James Lawton: Sport is still about the will to win - even F1

 

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone is not always an unfailing guide to what is right and wrong in his often over-heated and morally suspect business. When driver safety was the ultimate issue he did, after all, say that a certain amount of culling among the racers was inevitable. The implication was that it was an implicit part of something that might be quite loosely described as sport.

However, the belligerent octogenarian makes considerably more sense when he questions all that extraordinary outrage over world champion Sebastian Vettel's decision to ignore team orders and win still another Grand Prix.

In another age of racing, the late world champion James Hunt estimated that individual success had become overwhelmingly dependent on the resources and efficiency of the team.

Heaven knows what the ratio is now – Hunt said it was roughly nine tenths of the issue – but it is still comforting to see men like Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen resist the idea that the legality of team orders strips them of the first and the last of a natural-born racer's instinct.

Winning and losing by order? Vettel, like all great champions, showed an unbridled ambition to win. Ecclestone is surely right to remind us that it is still supposed to be what Formula One is mostly about.

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