By RivaOni 19 Comments
Anyone even slightly interested in Formula 1 must have been absolutely seething yesterday. Well, anyone who isn’t a Ferrari and/or Alonso fan.
Many people are acting suprised by yesterday’s events, which saw Fellipe Massa’s race engineer inform him that he was running slower than his team mate who was behind him, followed by the question “do you understand that?”. A few corners later Massa slowed down on the exit to let Alonso through, his engineer then apologised to him over the radio. Massa later claimed it was his decision to let his team mate through. I, like many others, think pressure has been placed upon him by the Ferrari management to let Alonso through in order to get the “best possible result for Ferrari”.
When you look at the standings before the race, its easy to understand that decision. But the simple fact is that such an instruction is illegal in the modern sport. Wether you believe that is wrong or not is completely pointless to debate, which is why I found myself shouting at the hypocrite that has a big square jaw and mild Scottish accent on BBC’s F1 coverage yesterday (that’ll be David Coulthard for those that don’t know who I am on about).
So, taking out the obvious points situation out of the equation, why else would Ferrari do such a thing? Well Alonso’s behaviour in recent Grand Prix has become increasingly irratic and childish, throwing around complaints left right and centre. The most famous incident this season involving Michael Schumacher at Monaco where he was passed on the final corner after the Safety Car had pulled in. The claim was that they shouldn’t have been racing, but following a procession to the finish line, but it was clear from Alonso’s line through that corner that he was racing and it bit him on the arse when Schumacher did the same. So what happens when Alonso and Ferrari make a complaint? its investigated.
A few races later Hamilton got his timing wrong and passed the Safety Car before the white line, Alonso made a complaint, Hamilton was fairly disciplined with a Stop Go penalty which he took but events during the race led to him retaining his position, Alonso claimed this “wasn’t fair”. Whilst at Silverstone Alonso passed Kubica by cutting a corner, rather than allow Kubica back through Alonso flew away and tried to get away with it and was punished with a Stop Go penalty. A normal penalty under normal circumstances but in the events that happened (Kubica retired before the decision was made) it became rather harsh, the fact remains that it was Alonso and Ferrari’s own fault, they were reccomended to yield the position by numerous sources (other teams, plus the race director) but ignored such advice. Now this incident.
Before this had taken place Massa was clearly struggling on the harder compound tyres. Alonso was putting in faster laps (although immediately after a fast Alonso lap, Massa would reply with a faster one) but Massa was making mistakes. There’s clear footage of Alonso gesturing after a Massa mistake, just as there was when Alonso felt Barrichello held him up in Qualifying at Silverstone (despite there being huge gap between the two cars) and Alonso later claimed “this is ridiculous”. I think its clear that because of his previous two World Drivers Championship titles, not to mention his (sometimes incredibly immature) temperament, Alonso is #1 Driver in the Ferrari garage. I have no problem with that, but clearly if he’s as talented as people would have you believe and if he was indeed much much faster on a regular basis in yesterday’s Grand Prix then he would of eventually passed Massa with no help from those on the Pit Wall or (if the decision was indeed Massa’s) his team mate.
It was revealed late yesterday, early this morning that Ferrari have been fined for the incident, which is I can’t complain against there’s not quite enough evidence to force through a stricter punishment. Even so its hard to see Ferrari receiving a more harsh punishment than this. Formula 1 is Ferrari, Ferrari is Formula 1 especially now Jean Todt is President of the FIA. The case has also been forwarded to the World Motorsports Council, but I see very little else happening, at most they will have the points taken off them. I think a fair punishment would the points being wiped from the Constructers Championship for the race and the Driver’s points switched around, even though there’s an easy argument to suggest Massa would eventually have been passed by Alonso without instruction.
But once again, despite an incredibly entertaining season, Formula 1′s repuation has been dragged through the dirt. It’s hard to be enthusiastic when cheating is in abundance from every team involved. I think its about time Team Orders were re-introduced but communication between the driver and his pit wall reduced to using just pit boards and not microphone and earpieces. But then I also think that Blue Flags (or at least a Blue Flag meaning let the faster car through) should be abandoned.