Date: 12th July 2011 at 10:01am
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Everyone accepts that Formula One is a team sport.

Team orders are now of course allowed in Formula One following an incident involving Ferrari during the 2010 season.

But even when team orders were not officially allowed between team and driver, everyone understood that it happened.

Felipe Massa was given a not so coded message to enable team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim last year.

Massa?s race engineer, Rob Smedley stated on the team communication: ?OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?? Two laps later and Massa had let Alonso passed, ?Good lad. Just stick with it now. Sorry.? Smedley added.

The sport was thrown into controversy, at the time team orders were not allowed, but a clear message from team to driver decided the outcome of the race.

Ferrari were faced with possible exclusion from the championship, but instead they were handed a $100,000 fine and the rules were altered.

At Sunday’s British Grand Prix another controversial message was sent between team and driver. This time it was Red Bull and once again it was targeting towards the driver who is seen as the number two of the team Mark Webber.

In the closing stages of the race Webber clearly had the faster car and was all over the back of team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

With the two drivers one-two in the drivers championship and Vettel 80-points clear, the F1 audience wanted to see the race for second place decided on the track between the supposedly two drivers battling for this seasons F1 Drivers crown.

But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had other ideas and told Mark Webber to ‘maintain the gap’.

The Red Bull boss wanted to protect the points his team were set to collect for a second and third place finish, points that realistically clinched the 2011 F1 Constructors World championship with McLaren now 110-points behind.

The fans however obviously wanted to see the battle unfold on the track and apparently so did Webber, who ignored his teams orders: ‘Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end. I was trying to do my best with the amount of conversation on the radio.

‘I wasn’t doing much talking back, but I got a lot of messages coming my way, but I was trying to the end.’
he told the BBC.

‘Four or five laps to go I started to get messages. Of course they want the points, but I also need to try to get some points as well.’ he added.

With Mark Webber’s future at Red Bull far from certain, you have to wonder what impact this incident will have on Webber and Red Bull towards the end of this season.

 

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