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Formula 1 is said to be a team sport and team orders are nothing new. Most teams discretely used them to make sure the team benefited and scored the maximum possible points, irrespective of the ban. In the aftermath of the Schumacher-Barrichello incident in 2002, team orders were banned in 2003. The FIA rule stated,”Team Orders that could influence the outcome of a race will be banned”. But teams did turn to team orders by using coded messages over the radio to let their drivers know. In 2010, the FIA scrapped this rule. They said that there was no way to properly define team orders. From then on there have not been any rules against team orders in the regulations. But there some teams have issued a number of controversial team orders. This artificially influenced the race outcome.

Most Controversial Team Orders

1998 Belgian Grand Prix: Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill of Jordan

After a major crash involving many cars, there was a 2nd race. McLaren had the front row but fell behind after the major crash. Damon Hill took his Jordan to 1st position behind the two Ferrari.

Eddie Irvine spun out of the race from 3rd place giving it to the Jordan of Ralf Schumacher. Michael Schumacher quickly overtook Damon Hill to take the lead of the race. Halfway through the race, Michael was about to lap the McLaren of David Coulthard. DC stayed on the racing line when he slowed down to let Michael pass. Excessive spray reduced visibility and Michael crashed into the back of DC.

Jordan were now in an unexpected position 1st and 2nd position. Damon was leading but Ralf was quicker. Ralf was lapping 3 to 5 seconds a lap quicker than Hill.

controversial team orders
Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher on the podium with Team Principal Eddie Jordan

This led to Damon getting on the radio to Eddie Jordan telling him if they raced, they might not finish, but if they don’t Jordan had a very likely chance of finishing 1-2. Eddie quickly got on the radio to Ralf and issued orders not to overtake Damon. They ended up finishing 1-2. Damon with his 22nd and last F1 win and Jordan with their first. The Jordan team got the job done. But it still classifies as one of the most controversial team orders.

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