Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Singapore, 2010

Whether you approve of team orders or not, this championship is now all about them:

How much Ferrari can use them to help Fernando Alonso, and when McLaren and Red Bull are going to bow to the inevitable and back one of their drivers.

As long as McLaren and Red Bull continue to split their efforts, they will continue to throw points away – and maybe the championship too.

In the aftermath of the World Motor Sport Council’s decision not to take any points off Ferrari for using team orders in the German Grand Prix, it was clear McLaren and Red Bull would have to copy Ferrari’s tactics to minimise their disadvantage in the championship.

If McLaren and Red Bull were leaning towards to imposing team orders, the events of the last two races have only served to make that controversial call even more difficult.

At Monza and Singapore, their drivers who are trailing their team mates in the drivers’ standings brought home a greater haul of points.

Sebastian Vettel took seven off Mark Webber. And at McLaren there has been a massive 30-point swing from Lewis Hamilton to Jenson Button.

Thus Webber and Hamilton’s recent setbacks have hit them doubly hard because it has postponed the point at which their team mates might be required to ‘do a Massa’.

At Singapore Webber came home third behind Vettel. Had this been Alonso behind Massa we would surely have seen another Hockenheim-style switch. Those three points Webber missed could prove crucial in the final reckoning.

But the benefits to Ferrari of this approach extend far beyond having Massa pull over to let Alonso pass when needed. Luca di Montezemolo recently urged Massa to do more to get in the way of Alonso’s championship rivals:

I want a strong Massa who will shave points off the rivals.
Luca di Montezemolo

Then there’s the vital question of state of mind. Since Hockenheim, Alonso has been back to his best, driving better than at any time since winning his first two world championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso is clearly a driver who thrives in this kind of environment. He did not find it in his brief stint at McLaren. He did at Renault, where it was pushed to extraonrdinarily cynical extremes, but the car wasn’t fast enough.

Would Hamilton have felt the need to make such a risky move on the first lap at Monza had he known his team mate, leading the race, was working for him? These split-second decisions can decide world championships.

McLaren and Red Bull’s refusal so far to favour one driver is rightly lauded by many as good sportsmanship. It would certainly be to the benefit of Formula 1 if every team was required to adopt the same approach.

But when the governing body is selling points at $14,285 a pop, sportsmanship counts for nothing. It will only serve to cost them a world championship.

Read more: The WMSC decision means McLaren and Red Bull must pick their number ones

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327 comments on Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes

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  1. Damon said on 3rd October 2010, 12:23

    “Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s title hopes.”

    Not using Ferrari tactics gives Vettel and Button a fair chance at winning the drivers’ title.

    Not using Ferrari tactics doesn’t change McLaren’s and Red Bulls chances at the Constructors’ Championship.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2010, 12:28

      Neither of which needed pointing out, but tell me what it’s doing to the chances of their leading drivers in the drivers’ championship?

      You did read more than just the headline, right?

      • Ilanin said on 3rd October 2010, 19:20

        Maybe you should make the headline less misleading. Since failing to use Ferrari tactics isn’t harming McLaren or Red Bull at all, only Webber and Hamilton.

        • Daniel said on 4th October 2010, 0:29

          I agree with Ilanin. Your title is technically incorrect – that’s the problem.

          Constructors win constructors championships, drivers win drivers championships. Does Brawn/Mercedes have the No. 1 on therr car this year? No, Button does. Brawn’s driver won the drivers championship last year though!

          • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 4:26

            His Title isn’t incorrect in any way, Teams obviously place more importance on the drivers championship than you are suggesting, If the teams were only interested in the constructors the Hock debacle would never have happened.

            As it is clear that the most important championship to us fans, and to the teams and drivers as well, is indeed the drivers title. We can see that by Ferrari favouring Alonso they are indeed making it much easier to win “the title”.

          • Daniel said on 5th October 2010, 8:55

            It may be the more important title but it is only “a title,” and the fact remains that the consturctors championship is there for constructors.

            You have to admit the title is misleading. To correct it you would have:

            “Failing to use Ferrari tactics is destroying Red Bull and McLaren’s driver’s title hopes”

      • miguelF1O (@) said on 3rd October 2010, 20:12

        your headlight is clearly shocking british its miss understood and it clearly shows an outside opinion of a bias fan like we all are

      • laird18 said on 4th October 2010, 0:10

        Yawn… please give it a break Keith. Pious rants like this one wear very thin on me.

        Why are you so unwilling to let F1 remain as it always has been? An F1 where natural justice take place on the circuit. Where results are decided on race day, not at an FIA hearing. An F1 without unenforcable laws. An F1 where teams can run whatever strategy they want.

        Sadly partisan bias has seriously affected your judgment – it comes through in every word you write.

        (Also I’d be interested to know why you always say “McLaren and Red Bull” in that particular order? Surely it should be “Red Bull and McLaren”? After all both of the RB are more realistic title contenders than your beloved English Duo at this stage.)

        • Burnout said on 4th October 2010, 5:58

          Alphabetical order, perhaps? :)

        • Toby Bushby said on 4th October 2010, 23:57

          Stop reading his site, then. ;)

          This is Keith’s blog. He can write what he likes. Plus, I don’t see what the problem is anyway. A lot of hoo-hah about nothing, something I like to call nitpicking, I can only guess.

          Go write your own blog. I for one will continue to read Keith’s.

          • emil said on 5th October 2010, 7:45

            i totally agree with you….Keith write nothing but the truth….so if some of you don’t like then you all have problems with reality….i mean its so obvious that Ferrari was and stay most loved but the same time most controversial team ….and without dirty tactics or help of FIA Ferrari chance of succeeded are 0% and that is fact

          • Totally agree, Ferrari Boys should stop reading this blog. Hope RB boss read this blog for Webber to get the championship!!!

      • vodka and orange said on 4th October 2010, 5:59

        lol Keith…#:)

      • Matt said on 4th October 2010, 9:42

        With reference to u saying Webber and Vettel should have switched at the last race. That would have required Vettel backing off way loads and from contesting the lead as Webber was way slower, that did not compare to Massa letting Alonso through when Alonso was hot on his heels.

    • Damon said on 3rd October 2010, 12:30

      But the bottom line is that Massa has no chance at the WDC anymore, whereas all four drivers at McLaren and RBR have.
      And I cannot realistically imagine a situation where a team tells a driver who is fighting for the Championship, a defending Champion (!) “Hey, Jenson, Lewis has more points, so stop fighting for the WDC, will ya? And start driving for Lewis, k?”

      That would be absurd.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2010, 12:49

        Massa’s deficit in the drivers’ championship only differs to Button’s and Vettel’s by degrees. McLaren and Red Bull are just delaying the inevitable – and throwing points away while they do it.

        The way I see it, McLaren and Red Bull don’t have a choice – it’s just that it was an easier choice two races ago (when I also said they should do it).

        I realise the end point of my line of thinking is every team having one driver fighting for the championship and one driver backing them up. I’m not saying that’s desirable, I just think it’s inevitable.

        • DeadManWoking said on 3rd October 2010, 13:35

          Ferrari’s advantage is that the driver that they’re favoring is ahead in the WDC whereas the other two teams favor the driver behind. Both Red Bull and McLaren tried manipulating the results at Turkey but neither Webber nor Hamilton would follow orders and they still won’t, which leaves their teams at a distinct disadvantage.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2010, 22:29

            Both Red Bull and McLaren tried manipulating the results at Turkey

            Says you. Neither of them got on the radio and told one driver to let the other pass.

          • DeadManWoking said on 4th October 2010, 2:14

            Ferrari didn’t do that either.

          • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 4:49

            “Alonso is faster than you”…

            Only the blindest of people could not see that it was an order.

            Even the WMSC said it was a team order, they just decided not to punish it… (not due to lack of evidence as some are reporting, but due to inconsistencies in applying the rule.)

            Massa was still in points contention, It’s only because the point margins are larger this year that it appears that he wasn’t. If Massa had won in Hock with Alonso in second it would have brought the gap down, so that in old money, it would have been worth eight points, which is hardly out of contention.

            This is also interesting when you look at how far ahead Webber is of Vettel right now. Webber is 20 points ahead of Vettel. this roughly translates to the same 8 points (old money) that Alonso had over Massa when they used team orders. Not only that! but now, There is only half the races to go (in comparison when Ferrari used team orders).

            If Red Bull were Ferrari, Webber would be firmly in the number one slot.

            Mclaren have it a bit harder, as Lewis retired from the last two races, Button has brought the gap down to five points.

          • McLaren did tell Button to NOT attack Hamilton with the “fuel situation critical” jazz, Keith.

          • RaulZ said on 4th October 2010, 10:24

            Keith, your problem comes from trying to show all the time that one case is different to the other. It doesn’t matter the evidence you try to explain us. For everybody, what we see at Hockenheim, is something sad, but it’s sad allways, in every team and in any time and with any points the drivers have.

            Now, after clapping the lynching of Alonso in this blog and in meny of them, you think that everybody has to do it. Now, they have to do it because if not, they wil loose the championship.

            The only thing the world counsel has said is that it doesn’t have the proper fine to punish teams, but the fans doesn’t change their opinion as fast as you do so technically.

            Most of fans will go on thinking this is sad, and it doesn’t matter the date.

          • Patrickl said on 4th October 2010, 18:43

            They don;t need to blatantly tell a driver to move over for it to be an illegal team order.

            Red Bull told Webber to turn his engine down and Vettel that he had 3 laps to overtake.

            The aim of this was to swap the position of the drivers.

            As Helmut Marko stated, the only mistake they made was that no one had let Webber know what “the situation” was.

          • Mario said on 26th October 2010, 21:24

            I agree. McLaren also told Button in Turkey to slow down and see after his tires as he was trying to overtake Hamilton. Also when Hamilton asked over the radio “is Button going to pass me” he was told over the radio “no”. How did they know it? Because they instructed Button not do to it with coded phrases.

            They did just like Ferrari in Germany, just in a clever way.

        • Chippie said on 3rd October 2010, 13:40

          OK, I can see how Vettel could have pulled over for Webber in Singapore. But McLaren can’t possibly be accused of this Keith! Hamilton crashed out in both races, of course he would have pulled both of the moves if he knew Button was on his side because:
          1: Hamilton might not want to count on Button’s help.
          2: Hamilton would have had no sure way of knowing that Button would even finish ahead of him, let alone finish at all!
          3: If Button had moved aside at any point in the race where he was ahead of Hamilton, there would be every risk that he would have let Alonso, Webber or Vettel past as well.
          4: Hamilton will still want to compete for the constructors championship and if Button were to drop back places to let Hamilton past, then McLaren would loose vital points.
          5: He is a racing driver, he wouldn’t be thinking about those things when going through the first lap of Monza, or at the restart at Singapore, he’d just be trying to get ahead and not crash into too many people.

          ps: Keith, do you actually have any proof that McLaren weren’t using team orders? They might have been waiting for a point later in the race.

          • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 4:57

            I think you have misunderstood what he said.
            (I think) He is saying Mclaren must (or should) use team orders (in the future) or they inevitably will hurt their own chances.
            As opposed that “they will” or “have”.

            I don’t think there is any evidence that they did use team orders, and as it is still against the rules in F1 to use team orders,
            I think it’s fair to assume that they were abiding by the existing rules.

        • David BR said on 3rd October 2010, 18:15

          It’s a brave article Keith. At first, apart from being a bit taken aback, I just plain disagreed, mostly because I tend to agree with McLaren’s self-proclaimed policy of ‘amicable competition’ between drivers, with the presumption that they’ll help each other when one of them is out of the reckoning. I’m not saying I believe this is 100% true (I’m convinced this season, less so in 2008 and 09), just it seems a workable ideal. But… it’s difficult to refute your essential point that the McLaren and Red Bull drivers are pushed to take more risks. At the same time, do they realistically have an alternative? Button has already made his position clear, I think, that he wouldn’t accept basically working for Hamilton if McLaren decided to back only the latter while he, Button, still has a chance. And with Hamilton still ahead of him, how could they decide the opposite? The same for Red Bull. In fact it seems clear that they *did* want to back Vettel this year, but having Webber go awol wasn’t worth the bad publicity or the potential agro in the garage and on the track.

          I think the point missing in your argument is Massa: he accepted being number two. Why, I don’t know. But Alonso’s advantage stems from that decision and nothing else. He didn’t get that in 2007 (from Hamilton, post Monaco), which was the real reason McLaren ‘stuck’ by their principles. Had Lewis ceded, they’d have done the same as Ferrari this season, no question.

          • There’s some rumour that Massa has accepted playing second fiddle in this championship on an agreement that he’d be allowed to fight Alonso in the next one.

            Makes sense as he’s signed a contract extension and he wouldn’t do it as a No.2 driver.

            As to Ferrari themselves, I think they realised that they’re out of the constructors championship and their only realistic hope was getting Alonso the driver’s title, so they did what they did to Massa.

            I think MacLaren are on the verge of letting go of this championship. This will happen if their lead driver falls further behind at Japan.

            Red Bull are close to favouring one driver and will do so I think if Webber wins in Japan and Vettel doesn’t pick up a podium.

        • BasCB said on 3rd October 2010, 18:34

          I still think there might be one aspect in this favouring the teams where both guys do want to race.
          I think the motivation of any driver must drop enormously if made to drive “for his team”, i.e. squander their own chances for their teammate. Only by doing so willingly it would work.
          This might be one of the points where Button and Vettel will be better at taking points off the other competitors.
          But it’s a questionable thing if their respectable team mates are not in front of them on track.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd October 2010, 19:46

            I think the motivation of any driver must drop enormously if made to drive “for his team”

            That was instantly what I thought of when I read Montezemolo’s comment about Massa. If he wanted a strong Massa he shouldn’t have deflated his confidence in Germany. After a pretty lackluster season it seemed he’d finally regained his confidence, and with it his edge, but now it seems he’s lost that edge again. I can imagine he’ll only want to try and support Alonso in the interest of keeping his race seat next year, but if he’s treated as a #2 again, there may not be a lot of motivation for him even to retain his seat.

            I think the same would be true for both Button and Vettel also, but only IF they’re asked to yield before they’re mathematically eliminated. I think once either driver is officially out of the running, they’d be happy to “drive for the team” so to speak.

        • AlonsoWDC said on 4th October 2010, 16:50

          Unless I’m mistaken, Button in fifth place is only one race win (ten points in old money) off the WDC pace. Vettel less than that.

          Massa is -74 to Webber, or close to 30 points in old money with four races remaining.

          I get your overall point, but Ferrari would be foolish to not give Alonso any points he could earn over Massa.

        • Dave said on 5th October 2010, 3:19

          I recall a few races when the McLarens were running nose to tail toward the end of the race, and both were told to “slow down” for fuel or mechanical issues. Who’s to say those were not team orders? Oddly, it always seems to occur when Ham is in front of Button.

        • nicky santoro said on 5th October 2010, 4:19

          Dear, I think the problem is that the “degree” you mention is actually huge. And has been huge for many races.

          It has been many many races that Massa did not have a realistic shot at the title, very far away from Alonso and consistently slower all through the season.
          Whereae the four McLaren and Red Bull driver have been pretty paired in points and performance over the season and are still very much with a realistic shot a the title. Remember they are all within 10 of the old point system at this point…

          It would be simply dumb for Macca or the Bulls to support any of their drivers at this point for many reasons: purely objective, such as bad luck for the chosen driver and good luck for the lapdog, which may take the championship away; hugely bad spirits and demoralization by the lapdog who is forced into that role with so little reason to do so atm, which would probably take points away overall and hurt the team as a whole in many ways.

          If I were team principal of those two teams I think the rational think to do would be to support both to the best extent the team can.

      • Thats where Ferrari have the advantage on this. Not a Ferrari fan by the way.

        The Ferrari is possibly now, correct me if I’m wrong, the best all round car at the moment with one of, if not, the best driver on the grid at the moment.

        And to be fair Alonso was brought to Ferrari to win the title, i think thats fairly obvious.

        And I cannot realistically imagine a situation where a team tells a driver who is fighting for the Championship, a defending Champion (!) “Hey, Jenson, Lewis has more points, so stop fighting for the WDC, will ya? And start driving for Lewis, k?”

        That would be absurd.

        Totally agree with you on this. But if they don’t do it, the title may well go to Alonso, and on his current form, it looks like it might just happen.

        • Anagh said on 3rd October 2010, 16:13

          The way I see it, Alonso is taking the title, while the 2 RBRs n the 2 McLarens will fight with each other and not get anything out of tat…

  2. Calum said on 3rd October 2010, 12:24

    Well, I guess you will thrive if you are benefitting from team orders :P

    • RaulZ said on 4th October 2010, 12:01

      In the same way that you thrive if you have a good team or a good car. For me that’s how competition is.

  3. KateDerby said on 3rd October 2010, 12:34

    I’m not sure the teams’ positions are really comparable.
    When was Massa (without a win this season) really in contention for the driver’s title? Whereas Button and Vettel were the leading driver for their team for the first part of the season.
    Alonso has always looked like the #1 driver at Ferrari.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:27

      Before the race, Massa was 31 points off of Alonso and 78 off of Hamilton. Had Massa led a 1-2, those gaps would have been 24 and and 63. Now, that looks bad but in old money it’s 10 and 25 respectively. Given that Hamilton has had two retirements since and Vettel, Alonso and Button have had one, you can see the potential to close the gap increase dramatically.

      No, Massa hasn’t ended up close behind the top 5 because of these things. But when your team tells you you’re not going to win the championship for them this year, how else do you expect a driver’s result to go? Psychology is massively important to an F1 driver. Look how upset Alonso reportedly got just because Ron Dennis told him to be magnanimous towards Hamilton after the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix (according to Andrew Benson, this is when the fall-out started).

      Massa had only an outside shot at the championship before Germany. But given how the car improved and he suddenly re-discovered his race-winning ability, who can really say where he’d be by now?

      • Bernard said on 3rd October 2010, 14:17

        Ron said that because they blatantly switched the cars around in favour of Alonso. Hamilton should have won that race hence it was Hamilton who was upset and that is where the devide began.

        If you want to destroy a team, tell one driver he can’t race anymore.

        • Patrickl said on 4th October 2010, 18:47

          In fact McLaren only barely got away with the team orders case that came down on them for the way they held Hamilton back in order so Alonso could win.

          Ron probably hoped to keep Hamilton (and his dad) happy enough so the stewards wouldn’t get wind of what they did.

      • sumedh said on 3rd October 2010, 16:14

        Massa was 8th in the championship vefore the German GP. He was required to overtake 7 drivers in 7 races to win the WDC, one of them being his team-mate who has easily bettered him by 0.3-0.5 seconds/lap in almost every session of the year. There was a one-in-a-million chance of Massa becoming a WDC. The switch between the 2 drivers was a no-brainer but it was poorly executed.

        • Vishy said on 3rd October 2010, 16:51

          You guys are such Ferrari fans that you don’t see the math. If you do the stats you will realize Massa and Alonso would have been as close as Red Bull or McLaren teammates (without Car failures and switching)

          Alonso might have the momentum but i think the comming tracks are clearly not in favor of Ferrari. Very likely Webber or Vettel will win the title.

          I also hope Massa does not help Alonso in any way possible cause Ferrari don’t deserve it. Also hopefully Alonso’s engine blows up, i will be sitting with popcorn and enjoying it when it happens.

          • That would be gold seeing “everyone is trying to sabotage my race – Renault, FIA” F-Wit Alonso’s engine blow up. The same way the F-Wit cheered and raised his fist when he drove past Schumacher in Japan 2006 when Schu had a technical failure which cost him the title. Will be great to see the same thing happen to Nando.

          • rayan said on 4th October 2010, 6:05

            i too a ferrari fan,,,but i too agree with VISHY

          • Agree with vishy..

        • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 5:08

          If all teams thought like that no driver would ever be allowed to fight with his team mate and the fans would be cheated out of some great racing, Championship contenders or not. All other teams let their drivers fight. Trulli fights with Kovy, Schumacher fights with Rosberg and Vettel fights with Webber.

          All down the field they allow their drivers to fight, hurting their own teams for the benefit of the sport and the fans… All that is, except the Red team.

  4. dragon said on 3rd October 2010, 12:41

    Ok, so Hockenheim was the blindingly obvious exception, but realistically, Ferrari don’t really need to employ team orders, because the chances these days of Massa outqualifying Alonso – or being in front on race day – is practially nil. Also, the relative pace difference between team-mates is largest at Ferrari. Yes, I know it doesn’t make it any more right, and I still love Felipe, but really, in Ferrari’s case, it just makes that bit more sense.
    Besides, did anyone REALLY ever think that Massa had a chance to win the WDC this year? What Ferrari did was dirty, unclean and tarnished the sport, but hell, it was right!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2010, 22:38

      the chances these days of Massa outqualifying Alonso – or being in front on race day – is practially nil.

      Melbourne, Sepang, Monaco, Turkey. All races where Massa finished ahead of Alonso. Add in Germany and that’s five of the first 11 races, up to the point where he was forced to become the number two.

      You’re telling me 45% is “practically nil”?

      • dragon said on 4th October 2010, 0:34

        I said these days, because Fred seems to have found his mojo, and is driving more like the brilliant maniac we know him to be. Massa can’t get close. The four races you mentioned were all quite early in the season, no doubt while the Ferrari was still being developed to suit his style. So yes, practically nil :)

        • For me, this exchange pinpoints the reason why team orders are so insidious and corrosive, and the WMSC was wrong to soft-pedal on them.

          Before they were implemented, things at Ferrari were not miles away from 50/50, as Keith pointed out. Since then, has Alonso really just “found his mojo” or simply got the car working his way, or is it actually that Massa is now resigned, deflated or fatalistic to some degree in the face of the inevitable, in every lap, every session and every briefing? It’s very easy to say “well, the results speak for themselves and Massa/ Rubens/ Irvine/ whomever it happens to be doesn’t come close on performance anyway, so all’s fair”.

          It’s self-fulfilling prophecy. F1 is a psychological game as much as a technical one. We’ve all seen the difference between drivers with the wind in their sails, a burning desire to win and knowing they have an actual chance of winning, and drivers who have been cornered into a numbers game or who know they can’t win no matter what they do. They themselves might not even be fully aware of the corrosive effect of being in that place. It might be true that what we are now seeing is the true state of affairs re: Massa vs. Alonso but the point is, there is now no way of knowing, because Massa is in a situation where he knows he is only working for his team mate to win the WDC. You can harp on about how it’s only logical, the situation might be reversed next year etc. etc. but for me the look in the guy’s eyes as he faced the press after Germany, saying words that expressed his commitment to his employer while his face and his body language said the exact opposite, showed all that needed to be seen. The irony is that Alonso can be one of the most psychologically fragile individuals in F1 when he feels things aren’t going his way, at the expense of his performances as we saw in races like Canada ’07 and several times this year.

          I think many drivers can and will put in solid, consistent performances within a few tenths of theirs and the car’s capability, regardless of the bigger picture. But as you get into the rarefied zone of the last hundredths and the ability to really nail a qualifying or in-lap, or string together a series of killer laps when the chips are down, it’s a highly complex mental zone where knowing you can actually go out and win the thing is a prerequisite. Without it, any driver is potentially defunct and for this reason I refuse to judge Rubens on his performances at Ferrari when he had that contract, or Massa on the basis of his late 2010 performances, because he’s effectively driving with lead weights attached to his head.

          • Mike said on 5th October 2010, 2:26

            That was a great comment…

          • David BR said on 5th October 2010, 13:26

            Agreed, great comment.

            I’d add something else. How will Ferrari denting Massa’s confidence, and hugely damaging his reputation in Brazil (for which he is to blame too, obviously, for agreeing to be number two) help them next season? The risk is increasing under performance from Massa, need to switch to a new driver, which will bring its own problems: a number two out of the box to keep Alonso happy, or a genuine rival like Kubica. Who will beat him.

            I think it’s undeniable that downgrading Massa has improved Alonso’s confidence. But it’s a short term boost. The problem will return for Ferrari.

      • rayan said on 4th October 2010, 6:08

        nice shot from KIETH to DRAGON….

      • vodka and orange said on 4th October 2010, 6:19

        Massas race in Monaco was awful…..Alonso starting from the back and finishing 6th was pure brilliance….the difference in race pace between the 2 of them was noted by Ferrari….and in China after his jumpstart and penalty he still beat Massa!!#:)

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 2:51

          Hitting a wall in practice is also “pure brilliance”. Actually running near the front in 4th all weekend behind only the superior Renault engined cars is “awful”. See the rubbish you speak with regards to Monaco?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 12:02

        Exactly, who knows maybe Massa would have been super motivated after getting his first win exactly a year after Hungary 2009, and leading is teammate in a 1-2 at it!

        He still had 8 races to get on top of the tables, what a great comeback that would have been. And Alonso would still be right in the mix if both of them had just finished like they did after Germany, the Ferrari is right on the pace in he last couple of races.

      • HewisLamilton said on 6th October 2010, 17:44

        Why, Yes, “45%” IS in fact practically nil.

        Melbourne : Turn 1 in Melbourne caught Alonso, who came back through the field to finish 4th. Massa finished in 3rd. Hardly an indication of superior speed, driving, etc.

        Sepang : Alonso suffered a clutch problem, finished 13th. Massa finished in 7th. Again, not a superior drive by Massa, bad luck on Alonso.

        Monaco : Alonso Finishes 6th after starting from pit lane after missing qualifying. Hardly an indication of Massa outperforming Alonso. Massa started 4th and finished 4th.

        Turkey : Alonso started 12th and finished 8th. Massa started 8th and finished 7th, not overtaking anyone other than Vettel, who crashed out. Massa did outperform Alonso here, but arguably so.

        Hockenheim : Alonso finished in 1st. Massa 2nd.

        I fail to see where Massa showed anything other than #2 ability.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2010, 18:11

          Winning championships isn’t just about being quick – it’s about turning that performance into results. Alonso has made a lot of mistakes this year that have stopped him from doing that.

          Frankly if he made some of the weak excuses for them you just have (“Turn 1 in Melbourne caught Alonso” – did no-one else have to go around the same corner?) we’d all be laughing at him.

          • HewisLamilton said on 6th October 2010, 19:01

            My post was about your 45% comment in comparing Massa and Alonso results.

            Alonso wrecked himself in turn 1 at Melbourne, and then was able to come through the field to finish 4th.

            Is that better for you?

            I give up.

            I’ll refrain from ever posting further.

            – Cheers Mate.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th October 2010, 20:38

            Stop giving FA extra credit for making mistakes or being slow in qualifying then partially recovering from them. Particularly at Australia, Monaco and Turkey.

  5. johnno said on 3rd October 2010, 12:43

    I dont think mclaren need to use team tactics because Lewis is just plain faster than Jenson.

  6. Alexi (@alexi) said on 3rd October 2010, 12:44

    It’s Massa’s fault for not being up to the task. If Kubica was in his place we’d have a 6-way championship battle and Ferrari would have it’s chances to won the constructor’s championship. So the solution is…

    • Daniel said on 4th October 2010, 0:23

      That’s a bit harsh. Massa was injured and thus didn’t drive for the second half of last season. It should take him some time to get back on top of his game. The injury wasn’t his fault.

  7. Johnny86 said on 3rd October 2010, 12:47

    I think you yourself answered the question.its because their drivers are so closely matched that they arent able to use it. Red bull clearly said they will use it when the situation demands.unfortunately for them and fortunately for us it hasnt happened till now.Lewis himself must be blamed as well.if he hadnt crashed twice he may have been in that position somewhat.Whether they should use it after that or not is a matter i wont comment on because the article is only about why they cant be using team orders yet and how its hurting them.So the message is clear to these drivers “If you want the team in your favour out score you team mate by big margin. Something barring alonso none of the top drivers did” Whether your team supports it or not is something in their hands entirely because we have seen that the fia will not interfere. So its a team decision entirely for me. And btw if the position between vettel and webber were to be reversed i am 100% sure team orders would be used in red bull.

  8. Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd October 2010, 12:56

    I think your right but that there’s nothing McLaren can do about it, you don’t tell a defending world champion whose publicly claimed he’ll leave the sport if he received team orders to pull over for his team mate. Although I seem to remember Raikkonen doing something similar. With McLaren though Hamilton has just been quicker then Jenson since the start of the European season and so long as Lewis doesn’t crash McLaren should be alright, if Hamilton DNFs again they don’t have a shot at either title.

    Redbull have the biggest problem, as no one knows which driver is going to be ahead next race, although you’d tend to give it to Vettle on pace. But he’s not leading the championship! So who really knows. I think they have the most to loose.

    Suzuka should answer some questions, we’ll know how much closer McLarens upgrades have got them, we’ll see Ferrari’s pace on the final type of track on the Calender, and if it doesn’t match Redbull and McLaren we could see the halting of their momentum. If they score a big haul they make themselves total favourites.

  9. don knowles said on 3rd October 2010, 12:59

    The current situation is exactly why team orders cannot effectively banned in F1, and we should insist on transparency–who is the team supporting and when did they start.

    • Paper Tiger said on 3rd October 2010, 13:19

      I disagree. This is exactly the sort of problem that a team orders rule would prevent. The FIA could have handed out a strong punishment as a deterrent and it would be extremely difficult to risk doing it again. It decided that team orders were up for sale. Ultimately, we should not be rewarding teams for being cynical and punishing them for being open and fair.

      • graham228221 said on 3rd October 2010, 13:50

        Team orders cannot be banned, only plainly obvious on-track incidents can effectively be punished so that will push teams away from being open and fair. I don’t want more coded messages, I want to know what teams are actually doing.

        No court of law could have convicted Ferrari of using team orders, even though everyone knows that is what was going on. It’s so simple to code an order and turn into a hint or simply a suggestion, no rewording of the current rule can change that.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 4th October 2010, 12:40

          The wording of the rule was not “you cannot issue an order”, it is “you cannot *interfere* with the result”.

          Telling Massa “Alonso is faster”, and knowing Massa will move over to change the result of the race is interference.

        • Paper Tiger said on 4th October 2010, 13:48

          Objectively false. Ferrari WERE found guilty of using team orders. The FIA chose not to punish them.

  10. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:10

    Are you sure McLaren haven’t decided to back one horse over the other? Button was awfully pedestrian going into turn one at Singapore; almost as if he didn’t want to pass Hamilton….

    (I’m a conspiracy theorist. And I know five other conspiracy theorists. What – you think that’s a coincidence?)

    Although, as Keith points out, Button is now much closer to Hamilton than he was two races ago thanks to Lewis making silly errors. So I wonder whether the even-handedness will resume.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:33

      Well, Button doesn’t like to take risks until he absolutely has to. It’s the reason why he’s only up there with Hamilton because of his retirements – he’s not been as fast, but he hasn’t retired through risky moves either.

      I love a good theory too but I like debunking them just as much ;)

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:37

      Oh, and to be fair, I did wonder if Massa let Alonso off the hook at the second Variante in Monza ;)

  11. Vincent1972 said on 3rd October 2010, 13:12

    I believe they (mclaren/redbull) are still favoring a driver but not the same degree compared to ferrari (team orders) remember webber’s wing given to vettel issue? conserve fuel radio message to button and hamilton? but the drivers are racers. they are trained to race. they do not want to be given a command for the benefit of the other driver. but what can they (FIA) do about it is the challenge to the sport as a whole.

    • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 6:55

      There is a HUGE 10 million kilometer chasm that separates favouritism and team orders.

      Sometimes people seem to forget that.

  12. Victor. said on 3rd October 2010, 13:13

    Jenson won’t agree to drive for Lewis simply because he’s done well enough not to have to. Button, although slower than Hamilton, is more consistent, and thus has roughly the same amount of points. Vettel’s ego won’t allow him to just nod in agreement if Horner tells him that Webber is ahead and from now on it’s his role to ensure that he stays there. Moreover, he and Webber are arguably equally skilled and are within one race win of each other point-wise.

    The bottom line is that Massa is evidently weaker than Alonso, whereas all Red Bull and McLaren drivers themselves know that they can win the title. Massa knows that whatever he can do, Alonso can do better.

    • Mike said on 4th October 2010, 5:14

      “Massa knows that whatever he can do, Alonso can do better.”

      I very much doubt Massa would think that…

    • JayGeeWales said on 4th October 2010, 9:58

      I agree with you, the obvious difference between Massa and Alonso, is not there in the other two teams.

      As others have said although it appears that Hamilton has more chance of taking the title for McClaren, it has become a bit of a tortoise and hare scenario of late. And we all know how Jenson feels about stepping aside.

      At Red Bull (and I must declare my devotion to Vettel at this point!)It is much more evenly matched if Vettel had settled down more and seen each race as a whole instead of corner by corner, he would be leading the chmapionship by now. But he and webber are superb on saturday but not able to convert on sunday. I cannot image either driver having “that” converstion with horner and stepoping aside.

      And to be honest I don’t want them to!!!! this season started out with everyone turning away from the sport because of refuelling, but I for one rate this season as the best for a long time and the closeness of the competition has gone a long way to make up for the lack of refuelling (although, I would still like to see it come back…. but thats another issue).

      I would like to see the rest of the season played out on the tracks in full view of the fans, not behind closed doors.

  13. All it would take to utterly destroy Ferrari’s chances in both Championships is for Alonso to have just 1 screwed up tire change or a blown engine, a puncture, a sleeping back marker, an optimistic move by Hamilton, a cold or a headache at the wrong time, any 1 of a million possibilities.

    McLaren and Red Bull can have this happen to any 1 of their drivers and still be in the hunt.

    The chances of one of these tiny problems happening to 1 driver in 1 of the last 4 Grand Prix are pretty high but of happening to both drivers of the same team much, much lower.

    For this reason, McLaren and Red Bull’s title hopes are, on paper, vastly superior to Ferrari’s.

    However, the pace of cars is more likely to influence the Championship than any political games. I’m sure Red Bull still have the upper hand on fast tracks like Suzuka and should win out in the end, though 1 of their inconsistant drivers at least is VERY likely to screw up at least once. But they can afford it, unlike Ferrari, and that’s key.

  14. Chris said on 3rd October 2010, 13:21

    The interests of the team come first!!! Someone who drives a car with the prancing horse have to put the team interests before his personal interests!!!

    You keith try once more to fire up again this topic (ferrari-team orders)…. That is rubbish…

    I can tell you (hipothetical….as you say now that hipothetical rbr and mclaren don’t use team orders… lol lol lol!!!!) that button in the start of the singapore race was infront of hamilton and as an amature braked realy….early….WHAT WAS THAT???? ohhhh no this is an english superstar you can’t tell something for it!!!!! Yeah!!

    I read your blog for your realy good interactive statistics… And i realy appreciate your work THERE..
    BUT i hate your attacking atitude when you are going to tell for ferrari and team tactics…. When you know (i am absoluteky sure for that) that all the teams USE team orders!!! And i’m not talking for the past but for THIS YEAR (turkey-germany save fuel jenson…..fuel is critical….aka don’t attack lewis….)

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:30

      Holding position was deemed an acceptable tactic by the FIA in 2007.

      After the Turkey race this year, Button was found to have almost the same fuel left as Hamilton after backing off severely. There goes your theory.

      • Chris said on 3rd October 2010, 13:36

        And that is your theory….. HOW SOMEONE CAN PROVE THEORIES????

        THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE ABOUT HOLD POSITION AND LET THE OTHER THROUGH!!! A TEAM GIVE THE DRIVER TEAM ORDERS….

        But im not going to discuss this again….bacause as i said you can’t recycle again and again this topic….It’s rubbish!

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 3rd October 2010, 13:39

          By looking at the evidence, which massively points to no hold position order at Turkey.

          • graham228221 said on 3rd October 2010, 13:54

            I still don’t see why you think that a “hold station” order is any better for viewers or the sport than a “let your team-mate pass order”, why is one fine and one not?

            So the FIA let one instance go in 2007, does that make it all rosy for viewers to see?

            Out of interest, you’ve pointed out this 2007 example of the FIA allowing hold position orders to me before. Which specific race was this?

          • Chris said on 3rd October 2010, 13:57

            Again that’s YOUR theory…. Only charlie Whiting (FIA….and mclaren) knows how much fuel was after the race in the cars…. Don’t speak without EVIDENCE…. AND Don’t tell me that FOM put subtitles in the race review video (as did in germany) for no reason….

          • There is a difference (in my eyes) between holding position and letting the other driver through. One makes sure the team scores maximum constructor points because drivers don’t drive each other off the track. The other favors one driver, and more importantly, does NOTHING for the team. Could somebody please explain to me why teams care so much about WDC’s? I always thought teams like to win constructor championships instead.

          • Chris said on 3rd October 2010, 14:08

            @ALEX ΝΟ! It’s no difference! Because the driver who is in front can benefit from his team (us lewis in turkey) because his teamate don’t allowed to attack him so maximum points for WCC for the team (because it is not danger to colide) and for the driver who the team want’s to go for the WDC… It’s no difference…But some people don’t know what common sense is…

          • another Alex said on 3rd October 2010, 16:31

            @ Chris: How can are other posters be able to take you seriously if all you do is discredit others opinions and theories but proclaiming your own as the only true one? I think you should look in the mirror about this “no common sense” you were talking about. and btw your theory that there’s no difference between holding position and making the driver in front cede the position to his team-mate is absolute rubbish IMO

          • Chris said on 3rd October 2010, 20:54

            @Other ALEX I said that is a hipothetic theory (as is my theories….)..You can’t prove anything…
            And why is different??? The rule says NO TEAM ORDERS…. What is hold position??? That is not a team order??? You must look your face in your mirror and say “what is the difference between too chicken eggs”… Oh yeah maby it’s not from the same chicken….or one is bigger or smaller…But that don’t change that these two eggs are chicken eggs….

          • other Alex said on 3rd October 2010, 22:44

            Chris your eggs comparison doesn’t hold water here. From a formal point of view its hard to prove that an order to hold station interferes with the result of the race as nothing have changed and may not have been changed even if the order wasn’t given. there are also other major differences such as the effect of the order on the drivers involved, the effect on fans etc. So eggs is eggs but out of some eggs an ugly duckling may appear such as witnessed in Hockenheim 2010.

          • Patrickl said on 4th October 2010, 18:53

            The difference is that the FIA said it was ok for teams to tell their drivers to hold station.

            That verdict (after Monaco 2007) sets a precedent. Just as the Hockenheim 2010 verdict sets a precedent that teams can get away with illegal team orders and only pay a fine.

            People can whine about how this is not really different, but it’s simply the way things ARE. Not about how they should be or not.

      • Chris said on 4th October 2010, 6:07

        @other ALEX oh again… Eggs are eggs….and team orders are team orders…. You can prove that alonso wouldn’t pass massa (with out the team telling massa move)….. And as you said you can’t prove the opposite… How can anyone know the result before the finish….

        • other Alex said on 4th October 2010, 8:40

          Chris, but that’s the point: Ferrari didn’t wait to see what would happen later in the race they issued the order. And in case of an order that actively interfered with a race result such as Ferrari’s actions in Germany 2010 there’s no need to prove what would have happened if the order wasn’t given.That’s the big difference from “hold station”-the positions have been changed so there’s no “what if”. It’s only neccesary in this case to prove that such an order had indeed been given for the team to be found guilty and punished. the WMSC concluded that there was enough evidence to prove them guilty and did so.

          • Chris said on 4th October 2010, 13:58

            There is NO difference… As you say they ORDERED (so team orders) massa to give the position to alonso.. OK?
            Mclaren ORDERED (SO TEAM ORDERS) button to don’t attack lewis… οκ?
            You missing the point i think… The rule bans team orders…NOT ONLY the change of positions…. and don’t tell me again that….if we….don’t know the result….Because I CAN TELL YOU EXACTLY THE SAME FOR GERMANY…. I can’t make it more clear….

            But no one sayd jenson hold station or don’t attack… NOR ferrari said felipe let alonso through… THEY GAVE A CODED MESSAGE….So the WMSC THINKS that ferrari gave team orders BUT they can not PROVE IT…so gave to Ferrari NO further panishment…..

          • Patrickl said on 4th October 2010, 18:54

            Chris “hold station” is a legal team order. The FIA already said so. There is no debate about this.

          • Chris said on 4th October 2010, 19:56

            WHO said that…. Don’t make me laugh.. lol lol….So ferrari can say fernando don’t attack fernando or felipe hold station -exactly with these words NOT with coded messages- lol… You made my day i am laughing all the time now….lol lol

          • Chris said on 4th October 2010, 19:57

            *can say felipe don’t attack fernando

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 2:56

            WHO said that…. Don’t make me laugh.. lol lol

            As mentioned multiple times already, the FIA said that over three years ago. Have you been drinking?

        • Chris said on 5th October 2010, 14:04

          @David A YOU are drunk already… WHEN A TEAM SAYS TO THEIR DRIVERS TO HOLD STATION IS TEAM ORDER!!!!! TEAM ORDERS ARE “BANNED”……So what you want prove??? If you don’t know NOTHING for F1….please don’t talk….or use the web to learn more…

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 15:49

            If you even read the rules, you’d know that team orders which “interfere with the race result” are banned, not every single possible team order in existence.

            Not only did the FIA clarify after Monaco 2007 that holding station is ok, but it would be a lot easier for a team to argue that their cars would have finished in the same order had they held station than if one is told to pull over. If your going to act like a smartass, then at least don’t talk your brand of nonsense.

          • Chris said on 5th October 2010, 19:23

            You are saying rubbish…. If a team SAY by the radio to they drivers: felipe don’t pass fernando or felipe hold station THEN THEY WILL BE PUNISHED!!! No one saia in monaco 2007 (i know you are reffering to mclaren) lewis hold station NOR lewis don’t pass!!!! So don’t say rubbish!

          • Patrickl said on 5th October 2010, 20:15

            Domenicali said after the Australie 2010 race that their drivers were not allowed to attack in the last stint. He said this in plain public.

            How much penalty did he get for that?

          • Chris said on 5th October 2010, 20:54

            Domenicali NEVER SAID THAT!! He said that they where free to race! And that they didn’t want massa to move asside! That maybe in the last stint where in fuel-tyre saving (as domenicali said) don’t mean that they where NOT free to race OR THEY WHERE TOLD FROM THE TEAM TO HOLD STATION!!!

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 21:47

            Look Chris, the FIA did issue a statement after Monaco 2007 saying that teams are allowed to TELL their drivers to hold station, to not take unnecessary and stupid risks with their cars. Here is an article:

            http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/05/30/mclaren-cleared-by-fia-over-monaco-team-orders/

            That’s why on many occasions since then, teams have told drivers to hold station (e.g. Turkey 2010) and obviously haven’t been investigated or punished. If Ferrari told Felipe and Fernando to save fuel or not fight in Germany, regardless of which order they were in, they wouldn’t have been investigated earlier this year.

            End of.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th October 2010, 21:55

            I think this article (almost exactly two years old) covers a lot of the points of difference in this discussion:

            F1′s unwritten rules: team orders edition

          • Chris said on 5th October 2010, 22:27

            That’s what i am saying!!!
            They can’t tell something “stupid” like hold station or don’t attack your team mate (like eddie jordan done with Ralf Schumacher and Damon hill in spa 1998)…. NOW THEY CAN’T SAY THAT!!!!! BECAUSE THIS INTERFERES WITH THE RACE RESULT….SO THEY DO THAT (team orders) WITH SAVE FUEL OR WHATEVER ELSE!!!!! Am I clear??? There is NO crarification!!!! If a team says hold station=PUNISHMENT!!!

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 23:12

            If they say hold station, then it’s almost definately going to be more subtle than the action of one driver pulling over for the other. Hold station is nowhere near as likely to result in punishment as swapping your cars around.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2010, 23:13

            Typing in capitals is not helping you get your point across also.

          • Chris said on 6th October 2010, 6:38

            That’s your opinion! If they say hold station or let the other through (exactly with these words in the radio) THEY WILL GET A DISQUALIFICATION FROM THE RACE!!!!If they say save fuel or the other guy is faster no one can punish seriously them (like Ferrari) So hold station is banned like let the other through…..There is NOT…i cheated a little so don’t punish me!!!

          • patrickl said on 6th October 2010, 12:02

            They will not get punished for that since the FIA already set a precedent with the Monaco 2007 verdict.

            In fact there was a team which said exactly that. Think it was Virgin. Their driver was complaining, but no action was taken by the stewards at all.

            Also Domenicali made that “last stint=no overtaking” statement. That would be an illegal team order too in your world.

            BTW do you actually make sense to yourself? Try reading your rants back …

          • patrickl said on 6th October 2010, 12:06

            Domenical on overtaking:
            “Not in the final stint, during the final stint we have let’s say an internal code of practice that unless there is an obvious situation, the [order] has to be respected. Otherwise you can attack, absolutely.”

            Illegal team orders? Obviously not.

          • Chris said on 6th October 2010, 13:52

            INTERNAL CODE!!!! Maybe they dacided it before the race!!!! THEY DIDN’T SAY HOLD STATION!!!! BECAUSE THEN THEY WOULD BE PUNISHED!!!

            And if you say FIA crarified this PROVE IT…Give a link something!!! Don’t through things in the air without know what the rules says!!!
            Maybe the UNWRITTEN (keith gave the link in a previous comment) rules is the answer to you….

          • dyslexicbunny said on 6th October 2010, 14:37

            http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/166879554__30_05_2007_Monaco_GP_result.pdf

            Page 2: “It is standard procedure for a team to tell its drivers to slow down when they have a substantial lead. This is in order to minimise the risk of technical or other problems. It is also standard practice and entirely reasonable to ask the drivers not to put each other at risk.”

            This took all of about 10 seconds to find in google with “fia 2007 team orders monaco” (3rd link). So it really doesn’t matter what we think we know when the guys in charge pretty much spell it out. I was not watching F1 until the late 2008 season but I presume that McLaren issued a hold station order during the race and this release cleared them of any wrongdoing.

            Honestly, I think you’re either a hilarious troll, a Ferrari zealot, a 13 year old, or some awkward combination of any of the three. But simply demanding facts from one side doesn’t magically make you right if they don’t produce them. Back up your statements with something and I might continue to take an interest in what you’ve got to say.

          • Chris said on 6th October 2010, 15:07

            @dyslexicbunny Ι had read this document… There is nothing in what i said… Then mclaren choosed to slow down their CARS…THEY DIDN’T SAY HOLD STATION OR DON’T OVERTAKE (maybe that would had want to do)….As did jordan in spa 98….That’s the difference!!! As i said you can do it clever (like save fuel mix 5 or something like that) BUT YOU CAN’T say it clearly!!

            I can’t make it more clear…I expained that already but you didn’t read all my comments…

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th October 2010, 16:58

            @ dyslexicbunny- You’re right, he must be a troll. We have repeatedly told him and shown him that the FIA consider it standard procedure to not let them race (i.e. hold station) towards the end of a race, yet he just makes more and more nonsensical rants demanding the same evidence he’s already been shown.

            I’ve had enough of this, Chris will simply never comprehend what he is being told, so in the words of the millionaires of Dragon’s Den: “I’m out”

  15. Johnny86 said on 3rd October 2010, 13:31

    @ichtyes i dont think the article is about whether ferrari were right or wrong.its about whether others should use TO or not. I would like to know your opinio

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