Site logo

Ordered Teams

FEATURE BY GLEN CROMPTON
28/07/2010

Either of the following phrases sound familiar? Roll them slowly over your tongue and try them with odd, foreign accents - you'll get the idea.

"…of course there aren't many passing opportunities here at <insert track name >…"

"…of course as soon as I was close behind <insert driver name > I lost so much grip that I couldn't pass…"

GP after GP, season after season I have been bombarded with variants of the above banalities. Yep, back to my old hobby horse - that the fundamental formula of Formula 1 is, and has long been flawed as far as passing and entertainment are concerned. Endless futile bandaids have achieved sod-all. And so what's that got to do with the current Ferrari controversy? Well if that problem didn't exist, Rob Smedley wouldn't have been apologising to his driver over the radio and making it oh-so-clear to the listening authorities that Ferrari probably did a naughty thing. Fernando should have just cruised up to the back of Massa and done what race drivers are meant, paid and born to do - if indeed he was so much faster.

Let me get one thing straight, under the current rules team orders are banned so I'm not here to defend Ferrari.
From the broadcast of the German Grand Prix, there doesn't seem to be much doubt that Ferrari arranged the order of their cars and thus determined the winner. Clearly the FIA think so because they invited Ferrari to write them a cheque larger than most people's annual wage. They also extended an invite to appear at the World Motorsport Council which is not a sought-after gig.

In 2002 in Austria, Ferrari pulled Rubens aside in favour of Michael. It was in the wake of this and the supposed public outcry (bookmakers outcried loudest from what I hear) that the FIA opted to outlaw the practise of teams deciding in what order their drivers finished. For most of the preceding half century this right of teams had been legal and unfettered. Betting agencies not withstanding, I've oft pondered if the outcry had more to do with the ability of Schumacher to violently polarise fans.

Not too many years prior to Austria2002gate (isn't that how you name controversies?) McLaren pulled an identical stunt not once but twice and in consecutive races. As the world (again) focused on a controversial crash involving Michael at the final GP of 1997 in Spain, McLaren choose to have David Coulthard cede his lead to team mate Hakkinen. That case was further sullied by an aired radio communication between the Williams pitwall and Jacques Villeneuve indicating that a deal may have been done with McLaren prior to the race - a deal apparently not designed to advantage Ferrari. McLaren visited exactly the same fate on Coulthard in the opening round of 1998 at Melbourne and I was there to see it live and groan. 1998 also saw Eddie Jordan famously order the younger Schumacher sibling hold station behind team mate Damon Hill in Belgium. My views on Mr Jordan's recent media pomposity are best left unaddressed for now.

However old the practise of issuing team orders may be, so too is the will of hardened race drivers to ignore them and I'm hoping Mike Lawrence will soon remind us of some of the more amusing examples (that's a big hint Doctor Mike). I always thought it was pretty sporting of David Coulthard not to claim radio failure as his recidivist masters ordered him to gift his wins to his Finish team mate - something which at the time caused me to cheekily publish that as far as Ron was concerned in "in order to finish first, first you must be Finish". Me, I like Massa and I am glad to see him back at the top of F1 but I would like to have seen him open his radio mike button after his engineer passed on the interesting factoid (supposedly a code but perhaps the most unsecret one ever) that Fernando was quicker and spend the remainder of the race singing really annoying tunes while ignoring team orders.

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST FEATURES

more features >

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2021. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms