Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013

Were Red Bull & Mercedes right to use team orders?

Debates and PollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013The events of the closing laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix provoked huge debate and thousands of comments here.

Red Bull and Mercedes’ instructions to their drivers not to race each other during the final quarter of the race, and Sebastian Vettel’s refusal to comply, sparked fresh debate about when team orders should be issued.

Even one of the drivers who benefitted from the instructions given on Sunday had misgiving about them. Lewis Hamilton said after the race his team mate should have been on the podium instead of him.

He wasn’t the only person at Mercedes unhappy with the instruction: the team’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said Rosberg should have been allowed to race Hamilton.

Bernie Ecclestone also voiced his displeasure over the use of team orders by Red Bull and Mercedes. But they aren’t the only teams to have used them so far this year.

Were they right to do so on Sunday?


Red Bull did not want their drivers racing each other after their last pit stops as they were concerned about tyre wear.

Mercedes had similar concerns but a more pressing problem was the shortage of fuel on Hamilton’s car. He and Rosberg swapped places more than once after their last pit stops but as Hamilton was repeatedly told to save fuel, Rosberg was ordered to stay behind him.

Both teams felt allowing their drivers to race for position put their chances to score points at risk. In Red Bull’s case they were heading for a one-two, and Mercedes were on course for their largest points haul since returning to Formula One.


Had it not been for Vettel’s act of defiance the last quarter of the Malaysian Grand Prix would have consisted of four drivers at the front of the field following each other around being forbidden to race each other. Is this the sporting spectacle F1 is spending billions of pounds to produce?

Both teams imposed an arbitrary cut-off point of the last pit stop as the point at which their drivers were not allowed to race each other. If teams are to impose ‘hold position’ orders at this point then one-stop races will be particularly dull.

But the objections of Rosberg – who told his team to “remember this one” after the race – and the disobedience of Vettel shows the orders given were inappropriate and ineffective.

I say

It will come as no surprise to long-time F1 Fanatic readers that, as a fan of motor racing, I’m not keen on drivers being told not to race each other. But what struck me most about the messages broadcast on Sunday was how little faith the teams have in their drivers.

Ross Brawn tried to placate Rosberg by telling him Hamilton could go faster – yet his repeated urging of Hamilton to go slower showed that was not the case. Christian Horner’s message to Vettel telling him not to be “silly” was as patronising as it was impotent.

The teams tried to remove the drivers’ ability to judge for themselves how to drive their cars, with varying degrees of success. But Lewis Hamilton does not need a dozen radio messages per race telling him to save fuel – he needs a fuel gauge.

Both Red Bull drivers finishing despite pushing beyond the boundaries imposed by their teams, racing each other hard for the lead and putting on another burst of pace in the middle of the stint when Webber tried to catch Vettel.

As in Korea last year, it proved the men in the cockpits are best placed to judge the state of their tyres, not the prat perch dwellers who think they know better. So let them race.

You say

Did Red Bull and Mercedes get it right in Malaysia? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber?

  • Yes (49%)
  • No (46%)
  • No opinion (5%)

Total Voters: 747

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Were Mercedes right to order Rosberg not to pass Hamilton?

  • Yes (24%)
  • No (72%)
  • No opinion (4%)

Total Voters: 737

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352 comments on “Were Red Bull & Mercedes right to use team orders?”

  1. Funny how big the difference between those two votes is at this moment (6 votes cast – so its not really representative so far) – 2/3rds think Red Bull were right in standing their drivers (showing anger at Vettel not being a team player skewing judgement of whether it was right to ask them to do so in the first place?) while over 80% thinks Mercedes should have let their drivers drive!

    1. I noticed that too at once and I somehow expected that. For me it’s ‘double standards’ (and I will go that far to suggest that it’s mainly because Webber is more loved than Vettel over there).

      1. One battle was for the lead though, the other wasn’t. There was arguably more to lose in the RBR camp in this respect. Perhaps a factor in why it might make people think different for each team.

        1. I don’t think there should have been any team orders here. But you have to consider that both teams had discussed these strategies before the race and had at that moment decided after the last pitstop if the only car near you was your teammate’s, you’d hold position and bring the cars in for the points…. I don’t agree with the strategy, but that’s what was decided and agreed upon before the race.
          In Reb Bull’s case, after the final stop, they were together, but Mark managed to pull ahead and open up a slight gap and he probably would have maintained it had he not been told to preserve the car. Seb was also told to look after the car and hold position. He ignored the order with full knowledge that Mark was slowing down as instructed (even though he denies it). It would have been fine if they were fighting for the lead on equal terms but that’s not what happened. Like many people are saying, Mark isn’t going to be helping Seb later in the season as a result. A situation that could have been avoided if there were no team orders at all.
          For Mercedes….Rosberg was much quicker at the end and I think he should have been allowed to pass. Lewis knows he wouldn’t have been able to hold him off as he had to coast just to finish.

      2. Also, let’s think about what Ross Brawn had seen go on up the road before his told Rosberg to hold position…

      3. In Red Bulls case it is about an agreement the team and the drivers made before the race started. That’s not a team order, it is a tactic everyone agreed on (so also Vettel and Webber). Vettel decided during the race to do otherwise. Again, this had nothing to do with team orders, and everything with an agreement beforehand.

        In Mercedes case it had everything to do with team orders, and it was plain stupid and unnecessary. It sounded really embarassing and silly on the board radio.

        1. @favomodo
          +1 i said this on Sunday but people still think that what happened to Red Bull is a team order…i’m really surprised and shocked that people haven’t understand this yet…

        2. +100
          If anything, Red Bull should be applauded for not issuing Team Orders at Vettel’s request earlier in the race. At that point it was the right thing to do, as Webber immediately set the fastest lap.

          Vettel is the villain, not Red Bull.

          1. Vettel is the villain, not Red Bull.

            Red Bull shouldn’t be using team orders in the second race of the year.

            And Vettel set the fastest lap in the pitstop phase, closing up to Webber before the final stop.

          2. Correct. They shouldn’t, and they didn’t. They simply asked Vettel to adhere to an agreement which they have before the race. At the point where Webber defended Vettel at turn 3 after the pit stop, that should have been it, fight over. But Vettel deviated from that agreement, and that’s where the outrage is.

            I believe Perez actually set the fastest lap. However, when Vettel protested that Webber was too slow, Webber immediately went and set what was the fastest lap, vindicating RBR’s decision not to order Vettel past.

      4. Its a tuff one. I voted yes on the first one, not because I like one driver more than another, but because one of their drivers was under the impression that both drivers would obey orders, and was in a way duped out of a win.

        I voted no in the second one because its obvious the engineers of one of the cars had got it wrong and the other should not be punished for that.

        Overall, if left to their own devices for the whole race webber and vettle may still have had an epic battle with the finishing positions going the same as they did, but at least nobody would have felt tricked or cheated, just good old “may the best man win” stuff.

        I would in an ideal world ban team orders and punish any team using them, and let their drivers decide for themselves if they want to help their teammates out at the closing stages of the championship or not.

        I think what I am really looking for is a perfect racing series in an imperfect world. *sigh*

        1. @mike-e While I agree with the sentiment expressed about the Red Bull incident, I think you voted answering the wrong question. The question was whether Red Bull were right to issue the team orders in the first place, so the fact that one of the drivers obeyed and one didn’t should have no bearing on the answer. My feeling is that it was simply innappropriate for the team to issue those orders to their drivers and as you say “may the best man win”.

      5. I voted Red Bull right for team orders and Merc wrong. The basis I say that is the pace between the RB’s were simular and the pace between the Mercs were very different.

        As we all know Vettel racing Webber was tight, entertaining (imagine if he Webber didn’t have his engine settings turned down at all) and could have easily ended in disaster for the team, so I think that’s a good call for the teams sake that was broken (after all there is also a WCC).

        Mercedes on the other hand had one driver that pushed to much early on and was limited by his fuel when the team orders were called and the other who raced more strategically and would have been able to at least get close enough to the RB’s that if something did happen he could capitalize on it.

        My 2 cents

    2. @bascb This is a very good measure of showing how much hatred Vettel gets now!!!

      1. Drop Valencia!
        27th March 2013, 13:00

        I read if differently, I think people have displeasure with team orders that favour a #1, but not for team orders that make team logic. Clearly RBR were not favouring Webber for his WDC ambitions, whereas with Rosberg that is not nearly as clearcut….

        1. We have no idea how clear cut it is within the Mercedes team!

      2. @wsrgo Its definitely more about the situations of both events than the actual players involved.

      3. @bascb Let’s get something straight,i voted yes on RBR and no on Mercedes.RBR are within their own right to instruct their employees (Vettel) how they want their work done,end of story.On the other hand what Mercedes did to Rosberg is basically lying to him.They told him that Hamilton could go faster,when in fact he couldn’t.Had Mercedes told Rosberg just to hold position,with no false explanations,they would have been well within their rights,they don’t need to explain themselves to their employees.Long story short Rosberg did the right thing,and Mercedes embarrassed themselves by lying on live tv.You either give team orders and embrace number one driver policy openly,or let them race.And i don’t hate Vettel at all,in fact until Kimi returned he was my favorite driver.

        1. Sorry @bascb my relpay was to @wsrgo

          1. Ah, right @kimster381, thanks for explaining why you see both situations differently by the way.

        2. At this stage 53% vs 76% for NO RBR vs Merc with 169 votes. So bottom line is whatever Vettel does one can come up with an explanation as to why he is so wrong . he he.

        3. jimscreechy (@)
          27th March 2013, 13:50

          Rubbish, Hamilton had the pace just not the fuel. Even more reason for the team to tell them to hold station. Hamilton was entirely a victim of the teams agressive fuel strategy and as a consequence is entirely free from blame for his inability to turn up the engine and do fast lap times. Also he had been dicing with Rosberg previously and had come out on top. Why should he forfeit his position through no fault of his own.

          1. @jimscreechy
            No fuel = no pace.

          2. I do not get your logic. The team must have known the race would run the distance, so letting him use the fuel early on, inevitably posed a risk later on in the race.
            Rosberg had likely used less fuel early on, so why couldn’t he be allowed to reap the profits of that when it mattered?

          3. @jimscreechy That simply doesn’t make any sense.I could say he was ahead of Rosberg through the race because he had his engine turned up,and he got caught up by it in the end.

          4. This is getting better, Lewis was faster but he as no Fuel :) The last I heard was that, Race car needs fuel to Run and as @5150 mentioned No Fuel = No Pace.

            You can look at the argument the other way around too. The simple fact that Lewis was carrying lesser fuel was the reason eh was able to get ahead of Nico.

            As I said what ever be the reason, Vettel is at Fault. if the situation was other way round between Merc and RBR. Lewis would be hailed a Hero and Vettel as someone gets points gifted through team orders.

          5. @jimscreechy BTW if you look carefully at the question

            “Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber?”

            It is not a poll where it is being asked if Vettel is right or Wrong.

          6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            27th March 2013, 15:46

            It’s a very touchy situation with Mercedes – I think Ross Brawn’s solution was the best. He gave Rosberg a chance to pass and disappear but he failed to capitalize. Obviously, Hamilton should NOT have had to pay for the team’s mistake and I think it is silly to say that Rosber had more natural pace. Ross Brawn was perfectly honest when he said that Hamilton is being controlled and cannot go faster. The result were 27 points that Mercedes absolutely needs and a confidence that should help the team improve in China. I personally DON’T want to see inter-Mercedes carnage because it hurts the drivers and the team.

          7. Yes, but the problem with the Merc was that Nico passed HAM, then HAM passed him immediately after. THEN Merc said to hold possition. If HAM actually cared about Nico’s pace, he should have stayed behind Nico. Simple as that.

        4. @kimster381 – So you’re fine with watching the last 12 laps of the GP with a faster Vettel holding station behind Webber coasting to the finish line, ending a spectacularly boring race? Wonder if you’d think the same if the roles were reversed.

          1. @roberto I’m a Kimi fan myself,so it makes no difference to me in which order RB finishes,and it’s not like every race will have this kind of a situation,and yes i would be fine with Webber holding up Vettel,there’s more to F1 then Vettel and RBR,if only one cares to notice.But the fact remains that one who pays the bills calls the shots.

          2. @kimster381 – actually this sort of situation comes up more then you think (as Keith pointed out in one of his other articles) and is one of the main reasons why proper racing in F1 is becoming non-existent, and why FIA are resorting to fake ‘bossters’ such as DRS and KERS to inject some life into it..

          3. @roberto I’m satisfied with amount of overtaking and wheel to wheel racing in F1 as it is,we saw some stunning movies last year,and they war all made outside DRS zones.Of course we always want more,but the fact that we don’t have even more has all to do with aerodynamics and physics,nothing else.

          4. @kimster381 – If you really feel that then I respect that, but all I know is that the move Vettel pulled on Webber was the highlight of the race, the fact he made it stick after Webber pushed him within a cm of the wall made my mouth fall wide open. I’m also a firm believer that there was absolutely no difference between the cars besides the fact that Vettel was on faster tyres. Mark had 2 laps time to push a few buttons on the steering wheel. And considering he was fighting for that place within an inch of both their lives wouldn’t suggest he was stupid enough to leave it turned down (if he changed it at all).

            If Vettel had obeyed the order we’d have been robbed of that amazing pass. Now asks yourself, what else similar to this could we have missed due to drivers obeying such orders?

          5. I’m a Kimi fan myself,so it makes no difference to me in which order RB finishes

            What an odd remark. As a Kimi fan it makes a huge difference in which order RB finishes. You have a vested interest in Seb finishing behind Mark. Had he done so Seb would today lead Kimi by just two points instead of by nine.

            And in the interests of full disclosure, I tipped Kimi to win the WDC this year.

        5. RBR are within their own right to instruct their employees (Vettel) how they want their work done,end of story.On the other hand what Mercedes did to Rosberg is basically lying to him.

          I don’t see the relevance of that. Don’t Mercedes likewise have the right to instruct their employee (Rosberg) how they want their work done, end of story ? In which case they don’t have to justify their decision to him at all. Whether they lied to him is neither here not there.

      4. So people doesn’t get objective or they get double standars, I answered NO to both.

        Sad F1 fans deny their current champion.

        1. Exactly my opinion as far as what the teams did. I voted no for both. Too early and you do not know what can happen during a season.

          1. To be clear, I thought both teams should have let their drivers race.

    3. I don’t think the discrepancy is about Vettel, I think it’s more about Hamilton….

      1. @jason12 – I disagree, the Vettel hate is strong and obvious in this one IMO..

    4. I’m against teams orders overall and think that they should be banned, but in this case they are in the rulebook and teams will always push to the extremes of the rules.

      I voted two different ways however:

      Yes, RBR were right to order Vettel to stay put. The racing and pace between the Red Bulls was quite close and competitive, and they should have been left to race at full tilt – but they had a pre-race discussion, and WEB definitely earned his spot at the front. Red Bull’s decision said to me that they feel it’s way too early in the season to do the support driver thing (which is why they told VET to stay put).
      My main issue is that it was likely that VET did not turn his car down as WEB had done (when ordered to by the team). That leads me to believe that WEB could have put up a legitimate fight when VET attacked, but was handicapped with a low powered engine map (or whatever setting was involved).

      No, Mercedes were definitely wrong to hold ROS back. It was so clear that HAM was running on vapors that it was silly to keep ROS behind. If the Mercs had switched places the points for constructors would have been the same. I found it insulting to ROS considering just how slowly he was forced to go (and HAM seemed to agree).

      The fact that I voted two different ways for two different teams (with no bias or fanboyism), proves to me definitively that team orders muddy the waters and bring no value whatsoever to F1.

      1. That pre-race discussion and agreement I actually find quiet dumb, but it is also a TEAM ORDER btw.. if it was up to the drivers, do you think they would come up with such nonsense? It’s just an invitation for something like this to happen…

        1. I agree that it was still a team order, and I wish that there weren’t any team orders at all. At least they were discussed before the race and were focused on bringing 2 cars home safe (not the ALO MAS #1 driver type).

      2. you nailed it !

      3. My main issue is that it was likely that VET did not turn his car down as WEB had done (when ordered to by the team). That leads me to believe that WEB could have put up a legitimate fight when VET attacked, but was handicapped with a low powered engine map (or whatever setting was involved).

        I’s ask you what you base that belief on, but I already know that you have no basis for it.

        1. I never said it was a fact. WEB said during the podium interviews that he had turned his car down and he seemed to imply that VET may not have. Obviously the telemetry would shoe it, but Red Bull would never show it. It seems plausible to me and the questions asked were about our opinions, not solving logic problems.

          1. I believe in one of Keith’s articles, he mentioned RBR team radio telling Vettel to stop using KERS in Overtake mode. From my understanding, RBR have two KERS settings, regular and overtake, with regular being about 40kW and overtake being about 60kW. The Overtake mode can’t be used for too many laps in a row without risk of damaging the KERS system. RBR were pleading with Vettel to stop using the Overtake mode, and I woud suspect that given what Webber said on the podium about “bringing the cars home”, he was not using the Overtake Mode.

      4. Rosberg was also marginal on fuel though, so challenging the red bulls was not an option for either at that point. Let’s not forget that Rosberg did actually pass Hamilton several times before the the lockdown, yet Hamilton was still able to regain his position repeatedly. Maybe at this stage Brawn thinks the extra points are better in Hamiltons pocket, that’s his and the teams decision.

        Also, the top teams don’t spend £5 million+ per week just so one of their drivers can risk it all for the sake of putting a few selfish points in their pocket. Mercedes and Red Bull stood to gain the same points haul (27 and 43) regardless of their drivers finishing order at a time when McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus could only manage 2, 10 and 14 respectively.

        1. Also, the top teams don’t spend £5 million+ per week just so one of their drivers can risk it all for the sake of putting a few selfish points in their pocket.

          You could also Include the possibility of blowing an engine, a gearbox or maybe a shunt and losing valuable team points with one or both drivers retired. Losing an engine during the second race of the season is a sign of poor management. Brawn is not a poor manager.

    5. Much as I hate these processions I don’t think the teams have any choice given the regulations regarding engine and gearbox reliability and particularly the tyres , allowing their drivers to race an extra twenty laps is likely to come back and bite them, either before the finish line with tyres going off that could cause 1 or both drivers not to finish, or at a following race with a grid penalty for a premature gearbox change, or at years end with engines past their best.

      1. Just noticed your post and wholeheartedly agree. If I were a manager knowing I only have four or five engines per car to last me the entire season without penalty I would be careful with the equipment too.

    6. @bascb – at the time of writing it’s 43/50 Red Bull and 21/76 Mercedes: it just goes to show how clouded people’s judgment becomes because of petty hatreds. If there was just a general poll for whether team orders should be imposed this early in the season, I think the numbers would be far closer to Mercedes’ current tally than Red Bull’s.

      1. @vettel1, I voted yes in both cases much as I would rather see all the drivers racing all the time, but if I were a team manager I would be looking at the big picture and I would not want unnecessary wear and tear let alone potential DNF’s when my drivers had no-one to race but themselves.
        Until the regulations and the tyres change that is the way it has to be.

        1. @hohum – if I put myself on the Red Bull pit wall I can entirely understand why they wouldn’t have wanted those events to transpire, but I’m a fan sitting on my couch; therefore I would support “disobedience” in any case as there is no doubting that was an exciting battle!

          1. could have been a lot better if Webber had known it was coming!

    7. The two situations are not comparable.

      1) Webber was told to slow down by the pitwall and so he did. Had this order not come through, then Vettel might not have even been able to catch him, never mind overtake him. By the time Webber realised Vettel was going against their agreement, Vettel already had DRS and a higher engine mode. Webber would have had to try set fast laps while toggling his wheel to turn all the speed-generators up again.

      Compare that to:

      2) Lewis had a fuel problem. We dont know if it was brought on by using higher rev’s during the earlier parts of the race, while Nico conserved fuel for the latter part, or if it was an underfueling mistake. As we all know it is common practice for teams to under-fuel their cars at each race and then conserve fuel at certain periods in order to finish, I dont believe Merc made a mistake at all. Their drivers simply used their fuel at different times and it just so happened that Lewis had to save fuel later in the race because he did not save it during the middle stint. Nico on the other hand most likely did save fuel earlier in order to have the opportunity to fight at the end.
      So in my opinion, I feel Nico had a strategy in place where he planned to go faster at the end and because he was not allowed to overtake Lewis, he was also not allowed to take advantage of his strategy.
      For me the big issue with the Merc orders is the precedent it sets for the two of them. From now on they will not be racing until the end to try beat eachother. They know that the driver ahead after the final pitstops will remain ahead. So we will see compromised strategies to pit first ahead of the final pitstops to get the undercut. Their race effectively ends after the final stops.

      So yeah, a poll like this takes a complex 3D situation and only looks at one side.

      1. By the time Webber realised Vettel was going against their agreement, Vettel already had DRS and a higher engine mode. Webber would have had to try set fast laps while toggling his wheel to turn all the speed-generators up again.

        None of that is actually true.

        1. Webber was a sitting duck, he was on slower (hard) tyres, so needed a good few seconds lead if it was going to turn into a good battle.

    8. Here I am voting now with 603 votes cast and the discrepancy still remains.

      As I see it there’s simply a difference in perception.
      As some people have noted if Webber had been the one to pass Vettel then he would have been lauded.

      The difference as I see it is Red Bull were intending to both stroke their car home going easy on the tyres while Mercedes seemed to have a more dire fuel situation on Hamilton’s car than Rosberg who appeared to be able to run faster.

  2. Ha even during writing that comment, its 50/50 for the Red Bull and 15/75 for Mercedes being wrong with their call!

    1. 50/44 for RBR now, 17/78 for Mercedes.

      Team orders are either right or wrong, not dependant on team or reasons for deploying them.

      1. @iamjamm

        Team orders are either right or wrong, not dependant on team or reasons for deploying them.

        Oh really? Let’s say you think team orders are wrong. For example’s sake, Caterham have been having financial difficulties and look like they won’t last until 2014. Towards the end of the race late in the season they are running high up in the order. This triggers a certain clause in one of their sponsorship contracts, which means they will receive some sort of a bonus, ultimately allowing them to stay in F1, hundreds of jobs to be kept, and keeps a team on the grid. Would you say them using team orders then, to ensure nothing goes awry, is wrong?

        It’s easy to say it’s either A or B, but it just isn’t that simple.

        1. There is one very big – even critical – flaw in your argument there @timi

          Would you say them using team orders then, to ensure nothing goes awry, is wrong?

          – team orders do not change the amount of points the team gets, they change which driver gets more.

          1. @bascb Yes, but my point is that they also prevent incidents such as Turkey ’10, Canada ’11. On one occasion one car couldn’t complete the race, and on the other occasion both cars were out.

            Team orders do end up dictating which driver gets more points, but the point I was trying to make is that if you look at it from the team’s perspective, it’s two cars brought home, period. Two cars = more money than one car, or no car. My comment above clearly stated my point was about money, not points anyway.

          2. [Sorry, just one driver was unable to complete the race in the two examples I gave]

          3. my point is that they also prevent incidents such as Turkey ’10, Canada ’11.

            but that is not true @timi.

            Turkey 2010 happened then, but not now, not because of team orders, but because both drivers were more carefull not to crash. If you remember, then Webber was also told to put the wick down, and maybe Vettel was told the same (although I am not too sure of that). Its more team orders upsetting the results than helping. Sure enough, without team orders Vettel could have passed too, without crashing, but Webber would not have been as upset because he just got beaten fair and square.

          4. @bascb Yes they were more careful ont to crash, but it was still a possibility, plus the de-lamination of tyres.

            I’m just saying team orders eliminates risk. It’s unsurprising the teams might have agendas to eliminate the risk (not certainty) of something affecting the outcome/guarantee of the cars finishing the race.

          5. Team orders do end up dictating which driver gets more points, but the point I was trying to make is that if you look at it from the team’s perspective , it’s two cars brought home, period. Two cars = more money than one car, or no car. My comment above clearly stated my point was about money, not points anyway.

            @timi Yes, let’s all look at the team perspective, the one which orders the drivers to coast to the finish line in formation and gives the viewers the spectacular racing they came to see…*rolls eyes*

          6. @roberto You think the teams will care about a spectacular race because the fans were bored towards the end?

            Honestly, did it put you off enough to not watch the next race? I highly doubt it, thus the viewing figures will be about the same, as will revenue for the tv audience. Thus it’s a no-brainer for a team. If however it caused lower tv rating, less attendance etc. then their perspective might change.

            Fans seem to think the teams should care about their decision which may have lessened the action on track, but why should they care? You’re still going to watch the races, I doubt you’ll get in contact with the FIA or something. So, having a go at teams for team orders as if “exciting racing” is their job, is naiive. It’s a business at the end of the day, move on.

          7. You think the teams will care about a spectacular race because the fans were bored towards the end?

            ..and that’s exactly the problem and what’s wrong with this whole thing.. teams SHOULD care about fans..

            and I personally couldn’t care less where the money comes from, I watch f1 to see racing.. not debate economic structures of teams..
            and the fact so many people are siding with this ‘logic’ is quite troubling actually (or is it more because it involves a specific German, hmm)

        2. @timi – another huge flaw also is that your proposed scenario is towards the endof the season, not the second race. That is where my major gripe with team orders is – both drivers are able to win the title, so why handicap them in their efforts? It’s boring for the fans and puts a damper on the races and the championship no less.

          1. @vettel1 Yes, it’s a huge flaw with regards to


            opinion on the matter, but my comment was aimed at someone else’s post/opinion on the matter, not yours.
            Your gripes are different to his, and thus my points more relevant to his gripes than yours. HAving said that, I think my points can still demonstrate a quite-realistic teams’ view of the situation. Note the points I made about it being boring for the fans.

          2. @timi – I don’t see how it really chnages things: you were replying to the issue of double standards through an annecdote that proposed a situation towards the end of the season, in stark contrast to this issue of the second race in the season. In that situaton I may actually support team orders, as then it is likely one driver may be in contention but the other not.

          3. @timi Re-reading it, you’re right it doesn’t change things. A team can still be under huge money pressure at the second race of the season.. Do you think Marussia and Caterham are care-free with regards to money at the moment?

            My issue, as said before, was aimed primarily at the blanket statement by @iamjamm;

            Team orders are either right or wrong, not dependant on team or reasons for deploying them.

            I was pointing out a situation in which team orders may be understandable. This same situation can be applied at the beginning of the season as well. Money problems don’t start at the tail-end of seasons.. My point is still valid. I just don’t get why so many people are so opposed to looking at it from the teams’ perspectives.

          4. @vettel1 Teams can and are still under huge money pressure at the second race of the season.. Do you think Marussia and Caterham are care-free with regards to money at the moment? Please.

            My issue, as said before, was aimed primarily at the blanket statement by @iamjamm;

            Team orders are either right or wrong, not dependant on team or reasons for deploying them.

            I was pointing out a situation in which team orders may be understandable, – it is a grey area not just A or B. This same situation can be applied at the beginning of the season as well. Money problems don’t start at the tail-end of seasons.. My point is still valid. I just don’t get why so many people are so opposed to looking at it from the teams’ perspectives.

          5. @timi I was pointing out a situation in which team orders may be understandable

            I accept that: there are situations where although I may not like team orders I could understand why they were imposed (such as one I had particular distaste at, Massa’s gearbox seal being broken in Austin last year).

            I just don’t get why so many people are so opposed to looking at it from the teams’ perspectives.

            I have the perspective of an F1 fan who although interested in the team-play aspect watches F1 to see the best drivers in the world slugging it out, not formation one-two finishes. That is why I supported Vettel’s decision to break them – it is exciting – whereas with Rosberg I didn’t (as obedience is boring)!

          6. @vettel1 Exactly! That was my point, it’s not black and white.

            I get what you mean. I too, while interested in the team aspects, prefer interesting races. I also supported Vettel’s decision and Nico’s not so much.

            I was simply adding a dimension to the original blanket statement, by using team’s views on money as the main case in point. Most other cases for the teams use the easily rebutted “team points/driver points” argument

          7. @timi – I apologise for the italics and blockquote fail; no idea what happened there!

            I think we’re on a similar page now: I don’t believe it is correct to enforce team orders at such an early stage (when the drivers championship is still very much alive), but there are circumstances in which I could understand their use.

      2. Not sure about this, I think as @toothpickbandit says below you might plausibly think that Red Bull should have held their drivers in position to secure the 1-2, but allowed Rosberg to pass Hamilton to give him a fighting chance of taking second place. (Though I don’t actually think Rosberg had a prayer of taking second in any case).

        You might hold an extreme position and suggest that team orders are wrong in all circumstances, or that teams should be allowed to instruct their drivers however they like, but there are certainly grey areas. Though perhaps some of the difference is down to “I like Rosberg, but I don’t like Vettel,” which is obviously not a rational position to hold, and perhaps what you were getting at.

        1. Though perhaps some of the difference is down to “I like Rosberg, but I don’t like Vettel,”

          Yeah, maybe just a tiny bit.

        2. Though perhaps some of the difference is down to “I like Rosberg, but I don’t like Vettel,” which is obviously not a rational position to hold, and perhaps what you were getting at

          @red-andy It is partly what I was getting at. But I do think that if you think team orders are wrong, you can’t justify one team using them, but not another. Regardless of the ramifications for the team. In any case, there was no good reason for keeping Vettel behind Webber, imo. Vettel was clearly quicker in the closing stages, whether that was down to engine settings or whatever. He was as entitled to go for the win as Rosberg was for 3rd or 2nd. Although, Rosberg was supposed to be saving fuel too, so it’s not likely he’d have caught Webber.

          1. I think its not so much about

            justify one team using them, but not another

            @iamjamm, but more about taking each situation on its own and feel ok with their use, or not feel ok with them (if you are not against ALL team orders that is).

            Its the discussion of where to draw the line and it should be on the merits of the situation. It should be about weighting Hamilton being critical on fuel, the reasons for that and what Rosberg can still achieve in the race, as much as the biggest points scoring finish for the team in ages. Its like justice – the judge has to look at each individual case, so there CAN be different perceptions of these orders.

            Mine is clear – I am not in favour of using them, even if I can fully understand (or maybe BECAUSE I can fully understand?) the reason why teams like to use them.

    2. I think that wit RBR both drivers were roughly equal on pace and there was nothing to gain, so half of people think that team orders shouldn’t happen anyway and the other half think that this situation was fine.
      Merc though got it wrong as it was blindingly obvious that Rosberg was faster so he could have gone on scared the Red Bulls forced them into an error steal 2nd, a bit like Buttons win in Canada a few years ago.

  3. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
    27th March 2013, 11:49

    Teams need to maximise their points haul from the weekend.

    Red Bull ordering their drivers to hold station, not wreck their tyres racing each other and pickup the 1-2 was the safest way of doing this. I would have ordered the same thing in that situation.

    Mercedes also had similar thoughts, thinking of guaranteeing the 3-4. What I think they failed to see was that 2nd place might have been there for the taking for Rosberg. They should have let him go, in an attempt to get a 2-4 rather than a 3-4.

    1. @toothpickbandit

      2nd place might have been there for the taking for Rosberg

      In fuel-saving mode??

    2. Thinking of something that @keithcollantine wrote in the article, the team orders do show a lack of trust. Vettel seems to have shed his “crash kid” problems and both he and Webber showed that they were able to race without taking each other out, as were Hamilton and Rosberg. If you can trust your drivers not to crash into each other, why not give them their heads? Their separate support teams can keep an eye on tyre wear and fuel levels and let them know when they’re in danger of not finishing the race.

      On the other hand every overtake is a risk and I can understand the team not wanting to take any extra risks, especially when the risk involves both of their cars instead of just one as it would in a normal overtake on another team’s car.

      1. I think the reason red bull were so “cautious” was beacause they do not have a “grip” over the tyres yet and they don’t wan’t some last minute pirelli magic degradation to hamper their best chances of leading the championship . I think both of them should be allowed to race on even terms till a particular lap beyond which they cannot afford to continue because of the nonsense tyres and regulations which is what red bull do . About ” crash kid ” , true they mature with age .

    3. Red Bull ordering their drivers to hold station, not wreck their tyres racing each other and pickup the 1-2 was the safest way of doing this. I would have ordered the same thing in that situation.

      @toothpickbandit – What spectacular way to make me go to sleep watching a race.. tyre preservation and lower engine maps..

      1. What spectacular way to make me go to sleep watching a race.. tyre preservation and lower engine maps..

        Very true, but that’s the consequence of having limited engines/gearboxes and the current generation of tyres. There will always be problems to fix with the series…

        1. Fact is though, that it all worked out for RBR in the end. The risk was worth it. Tyres were fine and the viewers got to see some proper racing. I haven’t seen two drivers go that aggressive in a LONG time, maybe Schumi blocking Barichello 2 years back (and getting a penalty for the same thing Webber got away with btw). It just reminded me what we’re missing nowadays with all the politics and team orders ********.

          1. @roberto

            “The risk was worth it. Tyres were fine and the viewers got to see some proper racing”.

            I agree with you on this. Any one watching the race could have seen that the tyre situation was over hyped. They were never going to fall off the cliff in my opinion. Plus the Merc’s were far too behind to take any advantage.

            The only question I would like to ask Webber is: why not try and take back the position? Okay I can understand he was taken aback by Vettel’s sudden urge to get past. But instead of brooding over his future in the cockpit for the last 15 laps, he could have attacked Vettel. Or at least tried. Of course Horner would have ******* his pants in anxiety, but the racing would have been epic.

          2. @sankalp88

            The only question I would like to ask Webber is: why not try and take back the position?

            He did, as I mentioned in the article. You can see the dip in his times around lap 50. It’s also referred to here.

          3. @keithcollantine

            Thanks for the quick reference. The argument of the people supporting Webber was that he was quicker than Vettel on race pace, hence deserved the win. But as can be seen Vettel had it under control after he made his move. So am I to conclude that on average Vettel was quicker than Webber? Of course I have no idea how one would factor in Webber’s laps on “reduced engine power”.

  4. Alexander (@)
    27th March 2013, 11:50

    I think this early in the season you should let them race, later on when someone has a greater chance of a championship it is OK with team orders.

    1. +1…what the teams are basically saying is that its wrong to let teammates race each other,even if its only the first or second race of the season which we are talking about…

  5. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    27th March 2013, 11:50

    I agree with you Keith. Its sometimes hard to realise that F1 is a form of motor racing *shock* *horror* not just Bernie’s cash machine.

    1. Which is true – but ignores the fact that a major source of the teams’ revenue (prize money) is entirely dependent on the results of the constructors’ championship, and not at all on the drivers’.

      One might also consider that there are circumstances (similar to those of last weekend) where two teammates will race to the finish even if they know there is a very good chance of its costing them both in terms of finishing in the points.
      In those circumstances, team orders are entirely reasonable – even if I don’t like them.

      1. Which is true – but ignores the fact that a major source of the teams’ revenue (prize money) is entirely dependent on the results of the constructors’ championship, and not at all on the drivers’.

        Since when do we as fans need to worry about this? I turn on the TV, open a beer and sit to watch a RACE, not debate and think about where the teams get their money and what each driver has to do to maximise this glorious achievement..

  6. It’s race two for goodness sake, of course there should be no team orders! Even if both sets of drivers had swapped position it wouldn’t have change team points! Vettel & Webber should have been allowed to race at least until it was obvious who was going to be the quickest, and if Lewis had no fuel left then it’s obvious that Rosberg should have been allowed to push on at a faster pace to run the RedBulls down.

    Never mind. At least we got the immortal ‘Multi-21 Seb’ line from the fiasco!

    1. Do we know what Multi-21 means?

      1. It’s the engine map they have to switch on the steering wheel to save the engine.

        1. I suspect “multi 21″ means that they [Multi] come home Webber [#2 driver] followed by Vettel [#1 driver]. If true, then we should see in the future “multi12″.

          It could also encode more information like positions so “multi43″ would mean Webber should comes home in P3 and Vettel in P4.

          This is my take on it.

      2. It means: we make Mark think he will not be passed, while we do nothing to stop Vettel from doing so.

  7. Meh, I’m not fussed either way here. It’s allowed in the rules so that’s that really. Since there has been such a huge uproar, maybe the FIA should look at that ruling.

    One must remember that there are performance clauses in sponsor contracts, as well as the fact that one race where a team’s drivers might not finish could end up costing millions by the way of revenue.
    It isn’t just points at stake, it’s next year’s development/R&D budget, it’s much much bigger than fans think it is. We just want all the drivers racing eachother, no team orders. While great in a perfect world, one must remember that teams depend on money from outside sources, and team orders will and have kept teams’ sponsorship terms intact, which at the end of the day is the most important thing to a team,- funding. So I have no problem with it.

  8. Without such orders teams would make one car faster or just fake some problems on another car. So this is the best we have. Solution would be not to race for Championship, but for only individual GP victories! I would like that. No talk about “we’ll see in the end of the year” etc. You start, you race, you finish. Done!

  9. Yes to both. Why should a team principal be expected to sit impotently on the pit wall and watch his drivers run each other off the road? If he calculates that it’s a real risk, he should intervene.

    Ultimately this is about a conflict between what fans want and what the teams want. Fans might want to see drivers going hell-for-leather until the chequered flag drops – but teams are more interested in preserving a good result, which is why they are more risk-averse. Unless you do something drastic, like ban pit-to-car communication or just have single-car teams, there’s no real way of avoiding that.

    1. Ultimately this is about a conflict between what fans want and what the teams want.

      I agree, that is the key issue here @red-andy

    2. (@red-andy) Nicely summarised. I also think people forget Vettel and Webber have crashed before when racing together – by comparison Mclaren allowed their drivers to race because Hamilton and Jensen had proven themselves more accomodating to one another. I don’t really like team orders for 99% of scenarios, but I think people are forgetting that Webber will give little quarter and Vettel is desperately clumsy wheel to wheel, despite his raw pace.

      1. Excuse me, both VET/WEB and HAM/BUT have crashed into each other once – at Turkey 2010 and Canada 2011, respectively. In both cases, the one trying to overtake was out of the race and the other one could continue.

  10. Here’s a question for all to discuss. How do team orders differ from match fixing in other sports?

    1. Because they’re legal in F1, they’re not legal in other sports. Its that simple, really.

    2. Teams generally only use team orders (certainly in the case of this weekend) to hold position after the final stops, in order not to stress the cars in the final part of the race. I get that. Especially when, as has been discussed earlier, tyres have been so marginal in 2013, and in the case of both RBR and Mercedes, their cars were in the clear in big points paying positions.

      As I said in a post yesterday, if Vettel was a man about it, he would have said pre-race he would ignore team orders and have urged Mark to do the same, he would have replied on the radio to Horner that he was going to ignore the order (as he would have said in the pre-race briefing), and would have celebrated the win all the way as he would have done what he said he was going to do. He would not have looked like a naughty boy and apologised.

      The situation is quite different to match fixing as match fixing involves two different teams. Team orders are used in Cycling where a team helps one main rider to win – that is not match fixing either.

      The argument here is not the merit or otherwise of team orders. The issue is that of sportsmanship. Vettel clearly was told of team orders pre-race. He obviously did not disagree with the idea at the time. However the fact is that he did not like them being imposed to allow Mark to cruise to victory, so as it suited him he ignored them. This caused the issue, Vettel’s ignoring of the pre-race agreement, nothing else.

      Should he have been allowed to race to the end? Sure, however as the team requested that a certain course of action should take place in the event of the cars being 1-2 after the final stop and he blatantly ignored that instruction RBR are now placed in the unenviable position of being faced with a disobedient driver and what to do with him? Do nothing and back down, looking weak as p#@s in the process, or do something and potentially lose one of the three best drivers in the championship?

      Vettel is a tool. RBR need to do something. Mark needs to ignore every team instruction for the rest of the season then go elsewhere, although I fear his Ferrari opportunity has gone. I hope it hasn’t…

    3. Team orders in F1 are like football team game on 85th minute, when you are leading by 1:0. You just kill the game, freeze the situation and wait till the whistle blows. Fans hate it, but you and bring home the win! Would make sens to risk it and end up losing.

      1. Team orders in F1 are like football team game on 85th minute, when you are leading by 1:0. You just kill the game, freeze the situation and wait till the whistle blows.

        Funny that, but we would object if the losing team just went along with that, wouldn’t we? And I am pretty sure the governing bodies would look at it much in the same way they look at match fixing

      2. I wouldn’t say that’s really the same. To stretch your football analogy to breaking point, the situation in F1 is more like having two star strikers who are trying to out-score each other as well as the other side. When it gets to the 85th minute in your example, instead of passing the ball between themselves to kill time one of them decides to make a glory run to score another goal for himself, risking losing the game for his own personal gain. Except that in football there isn’t as much to gain.

        I think that this is the essential dilemma in Formula 1: it’s a team sport, but within each team there are two sub-teams who are competing against each other as well as the rest of the field.

        1. Ok. But then lets compare F1 with cycling. It is a team sport with some superstars. And every member knows he drives for the team. Fans still cheer for individuals, not teams. So I’d say F1 is team sport with couple of superstars :)

  11. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    27th March 2013, 11:59

    I´m completely against team orders. Drivers should just race no matter what! But the discussion shouldn´t be “should there be team orders” but instead “what can be done to effectively erase team orders for ever”!!!

    1. Drop Valencia!
      27th March 2013, 13:06

      Easy, one way comms.

      1. Removing radios will not fix it as you can do it via pit board info, holding them in the pit for a few seconds longer, a pre arranged finishing order etc etc. I think the team s are too smart to enforce it

        Remove the driver championship from the sport or only having one car per team is the only way it can be done with absolute certainty. No driver championship would make it irrelevant on finishing order.

        But thats not going to happen so team orders will always exist.

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          29th March 2013, 12:45

          Both are things I´ve thought about, too. One way communication and removing the WDC. But I also don´t think they would be very effective. I´ve also thought of giving way much more money for the WCC than for the WDC, but it wouldn´t assure that teams don´t give orders.
          What if the teams had two cars, but would be run in every aspect as independent cars? No sharing of information during the race, no communication between crews/engineers, barriers between the sides of the pits. Really having the only link between the cars be that the points awarded go to the same team in the WCC, but otherwise each car is free to race as if it were a one-car team! Don´t know if it could be possible, but is the best I can think of…

  12. Rosberg was being told to save fuel as well, and would not have been able to push fast enough or long enough to catch either Red Bull. As far as I know, Red Bull weren’t marginal on fuel so could have instructed Webber to turn his engine back up to negate any threat from Rosberg, too.

    I can see Ross’ point about wanting to bring the cars home in one piece, for all we know, if they’d allowed Rosberg to pass Hamilton and push on, he could have had another gearbox failure or some other mechanical failure and that would be 12 points lost for the team.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with team orders (this is supposed to be RACING, afterall), but can understand why the teams want and use them. I voted no to both, you can’t have them applied by one team but not another…

    1. I basically agree with this.

      I can’t say whether it was right in either case because I can’t see what each driver had/didn’t have.

      However, the drivers do not have all the information that the pit wall does. The drivers HAVE to trust the pit wall to make calls on fuel at least. It is right (currently, at least) for teams to tell drivers to drive to targets if the fuel is at risk.

      Hamilton COULD have gone faster, just as Rosberg COULD have gone faster. Hamilton was asked to drive to a target and he was hitting that target. Rosberg was asked to drive to a target.

      If Rosberg ignored his target then Hamilton may have ignored HIS target and one or both may have run out of fuel. Why wouldn’t the pit wall tell them to hold station? It makes sense AND they weren’t lying.

      In other news, Rosberg learned very slowly in that race… Several times overtaking on the first DRS straight and Hami taking the place back on the second… Hamilton won the mental battle there…

    2. David not Coulthard (@)
      27th March 2013, 15:37

      you can’t have them applied by one team but not another…

      But if Vettel is allowed to pass webber it’ll basically be team orders – Webber would’ve been told to slow down only for Vettel to pass. I’d call Horner’s call to Vettel an antithesis to Vettel catching up Weber, the latter told to save fuel and that Vettel was also doing the same, when from what I know Vettel wasn’t.

  13. If they want to use team orders then that’s fine in my opinion. I personally don’t care about morals and sportsmanship in sport, so I don’t really mind when teams push the boundaries of what is morally right and wrong as long as their not cheating.

  14. Change it to team advice, allow both sides of the garage to know each others information.

    Then, let them race.

    Mark may not have ‘backed off’, the pass may not have come about so ‘easy’.

    Lewis may have driven more conservatively or paced himself to Nico. Oh and stop underfueling so marginally. Either the Merc engine is terribly inefficient or the other teams don’t underfuel so marginal.

    Basically, give them the tools and let them race. Up to the driver to accept or ignore team ‘advice’.

    1. +10 We don’t want to hear economy , conservation in the favorite sport that we watch for entertainment .

  15. The double standard among some F1 fans is astonishing… I don’t see how anyone could with a clear conscience say it was OK in one case and not OK in the other. It’s a “no” from me.

    1. I could not agree more @maroonjack

    2. Completely agree here!

      1. You have to look at each case separately. In RBR’s case, Webber was fast enough to keep Seb behind, and had up unitl then, beaten Vettel on merit and could have sped up to fend off Vettel(had the team not told him to turn down the engine and bring it home). In this case, I have no problem with team orders to save the points haul for the team.

        In Mercedes case, Lewis had raced too aggressively in the early part of the race, requiring him to save fuel. I don’t see why Nico had to pay for this error in judgment, when he was clearly faster and had the possibility of chasing down the RBR’s?

        So quite easily I vote differently depending on the situation.

        1. @dasman

          So in one case you have problem that the team told the drivers to save tires and fuel and bring the cars to the finish in same order, but in the other case you don’t see anything wrong whit this. Yes. That make sense.

          1. Yes, as in the RBR case, you had 2 drivers of similar pace, being told to bring the cars home.
            In the other case you had 1 driver with a problem(fuel) and another able to pressure the cars in front.

            Makes sense when you think about it.

          2. Yes, as in the RBR case, you had 2 drivers of similar pace, being told to bring the cars home.

            @dasman all the more reason to let them race!

        2. Do you honestly think that early on in the race it is purely up to Hamilton if he pushed? The fuel levels throughout the race are monitored by his engineer. He has NO idea what his fuel levels are.

          The way around all this is to give them a fuel gauge. Unless they are willing to do that, then there will be team orders. Any pushing at the beginning by Ham will have been encouraged by the team – it is not his ‘error of judgement’.

          This is the problem with the team orders argument. As long as a large proportion of the information and decision making of the DRIVING is away from the driver then there are going to be (and have to be) team orders.

          I’m not saying that’s a good thing BTW… Give them a fuel gauge and let them work it out themselves!

        3. The fueling of the Mercs was as a result of two things. The race started out wet so they took an assumption that more of the race would be done on a wet track which requires less fuel. Secondly i don’t think Merc anticipated that they would be in a position to push for a podium finish. Both the Ferrari’s had qualified in front of them who would have though Alonso would be out after one lap and that the Ferrari pace would be much slower with Mass fading quickly.

          So the Wet start and unexpected pace caught Merc out. Hamilton may have driven harder, but her said he was fuel saving from lap 25, that’s less than half distance and even with fuel saving Rosberg didn’t catch and pass him. That’s his own problem.

          After that last stop Hams fuel was critical but still in front of Rosberg, but the distance to the Bulls were then beyond reach so Rosberg was never going to catch them considering he two was marginal on fuel.

          So Hamilton was going to be disadvantaged buy team strategy and not carrying the fuel for the resultant weather and pace. Rosberg wanted to take a risk to add unnecessary wear on the car. Without careful management they could have had two cars DNF instead of the 3 -4.

          Either way neither Mercs were going to reach P2 from that stage of the race.

    3. +1 for the statistics…

    4. @maroonjack
      Because the cases are different? I can’t see why the only options should be to either approve or categorically denounce all team orders.

      1. Except, the cases betwee Silverstone 2011 and Malaysia 2013 are identical and we still see the massive double standard..

  16. I think this whole issue is on its head. Webber pointed this out. The problem is deliberate tyre wear, which makes drivers have to be more cautious, which in turn makes them dependent on team radio advice based on tyre wear calculations made by computer. Rather than giving the drivers decent tyres, and maybe the option to refuel, and just letting them drive the hell out of the cars.

    Rapid tyre degradation, DRS, KERS etc. were all introduced for one reason: more overtakes and more (fake) show. So Ecclestone has some cheek complaining about team orders.

    1. Its not tyre wear, its a combination of having a lot of information on the pit-wall and avoiding risks that lead to teams issuing orders.

      What Vettel in essence did, was challenge who is the guy to call the shots, as he knew from previous cases, that his team urged him to be more carefull of the car and the tyres than needed.

      1. @bascb You may well be right about Vettel knew the team were being overcautious, but the whole point is that the concern with tyre wear is dominating races, meaning that the teams have this leverage over the drivers and to some extent the public – it helps them to justify team orders. I don’t think there was anything that sinister in Red Bull and Mercedes wanting the drivers to hold position, they just didn’t care who finished in front of whom within the team, but wanted to maximize the chance of both drivers finishing. Seems to be standard policy after the last stop. But in some senses that again reinforces the point that tyre degradation makes these stops predictable.

        1. but wanted to maximize the chance of both drivers finishing

          – No David BR2, they did not want to “maximize the chance of finishing” they wanted to take risk out of it.

          But the ultimate consequence of that is, that teams could then decide to stop battling after the first pitstop instead of the last, or even after the first lap, or not at all. Because all of that lowers the risk of not finishing. But that is not sport, because in effect it makes the racing irellevant. I am sure Red Bull could live with giving the points based on qualifying results (no risk of damage or tyres or engines not lasting), but would that be F1?

  17. the team’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said Rosberg should have been allowed to race Hamilton

    Funny it seems that Niki forgot the Ferrari team orders when he was the clear N°1 driver of the team

    1. No, its just him being in a different position now.

  18. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    27th March 2013, 12:05

    I absolutely hate drivers being told not to race but how can you police a ban on team orders that affect race results? The simple answer is you can’t and you shouldn’t. Certainly not with the current framework.

    Remember the TEAM pays the entry. The TEAM builds and pays for the car. the TEAM pays the driver to fulfil his contract. Therefore the team has every right to tell the driver what to do. They are the entrant and NOT the driver.

    The only hope we have of avoiding team orders is change the framework of F1. The driver could be the entrant and the team would have to provide the car under contract no strings attached. I don’t see how that could work financially.

    The only other thing I can think of is the drivers and teams are contracted to a central body an not directly to each other. Far fetched I know! In that scenario we could have drivers jumping from car to car throughout the season the same way jockeys do in horse racing…hmmm that would be interesting!

    1. The only other thing I can think of is the drivers and teams are contracted to a central body an not directly to each other. Far fetched I know! In that scenario we could have drivers jumping from car to car throughout the season the same way jockeys do in horse racing…hmmm that would be interesting!

      Pretty sure that was one of Max Mosley’s more unhinged ideas.

      In the real world, the resurrected Formula 2 ran to a similar framework: all the cars were owned by the promoter (the mechanics were directly employed by the promoter too), and the driver rented the machinery to race with.

      1. @red-andy You would be right! That was raised at the end of 2002, when Ferrari were churning out 1-2s every other week.

      2. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        27th March 2013, 15:09

        I actually originally suggested it way before way before Max did and then it was a little tongue in cheek to illustrate what an intractable situation we have with F1 and team orders. Of course back then the lap time differences of the cars at the front and back of the grid were much bigger. The 2013 cars are intrinsically close in performance. The problem with hi deg tyres is it suits the cars at the front more than those at the back. More durable tyres would mean closer racing and then we’d be at lot less concerned when the inescapable team orders crept in occasionally.

  19. No for both, far too early in the season to be dictating to the drivers that they cannot race. There should be no preferential treatment this early on for any drivers.
    Whilst not technically part of this debate, even though I’m against team orders, I do think that once they are given, they should be heeded. It’s the same in anything, you do what your employer tells you to do, it really is that simple, or, you try to discuss it with your boss (Rosberg, sort of), to try and work it out, but, their word is final.
    The other thing is as Webber’s car was turned down, he couldn’t fight back anyway, and Vettel knew that, which is probably the biggest reason to be annoyed (other than the use of team orders in the first place).

  20. It’s ironic isn’t it? Were RBR not the ones who didn’t want to pay attention to the whole team orders thing? Was Horner not the one who said, we let the drivers race eachother faire and square?

    Anywayhow, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all week now. RACING WAS/IS/WILL ALWAYS STAY RACING! If you don’t like what happend on sunday, why does everyone bother and watch F1 anyway? If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it, simple as that! You could do something else like sport or pay some attetion to your family or something instead of bothering or making yourselfs angry at what happend! The ones who do this are stupid! Did they crash? Nope… Did the F1 fans like it? Hell yeah! Did Mclaren complain about team orders when Jenson and Lewis were fighting? Hell no!

    So let me ask y’all a question, what would F1 be if non of this “fighting” happend? Nothing? thought so…

    1. +100

      I dont care what everyone has to say.. webber turned his engine down blah blah..the fact is with a flick of a switch he’s engine was back to full power and they raced!! and boy my hands were in the air literally when i was watching that!!! seeing those awesome couple of laps from both webber and vettel.. made my day…I came home the next day and watched the last couple of laps again.. this is F1.. vettel is a Racing driver!!

      1. It was indeed great!…But… ironically it only occurred because Mark thought Seb was going to obey his team order (“he has been told”).

        This is classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. The best outcome for the team is if both drivers cooperate, but individually its better for each driver to defect.

        It’s a very interesting property of the whole team/individual dynamic that exists in F1.

        Unfortunately, now that trust is lost they are both going to defect for the rest of the season, which isn’t maximum payoff for the team!! Interesting.

    2. I was contemplating this whole situation and I came up with something, let’s call it a possible outcome, however slim the chance… This might be exactly what Red Bull needed, for 4 years now there has been this long exhausting back and forth between the team and the world, the team and the drivers, and the drivers themselves, is there a N.1 ? isn’t there ? is one given the advantage over the other. and frankly it’s tedious. Mark has been outperformed by Seb for the last three years, so naturally Seb has become the go-to guy as he is the one who guarantees results, but the team maintains that both drivers get equal chance, and Malaysia proved it(with Mark being guaranteed victory after the final stop).
      Although, when Seb was attacking, the way he was warned suggested they tried not to “step on his toes” too much, which(at least to me) does not imply favoritism, but implies they don’t want to upset him, which is wrong, any and every driver must listen to what his team orders him to do, he owes it to the 400-700 people who are behind the scenes, even though i think these orders in particular were completely out of place, and they should have been allowed to race.
      So I think this might just solve the problem, the reaction Seb received after the race was clearly a huge shock for him, and probably was very humbling for him, which will do him some good, although he usually is a humble guy.
      As for Mark I think now he can stop talking about the protection and preferential treatment Seb gets.
      So who knows, this might be the last straw, that will make everyone sit down together, lay everything on the table and come out stronger than before.
      And it just might destroy the team :P

      what do u guys think?

      I’ll just add what I think of how things went down on Sunday, Sebastian is my favorite driver, and I think he was in the wrong, but ONLY towards the team, After Mark’s history with team orders, I think he had this one coming .

      1. very interesting what you have to be honest I think sebastian was just being a normal kid..hes 25 years old and he was having some fun at a grand and enjoying himself and wanting to win.. its a natural instinct any young person was quite clear the team response shocked him aswell..anyway I hope he comes out tougher than ever in china!!..

  21. Team orders so early in the season are ridiculous. So I voted “no” to both polls.

  22. no matter what people think, team orders will always be issued, whether against the rules or not. These drivers are PAID by the teams to drive the TEAMS cars, the drivers are employees and therefore must listen to their boss. Whether we like it or not this is the case and ye it may seem wrong as they are meant to drive to win, but those are the rules, the drivers need to deal with it and the consequences.

  23. I voted yes on both questions, from the team’s perspective it makes total sence to save the engine ( only 8 per year) and not to stress the tires.

    However if if @keithcollantine was to open a second poll asking:

    1) was vettel right to pass webber?

    2) should rosberg have passed hamilton?

    I would vote yes on both subjects too, because from the driver’s standpoint , you want to WIN.

    In the all the thousands of comments al boil down to one thing, what is more important the team’s aspirations, or the driver’s. And on that subject you’re most likely never going te get everyone to agree.

    1. In the all the thousands of comments al boil down to one thing, what is more important the team’s aspirations, or the driver’s. And on that subject you’re most likely never going te get everyone to agree.

      Exactly +1 Sir!

  24. I think when Ross was saying Hamilton could go faster, he didn’t mean that Hamilton could race faster, so much as meaning that IF he didn’t have the fuel issue, he could go faster.

    1. That was my interpretation too @mike

    2. Only because you heard the Ross-Ham radio contact that Nico had no privy to and Ross new exactly well that Nico had no idea about the fuel issue.

  25. I was waiting for this poll and the results are not surprising at all. They are showing only the double standards (for now, only 63 voters). It’s ok to have team orders as long as they restrict Vettel, but it’s not OK to have team orders for the oder drivers. I am failing to see the logic here. Anyway – in both cases – definitely “no”. The fight between Vettel and Webber was great and that’s what i want to see from a race. I know, the German is not popular here and if he listened to Horner now all the hate comments were going to explain us that he can’t overtake and he is counting only on strategy and team orders. There was going to be ZERO respect if he obeyed. So i think he definitely did the right thing.

    1. I agree: It was a case of 0 respect, or 0 respect plus 7 points…

  26. i think if pirelli makes the tyres last longer and drivers dont have to preserve them, then we won’t have these problems

  27. I don’t like Vettel, nor do I like Red Bull’s (to be exact: Marko’s) way of doing things, but this is preposterous. Team orders are either wrong or right, regardless of the team doing this. They can’t be both right and wrong. I find the results of poll ridiculous.

    As far as I’m concerned – no all the way. In both cases. We should see racing, we should trust drivers’ judgement.

    Also it’s pretty clear why the results of the poll are so biased – it’s because Vettel asked for team orders favoring him and ignored the ones in favor of Webber. Had he not asked for “getting Mark out of his way” he would have been applauded for what he’s done. Now he’s just seen as a spoiled kid who doesn’t need to obey rules and when something goes against his will he’s just crying and asking uncle Christian and uncle Helmut for help. There’s also a strong hint of Red Bull not being consistent about their own policy. One may find it hard to believe that “multi 21” order was really followed by the team itself when it was Webber who found himself leading. Slap on the wrist which Vettel got for his misbehavior is also not very convincing, to say the least. It all stinks and that’s why people have biased views regarding this situation.

    1. There’s also a strong hint of Red Bull not being consistent about their own policy


      That part is true, if not in the sense you intended. Vettel seems to be in much more hot water for this incident than Webber ever was for ignoring team orders in the past.

  28. No and no. Team orders make our sport dull, always leave bad aftertaste and the finger-pointing after them looks just silly.

    F1 drivers are the best racers in the world. Team orders unnecessarily diminish their achievements. Hamilton and Rosberg didn’t crash into each other at Bahrain last year even though they were in different teams and Rosberg took it to the limit. And Webber knew how to behave last Sunday even though he seemingly didn’t expect the attack and was very angry.

    I’m sure that drivers are professionals and that fans place exciting racing above all. So FIA should ban team orders and teams should stop using them now.

  29. Team orders have a time and a place. The 2nd race of the season is not the time nor the place for team orders, regardless. Both no from me. Shows a lack of respect and trust from the pit wall to the drivers, and anyone who goes and disobeys them (both Vettel and Webber in different circumstances) are no better.

  30. It’s funny how more people have said it’s right that RedBull employed team orders than Mercedes.
    For me it’s either one or the other, they were both right to or both wrong to, I can’t see how you can be like “yeah it’s fine for Merc to do it but shame on RedBull for doing the same”… Therefore I voted “No” for both.

  31. Someone commented here (and rightly) that banning team order means banning prostitution. But, a team principal should have the authority to dictate the team desires. My solution is simple: Didi Mateschietz should either sack Vettel or Webber (he’s got money for compensation) but don’t have any remedy for Mercedes. Finally, a racing driver should be trusted and allowed to race and not be a chicken. The bottom line is, the culprits are the team principals for team order so early in the season. The biggest losers are the teams, then MW and RS. And I have a strange feeling that Webber retaliates, even if it would cost him and Vettel the title.

  32. The OZ Cynic
    27th March 2013, 12:38

    This is a different era completely to the drive 100% to the flag. They cannot change the engine and gearbox after every race. The tires have to be managed every race according to each team. So they have to balance speed with performance every race to the last detail. Which means as soon as its safe to pull back with no challenge from anyone else it makes 100% sense to do so as the season is long and at the end you do not want to manage races with engines or gearboxes that are marginal.

  33. I get why the teams want to impose orders. They just want to maximize the points and bring home both cars. What bugs me is that most of the time we, the viewer, don’t know whether or not team orders are employed. You think you see proper racing, but in reality it’s just a carefully choreographed procession. It feels as if F1 is more about politics rather than racing. And maybe it is, and that would be very sad in my opinion.

    I wouldn’t be in favor of banning team orders either. In the current F1 environment it’s far to easy to masquerade a team order as fuel saving, tyre saving or even a slightly slower pit stop. Might as well allow it then, right? I also don’t agree with Mr. E’s statements about it being too early in the season for team orders. You don’t know what the season is going to bring, and I get why a team would rather settle the championship early. I don’t like it, but I understand it.

    Was Vettel right to overtake Webber? Maybe. I’m happy he did, because it spiced up the race, post race and gives us plenty to talk about in the coming weeks. It also gives Formula 1 plenty of extra coverage. But on the other hand, there was an agreement within the team, and there’s supposed to be mutual respect for each other and a certain level of trust. Vettel showed he cannot be trusted, neither by the team nor by his team mate. It’ll hurt him in the long run. Where the team might previously decide to support him at some point, they might not be so willing anymore. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. That kind of thing. Except Vettel shouldn’t expect to receive any scratching anymore.

    As for the situation at Mercedes, I don’t think it’s much better. Hamilton mentioned he felt Rosberg should be up the podium. But at the end of the day it was Hamilton getting the trophy. If Hamilton really feels that way (which remains to be seen), he’ll owe one to Rosberg now.

  34. I disagree about the team orders issued by both RB and Mercedes.

  35. Race is race, no team orders should be allowed. Well done Vettel! **** of the ones that likes that a faster car stays behind is slower team mate. For example, since that day we all saw that Rosberg will never became a World Champion. Who doesn’t remember Shumi or Senna, they will never stay behind is team mate, never! This is the behavior of the champions and Vettel is a champion, as Alonso or Hamilton. Someone believes that one of these doesn’t overtake? Of course they will!

    1. Oh Schumacher did play #2 to Irvine in the last 4 races in 1999 when he had to sit 7 races recovering from broken leg bones. And he was THE BEST #2 for three races and the best ACTOR for the last race of the season. This is how:

      Ferrari had brought in Schumacher in 1996 to help them win the Driver Championship as they haven’t won it since 1979. Schumacher and co forfeit 1996 season and in 1997 were fighting for the WDC to the last straw until MSc realized his car cannot finish so DELIBRATELY hit JV (on the side) to take him out and thus win the WDC but didn’t cause any serious damage to the Williams of JV and he went on to win the WDC (that he deserved in 1996 but for a certain non-Frank Williams favoring Hill from race 1 by stopping JV car for inspection while leading the race albeit with slow oil leak and handing victory to Hill) and MSc penalized by wiping out all his points for the 1997 and more importantly losing respect from many of his loyal fans (me included).

      Then in 1998 (THE BEST SEASON OF F1 EVER for me where Hill paid back Schumacher for 1994 by delaying him for 12 laps in the final race while not involved in the title battle] with a puncture to see MSc retire and Mikka (the most humble double world champion ever) steel the WDC.

      Comes 1999 and MSc and Mikka are at it again but in the British GP MSc’s car wouldn’t turn and goes straight into a wall breaking two bones in one of his legs which side-tracked him for 7 races. Mika Salo took his place and together with Eddie Irvine mounted a serious fight for the championship (because of the quality of car not their driving) until MSc returned in the last four races to help Irvine win the WDC for Ferrari since 1979 AND for three races MSc did AN AMAZING JOB by first leading the race and then playing synchronized swimming (Martin Brundle’s words in Japan 1999) to allow Irvine to take the lead but prevent Mikka Hakkinen from passing. Then when it dawned on Ferrari that Irvine in about to get them the WDC not MSc they decided to throw it by first bringing 3 tyres for Irvine in one pit stop (cannot remember which GP) and then by when Irvine needing MSc to prevent Hakkinen from winning the final GP of the season MSc DELIBERATELY came second and allowed Mikka Hakkinen to take his 2nd WDC because Irvine would have take the thunders away from him.

      The funny thing was, had Irvine won the 1999 season he would have been the ONLY driver in F1 history to have won the WDC without making a scoring a single pole position. Correct me if I wrong Keith or anybody.

  36. I think the use of team orders on Sunday is a different issue than has faced us before. In previous cases, team orders are often presented as a way of ensuring a “preferred” driver is placed in a better position to the detriment of his team mate. Whether that means being told to stay behind, or to allow the team mate past, the aim is to get the preferred driver more points. The two main reasons for this is either one team mate is in a much better position in the drivers championship, or has a stated or de-facto number one status in the team.

    That’s not what happened on Sunday. Instead, there was an operational decision to minimise risk. In the case of Mercedes, is was the risk of running out of fuel. In Red Bulls case, it was the risk of either of the two drivers taking each other out, or damaging tires sufficiently that the 1st and/or 2nd place would be threatened. Both these scenarios are nothing to do with “picking” the teams preferred winner.

    Take the Red Bull scenario. Both cars are operating below max, in order to preserve the life of the tyres. This is reasonable. Both drivers received instructions about target lap times. Imagine instead, you let them race. Putting aside the risk of crashing for a moment, the team (and drivers!) need to manage the tyres still. So, do you say “race, but only push 80%”? Who measures what that 80% is? Up until that point in the race, they’d both be unrestricted in being allowed to overtake (although lap time targets were presumably still in place), and Webber had come out on top. If both drivers pushed they would be likely to damage their tyres too much, and require an extra stop.

    The situation at Mercedes was slightly different – the limit was fuel – not tyres – and it affected the two team mates to different degrees. It is likely that Nico could have maintained a faster “safe” pace. However there is a crucial difference. They DID race. Nico attempted the overtake on tow separate occasions, but Lewis took it right back again. Battling that close to each other while achieving nothing was pointless – damaging tyres, using fuel, and risking collision with no gain for anyone. To avoid that problem there were two solutions, both involving team orders. 1) Tell Lewis to let Nico past (this is was Nico asked for), or 2) Tell both drivers to maintain position. Personally, Ross Brawn make the call I would have done. And, I have to say, did it with more composure, professionalism and respect for his drivers than Christian Horner did. You have a frustrated driver? Explain the reason WHY you’re giving those orders. Even if he doesn’t agree, at least you’ve had the decency to let him know. Which is why I think we say Nico and Sebastian react in different ways.

    Ultimately, I’m all for pure racing, with no team orders. But with the current regulations and tyres, “pure racing” simply doesn’t exist. Every race is currently a very finely balanced battle between pace and tyre management. And tyre management has the upper hand at the moment. So I can hardly blame team principles for playing it a little bit safe, especially this early in the season.

    As the season goes on, the need for managed lap times will likely diminish, and with the the need for team orders due to “obscured” pace. And team orders will once again start being about picking a favourite. And my disdain for them will return…

    1. @fluxsource Regarding the situation at Mercedes, that is assuming Rosberg had fuel issues as well. As far as we heard on TV, they only told Hamilton to save fuel during the race. They only told Rosberg to hold position, only explaining that Hamilton could go faster. From that conversation I gather Rosberg didn’t have fuel issues, but they wanted to keep him behind Hamilton.

      1. My understanding is that Rosberg did have fuel issues, but not as severe as Hamilton’s. I know it’s only a small difference, but these small things make a big difference when dealing with “grey areas”.

    2. Adam hits on the different reasons for team orders. From a team manager’s point of view, it can be looked at like this:

      A. You are worried about a collision and don’t care about the positions – so you order them to hold.
      B. You are worried about tyre wear or other car issues and don’t care about positions – so you order them to hold.
      C. You have a potential issue with one particular car and don’t care about positions – so you order the other one ahead and let him on his way.
      D. You have a potential issue with one particular car and prefer they stay ahead either because the they’re contracted #1 or you think something happened unfairly to them in the race – so you order them to hold.
      E. You prefer one driver be ahead for the drivers championship purposes and order them that way – because the other driver is out of contention.

      So we have Red Bull applying case B – I’m okay with that due to the extreme tyre situation in Malaysia – but Horner had no power to actually enforce it!
      But Mercedes applied case D! Quite silly this early in the season – you can’t ensure drivers get 100% fair treatment all year. Nico has every right to be PO’d. Unless of course Hamilton is the clear #1 in the team.

  37. I think the answer to this depends on the viewer’s opinion of what motorsport is.

    If you take the view that it is a sport where the best drivers fight it out wheel to wheel for a championship, then team orders are clearly wrong.

    If you take the view that it’s a sport where a huge team of people designs, builds and runs cars, against a bunch of other teams, then team orders are clearly ok.

    If you take the view that it’s a little of both, then the answer is “it depends”.

    The problem is that F1 tries to be both. In Fangio’s day, it was a team sport first. The drivers came second, and they did what they were told. If a driver was top notch, they would have no qualms about demanding #1 status over the other driver(s). If a team issued an order, that order was followed. If a driver disobeyed, he was dispensable, #1 driver or not. Nowadays, it’s seen by a lot of people as a sport where a group of elite drivers fight each other. However, the best driver in the world doesn’t have a hope of winning without his team building a decent car, and running it well. We have no doubt that Hamilton is probably the fastest man on the grid, but a series of failures by the team last year left him a distant fourth.

    On a personal level, I dislike team orders, I dislike drivers who expect their teammate to move over, and I dislike the idea of a team principal deciding the result of a race on our behalf.

    However, I also don’t buy into the idea that the drivers are there to be pandered to and allowed to dictate to the team how things should run. No driver on the grid is going to win the championship in a Caterham. They might like to think their input is paramount, but overall, how much difference is there between the top drivers? Not as much as they like to claim. Jules Bianchi is running over a second a lap faster than his teammate. But Hamilton’s not running a second a lap faster than Rosberg. And the Marussia is 3-4 seconds slower than the top of the grid. So in truth, money, facilities, team structure, and Adrian Newey are all worth probably 3 or 4 times as much laptime as Hamilton or Vettel is. I’m sure people may not like hearing that but it’s true.

    Furthermore “Racing to the flag” doesn’t happen in any other team sport. Rugby, Football, cricket, horse racing, you name it. You can watch any of those sports and see a player obeying an instruction from a captain or coach to play out the clock, waste time, slow down, reduce their efforts, concentrate on protecting their lead rather than attempting to score, or accepting a draw today in the hope of a better chance at a win tomorrow. In some cases, that may mean that a player who is chasing a personal best, or a higher score, or an end of year golden boot, is not going to get what they want. But can you see someone like Alex Ferguson allowing one of his star players to ignore one of his orders? Never happen. Tough diddly to you and your golden boot award. An F1 team won’t take that attitude but they shouldn’t accept a driver deciding to ignore the whole organisation.

    As to the polls, I think they could be structured differently to get more useful information.

    “Should the team have the right to issue team orders” is a different question to “Were team orders the right thing in this particular case”.

    As in Korea last year, it proved the men in the cockpits are best placed to judge the state of their tyres, not the prat perch dwellers who think they know better. So let them race.

    That worked out really well for Vettel when he decided to come in early for slicks, ignoring the team’s advice, didn’t it? I understand your point, but let’s get rid of all the strategists, analysts, mechanics, and engineers, then see how well the precocious, valient drivers do at running the race. Some drivers can’t even work out what their own current strategy is, never mind decide which tyres to change to.

    Vettel is impressive. Without a huge team deciding to pick him up, he’s a nonetity driving around the back of the grid in a HRT.

  38. 2011, poll: “Was it right of Webber to disobey teamorders?”. 75% said yes.
    2013, poll: “Was it right of Vettel to disobey teamorders?” (basically). 40% say yes.
    2013, poll: “Would it hav been right of Rosberg to disobey teamorders?” (basically). 75% say yes.

    And there will still be people defending this double standard.

    1. Maybe some of the ‘people’ in question were in the 25%, 60% and 25% respectively?

    2. I applaud Keith for having the guts to put this poll up as it was evident from the get go this double standard would be unveiled.. just waiting for all the excuses and ‘explanations’ to start appearing now..

      1. They were different situations, with different causes, and different outcomes. (Different words!) It’s entirely legitimated to vote differently on the two polls without having “double standards”. Although I’d like to point out that I didn’t…

        1. Except the difference between the 2011 Silverstone poll and this one ( involving the same drivers and team) is so minuscule, you’d have to nitpick to find it (which doesn’t stop some people from trying it and using it as a justification).

    3. I think the reason for the double standard may be something as simple as supporting the underdog.

      When Webber ignored orders, it was against a backdrop of the team publicly sabotaging his chances against an opponent who had massive political backing (front wing stealing). Whereas here, Vettel’s reputation has suffered over the years from exactly those factors. Rosberg, again, is seen as the underdog in the team and gets the same boost in support.

      You’re not wrong about the double standard, but I think there is a logical reason for it.

      1. You’re not wrong about the double standard, but I think there is a logical reason for it.

        Of course there is a reason! :D I think you have a point, but that’s not the only reason I think.

        I think Vettels success is another major one. People (especially British IMO) don’t want another dominant Schumi and they are trying their best to fight it kicking and screaming. With every win Vettel is edging closer to him though and it terrifies them. Doesn’t help that he’s German either.

        But my point is that people need to see this and admit it. I’d have much more respect for them in that case.

    4. Because Webber in 2011 PRETENDED to ignore team orders to please his supporters but not actually over-taking Vettel (pretended losing in a fake battle) to not get fired.
      Ever since 2012 Webber knows his yearly contract is dependent on supporting their golden silly Fiddle-Vettel.
      That is why we symphathize with is then but loath what Vettel did on Sunday or was it the team secret agreement with him to slow down Webber so he could over-take???
      The next few races should tell us that.
      Personally I would dock Vettel 1 month salary and give it to Webber to show him who is boss and get Webber to support him in the future. As it is, this will make fireworks in the two-sides of the garage.

  39. MB (@muralibhats)
    27th March 2013, 13:18

    There is one person who only voted for Red Bull? Didn’t Vote for Mercedes question? Vettel/Red Bull hater?

  40. Lets be absolutely clear on this subject of team orders. The team owner(s) pays the bills and gets a large percentage of their income for the team performance not the individual drivers performance. Although they are linked.
    The driver does not know the whole story and therefore must be guided and instructed. Especially in the present day with limited numbers or engines and gearboxes. The driver will not know the amount of fuel left or the expected ware rate of the tyres. And most definitley will not know the situation of his team mate or the state of the opposition. So he must be guided by the team and obey the orders.
    Also in the team meeting before the race there will have been decisions made and agreed about what to do in certain situations.
    Therefore the team leader must be in control and be obeyed, for a driver to disobey breaks the trust between the driver and the team.

    Does anyone think with the reaction of Mark Webber that if Seb Vettel needs assistance in securing another World Championship that Mark is going to be very helpful, especially if the team is alrady in the position of winning the Team Championship.

    So be realistic, and accept there must be team orders and they should be obeyed.

    If you disagree then virtually a whole bunch of rules and regulations need to changed before we can expect to get wheel to wheel racing between every driver on th grid. The present rules dictate that between team mates the risks must be minimised, and that means drivers will always be told to hold position, now and for evermore, even if team orders are banned. And that applied doubly in the last race with RBR in 1 and 2 and Mercedes in 3 and 4 with very little chance of a change unless someone broke down of drove off the circuit, or the team mates crashed into each other.

    And yes, I too, would like to see wheel to wheel action for the whole race but in some situations it is not going to happen, accept it.

  41. When a team hires a top of the line F1 driver to compete in the highest tier of motorsport, they have to trust him.
    If they do not trust his judgement and skill then they should do one of two things: a) stop being a bunch of babies. Or b) get another driver.
    You cannot seriously employ a driver with a very specific set of skills, pay him millions a year and not trust his skill and judgement in his field of expertise.
    Would Newey like if Vettel was constantly running around his office, trying to control what direction Newey took the design? Of cause not.
    They should collaborate. Share ideas and opinions, but orders should not be used.
    What does anyone on the pitwall know about tyre wear? Nothing. The track changes, the car changes. The driver feels that. If anyone knows when to push and when not to, its the driver.
    Using team orders to change the championship outcome is a different thing and I can sort of support that. In case one driver is way out of the running and the other is not, then the team could be forced to use team orders, in which case I would be okay with it.
    But using team orders because the team is too scared of letting their drivers race is something I will not sympathise with.
    Its just not the right way to go racing.

  42. I voted no to both polls, for different reasons.

    I voted no to Red Bull because there was little to nothing to protect from a drivers championship position. That said, I don’t hate Red Bull for doing it because they were protecting 43 points in the constructors. And that’s fair enough – it is still a team sport. Also, even if I don’t agree with the order, Vettel should have followed it anyway once it was given out.

    That said, I sense frustration on Vettel’s part which triggered this behavior. Remember when he asked the team to make Webber pull over and they didn’t allow it? Imagine, then, that you’re Vettel. After the stops, Mark is ahead, and now you’re ordered not to pass him. And you think you’re faster than Mark! So not only do you not get the order you want, you get the very order you do NOT want. Add to that Vettel’s mindset that he is (rightly or wrongly) the team’s number one driver. That’s what may have caused Vettel to just throw caution to the wind and pass Mark anyway. It’s not the right thing to do, but I think that’s why Vettel did it anyway.

    As for Mercedes, I voted no too for a much simpler reason – had Rosberg gone ahead, he could’ve made life difficult for the Red Bulls. If it was Lewis’ mistake to go full-rich on fuel, why protect him? It only makes sense if it was a team decision to do it, therefore the pitwall owned the mistake and tried to make it up to Lewis by protecting him from Rosberg.

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      27th March 2013, 13:44

      Add to that Vettel’s mindset that he is (rightly or wrongly) the team’s number one driver.

      I very much doubt that, though….

      I sense frustration on Vettel’s part which triggered this behaviour. Remember when he asked the team to make Webber pull over and they didn’t allow it? Imagine, then, that you’re Vettel. After the stops, Mark is ahead, and now you’re ordered not to pass him. And you think you’re faster than Mark! So not only do you not get the order you want, you get the very order you do NOT want.

      I agree with you on that part. You might add that Vettel didn’t know that Mark was in “Eco-Mode”, let alone that fact that, because of it, it would be unfair if he takes the advantage by taking the lead – Vettel probably thought it was more similar to “Fernando is faster than you” than it actually was.

      Either that or I actually missed something – other than the live broadcast of the race.

      1. You might add that Vettel didn’t know that Mark was in “Eco-Mode”, let alone that fact that, because of it, it would be unfair if he takes the advantage by taking the lead

        I see people repeating this belief all over the net, and it has zero basis in fact that I can find. Apparently one anonymous commenter somewhere made this claim, and then huge numbers of other people picked it up simply because they found the idea emotionally satisfying.

        No reputable news outlet has made the claim you are making. Mark Webber never said what you are saying. Neither did Horner or anybody else at Red Bull. Your claim has no basis in fact..

  43. I voted no on both accounts, in an ideal world I am against team orders.

    ….but think about this… Had it not been for team orders Webber would not have been lapping to a delta time, and quite probably the battle would never had materialised.

    So in an ironic kind of way, team orders actually led to the battle in the first place. I feel this very fact has been lost in this whole debate including the reasons for and against in this post.

    1. Doubt that. I think Vettel had enough pace in the last stint to give Webber a proper fight, which I think is exactly what I think happened. I don’t believe Webber was ‘cruising’ with a detuned engine for very long. The moment he saw Vettel exiting the pits ready to fight he surely evened the playing field. He reminds me so much of Barichello. Always being the victim, but never able to put his foot where his mouth is.

  44. I really hate team oders.
    BUT I voted ‘yes’ on both polls as it makes perfect sense from a team’s point of view. Engine and gearbox use is limited through the season, so what’s the point of using them up unnecessarily at this end of the season when you might be facing grid drop penalties for changing them at the other end of the season. No point in wasting effort on an fratricidal conflict when you are guaranteed of first and second anyway.
    BUT I really hate that both teams have avoided racing. We watch them to see them race – against each other as well as against other teams.
    AND if we are faced with tyres with the durability of marshmallows and that preclude using the maximum performance of the car, as well as Team Orders on this scale, I think we’re in for a pretty rotten season.

  45. The correct question is: are teams right to use team orders?

  46. Maybe team points should be awarded with 10 laps to go !!!! So the drivers would be free to fight !!!! I personally think both Vettel and Rosberg were both unprofessional. Vettel completely unsporting. And why the all the whining from Rosberg, you either trust your team or you don’t, they have the information, we still don’t know how much fuel Rosberg actually had in comparison to Hamilton, since Rosberg doesn’t have a fuel gauge. We are all assuming he had much more fuel because he whined more…both Rosberg and Hamilton were told by Mercedes to go max speed in their mid stints…sure there are driving techniques to save fuel, world champion Hamilton is aware of these techniques, so why is there the assumption that his “wreck-less” driving used up soooo much more fuel ???? The is no evidence bar the public moaning of Rosberg.

  47. Do I like to see team orders? No. But as long as they are legal, Red Bull were correct to use them to an extent. They have to think of what is best for them, and what was best for them was not risking their drivers colliding. With team orders in F1, that seems to me to be a fair stance. On balance, I voted no opinion, because I consider whether I want to see them and whether they were justified as 2 separate things, and Red Bull were wrong to use in so much as it hurt their brand image among fans.

    For Mercedes however, I see no real justification. If Rosberg was able to go that much faster at that time, for whatever reason, he should have been allowed to pass. If the team were concerned about a collision, then the order could have been for Lewis to move aside. But what was almost certainly wrong was boxing a faster driver behind a slower one.

    The crux of the issue is clearly that team orders are detrimental to fans’ enjoyment of the sport, and overall are a bad aspect for F1. But the problem with making them illegal again is that policing it would be so very difficult. Look at what happened to Ferrari in 2010. It was the most blatant display of team orders, but went unpunished. And how do you justify in the rule book what the acceptable face of team orders is? There clearly is one as numerous times at the climax of a season we have seen drivers trade places. And also, whether Germany 2008 was actually team orders or not- I haven’t heard a radio instruction to Kovalainen and don’t know if one existed- if they were employed there, were they justified? I would say that they clearly were, as the beneficiary (Hamilton) went on to win rather than being trapped far behind. That makes it a far less disgusting manipulation of a race result. But how do you allow for that in the rules? And does that mean that no drivers are ever allowed to be instructed to hold position? Unfortunately, I don’t see a realistic way that team orders can be banned. If they were, they would remain illegal only as long as it took for the next Hockenheim 2010 to happen. Then everybody would question why less severe violations actually were less severe and went unpunished.

    1. But what was almost certainly wrong was boxing a faster driver behind a slower one.

      Except he wasn’t demonstrably faster. He’d already made two overtaking attempts, but couldn’t make them stick. And, as has been demonstrated over many years, drivers start getting reckless if they’re trying to pass the same car for two long. As Lewis has successfully defended his position, why would ordering him to move over be any fairer?

      1. But surely, they could have allowed nico past in one of the DRS zones , Lewis woudn’t have felt bad about it as he had to fuel save any way .

      2. @fluxsource By faster, I mean that he was able to run faster due to not needing to fuel save, particularly considering that Hamilton needed to continue reducing his pace substantially after that in order to make the end of the race. I’m sure Hamilton could have run at a similar pace to Rosberg, but he would have ran out of petrol. Rosberg apparently didn’t have the same fuel problems.

        1. Except that before the order he tried to overtake, and failed. Twice. So why should Hamilton then move over?

          1. @fluxsource Because he had to keep reducing his pace and couldn’t afford to keep defending so strongly anyway.

          2. As I can’t reply to your comment @matt90 I’ll reply to mine…

            Possibly, even probably. But not definitely. Without data to show exactly what level of fuel saving they were each on, talk of Lewis allowing Nico past is just the team orders debate from the other direction.

            Ideally, drivers should be allowed to compete all the time. In this case they were not, but at least it was towards the end of the race, and they’d had a bit of a scrap first.

          3. You make a good point. I just assume that Rosberg did not need to drive as slowly as Hamilton to make the finish. The reason I assume that is because I believe Brawn would almost certainly have told Rosberg that he needed to fuel save if he had actually needed to. That approach would have made Rosberg less concerned about not being allowed to attack Hamilton.

    2. Red Bull were correct to use them to an extent. They have to think of what is best for them, and what was best for them was not risking their drivers colliding.

      For Mercedes however, I see no real justification. If Rosberg was able to go that much faster at that time, for whatever reason, he should have been allowed to pass. If the team were concerned about a collision, then the order could have been for Lewis to move aside.

      Given that Vettel was also “clearly faster” than Webber, as shown by his, you know, passing Webber, how you can square that circle is beyond me. And you don’t even try. You just repeat your description of your own desired outcome and make zero effort to even rationalize it. A simple “I hate vettel” would be both clearer and more succinct.

      1. @jonsan This has sod all to do with Vettel, which is why I never even mentioned him. I don’t appreciate somebody who doesn’t agree with my opinion trying to imply I am biased- that is the cheapest form of counter-argument. It also makes no sense, seeing as my favourite driver is Hamilton and I was more than happy to see team orders either not used in his favour or even used against him. If you disagree with what I said, say why, and do so without such an attitude. My desired outcome, as I explained later, is no team orders. A fair fight between Vettel and Webber with no attempt to restrain them would be great, but clearly wasn’t what appropriate for Red Bull given the circumstances and legality of team orders.

        I’ll admit that their does appear to be a contradiction in my logic. My opinion, which I didn’t make clear enough in my post, was partly based on there being a huge pace differential between Hamilton and Rosberg, particularly right at the end of the race. Such a huge difference in speed did not exist for Vettel and Webber. The pace of the individual drivers was not creating a difference of the same scope as the fuel saving required by Hamilton was. If Rosberg had been that much easier on fuel consumption while staying in contention for the entire race (I haven’t heard anything about Hamilton having a problem or being under-fuelled compared to his team mate), then perhaps he deserved to reap the benefits. Also, I would say that how close one of the Red Bull’s came to ending up in a wall fully justifies my reasoning for Red Bull attempting to use team orders. It was a long time ago now, and Vettel has proved himself to be less mistake-ridden in close racing at the front since then, but I’m sure that Horner still has Turkey 2010 in mind when his drivers are competing closely.

      2. Also, if you’d read my post properly, you would have seen that I didn’t even vote that Red Bull were correct in using team orders and that I settled on ‘no opinion.’

  48. A big NO! Perhaps in the last races a team order can be right, but in race Nº2? NO!

    1. What difference does which race it is make? Are the points from later races worth more/less?

      1. Starting at 50/50, the probability of each driver winning the drivers’ championship changes with each race – so later in the season team orders are more likely.

        1. More likely is not the same as more justified.

      2. @fluxsource I think @jorge-lardone means that team orders can be right when a driver is in the run for the championship, but the other isn’t (like Massa and Räikkönen did in 2007 and 2008).

        1. That is right.

  49. I would have liked to hear Kimi’s response if anyone would have been brave enough to give him orders……

    1. @paulf1 He didn’t mind in China 2008. Of course those were very different circumstances. I just hope you mean that Raikkonen wouldn’t pay attention so early in the season rather than suggesting that he wouldn’t ever listen to team orders.

  50. If you believe what happened at Hockenheim 2010 was wrong then you must answer no to both questions.

    Put your dislike/support of Vettel or Hamilton to one side. Both Red Bulls and both Mercs should have been allowed to turn their engines up and use up their tyres. There should have been a race to the finish.

    1. Sorry, but not true at all. When it happened in Hockenheim, team orders were banned. Rules were broken, regardless of your opinion of those rules.

      1. I understand but I feel as if people are just using that as an excuse to bash Vettel. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t like Vettel at all.

        As a fan I’m more concerned with fairness than what the rules actually say. Telling your drivers not to race when there are hundreds of millions of people watching is really disheartening and bad for business.

        1. But this question isn’t about Vettel, only whether the teams were correct to use team orders. Most comments on this article are purely to do with whether the orders are justified rather than having anything to do with Vettel ignoring them. The 3 cases (Mercedes and Red Bull here, plus Ferrari 2010 as you mentioned) were all very different. Rightly or wrongly, justified or not, one was a direct manipulation of a result for the WDC, and the other two were efforts to prevent any damage in the WCC.

  51. Stangely, I voted Red Bull were right but Mercedes weren’t.
    The reason why I say this is that Red Bull found themselves leading with a one-two and to take less risks asked Webber to look after the tyres and the fuel, whilst telling Vettel to do the same and finish 2nd. However, Webber could’ve raced till the end with Vettel, he had no problems, and neither did Vettel. They could’ve both raced but instead Red Bull preferred not to take any risks, and that is not only acceptable but even allowed by the regulations. Vettel overtook Webber in an unfair battle.
    On the other hand, Hamilton had problems with his fuel and his race could’ve been spoilt by a battle with Rosberg. Surely if Hamilton was too slow and risked not finishing the race or being attacked by those behind him, it would’ve been better to let Rosberg through, avoiding to put him as well in danger. They could’ve said to Hamilton to let Nico through without fighting, but while Hamilton had a problem Rosberg didn’t and he had the right to take advantage. Webber instead was not forced to slow down, he did so because him and Vettel were on equal situations and were both asked to slow down, keeping things unvaried. Hamilton was forced to slow down, and Rosberg had to pay the consequences of Mercedes’ badly-calculated fuel problems.

    1. @fixy I felt almost entirely the same, except that I voted ‘no opinion’ for Red Bull because (had the orders been followed) they would undoubtedly have damaged themselves as an F1 brand by employing team orders which tried to prevent exciting racing. Any team with a 1-2 near the end of the race and no close competition is entirely justified in not wanting those cars getting too close, but commercially won’t do themselves any favours.

    2. @fixy

      I voted Red Bull were right but Mercedes weren’t.

      Looking at the results so far that has to be the minority view!

      1. @keithcollantine right now 73% agree with me on Mercedes and 49% on Red Bull.

  52. I am simply undecided on the Red Bull debate. Call that sitting on the fence, and I am a big fan of Mark Webber – but I think there’s more to the story than any of us know and more reasons for why Webber had a reason to be upset. That said, I respect Vettel for going ahead and taking what he felt was rightly his.

    With the Mercedes pair, I think Rosberg had more than one oppurtunity to pass Hamilton in the laps leading up to the team orders – and he should have waited for DRS on the start/finish straight rather than overtake at the hairpin and simply give it to Hamilton. Plus, this wasn’t a fight for victory.

  53. New competition.
    “What might Kimi have said over the radio if he was given team orders?”

    1. “NO”

    2. Ehh… “I don’t care.”?

  54. It’s a very difficult and complex question.

    I’m a fan of racing, so in my mind the best possible situation would be 20-24 drivers on the grid, all driving absolutely equal machinery, and all being able to push themselves and their cars to the maximum with nothing artificially slowing them down. The purest form of competition. But let’s be very clear; this is not F1. Never has been, never will be. It might also be very boring – with equal machinery, no performance differential or dropoff, no strategy, you line the drivers up with the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back, and you’d have incredibly dull races.

    So in F1 then. The situation above is not the case. There’s a Drivers’ championship but it would be a mistake to assume that this meant that this is a championship won entirely on driver performance. Who could possibly argue that Vettel drove more consistently or got more out of his car last year than Alonso did? We have to accept that the car, and the team responsible for designing, building, maintaining, and running that car, are at least as important (if not more so) in the pursuit of a Drivers’ championship as they are in the Constructors’. So for this reason, it is logical that the team is equally instrumental in helping maximise the chances of a driver winning the WDC. Hence – team orders.

    Remove the human element for a moment – take out pride, ego, even raw talent, and you’re left with an obvious logical solution. The Ferrari way. Or at least the Ferrari way of old. A designated number 1 driver, where every effort is made to maximise the performance of that driver. The car is built for the driver’s style and physical requirements, strategy calls always give that driver preference and priority, and they have a teammate who always gets out of their way, while holding up their opponents as much as possible. It’s the single most effective way of winning a WDC. Assuming that the number 2 driver is also able to extract the maximum potential of the car, then a WCC is also pretty much assured. In fact, in this situation, team orders aren’t even a consideration – the number 2 knows their place, knows their job, and will automatically move over and let the number 1 driver through.

    However, F1 drivers aren’t robots, and despite the sheer unstoppable force of will to maximise performance in all other areas, it’s remarkable how few teams are prepared to use this approach. They consider it unsporting, unfair, and against the spirit of competition. But this leaves us with a difficult compromise. It’s entirely against the nature of F1 teams to deliberately compromise their own performance, especially on matters of principle. So for the most part, preferential treatment is given, but not explicitly. Drivers may not necessarily be aware of their status as number 1, or number 2, or the balance may shift between the two, leaving drivers completely confused as to where they stand. This, to some extent is the problem for Red Bull – they want the world, and probably their drivers – to believe that each driver has equal opportunities. But this is not strictly true – if you use team orders you are giving preferential treatment to one driver, by the nature of team orders. A competitive driver who has had the message drilled into him that he has equal opportunities with his teammate, will naturally be aggrieved when a call comes through on the radio which appears to favour the other driver, and that’s where you run into problems.

    What many teams lack is a defined policy on team orders. I think it’s natural and unavoidable that all teams, when it comes to the crunch, will prefer to use team orders to some extent, rather than lose out to another, slightly less principled team. If both drivers understand this, and know when to expect the orders, then issues should never really arise. If it were my team, maybe my policy would be that the drivers are free to race each other until the mid point of the season, at which point whichever driver has established a lead will be designated number 1 and will receive preferential treatment. The lead driver must earn his status, then, and the number 2 will at least know that if they perform better in future then they will also have the opportunity to be number 1. However, until that mid point, I would not tell my drivers not to race each other. I’d make sure that calls to turn down engines etc were applied fairly between them, but I would not expect them not to compete with each other. I’d employ a pair of drivers I trust to be able to race each other firmly but fairly, and not come to blows over it. If it did come to blows, I would then deal with that reactively, rather than starting from the assumption that my drivers couldn’t be trusted in the first place.

    Give people trust, let them know that they are important to the team, that they will get fair treatment, and manage expectations by making it clear exactly when, where, and crucially WHY preferential treatment may be given, and I think you’ll end up with a culture of trust and respect between teammates which will be a natural asset to the push to win both the WDC and WCC. Do what Red Bull and Mercedes did though, and treat your drivers as if you don’t trust them enough to let them race each other, and you’ll naturally end up with unhappy drivers who feel resentment for each other and the team management, because neither will understand why the orders were given or how they have helped the team in any way by complying.

    1. +1 You , can be a team manager . Well said .While there can equality in racing but always the development will be angled towards a particular driver . I find that McLaren are the only team among front runners that allow both drivers to race freely ( so far ) . Unfortunately they mess up so bad in other areas and strategy . It was funny to watch jenson and lewis last year having a go in the Indian GP at the start only for alonso to take them both in the long straight . They didn’t even see him coming . As you said , they have to race each other but with maturity in the start of a race and race each other hard till the rest of the race .

  55. If you had Redbull 1 and Redbull 2 and so on collecting their own points towards the champoinship and not as a joint team then there couldn’t be team orders and in affect you would have double the teams in the championship which could only make things even more interesting and it wouldn’t even make it more expensive for the teams, just one little rule change, thats all.

  56. Simply no in both cases. Round 2 of the season= too early to be using team orders.

  57. Are team orders against the rules? No
    Then they have every right to use them and they should use them.

    I have no problem with team orders. I can see the need of bring home 2 drivers in a certain order.
    I also don’t see how you can not have team orders without massively changing how Formula 1 works.

  58. I voted yes on both, even though I’m not a fan of team orders in general. Within the present technical rules, it was the only logical decision from a team perspective.

    I agree with Keith’s assessment that the driving has been taken out of the drivers’ hands. This is a point I have been making for years now. You can’t stop progress, but the car telemetry has become too advanced for the good of the sport as a sport. Jacques Villeneuve may be a total boob these days, but I reserve eternal kudos for his insistence, while still racing, that the cars had become too dependent on electronics and outside control.

  59. Voted No on both polls. I’ve never liked team orders although I understand completely why a team would want the safest option to get the most WCC points from a race.

  60. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    27th March 2013, 15:27

    I always thought Horner was Vettels boss! Apparently he is not. If Horner was the boss all he had to do when Vettel had passed Webber was to have asked Vettel to let Webber back past…. situation solved.

    Vettel is in charge at Red Bull … not Horner.

    1. And what, exactly, does that have to do with this particular poll?

      1. Any oportunity to bash Vettel will be taken without remorse lol

      2. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        28th March 2013, 11:53

        Well I suppose strictly speaking nothing, certainly if you assume Horner and the Red Bull Management is in charge. I just thought it was noting (tongue in cheek) that before deciding if Red Bull were correct to give team orders we should ascertain if Vettel is included in that decision making process! It seems to me he thinks he is. This incident may just be a symptom of an internal power struggle within Red Bull… just thinking out aloud.

  61. Red Bull as a team had nothing to gain and everything to loose.
    The team order made sense here.

    Mercedes had a chance to improve with Rosberg but probably could not have done any better.
    There might have been something else going on like Rosberg also was low on fuel or they did not want him to burn his tyres out and loose position. But generally it was a risk decision – not really in tune with the racing spirit of F1.

  62. I am against any team orders, team orders only bring problems and unnecessary debates, the racing should be done freely and fair. Commands from pitwall are cancer for racing.

    I have no sympathy for webber whining boy….

  63. It’s odd how Mercedes have a much higher number of votes. Why should they be treated differently? Either the answer is yes or no across the entire board, not just for single teams.

    In my opinion, the answer is no. Some drivers and teams might not like it but I want to see them racing. I’m a huge Lewis Hamilton fan but as far as I’m concerned (and from what I gather, Lewis agrees), it’s tough luck that he had to save fuel. Rosberg should have passed.

    The same goes for Webber. Need to save tyres or something else? Fine, but don’t go crying when someone overtakes you, even if that someone is your teammate. That’s part of the strategy.

  64. Voted yes for both.
    I am wondering why at Turkey in 2010 Jenson did not get the abuse Vettel is getting when he raced Hamilton after being told to hold station and save fuel? Was that not a team order which Jenson disobeyed? Or was it an entirely different situation?

    1. Goldenboy Jenson is an angel though, have you not noticed his halo? It was ok because it was by divine right (I also understand he had a whole square of butter in his mouth AFTER the race!)

      Fortunately demon Lewis would have none of it…

      1. Hypocrisy really winds me up so when I see him commenting about how Vettel will be perceived now, it beggars belief and I don’t even like Vettel!

  65. I think imposing team orders at such an early stage in the season “spoils the show” so to speak: I understand that the teams wish to bring the cars home and score the points for the constructors, but there’s a drivers championship going on also. Both drivers should have equal footing until the chequered flag as both are still well within title contention mathematically. Only when that isn’t the case would I support team orders (such as in Brazil last year).

    1. I agree with all what you said (very strange!!!LOL), i think in this case the main responsible for this chaos is Christian Horner not the drivers,not just because he used team orders at this stage of the season but because he didn’t showed personality ( i doubt if it was another team boss with tougher personality this would have happened),the driver’s behavior demonstrate that(when Seb ignored the team orders and Mark was attacking the team on the podium with harsh words without mentioning the middle finger), he wasn’t on the podium in the first win of the team in the new season which is very strange
      His statement after the race about that Seb will not give the position back if they asked him to do so, so why ask him to hold it ?? if you knew that Seb will broke team orders so why tell him something that he don’t likes,in the worst case due to his luck of personality he should have let the two drivers race with of course strict instructions not to make silly mistakes (like Turkey 2010)
      The problem now is the war between the 2 drivers, Seb may gained 7 pts which is the difference between winning & losing the WDC (2010 & 2012 comes too my mind) but let’s see how many pts he will lose from the next fights with Mark , the solution for Red Bull is to suck Mark Webber before the end of the season and replace him with Buemi because even if they are going to make his car slow then he will not snatch pts from rivals & that will have consequences on the WCC

      1. @tifoso1989

        I agree with all what you said (very strange!!!LOL)

        Indeed! That won’t happen again ever! :P

        You have raised a good point though in that Mark may no be a liability for Vettel if they are to have any similar encounters later in the season: I imagine Red Bull will be much more stringent if it so happens Webber is out of title contention mathematically, so that might be a saving grace for Vettel.

        You mention Buemi though – personally I’d love if they just chucked Felix Da Costa straight into the Red Bull seat if he performs again like he did last year in WSR if the need to replace Webber arises, which would be great if that materialised!

  66. I’m not surprised by the fact that people are more evenly split on the rightness of Red Bull ordering Vettel not to pass, but clearly in agreement that Mercedes shouldn’t have ordered Rosberg to hold position, but this raising either an interesting bias against Vettel or our sensitivities to the different scenarios.

    Everyone will love to point to the first bias being the case, so I’d like to look critically at the difference between the two teams’ scenarios.

    With Red Bull it felt like a spoiled self-entitled Vettel was taking advantage of Mark essentially having one hand tied behind his back (having turned the engine down to save the tires and engine). With Mercedes it seemed like a calmly defiant Rosberg being respectful of Hamilton similarly having one hand tied behind his back. I think it is worth noting that Lewis clearly needed to actually slow down to make it to the end while Mark didn’t.

    I don’t see how Mercedes use of team orders could ever be justified. Lewis had overused his fuel ans was paying the price, why should Rosberg be held back because of that? If anything, Lewis should be ordered to let Rosberg past so he can chase after the Red Bulls. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    I can, however, see how team orders could be necessary at Red Bull. You have two drivers who are known to get into battles with each other and the team doesn’t want to risk it. That said, the second race of the season is no time to put the drivers in that situation. Trust them to race each other appropriately and help them monitor their tires so things don’t get out of hand. Once one driver is out of contention for the championship, or when the Constructor’s championship gets close and heated, THEN you order them to hold place.

    When you couple in the likelihood that the team should have known one of them (likely Vettel) wouldn’t obey and they would race each other, then they should have known they were simply tying one hand behind Webber’s back and putting him on the back foot by having him turn down his engine. They frankly deserve the egg they all have on their faces right now. Vettel for acting like a spoiled brat, Webber for acting like a whiny victim, and the team for having their heads up their butts.

  67. As a fan, obviously it’s better to see the cars racing than not. But truthfully, if I were in Horner or Brawn’s position, I would’ve done the exact same thing. By allowing their drivers to race, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

    I can honestly think of no good reason to risk a certain 1-2 or even a 3-4 finish for the sake of spicing the race up a bit.

  68. A cleverly designed poll, Keith, at last as far as exposing the double standards employed by many members of this site.

    What sort of self-deception do people have to employ in order to answer the two questions differently?

    1. Because in my opinion Red Bull had nothing to gain with drivers racing each other, meanwhile Mercedes (with Rosberg) perhaps could have won it. We’ll never know.
      For me it’s completley different situation.
      For the record: I don’t hate or favour any of the four drivers involved.
      Go Kimi :)

  69. It’s funny how short a memory folks have: The reason we have team open orders is because they are absolutely impossible to police anyway and hence, they make no sense to have in the first place. Just like the probation in the US last century didn’t turn out very well.

    Of course it is better if all drivers are always racing each other all out but in reality it will only happen when we get an entire gird of manly Ayrton Senna’s who will tell their teams BEFORE the event (even before signing the contact) that there is no way this side of heaven that they will ever take orders not to pass.

    With today’s little crybaby primadonna’s who will accept anything, do the opposite and then claim they didn’t mean to, this is what we will get: team mates racing on unequal terms. It’s ugly and not the type of “racing” I want to see anyway.

    Let’s be realistic and keep the inevitable out in the open instead of all the sneaky crap we had just a couple of seasons ago. Please keep in mind that a ban on team orders can have the consequence of a championship being removed from which ever team didn’t hide their plans as well as the team it is handed to.

    Is that really what you want to see? Maybe you also think prostitution will cease existing the second it’s outlawed?

    1. @poul

      The reason we have team open orders is because they are absolutely impossible to police

      That’s what those who opposed the team orders ban would like to have us believe, but it isn’t the case.

      During the era of the team orders ban the only noteworthy controversy over team orders that occurred was that concerning the Ferrari drivers at Hockenheim in 2010.

      That incident was “policed” in that Ferrari were given a penalty. But they were given an inconsequential fine – nothing that would remove the advantage gained from breaking the rules and nothing that would deter them from doing it again.

      This wasn’t a failure of policing the rule, it was the FIA lacking the political will to impose the rule on the sport’s most powerful team. It wasn’t that they couldn’t enforce the rule, it was that they wouldn’t.

      1. I am very surprised to hear this from you, Keith:

        That’s what those who opposed the team orders ban would like to have us believe, but it isn’t the case.

        During the era of the team orders ban the only noteworthy controversy over team orders that occurred was that concerning the Ferrari drivers at Hockenheim in 2010.

        So you are saying that I am wrong that it’s impossible to avoid team orders in the first place, and then putting a big fat line under why I am correct? “Only one controversy” – does that mean that only one team order was given during the ban? We all know that there were team orders all over the place but most of them were carried out to typical F1 perfection behind the scenes, like a pit stop juuuuust taking those two seconds longer.

        I don’t even think FIA failed at all in the Ferrari case. It would have been much more controversial if they had actually taken away points from one team using team orders while not doing the same to all the others which sometimes VERY obviously did the same.

        I will bet you a pint that FIA ruled in this meek way because they realized how terrible the ban was and thankfully they got rid of it right after. FIA constantly gets the stick for lack of consistency and the best way to avoid it is to avoid rules that constantly bring teams/drivers in the borderline area. In recent years FIA seems to be returning to logic. If Todt should be credited I don’t know, but by banning reactive ride height right away they showed consequence and we avoided another double difuser disaster entirely destroying a full season for most of the teams and spectators.

        At some point during the season there will often be enough points difference between team mates that the second driver will start to help his team mate by his own will. Now it is no longer a team order but how will you detect which is which? How big of a points difference is allowed before “order” switches to “helping hand”?

        Imagine that Red Bull had wanted Vettel to win in Malaysia. How on earth would you detect if it was true or not that Webber had to switch to eco mode in order to complete the race on his remaining fuel? It’s just not possible and there will tens, if not hundreds of other cunning ways in which team orders can be carried out.

        Let’s aim for more clarity and consistency and not for more bans on what we all know will always be there, no matter what. Sometimes they will be detectable but most times they will not. Unless of course we move to single car teams.

        A ban on team orders is a nice dream but it just doesn’t work in the real world.

        1. @poul + 1 a rare piece with a bunch of refreshing observations – but sadly for most people things ARE what they seem. artificial team orders are a kinda taboo subject most people view it in the same light as someone telling stories about UFO’s and alien abductions – its just a conspiracy theory

          Formula 1 is a team sport, the drivers championship may be the one that holds the most weight and clearly drives the most emotions for fans but truth be told it holds a tad more importance for a football team to have one of its players to win a golden boot award. At the end its just an individual accolade. Teams want to win races and score points and will always favor the driver with the most potential of providing them with more wins in the future – and lets face it : 36 year old Webber signing 1 year deals is not it

          Vettel is sorry, Marko is not upset, Red bull owner does his bit and supports Webber…Horner caught in the middle of it and he will be made to look the fool again. Hofefully this is not over and the best is yet to come

  70. Did anyone have a bet on the race cos I for 1 would have been well ****** off at loosing a bet that way

  71. I am no fan of team orders. If they are going to use them, I think they would do well to take a page from Cycling. They have the opportunity to work together as a team, just like ad hoc breakaway groups. For example, Mercedes could have benefitted by switching the draft at each DRS zone in Malaysia.

    My distaste for Vettel’s move was that it was cowardly and cheap like a fighter hitting after the bell. If the race is on, the race is on. I am sorry that is not the behavior of a champion. A true champion will want to compete on fair terms. I think it is likely Vettel was marginally faster than Webber in the final stint due to tires, but he may not have had enough to get by him. The team gave him every advantage and he was still behind. If they thought he could easily dispatch Webber, they would have given him the green light.

    IMHO, Rosberg should have been allowed to pass and chase RBR, you may pressure those guys into a mistake. Brawn’s call reeked of corporate publicity, and it backfired. I don’t think Brawn did himself any favors, and while Vettel may have 7 more points, he is the biggest loser in this.

  72. I voted No on both. I support the concept of team orders and feel that they do have their place in F1. But that place is not 15 laps from the end of the second race of the season on a dry track.

    Perhaps team orders could be banned for the first half of the season and allowed in the second half, which is the only time I can see a justification for their use.

    1. @jonsan Considering Vettel won his second championship not far far after half way through the year in 2011 that just couldn’t work ;)

  73. Red Bull’s action was decided before the race, so I voted yes for them.

  74. I accidentally said Yes for both, i meant no for rbr.
    I understand Mercedes’ decision to ask rosberg not to pass. It was legit from my POV. Simply because it wasn’t hamilton’s inability to race that he was slow. It was an error on the team’s judgement for which hamilton was paying the price. The car was actually low on fuel and it was wrong of mercedes to think that it would rain n fuel hamilton’s car less. Allowing rosberg to pass, meant asking hamilton to defend his position, which meant eventually he’d stop on the track with an empty tank. And it’s not hamilton’s duty to brim the tan, its the job of the team to calculate.

    About vettel passing webber, I dont remember this correctly, but didn’t the whole thing start cause vettel tried to pass webber back in hungary? after which webber did the same in nurburgring and its just been going on ever since? I read that it was said webber should have been more cooperative during brazil last season, but then it was started by vettel wasnt it? With that said, I dont think team orders were required at this stage of the season and neither did it look like either one the car had tyre issues.

  75. A lot of the people saying ‘Yes” to Red Bull” and “No” for Mercedes seem to be basing their stance on the entirely fictitious belief that Webber was the victim of a “sneak attack” having “turned his engine down while Vettel did not” and in any case that he was “totally unaware that there was a race on”.

    The clam that Webber was unaware that Vettel was racing him for the lead is simply nonsensical and the people making it must be among the sizable proportion of fans who get their views of the races from live text feeds or after-the-fact news reports rather than by watching the races.

    The allegation that Webber was in “fuel saving mode” while Vettel was in “race mode” is likewise bizarre. A lot of people are repeating this allegation on a lot of fan forums, but the claim is based on no hard facts. No media outlet is making this claim. Mark Webber is not making this claim. Christian Horner is not making this claim. The belief in it seems to be a form of wish–fulfillment for many people. They’d like it to be true, so it must be true.

    1. I agree that if both cars were on equal terms – no big deal.

      I don’t think the view that they were not on equal terms is non-sensical for the following reasons: Webber claimed to have turned the engine down in the post race press conference — nobody from RBR (Horner, Helmut, Newey…) with direct knowledge has refuted this version of events. Even Vettel, who’s story has changed and evolved, has said this is a win he is not proud of. I would like to know when Webber turned down his engine. I think it is entirely possible that he turned it down after Vettel passed him, however, I think that if that were the case, RBR & Vettel PR would be all over that point of distinction.

      If it was a pass made on equal terms, I have no problem with it, because if Vettel had more grip and fuel, he’s earned the opportunity to fight for the win.

      1. Webber claimed to have turned the engine down in the post race press conference

        But he never claimed that Vettel did not do so. That part has been manufactured out of whole cloth by some over-excited fans – the same sort of people who were equally convinced that Vettel had passed under yellows at Brazil last year, the sort of people for whom Vettel is always guilty until proven innocent.

        nobody from RBR (Horner, Helmut, Newey…) with direct knowledge has refuted this version of events.

        That’s not a “version of events”. It’s one statement about one datum of information – Webber turned his engine down at some point. The claims that Vettel did not do the same are based on nothing but wishful thinking. To the best of my knowledge your “version of events” has never been presented to Horner for him to dismiss.

        Nobody in the media has followed up on this stupid conspiracy theory – it exists entirely in the minds of a segment of “F1 fans”. (And I’m using the term in the loosest possible sense)

        1. Ryan (@ryanisjones)
          28th March 2013, 10:40

          The clam that Webber was unaware that Vettel was racing him for the lead is simply nonsensical

          What? So are you telling me that Webber knew and simply allowed Vettel to catch up four seconds in two laps? Or are you saying that something was wrong with Webbers car and he was going the fastest he could? Neither of those makes any sense.

          Why would he be angry if he was beaten fairly on the track. He was angry because as he said he was told to slow down, meanwhile his team mate was on an all out assault to catch him. Had anyone else been behind him, he would have been told to up his pace. Clearly no such call came. You don’t jump out your car and start shouting “multi 21” if you are were racing each other fairly. I get your a Vettel fan, but you need to look at the situation more objectively.

          The problem isn’t that Vettel ignored team orders. I can’t stand team orders. Its that Red Bull slowed Webber to let Vettel be in that position and THEN he ignored them. “Multi 21” dude, he is saying it because it is relevant. Webber was being told not to push when Vettel caught up.

    2. @jonsan

      The inference that Webber had turned his engine down is based on numerous allusions to this that he made in post-race interviews, and on his ‘Multi 21’ comment prior to the podium ceremony. The inference that Vettel was in a different engine mode at the time of the overtake is based on the fact that he gained 4 seconds on Webber in 2 laps.

      While it is true that (as Webber himself emphasized), we don’t know all the facts and cannot know all the facts, neither inference is unreasonable here. You are not being charitable in describing these inferences as ‘wish fulfilment’.

      Your follow-up comment is just nasty. I’m sure the vast majority of F1 fans who sympathize with Webber in this instance do not have any kind of vendetta against Vettel.

      1. The four seconds gained in two laps was still before the last pitstop of Webber, and we are being told that only when Webber came out of the pitlane (marginally) ahead of Vettel, the team order was on.

  76. Voted no, team orders should be banned for the first half of the season or until one of the drivers is out of WDC contention.

  77. Both teams were right. The teams are there to be successful and if the fans are entertained, that’s a nice by-product. It’s not up to me to question the teams use of orders, it’s in the rules and it’s allowed. Where you are in the championship relative to the end of the season really doesn’t matter to me, 43 points is 43 points.

    Clearly the teams couldn’t rely on their drivers and both aggressors showed defiance (albeit only one went against the order). That only serves to me how right both teams were to implement the strategy as they could not rely on the drivers to figure it out for themselves.

  78. I think that the results of this poll show the double standard of F1 fans clearly. If it wasn´t Vettel we wouldn´t be having this most noise.

    1. I don’t think so. Most people are explaining their reasoning without Vettel’s actions being a clear consideration. I think a lot of people are able to separate their feelings about the orders themselves and if they were happy with what happened next.

    2. @celeste I do think a lot of people look for reasons to hate him.

  79. I think team orders are fine. They have been around since F1’s inception. Heck, in the old days they would give the fast guy a teammates car to finish the race! But I also think the rules are making orders more needed than ever. Requiring engines to last 3-4 races, and transmissions too, makes it necessary for teams to protect them so as not to have a penalty later in the season. The same thing goes with the short life,fall apart, tires. If teams didn’t have all these short sighted rules to endure, we would see more racing flag to flag. The sad thing is that the FIA never seems to have the ability to do things without having unintended consequences. (like all governments) Why is it that fans can see it and the powers that be never do??
    I would prefer tires that lasted longer so we can watch the drivers go 10 10ths instead of driving to a delta. The cost savings on engines in the big picture is a joke. Just like no testing is. Teams spend just as much on wind tunnels and computer R&D as they would in testing. And the way it is doesn’t allow young talent any chance to learn the craft. I miss the days of qualifying cars with 1 hour to go balls out for pole and then rebuild the car for the race. I know we will never see that again, but there needs to be a happy medium somewhere between then and what we have now. Just my 2c.

    1. @twiinzspeed

      I think team orders are fine. They have been around since F1′s inception.

      That doesn’t mean they’re good though: “back in the day” it used to be accepted that people died, and so we lost many many great drivers due to competely avoidable accidents. I know it’s a very graphic example, but just because it’s been there since the beginning doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

  80. As an F1 fan I voted no to both but if I were a team manager I’d have told my drivers to hold position just as Brawn and Horner did.

  81. Why do people take exception to team orders in F1, but in football (as another team sport, as an example) if a team has a lead with 10 minutes to go, they will oftern waste time by passing it around/kicking it out, and conserve energy, bring players off to save them for more important games, all this sort of stuff?

    Then theres the betting argument. What if you put money on player A scoring a teams winning penalty, but the manager/coach decides player B is going to take it? Why dosnt this seem to bother anyone?

    It takes far more people to design/build/run an F1 car than it does a football team. So why is there a fundimental problem with people seeing a car take it easy 10 laps from the end when it has a gap over its rivals and is scared about tyre wear/fuel load/ or the general life and condition of certin parts of the car?

    Is it because the average viewer dosnt give 2 hoots about all the hundreds and thousands people behind the scenes?

  82. I must add a clarification to my answer of ‘no’ for each case. I don’t think it is right to have explicit team orders in the sport in general. I don’t mind the occasional ordered pass to fit in with a team mate’s strategy midway through a race. Having said that, I can entirely understand why red bull would implement such an order given their history (ie: Turkey 2010) and their recent tyre wear issues. I see the Mercedes case as quite a different circumstance. I see no reason to keep nico behind if he’s managed to drive in such a way to get home with enough fuel at a decent pace. Holding him back must have been incredibly frustrating for him and undoubtedly would have him questioning his position in the team. Going back to red bull though, the thing that really disappoints me is that (regardless of one’s stance on the use of team orders) a team order was issued and subsequently disobeyed by one driver so we didn’t see real racing anyway. Without team orders, we would have seen mark and seb race to the end fairly with the possibility of excessive fuel consumption and heavy tyre wear. That would have been explosive (potentially literally) and exciting! Which is exactly why I can understand their use of team orders.

    1. Without team orders, we would have seen mark and seb race to the end fairly with the possibility of excessive fuel consumption and heavy tyre wear.

      They did race to the end.

  83. Chris (@aclasschris)
    27th March 2013, 19:48

    What Sunday proved once and for all is that Vettel is in charge at Red Bull Racing. Horner relinquished control of his team the instant he accepted that Vettel had “made his decision”.

    I don’t believe in team orders and all the drivers should be allowed to race each other (even teammates). Pirelli need to produce a better tire so this scenario of dialing it back for the final stint never occurs.

    I appreciate Vettel’s willingness to win, however when your boss tells you to do something, you do it. He acted like a child and should’ve been treated as such. Instead of telling him he was acting “silly”, Horner should’ve imposed some level of punishment. As a team Red Bull have some rebuilding to do. The hierarchy of authority has been shifted and they’ve probably lost Webber as an aid in Vettel’s quest for a fourth WDC. It’s going to be very interesting to see how they come back from this in China.

    Maybe Vettel is off to Ferrari next season and he really doesn’t care what Horner or the team think of him. Who knows?

    1. Looked to me that Webber was the one who acted like a child on the podium, and a crybaby. He took my toy, you favour him bohooo

      He appealed to the bleeding hearts of those watching and sadly a lot of people fell for it.

      If he won, it would have been because it was gifted to him but I doubt everyone will think that coz only vettel can get that kind of treatment right?

    2. @aclasschris It didn’t prove that Vettel is in charge, just as much as the Silverstone incident where Webber didn’t obey, didn’t show that Webber was in charge. It just proves the military psychologist teaching: Even if the General strongly believes he is in charge, he can only get the soldiers to follow orders to a certain degree. No matter how furious the General gets, the soldier who pulls the trigger is in charge of killing or not. The motivation, cultural background and personality is important. As cultures Australia has an Individualism score of 90 and Germany 67, which means that Australians generally are more individualistic than Germans, but Germany also ranks high on this scale (US tops the list with a score of 91). On the Power Distance Index Australia gets 36 points against Germanys 35 points, which means that both cultures don’t easily accept and expect power to be divided unequal. F1 drivers are not easily accepting orders from anyone – their ego is too large. When working with this type of people You have to respect this fact, otherwise You will often have a conflict. The driver can protest against orders by his actions on track, but this is not any proof that the leader has lost his leadership. His leadership just didn’t work according to his plan – this is on case by case basis. If You want to hire drivers from whom You can expect blind obedience, then You will not get the passionate high end top performer, unless maybe You find the driver in Panama or Guatemala. See link:

  84. I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that if you asked “Was Sebastian Vettel right to cure cancer?”, about 25% of the people here would manage to come up with some reason for why it wasn’t right.

    “Hey, cancer cells are living things too you know! Celebrate bio-diversity!”

    1. The arrogance of thinking he has the right to decide what happens to cancer cells!

      He’s just showing what a spoilt brat he is because he doesn’t want to get cancer himself someday.

      1. hehehe so ironic great line!

    2. +1 and haha

    3. @jonsan I just find it particularly offensive usually that I’m the delusional one! +1

    4. @jonsan ….well actually the claim is that Mark Webber was actually leading the race for a cure for cancer and was on course to victory until Sebastian Vettel allegedly stole his notes from right infront of his and his professors eyes…

  85. Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber?

    Yes (45%)
    No (49%)
    No opinion (6%)
    Total Voters: 473
    Were Mercedes right to order Rosberg not to pass Hamilton?

    Yes (23%)
    No (74%)
    No opinion (3%)
    Total Voters: 469

    Some genius in Maths please calculate how many people voted with double standards in mind!

    1. @omarr-pepper – if we assume the same people voted in each category, and subtract the 4 extra votes from RBR’s total (just then assuming the percentages will remain fairly constant), there is a 22% increase in the number of votes for in the Red Bull camp, which equates to 103 voters with double standards on a rough estimate!

      1. @vettel1 22% increase is roughly 217 voters

        1. actually your right!

          1. @me262 – of course there are a lot of assumptions in that estimate though, so a more accurate method of calculation would be welcome!

    2. Two totally different sets of circumstances perhaps.

    3. @omarr-pepper I would say that if You vote No in the RBR question then You should also vote No in the Mercedes case, and thus I reach a total of at least 115 people. Personally I voted No in both cases, but I could argue for a Yes in the Mercedes case, if Mercedes strongly believes that Lewis is their lead driver. Points are points whether they are obtained at the first or the last race of the season. And along that logic RBR should have done the opposite of what they actually did, and this was the underlying reason why Vettel didn’t want to obey.

  86. CONSPIRACY: Keep the Germans behind the Brits & British Commonwealth colonialists.

  87. This is my 50th year following f1. I’ve seen tons of controversies. The problem with humans is that perception of reality is subjective. Added to this is the fact that reality is also constantly manipulated to make people see and believe what others want you to perceive.

    Experience has shown me a long time ago not to believe one hundred percent in what we see or what we are shown. It is almost certain that we will not know the true facts and circumstances of this controversy until many years from now. Having said that, it is very difficult for me to judge RBS and Mercedes team orders with a decent degree of accuracy based only on the few available truthful bits of reality that we currently have to do so.

  88. sometimes i feel like i’m the only advocate of team orders on this site. not that’s what i enjoy seeing, but i defend the team’s right to do so. the management of a sports team must be able to manage, even if a team decides it’s in their interest to favor 1 over another, or some other situation that fans don’t like.

    i voted “yes” to both questions, because my literal interpretation of the questions forces me to say “yes, they have the right to do that”

    with a figurative interpretation, i’d say no opinion to red bull and no to merc, although it makes political sense that merc favor their new superstar signing. otherwise they could have signed anyone to fill the seat.

  89. As a fan and observer of F1 since the days of Jim Clark I voted with my heart in both polls with a no vote. As a fan I want to all racers racing each other as much as possible. I think drivers should always take care not to crash out other drivers in the process, especially when racing against their own teammates.

    I can understand why team owners and managers might not agree with this. They do spend millions to fund their teams and pay the salaries of drivers. But, ultimately, the fans fund the teams and the sport itself, directly, or indirectly.

    Yes, sometimes teams have access to telemetry data that the fans and even the drivers do not have access to. But, the teams have proven that they cannot always be trusted to portray all the data truthfully all of the time. The fans and the drivers cannot always trust the teams. The teams have a difficult time trusting the drivers to not crash out their teammate. Things can happen. How about creative contract stipulations that give the teams some leverage should the driver crash out the teammate. The driver could lose some salary or even have the remainder of his contract nullified at the discretion of the team.

    Whatever happens in the future regarding this issue, it is clear that the fans view team orders, especially at such an early point in a season, as a negative. F1 and the teams should find a compromise that will keep this issue from having an even larger negative impact in the future. Otherwise they risk alienating those who ultimately pay the bills, the fans.

  90. Technically and currently as the rules stand both teams had the right to ask their drivers not to pass each other. But in the spirit of genuine and honest real racing, any team to embrace and invoke such a philosophy to its racing is disingenuous and deceitful in trying to convince fans they are watching genuine pure racing and should also buy into their sponsors products. I am of the belief that racing sits above the team. I site McLaren as a great example as their motor racing history have always allowed their driver to race first and we the fans have all been thrilled and awed and still talk about the epic and great motor racing battles of the past… and the team is financially doing quite well thank you…

    1. I site McLaren as a great example as their motor racing history have always allowed their driver to race first

      you are really quite wrong about that.

  91. I knew the outcome of this poll before I saw the votes :) – do I get half an extra point in the prediction championship?

  92. what the teams/drivers could do is instead of team orders being implemented with the then processional no one challenging the car infront no action boring for the fan cruise to the finish is this:

    The drivers engage in a fake battle where they slipstream and pass each other 3-4-5 8 times or how ever many to put a show on for the audiences. do it till the second driver is content then fall into their radioed positions for the finish! works for DRS…

    If the a minority of people start developing theories about how they think its all rigged and telemetry suggests the action is artificial it dosnt matter as they can be fobbed off as conspiracy theorists. The main thing is this would clean up this ‘fixed’ or team orders problem which is a big deterrent and keep it exciting for the masses! win win

  93. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    27th March 2013, 23:19

    No for both.

    As a viewer, teams shouldn’t be trying to control the outcome of a race, (unless a drivers title is on the line, and the teammate is t of contention) they should let the drivers race.

    I understand that they don’t want to risk anything, and want the best possible result, but the drivers are the best in the world (well 2/3rds of the grid are), I’m sure they know how to overtake.

    Mercedes were wrong to use team orders because Nico was clearly faster, and could have done the job in a matter of corners, instead he was held behind for several laps. Even if they had been allowed to race, they still would have scored the exact same amount of points. Because Their places would have been reversed.

  94. as a fan I voted no on both but if I’d run a team I’d say yes to both. F1 teams are obviously not trusting drivers to judge the situation properly and make sensible decisions on track – so they come up with team orders to make the decisions for them. But how on earth did RBR think that having both go side by side into turn 1 after the last stop won’t cause a problem?

    1. @tmf42 remember Vettel was going very fast after he changed his set, so when Webber got into the pits, part of the job of chasing was already done by Vettel.

  95. Basically, this poll shows people don’t like Vettel.

    I don’t like team orders, but I felt Vettel took unfair advantage here because Webber listened to the team and turned his engine down and Seb didn’t.

  96. There are two different sets of circumstances with the two teams and the votes.
    Rosberg could have chased down Webber and Vettel as Hamilton was a “Lame Duck”
    And the Red Bulls were supposedly conserving tyres engine and fuel.
    I suspect that Vettel would not have got past Webber if they were allowed to race to the end only because of the pace that Webber showed after Vettel asked the team to move Webber aside.
    Unfortunately,like it or not,rules regarding engine conservation,fuel conservation gearbox,conservation and tyre conservation do not allow racing from start to finish so the result is team orders.

  97. @keithcollantine Voted “no” on both questions but IMO the wording of the questions is wrong which led many to vote “yes” especially in RBR’s case despite meaning “no”. That’s because many and I’m between them feel that since the agreement to stop racing each other after the pitstops was made prior to the race, it was correct on RBR’s behalf to ask Vettel to respect the agreement. However there should not have been such agreement in the first place, so it’s a “no” from me. But , as I said above, the wording is misleading

  98. All of a sudden, team orders and pre-race agreements are all right. I really like what @keithcollantine has done here..he has brought out this poll to highlight the double standards in F1..
    Anyway, if I remember clearly, it was WEB who made the wheel-to-wheel situation more difficult by chopping Vettel on the straight, and outbraking himself at Turn 2…

  99. These are multi million dollar teams with the best drivers in the world, and some of the best racing engineers and racing strategists on the planet. Let them race. Its also a show and a competition. No one wants to see a football match and “know” the result 40 minutes before it ends- a couple of World Cup matches come to mind.

    Mclaren earned their prestige, for example, by winning and allowing their drivers to race. The Prost vs Senna battle, in particular, is regarded one of the best battles of F1 history. And lets not forget the recent Lewis vs Jenson, or Fernando Alonso vs Hamilton. That is why I am sort of a Mclaren “fan”. Unfortunately not every team has this sort of attitude. I think Lewis, who grew on Mclaren, for the first time, felt this last weekend. And by the looks of it, didn’t like it, even though he was the beneficiary. As much points as he gained, Lewis was slower than Rosberg, his “mystique” of fastest man in the F1 circus put into doubt, needing his team mate to Slow down so that he could get more points. Interesting season that’s building up!

  100. To be Honest this Poll Proved some what about the Hatred Vettel actually has at the Present time due to his success.Also i think Lot of people didn’t want him to win a race even.
    I really don’t think Webber won’t know about the Traffic at the end of Pit when he came out of pits.Every team will make clear to their Drivers about the Traffic and if Mark don’t know about Seb will be close to him it was more of the Mistake by the team.
    And Through out the fight i don’t think he didn’t turn the engine up. With the Funny tools we had and if Mark was down on Power then it will be like Vettel overtaking Lewis in the straight. But Mark and Seb Fought for Entire 2 laps toe to toe(It was my guess but i still say Mark turned his engine as soon as He realized Vettel was right behind him)
    And this situation is equally comparable to Silverstone 2011. When Mark decided to get P2 by ignoring team orders but couldn’t make the Move and settled for P3 where as Sebastian did the same and made a move and get into P1.
    If you are angry some one braked the Agreement then what you did when you braked the order. If some one says Vettel needs to be Banned for one race. Do the same said about Mark on the Incident about 2011.

  101. I think Red bull was within their rights to imose the team order, but how unfortunate they did, ultimately. I mean, they are the team who has always tried to maintain there is racing on the team, perhaps so we don’t think SV is babied. The interesting twist is that the order favoured MW this time. Perhaps they thought that given the history of clashes, and given that MW did have the upper hand in the race, this one should have been his. Plenty of time for SV to make up for the handful fewer points. I guess it is easy from the armchair to want racing over processions and not so easy to make these kinds of decisions, so…perhaps lesson learned lads…the easiest thing to do is not send the order…that way MW wouldn’t have had to be bent out of shape about being passed as that would have been on him, and SV wouldn’t have to look as bad as he did on the podium as he was simply faster, and we the fans would get what we are paying for. Racing in the pinnacle of racing. If Red Bull didn’t want to see MW punished for having to crank his car down, they should ensure he doesn’t have to…and if the need for him to turn down the wick was due to his own driving throughout the race, then MW deserved to be passed by someone who was able to endure the race at a higher setting.

    I see the Merc issue as having a different flavour because they are not a proven top 3 team, their agenda is moreso to finish the season knocking on the door of the top 3, meaning that I think on average they will not do this well and sometimes others will be ahead of them even if they are quite on it. Sure in hindsight if the team decided earlier to let NR by LH he might have chased the Red Bulls down, but that seemed a tall order, it wasn’t going to make a difference points wise for the team, and perhaps this was a nice ‘welcome’ to the team to LH, a little pumping up perhaps. Everyone knows NR was faster, LH admitted it freely and felt sheepish, so I think that it’s all good here. NR proved his point, everyone saw it and admitted it, so their shouldn’t be any lasting bad feelings, it didn’t cost NR a win, and the team has a great chance to revel in how well they placed, how reliable they were, except of course for the need for LH to crank down the wick like MW. And again, if LH’s driving earlier on was the reason he had to conserve so much in the end, then indeed Merc were wrong to impose the order, but if that was on the team, they need to correct that, and either way not make NR pay again for LH’s side of the garage not being able to endure the race other than on the lower setting.

    A very heady topic obviously…it’s why I still to this day rant and rail about the MS/Ferrari era of a permanent team order by contract in the boardroom before they’ve even turned a wheel. That was the worst most extreme example of what we saw last weekend. But I have a feeling the teams will have seen the weight of what happened last weekend and ensure that they don’t keep robbing the fans of the racing we have paid the pinnacle to see. For now I don’t think for a second that the teams have decided MW and LH are the the number ones for the rest of the season. Unlike MS/Ferrari…and likely FA/FM.

  102. You aren’t an f1 fan if you didn’t vote no for both. The poll wasn’t about vettel it was about team orders.

    Team orders = cars coasting in formation = less entertaining = less viewers

    formula 1 = spectator sport funded by advertising contracts based on number of viewers, less entertaining, less money for every team.

    1. @graf if your a fan of other team sports, you know that there are times when teams are ordered to play with a defensive game plan to defend a result. This is no different

      no team orders = 1 car per team

  103. The teams were right in both cases. Mercedes couldn’t risk 3rd and 4th given what was happening further on up the road (and it keeps being forgotten that they did swap positions three times before they held station).

    As a spectator, of course we want to see racing between team mates but as the rules permit team orders and F1 has had a constructor’s championship since 1958 we can hardly blame the teams for minimising risk.

  104. I am almost 100% sure someone already mentioned this in the 300-plus comments before this one, but I think, in the Red Bull case, the more relevant and appropriate poll would be a ‘Was Vettel right to ignore the team order?’ To that I’d answer with a definitive ‘No’, which, I think, is the point, not just in general, but currently at Red Bull as well. Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber? In hindsight, no, at that time, probably.

  105. I would love to hear Lotus ordering Raikkonen not to overtake Grosjean, because I know what would Raikkonen say (‘leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’) :D

  106. Even if team orders weren’t legal, Team Principals would always find a way to instruct their drivers what to do or use pit stop strategy to influence who is in what position. As long as there is a constructors championship with significant dollars behind each position at the end of the season, team orders will be a relevant part of F1. Ultimately, teams cannot survive if they don’t earn an income, and part of that income can be the final position outcome of a constructors championship. F1 is lucky in that it is an INDIVIDUAL sport as well as a TEAM sport combined into the one – and due to that, we see the dual aspects of the sport – be it individual brilliance of a driver or a strategic decision by a team to maximise constructors championship points so that in turn they maximise their end of year constructors championship prize money. Ultimately, team orders don’t guarantee a result – even if drivers move as per a teams instructions, there is still an element of risk of mechanical failure in the car, driver error or something else which can skew the result and change the intended team outcome. So for mine, team orders don’t guarantee an outcome, but they do try to influence points in a constructors championship and as a result, maximise prize money. Again, both of these elements are what each team aims for – in ADDITION to trying to maximise Drivers Championship points. If we don’t want team orders, then we shouldn’t have a Constructors Championship.

  107. Red Bull
    Was it their right as an employer? Yes
    Was it right in the team’s pursuit of the WCC? Possibly yes

    Was it right in the team’s pursuit of the WDC? No
    Was it right towards driver whose strategy dictated a fast last stint? No
    Was it right towards their best performing driver for the last 4 years? No
    Was it right towards the fans making their sponshorship worth a penny? No
    Was it right in favor of a driver who has no respect for teamorders himself? No

    Was it their right as an employer? Yes
    Was it right in the team’s pursuit of the WCC? Possibly yes

    Was it right towards driver whose strategy dictated a fast last stint? No
    Was it right towards the team’s senior driver? No
    Was it right towards the fans making their sponshorship worth a penny? No

    1. I like this breakdown.

    2. Couldn’t have put it better! +1

  108. If there shouldn’t be team orders then there shouldn’t be teams. Telling your drivers not to race each other makes perfect sense. You want them to bring the cars home and for the team it doesn’t matter who finishes ahead of the other. Drivers know this as those agreements have been discussed up front. It’s just pathetic to complain about it only at the time when they are enforced.

    If Rosberg would have had any chance of actually threatening Red Bull then perhaps they might have let him go. Or at least they would have asked Hamilton. As it was now it was useless and he should just stay put and focus on bringing the car home.

    I don’t understand the difference in the two polls. The situations were pretty much identical.

    On the matter of asking a driver to let the other one past (without ordering them to), my favorite reply is still Ruben’s when they told him Button claimed he was 2 seconds faster: “Don’t make me laugh”. Can’t find the youtube clip anymore. Talking about pathetic, FOM is right on the top of things that are pathetic.

    I’ve never had a problem with team orders like this. There is nothing to gain from not allowing these. What I don’t like is when teams tell a driver to let the other one past when there is no good reason for it. Like Ferrari telling Massa to let Alonso past. Alonso wasn’t faster (at least not until they told Massa to tune his engine down and Alonso to tune his up) and they had nothing to gain really. Still ,those are allowed now too and it’s better than faking a “brake issue” or “possible puncture” or whatever excuses they came up with.

    1. @patrick

      At which race you are referring to when Massa was in front of Alonso, and Alonso wasn’t faster than him ?

      Thank you

    2. I don’t understand the difference in the two polls. The situations were pretty much identical.

      100% disagree, they were completely different. I wonder if people really understand the difference between an “agreement” and an “order”…
      And looking at some people here did not know that “Ctrl + f” is a search command in a file, i have the feeling that they really do NOT know the difference between”orders” and “agreements”.

  109. It’s tricky to comment too much on these things without knowing all the details, but I’ll join in anyway.

    The first poll depends on whether what we understand about the RB’s arrangement before the race. If it’s true that they had all agreed to leave the race alone after the final stop, then yes, they were right to remind Vettel of what he’d agreed to. I voted yes to this because I believe this to be the case.

    The second poll depends on whether Lewis has a preferential treatment clause in his contract. If he does then yes, of course Mercedes should have ordered Nico to stay back. Or they would have been in breach of contract.

    I voted no though. We’re never going to know what the driver’s contracts say. Because they got the fuel load wrong on Lewis’ car, Rosberg should not have had to suffer for that. If it were me, I would have ordered Lewis to let Nico through without too much trouble, not vice versa.

  110. Well now its 49% say Yeas to RBR and 73% say No to Merc. Double standards much?

    1. Yep, big time, but u get that in f1

    2. not necessarily, as some of the comments explain.

  111. Team orders always have been and always will be part of F1 — whether they’re allowed in the regs and “open”, or disallowed and “secret.” Drivers are under contract to the teams, and pre-race driver briefings by the team certainly cover policy, strategy and tactics which teams have the right to modify during the race.

    However, and in hindsight, both teams badly “blew it” for this race. They obviously did it for financial reasons, not for the good of the sport. This is my sixty-first year of watching F1, and I found this race the most disappointing one I can remember. Add the tyre fiasco to misuse of team orders (and Alonso’s mistake), and you end up with a totally uncompetitive, uninteresting, processional, non-race for the top four places. The only bit worth retaining is Webber’s reaction.

  112. If they start to use again team orders the trill and the beauty of F1 will disappear this is my opinion, the pilots are mature enough not to crash into his team mat.

  113. I voted no for both, because although I perfectly understand how important and useful team orders can be, I believe its silly to impose orders on your drivers when its too early to know which one will have a better chance for the title. Merc don’t know Lewis will stand a better chance than nico, so they shouldn’t impose orders in the second round. Red bull obviously know who their best driver is, yet strangely agreed to let webber win, the should have either not made this agreement, or if they really must get involved, it would make more sense to order mark to support sebs title defense.
    I am an Aussie ferrari fan, so you would expect me to support webber, being an Aussie, and hate vettel, being the guy that stopped Alonso and ferrari from taking their last two title chances. I am, however, not a vettel hater, because I admire his undoubted talent, and hope that he matures as a racer in the same way as Alonso and Hamilton have. I would have done the same thing vettel did, and I believe webber also would have, given the opportunity. With all of that said, I really dislike team orders this early in the season, no matter which team does it. It might make sense for ferrari, since there is a big gap in driver skill between their two drivers, but even then I still wouldn’t like it

  114. The teams tried to remove the drivers’ ability to judge for themselves how to drive their cars, with varying degrees of success. But Lewis Hamilton does not need a dozen radio messages per race telling him to save fuel – he needs a fuel gauge.

    In the past, that might have been true. But today, there are a couple of things that make it more complex.

    Firstly, fuel is cut very fine and fuel consumption is quite variable. With Red Bull, Weber’s use of the hard tyres had increased his fuel consumption earlier in the race meaning he had to turn his engine down further than Vettel (this is according to RBR – so many people will probably accuse them of lying). The question is, can a driver judge precisely how to use the amount of fuel they have left to get as much as possible out of their fuel tank while pushing the car as fast as possible? I suspect that isn’t as easy as a fuel gauge (and I suspect during the race, they have engineers running a range of fuel consumption simulations to make the recommendation of which engine setting to use).

    Secondly, it’s not about one race: the engine and gearbox need to be reused. Pushing an engine harder in this race will reduce its life: that could have implications in later races. Once again, the driver can’t reasonably be expected to think of these things when they’re driving the car.

    In the past, F1 cars weren’t quite so finely tuned. Bow that they are, the margin for error in making these sorts of decisions is incredibly fine and there is a lot of science (and analysis) behind them.

    Of course, these decisions may have had little bearing on the teams’ use of orders in Malaysia (personally, I think the drivers should have been told what engine settings to use, then be left to race – with no more than a ‘don’t be stupid warning’ to not ake out your team mate). But to expect that the drivers (or any single human being) can actually get the information, crunch the numbers and make the decisions while driving a modern F1 car is probably unrealistic.

  115. Context is everything. Red Bull have two drivers with a fractious and emnity filled relationship, who have proved in the past that they were unable to avoid incidents. Furthermore, they knew that their cars had been harder on their tyres over the weekend than Mercedes. If they let the drivers fight then they stood a substantial risk of having to make an extra stop, thereby losing the lead to Mercedes or having both drivers collide, leading to one or more off them retiring.

    Mercedes by contrast had nothing to lose by letting Rosberg go. Their drivers have no negative history, and their pace was being determined by fuel not tyres. Their reason for keeping station made less sense, unless you include the pr value of having Lewis on the podium.

    Furthermore, the poll results indicate a clear preference for supporting the underdog; Rosberg and Webber vs seb and Lewis

  116. Ok 1st my stance on team orders. Basically there is 2 situations I’d allow and understand the need for team orders.

    1 – Championship for 1 driver is realistically or mathematically over so there team mate is used to help there chances of there team mate winning the title

    2 – If like Barachello or Irvine you sign a contact saying your going to be No2 then team orders are a given. Its in your contract and its how the team want to operate. i Don’t like it but i could live with it.

    Remove that factor and at this stage in the season there is absolutely no reason for team orders. Vettel’s move was a massive save for F1 who rather than the exciting story of two teams at war would have been stuck with positions 1-2-3-4 all being decided with 15 laps to go. If i was there i would have protested to get money back as i paid to see a full race not 45 laps.

  117. hi there!

    The debate about team orders rages on. Honestly maybe it’s time to consider changes of some sort.
    The current scoring system encourages team orders, and these team orders discourage close and actual racing imho.

    It appears to me that the present scoring system encourages teams to place the WCC goals before the goals of the drivers WDC.
    The quest for WCC interferes with the actual outcomes of the WDC and individual races.

    Why is the ‘ number two driver ‘ cruising? To get that all important 43 points for the TEAM Championship?

    Imho.. The WDC and WCC are two SEPARATE championships and perhaps should be viewed as such.

    So that’s where we begin.

    How might a different points scoring system or format translate into different results?

    For a simple test I chose to make both FORMAT and POINTS awarding system changes and chart the differences in possible
    outcomes. [if any ].

    Format change = Incorporate race finishing positions into Constructor’s Championship but in this scenario only award Constructor points to the highest placed TEAM chassis. [ i.e. ] vettel would have scored WDC points. TEAM RBR would score WCC points for being the Team chassis first across the line.

    Webber would be awarded ONLY WDC points. [ Think of a relay race… the victory and gold medal[s] go to the TEAM – not the
    runner with the fastest split times… ]

    It is after all a constructors race and therefore perhaps constructors should be awarded points based on their RESPECTIVE race finishes vs. the other constructor TEAMS.

    In the scenario described below, it doesn’t matter at all WHICH of the two driver’s azzes are strapped to the winning chassis.
    THAT matters ONLY in WDC championship points awards. Hmmmmm…

    WCC points are awarded to the TEAM. There is only one TEAM RBR. There is only one TEAM LOTUS. etc. All the teams run TWO cars and this doubles their advantage of constructors points. That should be enough.


    To make it simple… there are 11 teams competing in the World Constructors Championship. So how about 11 points for first CONSTRUCTOR team chassis across the line. 10 points for second team chassis across the line,

    9 points for the third team chassis and so on..

    When applying this system to the first two races the results were very interesting.

    With only highest placed chassis scoring we see the following WCC standings.

    1: rbr 20 9 +11 [ australia/ malasyia ]
    2: lotus 19 11 +8
    3: merc 18 8+10
    4: macla 12 6+6
    5: sauber 11 4+7
    6: torro 10 5+5
    7: ferrari 09 0+9
    8: force 07 7+0
    9: william 07 0+7
    10: marru 05 2+3
    11: caterh 03 1+2

    Compare to what we see as the current WCC ‘ battle ‘.

    1: rbr 60 points
    2: lotus 40 points
    3: ferrari 40 points
    4: merc 37 points
    5: force In 10 ponts
    6: sauber 04
    7: mclaren o4
    8: torro r 01
    9: williams 00
    10: marussia 00
    11: caterham 00

    Interesting observations:

    Ferrari – currently ranked third.. would be relegated to SEVENTH in standings.
    Ferrari would be outranked by Mercedes, McLaren, Torro Rosso, and Sauber.

    Force India would go from fifth ranked to Eigth.
    Torro Rosso would go from eighth to sixth.

    the battle at the back of the grid is clear to see…

    Williams rated NINTH with 7 points.
    Marussia rated tenth with 5 points.
    Caterham rated eleventh with 3 points.

    If not driving lap after lap behind their team mates to game the current system to ‘ help the team’ win the WCC…
    what else might that driver do – besides twiddle their finger and smile for the cameras?

    Sorry for long post.

  118. * williams and force india tied. heh

  119. In my own opinion i think people are more upset with the situation for the simple fact that a lot of people really don’t like Seb.

    1. Give that man a cigar!

  120. sorry but saying “Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber?” is a completely wrongly worded question because it’s doesn’t make clear that Webber was just there to be passed because of team orders too.
    Red Bull didn’t just order Vettel not to pass, it order them to hold position. So Vettel may no even have needed an order to stay behind if they let Mark race too.
    The question should be “Was Red Bull right to order end of race for it drivers before the end of the race”.

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