If there is one thing all Formula 1 fans can agree on, team orders are awful.
Be it Rubens Barrichello pulling aside for Michael Schumacher or a call for Valtteri Bottas to slow and not threaten Lewis Hamilton’s position, it has always had the capacity to spoil the spectacular.
The last few races have seen team orders and politics bubble to the fore once again. In Singapore Ferrari’s hotshot Charles Leclerc was denied a win by his own team undercutting him, while Mercedes strictly told Valtteri Bottas to slow so he wouldn’t do the same thing.
Then in Russia, Ferrari concocted a plan to help a third-place Sebastian Vettel slipstream past Hamilton, only to have Vettel decline a team order to allow Leclerc to retake the lead after he got to the first corner first.
All of this has us thinking, is it time for Codemasters to bring team orders into the F1 game series?
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The real first driver bonus
The first question is why should they add this mechanic?
In F1 2019 you can claim the first driver spot within a team during your contract negotiations. The rewards for this are very negligible though. You get a small bonus of resource points in each race that you are the #1, but that’s it. No preferable strategy or the team using the #2 driver to aid your cause. In fact, the complete lack of team orders means that your teammate will happily pin you behind him even when you are on utterly different strategies and it would make sense for him to let you by.
In short then, it should be added to bring further realism to the game.
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How could it be implemented?
The best way to bring in a viable team orders system would be to add it to the long list of things you can radio into Jeff during a race.
The main one will be requesting the #2 driver to move aside, but you could also request a different strategy option or tell your #2 to run long. These would bring a serious benefit to being a #1 driver somewhere and even make you seriously consider staying a #1 at McLaren over being a #2 at Ferrari, for example.
There would also need to be penalties for being an insubordinate teammate. Maybe your pitstops would be a little slower, or the team would take an upgraded part away from you like we saw happen to Mark Webber at Red Bull.
All of this would add to the realism of career mode, while you could remove the function for online races.
READ MORE: F1 2019 beginner’s guide
Is it likely to be added?
At this point it seems unlikely. Even when the ban on team orders was lifted there was no call for it to be added to the game, but as the political situation in Ferrari seems to sour week on week there is a chance that Codemasters look to add this feature in so that their F1 sim is even more lifelike.
The 12-month cycle to bring out an annual sports title often ties developers hands when it comes to adding completely new features, but this feels like something that should be brought in to make career mode feel that much more real for F1 fans.
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