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Ecclestone bemoans team orders

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone doesn't believe that Red Bull or Mercedes should have been handing out team orders in Malaysia.

The great debate over whether or not team orders should be legal in Formula One has raged on for years. When it was illegal, it was obvious it still happened with teams switching the positions of their drivers on track or telling their drivers not to race in coded messages.

In recent years team orders have been allowed and so we have seen the likes of Ferrari openly favour Fernando Alonso, with Felipe Massa being forced to support his team-mate.

The idea behind team orders is really so that a team can support their main title contender during the final races of the season, or at least that's how Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone believes it should it be.

“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is.” he told the Telegraph. “When you are threequarters of the way through the year, then it’s important. If there is only one guy who could get enough points to win the title, then the other guy should be helping him, for sure.”

Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix had two examples of teams using team orders, both Red Bull and Mercedes told their drivers not to race, maintain the gap and bring the cars to the finish in track position.

In regards to Red Bull we now know this to be called 'multi-21'. Or at least that's what it was called by Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel claiming he didn't know.

While the Red Bull fall-out and Vettel actions defying team orders has taken the headlines, Mercedes also sent out the same message, something that neither driver appeared to happy about.

Nico Rosberg wanted to be allowed to pass new team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while Hamilton himself seemed to be embarrassed in the way he earned his first podium with the team.

Bernie continued: “I was disappointed that Mercedes didn’t let Rosberg go past. I thought that was a stupid decision. I think Rosberg could have chased the two Red Bulls down a little more. That decision wasn’t sensible.”

But while Mercedes seemed to move on very quickly from the decision, respecting the call by team boss Ross Brawn over at Red Bull, Sunday's decisions and actions could go a long way towards seeing how this season pans out according to Ecclestone.

“Imagine a situation where Sebastian was fighting against Alonso for the championship, and those points made a difference. If I was running the team I would say to Mark, 'Look, this is the position. You can’t win the championship but Sebastian can, and it would be nice for the team if we had a world champion again’. But the problem is that conversation wouldn’t go down too well with Mark. He would say, 'Well, remember what happened [in Malaysia]’.”

The short term gain was obvious for Vettel, with Alonso not scoring points following his retirement on lap 2, Vettel wanted to maximise his points gain and in doing so, claimed an additional seven points over Alonso.

But in the long term as Bernie suggests, was it the smartest of moves by Vettel to get his team-mate offside so early on in the season?

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 27 2013

Time: 12:00PM


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