Team orders were banned in F1 after 2002. The reason was fan outrage at Ferrari’s blatant and obvious orders to then driver Ruebens Barrichelo to allow Michael Schumacher to pass him and then their botched attempt at the US GP to stage manage the finish. Michael did have it in his contract that he was the #1 driver and his teamate had to defer to him. Up to that point team orders had been the norm. Back in the 30’s and mid 50’s if you disobeyed Herr Neubauer, the Mercedes Team Manager, on Sunday, you were unemployed on Monday.
After the rule was implemented for 2003 and beyond teams did on occasion manage to ‘arrange’ finishes. It usually occured late in the season when one driver had a good chance of winning the Championship and the other did not. However, the teams managed to do it in ways that were not too obvious, although on occasion suspisions were aroused. It could be done by the timing of pit stops, which was easier when there were more stops with refueling, which is now banned. Or a pit stop would be slightly botched allowing the team’s other driver to gain the spot. Sometimes there were subtle instuctions given such as be very careful of your brakes, we have a problem, or conserve fuel, we are close. Almost always those instructions came from the Team Manager or even as Eddie Jordan said from the team principal. He said when he owned a team and orders were given regarding a position he did it himself.
Well yesterday in the German GP Ferrari wanted Alonso to win but Massa was leading after a brilliant start from 3rd and passing both Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in the first turn. For Massa it was a real boost as it was a year to the day he had almost been killed by a spring coming off of Barrichelo’s Brawn.