I got pretty riled up over the developments of last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel taking the win. I would like to say he won it unfairly because my biased fangirl heart knows that was supposed to be Mark Webber’s win but Seb decided to ignore team orders so he’d take first place instead of his teammate.
I’ve been reading F1 pundits’ opinions on BBC Sport’s Formula 1 page about everything from abolishing team orders, to no one being able to stop Vettel, to wanting to suspend him for disobeying said team orders, to what teams really want from their drivers. But one thing’s for sure: I think Vettel was a big douchebag for doing what he did.
As a relatively new fan, I’m not quite sure yet what my stand is when it comes to team orders. But I find that there was an agreement, or order if you will, that after the last pit stop, they were to turn down the engines, take care of their tires, and maintain the P1 and P2 places (Webber in front and Vettel coming in second) and Vettel disregarded this to add more points for his personal championship bid. While it made him appear competitive, it came across as quite unsportsmanlike and made him in my eyes a jerk.
I have never seen Mark so upset post-race but I admire him for pulling back and not saying much about this issue (his body language, on the other hand, said everything).
I was disappointed enough to want to blog about it because I truly did feel Mark ran a great race (he even had a decent start for once!) and he deserved the win but with a turned down engine he couldn’t compete. Or analysts would speculate he backed off in order to not damage the cars like the F1 race in Turkey a few years back that took both of them out.
The funny or perhaps ironic thing is following team orders was also put to the test with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes who were battling for third place. However, in their case, Rosberg followed Ross Brawn’s order to stay behind Hamilton.
I will admit this hullabaloo is bringing some interesting drama in the sport but I fear the worst that Mark might leave the sport sooner than I want him to and it would take away from great racing.
All this babbling aside, I learned quite a few things from this race (from all three podium winners).
What’s your take on this whole team order issue? Who’s side are you on?
*Image is copyrighted to Eurosport.com