Fans of Formula One will remember the Schumacher and Ferrari years particularly fro 1999 to 2005 when the German driver and the Italian team dominated the sport. 6 consecutive constructor’s titles were unprecedented in F1 history as were the 5 driver titles Schumacher racked up with the Italian team.
Yet this era saw what many felt was an ugly side ton F1 – team orders. Of course instructions from he team favouring one driver over another have been seen since the inception of F1 in 1950. Yet Ferrari and Schumacher’s repeated and blatant use of the tool caused disenchantment amongst many F1 observers and fans.
F1 team orders hated
Ferrari famously utilised team orders again during the era Fernando Alonso was racing for them. “Felipe. Fernando is quicker than you” were the famous words issued from the Brazilian racing driver’s engineer Rob Smedley at the 2010 German grand prix.
Of course at that time team orders were illegal and Ferrari caused an uproar in the paddock following the 2010 German GP.
Today team orders are not illegal and have been used sparingly during the Red Bull racing 4 year dominance 2010-2013 and the Mercedes epoch from 2014-2021.
Perez begs team for a win
The spectre of team orders raised its head agin during the 2022 F1 season. Max Verstappen had won the drivers’ title in Japan but next time out in Mexico his team mate Perez was trailing the notion with the media that Max would hopefully help him to win his home grand prix.
“Nothing is better than winning a Grand Prix in your own country,” said Perez in a pre-recorded Sky interview on the Wednesday.
“I experienced in Zandvoort what that brings. I want to experience that too, but it won’t be easy. The pressure is huge and the crowd almost demands that you win. But Max will surely try to help me (win) if the opportunity presents itself. I have no doubt he will support me.”
Verstappen mocks gifting a GP
Verstappen was asked about this at the Thursday media event before on track action commences on Friday.
“It’s not about giving presents. As long as we finish first and second, the team is happy,” the double world champion told Sky F1.
“Checo is good enough to win races on his own. It’s way more rewarding anyway to do it like that… Of course, having your own grand prix is just an amazing feeling anyway and I’m sure he will do well.”
Of course Checo was not good enough to even make the top 3 in qualifying as his team mate in the same equipment took pole ahead of the two Mercedes.
On race day in Mexico Sergio battled to achieve a distant third almost 20 seconds behind his race winning team mate.
Max refuses F1 team orders
A row then broke out at the following race in Brazil as Perez believed he would be gifted a place on the final lap by his team mate. However, Verstappen resisted the team orders call reminding his team of previous conversations on the matter.
“I told you already last time guys, don’t ask that again to me, okay,” said Verstappen. “Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”
By the time the team arrived the following weekend I Abu Dhabi, Verstappen was singing the corporate line and promising to help Sergio to finish 2nd in the drivers’ championship if possible.
Yet Verstappen controlled the race from the off and disappeared over the horizon as his Mexican team mate struggled to hold off the Ferrari drivers.
Perez failed to deliver anyway
Perez failed to finish second in the racer and the F1 drivers’ standings but no believes he was in the hunt for the title in 2022 bar a couple of poor results.
“I had a couple of bad races that really put me off contention for the championship, so there is some work to do in that regard together with the team to make sure that we can keep that consistency throughout and that we can come back next year and fight for the title if we were to have a similar level car for next year.”
Perez is clearly delusional
He did not lose the championship to his team mate because of “a couple of bad races.”
Perez does not understand his place
By the time F1 rolled out of Barcelona after round 6, Sergio was a whole race win (25 points) behind Verstappen and the Dutchman had clocked up two DNF’s from the first 150 points available.
Perez needs to drop the “delusion” and accept he is never going to win a world title while he is partnering Max Verstappen. The Dutch driver had more reliability issues than Perez this season yet suffered less crash damage than his Mexican counterpart.
Max was 149 points ahead of Sergio Perez at the end of the 2022 season. That is not the result of a “couple of bad races” and is in fact a demonstration of the gulf in quality between the two Red Bull Racing competitors.
Perez should just be grateful his career was salvaged by Red Bull when Racing Point had ditched him late in the 2020 season. He is never going to be the F1 world champion and should learn from the likes of Rubens Barichello and Felipe Massa that the life of a number 2 driver in a top team is better than that of a number one driver in a team fighting to avoid finishing bottom of the championship.
READ MORE: Mick Schumacher back on the grid
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) December 2, 2022