MPH: Mark Hughes on...

MPH: Mark Hughes on...

Motorsport's world council should grasp the nettle and make a once-and- for-all clarification of the difference between team orders and team strategy. then F1 can finally move on

Amazing how the bit of routine competitive tension we saw from Ferrari at Hockenheim with the team orders conflict has snowballed into something striking at the very heart of the sport. As the team finds itself in the dock of the world council hearing next week, there are so many plots and sub-plots to consider.

Since the team orders rule was imposed eight years ago, the interpretation was always very loose. It wasn't meant to be otherwise. The only intention of the regulation was that teams didn't blatantly remove all visible competitive tension from a race between its drivers – especially if that race was for the win. Otherwise people might question why they had invested time or money in watching the event. The sub-text was that no one really minded if a bit of manipulation went on as a team sought to maximise its championship chances – so long as it wasn't obvious to the casual viewer, such as at Austria 2002. So since then we've had slightly longer pitstops for one guy, or a slower in-lap – or any number of even less visible means.

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