Team orders ban scrapped for 2011

2011 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2010

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2010

The FIA has scrapped the rule banning team orders from the FIA Sporting Regulations.

As of next year the rule stating “team orders which interfere with the result of a race” will no longer apply.

A statement released by the FIA said:

The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted.

Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and any other relevant provisions

Ferrari were found to have used team orders during this year’s German Grand Prix.

But the World Motor Sport Council stopped short of imposing a penalty that would have stripped the team or its drivers of points.

Do you agree with the FIA lifting the team orders ban?

  • Yes, teams should be allowed to use team orders (54%)
  • No, teams should not be allowed to use team orders (46%)

Total Voters: 1,264

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159 comments on Team orders ban scrapped for 2011

  1. If there is no ban on team orders what is the good of emphasizing rule 151C?

    How can anyone be punished for “violating” a rule that is no longer a rule????

    “Felipe, get your ass out of the way and allow Alonso to pass”, would no longer be punishable. Are the FIA now going to regulate the manner in which team orders are issued????

    Even more ridiculous than the ban on team orders, IMHO. What next, will the FIA issue a set pre-approved phrases for the teams to use in issuing team orders to fool the uninformed about what is really going on during the race?

    • DeadManWoking said on 10th December 2010, 18:20

      It seems to me that the reference to 151c is targetting Teams that lie to the public, race officials and the FIA about what they have done. Team orders are no longer banned and given Todt’s previous statement that he is in favor of their use as long as it is done openly and the FIA’s previous punishments under 151c, it is Teams that use Team Orders surreptitiously and then lie about it that will be under scrutiny.

      • bosyber said on 10th December 2010, 19:01

        I suppose so – but given Todt’s comments about Barrichello and Massa making it so clear they didn’t like it, I worry slightly that it would have meant Smedley and Massa would have gotten a penalty under the rule because they didn’t go along silently. (Even before anyone at Ferrari started denying it was a case of TO.)

    • But that would be punishable. All the bad language in that sentence would surely be judged to be bringing the sport into disrepute, justifying a ban from the sport for Ferrari :-D

  2. Victor. said on 10th December 2010, 18:16

    Making team orders legal is like saying ‘we know everybody cheats at exams, but since we can’t really stop students from doing so at every occasion, let’s make it even easier for them by legalising it.’

    Up to now the ‘spirit of the rules’ put the driver above the team. I for one think that’s good, as fans are primarily interested in the drivers rather than teams. Yes, teams did everything in their power to reverse that order, but at least in theory the ban made it risky to do so. Hence why Ferrari should get penalised for what they did in Hockenheim – they could have handled it differently, but they did not. They made it obvious that Massa was merely an employee rather than an equal who signed a contract which is based on mutual co-operation.

    The scrapping of the team order ban takes away the last bit of a driver’s autonomy in a sport that is primarily about driving. Effectively he is now fixed on the Great Chain of Being as an inferior to the team.

    • I agree with this wholeheartedly. Its saddens me to see that the Sports leaders, the FIA, basically have no ‘cojones’ to enforce a rule to promote the spirit of fair competition, which is what racing is about I think.
      Just another black-eye for Formula1. I just wish we fans had more of an influence on how things were run in the sport.

    • tharris19 said on 12th December 2010, 16:00

      The scrapping of the team order ban takes away the last bit of a driver’s autonomy in a sport that is primarily about driving.

      The “purist” insist it’s primarily a team sport and drivers are ancillary, therefore, telling drivers to give up a position to their teammate without a fight is their job. How they feel as racers does not matter.

  3. Completely predictable decision – and I’m not convinced this will improve things one bit. I also don’t think this will mean teams won’t lie to the FIA or to the public anymore in regards to team orders. I just expect the lying to shift from “But we didn’t do team orders” to “But we didn’t damage the sport”. Even more so, without a ban in the rules, teams can resume their arguments from 2002 and prior that they just couldn’t possibly be asked to afford risking their drivers race each other. And finally, even if a case warranted disciplinary action from the FIA, teams can parade around stating that there is no rule saying they shouldn’t issue team orders, so they see no reason to be punished for it.

  4. Bella Combs said on 10th December 2010, 18:41

    Really disappointed to see this out come. Switching driver like that makes a mockery of racing. Surely if a driver is doing well he should be encouraged and congratulated not knocked back because it might help the other driver win the championship and better for the team. Each driver should be treated equally in my opinion.

  5. sumedh said on 10th December 2010, 18:41

    An expected decision. When Todt said, he is okay with TO, not okay with lying, it was clear this was going to happen.

    What is unexpected is that more than 50% of votes are in favor of Team orders. I think this is a sign that the viewer hates being lied to under the pretext of ‘save fuel, save brakes, save engine’ more than he hates a swap of places between drivers. Which I think is good.

    F1 is an intelligent sport, and such a sport should not make a fool of its fans. And above all, F1 is a team sport.
    Most F1 pundits agree that F1 these days is 90% car, 10% driver. So, if teams decide that they want Team orders, there is very little drivers can do anything about it. Yes, drivers are what bring popularity to the sport, but it is the teams who put in all the precious money. And the stakeholder must get to decide who benefits most out of its money.

    • +1. Nail on head, really.

    • tharris19 said on 12th December 2010, 16:18

      Then it’s not a sport it’s a business. With that in mind, it will gradually lose it’s market appeal, then it’s television contracts, and finally it’s paying customers, highend and workers. All that will be left is the Tifosi.

  6. Tiomkin said on 10th December 2010, 18:43

    ‘A sport that is impossible to police?’

    Welcome to Pro Wrestling, anything goes. I look forward to following ‘Pro F1′ next year.

    The FIA is a joke.

  7. Didnt Button say if team orders ban were to be lifted, he’d quit formula 1? :-?

    • Manuel said on 10th December 2010, 19:39

      Good opportunity for Nico Hulkenberg to race next season. :)… naaahhh… I don’t think Jenson has the balls to stick with his words

  8. The FIA can’t police it so they have decided to allow team orders.

  9. team

    — n
    1. a group of people organized to work together

    Team Sport

    A team sport includes any sport which involves players working together towards a shared objective.

    Sense has prevailed.

    • Joey-Poey said on 10th December 2010, 19:59

      The shared objective being the WDC for Alonso? That’s a pretty crappy deal for Massa. Would you really want to compete like that? Working as a team so that only one of you gets the reward? Sorry, but if it’s a team sport in that way, then the WDC title would be shared between both drivers. Doesn’t work like that, though.

      • Interesting bias in your post there.

        Working as a team in F1 could manifest itself in the form of avoiding collision, as Webber & Vettel failed to do in Turkey. It might also manifest itself in the preference for one driver over another such as the preference that was given to Vettel over Webber in Britain.

        Being a number two in a top team is only a bad deal if you’re faster than your team mate. If you’re not then you might as well count yourself lucky that you will get the chance to win a GP or two and drive a nice car which is more than most F1 drivers can say.

        Lets not kid ourselves, Massa is not in the same league as Alonso. That much was evident in their respective rookie seasons let alone now.

        F1 is a team sport.

    • The shared objective or target here is the WCC. That is what they are working together to take. The WDC should be all down to the individual driver not about having a good rear gunner to keep the other drivers at bay while he storms to victory.

  10. matt88 said on 10th December 2010, 19:43

    i think it was the best option, although i don’t love TO.
    Team orders have more ethical than legal impact, it’s like ‘fair play’ in football. Public opinion is much more effective than article 39.1, in my view, so it was meaningless to keep that, considering the easy way a TO could be hidden behind code words. i believe the blatant “Fernando-is-faster-than-you” order was meant by Ferrari in order to reach this political result.

  11. Manuel said on 10th December 2010, 19:44

    F1 isn’t a sport, it’s a show business. An activity where all the sportmen can’t compete between them for an individual trophy (the wdc) can’t be called a sport.

    • Robert said on 12th December 2010, 2:26

      I agree, I’ve always thought of F1 as a spectacle or a “show” as you put it. All the years of trying to mould it into a sport failed. Points scored, WCCs and WDCs dont mean that much to me because its about performances and spectacle, which don’t always result in the conventional reward of points.

  12. Joey-Poey said on 10th December 2010, 19:56

    This is a sad blow. They wonder why some people won’t consider it a sport, yet we hear stuff like the NASCAR officials telling teams not to have team orders so as not to wind up like F1.

    • Valentino said on 10th December 2010, 21:44

      Alonso was faster than Massa the whole season, and in my opinion Massa is in Ferrari because he is a good second driver, not because he will win the WDC. He is not a champion material.
      Alonso said that he was never faster than any team-mate as he was compared to Massa, and from obvious reasons Ferrari pushed Alonso to win fight for the WDC.
      And if Webber was 2nd, Vettel was 1st, Alonso 3rd on the last lap of Abu Dhabi, Vettel would let Webber pass, and that would have been ok for everyone.
      Team orders exist in every team an anyone knows that,…

  13. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 10th December 2010, 20:09

    So Button will quit the sport now right?

  14. Drowsy said on 10th December 2010, 20:32

    Justice is finally made, WELCOME BACK TEAM ORDERS! Now we’ll start seeing some interesting team tactics as it should have always been! Maybe we’ll all stop complaining how boring all races are becoming and start seeing some team mates doing a proper job!

    • Valentino said on 10th December 2010, 21:50

      Totally agree, “welcome back”,..
      This is a team sport where the slower driver helps the faster team mate, always was, and always will be,..(Barichello>Schumacher, Coultard>Hakkinen, Massa>Schumacher, Fisichela>Alonso, Massa>Alonso, Button>Hamilton,…)
      And in the end history remembers winners, not far play,..
      This sport is not about being the best and fastest but winning,…and about money and sponsors,..if there was no Marlboro, Vodafone, Red Bull,…there would not be F1,..so swallow it and watch if you want no one is forcing you,.. ;)

    • Maksutov said on 11th December 2010, 14:03

      Maybe we’ll all stop complaining how boring all races are becoming and start seeing some team mates doing a proper job!

      like slowing down rest of the field on purpose so that the “team mate” can benefit? sorry but i disagree

  15. Of course there might be less need for team orders (of the Ferrari kind) if the ability to overtake is enhanced with KERS and the adjustable rear wing. It will be fun to see more drivers overtaking their team-mates if they are indeed faster.

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