The Formula One “World” is agog at how Vettel blatantly ignored Team Orders to win the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. Opinion seems to be split as whether he did the right thing or not – after all he is a racing driver and his prime reason for being is to win races… or is it?
This approach raises the questions as to when does the need of one individual supersede the needs of the group – in this case the Red Bull Team. It is obvious that Vettel wanted the 25 points towards his World Championship not the 18 points he would have achieved by coming second. Red Bull wanted to secure 43 points towards the Constructor Championship – which they still got – however, that result was in serious danger due to the way that Vettel was driving in order to achieve his self-motivated goal. The Constructors Championship is more important to business as it generates the revenue!
So in this case does the end justify the means? From my perspective and probably Mark Webber’s the answer must be a resounding NO as not only did Vettel fail to follow a direct order (which can be classed as Gross Misconduct) he also took unnecessary risk which could have had disastrous consequences – as it did for Red Bull in the Turkish Gran Prix in 2010 when the same two drivers crashed when trying to win that race. Obviously they haven’t learnt from that costly mistake.
So what would happen in the workplace if an employee blatantly put their own interests before that of their employer and failed to follow a direct order? The starting process would be an investigation which could lead to a disciplinary meeting which could ultimately result in dismissal of the employee on the grounds of Gross Misconduct. Some people may feel that result could be a little harsh & I accept that you would need to take into account a number of potentially mitigating circumstances, however, this is not a first offence and dismissal is within the Band of Reasonable Responses that is open to a reasonable employer.
Vettel has already apologised for what he has done; however, I think it may take more than an apology for this to blow over – especially with his track record!