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In motor racing, team orders is a motorsport term for the practice of teams issuing instructions to drivers to deviate from the normal practice of racing against each other as they would against other teams' drivers. This can be accomplished either in advance, simply by establishing a pecking order between the two drivers within the team, or instructing a driver to let his teammate overtake or to hold position without the risk of collision.
This is generally done when one driver is behind in a particular race but ahead overall in a championship season. The team will then order their drivers to rearrange themselves on the track so as to give more championship points to the driver who is ahead in the championship. Another reason for team orders is where both drivers are in a position far ahead of the field, being all but assured of the win. Team orders are issued to prevent the drivers from racing each other; the aim is to have them drive cautiously to save fuel, reduce the chance of mechanical problems, and avoid a collision. This has happened on countless occasions in the history of the sport, sometimes causing great acrimony between the team and the second-placed driver.
Team Orders in F1 
Such orders were legal and accepted historically in motor racing. In the early years of the Formula One World Championship it was even legal for a driver to give up his car during the race to the team leader if his car had broken down. In 1955 the Mercedes team asked Juan Manuel Fangio to let his teammate Stirling Moss win his home grand prix at Silverstone. Fangio obliged, refusing to attack Moss in the closing stages of the race and coming home second less than a second behind  The 1964 season saw a dramatic finale in which Lorenzo Bandini moved over to John Surtees during the Mexican Grand Prix, allowing Surtees to get the necessary points to beat Graham Hill to the World Championship.
In the 1979 German Grand Prix Clay Regazzoni was instructed by the Williams pits not to attack his teammate Alan Jones for the lead, despite Regazzoni being ahead in the championship  The status of Jones as number one driver at Williams lasted until 1981, when Carlos Reutemann deliberately ignored team orders at the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix and did not allow him to pass. This resulted in a long feud between the two that eventually led to Jones' retirement at the end of the season, with Reutemann missing on the World Championship for one single point.
During the 1983 South African Grand Prix, the Brabham-BMW team asked driver Riccardo Patrese to cede Nelson Piquet the race win if it ensured Piquet would win the driver's championship. However, this didn't prove to be necessary as Patrese won the race while Piquet clinched a third place, sufficient to secure him the championship
In 1991, at the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna was already world champion and conceded the victory to Gerhard Berger, saying after the race that he had given the 1st place to Berger because "he had been very helpful".
In the late 1990s incidents of team orders began to be reported more prominently by the media. Public reaction to the more blatant examples of their use became extremely negative. In the 1997 European Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve, already with the title in the bag, was asked by his engineer via radio to let the McLaren cars pass as "They've been very helpful", while at the 1998 Australian Grand Prix, the McLaren drivers David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen caused a stir by switching position at the end of the race in order to respect a previous agreement. In contrast, the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix saw a more sophisticated use of team orders, where Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine began the race light on fuel, allowing him to get ahead of the superior Williams-Renault cars and hold them up, to the benefit of teammate Michael Schumacher.
At the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, the two Jordans of Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher found themselves unexpectedly in the lead after a collision between Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Ralf Schumacher was subsequently ordered not to overtake Hill, to assure Jordan of a 1-2 finish.
At the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello was ordered to allow Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher to pass to obtain the win. This received huge amounts of negative attention from the media, as the order was issued shortly before both drivers crossed the finish line. Both drivers were unhappy about the situation. Schumacher refused to take the top step of the podium and the centre seat, normally reserved to the winner, during the post-race press conference, and the team was punished for breach of podium procedure. At the United States Grand Prix the very same year, Schumacher returned the favour by giving Barrichello the win by the record smallest margin of 0.011 seconds on the finishing line.
After the 2002 season, FIA announced that "Team Orders that could influence the outcome of a race" were banned, although they were sometimes still implemented discreetly. For example, this has sometimes been achieved as easily as a team getting on the radio to the slower driver and pointing out that his teammate is quicker. The slower driver then lets the quicker driver through without the need for an overt "directive" from the team. This happened, for example, at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, where Mark Webber was asked to slow down when his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel was closing in. Webber disregarded the order, and the pair collided, each refusing to accept blame for the accident. Similarly, at the 2010 German Grand Prix, Felipe Massa's race engineer was heard to say to his driver "Fernando (Alonso) is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message?". Moments later, Massa eased back and allowed Alonso past.
At the end of the season, the FIA conceded that the team orders rule wasn't working and needed to be reviewed. As of 2011, the team orders rule no longer appears in the sporting regulations.
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- ESPN coverage of the South African Grand Prix. Patrese was asked "If there was a situation where you had to give up the victory for Nelson to win the championship, what would you have done?", Patrese's response was "Yes, that was already planned. ... Nelson started with less fuel and my role was to slow the field to give him a big lead." Available on YouTube.
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