Sunday, August 05, 2007

What's Going on in Formula 1

This is now getting really bizarre:

Firstly, we had the McLaren / Ferrari industrial espionage or, if you want to take it that way, Coughlan / Stepney "new-jobs with Honda hunt" row. This, of course, is still going on (and on and on and on), thanks to the CSIA - the Italian Motor Sport federation. You can see Doctor Vee's take on this, and the overall attitude of Ferrari, here.

Then, after a bad time at the NĂ¼rburgring, Hamilton was doing exceedingly well in practice and qualifying at Budapest. Alonso, while in the pits before his final (and fastest) round in the third qualifying session, hung around for more than a few seconds (20 according to the FIA), blocking Lewis behind him from pitting and eventually preventing Lewis taking a final qualifying lap by 4 seconds or so. Now, one of the assumed rules of F1 is "don't screw-up your team-mate". Constructors' championship points are vital to the money end of the business. Ron, clearly, was not amused when ITV's Ted Kravitz tried to interview him just as the session completed.

Now, I know that Alonso came into this season as World Champion and Number One driver with one of the great F1 teams, so it must be really galling to be upstaged by a rookie Brit (with McLaren being a British team - even the Mercedes engines are made by Ilmor in Northants.) But to do something quite so obvious, losing yourself 5 places on the grid - 7 world championship points if you finish 6th rather than first, and your team a potential 18 championship points (Ferrari are only 27 behind), must count as exceptionally daft. The only good thing to come out of it was Hamilton being remarkably adult, despite his disappointment, when he was interviewed. Theo is not amused, either.

Still, I hope it is a great race come 1pm.

Update: No, not a great race. A bit processional - shown by Massa barely managing to move (started 14th, finished 13th) despite having (what should be) one of the fastest cars on the grid. Well done to Lewis, however, and his battle to stay ahead of Kimi, and Alonso's fight from sixth to nearly third were none too bad. We'll see how the McLaren appeal against the points freeze goes.


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