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Boullier: Too early for team orders
5 April 2013
Lotus boss Eric Boullier has insisted that he wouldn't seek to impose team orders on Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean at such an early stage of the season following the furore created by Red Bull's actions in Malaysia.
The defending champions made the call to its drivers to hold position in the final stages of the race with Mark Webber leading Sebastian Vettel, only for Vettel to ignore the call and make a move for position – going on to win the race and leaving Webber angered by his team-mates actions.
Much has been made of the incident in recent weeks but Boullier insisted the situation shouldn't have arisen given it is such an early stage of the season – and therefore too early for team orders to be brought into play.
The Frenchman also insisted that, if team orders were given, he would expect his drivers to follow them.
“It happens because of the adrenaline and excitement of winning a race, but I think in Formula 1 it should not happen,” he said of drivers disobeying team orders. “Firstly, we should not have team orders so early in the season; not while the championship is at such an early stage. When it happens you need to fix it and fix it quickly.
“Yes, one of our drivers if famous for doing pretty much what we wants, but when you have 600 people behind you, there is a certain respect you must have for the team.”
Boullier added that he could understand the reasons why team orders would be employed and suggested that Vettel should be given some kind of sanction for going against his team in Malaysia.
“Team orders are part of the sport,” he said. “You have two main strategies to run a team. You might favour one driver, clearly stating 'driver number one' and 'driver number two' if your target is chasing the Drivers' Championship title. Alternatively you have both drivers equal, as this is the way you want to go racing, meaning the team holds a lot of importance. The team gives both drivers the same cars, the same conditions, the same performance, but there is a commitment from the team to the drivers.
“In that case I can understand team orders, because you are working for the team, not for the drivers; they are working for you. Sometimes it seems that emotion takes over, but don't forget that the drivers are paid to work for you, as they are for the company. I don't see any people in the world who could disobey their company and not be sanctioned, or at least give clarification as to why they've disobeyed.”
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