x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Formula One: Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says it's too early for team orders

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says it was wrong that Red Bull and Mercedes implemented team orders in the second race of the Formula One season.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier mentioned his team driver Kimi Raikkonen, above, when he described how many people are involved in a racing team and how implementing team rules in the second race of the season is wrong. Diego Azube / EPA
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier mentioned his team driver Kimi Raikkonen, above, when he described how many people are involved in a racing team and how implementing team rules in the second race of the season is wrong. Diego Azube / EPA

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has criticised Red Bull and Mercedes for implementing team orders so early in the new Formula One season.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes counterpart Ross Brawn both found themselves in the firing line following a controversial Malaysian Grand Prix just over two weeks ago.

Horner and Brawn have since insisted there were justifiable reasons why orders were handed out – notably, their concerns over tyre wear and fuel saving, respectively.

Although accepting "team orders are part of the sport", Boullier feels the fact they were issued in only race two of the season is wrong.

"We should not have team orders so early in the season – not while the championship is at such an early stage," he said.

"When it happens, you need to fix it, and fix it quickly.

"Yes, one of our drivers [Kimi Raikkonen] is famous for doing pretty much what he wants, but when you have 600 people behind you, there is a certain respect you must have for the team."

That respect is what Boullier feels Sebastian Vettel lacked for Red Bull when he chose to ignore Horner and overtake teammate Mark Webber to triumph.

"You have two main strategies to run a team," Boullier said. "You might favour one driver, clearly stating 'driver number one' and 'driver number two', if your target is chasing the drivers' title.

"Alternatively, you have both drivers equal, as this is the way you want to go racing - meaning the team holds a lot of importance.

"The team gives both drivers the same cars, the same conditions, the same performance, but there is a commitment from the team to the drivers.

"In that case, I can understand team orders, because you are working for the team, not for the drivers. They are working for you."

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