Ross Brawn has been criticized by several groups in the wake of team orders in Malaysia. The team told Rosberg to hold position behind an ailing Lewis Hamilton, costing the German a podium. However, Brawn has attempted to diffuse the situation be affirming that Mercedes have “no number one” driver, when speaking to Sky Sports F1 on Friday’s ‘The F1 Show’.
Mercedes’ team orders were no where near as controversial as Red Bull’s failed attempt to control the race, however, they were still poignant. Hamilton’s artificial podium led some people to assume that the Brit had stolen Rosberg’s standing within the team, becoming the number one. However, this theory has been disregarded by the experienced team boss, who stated that the team orders were “from a technical perspective”.
The Mercedes Team Principal stated, “Of course Lewis wants to race – in the contractual negotiations we had with Lewis, never was the issue of who was ‘number one’ or ‘number two’ ever mentioned from his side. All he wants is parity – he wants the same equipment, the same opportunity and that is great that he has that confidence and that approach that he doesn’t want favoritism – he just wants parity and I think that is what Lewis felt a little bit awkward about the situation.”
Hamilton and Rosberg are known for having a good relationship, dating back to their early days spent karting. The Brit’s displeasure at stealing the podium from Nico was evident during the podium interviews. Hamilton enjoys the challenge of the race and while he was able to notch another podium onto his impressive tally, he would have been less than impressed by its artificial nature.
Brawn qualified the team orders, by stating, “I think what wasn’t fully appreciated at the time is that we had a situation develop on both cars with fuel. We weren’t comfortable with either car and I could see a scenario with both drivers competing against each other, in a strong way, it is difficult to marry managing the fuel with a full blown fight with your team-mate. I didn’t like having to give the orders I gave in Malaysia, it is not in my sporting nature and the team have demonstrated many times in the fast that we are very happy to let our drivers race each other – over the past few years we have often done that.”
While no one relishes team orders, Brawn does not deserve strong criticism for his actions. Clearly, he had the interests of the team to consider; for Mercedes, a 27 points haul cannot be underestimated. It was a fantastic result for the team and to risk the points would be more than foolish. Unlike Red Bull, the team do not have a significant issue. Rosberg and Hamilton have both accepted the team’s reasoning behind the manufactured result, and are willing to move on. Hamilton may have received special treatment on this occasion yet Rosberg will surly have his time to be supported by the pit wall.