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.
5 Thoughts to “F1 – Ferrari…Seriously??”
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i`m a big ferrari fan, since they hired alonso i no longer care for ferrari or alonso or montezemelo any more . they just keep making mistakes. kobayashi took on the mighty ferrari, and won ! the dream team is no more.
I think the problem that everyone is over looking in this incident is what took the FIA so long to determine the penalty. And the answer is actually very clear.
1) The initial problem that the FIA was dealing with was and should have been the incident between Webber and Kovalainen. Their attention was tuned in to that situation and didn’t allow them to look at the Hamilton safety car incident at first.
2) It was not a clear cut case that Hamilton did indeed pass the safety car. The safety car was NOT PASSED ON TRACK. The issue was did Hamilton beat the safety car to the blend line while the safety car was still in the “pit lane”. The lane in which the cars must stay to drivers right is rather long and extends much past the end of the pit wall. To make matters more difficult is the fact that there is a line across both the race track and the pit out lane that determines the blend back into the racing que and it is also a good distance down the track. And to make matters worse the line is not at the end of the “pit lane”. This was mentioned briefly on the broadcast but not well explained. When Hamilton first come upon the safety car he slowed down slightly as if he was going to stay behind the safety car. Then you will notice that he sped up again and then past and sped away from the safety car. The safety car beat Hamilton to the aforementioned line by maybe 10ft. thus making it a violation. Had Hamilton not slowed initially he most certainly would have beaten the safety car to that line and this all would be a non issue. I believe what happened was that Hamilton realized that they were not yet to the blend line and after slowing then attempted to beat the safety car to that line. From the cockpit it would be difficult to determine in this situation if you were indeed first to the line or not. And I might add it is absolutely impossible for Alonso to be in a position to make that call. It was certainly close enough that the officials needed to look at the camera footage and the data from race control to determine for sure.
3) Because of the facts surrounding the blend line it would be necessary for the FIA to examine all of the evidence prior to issuing a penalty. Gathering that evidence and then reviewing it takes time. It’s something akin to the instant recall or review that stick and ball sports have. While it does indeed take time this claim that it took 20min. to hand down the penalty is not true. The FIA has stated and near as I can determine they are correct, that it took 10min. After that it is normal and virtually universal across all forms of motorsports to allow the penalized time to respond to the penalty. McLaren and Hamilton responded within the limitations set by the rules.
4) I believe the penalty that was issued in this instance is a factor of several things. The first being the fact that there is no clear cut penalty mandated by the rules. I would guess that the reason for this is to allow the officials some leeway when assessing the penalties. Was it a close call with no one put into serious harms way? Which it really was. Or was it a more serious and obvious violation that could have or did result in a serious safety situation? In other words was it a close call with the safety car still in the pit lane or did the offender pass the safety car after having circulated around behind the safety car on track. Did it occur in a zone where there were safety workers on the track? Did somebody get hurt as a result? Did further incidents occur as a result? Maybe there SHOULD be a hard and fast rule with a specific penalty. I’m not sure what the right answer is but I can say that in my opinion the penalty seems to fit the crime.
5) The notion that because Hamilton did not suffer as much as Ferrari and Alonso believe he should have suffered and therefore got away with it at their expense is unbelievably narcissistic.
Maybe the rule needs to be changed. Maybe the procedures need to be changed. For the record, I believe that the entire set of rules and procedures do need to be changed. But, the rules are what they are and the results were with in the limitations of the rules.
I agree with you on the bit about the ruling and as much as I like to see Hamilton squirm, it was a situation that saw a really close call come after a horrifying accident. I agree that the FiA should have been more concerned with the situation, but I also think that they need to investigate how they deal with such instances. The safety car had to travel all the way around the track to turn 12 when all they needed to do was exit the pits backwards to the scene of the crash. I think that if a safety car comes out, everyone just needs to freeze, stay in a lane and let the medical car out to go the shortest route to the scene of the crash. Different argument for a different day…or maybe tonight on the show! 🙂 Really good explanation of the incident and yes…unbelievably narcissistic is putting it lightly.
No question the SC rules should be improve…..if safety is at the top of the list, then send the two SC from different points in the track, one in front of P1 the other at the tail of the order, slow them down and let the doctors/stewards to work at the scene, deployment under yellow and after the pack is under control let the cars pit if they want…….it’s simple and in that way there’s no room for overtaking. Like the stewards did to Massa a few years ago with the Canadian Pit lane exit light, black flag whoever brakes the order under accident incidents and SC….Crazy to think that Several car ran over the speed limit under SC and Hamilton survived the SC, and allow himself to stay close to Vettel, just by overtaking the SC……Without wanting to say that the race was manipulated the fact was that Hamilton stayed close to Vettel for being “smarter” and Alonso, Massa and Schumacher races were totally screwed……way to go!
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