Time for one driver per team in Formula One

Joanna Tilley says concept of teammates is a fallacy after seeing Webber called off from hunting Vettel at Silverstone.

    The Red Bulls team up to drench British GP winner Alonso - but that's where co-operation should end [GALLO/GETTY]

    At the British Grand Prix last weekend, Fernando Alonso stormed to victory, winning the first race for Ferrari this season 60 years after the Scuderia won its first race.

    It was a historic victory for a team who had been overlooked as title contenders this year. 

    However, in the post-race press conference, Alonso's joy was overshadowed by the stony cold face of a disconsolate Mark Webber.   

    Silverstone had once again reignited the old argument of team versus driver.

    During the final part of the race, Red Bull's Webber was firmly instructed by his team not to overtake teammate and world champion Sebastian Vettel for second place. 

    "Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end. I was trying to do my best"

    Mark Webber on being told not to overtake Sebastian Vettel

    Red Bull team principle Christian Horner later explained his decision.
    "It was only ever going to end in tears so we had to make a decision to bank the points and make sure we brought the cars home," he said.

    "Mark should be fine with that, he is a team player. Second and third is a very strong result."

    Mark Webber was not fine about it. 

    "I'm not fine with it, no," said the man who finished third in last year's drivers' championship.

    "Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end. I was trying to do my best."

    The question of whether Horner or Webber is right is complex. Discuss it until the cows come home, there is no straightforward answer.

    However, the situation made one thing clear: how hypocritical the notion of teammates is in Formula One.

    There are no teammates, only rivals.  This is why I believe having two drivers per team is an outdated concept. 

    Button, left, says his rivalry with teammate Hamilton makes it hard to be friends [GALLO/GETTY]

    The idea Vettel and Webber are a team is laughable.

    Even McLaren driver Jenson Button admits rivalry between himself and Lewis Hamilton stops them being friends. Pretending they have each other's best intentions at heart would be a lie.

    One of the great things about football is watching teammates jumping on each other after scoring.

    Sometimes, as Manchester United's Paul Scholes and Gary Neville have shown, they even kiss.

    But there is no back-slapping between F1 teammates. The whole "team" idea is nothing more than a charade – a lie perpetually reinforced by team principles who are treating the fans like fools.
    While there are some who gain satisfaction from in-house squabbling, the sport would benefit if it replaced internal rivalry with a stronger team-against-team rivalry.

    If there were no second drivers, sporting rivalry would naturally intensify. Each team would have one racer, one car and only one chance to win. 


    The constructors' championship has never seemed particularly important, or interesting.

    For me, it is simply the addition of two sets of points to reveal a rather meaningless grand total.  

    In a scenario where Vettel won the championship and McLaren won the constructors' championship, what would this actually mean to the fans?
    Surely global sport fans recognise a winner by their smiling face on the podium, not their RB6 or MP4-26.

    If McLaren pipped Red Bull by five points, that could be the difference of a poor pit stop, a loose wheel nut or a steward's penalty.

    At the end of the day McLaren, still wouldn't have constructed the car driven by the world champion.  

    Formula One is an extremely expensive club to join, so would a one-driver-per-team scenario be feasible?

    Perhaps not enough teams would be able to enter the competition.
    However, as F1 teams are already divided into two, around each driver, I don't see why we can't see these two groups peel off to form their own team.

    You could have Vettel driving for "Red Bull" and Webber driving for "Red Bull sugar-free"... or something like that.

    If there was one marketable face for each car manufacturer, revenue would boom.

    Selling power

    Think of the selling and brand power Ferrari would have if Fernando Alonso (or even better an Italian) was the face of their company. 

    In the same way a nation gets behind their tennis players (like the Brits and Andy Murray), the F1 fans can get behind their national driver representative.

    Petrol heads would remain faithful to their team but with Formula One trying to widen its global audience, the sport can't afford to be too pretentious.     

    It is time to make a change to a sport that patronises us with talk of teammates.

    Formula One doesn't need teammates to create team spirit, as the whole beauty of the sport is that a driver cannot function without a car or mechanics.

    More than any other sport, motor racing is a team exercise with hundreds of people working to achieve the same goal – to win.

    But how can this be possible when you have your two drivers fighting against each other? 

    At Silverstone, Horner was right to put the team before Mark Webber and Webber was right to race his teammate to the bitter end.

    As long as there are two drivers representing each constructor, Formula One can never be true to the real meaning of the word team.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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