Formula 1 Team Orders – Are they allowed?

Formula 1 experienced in the past a lot of controversial moments when teams sometimes decided to issue orders for one of his pilots – although being fast and competitive on track – to let the other team driver overpass him due team interests, namely when the latter driver ‘needs’ the points to pursue the World Title and/or has the statute of first driver within the team, or even to avoid both cars getting involved in an accident.

These types of orders were forbidden for several years against the background of sportsmanship principles and to ensure fair races. Nonetheless, several teams started using schemes to circunvent the objectivty of the prohibition like issuing subliminal messages (but sometimes rather obvious ones) to a driver to reduce speed such as: “You need to spare your tyres” or “You need to save fuel”. These actions from teams were then post evaluated by the FIA as a possible breach of the rules and sometimes ended up in penalties, usually monetary fines.

In its 2011’s F1 rules changes the FIA removed from regulation the mention that banned team orders meaning that these are allowed since. It could be an unfair measure but is at least a more transparent rule that avoids interpreting and verifying if certain subjective or sometimes encrypted messages from teams to drivers were indeed true.

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