Formula One Removes Ban on 'Team Orders' Rule?

By Blackshaw, Ian | The International Sports Law Journal, January-April 2011 | Go to article overview

Formula One Removes Ban on 'Team Orders' Rule?


Blackshaw, Ian, The International Sports Law Journal


The World Governing Body of Motor Sport, the FIA (Federation Internationale de Motor Sport) has removed the controversial ban on 'team orders' from its rule book.

This rule forbids F1 teams from instructing a driver to cede to his teammate in order to gain points, and recently came under scrutiny after Ferrari were fined for using team orders in 2010. This happened at the German Grand Prix in July 2010 when the Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, who had been leading the Hockenheim race, moved aside to allow his team mate, Fernando Alonso, to pass him on Lap 49 and win the race. A few moments before, Massa's race engineer had told the Brazilian: "Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?"

Although Ferrari insisted that this did not constitute a 'team order', but was merely giving the driver information, and Massa claimed that he and not the team had made the decision to surrender the lead to Alonso, nevertheless, the race stewards decided that Ferrari had, in fact, contravened Article 39.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations, which provides that "team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited", and had also breached Article 151 (c) of the International Sporting Code, which prohibits "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally". The stewards then handed Ferrari the maximum fine of US$100,000 that they are empowered to impose on a competitor. …

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