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Decision paves road to team orders ban axe

Whilst many commentators and fans are angry at the outcome of Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing, others say the time is right to axe the ban on team orders.

The Telegraph observed that if the sport’s governing body is reluctant to harshly punish a “blatant” rules breach like Ferrari’s at Hockenheim, then “the rule really does need reviewing”.

“By removing it, at least the hypocrisy of teams who practise it yet preach something else entirely would be removed,” added the broadsheet.

The Guardian agrees that “most teams” pay only “lip service” to the ban that is “largely unworkable”.

It is rumoured that the FIA considered imposing a 5 second time penalty to winner Fernando Alonso, which would have installed the subordinate Felipe Massa as the official winner.

But the Council decided against it, meaning this verdict “is a precedent that will likely allow team orders to be continued to be used in the sport”, a New York Times blogger wrote.

Brazilian columnist Livio Oricchio said the next step should be the axing of the ban, so “there is less theatre and more truth in formula one”.

Germany’s Bild agreed: “Either team orders are punished brutally, or they are officially allowed once again.”

Said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone: “The rules need to be looked at again.

“If you swapped your drivers around with a few laps left, that is bringing the sport into disrepute.  But if you do it earlier, I don’t have a problem with team orders.”

Enrico Gelpi, president of the Italian sanctioning body ACI and a FIA member, said: “The rule will be reviewed.

“For us it would be a good idea to remove it completely.  The general attitude in the FIA towards this change is favourable.”

He said the topic would be discussed at the next World Motor Sport Council meeting in November.