Tuesday, April 14, 2009

F1 Drivers Are Perennial Liars

Monday 13th April 2009

So. I've been away in the Alps for nine days - anything happen while I was away?

Doh - Hamilton-porky-gate, that's what's happened.

And what a load of fuss over nothing. McLaren try and steal back a place that was rightly theirs by a bit of truth economy in the steward's room and it all kicks off like it was really important.

Excuse me, when did F1 drivers ever tell the truth?

You get them explaining away accidents after races and you can clearly see that their version of events doesn't tally with the TV replays. But nobody says "you're a liar" and tries to ban them for races - because they're F1 drivers and they're just trying it on.

Writing in Autosport Mark Hughes got it perfectly right when he said that the whole incident was caused by the vagaries of various stewards' actions against the Mclaren team in the past. They are paranoid about doing the wrong thing on track and getting punished for it. They were so concerned that if they didn't give Trulli the place back, after Lewis rightly took third, they would be penalised in some way.

Then, post-race, they thought they might try it on and sneak that podium place back. Trulli certainly didn't deserve third. He deserved a great big kick up the arse for being a raging hypocrite for weaving in the braking zones to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him during the race.

McLaren certainly aren't the first and certainly won't be the last people to lie to the stewards. Take Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari team at Monaco in 2006. Michael badly faked an accident and parked his car on the racing line to try and claim pole position in the dying stages of qualifying

The stewards saw through it and sent him to the back of the grid. Therefore, he and the Ferrari team lied to the stewards by claiming it was a genuine accident. Nobody's got a real problem with that, it was Schumi trying it on and failing. Naughty old Michael, go to the back of the grid, and that's done with it.

If the Mclaren team are guilty of one thing, it's the sheer stupidity of telling a lie that could be easily found out. And now they've been found out, Lewis has lost the points, lost his reputation, Dave Ryan has lost his job and that should be an end to it.

All this pales into significance compared to the major incident of the Australian GP. Namely why the race director, Charlie Whiting, took several laps to decide to put a Safety Car out to recover the stricken Williams of Kuzuki Nakajima.

It got so contentious that the TV director even switched to a picture of Whiting in race control dawdling along, swigging water and failing to press the Safety Car button. How many times has that happened for a routine smash? After a couple of laps of cars going through the accident zone, all drivers would have been aware of the hazard and so the longer it went on, the less likely (you would think) that a Safety Car would be needed.

In that time Charlie's old mucka Ross Brawn managed to get both his cars in for a scheduled pit-stop and then the Safety car was deployed.

Anybody spot anything there...?

No, well that's because all the attention has switched to Lewis Hamilton. And no doubt the powers-that-be are happy that Lewis is still in the spotlight after the farce of Sepang. Weather forecasters say that monsoon rains are pretty reliable at that time of the year, so delaying a race for a 5pm start time was a work of sheer genius. Let's make it a night race in the future so it can be wet and dark.

Lewis Hamilton did something very stupid at Melbourne, there's no denying it, but the motor that made him try it on in the stewards' room is the same motor that drives him to make impossible overtaking moves and such a joy to watch. It's also the same motor that made Schumi the ruthlessly brilliant champion he was. Hamilton will have to go a long way to outscore and out-Dastardly the luffable German fraudster that's for sure.

Maybe that's why Jarno Trulli is starting to swerve in the braking zones now. Maybe it's goodbye Mr.Nice Guy, hello the world's nastiest, fastest wine grower.

Andrew Davies

Source : Planet F1

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