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Heidfeld: Team orders part of F1
24 July 2011
Nick Heidfeld has insisted that team orders are simply part of F1 after revealing that a call from the pits while with BMW Sauber cost him the chance to secure a maiden F1 victory.
The debate over team orders reared its head at Silverstone after Mark Webber was asked by Red Bull not to challenge team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix – a call that Webber refused to adhere to as he continued to fight to the finish.
Speaking ahead of his home race of the season at the Nurburgring, Heidfeld has now revealed that he fell victim to a team orders call himself during the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix when he missed out on victory to team-mate Robert Kubica.
"I know I can win," he told Der Spiegel
. "I once had victory in sight and gave it up for the sake of my team.
"In Canada I was leading and in front of Robert, who was on a different strategy where he had to stop again for new tyres. I did not.
"So that he could use his strategy I let him pass – the team had calculated that they would either get first place for me and fourth for Robert, or if I helped then a one-two."
Heidfeld added that, while he would regret the decision if he never wins in F1, following team orders was simply part of the sport.
"Put it this way: If I ended my career without winning a race, then yes [I would regret it],” he said. “I also know that some drivers have ignored the requests of their teams.
"But I'm not just a Formula One driver but also a member of a team, and you can't forget that," he said. "It's unfortunate sometimes but that's the way it is."