More confusion on team orders

Leading Grand Prix figures have admitted that they don't know what constitutes a team order and that they would like to know where the boundaries are

More confusion on team orders

Speaking at Monza, Williams co-owner Patrick Head said: "We're not allowed to employ team orders in a way that would influence the outcome of the race. A team order, I suppose, would come from Frank or somebody... but we don't have anything in either contract of our drivers. It is just a general understanding that if one driver is in a position to win a championship and the other isn't, then that driver will help. But if the drivers choose to make a decision, that's up to them, it won't be from the team."

Ferrari's Ross Brawn said: "It's interesting what Patrick says because a driver is still a member of a team, so if he chooses to apply an order himself, I don't think the team can step back and say it was nothing to do with them. I hope that we don't get embroiled in all of that but it is a difficult area..."

Brawn added: "I think everyone said at the time the statement about team orders was made, that we would like a better definition. Michael has mentioned David and Kimi's situation at Silverstone (where Coulthard let Raikkonen by). Clearly that's okay if you have drivers on two different strategies and you don't want one of them to have their race spoiled because he's on a strategy that requires him to go faster. So we've had the precedent saying that's an acceptable action and I can understand that, but it would be nice to know where the limits are.

"If you've got two drivers in the world championship and one can win, you don't want the other guy getting in the way. I think that's legitimate. But if the other guy then tries to take an action which improves his team mate's position beyond staying out of the way, I think that's possibly going over the mark, but it's not clear."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis thinks that the F1 sporting regulations contain numerous conflicting directives. "Perhaps here (Monza) is a good example," he said. "We talk about "solely, exclusively and unaided" in respect of how a driver can drive his car, but when we all qualified together it was an accepted practice at Monza that one driver would tow another. You could argue then that one driver was helping another. But the key word is team and the definition is working to a common objective and it is how you facilitate that common objective that needs to be consistently interpreted.

"If your team cars were 1-2 in the last race and the second place driver can win the championship only if he comes first, I just can't believe anyone would conclude that it is wrong that a team mate allows his partner to take the lead and win the championship.

"We have to be balanced and undoubtedly, and dangerously, every different set of circumstances needs an interpretation. I think most people would like black and white rules so that there is no need for interpretation. That's what we strive for but it's what we constantly fail to achieve."

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