Team Orders, Again

The German Grand Prix of 2010 was a rather interesting race near the start, then it settled into a predictable tire strategy and pit stop timing match. It ended with a Ferrari 1-2, never challenged after Vettel and Red Bull yet again threw away a hard-earned pole position in the 1st corner.

But F1 being F1, thereafter the Stewards fined Ferrari $100,000 and instituted an investigation into Alonso’s conceded pass of Massa about lap 47 or so. Much ado about nothing. Niki Lauda was incensed, charging that he’s “never seen” such abuse of a #2 driver — subtly forcing Massa to give way and let Alonso into the lead — but the fact was that Alonso was far quicker and Massa was clearly blocking.

Just a few races ago, the media were alarmist that Red Bull would allow its two drivers to race for the lead, when it cause a shunt handing the Turkish GP away. In Germany we saw the exact opposite, with the same reaction. That’s absurd. Team orders have been in this sport since its inception, from Fangio — handed his teammate Peter Collin’s Lancia at the 1956 Italian GP after  the Maestro’s died — to Schumacher — whose Ferrari team explicitly ordered Reubens Barichello to give way for Michael at the the Austrian Grand Prix in 2002. That may not make them right, but the fact is team orders are nothing new in Formula One motor racing.

Leave a Reply