Williams apologise to drivers, fans for team orders
By Alan Baldwin
MANAMA (Reuters) - Williams apologized to their drivers and Formula One fans on Thursday for a clumsy, and ultimately failed, attempt to impose "team orders" in Malaysia last weekend.
Deputy principal Claire Williams told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix that the team had erred in asking Brazilian Felipe Massa to let team mate Valtteri Bottas pass because he was faster.
Massa ignored the request - which was delivered over the team radio and heard worldwide via the television feed - and finished seventh, one place ahead of the Finn.
"Our fans expect us as a team to let our drivers race, and that's the overriding disappointment," said Williams.
"For our fans we want to apologise for that because we didn't handle it in the best way, and to let them down is not the way we want to go.
"We didn't handle the situation for either of our drivers particularly well, so of course we've apologized to our drivers."
The order scratched several old sores, coming early in the season at a circuit where coded instructions to Red Bull and Mercedes drivers last year triggered a lingering controversy and talk about the pecking order within those teams.
The phrase used by Williams was also almost identical to an infamous one that Massa heard when he was leading the 2010 German Grand Prix while Fernando Alonso's team mate at Ferrari. Continued...