F1 is not my province unless history is involved, as it is, in the Australian GP controversy. It is surely the right of the manager of a team which has spent enormous sums of money to decide the order in which his cars finish a race. If cars are so reliable that they can race one another, well and good. Otherwise, No1 driver is expected to lead, surely?
There have been many cases when one driver has been set the task of harrying the opposition, even at the expense of his car, and of a dominant team deciding, prior to a race, how its drivers will Finish. Salzer’s Mercedes wore down Boillot’s Peugeot in the 1914 French GP and itself broke down, but it aided Lautenschlager’s victory. Louis Coatalen used to decide the order in which his drivers in the Talbot-Darracq team would come home — hopefully 1,2,3. Birkin deliberately set out to eliminate the Mercedes at Le Mans in 1930. And Neubauer was furious when Lang led Caracciola in the 1937 Italian GP, and when Kling disregarded his instructions and pit-signals, to take the lead from Fangio, the intended winner, in the ’55 German GP.
When there are no orders it is up to the drivers if they prefer, to decide it beforehand; but whether it was wise to do this on a ‘he who gets to the first corner in Front’ basis is not for me to judge. Off the course, there was Moss’ defence of Hawthorn, which lost Stirling the ’58 World Championship — which gives me the opportunity to say how well Channel 4 and Moss himself presented his talks, prior to the Australian GP.
Any decision to stop prearranged finishes would humour those who gamble on race results and I think they might confine their betting to the other Lottery!