News and views on motorsports

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Team Strategy vs Team Orders

The British media calls it team orders, Ron Dennis insists that its strategy. The FIA has just said that no further action is to be taken but prior to that Bernie was calling for blood.

In the first place, if it is team orders, I would be incredibly surprised these early on in the season from a team that has in the past let both drivers loose on the racetrack. Anyone remember when Prost and Senna were both at McLaren? McLaren has mostly been fair to its drivers unlike some other teams. But there have been incidents. Exceptions rather than the rule. Jerez 1997 for instance.

Be that as it may, the British media and Lewis Hamilton himself has expressed displeasure at Hamilton being told to take it easy and hold station behind his teammate in last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

But seriously, what the hell could Hamilton have done if indeed he were given a free hand? In 1992, Senna held off a charging Nigel Mansell who was 5 seconds quicker than himself towards the end of the race. Monaco is not a place where you can overtake. And before anyone brings it up, Rubens Barrichello was a fool and did not defend his line when he let Michael through in the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso however has proven himself adept at defending his position in far more difficult circumstances. Turkey last year and at San Marino in 2005 for instance. At Monaco, overtaking is nigh impossible against one such as Fernando.

So what the hell does Hamilton think he could have done? Play bumper cars with Fernando perhaps? Far better to have saved his car and engine for Montreal than do something really stupid as he did in free practise for last weekend's race. If the little prick wanted to win then he should have kept his car on the island during free practise and put a perfectly good car on pole on Saturday and driven a faster starting and middle stint than his teammate on Sunday. He did none of these things and the blame for not winning lies squarely on him. If the British media had any sense, they would have picked this up instead of harping on about holding station.

The British media are well known for this sort of action and in fact have been harassing poor Fernando over the last few months. Whatever may be the case, Fernando simply cannot win with these idiots. You would expect this sort of thing from The Sun or The Daily Mail but even broadsheets like The Times have joined in the melee, acting very much like the yobs who buy their rubbish newspapers.

You see this sort of behaviour from the British media after football matches. And now here it is again (a repeat of Mansell mania) in racing. The only thing for Fernando to do is simply to beat this young brat Hamilton to shut him up and shut the damned yobs up for good.

Ron Dennis claims that it is the best strategy for Monaco. And perhaps he is right. But once upon a time, he asked Ayrton Senna to slow down, also at Monaco. Ayrton lost concentration and hit the wall. Funny how McLaren always seem to run into trouble when asking their drivers to slow down.


Francisco said...

Hi there!

Excellent post!!

Being an Spaniard who has also lived in the UK for two years let me say British media is really disturbing when dealing with national sport stars.

Lewis Hamilton is a superpilot , and he will probably win onbe or more Championships... if British media does not try to first help him and then hurt him. In my opinion, the influence of British media has been harmful for pilots such as Jenson Button.

And for Fernando Alonso... this guy is special, adversities make him perform better!


Keith said...

"But seriously, what the hell could Hamilton have done if indeed he were given a free hand? In 1992, Senna held off a charging Nigel Mansell who was 5 seconds quicker than himself towards the end of the race."

Hamilton could have forced Alonso into a mistake - just as Prost did to Senna in '88 when they were McLaren team mates. I suspect that informed Ron Dennis's thinking.

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