The Scrutineering Bay is Badger’s way of taking a hot Grand Prix racing topic and getting people from the Sett involved to put their opinions across. From predicting races, arguing stewards decisions to just deciding who was/is/will be the best, anything is fair game!
Team orders. The white elephant in the F1 room that everyone knows exists, but don’t really want to talk about it. Mainly because it brings up bad memories, but ultimately, because they stop racing drivers from doing the one thing they are in the car to do; race. So, this week on the Scrutineering Bay, we’re asking;
“Should Red Bull have let their drivers race at Silverstone?”
This weeks Badger participants are myself, Craig Normansell, Jimmy Von Weeks and going first, Adam Millenueve:
No one wants to see a ‘fixed’ result – yes from a team perspective, RBR did the right thing for points, but it comes at a high price with regard to fan-loyalty and the reputation and image of the sport. What Red Bull did at Silverstone wasn’t too bad, i.e. drivers weren’t told to swap positions a la Barrichello/Schumacher, but from a fan perspective it’s still a bit rubbish.
From the fans’ point of view it would have been great to see Webber stick it up the inside as Hamilton did on Massa and well, with Vettel being so far in the lead of the title race he would have most likely fought back or, more likely, for the sake of three points jumped out of the way to avoid coming away with no points.
It comes across as Red Bull not trusting drivers to be able to overtake and I agree with Mark’s comments that if Alonso had say, had an engine failure on the last lap, he could have been battling for victory (also, judging by the fans in the stands, more would like to see Webber come out on top)
I’m going to take the fans’ stance on this one and say yes, Red Bull should have allowed their drivers to race and without wanting to stir too much, had it been Vettel chasing Webber there may have been a slightly different radio call…
Up next is Jimmy;
To my mind there is nothing wrong with team orders in Formula One: it is, after all, a team sport. From that perspective there’s no problem with asking your drivers to hold station in the final few laps of a grand prix. It’s common sense: why risk a big points score when there’s nothing to play for, team-wise? To entertain the fans? That’s not their job.
But arguably you can slate Red Bull for it, because they have – as part of their marketing and PR statergy, I believe, rather than out of any moral conviction – always claimed that they do not employ team orders. They have presented themselves as pure racers who do things differently from the likes of Ferrari; they made it part of their corporate branding.
When they admit that they – like every Formula One team – care more about winning than anything else I won’t mind their use of team orders; they’ve always been part of the sport.
But it’s time to stop with all the PR-speak about going racing a different way – Red Bull are no different to any other team in the paddock.
And lastly, it’s my turn;
I had an issue watching the Red Bulls scrap on Sunday – for a lap or two at least – and that was the one thing I think Mark Webber had in his mind too; if it was the other way around, would Seb be told the same order?
It’s two British Grand Prix now where Christian Horner has made bad decisions. Last year it all focused around the taking of the improved front wing from Mark’s car to Seb’s, which ultimately stoked the Aussie up to deliver on race day. This year, it was asking Mark to hold station when clearly he was faster. But, why make the order? Wouldn’t it have been simpler to ask Seb to move instead and let Mark set some fast times in catching Fernando Alonso? On fresher tyres, who knows what sort of pace Webber could’ve achieved.
The sorry state of affairs is that Horner does not have the guts to make an order along the lines of “Sebastian, Mark is faster than you. Do you understand?”. He is the puppet of the Red Bull big wigs and unfortunately, that’s the way I see it.
There’s three of Badger’s writers and their opinions on the Red Bull team orders, and as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Why not leave a comment below?