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Team orders are as old as F1 itself. Back in the 1950s, it was fairly normal for a driver to pull into the pits and hand his car over to his teammate, if the lead driver's machine failed.
On the positive side, the unseated driver would share the credit and points if his replacement won. Luigi Fagioli retired with a single win to his name, only because teammate Juan Manuel Fangio took over his car and won the 1951 French Grand Prix.
Even as recently as the mid-90s, team orders were considered an acceptable part of what is very much a team sport.
But in recent years, they've become a thorny issue, and the debate truly caught fire because of Ferrari and Schumacher.
Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello were not hired to win titles. Their role was to score points for the team and, when necessary, provide assistance to Schumacher by getting in his rivals' way and moving aside for the team leader when asked.
Some fans thought this situation was less than ideal, and the more Ferrari used team orders to influence race results, the louder the protests became.
The straw that broke the prancing horse's back was the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Schumacher had a huge 21-point lead after just five races (10-6-4-3-2-1 points system), and lying in second—behind Barrichello—he was on track to extend it further.
But Ferrari decided that wasn't enough, and if Schumacher disagreed, he didn't do it loudly enough. Barrichello was ordered to hand the race win to his teammate—just as he'd handed over second place at the same event the previous year.
Rightly furious, Rubens spent eight laps arguing with Ferrari management before relenting. He slowed to let Schumacher through, barely 100 metres from the finish line, making it blindingly obvious what had happened.
The outcry from fans and the media was unprecedented, and, at the end of the season, team orders—which would influence the result of a race—were banned.
The ban was lifted in 2011 after it was deemed unworkable, but team orders remain as unpopular and contentious as ever.