Atlas F1 News Service

Mixed Opinions About Ferrari's Team Orders

Sunday May 13th, 2001

Formula One members expressed mixed opinions about the most controversial issue of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello received team orders to let teammate Michael Schumacher take second place in the final part of the race.

Barrichello was running in second position behind eventual race winner David Coulthard when he was asked to let Schumacher through in order to take the maximum numbers of points for the championship, a decision which has seen many Grand Prix personalities voicing a variety of opinions.

"An order like this so early in the championship is ridiculous," said Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya. "It only proves that Ferrari is not a team for any other driver while Schumacher is there."

"It was a strange decision," said Minardi rookie Fernando Alonso. "It's very early to choose who will fight to be world champion. Rubens can also be champion. I wouldn't like to be in his place."

Meanwhile, McLaren's technical director Adrian Newey claimed that the decision goes "against the ethics of the sport".

"I don't understand why people are surprised," 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve claimed. "Rubens knew before signing with them that it would be this way. With Michael in the team everything must go his way."

"Time will tell if we were right or wrong giving those points to Michael," said Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt, who was in charge of making the decision.

"Schumacher had more points, what was Rubens expecting?," said Jaguar boss and triple world champion Niki Lauda. "With Coulthard winning, Ferrari wanted to give Schumacher the most number of points, it's logical."

Following Coulthard's win in Sunday's race, Schumacher now leads the championship by four points over the McLaren driver.

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