Frank Williams says he supported Ferrari in its FIA disciplinary hearing this week not to help his rivals but because he believes team orders should be allowed in F1.
Amid ongoing controversy about team orders in F1, with a review on their ban due to be undertaken later this year, Williams says the sport has to get more real. Speaking in Monza about why he wrote a letter of support for Ferrari to the FIA, Williams said: "Because we supported, not necessarily Ferrari's particular move, but the principle of team orders being permitted. We wrote the letter because we were sincere; we're no friends of Ferrari but we just thought that the restriction on team orders is not necessary.
"It's all up for discussion. One provisional thought is that maybe they should just be applicable in the second half of the season. We've got to remember that drivers think of themselves – great – but then we [team owners] want World Championships. There are two in every year – there's the teams' as well – and you've got to have two very high-performing cars wherever possible. It's most rare that you have two drivers of equal performance in the same team and we paid a heavy price for it with Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. That cost us."
Williams concedes that there are problems that will come from a return of team orders – especially in not upsetting the fans – but thinks that the competitors' needs also need considering.
"If you wanted to appease some of the more puritan fans, there should be no team orders under any circumstances whatsoever," he said. "Putting another layer on the discussion, if you win a World Championship, you can open the door because the money is going to flow in and you can easily stay in business. If you don't win a championship, you win some races, you negotiate hard and you stay in business.
"If you don't have any good results at all, it's difficult to survive. But when you win a World Championship, it's much easier for the following year or two. To win a championship is in the team's interest. Ferrari doesn't have to worry about money but most other teams do."