Almost without fail, Formula One team principals have underlined the belief that the sport is built around squads and not individuals, even if some of them are happy to allow their drivers to continue battling on track.

The subject of team orders remained a hot topic as the Hungarian Grand Prix got underway in Budapest, the race coming just days after Ferrari issued thinly-veiled instructions for Felipe Massa to allow team-mate Fernando Alonso through to take victory at Hockenheim. However, despite the condemnation that followed the German race, most admitted that they would like to be able to use their drivers in the best interest of the team.

"We have to work for the team's interests first," Renault's Eric Boullier confirmed, "It is very clear that the team has to come first. It can happen when both your drivers are first row or clearly fighting for the lead of the race, [but] I don't think there is a need to have a clear team order as, normally, common sense should be predominant on the situation."

"At the end of the day, the team should be bigger than any individual," Red Bull's Christian Horner agreed, "Everybody works for the team, everybody works for the interests of the team. Drivers, all members - whether that is technicians, mechanics, engineers, team principals, technical directors - no one individual should be bigger than the team."

That point of view naturally led to suggestions that the drivers' championship would be rendered worthless because the teams would have the power to influence its outcome, but the principals involved in Friday's press conference at the Hungaroring insisted that both rankings should continue to be valid.

"I think we've made it very clear that we let both of our drivers compete for that championship, so rightly or wrongly, we've let our drivers race," Horner continued, "We will continue to employ that strategy, but you do have two championships and drivers' and teams' both carry the same significance."

HRT's Colin Kolles countered the argument, perhaps because his drivers have no chance of claiming the individual crown.

"I think the constructors' championship is a very crucial one, as it's very important from a financial point of view," he insisted, "You don't gain anything out of the drivers' championship, [other than] a lot of reputation and maybe indirect sponsorship or whatever. The fact is that the constructors' championship is more valuable for a team than the drivers' championship."

Red Bull's policy of allowing its two drivers to pursue the individual crown has got the team into hot water on a couple of occasions this year, firstly when they collided while disputing the lead of the Turkish Grand Prix and, then, when Sebastian Vettel was given the remaining front wing at Silverstone by dint of heading team-mate Mark Webber in the standings.

"Our strategy in Istanbul, rightly or wrongly, was we let the drivers race," he confirmed, "A lot has been made [of team orders] over the last week and, obviously, it has not been the most comfortable of weeks for [Ferrari principal] Stefano [Domenicali], but what happened, happened and we will continue to work in a way to try and support the drivers as fairly as we can.

"Inevitably, like we saw in Silverstone, sometimes you are going to have a component that you are going to have to make a decision on, but we will do our best to try and support both drivers as equally as we can. We have had updates brought here which have gone to both sides of the garage and the team continue to do a fantastic job in ensuring we do treat the drivers as equally as possible.

"It is an interesting question as, sometimes, you have a conflict of interest where perhaps the team's interest is different to the driver's interests. But each team will address that differently. The regulations are clear and, like it or not, they are the regulations that we abide by."

Domenicali admitted that he not only admired his counterpart's policy on the distribution of development parts, but followed a similar path with Alonso and Massa, but he also insisted that he would continue to put the Scuderia first.

"I share what Christian has said, but the only thing I can say is that, in terms of our drivers, it is not a problem of being first and second driver," he pointed out, "It is just the fact that we consider F1 as a team sport with two very strong personalities. This is part of our philosophy. The team is a very important thing."

Asked if he felt that the rule, added to the regulations after Ferrari engineered a mid-season victory for the dominant Michael Schumacher at the Austrian Grand Prix in 2002, was now out-dated and needed to be amended, Domenicali was reluctant to say too much lest it affect Ferrari's standing ahead of the World Motor Sport Council hearing.

"It is a matter for discussion," he accepted, "If I may say, we do not need to be cosmetic. If this is the point, then for sure there is something that has to be addressed."

"It is a difficult question as what constitutes a team order at the end of the day," Horner admitted, "I think the regulations as they currently sit are relatively clear, rightly or wrongly. Hence the situation Ferrari find themselves in, which is an issue between them and the FIA. But a discussion inevitably will need to take place. The regulation was introduced for a reason. If it is, say, a rule that cannot be policed then the effectiveness of that rule has to be questioned. Today, that rule exists and it is very much an issue for the governing body."

As much as anything, it was the way in which the instruction was delivered and carried out that angered observers, with the order for Massa to move over being cloaked as 'advice' to the Brazilian on his team-mate's performance, and then Massa clearly slowing on the straight to allow Alonso through, rather than appearing to make a mistake under braking or in the pits.

"Maybe my way would be different to manage it as it would be some other team is doing it," Kolles commented, "I don't think to do it so obvious is the right way.

"The Tour de France is also a team sport and there are some fans who like cycling. I think team orders are fine with me as long as they are according to the regulations. I think the team is the number one and then come the other interests. Obviously, there are regulations and, if somebody feels that the regulations have been breached, then this is not for us to decide. This is the point. If a fan would understand that team orders are allowed, you have it in cycling, you have it also maybe in other sports."


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