Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Team orders last used in Australia 1998, says Dennis

Team principle of Mclaren, Ron Dennis, has admitted that he “sleeps easy” after races where team orders have been implemented.

Responding to the launch of an investigation by Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, into Mclaren’s tactics in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, Ron Dennis said:

“We do not and have not manipulated grands prix, unless there were some exceptional circumstances, which occurred in Australia [1998], when someone had tapped into our radio and instructed Mika Hakkinen to enter the pits.

“He entered the pits and I reversed that, because that was unfair, that was an outside influence on the outcome of the race.

“That is one of the very rare occasions that there’s been a team order.”

He added: “I don’t feel uncomfortable with them. I sleep easy. I have a clear conscience, both on that particular race - and this race today.”

I must admit I either didn’t know about this or it has slipped my mind. I had always thought that the switch in Melbourne was down to a gentleman’s agreement between Coulthard and Hakkinen along the lines that whoever made it into the first corner first was to be allowed to take the win.

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