Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

After Max Verstappen refused to follow Red Bull’s instruction to let Sergio Perez past at the F1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, takes a look back at five other recent controversial team order moments.
Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

Austria 2002 - Michael Schumacher & Rubens Barrichello

Ferrari were at the centre of controversy (not the only time they’ll make our list) at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher had dominated the opening part of the season, winning four of the opening five races ahead of F1’s visit to Austria.

2002 ended up being one of Schumacher’s most dominant campaigns so it was no surprise Ferrari were heavily criticised for their use of team orders on the final lap.

Rubens Barrichello dominated the race from pole position but was ordered to move out of the way for his teammate, which he did on the run to the start-finish line on the final lap.

Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

Schumacher won by just under 0.2s, making it one of the closest finishers to an F1 grand prix ever.

This led to an awkward podium ceremony where Schumacher insisted that Barrichello should stand on the top step of the podium even though the Brazilian didn’t win the race.

As a result of Austria 2002, team orders were banned from 2003.

Singapore 2008 - Nelson Piquet Jr.

Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered by Renault to crash deliberately at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to benefit teammate Fernando Alonso.

Alonso benefitted from the timing of the Safety Car caused by Piquet on Lap 14 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, allowing him to jump the rest of the field through the pit stop phase.

The Spaniard went onto win the race - his and Renault’s first of the season.

The crash arguably cost Felipe Massa the 2008 title as a fuel hose issue during the pit stop phase under the Safety Car cost him a comfortable victory.

Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

However, it wasn’t until Piquet’s departure from Renault midway through 2009 that allegations had surfaced.

The Brazilian thus made statements to the FIA that it was deliberate and he had been asked by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds to stage the crash.

Briatore and Symonds were forced to leave the team ahead of the 2009 Singapore GP, and were charged with conspiracy and race rigging.

The team were handed a disqualification from F1, which was suspended for two years pending any further rule infringements. 

Briatore was banned from all FIA-sanctioned events for life, while Symonds was banned for five years.

Germany 2010 - Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa

Ferrari were fined $100,000 for using team orders at the 2010 German Grand Prix.

Massa took the lead on the opening lap at the Hockenheimring, overtaking Sebastian Vettel and teammate Alonso.

The Brazilian resisted on-track pressure from Alonso before opening up a small lead.

Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

But, with Vettel lurking a few seconds behind, and Alonso being Ferrari’s best hope of getting back into the title race, the team ordered Massa to move out of the way on Lap 47.

Massa’s race engineer at the time, Rob Smedley, delivered one of F1’s most iconic soundbites as a result of the team order.

“So, Fernando is faster than you, can you confirm you’ve understood this message?,” Smedley said.

Massa ultimately followed the team order, handing Alonso his second win of the year.

The FIA lifted the team orders ban for 2011.

Malaysia 2013 - Sebastian Vettel & Mark Webber

Vettel ignored team orders at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix to beat Red Bull teammate Mark Webber to the victory.

Webber was leading the race after the final round of pit stops, with Vettel running behind.

Vettel was told over team radio: “Multi 21” - a code telling Vettel (car number one) to remain behind Webber (car number two).

The German ignored it and overtook Webber on track.

Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

Webber was understandably frustrated after the race, even questioning his own immediate future in the sport: "After the last stop the team told me the race was over and we turned the engines down and go to the end. The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual."

Vettel initially apologised for his actions but at the next race in China, he appeared to track back on them.

"I don't like to talk ill of other people. It's not my style. I think I said enough. The bottom line is that I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won,” Vettel said.

Hungary 2014 - Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg

Hamilton defied Mercedes’ team order to let teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg past at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The pair were running third and fourth behind Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo at the time.

Hamilton had started from the pit lane, recovering up to third on a two-stop strategy, while Rosberg was on a three-stop strategy, meaning he was on fresher tyres.

Five angry F1 drivers after five controversial team orders!

Due to the differences in strategy, Hamilton was ordered to let his teammate through.

"I'm not slowing down for Nico. If he gets close enough to overtake, he can overtake,” Hamilton said over team radio in reply to Mercedes’ instruction.

Hamilton would go on to finish the race in third ahead of Rosberg.

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