Skip to main content

F1: Team Orders, Crazier Than Ever

The Malaysian Grand Prix produced yet another crazy race last Sunday, only this time the chaos was all around in-team politics. It demonstrated that teams need to understand the whole race picture before demanding that one of their drivers obediently follows the other around.

It certainly shouldn't be used as a ruse to ban team orders.

In summary, Sebastian Vettel passed team mate Mark Webber in the closing stages of the race ignoring Red Bull's instructions not to. Further back Nico Rosberg was denied the opportunity to pass Lewis Hamilton when he complied with Mercedes instructions to hold station.

Both decisions have been villified. Vettel's for being unsportsmanlike, Mercedes for favouring Hamilton.

The nature of F1 means that drivers have to run a race based on the ability to make best use of tyres that have been designed to wear badly.

Both Vettel and Rosberg had managed their machinery early in the race to ensure they had fast cars towards the end of it.

Neither was expecting to be behind their teammate at that stage. Vettel was expecting to be battling for the win with Alonso, Rosberg with Raikonnen for a podium.

By compromising the early part of their races Webber and Hamilton had gained track position over their teammates. But they both had slow cars for the final part of the race. Webber had the slower hard tyre, whilst Hamilton was crawling along as he was short of fuel.

In these circumstances asking either Vettel or Rosberg to tail their teammate was demonstrably wrong.

That does not mean that team orders should be banned forthwith. Rather that teams need to understand the big picture and not punish the member of their team who has managed their whole race better.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…