Team orders have ugly connotations for F1 but it is now fully legal to openly ask one driver to help the team's points leader pick up extra points - whether that's by moving aside for his team-mate or by getting in the way (to a certain extent) of other rivals.
So far, no team orders have been played and even Ferrari, who are the most open to team orders, have not had the chance to put them into action as Felipe Massa has been so far off the pace of the front-running bunch.
That itself makes Alonso's challenge tougher — as without a strong team-mate in the number two role he is left to fight alone. Sure, he's proven perfectly capable of doing so, but he could do with a team-mate to get into the mix and take some points off his rivals when the Ferrari is at its best — and if Massa does not pick up his game there is still time for a change if Ferrari feels Alonso's challengers are getting a little close.
But it is behind Alonso where the current points differences between team-mates make the use of team orders a more delicate issue.
Second-placed Mark Webber is 40 points behind Alonso but just two ahead of his own Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Team orders have always been a delicate situation at Red Bull, but it's clear the team has always favoured Vettel over Webber. Webber, however, has now signed to race for the team in 2013 and openly said he chose that (over Ferrari) to give himself "an opportunity to fight for the title this year". A call to move aside and aid Vettel at this point would certainly not go down too well.
So Red Bull are likely to be backing two horses for some time to come — but that may not be the case at McLaren or Lotus, and that could help these two chasing teams.
Lewis Hamilton is on 117 points (43 points behind Alonso) and although that already looks a tough lead to beat, his team-mate Button is a further 41 points behind.
Despite winning the opening race, Button has not been as strong as Hamilton this year and has posted four retirements and four other single-figure scores from the 11 races.
But the fact that they have had eight podium finishes between them, including two doubles, shows that both have been strong this season and that means that Button has already shown he could help Hamilton's cause by taking points off rivals. Now, though, surely McLaren are going to have to back Hamilton if the two are running in formation.
The same is true of Lotus, where Raikkonen sits on 116 points and Grosjean on 76.
Grosjean has been let down by retirements — five pointless races in all — whereas Raikkonen has picked up points on all but one occasion.
The difference at Lotus is that team owner Genii also runs Gravity Sports Management, which manages Grosjean, is part-owned by Boullier and stands to take a cut of the Frenchman's success. But the importance for Boullier and Gravity of team success is surely greater than that of success for driver alone.
It may not come to it — as on the three occasions the two drivers have come in close Raikkonen has led Grosjean every time — but Grosjean's performances suggest it could easily be the other way around in any of the coming races.
And if those positions are first and second then, management issues aside, it will be a difficult call to force a driver who has never won a race to give up victory to his team-mate.
That said, it's a hard call to ask any race driver to stand aside and give up a win — which is why Ferrari put it in their contracts.
At the end of the day, the sport's all about teamwork. And for McLaren and Renault, surely the time has come to use it as much as possible.