Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says that drivers must obey the wishes of the team and that such orders are a part of the sport.
Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders to pass Mark Webber for the lead in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Boullier agrees with the use of team orders and insists that drivers must work for the team.
“Team orders are part of the sport. You have two main strategies to run a team. You might favour one driver, clearly stating ‘driver number one’ and ‘driver number two’ if your target is chasing the Drivers’ Championship title. Alternatively you have both drivers equal, as this is the way you want to go racing, meaning the team holds a lot of importance,” said Boullier.
“The team gives both drivers the same cars, the same conditions, the same performance, but there is a commitment from the team to the drivers. In that case I can understand team orders, because you are working for the team, not for the drivers; they are working for you.”
“Sometimes it seems that emotion takes over, but don’t forget that the drivers are paid to work for you, as they are for the company. I don’t see any people in the world who could disobey their company and not be sanctioned, or at least give clarification as to why they’ve disobeyed.”
Boullier adds that while he agrees with team orders, he is critical of their use at such an early stage in the season.
“It happens because of the adrenaline and excitement of winning a race, but I think in Formula 1 it should not happen. Firstly, we should not have team orders so early in the season; not while the championship is at such an early stage. When it happens you need to fix it and fix it quickly.”
“Yes, one of our drivers if famous for doing pretty much what we wants, but when you have 600 people behind you, there is a certain respect you must have for the team.”