Once again the FiA was able to make a dull pathetic race exciting by adding in the trump card of all F1 Grand Prix. The race steward. This card is a controllable means to making a race interesting when there is no chance of rain. So it happened this weekend in the bright sun of Valencia on a race weekend that even the most die-hard fans live to forget. Let’s face it, the race track itself is silly and the on track action is even worse. Yet that race has been chosen by the FiA to represent all of Europe on the calendar. Enter Ferrari, a team that is known for making statements that make the F1 media and fans go…what did they just say?? All of these things were on display for the Grand Prix of Europe.
While Sebastian Vettel cruised to a very easy victory in his RB6, his teammate Mark Webber became the rocket man as he launched his RB6 chassis off the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus. The coming together launched Webber into the air and seen the Aussie land upside down on track before flipping back over and slamming into a tire barrier at light speed. All in all it was a very scary accident and one that Mark was lucky to walk away from. The event then obviously brought out a safety car which always makes things fun. Where the confusion comes from is the fact that Lewis Hamilton was due to slot in behind the safety car as it came out. He instead decided to overtake the safety car, leaving the two Ferrari drivers behind the Mercedes safety car. Hamilton’s move is in fact illegal and he was given a drive through penalty all be it like 20 minutes after the fact. At that point, he had set such a gap that he remained in second position while the Ferrari pilots had their race destroyed by the safety car. Do Ferrari have a reason to be upset? Yeah they do, just like in Singapore the penalty was given after the fact and the damage was minimal at best. If a car overtakes the safety car, they should be penalized before the safety car even comes in and made ready to serve the penalty during the first green flag lap. Look no further than the IZOD IndyCar Series or even NASCAR to see that if an infraction is made, it is served immediately. The problem comes down to Ferrari and the way they handle a PR situation like this which has been epic fail to say the least.
One thing I know your thinking is this: Shaun, you used to be a Ferrari fan and used to agree with everything they did and said. To a certain point you are correct. I in fact did worship the Scuderia and part of me is still very much wanting to see them succeed. Maybe even more than the Mercedes outfit that I currently cheer for. The bottom line is this, you cannot come out and make statements like Ferrari have in regards to the situation on track. One of the things that Ferrari were quick to say was that this has brought on a credibility hit to the sport and that this race was a scandal. I think that the response Ferrari have offered is the thing that has brought on this credibility hit. It shows how childish a team can be when things don’t go their way. A ‘Scandal’? Are you serious? If this was the case, then every time any team had an instance like this happen the race could be labeled scandal. Instances happen like this all the time and it is the FiA rules that allow this to happen time and time again, but really??? We never see this happen? You are the only team that gets these calls? I remember a time when Ferrari had decisions like this go their way all the time. Is that whole time period a ‘scandal’? No it’s not because you were the beneficiary of the call. The events that happened on Sunday are simply frustration on a team that is used to winning and can’t do it like they once were so world famous for doing. The team has been on a downhill stop since Michael and the gang left. This also is a clever way to hide the fact that you had brand new upgrades on your car that did not work as well as what you thought. Oh and by the way, those are the same upgrades that you ran illegally a few days ago. How is that not a ‘scandal’?
Bottom line is that the team is having serious issues and cannot handle the fact they can’t win at will. Their strategies are always as questionable as their PR antics. For the first time in a while, Ferrari are having to play catch up and are having a really hard time in that role. The lashing that Luca, Stefano, Fernando, and Felipe have given to the FiA for the action is classless and shows just how much trouble is truly building up in paradise. It is true that the FiA have dropped the ball on rules for as long as I can remember but walking with them step for step is the Ferrari PR department who need to get a grip and act like a world class race team.