McLaren has warned its title rivals to think very carefully before trying to use blatant team orders in the Formula 1 title battle just yet, despite the FIA's ruling on the matter this week.
The governing body's World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on Wednesday to examine Ferrari's use of team orders at the German Grand Prix. Although the disciplinary panel ruled that Ferrari were guilty of breaching the regulations, it decided not to impose any further sanctions on the Maranello-based squad.
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner reckoned that the FIA decision effectively set a precedent that teams could expect $100,000 fines for using team orders, but McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is not so sure.
"I think that would be a very risky interpretation," Whitmarsh said when asked by AUTOSPORT for his understanding of the situation. "I don't quite understand the logic of that [FIA] ruling, but we should all assume that if you are in clear breach of the regulations then you can expect to have a lot more than $100,000 thrown at you."
Although Ferrari is now clearly throwing all its weight behind Alonso's title bid, and Red Bull Racing may soon have to start backing Mark Webber over Sebastian Vettel if the Australian keeps his points advantage, Whitmarsh said his outfit was not considering installing a number one at his team yet.
Reflecting that a similar decision to keep both drivers equal had cost McLaren the 2007 world title, Whitmarsh said: "I think clearly we don't like to lose world championships and it  was a painful year in all sorts of ways for this team. But I think that it would have been very easy for us and it was very tempting to change your view, your philosophy, but in a straight way I am proud that we didn't.
"I know we did everything in our power to be fair and equitable, and I certainly said to a gentleman who is not here [at McLaren] today that if you want to win a World Championship then you want to look yourself in a mirror and know you won it and it has not been gifted. And I think that is the right approach."
He added: "It hurts at the time, but I think people can run their race teams how they like, and we are not here to comment on how other people do it.
"One of the things I would say and have said a number of times this weekend is that Jenson is here for a range of reasons and one of those is that he had the confidence and the belief that he was going to get a fair shout. He knew that I and others had known Lewis for many, many years, and were committed to try and get Lewis to win World Championships. But Jenson had trust in this team when he chose to join this team and he would not have done so if he had observed this team differently. That is a tangible upside and I am very proud and happy that Jenson's here.
"Life goes around and you have to look at the whole. That was a painful and bruising year, but Lewis and I came out of it stronger and more resolved. We want to win this World Championship and do it in the right way."