Team principals weigh in with team orders opinions

Various team principals have today been offering their opinions on the team orders controversy that has been the talk of F1 since the German Grand Prix yesterday.

On lap 48 of the race Felipe Massa was apparently ordered to let his team-mate Fernando Alonso past him, which he duly did and Alonso went on to win the race. Ferrari were fined $100 000 and if there is a case against them they will also appear in front of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry said that he did not approve of the tactics employed by Ferrari.

“I think the first thing is that we all have to obey the rules,” Fry told AUTOSPORT. “Whether you like it or not the stewards and the FIA have the final say. Putting that aside, I think the teams have an absolute responsibility for the show.

“The show is what generates the fans; the fans are what generates the sponsors, and the sponsors generate sponsorship which allows us to run the teams. So they are the customers at the end of the day, and we have got to put on a good show.

“Putting aside whether or not it was team orders, I do feel sorry for Felipe [Massa] especially after what happened last year which we were very sad about. He was putting in a great performance. It doesn’t seem fair regardless.”

Christian Horner of Red Bull, who yesterday said that the call for Massa to move over was the “clearest team order” he had ever seen, continued to criticise Ferrari for their actions.

“It’s a great shame for Formula 1 that the race was manipulated to give one driver a victory over the other,” Horner told AUTOSPORT.

“We came in for a lot of criticism in Istanbul for allowing our drivers to race but I think that it’s the fair and sporting thing to do.

“The only losers today are Formula 1. Ferrari are a big enough team that they shouldn’t need to do that and Fernando is a good enough driver not to particularly at this point in the season when there are still hundreds of points available.”

“It’s a great shame. Ferrari are a great team,” he went on to say. “It’s a shame for Formula 1 that they didn’t allow Felipe and Fernando to race each other. There are not so many points between them and it was so obvious how they moved the cars around.

“The biggest losers are the fans, the spectators, the viewers as a race win was handed to Fernando. Rightly or wrongly, we’ve allowed our drivers to race because we believe that’s the sporting thing to do and it also is within the regulations.

“The regulation was introduced for a reason, to stop exactly this situation happening.”

Meanwhile Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren sounded disapproving too, but refused openly to criticise his team’s great rivals.

“I don’t want to get drawn into it,” explained Whitmarsh. “I have my own private views on it. They were quicker than us today; they got a 1-2, but perhaps in a different order from that which people may have thought was right.

“I will give my private views to Ferrari, but I don’t want to go on record and express those views.”

“All I know is the same as you. I heard what I heard, I saw what I saw, but it is for others to comment on.

He did add pointedly that team preference of a driver was not a new phenomenon, however.

“Ferrari were quick and we did what we could – and they raced how they raced. That was not a new approach from Ferrari, was it?”