What is your opinion Lotus’s team orders?

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    I couldn´t help noticing that nobody has said anything about Lotus´ team order handed to Grosjean… Is it “OK” ??
    I ask this because I´m a Ferrari fan and Ferrari always gets big heat for using them, yet we see other cases in other teams and nobody mentions it, or they tend to overlook it to each one´s convenience.

    Thoughts anyone?



    There’s a few key differences between what Lotus did and what Ferrari have done that I suspect is the reason for the difference in reaction. Firstly, Grosjean has no chance of the championship now, whereas Raikkonen is arguably right in it. When Ferrari used team orders at Hockenheim, it was relatively early in the season and Massa wasn’t too far behind.

    Secondly, it wasn’t for the lead of the race, which is obviously going top attract more attention.

    Thirdly, Lotus didn’t make a pathetic attempt to cover up what they were doing, which Ferrari always do, including in Monza 2 weeks ago.

    Finally, when Ferrari did it in Hockenheim, it was illegal, now it isn’t.


    Ferrari gets heat for using team orders because they’ve done it in a very cynical manner a number of times:

    Austria 2001: Rubens is told to let Michael past for the championship on the final lap of the race despite it being only round 6 of 17.

    Austria 2002: Barrichello is told once again to move over for Schumacher, despite leading the entire race on merit and the fact that Schumacher had a very healthy lead in the championship with it being, again, only race 6 of 17.

    Hockenheim 2010: Felipe Massa is told to move over for Alonso to give him the win, despite leading the whole race on merit and successfully defending an attack from his team mate. This also occurred in the middle of the season and denied Massa his first victory for almost two seasons exactly one year to the day of the accident in which he almost lost his life. This also took place while team orders were banned.

    There are times when I think it makes sense for teams to issue orders to drivers. Giving ‘hold position’ orders near the end of a race (Spa ’98 / Silverstone 2011) is not as severe as asking one driver to give up his position and chance of victory for another, as the former is designed to preserve a result, while the latter is designed to cynically manipulate it.

    Similarly, if you’re in a position near the end of a championship where one of your drivers is in the hunt and the other isn’t (Massa and Raikkonen in China 2008), then of course it makes sense to ask the driver who isn’t in contention to move over for the driver who is if they are ahead. I won’t criticise Ferrari or anyone for doing that and I didn’t at the time.

    That situation is similar to what happened in Singapore with Lotus. Raikkonen is one of the main championship rivals trying to chase Alonso – Grosjean is nowhere having crashed a lot and just come back from a one race ban. It makes no sense for him to be taking points from Kimi at this stage of the championship.



    Attitudes have changed a bit. These days team orders are allowed and accepted… in a lot of cases it just makes sense.

    When Ferrari ordered Massa to let Alonso through, team orders were against the rules. Breaking the rules is sensational in itself, but also – as team orders were banned – nobody else was (openly) giving them at the time so it was unusual.

    Then there’s the feeling that some of the orders issued by Ferrari weren’t ‘necessary’ as Schumacher would probably have won the title anyway. I think these simply resulted from bitter experience… after Schumacher missed out on what might have been his first championship for Ferrari with a broken leg, they realised that anything can happen at any time and that you need to fight for every point when you get the chance.


    Keith Collantine

    nobody has said anything

    I mentioned in the race report, in DOTW and on Twitter:




    but also – as team orders were banned – nobody else was (openly) giving them at the time so it was unusual.

    I find it interesting that you phrase it like that. Do I sense that you also believe that other teams have one way or another used cynical orders also? I can think of various cases. Some that pop to mind are: Hamilton being told to save fuel and along comes Jenson and tries to pass Hamilton. Hamilton didn´t give in and fought back… To me it was a team order to favour Jenson. One case that I find obvious was Brasil 2011… where Vettel was told to short shift almost every gear arguing that they had gearbox problems yet on the onboard cameras they showed of SV he never did short shift…. so I interpret that as a team order in order to let Mark get his only win…
    I know there are many many cases but those stand out in my mind yet everybody tends to believe they are just what they say… either fuel issues or gearbox issues… I believe that´s just plain cynical and in those days orders where illegal also yet they don´t comment on that.

    About Hockenheim 2010 well Massa might not have been that far off in the WDC but in the end FA was the only clear contender… so I see it as sort of what Lotus did in Singapore. Sure now they´re legal but still…

    @keith Collantine

    I must´ve missed that…

    @Magnificent Geoffrey

    Ferrari gets heat for using team orders because they’ve done it in a very cynical manner

    So I take it you preffer hypocrecy over cynism because when orders where ilegal, a bunch of team where using sugar coated (cynic) messages.



    I wasn’t trying to imply anything – I am just careful with my words from time to time. Just because I didn’t notice any team orders doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    However I know that teams do put as little fuel as possible into cars, and if a driver has had to push a lot and there has been no safety car then they will often be asked to watch their fuel consumption towards the end of a race. We saw the opposite situation in Singapore where after the safety car had been out for a few laps, one of the drivers was told “we don’t have to save fuel anymore.”

    So I feel that the orders passed to Hamilton seemed reasonable. They could have been an attempt to stop the two cars from crashing into each other, but a simpler explanation is that they were exactly what they appeared to be.



    As I commented on F1 Fanatic Live, I thought it was a shame that Lotus used team orders, because Grosjean was in his position on merit, while Räikkönen had largely benefited from others’ misfortune. For example, he was behind Schumacher and Vergne after the first safety car (which could be put down to a bit of bad luck of his own, as he pitted just before the safety car was deployed), but then Schumacher took the pair of them out, moving Räikkönen up two places.

    However, now that it’s within the rules, and considering that Räikkönen still has a slim chance of winning the championship, I can understand why they did it, and I probably would have made the same call.


    @catracho504 Actually, I mentioned in my response that I had no problem with teams using team orders when it was justified even when they were technically banned (China 2008).



    @estesark @magnificent-geoffrey @alex

    Ok guys, I see your point and agree in most parts but, Raikonen has a slim shot at WDC, isn´t that the same deal as what happened in Hockenheim 2010?? I recall british press drilling merciless at Alonso saying that if he won the championship that he would be considered a dirty champion… What about if Kimi wins the WDC?? Would you consider him a dirty champion? Or would it be OK just because team orders are legal now?
    I for one, doubt he´ll win but the chance is there and it just amazes me that Kimi wasn´t drilled in the same way… I see a bit of inconsistency there.



    There isn’t any inconsistency, because the situation is so different, as people have pointed out.


    @catracho504 OK, allow me to explain why I feel this way.

    In Singapore 2012 (Round 14 of 20), Kimi had 141 points. That’s:
    – 38 points behind Alonso, the championship leader,
    – 65 points ahead of his team mate, Grosjean with,
    – 175 maximum points available before the end of the season.

    In Hockenheim 2010 (Round 11 of 20), Alonso had 98 points. That’s:
    – 47 points behind Hamilton, the championship leader,
    – 31 points ahead of his team mate, Massa with
    – 250 maximum points available before the end of the season.

    So, not only did Kimi have more than double the points difference to his team mate in Singapore than Alonso had to Massa in Hockenheim 2010, Kimi was also closer to the championship leader and had less points available to be able to close the gap and try to keep his championship ambitions alive.

    In Hockenheim 2010, Massa was just over one win (25 points) away from being almost on a level with his team mate with half of the season left to go. But instead of giving Massa the opportunity to race his team mate on an equal footing (like Red Bull and McLaren have been doing all this year, even if it means their two drivers taking points off of each other) Ferrari decided that only Alonso should be allowed to win. That’s why people were upset and why people seem willing to understand and accept Lotus’ team orders in the last race.




    OK, I see the stats now. I get your point. I will just ask you one more thing; Viewing the stats that you have provided, would it have been ok then for Ferrari to do it if Alonso would have been in the same position as Kimi is right now? Would that have made it OK?? Forget orders being ilegal back then, let´s say they sent a “sugar coated” message as the likes of RBR or McL, would that have been ok?

    In the end, only few have said anything about the situation and even fewer have felt sorry for Grosjean even though what happened to Massa in 2010 happened to him this past race in 2012, he was simply told to move over for the #1 driver of the team(sure Alonso had #8 and Massa #7 but everybody knew)… the person who was ahead in points, may it be a large lead or a small lead, all in benefit for the team. So, I hope you see my point, 2010 was an even tighter season than the one in hand and it was crucial to get as many points as possible. That is what I believe is what is failed to be appreciated…. Both RBR´s where strong as well as the McLarens so it was only smart to seize the opportunity just as Lotus did… I for one, have no problem with what Lotus did even though it´s a long shot Kimi will get WDC at the end… who know´s… Personally, I´m a bit more affraid of Lotus/Kimi with the new ddrs they have coming up for Japan than SV/RBR; but the fact remains that Kimi can be WDC and that is what I´m saying, if he wins it, would he be a dirty champion ?



    I can understand everyone’s reasoning but I agree with @magnificent-geoffrey and think that he explained it very very well!



    Viewing the stats that you have provided, would it have been ok then for Ferrari to do it if Alonso would have been in the same position as Kimi is right now? Would that have made it OK??

    Yes. If Alonso and Massa in in the same championship position as Kimi and Grosjean were, then I would understand the decision to tell Massa to move over just like I did the Lotus decision. It’s not about who, it’s about why.

    Also, I notice you keep using the phrase “dirty champion”, but I feel it is important to point out that no one on here, including myself, has ever used that phrase or claimed that Alonso’s potential WDC victory in 2010 would have been tainted in any way. The only people who, apparently, used that phrase were the British tabloid media. I think you can dismiss what they think as, after all, the tabloid media tend to sensationalise matters to make things seem more dramatic and so justify giving it coverage so people will buy their newspapers. Similarly, if Kimi wins the title, I do not believe he will be a “dirty champion”.

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