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When you are beating the competition like a rented mule, then having no team orders seems like fun and can be a way of showing the world that you'[ve taken the moral high ground on such despicable things. That’s all good and Bahrain showed that Mercedes was willing to let its drivers battle it out on track but like every other team on the grid, if competition is tight, things change and the thought of team orders just makes perfect sense.

Team chief Toto Wolff told AUTOSPORT that they may re-think that whole “let them race” thing should the competition draw closer and start to challenge for wins:

“Bahrain was particular because our package worked very well and we had quite a competitive advantage there, so it’s easier to take a decision for the sake of racing because you know you’re going to have quite a margin to the car in third place,” Wolff explained.

“The more narrow that margin gets the more you have to look out for competitors, and our rule number one is that the team-mate is not enemy number one, the competition is, and there might be situations in the race when you have to consider that fact.

“You cannot [afford to] lose lots of time in a battle if you have your enemy right up your back.”

Well that’s easy for you to say when both Mercedes and Red Bull acted as if Ferrari had the market cornered on low-brow, unethical behavior by asking Felipe Massa to get out of the way of a faster Fernando Alonso. Oh but it was against the rules then! you have to follow thee rules Todd!  Really? As if a team’s motivation and perspective changes when the rules say don’t use team orders? Of course not.

I expect teams to use team order even when it was “against the rules” because quite honestly it is a team sport first, driver sport second and team comes first. I would expect Mercedes to tell one of their drivers to move over and I was not shocked in the least when Mr. Permane of Lotus told Kimi to “get out of the f*#%ing way”.

Teammate battles can be fun when you have no clear threat and as Mercedes seems to be over one second per lap faster than any other human/machine combination on the grid, I enjoy their willingness to let Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle it out for the spoils of war. I also appreciate their saying the obvious. What I don’t enjoy is hypocrisy. You listening Red Bull?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • If changes were made so that a teams cars had different sponsors for each car, that would really make it interesting & would put every driver & car out there on their own.

    • That is assuming that the teams would accept the sponsorship without the caveat that they still retain the right to enforce team orders. Or preference to the highest bidder.

  • JackFlash(Aust)

    Hey Todd. Fair cop your undertones directed toward RBR for past hypocrisies (even though RBR just knobbled Webber regularly to avoid the problem surfacing in races ;-) ), but on evidences of RBR team order behaviours this year — it isn’t a fair critisism. This looks like a Ferrari fan stewing over a war of ethical high ground debate from 2010, that clearly isn’t there any more.

    RBR have on multiple occasions given team orders for Seb Vettel to let Daniel Ricciardo through cos he was either faster or on different tyre strategy. They have not coded the order for public subterfuge — it was in plain language. Mercedes AMG doing the same this year.

    So I can only guess your old Tifosi wounds frm 2010 are still infected, and refuse to heal. Go see a doctor about a F1-penicillen couse. JF LoL ;-)

    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it isn’t easy being a Ferrari fan. :)