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Team orders at McLaren? // Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton look set to fall out even more

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

After the Monaco race finished, there was barely time for McLaren to celebrate their 1-2 win before another row had been started.

This time it was all about team orders. It’s unknown where the source of the story actually came from, but comments from Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis himself seem to be at the bottom of a lot of the problems.

In the post-race press conference, Lewis referred to the fact that his strategy appeared to have been altered to favour his team mate and race winner Alonso, although he didn’t use those specific words. Ron Dennis was also heard saying that after the second round of pit stops the strategy was simply to back off, and hold out to get the maximum amount of points.

That’s when the fuss started. The press jumped on the story, the media milked it, and the bloggers started to talk about it. The FIA had no choice but to investigate McLaren and so they announced the team would be looked into. It didn’t take too long before they were cleared of any wrong-doing, and this didn’t really surprise anyone.

McLaren hadn’t favoured Alonso over Hamilton, only in so much as Alonso was the one leading the race whilst Hamilton wasn’t. It’s usual for teams to allow their drivers to race each other until it gets towards the end of the race, and then it’s the norm to hold station and ensure points positions are achieved. They don’t want their drivers to knock each other off track just moments from the end. The media would have a lot more to say if that happened!

Some people have come out and said that Lewis is at fault for speaking out of turn. I have read bloggers discussing whether Lewis is “ready” for the drive at McLaren and whether he should have been allowed to gather more F1 experience before being granted the race seat.

Personally, I don’t think it’s about team orders, about Lewis not being ready. He spoke out that he felt he was faster than Alonso and had a better strategy that was changed for whatever reason. But at all stages he always remembers to use the line: “I am the number two driver.”

Should there be first and second drivers? Should one driver get preference over the other? That’s where the real debate should lie, and it’s a question I don’t think we’re going to get an answer to.