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Brawn defends use of team orders in Malaysia

Apr 6, 2013, 7:30 AM EDT

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

Ross Brawn has defended his use of team orders at the Malaysian Grand Prix, preventing Nico Rosberg from passing Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the race.

Hamilton was forced to save fuel, but Brawn told the faster Rosberg to hold position behind the British driver to not put the team result at risk. Both drivers were disappointed with the result, and Hamilton admitted that he did not deserve the podium finish. However, Brawn still believes that he made the right decision.

“I don’t like having to take those decisions, but from a technical perspective we would have looked very foolish if we had run both cars out of fuel,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think what wasn’t fully appreciated at the time is that we had a situation develop on both cars with fuel. We weren’t comfortable with either car and I could see a scenario with both drivers competing against each other, in a strong way, it is difficult to marry managing the fuel with a full blown fight with your team-mate.”

Brawn did come under fire from Mercedes managers Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, but the team principal is happy to have made the call.

“I had all the information, I had all the facts. I had what I feel was all the information to make that decision and they didn’t and I think they both recognized after the event that it was the correct decision.”

There is a great deal of movement behind the scenes at Mercedes, with Paddy Lowe set to join the team for next season. Brawn has previously said that he would not remain at the team if Lowe joined, and this latest debacle could only increase the pressure on the former team owner.

  1. pjlva - Apr 6, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Once again a team orders comment that really relates to FUEL!. Since they have eliminate the refueling in F1, the races have all been about conserving fuel at the end. They have taken away the “racing” to the flag and replaced it with the fuel management to post race inspection. This really has made the racing very boring at the end. No one has the fuel to go at it and try to finish better. Only when they know that they have enough fuel left on the final few laps they all of a sudden start setting fast lap after fast lap….

    • icemanpjn - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Yeah, it kinda stinks, but the lack of refueling is for safety reasons. Leading up to refueling being banned again, there were a number of accidents involving refueling, including fires and crew being run over with the fuel hose when a driver left the pits before the hose had been safely removed. Safety aside, we still had drivers running out of fuel even when we had refueling, because teams never packed extra fuel into the tanks, instead just putting in what they felt they needed and no more. Even with refueling we had drivers forced to conserve and drivers actually running out of fuel completely.

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