F1 2019: The Season Of Team Orders?
With most of the driver line-ups set for the 2019 season, are we about to see team orders rule the sport?
With the 2018 F1 season coming to an end over the next couple of months, it's time to start taking a look at where the drivers are going to end up for the 2019 season.
There's been significant movement on the starting grid for 2019. Between retirements, promotions and acquisitions, so far only Mercedes look to be retaining their 2018 driver line-up for next season. As the drivers have fallen into place on their new teams, it is becoming clear that every team will have their version of a lead driver and a support driver.
Lets' look at the 2019 line-ups we know so far:
Mercedes: Hamilton and Bottas
Ferrari: Vettel and LeClerc
Red Bull: Verstappen and Gasly
Renault: Ricciardo and Hulkenburg
McLaren: Sainz and Norris
Sauber: Raikkonen and ?
Force India: Stroll and ?
With each team having an uncontested Alpha Dog, are we about to see a season (or two) of team orders being used to try and push their primary driver into contention for a Driver's Championship? Will mid-pack teams be competitive allowing their drivers to race each other if the big factory teams put their efforts behind Hamilton, Vettel, Max and Ricciardo at the expense of their teammates? Will those same lead drivers be happy with racing their teammates if the other teams on the grid are using team orders to give a competitor an advantage?
No idea how this is going to play out, obviously. It's been some time since we have had a clear lead driver on each team. At a minimum it should be interesting!