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What should be done about team orders?   

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For various reasons, the majority of Formula 1 fans have disapproved of the Ferrari team orders at the Austrian Grand Prix. Some called for a ban on team orders while others thought that Ferrari should have executed it differently to make it less obvious. (see last week's topic)

Formula 1 is a unique form of sport where it has a team element yet also has an individual element. To many, the Drivers' Championship is the most sought-after (Sir Frank Williams won't agree). The FIA awards the Number 1 to the team that the previous year's Champion drove for. This helps create the feeling that it is an individual sport and the drivers go to race each other team-mate or not.

On the other hand, team orders are perfectly legal (at least up until now). In August of '99, the FIA stated "It is perfectly legitimate for a team to decide that one of its drivers is its Championship contender and that the other will support him. What is not acceptable, in the World Council's view, is any arrangement which interferes with a race and cannot be justified by the relevant team's interest in the Championship. Any arrangement between teams which might interfere with the race would also be unacceptable.
Should a case occur, it will be judged on its facts and in the light of long-standing motor sport tradition."

Ferrari's answer to the above is simple, Michael Schumacher has the best chance of winning the Championship and hence there move was justified.

Teams adopt different philosophies on this matter. On one side, Ferrari appear to follow the approach of having all their resources supporting one driver (including their second driver) while on the other side Williams (and to a degree McLaren) encourage their drivers to fight each other until one of them has no chance of winning the title. To most the latter philosophy seems more acceptable.

The difficult question though is even if team orders were banned or only allowed under certain circumstances, how can they be enforced ?

Should something be done about team orders or should it stay the same despite the outcry of most Formula 1 fans ? - Have Your Say (What others are saying)

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What others are saying:  

Team orders are okay if not so obvious such as in Austria because it is for the team. However, Ferrari is BORING because their is no competition. It is much more exciting to see JP Montoya fight it out with Ralf than if one had to LET the other win. 
Poor Barrichello! He really deserved to win and Michael Schumacher is so far ahead that he could have afforded to let Rubens win. They'd still have the team points. I think it was a terrible decision on Ferrari's part and I'm glad the fans reacted the way they did. 
(I love to see other drivers beat Michael. Go JP!) - Heather L - USA

I think team orders are a total waste of the spectators time and loyalty towards what is otherwise an exciting sport to follow. Team orders should be banned and drivers be made to win or lose a race on their own merits. 
The last race winner was without a doubt Barrichello, he fought a convincing battle up to the last corner and the poor bugger was denied his rightful points. It wouldn't have made any difference to the team championships and if as they said at the end end of the season Michael would loose by the margin he has now unjustly gained then that would only be a true reflection on his standing in the drivers championship. BAN TEAM ORDERS - Sven db - New Zealand

What about a rule like: � When two drivers of the same team finish a race at position p and p+1, the team is allowed to interchange the points scored by each of their drivers�. With such a rule there would have been no need for Ferrari to force Rubens to let Michael through in Austria. Rubens would have been allowed to win the race, bring the trophy home and get his name on the books. After the race, Ferrari would have merely exchanged Rubens and Michael�s points for the World Championship, giving 10 to Michael and 6 to Rubens. Wouldn�t that prevent team from masquerading the races ? - Bruno P - Germany

I laugh at all the Ex-F1 drivers who say "Oh, I would have told Ferrari to shove it and would have disobeyed their orders" etc. They would have been out of work fairly quickly. 
Team orders have been around at least since I have started watching and following F1, which was in the early 70's. That's F1. It doesn't take anything away from Schumi or Barrichello. The best comment I think came from JP Montoya, an extremely FIERCE competitor of Schumi. When asked what would he have done, he basically said if they told me to lift, I would have lifted. End of Story - John B - Canada

Team order is strategy, nothing else. Ruben "FINALLY" has a good race but is too far and too slow to be in a championship race so just do what ever it takes to let the one who can finish the whole job! 

Banning team orders is not even an option that could be considered by the FIA. While most people disapprove of team orders and perceive F1 as a one on one battle (which it obviously is not) with the amounts of money involved a one on one battle will never materialise. Ferrari at least had the honesty to allow MS to be beaten to the line (or just short of it) by Rubens. With two way telemetry also being allowed this year, it would have been far easier (and far more deceptive and dishonest) to simply detune the number two's car slightly allowing MS to pass and win while everyone would have just shaken their heads and felt sorry for RB's bad luck. How much is really "bad luck" or how much is engine management/ mismanagement we the public will never know - Peter - USA - Ex SA

Don't waste time banning team orders. While banning team orders would make some people think that F-1 was more competitive, in fact it would be a rule that would be largely ignored. Teams could very easily find ways around it. Such as the order that drivers are called into the pits or a "bungled" pit stop that took longer than it should have. 
If rules are going to be made they should be enforcable. The reason that the FIA approved traction control was not to improve the sport or safety, but because it had become invisable in the electronics and could not be detected, therefore unenforceable. So, rather than have constant battles between teams about who was and wasn't using traction control, the FIA just made it legal. While this may not always be the best solution, in the case of team orders it may be the only workable one - Jeff S - USA

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