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Merc: 'Team orders to stay'

2013-04-13 16:09

VOICE OF REASON: Mercedes team bosses have said team orders are not favoured but will be used to call strategic decisions when necessary. Image: AFP

 
SHANGHAI, China - Controversial 'team orders' remain an option for Mercedes despite the storm caused by their use at Sepang in the 2013 Malaysia GP, say team principal Ross Brawn and executive director Toto Wolff.

The clarification came after Niki Lauda, the F1 team's non-executive chairman and stakeholder who has appeared at odds with Brawn since his appointment, told reporters they would no longer be used.

Mercedes used the tactic in Sepang to keep Nico Rosberg behind third-placed Lewis Hamilton, who qualified on pole for Sunday's 2013 Chinese GP, and ensured neither driver ran out of fuel with so many points at stake.

Red Bull also tried to apply them in Malaysia but World champion Sebastian Vettel ignored the call, triggering a furore by overtaking team mate Mark Webber to win.

NOT IN FAVOUR

Brawn said: "I'll have to speak to him (Lauda) so he can explain. In fairness Niki, like all of us, wants to see his drivers race. None of us as sportsmen like team orders but it is something that in rare circumstances we decide is best for the team. And in very rare circumstances I am sure we will reach those conclusions again."

Austrian Wolff, speaking to reporters separately, agreed with Brawn and said there were two clear circumstances where such orders would be necessary. One was if the team became aware of a problem with the cars and wanted to make sure they finished and the other was towards the end of the season when one of the two drivers might be out of the title reckoning.

FOR THE FANS

"There is one order in the team: that is that we would like to see our guys race," said Wolff. "We are not racing for ourselves, we are racing for the spectators and fans and we must never forget that.

"But there could be a situation where we have to intervene from the pit wall, as harmful as it is for the sport."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.

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