Scheckter on Ferrari's side

Former world champion Jody Scheckter, the last man to win the title in a Ferrari before Michael Schumacher, has defended the Italian team's use of team orders in last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix

Scheckter on Ferrari's side

The 1979 champ has also stated that he believes the way team orders were made so obvious, by Schumacher overtaking Rubens Barrichello just metres from the finish line, was more honest than trying to cover it up.

"Formula 1 is a team sport - [governing body] the FIA even insist that each team's cars are painted the same colours," he said. "And the most prestigious prize in the sport is the drivers' championship, which is what Ferrari are there to win and did not win for 20 years.

"As Michael said in the press conference after the race, if he had an accident and at the end of the season they lost the championship by a couple of points, then people would have been asking why they hadn't used team orders earlier in the year."

"There are many ways a team could affect a race result, simply by calling a car in for a late stop for example. That would be readily obvious. But Ferrari chose to be open about what they are doing. In a football match all the players are playing for the team, one of them passes the ball for the other to score, and this is no different."

Ferrari has been called to face the FIA on June 26 to explain its actions at the A1-Ring. But Scheckter said: "If the FIA want to introduce a new rule to stop team orders that is different, but it will be hard to police. Yes, I feel sorry for Rubens, but I am sure the same thing would have applied to Michael if Rubens had won most of the races so far."

Scheckter himself benefited from Ferrari team orders when his team-mate Gilles Villeneuve was told to stay behind the South African at the Italian GP at Monza in '79. That was the race when Scheckter claimed his title.

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