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. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 10th December 2010, 21:47

    A sad day for my personal feelings as an F1 fan. Gimmick overtaking confirmed and now this. The re-introduction into the sport’s rules of allowing unsporting behaviour.

    The arguments in favour of team orders have never had any substance, based as they are on selective romanticism and partisan wishes (it’s no coincidence fans of a certain team appear to be more in favour of team orders than fans in general). They do not add one bit to the excitement of the racing. They do not add done bit to the concept of the fastest guys in the fastest cars duelling it out to be the best – in fact, they detract from it.

    People have and will always continue to hide behind the flimsy cover of “it’s a team sport” to justify their stance. The sport may be organised on a team basis, but that has never given any team the right to interfere with their drivers to manipulate (remember that word, Fernando?) the championship. If they feel they have the right to support one guy more than the other, then they can do that off-track. I have no problem with that. On the track they have no right to say who wins the championship other than by testing their machinery and drivers against other teams’.

    Some will try and tell you that if everyone can do it, it will be balanced out; wrong. Not all F1 races are equal and by sheer circumstance one team may be able to benefit better from using team orders than another. We already have the difference in teams’ performances diluting the quality of the battle between the drivers, why water it down more?

    Some will say it goes on anyway, behind closed doors and it will simply bring it out into the open for scrutiny. Wrong again. Whatever team orders are applied behind closed doors will continue to do so. All this will do is add another kind of team order, so in effect what we are getting is more bad stuff with the teams not one jot more accountable for the stuff they already pull. Others will point to occasions when clear team orders were not punished. Aside from the fact that every post-2002 example is incomparable to the Hockenheim example, involving as they do different circumstances in almost every variant, it seems to me to be the most illogical thing to get rid of a rule the first time it’s actually been implemented successfully.

    I’ve seen this day coming ever since the politically-motivated dereliction of duty by the WMSC, too scared that a meaningful punishment would send Ferrari and their lawyers to the civil courts to drag out the mess and the sport through the mud just so they could get their way, with the other teams quietly acquiescent from their terror of Ferrari opening the (erroneous but still damaging) “what about when Team X did this?” can of worms. It was Todt’s doing that got the rule introduced and the man has been instrumental in having it repealed, but he will not have had to do that much to convince the teams. Today they have handed real fans a giant slap in the face by saying “we know what’s best for the sport, so shut up, pay your licence fees and cable subscriptions, by the tickets and don’t complain when we fiddle with things”. With this and the adjustable rear gimmick, my respect for FOTA, won last year, has gone.

    I know a large minority, especially amongst die-hards, support team orders and as a fellow die-hard I have some sympathy with the view that our view matters more than the casual fans’. But I recognise that’s arrogance self-justified by the situation, called upon whenever a daft gimmick is brought it to try and make the sport more appealing to casual watchers. In reality, whether you’re a fan who just watches on a Sunday, or follows every session and comes on every live blog here, you matter just as much as each other and taking every kind of fan’s opinion it’s clear the majority believe open team orders either add nothing to the sport or damage it.

    On this issue, FOTA and the FIA could so easily have established a halfway-house, allowing team orders in the situations in which most people think they are justified, namely when one driver is mathematically out of contention. Instead they chose to throw the baby out with the bathwater and set the sport back 8 years. There’s a rather odious sports columnist who writes for the Daily Moron Mirror called Dave Kidd, who takes every opportunity he can to paint F1 as a business con and not a sport (and then conveniently forgets it exists when one of his snide predictions – like the championship being won by team orders – don’t come to pass). I still think he’s an odious piece of phlegm, but today I can’t argue with him. F1 has shown it cares more about itself than the people who spend the money to sustain it at its current level of popularity and wealth. Sadly we won’t see any real backlash, which is exactly why they rescinded the ban. They only brought it in because people were already leaving the sport in drones during one of its most boring periods (this from a Schumacher – and at the time, Ferrari – fan). I won’t change my viewing habits because 99.99% of the time today’s decisions won’t make any difference on the quality or integrity of what I’m watching (because let’s face it, overtaking only through gimmicks is no worse than what we have now, the inability to overtake without gimmicks, though I do feel bad that the value of being a good overtaker will be diminished because of the new rules) and I will be praying that this race there will be no farcical team orders and all will be well. But I will never be happy that that 0.01% chance exists and will never try to defend the sport if someone calls it fake.

    • sumedh said on 10th December 2010, 23:29

      F1 has shown it cares more about itself than the people who spend the money to sustain it at its current level of popularity and wealth

      Dude, the people who spend the money in F1 are the TEAMS, not the FANS. It was unfair that even after spending millions, the teams got no say in who got a better chance of the Drivers’ Championship. The stakeholder’s right was being compromised. Now, that has been corrected.

      And F1 will always remain a Business, and not a Sport. No one who spends over 300 million dollars per year on a sport and expect no returns out of it.

      If you wanna make F1 into a sport, introduce a budget cap.

      • Omar Roncal said on 11th December 2010, 2:34

        talking about another way to stop team orders, it could be considered to stop Radio communications between pilot and boxes, despìte of the fact that this is somehow exciting for the TV followers… I just don’t get why F1rulers can’t see how exciting the season was, and how disappointing it would have been if the Ferraris or Alonso had won the championship by 7 points or less(I’m not an anti Ferrari but I’m definitely against team orders and they played a too-obvious one in Germany),

      • and who pays team bills if not the fans and the sponsor? can the team play the circus by themselves?

        • Yeah, that is something I’ve been curious about: if the fans are so inconsequential a part of the equation (as I’ve seen more than one person argue lately), what exactly are sponsors hoping for when they spend all that money on an F1 team? What returns are they expecting? I mean, maybe the teams don’t care what the fans think, but surely they care about sponsorship — and don’t sponsors, at least, sort of care what the fans think?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th December 2010, 23:59

      Gimmick overtaking confirmed and now this.

      It’s not “gimmick overtaking”. The adjustable rear wing can only be used under certain conditions (when a driver is within one second of the car in front) and does not guarantee a pass. It is designed to aid drivers, not replace them. The adjustable flap has the same effect as the F-duct, stalling the rear wing. It only yields about 5-15km/h more. And whatever gain the drivers do get, it can be offst by KERS. If anything, KERS will make passing easier than this.

    • It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

      • Maciek said on 11th December 2010, 10:02

        Yeah well, it’s a lot better than being a snippy comment told by an a****le

        • “an a****le” yes, “better” maybe but definitely not “a lot”.

          • Maciek said on 11th December 2010, 11:31

            Touché – I’ll say sorry ’bout the name-calling, but undeservedly calling people idiots because they feel impassioned about something is just not right, so…

          • You’re right. Although the qualifier “undeservedly” is an interesting one. I’m sorry, I’ll think twice next time I quote Shakespear in anger. Look on the bright side I didn’t correct any grammar or spelling ;)

    • tharris19 said on 12th December 2010, 1:12

      Icthyes, I totally agree with all that you have said. I think it will prove to be a bad omen for F1.

  2. Finally some common sense, this rule was ridiculous. Everyone has been using team orders for years.

  3. As long as they don’t direct them to hurt themselves or someone else, teams should be able to instruct their drivers as they like. They are are paid minions like everyone else they employ.

  4. Disrepute?

    So basically whatever the craven hacks in the press decide is “unfair”, teams will get penalised for.

    Sounds like a good, sound way of running a sport.

    • It’s not the press who decides what’s unfair, it’s the FIA. And the FIA is not the kind of organization that bows to pressure. Otherwise, we’d have seen Ferrari get disqualified for Germany…

      • “And the FIA is not the kind of organization that bows to pressure”

        So… remind me, how did this rule come about in the first place then?

        • Max wanted it after Austria 2002. He said as much.

          To a certain extent, there was media pressure involved. But how many times did they enforce the rule? In eight years, they enforced it once. Just once. And even then, there was no proper punishment after media calls for it.

          So… remind me, how did this rule get thrown out again?

          • RobR (@robr) said on 11th December 2010, 2:00

            So… remind me, how did this rule get thrown out again?

            Because they realised that it’s unenforcable.

  5. 55-45 right now in the vote.

    Count me in the 55. Many before me have already stated my opinion on this much better than I ever would at 7 in the morning, but I will say this:

    Team orders have been there for ages, and it hasn’t destroyed the sport – it’s still here, isn’t it? It’s not like EVERY team will use it – and that’s the fun of it – let’s see who uses it and who doesn’t. All we ask of the teams is that they don’t insult our intelligence.

  6. I prefer sport witjout team orders, because I think that every driver should prove that is faster than your team mate, but since I see F1, or sports in general, I see team orders, and is not necessary to see a clear message like this year on Germany GP, to see that team decide strangely for one driver. You see this situation on many championships finals, in others sports (in Football for example, Ronaldo beat all the penalties), you see it at Le Mans and in many other situations, so, I think that you can’t control this kind of things, so is better to see this situation clearly, that ban and close your eyes…

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th December 2010, 23:55

    I am not a fan of this. The FIA clearly want the teams to be up-front about using team orders rather than lying to everyone about them. They want the teams to weigh the benefit gained from using team orders against the inevitable negative reception they’ll receive. The problem is that a race win and keeping a championship alive will always outweigh bad press. Teams like Ferrari won’t care less about it.

    But above all, giving teams a licence to use team orders contradicts the ethos of “improving the show”. Manipulating a race to suit your ends doesn’t improve anything. It only takes away.

    • It seems only Ferrari is in that… extreme option, though. Brawn has become sensible about it now, and McLaren won’t go anywhere near it.

      Will be interesting to see if RBR stick true to their word next year.

  8. Adam Tate said on 11th December 2010, 0:11

    Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap ughhhhhhhh.
    And that pretty much sums up all of my feelings about that.

  9. Electrolite said on 11th December 2010, 0:53

    Oh man. What’s the point in making team orders legal? In my opinion this is a lazy and easy cop-out where other rules could have been worked on to help remove this poisonous element of the sport.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2010, 0:57

      Ferrari were known to be in opposition to new engine regulations until Jean Todt told them that the regulations would be coming into effect in 2013 with or without their agreement (though agreement would make things easier). You never know – maybe Ferrari only agreed to them if the FIA repealed the ban on team orders.

      • Interesting thought.

        But I reckon Ferrari had more to lose than to gain by agreeing. I think Todt drove this decision without needing to negotiate with Ferrari – Todt was never keen on banning them, anyway.

    • So they dont have to tell a lie, dont have to send coded message, dont have to pay more for 2nd. driver …a legitimate subordinate!

  10. Omar Roncal said on 11th December 2010, 2:28

    Such a shame… it looks like the FIA just wants a red-livery driver as champion, and I’m DEFINITELY not talking bout Virgin Racing

  11. Pablo said on 11th December 2010, 3:52

    Come back mosley….
    Yes, he´s bad for F1, but todt show to us that he´s the worst thing ever can happened to F1!!! Team orders is for loosers like alonso or $chumacher (I so sad for my dear Ferrari)….. How i miss to see race great drivers like Senna, Prost, Villeneuve (Father & Son), Mansell, Patrese…. F1 is making suicide

  12. Chris Snell said on 11th December 2010, 5:15

    Motor racing will always be a sport where the driver with the most skill and talent doesn’t necessarily win, either through having a better or worse car or a better or worse contract.
    Time for the managers to earn their percentage?

  13. let’s have team orders instead of saving fuel, i’m sure fans want team mates to fight for positions & we will see few teams really let their drivers fight out till one is out of contention… and there will be teams which will set their no. 1 from the start… hopefully people support the former and condemn the latter whenever team orders are in play. hope their brand image takes beating for being unsporting in a sport

  14. ALT-iD said on 11th December 2010, 8:28

    I don’t think this is good for F1. Great for Ferrari and their fans though.

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th December 2010, 9:22

    It seems this rule was brought in to appease a lot of people in the wake of Austria 2002..obvious I know, but the ambiguous nature of the rule is a result of a knee jerk reaction. I don’t have a problem with team orders but I do have a problem with breaking the rules. You cant enforce an unenforceable rule. It makes sense to get rid and leave a nice ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’ disclaimer…I would think that’s a more sensible way to operate. Ferrari should have been punished under that ruling.

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