Team orders: a nec­es­sary evil


In gen­eral, there seems to be a very neg­a­tive re­ac­tion from the fans to what Mercedes did in Sochi. I un­der­stand their frus­tra­tion, but Toto Wolff did the right thing to make the call for the cham­pi­onship, but they made too much of a meal out of the ex­e­cu­tion of the plan.

Let me start this col­umn with a clear opin­ion: I dis­like team orders. Like ev­ery other true fan, I don’t want to see race re­sults be­ing de­ter­mined by any­thing other than the ac­tion on track. How­ever, I’ve also watched and been around For­mula One teams for long enough to un­der­stand that it is just a nec­es­sary evil that’s been a part of the sport for many years, and will be for many years to come.

A look across the his­tory of F1 tells us that team orders aren’t new. For­get be­ing let by, Fer­rari helped the great Juan Manuel Fan­gio by mak­ing his team­mate Peter Collins stop and give up his car to win a cham­pi­onship, while Tony Brooks did the same in Ain­tree in 1957 to give Stir­ling Moss his car and share the vic­tory of the Bri­tish Grand Prix. Gilles Vil­leneuve, who was in many peo­ple’s mind the ul­ti­mate racer, un­der­stood the team game and gave up his chance to be World Cham­pion in 1979 by

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