On This Day in #F1: 18th February 1898: Birth Of Il Commendatore

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: The Grumpy Jackal

– 1898: The Legendary Enzo Ferrari born

Last summer, I wrote a feature that eventually spread over three days celebrating the life of Enzo Ferrari – who had passed twenty-six 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, Ferrari’s 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 frequently.

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

One response to “On This Day in #F1: 18th February 1898: Birth Of Il Commendatore

  1. I think the main thing about Austria 2002 was that it was at an early stage of the season. And that it was unnecessary. Of course the media loved to ventilate their hate and made it bigger than it actualy was. ..

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