On This Day in #F1: 18th February

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

– 1898: The Legendary Enzo Ferrari born

130844Last summer, I wrote a feature that eventually spread over three days celebrating the life of Enzo Ferrari – who had passed twenty-five years previously. Today celebrates his birthdate. However rather than repeat his story once again, I wish to address a fallacy that as Goebbels once remarked: “If you tell a lie big enough and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed…”

The subject….the dreaded team-orders.

Since 1996, the perpetual myth of Ferrari’s modus operandi is that they have always used a number 1 and 2 policy. In fact if you put ‘team-orders’ into a Google search 6 out of the first 10 entries relate to Ferrari..

Eighteen years of selective memories, subversive agendas and questionable journalistic ethics have convinced the multitude of Ferrari haters that it IS the truth.


Whilst Enzo would have enjoyed the relentless winning machine that Todt and Schumacher developed – he would have despised the fact that there was team orders and that the driver’s name was greater than Ferrari because ultimately “drivers lost races, Ferraris won them.”

Team orders have existed since motor-racing began and in the pre-war era their use – within different teams – was predominantly driven by the political landscape of the time.

Since the inception of the Formula One championship in 1950, team orders have been an accepted part of the sport as a team chases the driver’s title for their leading driver.

Two classic examples of this: Peter Collins handed his car to Fangio in 1956 and in 1964 Bandini moved aside to allow John Surtees the required points to succeed.

Yet when Ferrari honestly admitted to opening Massa’s gearbox in Austin 2012 to support Alonso’s title battle – the media and mis-informed once again cried ‘foul play’.

This itself brings about another point; Ferrari’s openness to the ridiculous rules and subterfuge the rule-makers force teams into.

The Todt administration may have been cynical in Austria 2002 but it was explicitly clear who the favoured driver was and the switch was completed in full view of the world. What would prove a compelling question is did the drivers know before the race what the result would be because I seriously doubt that they were racing flat-out..


The fall-out from this ‘outrageous’ act was a banning of all team orders – which brought about its own coded language – until Ferrari famously told Massa that “Alonso is quicker than you”; which strangely enough were the exact words Kovalainen heard during the 2008 German GP in regards to Lewis!

If you wish to remain affronted – at least consider all the facts.

I doubt the collusion between Mclaren and Williams at Jerez 1997 even registered on the British media and Hakkinen’s second win was just as pathetic – “Sorry David, Mika made a mistake, can you let him past again?” Yeah, right!!

In fact, when you look back, it’s the stiff upper-lipped British teams that have run number 1’s and 2’s most often.

1978 – Andretti vs Peterson
1979 – Jones vs Regazzoni
1981 – Jones vs Reutemann
1982 – Prost vs Arnoux
1991 – Mansell vs Patrese
1993 – Prost vs Hill
1997 – Hakkinen vs DC
1998 – R. Schumacher vs Hill
2003 – Raikkonen vs DC
2010 – Vettel vs Webber

“..the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Goebbels

26 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 18th February

  1. Not one of your best efforts, Carlo. Take a step back, approach objectively, compile data, THEN come to a conclusion. You conclude before you make any argument or share any data.

    Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, but it’s because I always like what you have to say. 🙂

    • Not one of your best efforts, Carlo.

      If I wanted to give someone constructive feedback that I hoped they’d receive dispassionately and find useful, I don’t think I’d lead-off by rubbing their nose in the fact that I believed what I’d just read wasn’t one of their “best efforts”…

      Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, but it’s because I always like what you have to say.

      …especially if I was going to finish by claiming to be a perpetual fan who was concerned about not sounding grating or gruff.

      That said, I also found it difficult to drill-down to the author’s core premiss[es]. Are team orders bad? If so, why? But then how to explain that they’ve apparently been part of the sport for most of its history? And if team orders are not bad, then why is Ferrari seemingly criticized for employing them – even if the author regards that claim as suspect?

      I sense great passion in this writing, and look forward to reading more, especially if paired with rigorous editing (and/or planning/drafting).

      • So you’d lead with a compliment and end with a kick in the teeth…? 🙂
        I’m actually going to ruminate on this over the next few days… Seriously, I need to give it some thought and run it past a few people. Never too old to learn… Or be right again, I guess.

        • touché!

          haha nice. lol

          anyway, you replied before i could note my typo, the absence of a crucial emoticon, which I detail in the self-reply to my original comment…

      • oops.

        fwiw: there’s a typo in my post above – the ‘wink’ was dropped in formatting, which might radically alter the tone!!! d’oh!

        “…especially if I was going to finish by claiming to be a perpetual fan who was concerned about not sounding grating or gruff.”

        Should read:

        …especially if I was going to finish by claiming to be a perpetual fan who was concerned about not sounding grating or gruff. 😉

  2. Great article but if I may add one thing. In 1956 Collins and Musso handed their car THREE TIMES to Fangio (Musso in Argentina and Collins in Monaco and Monza). As Argentina and Monaco were the two first races for the WDC that year, I always struggled to buy into Enzo’s (later made) point that these team orders were given in the interest of the team rather than in the interest of a clear #1 driver. So i think it would be better to say that in 1956 the driver was bigger than the team, much to Enzo’s regret later on as Fangio wasn’t known for his loyalty, that misjudgment is probably one of Il Commendatore’s few mistakes.

    Oh, and Graham Hill would probably think (but never say!) that Bandini did a bit more than just moving aside in Mexico 1964…;-)

  3. To be frank carlo, that’s not the best one you’ve written. I’ve got no idea why it had to descend into a McLaren bashing and then you top it off with a Nazi quote??

      • For me the core message should be that Ferrari’s team orders in reality were generally driven by the team’s interest (clinch WDC for Ferrari driver) rather than by the interest of a certain predestinated driver, and this very much against the general (?) perception that Ferrari always – and especially over the last 20 years – have a ‘elected’ #1 and ‘secondary’ #2 driver. Fangio and MS were probably the only exceptions to that rule. But one shouldn’t go back much further than 2008 to learn that Ferrari is always very quick to favour whomever turns out to be the best positioned driver even if that driver wasn’t the team’s favourite in the beginning of the season…

        • In Carlo’s words:
          “A rich tradition of number 1 drivers?
          If we’re going to re-write Ferrari’s history pre 1996, I will be forced into making every OTD feature a Ferrari one where I’ll explain to the world why Ferrari was never about 1 & 2 drivers. Enzo Ferrari hated any driver becoming bigger than the team.
          I feel for Schumacher currently but one lasting legacy from his time at the squad is this belief that they always embraced this policy.
          An article I’ve written already may change a few minds… We’ll see”

    • Just because it’s a nazi quote he can’t use it? I disagree. The quote made much sense in relation to the point he was trying to make. People shouldnt be so sensitive about the war if it is used as an example. He didnt idolise it or made anyone feel bad…

    • To be totally honest, I find Mclaren’s holier than thou attitude nauseating. Not only when it comes to team-orders but I remember the repeated attacks that Ron Dennis has aimed Ferrari’s way. Be it the insinuation of using traction control before it was legalised in Spain 2001 or his other sotto voce attempts at subverting the truth.
      In his employ is one of the most biased journalists I have ever had the displeasure of reading – Matt Bishop – who constantly used his F1 Racing platform to attack Ferrari and the Mclaren blog is written by Alan Henry who since the Spygate scandal has re-written history to support his version of the events at the time.

      Unfortunately, in the UK there is still an element that views Ferrari as the big manufacturer against the small inncocent British ‘garagista’. These are all multi million dollar companies that have comparable levels of personnel and technology.

      As to the quote by Goebbels, I didn’t know it was his until I put the quote into a search engine. I wanted the message and if it had been Gandhi I would have credited him with the words.

  4. “What would prove a compelling question is did the drivers know before the race what the result would be because I seriously doubt that they were racing flat-out..”

    I’ve just watched the 2002 season over the last couple of months (obviously going through F1 withdrawal!) and from watching the race and the post-race interview Barrichello didn’t know before the race what he would be asked to do and he looked very unhappy about it after the race and stated that he was told to let Michael past and to show how unhappy he was did it as late as possible. I would agree though that they weren’t racing hard at the time but I suspected Barichello thought that Michael would stay behind him until he received the order to let him pass. I guess Michael repaid him later in the season at the US GP after the championship was locked up.

    I appreciated reading what you wrote – I have enough difficulty researching what happened in a couple of races let alone something that covers multiple seasons and multiple teams! Thanks:)

  5. Finally, a Carlo rant, love it!
    I feel your anger and frustration, and how right you are.
    Bravo Carlo!
    Per Sempre Forza Ferrari.

  6. Carlo – You had raised my hopes about this article…

    I’ve seen in other communities that people become defensive about Ferrari’s history of having a number 1 driver. That is a waste, as there is nothing to be asharmed about. There are advantages and disadvantes to a team to have a #1 driver.

    When he was 36 years old, Niki Lauda wrote an autobiography called “Meine Story” in which he discussed his experiences with Enzo, his team, and how Ferrari treated their drivers then. Niki had much affection for Enzo…

    • As mentioned several times, team orders were de rigueur in F1 in the early days, but Ferrari did have “favourites” or number one drivers (including Niki). It was not until the Schumacher era that it got out of hand.
      Also I would query your list of British team number one’s -Alan jones retired after the 1981 season because Reuteman was allowed to race him, and Ralf/Damon?

      • The mention of Reutemann and Jones refers directly to the 1981 Brazilian GP when Carlos refused to obey team orders and won the SECOND GP of the year. Jones hated him from then on
        Ralf and Damon? You not heard about the 1998 Belgian GP, Jordan running 1 and 2 and Damon telling the boss that they were 1 and 2 but if they ‘raced’ it might end up off track?

  7. Re: Kovalainen heard during the 2008 German GP in regards to Lewis!

    I believe that incident was not team orders, but returning both cars to the pre pit stop running order. Lewis’ scheduled pit stop was altered to benefit kovalainen as there was the window to push Kovalianen ahead of some other drivers, as such when Lewis made his belated stop, he ended up behind Kovalainen. Now you don’t sacrifice a leading driver’s position to bring another driver from far behind so you can finish 4th and 5th. So Kovalainen had to give the position back which he did.
    Then what happened next?
    Lewis went on to overtake 3 other cars and win the race, whereas, Kovalainen remained where Lewis left him.
    The true conclusion was that Lewis would have got past, but it would have been stupidity for the team to allow him waste tyre life doing that, when they were the ones who got him in that position in the first place.

    Regarding Ferrari team orders
    It is a team sport and there it ends
    When the FIA prepares the cars and the drivers have no sponsorship commitments or a aligned with any team, then we can have “every man for himself”.
    Ferrari only got flak during the Todt era

    • Some fair points and I may have to re-read my history again but I don’t believe returning cars to pre pit stop running order was allowed. Stupid rules I agree but that sums up the FIA

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