi 1 (12th), Villeneuve 0

Surely the most notorious example of team orders gone wrong, because of its tragic consequences.

Ferrari team mates Villeneuve and Didier Pironi held first and second positions in the closing stages of the San Marino Grand Prix.

But on the fast Imola circuit with several long, flat-out sections, fuel consumption was a serious concern for the turbo-powered Ferraris. Both cars had been topped-up on the grid and, once their main rivals had retired, the Ferrari drivers were signalled to “slow”.

Believing that to be a signal to hold position, Villeneuve duly backed off – only for Pironi to storm past him. Villeneuve responded, matched Pironi’s lap times, and took the lead back.

Again he slowed, reducing the pace by around three seconds per laps – and again Pironi blasted by. The exasperated Villeneuve took the place back on the penultimate lap – only for Pironi to pass him for good on the final lap.

Villeneuve was seething – and his mood was not improved when the team initially refused to back up his story. It wasn’t until two days later that Ferrari issued a press release confirming Villeneuve’s version of events.

It was too late to prevent the mood between the drivers turning toxic. Villeneuve vowed never to speak to Pironi again.

During qualifying for the next race at Zolder Villeneuve, trying to better Pironi’s time, hit a slower car and crashed to his death.

Rene Arnoux

1982 French Grand Prix

Round: 11 of 16
Points before race: Prost 19 (fifth), Arnoux 4 (16th)

Ferrari’s disastrous experience with team orders did not stop rivals Renault from trying to impose them too. But, in a repeat of what happened with Reutemann the year before, Rene Arnoux was having none of it.

Arnoux had been with the Renault since 1979 but found his place in the team threatened by Alain Prost who joined them in 1981.

By late 1982 he’d been without race win for over two years and when presented with the opportunity to end his losing streak in his home race, he decided to take it.

Leading by over 20 seconds, Arnoux repeatedly ignored instructions from his team to pull over. Afterwards accusations flew in all directions: senior figures in the team claimed Arnoux had volunteered to give up victory to Prost, which Arnoux denied, while Prost believed they had equal status.

There was little surprise when Arnoux left the team at the end of the year.

In an amusing coda to the story, Prost pulled in at a petrol station later that evening, where the attendant mistook him for Arnoux and congratulated him on beating “that little prick” Prost.

Over to you

There are very likely more stories of ignored team orders that never came to light.

And by no means all team instructions come during a race – Lewis Hamilton famously ignored a request to let Fernando Alonso by during qualifying at Hungary in 2007, which had all kinds of ramifications.

What do you think of drivers who disregard team instructions like these? Whether you think they are entirely correct in protecting their own interests or selfishly putting themselves before their team is probably rooted in your philosophy of F1 racing. Share your point of view in the comments.

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171 comments on The drivers who defied team orders

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  1. BTDelusionals said on 18th August 2010, 16:11

    “Lewis Hamilton famously ignored a request to let Fernando Alonso by during qualifying at Hungary in 2007, which had all kinds of ramifications.”

    LOL. He wasn´t supposed to be in front of Alonso, it was Alonso´s turn to have the extra lap and Hamilton was trying to steal it. What a sad way to try to rewrite the history, Keith.

    • matt90 said on 18th August 2010, 16:32

      How? The quote is completely impartial. It states exactly what happened.

    • Rob R. said on 18th August 2010, 16:42

      Lewis has never “famously” done anything wrong. All his wrongdoings are swept under the carpet by the British media and maniacal fans, and dismissed as “FIA bias”, and even racism (sigh).

      The only thing that Hungary 2007 is “famous” for is Alonso seemingly “blocking” Hamilton in the pits, the fact that it was a retaliation to Lewis’ initial act is one that very few remember.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th August 2010, 16:53

        “The only thing that Hungary 2007 is “famous” for is Alonso seemingly “blocking” Hamilton in the pits, the fact that it was a retaliation to Lewis’ initial act is one that very few remember.”

        Agreed.

        • What happened in Hungary 2007, is Lewis did not let Hamilton by because he wanted an extra lap. Everyone should go back and watch 2006 and 2007 to see that what everyone (including Alonso) did was to just run around to burn off fuel, whereas Hamilton went out and did hot laps, giving himself an extra lap at every event. McLaren saw the benefit of that and wanted Alonso to get the extra lap, but Lewis wanted the extra lap too. Alonso would not go fast enough to get himself and Lewis the extra lap so Lewis continued. That is what happened.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th August 2010, 21:01

            But as Rob said, people mostly remember the pitlane blocking incident.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th August 2010, 21:03

            And of course, what you mentioned is what most people forget.

          • Dougal said on 18th August 2010, 23:32

            What most people apparently also forget is that Mclaren released Hamilton to guarantee them the first car at the end of the pit lane because they were still working on Alonso’s car and they didn’t want a Ferrari at the front of the queue. And when Hamilton was asked to let Alonso through he didn’t refuse just because it was Alonso, he was concerned about also letting through the car behind Alonso which could have potentially ruined his qualifying.

            It wasn’t simply a case of not letting someone through for the sake of not letting some one through, and none of that excuses what Alonso then went on to do in the pit box at the end of the session.

          • Burnout said on 19th August 2010, 6:20

            “Lewis did not let Hamilton by because he wanted an extra lap”

            Really? A split-personality or something, eh?

      • Daniel said on 19th August 2010, 4:15

        Mostly agree, though, I’d have to argue that “lie-gate” is famous.

      • pater001 said on 19th August 2010, 4:15

        Indeed…..Indeed…..

      • Mark said on 19th August 2010, 6:26

        Please–we don’t speak the truth around here about Those two.

      • Samuel said on 22nd August 2010, 8:13

        In spanish media there was published the conversation between Alonso and the team at Hungary 2007. Unfortunately, It wasn’t the original version but a translation so I doubt about its accuraccy. I have found a translation to english here.

        In it Alonso talks about a “deal” between them, and Ron acknowledges that Lewis is not honouring it. It would also explain why Alonso didn’t go out when the lolipop was raised.

    • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 16:53

      When it comes to Mclaren and LH their fans tend to suffer from memory problems. Just to refresh your memory, without team orders LH and Mclaren would definitly not have won it in 2008 had Kovalainen not acted in the interest of the team and let LH by in Spa… The hypocracy (memory problem) is laughable.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th August 2010, 16:55

        Even more laughable is the fact that Kovalainen was nowhere at Spa, Hamilton was never behind him, and Hamilton was fighting for a win with Raikkonen, who was in a Ferrari.

        • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 17:04

          I may have gotten the specific race wrong, but that does not change the fact that team orders decided the outcome from the drivers championship that year. LH won by one point.
          I wonder how much attention BBC have given to that fact when they have attacked Ferrari (I do not live in UK).

          • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 17:10

            It was British GP, not Spa :)

          • i love how you’re up on your high horse accusing everyone of bias towards Hamilton, but neglecting to mention all the times other teams have switched their drivers round to Lewis’ detriment, most notably Brazil 07, when Massa let Raikonnen through to take the championship by a single point. Team orders to switch places took place in both McLaren and Ferrari that year so stop picking up on the details that suit your argument.
            Btw,what is with this LH crusade that so many people seem to be obsessed with. Everything that he does, says, implies or has said about him is always picked apart by sadistic Hamilton-haters and turned against him. For the love of god, none of you know him, probably very few of you have seen him in the flesh, let alone met him. All you see of him is when he, like all other drivers, is in “corporate robot” mode, or in a situation when he’s travelling at 300km/ph wheel to wheel with a rival. You can’t judge a person from the brief snippings you see on TV, and none of you can know what goes on behind closed doors in F1. So for christs sake get a life, get a bird, maybe even take up a hobby or two, and stop getting so wound up by things your knowledge only scratches the surface of.

          • Massa did not let Kimi through at Brazil, Kimi passed by doing a series of FLs after Massa pitted.

            No doubt Massa would have let him through if it was required, but it wasn’t.

          • Let’s not waste time- if Massa had been permitted to win that race he would have done. What i meant was that to all intents and purposes, Massa “moved over” for team benefit.

          • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 20:19

            ad3, I have no problems at all with the team orders no matter neither when Ferrari does it nor Mclaren, because I have been following F1 enough years to understand that it is part of the game. What irritates me is the fact that many (especially Mclaren fans and media) is attacking Ferrari and is trying to disrepute Ferrari for that, basically ignoring that Mclaren and all other team has done it, are doing it and will continue to do it no matter if it is legal or not. I have seen headlines going “Has F1 lost its soul”, when mentioning the Ferrari move…totally laughable and with no class.

          • Thank you David A. It seems many people just join forums to hate on Hamilton. It seems someone was trying to refer to Germany where Hamilton pitted on green when everyone else pitted under the safety car. Hamilton overtook everybody else who was ahead of him. His team-mate made it easy for him by not putting up any resistance, which is far cry from team orders.

          • John H said on 18th August 2010, 21:26

            I thought we talked about this in 2007?

            Can we talk about something else please.

            Jeez.

          • TomD11 (@tomd11) said on 18th August 2010, 22:49

            I think that memory loss might be contagious as you seem to have forgotten Raikkonen letting Massa by in China that same year and also Ferrari delaying Massa’s pit stop in Brazil, the year before, so that Raikkonen could take the lead.

            As a Hamilton fan I accept that Lewis brought on himself what happened in Hungary. I just think that it was a disproportionate response and heaven forbid Alonso could have been the bigger man and not retaliated at all.

          • Hamish said on 18th August 2010, 23:19

            The reality is not every driver is going to be liked. That said, not every driver is going to be disliked.

            While certain people follow certain drivers I think there are only three drivers on the grid which has people that are “anti” them:

            - Schumacher
            - Alonso
            - Hamilton

            Each driver has their reasons why they are in this group. Complain/hate/argue as much as you like. It won’t change the record book. Bar Alonso you could argue that there are reasons the other two don’t genuinely deserve their championship(s), but the debate won’t change a thing.

          • plushpile said on 19th August 2010, 7:27

            Hamish do you honestly believe that Schumacher deserves none of his championships?

            *I’m not completely disagreeing with you, some of them are debatable, but surely you can’t discount all of them…

          • Hamish said on 19th August 2010, 7:34

            Taken out of context mate. One of them I believe so. Not all 7 however, thats just ludacris.

          • @qUattrO

            I am not sure you really understand what most F1 fans (not just maclaren fans) were angry about regarding the ferrari team orders. I would like to initially point out that the British F1 fans you talk about are often the most unbiased and knowledgeable motorsport fans in the world and hamilton has had a harder time from the British fans when he has clearly been in the wrong than he has from even Alonsos fans. You clearly get a different picture outside of Britain but we put our sports stars under enormous amounts of pressure and scrutiny.

            The big difference between Ferraris team order and most other team orders ofver the years (Maclaren or otherwise) is that in most situations (especially in recent times) the driver ordered to give up the position was never in with a chance of winning the championship and when they did give the position up they were often in at least some sort of agreement to do so before the race which meant that the move was not very obvious and could easily have been attributed to driving mistakes etc. Ferraris situation was very different as Massa was clearly in almost as good a position to win the championship than Alonso and was clearly not in agreement in helping Alonso (and neither was his pit crew) which lead to the most blatant team orders since ferrari did it with schumacher! It is this that does not sit well with F1 fans not the fact that team orders happen (as we all know that they do in some way with pretty much all teams during a season). We can all speculate but the truth is that we will never know whether Kovilinen let Hamilton passed due to an order or not as it was not obvious enough but there will never be any doubt as to what happened between Massa and Alonso.

            Be assured though that if Maclaren had done what ferrari did they would be criticised just the same.

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 15:32

            @ Lee – I also think the fact that was a year to the day of Massa’s horrific accident added a huge amount of anger because Massa winning his 1st race back on that particular day would have made such a great story and Ferrari went and spoilt it. It also confirmed what many people felt and Ferrari had made such pains to deny… that Alonso was going to take on the No1 driver mantle that Schumi had previously had that angered so many people.

        • TommyC said on 19th August 2010, 2:13

          it was in spa as well. after hamilton pitted, he came out right behind heikki. but kovalainen had his drive through penalty (for hitting webber) so mclaren brought him in to serve the penalty that lap so as to not hold up lewis. team orders? i think not, but obviously team work.

          • IIRC, Kimi got past Massa on pit strategy, not out on track, whereas Kovalainen clearly let Hamilton by on track like Massa did with Alonso, both incidentally at Hockenheim.

      • qUattrO said on 22nd August 2010, 13:35

        @Lee

        The opinion I expressed about Mclaren fans and media (BBC) is really based on reading posts on F1 websites and watching the race on BBC when I was in UK. For me it was chocking to witness how the commentators (mostly Eddie and and Humphrey, as Coulthard and Brundle were very objective and respectable as usual IMO) were taking turns on disreputing Ferrari for “implementing team orders”. They were acting as TOs (team orders) was something new to F1 and this was the first time they had seen it happen. Both were hiding behind the fact that “TOs are illegal”. Well in that case, rules of integrity would imply that they should have acted in the same manner on those occations when Mclaren impelmented TOs to benefit Hamilton in 2008. I agree that Ferrari has used TOs on occations when it was not needed (in the Schumacher era for example), but Mclaren did the same thing to Kovalainen in 2008. The standings this year were similar to those in 2008 when TOs were impelemented by Mclaren and Kovalainen still had the chanse to become champion.

        Too early in the season? I think not, because Ferrari had fallen behind very much after the problems they had in previous races. And most importantly is the fact (given the results thus far) that Massa stands no chanse against a driver of Alonsos caliber (at least with the current regulations and equipment). Alonso has basically been destroying Massa on the race track, both in qualy and race. It is quite obvious given these facts that Ferrari has no choice but to put its money on Alonso if they are to win the trophy.

    • Luis said on 19th August 2010, 6:48

      Yeah! team orders with Hamilton and Alonso…. come on!!!! I usually read this blog, but sometimes the co.uk part of the blog comes up too much……
      There was a rule within the team (it’s not the same than a team order…. a team order means that both don’t have the same opportunities)
      A rule is an agreement (once me once you)

    • BasCB said on 19th August 2010, 7:40

      I don’t get where’s the problem with that line.

      Was Lewis requested to let Alonso past: YES
      Did Lewis ignore this: YES
      Did it set into motion the run of events that eventually led to both McLaren drivers losing the WDC to Kimi, McLaren losing all WCC points and getting fined for Spygate (all kinds of ramifications0?: YES

    • spectator said on 19th August 2010, 12:25

      lets forget about this last year it is pointless to talk about this and there are so many ocassions that we simply dont know and we never will

    • sasbus said on 22nd August 2010, 8:39

      Maybe next time we should have a thread about strategy fixing by teams in collusion against another team.

      from:
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/williams-and-mclaren-accused-of-grand-prix-fix-1292928.html

      “Tapes of radio conversations between the Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve, who clinched the World Championship by finishing third, and his pit crew, were reproduced in yesterday’s Times and appear to confirm suspicions that Williams and McLaren had discussed a pre-race strategy – calculated to benefit both at the Ferrari team’s expense.”

      Yes this was overshadows by Shumi’s stupid move but nonetheless important.

  2. Rob R. said on 18th August 2010, 16:16

    “Food for thought for Felipe Massa?”

    uh yes, maybe, if the thought is “how do I get myself fired?”

    I like Felipe but he was always going to be number 2 this year with or without team orders, after a lay-off of that length.

    • As much as I hate to admit it I agree with you Rob. I just don’t think he ever had a chance this year and he doesn’t have the best job in the world anyway partnering that champion.

      • BasCB said on 19th August 2010, 7:46

        The saddest part is, we all saw it coming since the start of the year, after Alonso got past Massa at the Bahrain start and especially after China.

        Alonso had been gutted by having to look at the back of Massa’s car at several races, so they probably agreed about the “let the faster guy past if” thing to avoid dangerous situations like that.

        Actually a lot of people argued, that Ferrari should have let Alonso past in Melbourne, as they felt he might have been able to get closer to Kubica and even push Button. That might have been a sensible strategy, if they could have made it work.

        Now Ferrari did it for the lead of the race they had all but bagged, something quite different, but not really unexpected.

        • qUattrO said on 19th August 2010, 13:17

          It is quite obvious, based on statistics and facts that Alonso had being destroying Massa by means of pure speed. This in spite of Alonso having engine and gearbox problems on several occasions.

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 15:34

            The problem was that Alonso wasn’t destroying Massa in the race… and the race is when it counts.

          • @qUattrO

            Are you choosing to ignore the number of laps that Massa was pulling away from Alonso? Also it is a race (otherwise they might as well let each car do 5 laps alone on the track and award the points to the fastest lap) and Alonso blew his chance to overtake Massa by outbreaking himself. He then got angry and requested that massa be told to move over. Alonso in not liked within Ferrari and I think this was part of why they got caught. I am not a huge Massa fan but I felt gutted that he was made to move over by the F1 bully to deny him a win on the anniversary (near enough) of his near fatal accident. I think every true f1 fan wanted to see him win that race once he was in the lead.

  3. Perhaps not a case “team orders”, but I remember Jean Alesi staying out of rather than pitting when asked and eventually running out of petrol.

    • Alex said on 19th August 2010, 6:52

      That was Melbourne 1997. Alesi wasn’t ignoring team orders. His radio wasn’t working and he failed to look at the pitboards. Alesi did however ignore a team order from Jean Todt famously in 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix when he refused to let Berger past, confronted Todt after the race, said to him everything he thinks about such a thing and specifically about Todt, was fined $200k for that, and told Berger that it was “good value for money”!

  4. Red Bull ordered their drivers not to crash into each other in Turkey this year.

    They both ignored that.

    • BasCB said on 18th August 2010, 17:10

      Well, that’s something most teams ask of their drivers, not much for team orders.

      From what went on, it might have been a case of Mark’s race engineer ignoring team orders though. And good on him.

    • Einar AI said on 18th August 2010, 17:33

      Comment of the day. Actually, if RB lose this year’s WDC/WCC, Comment of the Year.

    • pater001 said on 19th August 2010, 4:20

      heheheheheheheheheh…………

  5. qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 16:58

    Jenson Button overtook LH in Turkey, even though he was told not to.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 18th August 2010, 17:19

      I don’t recall Button being told not to pass him – Lewis was told that Button wouldn’t pass him, but as far as Jenson knew they were still racing. That’s why Lewis looked a bit confused after the race and why Jenson seemed so eager to comfort him.

    • graigchq said on 18th August 2010, 17:28

      not strictly true.. Lewis was told Jensen would not overtake him, Jensen wasn’t told not to overtake him.

      • Andy W said on 18th August 2010, 17:36

        Lewis wasn’t TOLD that Jenson wasn’t going to overtake him, he was just given that impression because to tell him that would have implied Team Orders which is against the ridiculous regulation.

        To my mind teams should be free to devise and enact their own strategies and team orders, I just think that they should have to do so in public and not behind closed doors.

        Motor Racing is a curious sport that is both an individual sport (with the greatest prizes going for individual performances) but also a team sport with all that that entails with regards to team orders / strategies.

        • Mike said on 19th August 2010, 8:09

          I disagree, Team orders ruin races.

          If a driver pulls over so his team mate can win the championship, that’s not too bad, I can understand that, as a team, they want to win.

          What I don’t like is a driver being forced to pull over so his team mate “might” be able to win.

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 9:41

            I personally agree that team orders CAN ruin races and even championships.

            However my question is can they be stopped? Is it realistic and plausible that regulations can be passed that will stop teams from disadvantaging one driver in favour of their team mate?

            In my opinion its not possible, the fact that teams can do any one of a thousand things ‘behind the scenes’ to favour or disadvantage a driver in comparison to his team mate means that trying to stop teams is just going to make them ever more devious and the races /championships ever more ‘ruined’.

            I just think the ban on team orders is like King Canute’s advisers telling him that the tide would stop coming in if he should order it not to….

            If a team wants a No2 driver who will pull over to let his team mate past so his team mate ‘might’ win the championship then that driver should know that before hand, it should be in his contract that he is expected to do this at the teams bequest, the team should also make it clear to the fans and its supporters that it is a) prepared to do this b) both drivers are aware of this and have agreed to it c) that it is done in public.

      • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 20:30

        Neither you or me sitt in the Mclaren garage so we cannot say for sure what they said or did not say, but we can draw conclusions based on what information we have. Now, how could the Mclaren personell that “gave him the impression” JB would not overtake, “know” JB was not going to overtake?

        I think also that in Turkey not all radio messages were sent in the clear. That rule came later.

        • Andy W said on 18th August 2010, 20:38

          What? All the teams radio has been accessed by the FIA/ Stewards for a couple of seasons.

          The radio message given to Lewis has been made available on the Official F1 website, go and check it for yourself

          http://www.formula1.com/video/race_edits.html

          • Patrickl said on 18th August 2010, 21:18

            That’s only part of the conversation.

            Besides, the drivers were given laptimes on their dashboard and we don’t hear or see this on our TV’s. Button (claimed that) hadn’t seen the target laptime while Lewis said that he did.

            If they give their drivers target laptimes I can only assume they give both of them the same laptime.

            BTW team orders telling the drivers to not fight are NOT illegal. so there is nothing wrong with telling them to save fuel and giving them target laptimes like that.

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 9:48

            Article 39.1 of the FIA’s Sporting Regulations, introduced in the wake of the incident in Austria in 2002, states: “Team orders which interfere with the race result will be prohibited.”

            Telling drivers NOT to overtake their team mate is interfering with the race result and to do so is to breach the regulation. However telling a driver he needs to save fuel in order to make the finish line is not interfering because its helping the driver to finish…..

            As for it only being part of the conversation, I agree… but its all the conversation I have heard, if you have links that give more of the conversation could you please post them….

            If not then you are just speculating on what you think might have happened. Now I have no problem with speculation, I do it a hell of a lot myself, but you can’t pass it off as fact…..

          • Patrickl said on 19th August 2010, 10:37

            Read the stewards report on the 2007 Monaco race. In it they state that team orders for drivers to hold station are not illegal.

            Hamilton (or his dad) argued that this was illegal and the FIA disagreed.

            If you want to be a smart ass, make sure that you get your facts right …

          • Patrickl said on 19th August 2010, 10:38

            As for more of the conversation, read the post race interviews.

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 11:22

            Sorry Patrick I thought we were talking about Turkey 2010 not Monaco 2007.

            Watching the post race press conferences Lewis said that he thought that Jenson had been told to hold station, Jenson thought that he had been told no such thing. At no point did Lewis, Jenson or the team say that the drivers had been told that the race was over between them and that they were to bring the cars home.

            Now as you pointed out McLaren could have apparently told their drivers exactly that if they had so chosen to do (although I don’t remember and haven’t heard anyone else saying that hold station team orders don’t count as team orders as per the reg 39.1) but they didn’t, if they had we would have been robbed of a great bit of racing by the 2 drivers which had many people on the edges of their seats.

            Oh and as for post race interviews, sorry but how often have we heard drivers post race go off about something which they then later had to back down about, because they weren’t in possession of all the facts… as far as I am aware Lewis and Jenson can’t hear each other radio conversations, neither driver had any direct knowledge of what the other driver was being told and the communications that I heard made it sound to me that there was a miscommunication between the team and drivers (also maybe Jenson felt he was allowed to have a go at a slowing Lewis, so used a bit of selective listening…. although that is speculation I feel).

          • Patrickl said on 19th August 2010, 14:54

            Like I said, when they start giving the drivers target lap times, the race is basically over.

            Obviously you cannot have the lead driver sticking to this target laptime and then have the second driver ignore this and overtake.

            Which is exactly why these orders aren’t illegal. The teams need to be able to tell there drivers to take it easy and bring the cars home.

            Lewis and Button were talking about the lap times they got on their dash. Button said he didn’t see any target time and lewis said that he did.

            Either Button didn’t (want to) see his target laptime or he didn’t get one.

        • qUattrO said on 18th August 2010, 23:57

          New stuff for me there. Thanks Patrickl for the info!

  6. Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill are probably laughing right now in the afterlife about Felipe Massa being afraid to refuse to comply to teamorders from Ferrari. They did it on more than one occasion and it brought them some historic wins.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th August 2010, 17:56

      And Germany would have certainly been a historic win for Massa, a year to the day after his accident. With his future at Ferrari already being so uncertain, he should’ve just gone for it and made Alonso fight if he really wanted the win that bad. I feel bad for him though, it was a no win situation and there would have been repercussions regardless of what he chose to do.

    • Leslie said on 19th August 2010, 0:07

      Well Done Miguel. Most of these guys won’t recognise those two old racers. If a sentence doesn’t begin with Lewis they lose interest.

      Cheers.

    • Raymond said on 19th August 2010, 2:46

      Massa should’ve pretended not to understand and asked Rob Smedley how much laptime he needed extra :P

  7. Andy W said on 18th August 2010, 17:21

    It just goes to show that even when team orders were legal they still caused problems. The only difference is now that they have pit to car radio (and the FIA/ We the fans have full access) that discussions will be possible and will be aired.

    I still think team orders should be legal, but that all instructions should be clearly broadcast as team orders… make the teams and drivers be honest and then let them act as they see accordingly and be honest with us fans.

    I would also like to point out to qUatrrO, that it was germany where Kovi got asked to let Lewis past, but I would also point out that the drivers were running different fuel strategies and weren’t actually racing each other for position, and further to that Kimi also let Massa past him in the close of that season in Brazil (I think) so if Kovi’s move should have been banned so should Kimi letting Massa past.

    • Dan Newton said on 18th August 2010, 17:49

      I’ve been meaning to say that for ages. This year those type of orders have a different meaning because of the refueling ban, where fuel strategies no longer apply to the race.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th August 2010, 18:31

      I think you’re right Andy. The rose-tinted glasses that most view past team orders through is ridiculous. I’m not convinced however that they should be allowed. On the flip side though, if they’re banned they’ll continue to happen in sneakier and sneakier ways. It’s just a disappointing situation. The argument though that they should be part of F1 because they’re part of the history of F1 holds no water though. Tragic deaths are part of the sport’s history as well, and this article reminds us even that one of the most tragic of those deaths was a direct result of team orders and the confusion that often surrounds them. Ideally the teams would respect the fact that the fans do NOT want team orders, and even though it could be to their own detriment (Red Bull Turkey), they would let their drivers race. Obviously when there’s as much money flying around as their is in F1 though, that’s a pipe dream, as there will always be an element of unsportsmanlike greed that influences decision making at the highest levels.

      • Andy W said on 18th August 2010, 20:57

        I don’t think Team orders should be allowed because they are ‘part of the sports history’.

        I think team orders should be allowed because its impossible to stop them from happening, and because I can understand why in a TEAM sport (which F1 is) its important for teams to be able to manage their cars and drivers to achieve Team goals.

        Reading much of the commentary it seems to me there are a number of fans who have no objection to their team giving team orders – look at the vociferous defence of Ferrari and Alonso post Germany, I have also read a lot of criticism of HOW Ferrari did what it did that also understood and agreed with why they did it.

        Personally I think that if its all brought out in the open it would create a much fairer playing field where teams, drivers, the media and fans all knowing what the score is.

        If team Apple wants to have 2 world class drivers that it gives equal footing to then it should be able to, and if it chooses to market itself as the ‘sportsman team’ with no team orders under any circumstances then thats its choice.

        If Banana wants to have a No1 driver and a No2 driver who has to to give way to No1 any time he is in front then that should be the teams choice, if it wants to sell its brand as ‘win at all costs’ then its upto to the fans of that team if they are prepared to support it. The thing is No2 should have it written into his contract when he signs for the team and have a clear understanding of his role in the team, there should be no nefarious threats to spike driver No2s hair gel in order to bully him into doing what the team wants.

        If Team Grape wants to say that it has 2 equal drivers and that once one driver falls out of contention (something that can be agreed pre-season and contractually agreed, if they choose to ignore the tricky ‘mathematically impossible’ calculation) that that driver should then support his team mate, then that should be the teams perogative.

        At the end of the day it isn’t ‘greed’ its sport… these teams spend millions of pounds a year to compete and as teams they need to provide the best cars they can to their drivers and in order to do that they need to attract sponsors and meet sponsorship demands, and the sport and fans should be understanding of this…. All I want is for the teams to be able (required) to be honest with their fans and fans of the sport about how they are going to do this.

        • US_Peter said on 18th August 2010, 22:20

          Your imaginary World Fruit Cup sounds delicious…

          …mmm… fruit cup…

        • Dougal said on 18th August 2010, 23:50

          Or, and this is a radical suggestion, why not let individual drivers actually try and genuinely win the Drivers’ World Championship?

          In Germany this year, Massa beating Alonso or Alonso beating Massa still results in a one-two finish for Ferrari. THAT should be Ferrari’s main concern, not which of the two drivers finishes ahead of the other. THEY are individually fighting for their own Championship, while at the same time the team fight for theirs, and if all of a sudden that individual trophy becomes a team prize then they need to rename it and stop calling it a Drivers’ World Championship.

          • US_Peter said on 19th August 2010, 6:51

            They could call it the World Constructor’s Championship Pt. 2. ;-)

          • Andy W said on 19th August 2010, 9:55

            I would love that to happen, but I am also a realist and realise and accept that the teams can have different objectives to the drivers… and as the teams provide and run the cars they do have a say in the matter (like it or not).

            I agree with you regarding Massa he says he has a contract that provides him on paper with an equal footing with Alonso, and I think Ferrari should have honoured that.

            What I am saying that a team should be free to hire drivers on the understanding that they are team players, that it should be written into their contracts… Now if Massa wants to sign a contract that says he is to let Alonso past then that should be his decision, if he chooses not to (and I don’t think he should or would) then I am sure there are a number of other teams that would love to have him. I am also certain that there are probably a dozen drivers on the grid (and dozens more who want to break into F1) who would be willing to sign a No2 driver contract to get a Ferrari drive, with an eye to a) getting to drive a race winning car b) build themselves a name as a faster driver / better racer than Alonso, and then trade on that to get themselves a drive in a team without the No2 driver status.

    • While Hamilton and Kovalainen may have run different fuel strategies in the race, I think you’ll find that neither stopped for fuel after Heikki let Lewis past – i.e. they had similar fuel loads and so were racing one another for position. The only material difference was that Hamilton had newer tyres having pitted later so was faster.

      To my mind, teammates not racing each other for position because of different fuel strategy means that a heavier driver ceded track position to a lighter driver.

      • Heikki could not have held off Lewis for long. Fighting him would have been pointless and would have resulted in Lewis humiliating him the same was he did Piquet and Massa. By the way, the moves Lewis put on Pique and Massa were classic. How does he gently move them off the racing line without causing a collision was simply amazing.

        • Patrickl said on 18th August 2010, 21:34

          Indeed. Hamilton was just much much faster.

          When a team tells a driver that the following guy is faster and he actually IS (much) faster then how is that an illegal team order?

          I have no problem with that at all. Just like when they told Heidfeld to let Kubica past in Canada. Heidfeld could have won that race, but Kubica was much faster because he was on another strategy, so he let him past.

          Illegal team orders where teams tell two driver to swap position for no strategic reason are what people have a problem with. They degrade the sport. Austria 2002 and Hockenheim 2010 are the only two examples of this in the last 10 years.

          • I’ve just watched Canada 05 review. There was a lot of the same “faster than” messages to Fisi from Renault and Alo (these funny incidents seem to follow him). Incidentally, Fisi didn’t seem to put up too much of a fight against Alo but then he slowed anyway with hydraulic failure.
            Was that strategy or just Fisi’s problem? If it was strategy well that was just half way through the season too and at that point in the race, it looked like it would have a big influence on who won. It’s not a perfect match of an example but it has cropped up before. I’m against team orders by the way.

          • AgBNYV said on 18th August 2010, 23:27

            If we all are playing the “objective” card… Alonso was faster than Massa all weekend – except when Vettel pushed Alonso against the wall for the wholes straight. Let’s be honest – and with all the bogus non calls (reprimands/feckless-non penalties handed to other teams this season included) this should fall into your category of letting the faster team car through.

            Massa and Smedley rubbed Ferrari’s nose in it and made it obvious. Fine – Massa should’ve manned up and made Alonso fight for the position, but he did not. He embarassed himself and Ferrari. Not a good soldier at all.

            Get real – and be consistent….

          • qUattrO said on 19th August 2010, 0:24

            Amen and nuff said.

          • BasCB said on 19th August 2010, 7:30

            Team orders is different from strategy. The example of Heikki letting Lewis past and Heidfeld letting Kubica past are about strategy. It was not a team desicion on the result of the race(changing around unchallenged 1-2 place runners), but a tactical desicion to give one or both of them the best chance in the race.

            I am glad team orders are not allowed, but the rule has its problems.

            It is hard to enforce (teams just do it so we won’t find out), and at some occasions it might make sense (end of year, only one with a realistic shot at the title, etc.), but that’s where it gets messy because it’s hard to judge where to draw the line.

          • Patrickl said on 19th August 2010, 14:56

            There is “faster” and “much faster”. Alonso was faster yes, but not by much.

            hamilton was so much faster that he could still gain two positions ahead of Kovalainen.

            Alonso had nowhere to go after he passed Massa. There was no strategic sense to letting Alonso past. Other than favouring Alonso to win the title.

        • TimG (@timg) said on 19th August 2010, 8:46

          I agree – Lewis was clearly faster, partly because his tyres were newer.

          My point was that their respective fuel strategies were irrelevant by that point in the race, so that couldn’t justify the team orders. In this instance the justification was that one of McLaren’s drivers had a much better chance of winning the race than the other.

          That’s fine, but it shouldn’t be dressed up in the more neutral context of different strategies playing out, which is disingenuous at best.

          • Steph, Fisi didn’t need to put up too much of a fight in Canada 2005 because until the O-ring on his car’s hydraulics failed, Fernando could not find a way past. Fernando thought he was faster than Fisi, but on that particular occasion he was wrong. Winning at the slowest possible speed isn’t flashy but it does help preserve the cars (though in this case, it apparently wasn’t enough help to create the 1-2 that could easily have ensued). It was one of the subtlest cases of defied orders I’ve ever seen, but then it would have to have been to prevent Flavio noticing and moaning.

            Later on in 2005, I think Fisi did follow some team orders (holding up the pack during the Safety Car in China to let Fernando get away comes to mind), but that was after he was ruled out of the driver’s championship.

            As team orders go, I accept a certain amount of them are beneficial, notably the “don’t crash into each other” and “don’t ruin each other’s strategies” ones. If the conditions are terrible or there’s some other reason why a crash is unusually likely if a pass is attempted, then “hold stations” makes sense because it is ultimately being given for both drivers’ best interests, not just one. Also, it seems a tad silly to expect a driver fighting for the driver’s title to tolerate being held up by a team-mate who isn’t (though there is some valid controversy on this point). Apart from that specific instance, however, I see no good reason why a team should ever be allowed to ask a driver to cede a position to anyone or generate a situation forcing that to happen.

            The short way I’d write that if I was in charge of the FIA is:

            “Teams shall not commit any act during the race weekend that unfairly diminishes the ability of one of its driver to race against the other”.

      • Oliver said on 19th August 2010, 6:35

        Why go back to this argument, the team gave Heikki the position by not pitting Lewis along with the other lead drivers. Had they stopped Lewis first Heikki would be nowhere near 10th place as he would have had to wait for Lewis in the box.

    • chemakal said on 23rd August 2010, 12:23

      So the conclussion is: if neither McLaren (Kov-Ham) nor Ferrari (Mas-Raik) got banned in 2008 for “illegal team orders”, why was Ferrari penalised and should get their ponits off? Just because it was blatant? Is that all? Hypocrisy

  8. DGR-F1 said on 18th August 2010, 17:33

    I think we are still confusing ‘strategy’ with ‘orders’:
    Strategy is ensuring both cars end up with maximum points, or finish the race, depending on which team we are discussing.
    Orders is when the Team Principle has to make a tyre swap decision during a SC period or because one of his drivers has lost a nose or something.
    There shouldn’t be a need for any further commands either to or from the drivers to ensure a good race.
    To me these instances of ‘defying’ orders are more like drivers’ egos getting in the way of the strategy…..

    • Patrickl said on 18th August 2010, 21:19

      Or in other words: “team orders” aren’t illegal, but only “team orders which interfere with the race result”.

  9. sumedh said on 18th August 2010, 17:36

    Well, the 1982 San Marino incident shows why Ferrari are always on the lookout for amiable number two drivers and never 2 equal ones. And can you blame them after how the events transpired in 1982?

  10. There’s cleverer ways to do things – I vaguely remember one race years ago when Berger & Senna were at McLaren – they were both on the front row – At the start Senna let Berger disappear into the distance and basically held everyone else up behind him for the entire race therefore maximising points for the team and ensuring his closest rival in the Championship didn’t score the maximum points he needed to still have a mathematical chance of winning that years WDC – can’t remember all the facts or who the other driver was – maybe someone else can ??

    • bosyber said on 18th August 2010, 18:10

      I guess that could have been holding off Mansell, and in 1991 possibly? But I didn’t watch F1 until 1993 so I might have it mixed up.

  11. matt88 (@matt88) said on 18th August 2010, 18:02

    If i’m not wrong, Senna-Prost war started in San Marino as well, in 1989. At the restart, after Berger crashed at Tamburello (an accident that seemed much worse than Senna’s one), Prost passed Senna, but Senna regained his position. Later Prost claimed that Ayrton had broken a previous team agreement which stated that after turn 1 drivers had to hold their positions.

    • Wificats said on 18th August 2010, 20:28

      I think the order/ agreement was that they wouldn’t race each other on the run down to Tosa, through Tamburello, as it was too dangerous, but Senna passed Prost anyway. That said, I think the relationship had already been damaged by Senna’s Schumacher-like antics at Estoril the year before.

      • I would give you that one Matt, although not a ‘team’ order, more a drivers agreement which went rather sour.

        • BasCB said on 19th August 2010, 7:50

          If Massa had refused to let the “Faster car” i.e. Alonso past, we would have had a pretty much similar situation.
          Only here Ferrari would then have had to manage a Alonso barging into Massa on track or after the race. That would have been quite a spectacle.

  12. To be honest, after reading about Pironi and Villeneuve, I just see that situation as Villeneuve being a sore loser. I’ve heard about Pironi betraying Villeneuve in the past, but if it’s just over this, then I think that’s quite stupid.

    If team orders were allowed back then, then Ferrari would have told their drivers to “slow and hold position”. There was no need for coded messages, unlike at Indy ’05 when Ferrari told Schumacher and Barrichello to slow.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th August 2010, 18:24

      Actually, Villeneuve felt peeved because he was made to play second fiddle to Jody Scheckter in 1979, which he did, only to have his second fiddle not comply.

      • Hamish said on 19th August 2010, 1:19

        I do like the fact that after Monza he went out to Watkins Glen and set a qualiying time 9 seconds quicker than the rest of the pack.

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 18th August 2010, 19:14

      Gilles had repeatadly obeyed the “Slow” order in the past to preserve a strong result for the team and had never tried to overtake Jody Sheckter in 1979 at Monza even though it was his last chance at winning the world championship he wasn’t going to break his word.

      In fact I’ll let Gilles speak for himself:

      “When Rene blew up at Imola I took the lead and we got a “slow” sign from the pits. You get a slow sign and that means “hold position.” Imola was going to be my race because I was in front of Pironi when Arnoux dropped out. If it had been the other way round tough luck for me… I would not have tried to take the lead from him.

      “People seem to think we had the battle of our lives! Jesus Christ! I’d been ahead of him most of the race, qualified a second and half ahead of him. Where was my problem? I was coasting those 15 laps. He was racing” “Second is one thing but second because he steals it, that’s something else”

      Such disobeying of team orders was unfathomable to Gilles who saw it as an act of betrayal not just by his team mate but by a friend. Villeneuve’s veiw of events was eventually backed up by the old man himself, “slow” meant hold position, just like Gilles had done in Monaco and Monza 79.

    • rodrigo said on 19th August 2010, 15:11

      The rule inside Ferrari was: in case of a 1-2, the drivers stay like that, they don’t fight.

      Gilles Villeneuve respected this agreement in 1979, a given word was more important too him than a world championship.

      I quote Jody Scheckter: “Gilles was a very honest guy, even to the extend of being naive. He was a nice, nice, nice person.”

      Pironi however had a career plan and he wanted to become world champion at all costs. He broke the code inside the team and that destroyed Villeneuve in a way, it made him taking too many chances and he just went one too far.

      • rodrigo said on 19th August 2010, 15:15

        the lap times are making things very clear:

        Lap 45 – 1′36.578s (Race leader: Villeneuve)
        46 – 1′36.451 (Pironi)
        47 – 1′35.828 (Pironi)
        48 – 1′35.406 (Pironi)
        49 – 1′35.967 (Villeneuve)
        50 – 1′37.372 (Villeneuve)
        51 – 1′37.321 (Villeneuve)
        52 – 1′38.123 (Villeneuve)
        53 – 1′35.409 (Pironi)
        54 – 1′35.571 (Pironi)
        55 – 1′35.555 (Pironi)
        56 – 1′35.307 (Pironi)
        57 – 1′35.213 (Pironi)
        58 – 1′35.906 (Pironi)
        59 – 1′37.020 (Villeneuve)
        60 – 1′36.271 (Pironi)

  13. I think Massa totally regret what he did, not as much as Piquet Jr back home, who now just play go-karts.

    Especially because following team orders does not guarantee contract renewal.

    The only thing that makes Massa a bit comfortable is that Kubica already signed with Renault again for the next year.

  14. Ral (@ral) said on 18th August 2010, 18:22

    Am I misunderstanding the Pironi/Villeneuve incident? That doesn’t read to me as a team order gone wrong in the sense that one driver is ordered to let the other past and fails to do so. More like a driver misunderstanding instructions to slow down to make sure they would make it to the finish at all.

    • Yes. It was a team order to slow down and hold station to preserve a dominant 1-2 result at Ferrari’s home race. Pironi failed to obey it and, in Villeneuve’s eyes, unfairly stole victory on the last lap.

      Gilles was so bitter because he had followed Ferrari team orders at Monza in 1979, holding station behind Jody Scheckter and thus losing his chance of the WDC.

  15. Mack41 (@mack41) said on 18th August 2010, 18:33

    Could we please stop referring to the Ferrari message as cryptic? It was in no way cryptic, we all new what it was, and it was never meant to be cryptic. A cryptic or coded message is one where the message is disguised and the meaning is not known. Since there was no attempt at disguising the message and since we all know what it was it is not cryptic or sneaky.

    • J.A. Brown said on 20th August 2010, 15:58

      The meaning doesn’t have to be unknown for it to be cryptic, just not explicit. An example of a non-cryptic message would be “Let Fernando past”.

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