Jun.12 (GMM) Leading bosses have rejected David Coulthard’s suggestion that formula one overturn its ban on team orders.
In the wake of the Turkish grand prix two weeks ago, it was reported that the controversies may have been triggered by Red Bull and McLaren trying to circumvent the prohibition of race-altering team instructions.
In Red Bull’s case, Mark Webber’s engine had been turned down ostensibly to save fuel, amid continuing rumours that the chasing sister car driven by Sebastian Vettel was temporarily running higher revs in the moments before their crash.
And teammates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton set hearts racing on the McLaren pitwall at Istanbul Park when they fought wheel-to-wheel despite being told to slow down and conserve fuel.
13-time GP winner and British commentator Coulthard said it is an “absurd situation whereby teams have to defend the indefensible”.
“Do they (team orders) happen in F1? Yes, is the short answer,” the Scot wrote in his latest column for the Telegraph.
Coulthard, 39, argues not only that teams can easily steer around the team order ban, but that some sorts of instructions are legitimate.
Indeed, team orders were completely legal until 2002, when Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello was crudely ordered by then Ferrari team boss Jean Todt – who is now president of the governing FIA – to let Michael Schumacher win in Austria.
But while their lives may have been easier in Turkey if team orders were permitted, the bosses of Red Bull and McLaren said they would not support a push to overturn the ban.
“I think team orders are wrong,” Christian Horner said in Montreal.
“You employ professional drivers and we shouldn’t dictate how they drive the car. I think it would be wrong to deny the public from what a grand prix should be about which is man and machine competing with each other,” said the Red Bull team principal.
His McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh agrees.
“I think we’re happy with the regulations as they are. I don’t mind if other teams want to (use team orders) and that’s up to them, but within our team, we’ve tried to treat all of our drivers with respect,” he said.