McLaren and Red Bull need to bow to the inevitable and back one driver

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010

If Red Bull and McLaren were in any doubt of the advantages of throwing their championship efforts behind one driver, Fernando Alonso’s rise from fifth place before the German Grand Prix to championship leader should cause them to re-evaluate their approach.

As argued here before in two previous articles, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision not to dock Ferrari any points for using team orders means that as long as Red Bull and McLaren choose not to they are merely delaying the inevitable and risk throwing the championship away.

McLaren

For McLaren, the decision is a complete no-brainer. Neither of their drivers has a particularly good chance of winning the world championship, but Lewis Hamilton is 21 points closer than Jenson Button with 50 left to be won.

Not only that, but Hamilton has been decisively the quicker driver on balance over the whole season.

It may be tempting to draw comparisons between Button’s situation now and Kimi R??ikk??nen’s with two races to go in 2007 and claim he still has a chance. But the two situations are quite different.

In terms of points R??ikk??nen, who went on to become champion, was in a slightly better position then than Button is now.

But most significantly, R??ikk??nen’s team mate Felipe Massa was out of championship contention entirely, whereas Hamilton is clearly a better bet for McLaren than Button at the moment.

McLaren should have started concentrating on Hamilton once the WMSC decision came out ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. If they had, Hamilton could be at least two points better off now (Button could have held station behind him at Suzuka).

And who knows how many other beneficial ways it might have helped Hamilton. Would he have tried that risky pass on Massa at Monza with Button leading, had he known Button was under instruction to help him win?

Red Bull

While McLaren are yet to say whether they will back Hamilton over Button, Christian Horner has already declared Red Bull will continue to support both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Telling Vettel to get behind Webber’s efforts would be an especially difficult call. While Vettel has lost many points through his own mistakes, car failures have cost him even more – far more than his team mate has suffered. His engine failure in Korea was just the most recent and costly example of many.

But a glance at the points permutations available in the final two races on the Championship Calculator shows the precariousness of Red Bull’s situation.

The seven-point difference between the rewards for finishing first and second versus the three-point gap between second and third are why Red Bull must intervene if Vettel is leading Webber at Brazil with Alonso behind them.

If Vettel won in that situation, Alonso would only need second place in Abu Dhabi to guarantee the title wherever the Red Bull drivers finished. Otherwise they are staking their hopes on finishing one-two in both of the next two races.

If Horner gets this wrong will have to explain to Dietrich Mateschitz how his cars managed to take pole position for almost every race in 2010 without either of their drivers winning the world championship.

As Webber himself put it around the time of the WMSC decision:

Red Bull have a good trophy cabinet but not one like McLaren?s, so it depends on how hungry we are to try and do that.
Mark Webber

Team orders

Throwing a championship effort behind one driver isn’t just about having his team ready to pull over and hand points to him. It influences every part of a team’s operation.

Bringing upgrades to the car becomes a question of keeping one driver well-supplied instead of two. Race strategy revolves around what’s good for one driver instead of keeping both in contention. A sacrificial lamb is a useful thing to have in variable weather conditions.

Above all, it means the team’s driver who is best-placed in the championship knows he faces no threat from the one other driver who should have the best opportunity to take him on: his team mate.

No wonder Alonso has had such a storming second half of the season, and told the press at Korea that’s he happier at Ferrari than he’s ever been anywhere else – including Renault, where he won his two world championships.

I know many people will object to me making the case for teams using team orders. I’d far rather have a championship where teams are prevented from using them and the drivers can sort out the drivers’ championship between themselves, as it should be.

But the die was cast in August when the FIA chose not to enforce the rule banning them. Red Bull and McLaren can win the Marquess of Queensberry world championship if they want, but there’s no prize for that.

Team orders

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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315 comments on McLaren and Red Bull need to bow to the inevitable and back one driver

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  1. Slightly hypocritical bearing in mind the raging discussion you are involved in elsewhere on the site. :p

    At the end of the day F1 *is* a team sport.
    And team orders are here to stay, whether anyone likes it or not.
    And whether they are illegal or otherwise.

    RedBull and McLaren will apply team orders if and when the time arrises, and that will not even be a consideration until after Q3 at the next race.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 13:39

      I don’t see how it’s hypocritical.

      • CLK_GTR said on 26th October 2010, 13:56

        Keith, the whole point of your previous articles were that Massa was in a mathematical chance of winning the WDC at the time of the German GP. The same is still the case with Vettel.

        So it is hypocritical when you did not take a neutral stance after German GP.

        • David BR said on 26th October 2010, 16:22

          I agree it’s an inconsistency in the logic of Keith’s argument.

          But I also think the team orders issue (more exactly: a team asking a driver to move over for the other, slower driver) is actually a red herring. Teams don’t just order their drivers: the latter have to accept the order. Germany blew up because Massa – very relucantly and very visibly – gave way to Alonso behind him. Elsewhere, lower down the field, this wouldn’t be and isn’t such an issue maybe. But that’s the paradox: Massa is a high profile driver at a high profile team. So he’s expected to be really competitive too for himself and the team. And so giving way is more problematic (a championship contender is ‘giving up’) AND it is also carries a damaging aspect for his own morale and his ability to win points for Ferrari.

          Button and Webber – perceived rightly or wrongly as the potential number two’s in their teams – both made clear that they wouldn’t accept demotion. That’s really the point. As a lot of people in Brazil have said, the blame lies as much with Massa as Ferrari.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 16:24

            It isn’t an inconsistency at all – see my answer below.

          • David BR said on 26th October 2010, 16:41

            It’s a bit blurred. Correct me if I’m wrong: your argument post Hockenheim was against team orders when the driver asked to hand over track position has a mathematical chance of winning. But have team orders now been allowed? The ruling was to maintain the steward penalty, but said there was insufficient evidence to punish Ferrari further, and the matter would be re-examined (*interpreted* to mean the ruling would be dropped).

            But there are two points: (1) As far as I can tell, you’re assuming that team orders will go unpunished or receive ‘minimal’ punishment (the same as a Ferrari fine); but (2) Vettel can still win, a fairly good chance with an Alonso DNF in fact. So it does contradict your early argument, I think. But maybe I’m missing something.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 16:52

            The ruling was to maintain the steward penalty, but said there was insufficient evidence to punish Ferrari further

            No, you’re confusing what Jean Todt said about the hearing with what was actually decided by the WMSC:

            This clearly interfered with the results of the race, and with Mr Fernando Alonso standing on the podium for first place, when his team mate had slowed to allow him to pass, was in the Judging Body of the WMSC’s view prejudicial to the interest of the motor sport and contrary to article 151 (c) of the [International Sporting Code]. It is important for the FIA to act to protect the sporting integrity of the FIA Formula One world championship, and ensure the podium finish has been achieved by genuine on track racing.

            From: Full WMSC decision: Ferrari used team orders but shouldn’t be punished

          • David BR said on 26th October 2010, 17:20

            Okay, thanks for pointing that out Keith. So let’s accept the WMSC should be taken to mean team orders are effectively allowed. But why should that change your earlier position? Shouldn’t Red Bull let Vettel race? And what about the wider point that ‘team orders’ requires the drivers to accept them? Massa did, Vettel I imagine won’t (partly because he knows he’ll be backed by Helmut Marko at least). And finally, I disagree that in Red Bull’s case it’s necessarily the best strategy to back Webber totally, at least before we know the qualifying positions and weather conditions at Interlagos.

          • William Wilgus said on 27th October 2010, 12:45

            Well Keith, you’re arguing that it’s wrong for a team to specify race results during a race, but it’s okay to do so before the race. That is hypocritical.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2010, 12:50

            I haven’t said anything of the sort.

          • William Wilgus said on 27th October 2010, 14:14

            It’s essentially the same thing to concentrate on, or favor, one driver over the other.

      • Exactly what CLK_GTR just said.

        And Button is also mathematically in contention for the Championship.

        The core of your argument against team orders is that all drivers should be able to fight until the end of their chance of winning the WDC. Period.

        And yet here you, albeit very eloquently, make a case for exactly the opposite.

        If you weren’t so zealous about your opposition to team orders, and willing to defend it to the point of ridiculousness then this article would not be hypocritical. :)

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 14:19

        That’s not hypocrisy, that’s pragmatism.

        The rules should forbid teams from using team orders. Up until the WMSC decision it appeared they did.

        At that point the situation changed which was why immediately afterwards I said that Red Bull and McLaren should back one driver.

        Which is what I said in the last two paragraphs.

        • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 14:45

          At that point the situation changed which was why immediately afterwards I said that Red Bull and McLaren should back one driver.

          As I say below it would have been not just wrong but not in the team interest for McLaren or Red Bull to back one drvier before now. Like I say below if Red Bull had moved Vettel over in Japan only for him to have won in Korea they would have looked really stupid.

          This misconception that you seem to believe that we’re going to see a rash of Hockenheim-esque mid-season ‘race fixing’ if team orders were allowed is simply wrong. A team is only going to back one driver over another when it is clear that only one has a realistic chance in the drivers title and not a minute before then.

          Horner and Whitmarsh have avoided backing one driver up until now because it hasn’t been in their interests not out of sportsmanship. When two drivers are closely matched on ability and given equal opportunity, like Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in the first part of the year, you maximise you’re chances until one driver is out of realistic contention. Like Massa in Hockenheim.

          Also saying that Ferrari are benifiting from giving Alonso extra technical and pyschological support is stating the obvious. It’s common sense for team with one driver clearly ahead in the WDC and exactly what McLaren did in 2008.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 14:52

            As I say below it would have been not just wrong but not in the team interest for McLaren or Red Bull to back one drvier before now.

            I don’t agree, that’s why I said so at the time and both Hamilton and Webber would be in stronger positions now if they had.

            Again, don’t get me wrong, I respect them for not doing it and if Vettel or Button somehow end up winning the championship that would be a remarkable achievement.

            But Ferrari getting away with what they did proved the team orders rule was not going to be enforced in any meaningful sense by the FIA and McLaren and Red Bull need to take advantage of it the same way Ferrari have.

          • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 15:16

            Hamilton and Webber would be in stronger positions now if they had.

            That couldn’t have been known by the teams themselves. It would have been ridiculous to back Webber whilst his team mate was driving faster and still very much in contention. The margin was far too fine and one DNF could easily have taken Vettel ahead, likle it nearly did in Korea, at which point they’d wish they hadn’t switched them. Switching when your drivers are so close isn’t worthwhile. Backing Webber could quite easily have caused them to be in a weaker position.

            The contrast with Ferrari was that 1 or 2 DNFs for Alonso might have allowed Massa to catch up with Alonso but it would have killed Ferrari’s WDC hopes. There was no way it switching could have weakened their position.

          • Joey-Poey said on 26th October 2010, 17:01

            When two drivers are closely matched on ability and given equal opportunity, like Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in the first part of the year, you maximise you’re chances until one driver is out of realistic contention. Like Massa in Hockenheim.

            The problem with this argument is considering the amount of points recuperated by Alonso since Hockenheim, couldn’t have Felipe been back in the running as well with proper team backing? Even if team orders are here, it’s still poor sportsmanship and unfair to the fans. Racing never was and never will be a team sport in the same sense as other sports. Each driver and their surrounding crew are in a sense their OWN team. Team orders in F1 are more akin to an owner owning two baseball teams and asking one to take a loss to help the other get into the post season playoffs. I guarantee you the crowd watching that game wouldn’t be happy either.

        • Rohan said on 26th October 2010, 14:47

          “The rules should forbid teams from using team orders. Up until the WMSC decision it appeared they did.”

          Didn’t stop McLaren using them in 2008 though, did it.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 15:03

            What McLaren did then (and, for that matter, BMW at Montreal in the same year) was clearly not the same as telling one driver who beaten another for 40-odd laps to sacrifice a win he deserved. We’ve covered this particular dead-end of the debate many times already.

          • Astonished said on 26th October 2010, 20:18

            @Keith

            But then a win in a race is more important than the WDC, so if Button beats Hamilton for 40 laps at Interlagos the he shouldn’t let Lewis pass, despite all your previous arguments. Should he??

        • Fixy (@fixy) said on 26th October 2010, 16:52

          Of course no one should use team orders. But if one team uses them, the others would be in a disadvantage if they didn’t too. I would prefer a legal championship but if somebody uses team orders then everyone else should too to have the same hopes of winning.

        • hypocrisy=pragmatism

        • Markus said on 27th October 2010, 6:05

          Pragmatism? now it’s semantics. Yes you are being a hypocrite. You came down hard on Alono and Ferrari yet now you condone it for RedBull and McLaren.

          As others have noted you didn’t bitch last year when Kimi let Massa by. So be honest your being a hypocrite.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2010, 8:18

            You came down hard on Alono and Ferrari yet now you condone it for RedBull and McLaren.

            So do you think that, even though the FIA has let Ferrari do it, they should not let Red Bull and McLaren do it?

            That would be hypocrisy.

            As others have noted you didn’t bitch last year when Kimi let Massa by.

            You mean the year before last. And as I pointed out (and plenty of others agreed) given that Massa was out of the running for the championship at that point I thought that was reasonable.

          • Casanova (@casanova) said on 27th October 2010, 15:24

            But the FIA didn’t let Ferrari do it, they upheld the existing punishment. The rule banning team orders which affect the outcome of a race remains in place.

            [naivety]
            Whether or not they are still banned or not, I believe that McLaren and Red Bull shun team orders out of a sense of fairness and decency.
            [/naivety]

        • RaulZ said on 27th October 2010, 10:09

          Ok, keith, now there’s a FIA decision that “allows” team orders, as you say, but every team that used it and every driver involved should be abashed at the press conference and media, as Alonso had to stand. And of course, these dirver’s merits would be put in doubt.

          That would be fair.

        • We are back to the old argument , that is everyone is quick to blame Ferrari for anything and everything they possibly can , but will find some excuse to condone or even suggest McLaren and now Red Bull should do the same. So , a bit off the topic now , but I feel I have to congratulate Ferrari (and Alonso) , whether they win WDC or don’t , just to have a driver leading it at this stage against a car with the potential of Red Bull and taking the most pole positions this season , has to ultimately reflect on Ferrari’s ability to manage a winning strategy towards the WDC far surpasses that of other teams.

          • Marcello said on 30th October 2010, 14:27

            I can’t believe there are soooo many of you that think the same as me. I cant understand some of keiths articles honest..

      • Ali33 said on 26th October 2010, 19:36

        Great U-turn article Keith, but it is more like a full-spin, just avoid the gravel trap in the pit entrance…push push push…where is my crane truck???

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 19:46

          Great U-turn article Keith

          I made the same argument in the two articles linked at the bottom of this one.

          • Ali33 said on 27th October 2010, 19:20

            Those two articles make it parabolica, if not U-turn.

            When a non-McLaren F1-team employs team orders to help a non-Lewis driver, you call it “manipulated race”. When you think McLaren needs them to help Hamilton, you call it “bow to the inevitable and back one driver”.

            Some similarity-at least in the title- wishes the reader…

      • spectator said on 26th October 2010, 19:42

        just want to say that isnt mclaren already making their best to favour ham following the suzuka gp? redbull are trying to see if vettel can win the all team is on vettel side you see that by the way he is supported by helmut by dietrish and even horner

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 19:53

          just want to say that isnt mclaren already making their best to favour ham following the suzuka gp?

          If they are, why did they let Button finish in front of him?

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 27th October 2010, 12:58

            They didn’t let him finish ahead of Hamilton, Hamilton was going approximately 3-4 secs a lap slower due to his gearbox problem. If Hamilton wouldn’t have moved over Jenson would have taken him anyways.

      • is more then that

      • William Wilgus said on 27th October 2010, 14:10

        Favoring, or concentrating on, one drive over the other is essentially the same thing

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 13:57

      Keith isn’t being hypocritical, he’s not saying he thinks team orders are right, just that Red Bull and McLaren should use them since Ferrari are

      • Yes, and at the same time making out that not having Massa competing against him, Alonso has gained some huge unfair advantage.

        That is patently false. The closest Massa has been to Alonso in the last few races is the pit before going out onto the grid!

        • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 14:11

          yer I disagree with Keith completely on this but I think there a bigger holes in his team orders argument than that

          • Well yeah!

            The biggest one is that we have always had team orders, and always will. So really we should *all* just move on!

            But then this is quite fun, and does fill the time wonderfully until the next race. :)

            I have 50 email update notifications since I last posted here!!!

          • Why should we move on? Just because teams spend millions of dollars on the cars doesn’t mean good sportsmanship should be neglected…

            The rule shouldn’t exist, because there shouldn’t be a need for it.

          • Marcello said on 30th October 2010, 14:32

            I too disagree totally with keith on this one

      • baracca said on 26th October 2010, 14:45

        Not a good argument. Something like: There are certainly murderers around, so let’s all happily murder.

        The problem is that the rule about TO is unrealistic, it should be seriously rewritten or simply disposed of.

        • LewisC said on 26th October 2010, 17:00

          There are certainly murderers around, so let’s all happily murder.

          Well, some might say by deliberately flouting a written law Ferrari have got away with murder…

          As with all “rules” in racing, the teams are trying with every braincell they have to bend the rules to the limit to gain an advantage. The FIA have effectively confirmed that breaking this rule will not be punished, and yet RBR and McL are strangely reticent about breaking it: it’s very odd.

      • Keith is absolutely right. You people set aside your dying hard love of your favorite but lossing drivers. We are talking here about strategy and winning!!

        • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 26th October 2010, 22:57

          Right.

          I interpret it that Keith is simply implying, at this stage in the game, it is completely understandable to favour one driver over the other. The Ferrari debacle in Hockenheim was mid-season.

          Now however, we are at a critical stage where WDC’s can be won or lost instantly, and to be frank, the drivers have had a whole season to better their team mate – if they’re behind, they’ve at least had a good shot at it.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2010, 0:19

            I interpret it that Keith is simply implying, at this stage in the game, it is completely understandable to favour one driver over the other. The Ferrari debacle in Hockenheim was mid-season.

            That’s not what I’m saying.

            What I am saying – which I said straight after the WMSC decision and again last month – is that as the WMSC have shown they will not enforce the ban on team orders, Red Bull and McLaren should use them otherwise they’re failing to exploit the advantage Ferrari are using and risking their chance of winning the championship.

          • Ronman said on 27th October 2010, 10:27

            Doesn’t anybody understand what they read anymore… Keith’s opinion is very clear on the issue.

            in spirit he is against team orders, in effect, and particularly since the WMSC okaid them, he is implying that the other teams should at least consider using them this year to their own benefit, since one team already did, and by doing so proved that the no-team order rule will not ever be enforced.

            simple… no hypocrisy, no u-turn, spin, nada… just pure sense and logic…

            a person’s opinion can remain unchanged but his view on a particular mater relating to that opinion to any degree can change depending on circumstances, that is Objectivity…

            for me personally, I’m against team orders, and I think Hokenheim was disgusting, but looking at the championship without putting my emotion in, and thinking how the teams should manage it, i would say the same thing. RBR and McLaren would have to back one driver over the other if they want to have the same chances to winning the drivers title as Alonso…this will also boost their constructor’s title chance… but personally i would love to see webber breakthrough and pick up that trophy against the odds, that way F1 as a SPORT will be the ultimate winner…

          • Ronman said on 27th October 2010, 10:28

            correct me if I’m wrong Keith…

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2010, 10:29

            Yep that’s it :-)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th October 2010, 21:47

      Why is this hypocritical? Keith avidly disapproves of allow Team orders like in Germany (I agree on that), but after Ferrari used them and only got a light slap on the wrist for it (only keeping up the relatively mild monetary fine the stewards imposed), this changed the balance of the Championship.

      In this new situation, the other teams lower their chances of getting the WDC for one of their drivers when they do not use this option to get their best positioned driver the best equipment, strategy and have the other one in a supporting role.

    • So, you’re saying McLaren should screw Button over even more than they already have? Maybe they could call him in for a pitstop on lap 1? That would help Louise.

      Meanwhile, Red Bull has not declared a number one only because Vettle does not have more points, otherwise, it would be game over for Webber. Duh.

      • janet talbot said on 30th October 2010, 12:00

        maclaren have never screwed button rather they have screwed lewis,lewis is a better,faster driver than button,when button joined mcl it was on the understanding that they went all out to support button to win the world championship,button is big headed,spoilt and arrogant,lewis is not,lewis is by far the nicer person

    • Marcello said on 30th October 2010, 14:13

      totally agree with you on that one mate…u r right 1000%

  2. I think McLaren will support Lewis but I not sure that RedBull will support Webber. I posted this on my FB this morning:

    RedBull need to back Webber for the next two races or they risk loosing the championship to Alonso. Hamilton can win but he would have to win both races with Alonso coming no more than 3rd in one race and 4th in the other.

    • David BR said on 26th October 2010, 16:09

      Precisely. Whatever the arguments for and against team orders, I think it’s already decided: Button will probably back Hamilton (unless catastrophe hits Alonso and Webber early on) and Vettel will definitely race Webber as normal, at least at Interlagos.

      The question is whether they’ll be right. I think so. Why? Because firstly on current form Vettel has far more chance of getting pole. So he has more chance of controlling the race – for Webber if need be. Second, depending on weather conditions, Vettel is a safer bet in the wet. And an Alonso DNF and Vettel win puts them level, after all, going into Abu Dhabi (with Webber ahead if he takes second or third, say). That way they have two drivers with great chances in the final race.

      As for McLaren, I think they’ll just count on Button doing the decent thing. But what they *really* need him to do is up the performance and get between Hamilton and Alonso. Some doing.

    • Randy said on 27th October 2010, 0:33

      Agreed. With Button it’s a no brainer. The Red Bull situation is much more complicated with implications beyond this season.

    • janet talbot said on 30th October 2010, 12:04

      they are not supporting lewis because button has refused to do this (see my post above to prove the point i made in it).

  3. Chris P said on 26th October 2010, 13:39

    Totally agree. Not including Korea, the 3 races previous could have seen at least 12 points more for Webber had Vettel slowed to let him pass. He would be leading the WDC by a point still rather than trailing Alonso.

    • And if they had manufactured the situation previously how stupid would they have looked had Seb’s engine not cruelly packed it in while he was on track to take the lead of the championship after Webber had turfed his car into the wall?

    • you are absolutely right Chris P. If the bull adopt ferrari style they are not a lossers.

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 27th October 2010, 9:15

      Had Webber have known Vettel would let him past later in the race it would be unlikely that Webber would have been pushing as hard as he was to catch up as well.
      It’s not just the points you gain, but it changes the whole mindset.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 26th October 2010, 13:41

    I’m a vocal opponent of team orders, but there is a method to my madness. I believe the FIA should allow them under certain conditions: namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship. If Ferrari issued team orders to Massa tomorrow and he moved over to let Alonso through, then I would be fine with it. It’s when a driver has to sacrifice his own championship bid for the sake of another that I have a problem with it. When you get to the end of a season and there is a driver who can win the championship but needs some results to go his way to make it happen, thn I’m also okay with it.

    Anyway, hopefully Red Bull will come to their senses and have Vettel back Webber. I can’t for the life of me imagine that Vettel would think it is a good idea to try and win the title, especially if Webber is still in the hunt. It simply doesn’t make sense for him, because he needs Alonso to have a bad run, which the Ferrari driver hasn’t done since Spa (though as no driver has won a race while leading them championship, I’m betting Alonso will need an engine change in Brazil). Red Bull need to back Webber, but they also need Vettel to agree to it. It’s not going to go down too well if Vettel pulls a Didier Pironi at San Marino 1982 on us …

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 14:02

      namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship.

      Red Bull will come to their senses and have Vettel back Webber.

      I was going through the same thing with Keith yesterday, these two positions are contradictory. I understand that Red Bull backing Vettel would be far more acceptable to most people than Hockenheim, but under a rule that says “no team orders unitll one driver is mathematically out of contention” it would still be illegal.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 14:14

        I’ll rephrase that, supporting a rule that bans team orders with the “mathematical caveat” would make illegal the entirely sensible and acceptable use of team orders open to McLaren in Brazil.

        • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 26th October 2010, 14:33

          One immediate problem I foresee with the “mathematical caveat” is this:

          Suppose Webber leads the Brazilian Grand Prix with Button second and Hamilton third. (For simplicity, assume Alonso and Vettel are already out of the race). If the race ended like this, Webber would lead the championship with 245 points, with Hamilton 20 behind on 225 and Button on 207. In this case Button is out of the championship, so Martin Whitmarsh gets on the radio and says to Jenson, “Lewis. Is faster. Than. You.” Button waves Hamilton past, so now Lewis would finish with three extra points and Button three less, but he is out of the championship anyway so it doesn’t matter so much.

          But then suppose Webber breaks down, Lewis wins and Button is second. Now Jenson is out of the championship as he has 207 points compared to Lewis’ 235. But had they maintained their original positions, Button would have 214 points and Alonso would lead with 231 – so Button would still be within striking distance of the championship.

          In other words, Button was mathematically out of the championship when the switch was pulled, had things stayed the same. But things didn’t stay the same, and as they turned out he would still have been in contention without team orders.

          Now, put yourself in the stewards’ room. What do you do?

          It’s for reasons like this that I think a “mathematical caveat,” as you term it, is unworkable. You can’t cover every situation that can possibly arise. The best solution therefore is to have either a blanket ban on team orders (properly enforced), or allow the teams to structure their team strategy as they see fit. Given the problems with enforcing the former, I’d opt for the latter.

          • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 14:51

            points don’t get handed out officially until the end of the race, therefore the mathematical caveat would have to apply to the drivers points standings efore the start of the gp, not hypothetical – during.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th October 2010, 15:03

            The solution is simple: wait until the last corner of the race.

            Of course, Webber might then be disqualified for some technical breach, but no system is watertight.

            This is all if you want a mathematical caveat, of course.

          • Ragerod said on 26th October 2010, 15:49

            But the issue for Button is that he needs to win the last two races and for a catalogue of mishaps to occur to the other four contenders. If Hamilton won the last two races he’d only require Alonso to miss the podium and he’d be champ.

    • I thoroughly agree with you. Unless both teams elect a favorite, they are likely to hand the title to Alonso, which, we all know, is a very keen and determined.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 26th October 2010, 16:49

      namely, when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship. If Ferrari issued team orders to Massa tomorrow and he moved over to let Alonso through, then I would be fine with it.

      Agree completely. That is why I don’t think it would be right for Red Bull to back Webber over Vettel now, as Vettel still holds a small possibility of winning the title. I would only be prepared to go against my word if for example Webber was in 8th and Vettel in 7th with Alonso ahead of the two of them. In that case, they should let Webber pass Vettel so he can get some very handy extra points, as anything other than a win is not really going to be good enough for Sebastian now – whereas every single point is handy for Webber. If Vettel was leading in Interlagos, with Webber second, then it would be a different story, they should let Vettel win because it would help his championship bid greatly. If they were to let Webber through in this case – it would be lunacy, because Vettel would have a good shot at the World Driver’s Championship if he won – hence both drivers should be treated equal.

      On another note, Brazil is going to have to be a lacklustre round for Alonso or he has all but secured it… I am genuinely frightened.

    • As much as I would like to see Mark Webber win the championship, I wouldn’t want to see him win it because Vettel moved aside. I’d much prefer to see him win because he can legitimately beat Vettel and Alonso. If Webber doesn’t win it’s because he’s made some mistakes this year, such as the European Grand Prix, and the Korean Grand Prix. Just because other people are willing to ignore the rules, doesn’t make it right.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 27th October 2010, 0:54

      when only one driver within a team stands a mathematical chance of winning a championship

      There’s one problem with that. Let’s say that Webber and Vettel have a pile-up in the Brazilian grand prix, forcing them to retire. Button is leading the wet race in front of Kubica and Hamilton. It’s drying up, so with 10 laps to go Button and Kubica decide to pit, whereas Hamilton has already pitted and is 40 seconds behind. Kubica is only five seconds behind Button. Alonso is back in 10th position, not looking likely to gain or lose a position.

      So, if it stays like that til the end of the race, we have ALO 231, HAM 225, WEB 220, BUT 214, and VET 206 (already out of the contention, as he has 3 wins to Alonso’s 5).

      But if Kubica would win the race with Button in second, it would put him out of the contention for the championship, hence allowing McLaren to use team orders, which could help Hamilton get the title (if there’s any way of Button actually being in front of Hamilton in Abu Dhabi). Would McLaren make a mistake during Button’s pit stop on purpose to let Kubica win, just to be allowed to use team orders?

      It’s not the best example, as McLaren would need all the points they can get for the constructors championship, and it’s unlikely they’d throw away a victory.

      But something similar to this could actually happen with such rule.

  5. Refusing to back a sngl driver may be these teams’ undoing, but what about the mistakes that have kept the points race close in the first place?

    The drama is nice and all, but when the season is over, I will not feel like the winner deserves to be champion on account of all the miscues.

  6. Felix said on 26th October 2010, 13:47

    Oh I’m sure RB would be backing Vettel if the positions were reserved..

    • Zahir said on 26th October 2010, 14:52

      I agree entirely. I was just checking to see if anyone else said the same thing because im 100% sure that if Vettel was ahead of Webber by 14 points they would tell him to back Vettel. Marks had to do it the hard way this season

      • Exactly. With the points lost by Webber at Turkey & Melbourne due to RBR & their strategy calls, he might have already had the WDC wrapped up by now. Vettel has been favoured by the team all year and he still hasn’t managed to really be in contention at the pointy end of the year, or even lead the ladder. RBR need to re-assess whether or not continuing to put all their eggs in Vettel’s basket is the best use of their time.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 26th October 2010, 13:52

    Credit to both McLaren and RBR so far for not exploiting the precedent Ferrari set in Germany. It makes for a more interesting title race..even if it proves to be their downfall at Interlagos/Yas Marina.

    McLaren should really look to Hamilton now and RBR should, as Horner says, treat them as equal.

    It’s going to be messy should Alonso clinch it by lets say…7 points or less?

    I don’t agree with the whole ‘it ruins the spectacle’ jibe that gets thrown around once a whiff of a team order gets out..it’s part of the sport, a team sport. While you can argue it orchestrates the title race it’s just another dimension to the sport where a decision is made for the benefit of the team which is all important for the Constructors Title cash (though not the case with Ferrari on this occasion). I don’t think they should make a mockery of the fans however but under high pressure situations I think I can forgive them.

  8. Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 13:55

    If Red Bull and McLaren were in any doubt of the advantages of throwing their championship efforts behind one driver, Fernando Alonso’s rise from fifth place before the German Grand Prix to championship leader should cause them to re-evaluate their approach.

    Not once since Germany has Alonso benifited from Massa’s help. Alonso has gained a total of 7 points from Massa’s help this year.

    I agree that McLaren now must back Hamilton, who’s chances are already slim (not unlike Alonso’s in Germany) over Button who’s realistically out of contention (like Massa in Germany)

    I think the Red Bull case is slightly more complicated because its not stretching credibility that Vettel could win back 25 points whilst drving the fastest car.

    This is the first stage in the season where it would have been sensible for Red Bull to even consider the use of team orders (with the exception of a self preserving “hold station” at Turkey), if they’d switched the drviers in Japan for example and Vettel hadn’t blown up in Korea they’d have looked really stupid.

    The same goes for McLaren, I don’t think it would have been in McLaren’s interests to back Hamilton before now when it’s become clear Button was out of the running. Backing a driver too early can also be problematic should the driver who’s been backed suffer a couple of DNFs and you wish you could get the points back.

    • Steph said on 26th October 2010, 14:05

      Massa may not have helped Alonso since Germany but there are other benefits; presumably Alonso’s getting all the upgrades first if their isn’t two available and having all the resources behind one driver can help just with psychology never mind actual benefits. So yes being the centre of focus probably has helped in other ways in my mind even if Massa hasn’t really assisted.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 26th October 2010, 14:07

        I agree, but its not really the same as team orders. Giving Alonso the upgrades/ better strategy is just common sense given the WDC positions

        • Steph said on 26th October 2010, 16:35

          I agree, but its not really the same as team orders.

          I agree and I never said it was I was just referring to the benefits of backing one driver extend beyond team orders.

          Also, thank you Keith for getting the code buttons back for block quotes etc.

      • If you go down that route then Vettel was the number 1 driver when he was getting Webber’s front wing after breaking his. And team orders were in effect way back then.

        • dyslexicbunny said on 26th October 2010, 17:12

          Technically those aren’t team orders. That is driver favoritism which is perfectly allowed. In my opinion, favoritism is all equipment-based while team orders are racing-based. I realize that equipment effects the race outcome but as Webber showed in Silverstone, equipment doesn’t always matter.

          But as long as everyone involved knows that one driver is the preferred guy, then I’m fine with it. Teams should be allowed to run themselves as they see fit in that regard. What I didn’t like was the Ferrari and Red Bull situations where it was obvious but perhaps not made official.

      • David BR said on 26th October 2010, 16:48

        I agree with Steph here. The effect is psychological, it’s evidently what Alonso needs (and what Massa doesn’t need!) He’s not a racer who needs to be pushed by his team mate: he needs to feel ‘special’ (an observation more than a condemnation). Which is why I’m stuck wondering why 2011 will be any better for Felipe at Ferrari. Particularly if Alonso gets the championship.

    • Exactly. Ironically Ferrari’s team orders (if you discount the points in Germany) may (and I say may because Massa is an unknown quantity at best) only benefit Alonso in the last two races. Just the same as the other teams *may* get some help from their “number 2″.

    • The team orders in Hock were clearly against the rules.

      That is why people are upset, The WMSC concluded that Ferrari did use team orders, but decided not to punish them. Schumacher got penalised for squeezing Rubens, as he should, Sutil was penalised for his collision last race, as he should. But Ferrari got away with it. Team orders may have been used in the past, But Ferrari demonstrably used them, and should have been penalised for that, as it was against the rules, at the time they used them.

      Team orders are still against the rules, and I hope the FIA wakes up to the fact that rules are made to be kept, not to be used as “guidelines”.

      • baracca said on 26th October 2010, 14:51

        Well, there was a punishment. Ridiculous if you will, but still there was one

      • The team order rule will be gone next year. No matter what a few fans say….almost, if not, every team says they want to get rid of the rule….

        • Electrolite said on 26th October 2010, 22:34

          I think, to be honest, at this stage of the game, it’s fine for a team to go look, we’re going to have to back one driver now. I think people were against Alonso as it was mid season, but if RBR were to go to Webber and Mclaren to Hamilton I would see it as completely understandable.

  9. calum said on 26th October 2010, 13:57

    I think Mclaren and Jenson know that if lewis is going to win it the team need to push hard and jenson still needs to perform well…meaning that secretly they will be supporting Lewis but will be doing everything they can to get jenson up there taking points away from rivals without hurting lewis in anyway.

  10. Button’s point situation is very similar to Räikkönens in 2007. If he takes 2 wins and Alonso finishes 7:th once and DNF’s once, Button will beat Alonso with 1 point.

    • Zahir said on 26th October 2010, 15:04

      Not at all similar. Theres 4 other drivers who could take it this year. Under your scenario Webber would need 18 points from both races to win, thats a second place.

  11. innim said on 26th October 2010, 14:04

    I think that ordering a team-mate to pull over is wrong, no matter where they are in the championship. The world champion should be a person who is the best racer, not the person with a team-mate willing to pull over. Its fine to tell a driver not to defend too much, but telling them to actually pull over is too much. As a devoted Lewis Hamilton fan, i’d rather webber won the championship than Lewis win after hearing “Jenson, Lewis is faster than you. Please confirm you understood this message.”

    • Well said! (comment is to short)

    • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 15:02

      As a devoted Lewis Hamilton fan…

      And there in itself lies the problem.

      There are two (possibly more) different types of F1 fans, those who support a driver and those who support a team. I’m sure there are many a Mclaren fan that would appreciate hearing the team ask Jens or Hammy to move over if it meant a WDC for the team. I know, I know, the WCC is for the team not the WDC but we all realistically know which one puts the #1 on the front of the car.

      Most Ferrari fans are just that, Ferrari (team) fans and don’t care which driver wins (although I’m sure there’s a preference) as long as they do what is right for the team. The sooner the ‘Driver’ fans except that and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th October 2010, 15:12

        Therein does like the problem.

        Team fans only care if one of their team’s drivers win, because it looks good on the team. Driver fans however want a driver to win because it looks good on him. (There are exceptions of course to both of these generalisations). So to see another driver get preference is to them an unfair advantage.

        So you might as well say “the sooner Team fans accept Driver fans see this as cheapening the main championship and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.”

        In other words, neither set is right, they just have different philosophies.

        • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 15:38

          So you might as well say “the sooner Team fans accept Driver fans see this as cheapening the main championship and move on, the sooner this silly debate will end.”

          Agreed 100%

          Can’t we all just get along!?!

      • DaveW said on 26th October 2010, 17:15

        Most Ferrari fans are… Ferrari fans? This circular reasoning wouldn’t matter if were not the entire premise of your argument.

        And the moral high ground does not happen to lie under those who see puttinng the interest of the particular team you favor forward before one of its drivers.

        To the contrary, I would suggest that that those who are fans of a team and who are thus fans of a team, as it were, very much narrow their enjoyment of the sport if they presume that a drivers are nothing more than at-will staff of a team, so much cannon fodder or disposeable labor, to exhaust to the ends of the team. Fans of drivers, or fans of drivers and teams at the same time, are good people too.

        • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 17:37

          I don’t claim to have the correct opinion or to walk the moral high ground, what I offer is a different perspective and perhaps an understanding as to why some fans may support team orders. At least I understand why others might have opposing opinions and am happy that they can express them freely without being told they are wrong. – I never suggested to Innim that he/she was wrong, just what the other side of the coin might look like and why it might exist.

      • Ragerod said on 27th October 2010, 4:25

        Categorising it as team and driver groups doesn’t make much sense. A Ferrari fan wouldn’t mind which driver won but a die-hard Hamilton fan would want Button to help his chances.

        I think it has more to do with purists and those that idolise drivers compared to the winning is all that matters type of philosophy.

    • Don’t stretch reality to fit your agenda innim, no one at Ferrari “ordered Massa to pull over”. that is not what happened, go watch the race again….

      • no one at Ferrari “ordered Massa to pull over”. that is not what happened

        …. What?

        … Ferrari clearly told Massa to move over. And that is exactly what happened.

        • Sorry Mate, that is NOT what happened. They said…and I quote…”Alonso is faster than you”….where in that statement are the words “pull over”….no where!

          It’s not what they said. We can sit here all day and argue about what they implied, but it is NOT what they said.

          • … … … I can’t believe we still have people saying that… Even the WMSC said they were team orders…

            You don’t think Massa let him past by accident do you?

          • You’re missing the point Mike. Of course they were team orders, but the rule is intentionally vague and not even considered a rule by any of the teams. So what I can’t believe, is that there are still people saying that Ferrari got away with bloody murder and that if alonso wins the title is cheating and blah, blah, blah….get over it, they weren’t given a penalty for a reason, and that reason is not that they are Ferrari and get away with whatever they want.

    • PeriSoft said on 28th October 2010, 6:40

      Moving over? Hah! That’s nothing: back in the ’50s, which people look back on misty-eyed as a time of strong men and honor, Fangio actually -took his teammate’s car-! Team orders have always been around. Racing is a cruel sport – perhaps almost as cruel as figure skating. Complaining about team order now while pining for the time when the drivers were fat and the tires were skinny is -definitely- hypocritical.

  12. Excellent write up, well put.

    • That was to the main article.

      Glad you mentioned it is totally different to 2007

      • I agree good artical, will be intresting to see if vettel or button move over or take an early pitstop to help their team mates.

        I doubt it but mark and lewis need that help!

  13. MercedesBeanz said on 26th October 2010, 14:08

    I think everyone agrees that if Alonso wins the title by any margin less than 7 points, then his victory will be forever tainted and unfair to the other drivers who have struggled and fought against their team mates as well as the other title contenders.

    Mclaren should support Lewis now. He has obviously been out driving the MP4-25, which is clearly not as fast as the ‘flexible’ winged RB6 and Ferrari’s F10.

    Earlier in the season there was much anecdotal evidence to suggest that Mclaren were trying to give a helping hand to Jenson at the expense of Lewis, and they are paying the price now!

    Ferrari have left no one in doubt as to what their strategy is regarding team orders and until the FIA gets its finger out and provide clear regulation on team orders, the Red Bull and Mclaren need to play them at their own game.

    • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 15:07

      I think everyone agrees that if Alonso wins the title by any margin less than 7 points, then his victory will be forever tainted and unfair to the other drivers who have struggled and fought against their team mates as well as the other title contenders.

      For the record, I don’t agree with this and won’t think of the victory as tainted so you should strikeout the ‘everyone agrees’ part.

      If Alonso wins it will prove to me that the team made the right call and that Massa should be looked at as an exceptional member of the Ferrari organization for doing what was needed to bring home another title. I’ll then wash the slate clean and wish him and Alonso best of luck in the championship for 2011.

      • MercedesBeanz said on 26th October 2010, 17:07

        I humbly apologise, I should have said ‘everyone with a sense of fair play, who don’t believe in winning at any cost’. That clearly doesn’t include colossal intellects like yourself :)

        • dyslexicbunny said on 26th October 2010, 17:21

          I guess you didn’t look at the previous comments about team fans and driver fans not seeing eye to eye. But disagreeing with them and calling them an idiot doesn’t strengthen your argument even though I agree with it.

        • Cacarella said on 26th October 2010, 20:31

          I should have said ‘everyone with a sense of fair play, who don’t believe in winning at any cost’.

          Which would not include any of the teams or drivers in F1.

          Cheating, Lying, driving your car into a wall, or sending a team order, they only have
          a sense of fair play when they aren’t caught.

      • DASMAN said on 26th October 2010, 17:22

        I don’t agree either! 100% correct call by Ferrari. It was just too bad Massa/Smedley were such spoiled brats in the way they went about it.

        • baracca said on 26th October 2010, 17:32

          You took it from my keyboard!

          I agree with Caccarella except with “Massa should be looked at as an exceptional member of the Ferrari organization for doing what was needed to bring home another title”. He and Rob should really have done a much better job of it.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2010, 21:08

          It was just too bad Massa/Smedley were such spoiled brats in the way they went about it.

          Isn’t it enough that Massa gave up his win? You can’t reasonably expect him to pretend to be happy about it.

          • Paul McCaffrey said on 27th October 2010, 4:55

            Massa gave up his INTEGRITY, not just the win. He could have won if he had wanted. He could have been a man and said no to the team orders but he moved aside right away. He didn’t resist at all.

            What he did was make it obvious for everyone, as did Smedley, that there was a team order to let Alonso by. He behaved even less tactful at the press conference. He played the victim and wanted the best of both worlds–to collect his check and to be felt sorry for.

            In the press conference he was steaming; he knew he wasn’t in control of his own destiny. He was clearly upset by the situation, but more upset at himself, I imagine. For Alonso to gain 7 points he sacrificed ALL of his integrity.

            Shame on Massa.

    • yea, sorry MercedesBeanz, I don’t see it that way at all. It’s more that it will be justification for the move.

      Its ridiculous to compare the situations at the different teams and make it out that RBR and Mac stand on some moral high ground that Ferrari doesn’t. the difference is that RBR and Mac had 2 drivers that were capable of winning the WDC this year and Ferrari did not (I love Massa, but this isn’t his year).

      Formula 1 has been around a long time. When did you start watching? Team orders have been an integral part of the sport…i.e. doing whatever it takes to win. Only because of Shumacher’s ridiculous dominance did they put this farce of a rule in place. And Ferrari ‘got away with it’ because there was not enough evidence to do anything further. Telling Massa that Alonso is faster is not 100% concrete proof of team orders….but Massa knew what to do and why….if not, he wouldn’t have done it (in other words, Massa agreed that it was over for him).

      So, it’s time to put it behind us just like all the other teams, drivers, and suits in F1 have done…

      • dyslexicbunny said on 26th October 2010, 20:05

        No. Ferrari was found guilty. No further punishment was given because of inconsistency in enforcing the rule. Check out page 7.

        http://drop.io/f1fanatic/asset/4971b47bd01-pdf

        • I didn’t say they weren’t found guilty. the reason they weren’t penalized and therefore ‘got away with it’ like I said in my previous post was because there was inconclusive evidence to justify any further penalty beyond $$$. On top of that, there were inconsistencies with enforcing the rule like you said….

    • Astonished said on 26th October 2010, 20:54

      Paragraph one and two are, er, contradictory??

    • dragon said on 27th October 2010, 4:24

      I most certainly won’t think it’s tainted. If he wins it by less than 7, then Ferrari’s decision is justified a thousand times over. It’s more the Alonso / Ferrari haters (of which there are plenty, I’m aware) who will natter on about the year Alonso bought the WDC. What I’ll remember about it, however, is a driver who backed himself when he was well out of contention, before proceeding to show to the world exactly why he’s a 2X WDC.

      Of course, I’m still hoping that doesn’t happen and Webber finds his mid-season form.

    • HewisLamilton said on 27th October 2010, 17:56

      Obviosly not everyone agrees with the comment on Alonso winning the title by less than 7 ponts, I am still hoping that Alonso wins the WDC by less than 5 points.

  14. Charles Carroll said on 26th October 2010, 14:16

    It would be a shame to spoil such an amazing season by having the championship artificially decided in such a manner. Giving Weebs the title, by having Vettel pull over and allow him past, is about as bush league as it gets, and reminiscent of what happened with Michael years ago (I don’t like that either). If Weebs is to win, let him earn it. If he cannot, it is his own fault.

    • santi said on 26th October 2010, 15:26

      If the prize was given to the drivers alone. That would make sense. But the whole team gets a reward if a driver wins. So, losing a chance to win the WDC just for not asking one driver to help doesn’t make sense.

      How fair would it be for the mechanics to lose out just because one stubborn driver wanted to have a go at the championship and messed up the chances of the other one?

    • MercedesBeanz said on 26th October 2010, 17:11

      Its unavoidable, we were set down this path the day the FI1 allowed Ferrari o get away with that ridiculous place swap at Hokkenheim.

      • wrong, F1 has been this way since it’s beginning and the farce of a rule was added for Bernie’s agenda and ‘better viewing’ (it did get boring watching Shumacher win all the time)

        • MercedesBeanz said on 27th October 2010, 0:02

          Granted, but i was talking about this particular season, in view of the perceived shift in FIA decision making, after the clangers they dropped over the last 3 years.
          Halfway through this season, I began to feel the FIA were getting it right and their ‘ferrari international assistance’ tag was history…Hokenheim showed I was wrong, and it also proves your “better viewing” comment. In the middle of the season ferrari looked in real trouble and i cant help think that the leniency they were shown was the FIA way of ‘improving the show’

  15. Girts said on 26th October 2010, 14:20

    I could agree with you about McLaren. They should focus solely on Hamilton now. Button is too far behind and no he cannot do a “Raikkonen” because a) He has 4 (instead of 2) mega-competitive guys in front of him, including his team mate b) He has only the third fastest car at the moment c) He doesn’t have the momentum and is clearly behind his team mate in terms of performance.

    But I don’t think that RBR should do the same. Vettel has a small but also a real chance of winning the title himself. He has clearly had the upper hand over Webber in the last few races. Telling him to support Webber now would be cruel. Webber has just crashed because of his own mistake, while Vettel lost 25 points because his Renault engine blew up. Giving Webber no 1 status after something like this is simply unfair.

    Imagine the following scenario: Vettel leads the Brasilian GP with Webber 2nd and Alonso 3rd. Vettel lets Webber “pass for the championship”. In the next race, Alonso retires, while Vettel wins and Webber finishes anywhere between 3rd and 8th. Vettel knows that he would have won the championship had he not let Webber pass. Would Vettel understand it? Would his fans and his sponsors understand it? Would it be fair?

    • it’s about risk management though.

      Going with your idea.. If vettel wins brazil, webber 2nd and alonso 3rd.

      Vetel heads into abu dhabi 15 points off the plot. Presuming alonso doesn’t retire (much more likely), alonso would have to finish at best 6th while vettel would have to win.

      That is stupid, especially if the ferrari is better than the mclaren around abu dhabi or atleast better than button. What’s going to happen then?
      YOu can honestly be expecting Vettel to win, webber 2nd, hamilton 3rd, button 4th and kubica 5th ALL TO BE ABLE to hold off a charing alonso? That is stupidly rediuclos.

      Or even worse, if Abu dhabi is more of a playground for ferrari than red bull. Then we see webber down by 8, vettel 15. One pit stop shot to get 1 driver passed alonso. It can’t work. 1st > 2nd is 7 points. Alonso wins by coming 2nd.

      btw I believe webber should win in brazil.. He loves the track, does much betteer there than vettel, has won there, and is all fired up. He drives better when he is out to prove hes the best, back against the wall (i.e. silverstone or hungary), rather than this ‘defend the lead’ like the past few races.

      Team heirachy also bends further in. The newey designed brakes were a lower (weight centered) system better for webber becaues hes big, but harder to get right. Vettel couldn’t work them. THey are better for vettel now. The blown diffuser originally designed was hard to work. WEbber drove around it and it made vettel very uneasy in corners. It has now been changed. IF both are chucked back into original design webber mode, and webber gets quali positioning and a rear gunner from vettel then he is pretty much guarenteed to take the title. Webber would lead out of brazil and they then have one driver with the best red bull can give him to do what he has to do.

    • Red Bull call Webber into the pits with a non-existent “brake problem” three laps from the end, so that Vettel can take the title instead of Webber. Vettel’s engine then (inevitably) goes bang on the last lap, leaving Hamilton (who had finished 4th in Brazil) to take the 25 points and win the title by 1 point from Alonso…

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