For me, the worst aspect of this Formula 1 season has been the hopelessly biased media reporting. I have railed against the British media’s love affair with Lewis Hamilton many times. But it is worth pointing out that, if anything, the Spanish media are probably even worse when it comes to Fernando Alonso.

Let us not forget that before Alonso burst onto the scene, Formula 1 was not even televised in Spain! (Apparently this is inaccurate — see the comments.) At least prior to Hamilton F1 was a regular fixture on British television screens. So it should be no surprise that some Spaniards are pretty rabid Alonso fans. This has led to some rather colourful goings-on on the internet.

One of the strangest was the mass invasion of nationalist Spaniards on Ed Gorman’s rather good blog for Times Online. The rabid one-sidedness of the Spanish commenters was quite a sight to behold, and it became all the more entertaining when they began to adopt Anglophone names in a bid to disguise their favouritism.

I suppose it is always possible that someone called George posting on the internet can have terrible English. Have Your Say is testament to this. But seeing Victor screaming to Ed Gorman, “I WANT TO SEE THE EVIDENCES!! GIVE TO ME THE EVIDENCES!!” doesn’t quite convince.

Of course, Ed Gorman did not help himself much by being so blatantly biased (in the opposite direction) himself. And this is the very problem. The British media talks through its arse on one end, and the Spanish media talks through its arse on the opposite end. It is no wonder that different groups of people have ended up with such radically differing views as to what has happened during the season.

In Britain, Fernando Alonso is viewed as a moaner, while Hamilton’s own moans (post-Monaco and post-Belgium) have been downplayed. While Alonso’s comments about not getting equal treatment at McLaren have often crossed over into the realms of the ridiculous, let us not forget that Hamilton was the first to run crying to the media about his treatment at McLaren following the Monaco Grand Prix, long before Alonso hinted at any such levels of discontent.

Meanwhile, in Spain, this season has been viewed as one massive conspiracy against Fernando Alonso. As Keith Collantine notes, the claims are easily debunked.

Why would McLaren want to sabotage the efforts of their own driver? Moreover, why would they go out of their way to upset him when he is a double World Champion? If McLaren were acting in their own self-interest to sabotage the season, it’s not exactly worked out well for them, has it? This season has been one long PR disaster for the team.

This is why I have such a short fuse when it comes to nationalistic sports coverage. I suppose being a Scot I am naturally wired up to have a sensitive bullshit detector when it comes to nationalistic sports coverage. But while for most of my compatriots it stops at pro-English bias in sports commentary, I find myself equally exasperated by all biased commentary — pro-Scottish, pro-British, pro-Spanish, pro-whatever.

Part of me really hopes that Lewis Hamilton fails to win the Championship today just to burst the ridiculous bubble that the British media has blown up. The ridiculous “weekend of British supremacy sporting success” was already dealt a blow yesterday with England’s failure in the Rugby World Cup. With all eyes on Lewis Hamilton today, I really hope the media ends up with egg on its face.

The bias exists in team sports as well. Holyrood Watcher wrote about it today in relation to the rugby. But at least I can understand it with team sports. International rugby is one sport where a team is set up specifically to represent a country.

Formula 1 is a team sport — but the teams do not represent countries. It is also an individual sport, and in no way does it make sense to constantly make references to “Britain’s Lewis Hamilton” or “Spain’s Fernando Alonso” as though their nationality made a blind bit of difference to anything. You might as well talk about “blond Kimi Räikkönen” or “the right-handed Felipe Massa”.

Because you can bet your bottom dollar that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t want to be World Champion “for Britain”. He wants to be World Champion for himself. For an explanation, I wrote here about sportsmen and nationality some months ago.

The recent obsession with F1 drivers’ nationalities particularly saddens me because every single one of the drivers who will be racing at Interlagos this afternoon is an absolute hero. They all do extraordinary things, putting their lives on the line. I can never get my head round how these drivers can travel at 200+ mph, routinely experiencing forces of 5+ gs, yet still manage to hit the apex of a corner, inch-perfect, and complete lap times consistent to a couple of tenths of a second.

It astonishes me. These drivers are super-human. Extraordinary achievements are being made routine. Yet, what is the media coverage reduced to? “Let’s support Lewis Hamilton because he’s British, and let’s throw stones at Alonso because he’s foreign.” It sickens me. To do certain drivers down because of where they happen to come from, when they are every bit as much of a hero, is just not on.

The media’s fixation with nationalities offends me. To me, “Britain’s Lewis Hamilton” (as the media apparently has to call him, by law) does not exist. Nor does “Spain’s Fernando Alonso”, “Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen” or even “Japan’s Sakon Yamamoto”. They are Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen and Sakon Yamamoto: extraordinary, super-human, heroic motor racing drivers. Every single one of them. No matter where they came from.

40 comments

  1. It’s quite ironic when you remember the coverage of the last couple of years, when ITV went out of their way to point out how Alonso lives in England for most of the season and that Renault were based in Oxfordshire…

    Maybe they should just refer to where they live, which would make as much sense, even if it did lead to Monaco having a large number of champions, Schumacher becoming Swiss and Damon Hill the first Irish world champion!

  2. Journalists write loads of rubbish just to sell newspapers, most of it is pure sensationalism and I bet F 1 do the same to keep the sport as high profile as possible. My advice is, *Don’t be fooled by either*.

  3. Jean Todt

    Thank’s to Mc.Laren and specially to Ron Dennis, without its effort and east dedication year would not have been possible the 2 titles.

    Thanks again!

  4. Tlacuache

    i saw your link on ed gorman’s blog and i’m glad i followed it and read your article.

    i think the actual problem is that press in some countries have this “style” that can’t root for their locals without smearing the visitors, in this particular case i don’t see the need the british press has to ridicule alonso to make lewis look good.

    i’m feeling very pleased with this brazilian gp outcome, not because hamiton lost (even though i’m no fan of his), but because now i get to see the same press that aggrandized him eat their words.

  5. Pablo

    Agree with most of it, though it is not true that Formula One has never been shown on Spanish tv. To the contrary, it has been shown way better than this year, every weekend since I can remember. It is true, however, that now it has much more followers than before, but the same can be said about the Hamilton phenomenon.

    These last years since Fernando became famous and Telecino channel saw an opportunity for business, we have had stand the stupid comments from a couple of jingoistic, pro-conspiracy commentators with no clue about anything (they had to ask Pedro de la Rosa constantly about what we were seeing on screen). There were also plenty of commercial breaks even during key moments of the race. Money smells money. Nationalistic media is a very efficient way to make a lot of money while the hype lasts.

    And regarding Fernando Alonso, I am sorry to say, but I thought the punishment for Alonso on Hungary was too harsh, though I don’t fall for any of the conspiracies. I still believe Alonso was relegated as second on the team and John Sharp gave good reason for it: 7 flying laps for Hamilton against 2 for Alonso. I don’t know if it is true, but no one has criticized this point yet. For me, if true, it is also conclusive. The post of John L Sharp can be found in Ed Gorman’s blog.

  6. Pino

    Good point. I´m spanish, I love my country, I´m an Alonso´s fan, and I agree with most of your comment. But let me correct something… “before Alonso burst onto the scene, Formula 1 was not even televised in Spain! ” that´s not true, sorry.
    And let me, please, defend my compatriots -at least most of them- against the acusation of “rabid one-sideness-. Sometimes looks quite “rabid”, yes but at the end of the day, go to Gorman´s blog, and after Interlagos, count how many spanish bloggers congratulated Hamilton… unfortunately, you wont find the equivalence on the other side.
    Apart from that, as I said, I really appreciate your article, shows all the respect towards our compatriot that you cant find when “The British media talks through its arse”.
    I would like to give you some ideas to explain “Why would McLaren want to sabotage the efforts of their own driver? Moreover, why would they go out of their way to upset him when he is a double World Champion”
    -yes, that was very confusing, but at the end of the season, its quite clear- but I´m sure you have had enough of this.
    Thanks again, and excuse my english.

  7. Apologies for my mistake. I was always under the impression that F1 was not televised in Spain until Alonso came along. But you guys, of course, know better than I do!

  8. Javier garcia

    Victor is also a spanish name. Sorry if it disrupts your theory.

  9. Victor, Steve, George, David whatever. It was only an example to illustrate my point, but I don’t think you will have to look far to find something like what I described.

  10. Josito

    Hi, I also got redirected here from Ed Gorman’s blog. I read it sometimes, and I always thought he was too biased in Hamilton’s favour. At least during the last times he got more impartial.
    I think you are completely right. Things went out of control. Brits’ medias support only Hamilton and try to destroy Alonso, and the other way around with Spanish’ ones.
    Your ability to give an opinion take root on knowing different points of view. And I’m afraid we (I’m spanish) and they (the British) lack exactly that. In your country medias you are being overwhelmed by a particular opinion. So in the end you tend to think like that (now due to the online sporting newspaper I use to read I’m pretty sure that “something” was against Alonso during this season). But that’s the perception I get from the media I read. I’m afraid that, at least in Spain, sporting media are too biased, so you can’t trust them till the edge.
    In spanish media it wasn’t so drastic in the beginning, but some specific media got extremely radical in the last times (today I watched the news on Telecinco, the channel that shows F1 in Spain, and even the guy telling the news said he was happy about Hamilton didn’t win, since he couldn’t celebrate that Alonso won).
    About the non-nationalism of the drivers, I see a easy relation that could explain the British support to Hamilton: McLaren-Mercedes is a British team, Britain “invented” Formula1, Hamilton is British, Britain had waited (before today) 10 years for the next British champion in F1. So make your own reflexions.

  11. Javier garcia

    I understood that your point was that people were changing their names to sound more credible or less biassed. Victor or David are names in spanish written whith the same spelling.
    Being a non nationalist scotch you could comment on how the races between Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz were lived north of the border.

  12. Javier, I think McRae versus Sainz was a bit before my time I’m afraid. I also do not follow rallying so closely. But I think both drivers were viewed as real greats. Colin McRae was seen as a risk-taker who was perhaps unlucky not to win more than one championship. I think, by the time I started to follow WRC (albeit not so closely), Carlos Sainz was seen as a legendary veteran.

    But overall, I don’t think the media played too much on the nationality issue in this case (beyond, perhaps, a little extra interest in McRae — but not to the point of active disparaging other drivers, as we have seen in F1 this year). This was helped a lot by the fact that WRC does not have the same status as F1 and does not get the same kind of coverage, so journalists were not pressurised so much to put a sensationalist spin on the whole thing.

  13. Pino

    Duncan, the funny thing is that spanish fans weren´t that “anti-hamilton” at all. Even now, most “alonsistas” regard Hamilton as an excellent driver. the problem started when -as you perfectly noticed- ” Hamilton was the first to run crying to the media about his treatment at McLaren” and the team manager didn´t stop that drastically, wich let us believe that Hamilton was quite confident on his position… why?
    I´ll try to answer your “Why would McLaren want to sabotage the efforts of their own driver? Moreover, why would they go out of their way to upset him when he is a double World Champion?”. In UK, Hamilton is much more than an awesome driver. He is a money maker for the media, the sponsors, and many other bussiness -thas Mossley saying-. Beeing the champion, the incomings will increase a heel of a lot. Remember, a british champ, with a british team, a british factory, a british manager… means big big dough for british bussines. So, the chances are: if the rookie results a fiasco, we still have the nº1 and the best car, and we can get the cahmpioship. If the british rookie is really good, having the best car, we can neutralize is biggest threat -Alonso-. We all know the rest. The saddest thing was the deploy of the most incredible discredit campaign against Alonso, feeded by his own boss, triying to elude his responsability in the “ferrary spy affaire”. Still now, you can read supposedly intelligent people totally convinced on Alonso´s guiltiness of the spy scandal.
    As I said before, I love my country. Not because I think is the best in the world. It´s just a matter of respect, respect to my ancestors and to what they did. We owe this astonishing thing -internet, your blog- we are using to comunicate to our ancestors.
    I suppose thats the reason that impell us -english, spanish, or whatever- to defend one of the “ours” when we see him maltreated and abused. Even if he is stinking rich, and we are as poor as a church mouse, and have to go every day to crapy jobs. I doubt this is a wothy “war”, bout I think spaniards didnt start it.
    Cheers.

  14. Pino, interesting thoughts but I just don’t buy the theory.

    For sure, Lewis Hamilton equals money for McLaren. But they got the British sponsors beforehand anyway. I haven’t noticed any new British sponsors since the emergence of Hamilton. Meanwhile, when Alonso joined McLaren as a direct result this attracted two major sponsors — Santander and Vodafone. Those sponsors have gone through a lot of pain this season as a result of the various scandals, and I don’t believe that McLaren would deliberately go out to aggravate their new sponsors who are paying big bucks.

    Teams try to get drivers from different countries to fill their seats for this very reason. If the British sponsors were so important to McLaren, they would do what so many people here say they should do and hire Jenson Button (or Gary Paffett) as Hamilton’s team mate. But this does not make commercial sense because having two driver of different nationalities brings in sponsors from both countries.

    As for sabotage itself, Spaniards will say that McLaren conspired to allow a lighting rig to fall on Alonso’s car in Bahrain and the tyre pressures were wrong in China qualifying. Brits on the other hand can’t understand why Hamilton was left out for so long on worn-out tyres in China, why the team broke the rule on wet tyres during practice in Brazil, and why Hamilton was put on a three-stop strategy in Brazil.

    I’m not saying that McLaren had some kind of hidden motive in any of this. But if you are looking for a conspiracy, you will be able to find it, no problem.

    As to respecting your ancestors, you say

    We owe this astonishing thing -internet, your blog- we are using to comunicate to our ancestors.

    You are quite right. But I think if we limited ourselves to just technology that was just invented by people of your own nationality, it is easy to see that we would all be a lot worse off than we are. I respect your point of view, but for me it has nothing to do with nationality, as people of all nationalities have contributed to the enhancement of our lives.

  15. Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen – whoever may well be first off racing for themselves, but you cant separate the fact that they were born in, or at least in someway associated with a country (even if it’s not of their birth).

    You may not care about this, and even a few of the fans might not care, but the media in their respective countries care and many many fans care.

    I dont generally care about team games, rugby, football – couldnt care less. But It’s a fact that Hamilton is British and the team is based in Britain therefore I’m very pleased theyre doing well. That’s not to say I dont support other drivers or teams of other nationalities but it IS a factor.

    As for the media hype – particularly that surrounding Hamilton and even more so that on ITV (which WAS painful to watch) – that’s the TV channels and newspapers getting their monies worth for something they see they can get in on the hype halo. Just ignore it, or complain about it, but dont think it’s representative of the ‘typical’ F1 fan – even British F1 fan.

  16. Kid from Madrid

    Pablo must be 6 years old. When I first moved to Spain 15 years ago F1 was NOT shown on Spanish tv. The first time I recall it being shown was when Gene and de la Rosa got rides. Sponsors such as Telefonica suddenly took an interest in the sport and the races were covered. Then when those guys weren’t up to the job, the sponsors quickly disappeared and the racing disappeared from our screens for at least 1 season. Then Fernando came along and it returned to the screens so your original statement was not strictly true although it did seem that way. I distinctly remember not being able to watch the Barcelona GP on national tv here.
    At first the nationalistic media nonsense was vaguely amusing but it has detiorated into a very sad situation. Hamilton is constantly referred to in conversation by spaniards as the “p negro”. Very sad indeed.

  17. Nadie

    It was really televised if nobody watched it? An interesting question (well, actually you can find a lot of people who pretend to be ancient Formula 1 fans. I call them liars).

    Duncan, Duncan, you have commented how amazing the race was! The incredible start of the Ferrari’s, Alonso overtaking Hamilton, Hamilton overtaking everyone (Barrichelo!!), Kubica overtaking Alonso, Heidfield to Kubica….

    That was fun, and the reason i watch Formula 1 (having a compatriot to support helps too).

  18. “Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and Spain’s Fernando Alonso do not exist”
    What can I say xDDD Good for you.

    Lewis is a tongo (poor boy even stealing…) And everybody are still laughin at McLaren.

    Alonso needs nothing but his skill. He was alone this year and he showed everybody he’s strong-minded & really the best of the paddox (in & out). Even Montezemolo recognized this, most people love him or at least show respect to Fernando.

  19. Dear Dr. Vee.
    You seem to forget the small slip of the tongue of Ron when he said that they were racing Fernando.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article2617378.ece
    That needs and explanation because is the hardest sentence I have ever heard inside a F1 team.
    You also forget that Spain is the country that devours his own heroes. When Fernando won his second championship it wasn’t hard to find people who keep telling that Fernando was an average driver with a great car, ignoring that Fisichella was barely capable of following him. Spanish were not united until the Monaco affair, when we choose Hamilton as a common foe…
    Anyway I find your analysis very accurate and I support all of your opinions about nationality and bias in sport journalists. However, there are English and Spaniards capable of an unbiased love for F1, we are scarce, but we exist. If you understand Spanish please come and have a look in briatore.wordpress.com You will be welcome.
    Best regards from Oviedo (Fernando’s home town).

  20. Jose Eme

    Just a note about F1 coverage in Spain:

    TV3 had bought the rights and had been broadcasting F1 in Spain for some years before any spanish pilots were there. But since it is an autonomic station they only broadcasted it for the catalan territory. Now, when Pedro de la Rosa an Marc Gené came into the picture, TVE (BBC spanish equivalent) negotiated with them to broadcast to the whole spanish territory (year 1999). For some years (maybe just one, maybe more, i can’t recall exactly) there was full coverage for F1 in Spain. Then both pilots were without driving seats, and coverage returned to Catalonia only. Then, with Alonso, a new free private TV station with full territory coverage such as T5, bought the rights from FOA and so this last three years we’ve had two stations broadcasting F1 (most of the spanish territory had to deal with the only choice of T5, but people living in Catalonia, could choose between T5 in spanish language and TV3 in catalan language).

    Now it looks like another company has bought the rights from FOA to broadcast F1 in Spain for 2008 and beyond and most probably they will switch broadcasting from T5 to another free private TV station, “la Sexta”, in 2009.

    It still remains unknown whether TV3 will continue to broadcast F1 in all that turmoil, but it would be a pity if they couldn’t (gawd! this year they offered 16:9 panoramic broadcasting!).

    That’s all, great article.

  21. Daniel

    But seeing Victor screaming to Ed Gorman, “I WANT TO SEE THE EVIDENCES!! GIVE TO ME THE EVIDENCES!!” doesn’t quite convince.

    There’s an unfortunate tendency to criticize those who cannot express themselves correctly in a foreign language. People who do so just show one of the following two: (i) they have never tried learning a second language (and therefore cannot understand the complexity of the matter); (ii) they foolishly believe that these people would show the same lack of linguistic skills/poor reasoning in their native tongues (which is nonsense).
    The English of Spanish bloggers may be poor, but it is certainly much better than the inexistent Spanish of English bloggers. And that deserves some credit.
    I did like the rest of your post, though. Best wishes.

  22. also starring

    Learnings for Ron Dennis: One driver MUST be the leading one.
    Actions for Mercedes and sponsors: Fire Ron Dennis. His team does not deserve a looser like this one.

  23. I really do agree with most of your comments and I really appreciate your correction about TV coverage in Spain of F1. I was trapped in it by C. Ragazzoni´s driving.
    This season is over and for anybody neutral quite boring. Overtaking on the track is almost impossible with these cars and regulations. Strategies is all about between similar cars, and viewing a GP is almost a real suffer, so most people change to other sport. This crap wich emmerged tis season was in a very favour for the F1. Has been fed ( my oppinion is in purpose) by the principals trying to get more public watching TV. As F Williams said, the public that matters is not the one who cames to the circuits, but the one who watch TV, and from there they got the real money.

    Thw F1´s owner, B. Ecclestone, stated that for him the best DWC was LH. Kimmi is a piece of something and not interested in PR. FA has done nothing for F1 during the two years he was champion. Then there you have a good reason to help just a little bit LH rather than FA. I do not think in a manner of doctoring his car but in strategies.

    I´m spanish, but not fanatic, I´ve been in elite sport competing for too long, and I´m not getting biased for the media becouse I know quite wll sports from inside and what the sportsmen think and fight for. Most of you could get very amuzed.

    Santiago.

  24. damiao

    great comment!
    I felt myself at the end of the race very happy for raikonnen’s triomph, as the brit and spanish media coverage was so horribly biased.
    this is not the euro cup, but supposedly an individual race, so pilots should be judged for their merits, not their nationality.
    I’m quite concerned as any event happening in Europe is covered by media in an awful way, as for example it’s happened as well with the madeleine mccan’s case.
    shameful and nasty!! criminal parents or thirld world police depending on the source you read!!!
    in the end, I’m happy for Kimi. It’s not been the best year for Alonso, don’t know for which reason concretely but not only for the team, as from the start he’s not raced as in 2005-6. in any case, I agree with Alain prost, dennis should have given Alonso preferential treatment and not just equality. the startegy paid badly for mcclaren as hamilton, a superb pilot, showed too young to support the pressure of the final races.
    the absolute winner of this story is ecclestone, who is making big money out of these scandals and incrementing substantially the audiences.
    let’s hope that next year we will have alonso, hamilton and kimi in 3 different teams and all this polemics are gone, just to see who’s the best!!
    regards british friends!

  25. Excellent post. I do agree with you. You are quite right to point out that Spanish press was quite jingoistic. You are absolutely right. Please note that jingoism is very good for media’s bottom-line

    I remember being a kid and a great supporter of Nigel Mansell (btw he lost also 1 world championship in the last race). I agree with you I love F1 because of the sport. Those men were heroes in their own. Not because they were from a particular country!

    Let’s me ask you upfront. Why UK needs so desperately a “new hero for our times”, a “man to put pride back in Britain”, “a new British hero”, “a 21st century icon”? (quotations from British Press). I

    Q. Why would McLaren want to sabotage the efforts of their own driver?

    They were forced by British Press and blackmailed by Ecclestone (Remember this guy went to valencia, Spainand said 15 days before local elections “If you don´t vote for the PP (Spanish Conservative Party) you won´t get the European Grand Prix in Valencia. Well, this is your Bernie Ecclestone. You can get more information here http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/Ecclestone/condiciona/Valencia/albergue/Gran/Premio/PP/gane/elecciones/elpepudep/20070510elpepudep_4/Tes)

    Moreover, why would they go out of their way to upset him when he is a double World Champion?

    Did FIA really wanted to see Alonso to win his third WC in a row? or to have a British hero was very high in its agenda?

    Anyway. It was nice to see how many people from Spain wrote in the Timesonline. That’s good for the business. Pity the British cannot even write broken Spanish.

    Q. If McLaren were acting in their own self-interest to sabotage the season, it’s not exactly worked out well for them, has it? This season has been one long PR disaster for the team.

    Yes, I agree. My respects for Ron Dennis. He played very well at the end. It is very difficult to believe that Hamilton was so unlucky.

  26. I agree completely. I would say more: there is not such a thing like a sport reporter, there are only fans. I fear it is so everywhere.

    And the question is: is that happening because the public want it to be that way?

    And the problem is: does it happen only with sports?

    Good luck

  27. Daniel, I’d just like to make clear the point I was trying to make there. I was not making a comment about the poor nature of some Spanish bloggers’ English. Their English is one hundred times better than my Spanish, so I would never criticise that. In fact, I think there is something very admirable about the way some Spaniards have been unafraid to join in the debate on English-language blogs. I don’t imagine there are too many English speakers adding comments on Spanish blogs.

    The point I was trying to make was just about some comments I have seen where Spaniards have been attempting to disguise themselves as Brits.

    Ponzonha, the comments Ron Dennis made in that instance were pretty bad. By that time, though, McLaren was living in a post-Hungary environment where the relationship had dramatically changed for whatever reason. Clearly the relationship between Ron Dennis and Fernando Alonso deteriorated rapidly during the weekend of the Hungarian GP, and I think Alonso has said a lot more bad things about McLaren than McLaren has said bad things about Alonso.

    Nevertheless, Fernando Alonso didn’t seem to be so upset about Ron Dennis’s comments. I guess at this stage, though, there is no way of telling what kind of mind games are at play.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone.

  28. Pino

    Duncan, please, dont take me wrong, I would love to argue that point with you, but I´m affraid I just had too many beers, and I have to wake up tomorrorrow at 6:00, ready to work with evil littel ones for 4 days. Be ready for a “deep an intelligent” answer .I´ll try my best- in 4 days. Cheers.

  29. Daniel

    OK, Duncan. Thanks for your answer. I’ve seen several nasty comments in other blogs which ridiculed some Spaniards for their English, and I think I’ve become too sensitive on the matter. Best, Daniel

  30. Thersites

    Yes, there are many Spaniards visiting Ed Gormans’ blog. And contributing, sometimes in broken English. And obviously defending Alonso from tha typical arrogant and jingoistic attacks of the British press, always defending sportmanship and stabbing anyone who’s not got a proper Anglo Saxon name of the proud British race… but I disgress. At least, some Spaniards read the British press and are able to write in English… quite otgen in quite good English. On the other hand, no one Briton is to be seen in Spanish blogs, defending their points of view. Mostly because almost no Briton can put together a complete sentence in Spanish or in any other language at that. That arrogance…

  31. bdosh

    Michael Schumacher will always be the best F1 driver ever. Justthinking back to Hungary 1998 and many such miracle races he managed in his career. Will we ever see someone even 1/2 as good?

  32. Thersites, please see my comment #27.

  33. Hi everbody. Me and my bad english :-) have just discovered this blog, and I’m sold. It’s impressive how good and how nicely analitycal (opposed to emotional) the articles are, but not only that, the forum comments are most (spanish included) on a very good level too.

    Back to the point, Ron Dennis comments about the team racing Fernando did indeed seem to have affected him, since in an interview today (now he has gone berserk against the team, it seems) that he felt these Dennis word were “very strong”.

    I also are amazed by these super-human pilots. But you forget something. They’re not only racing at 300 KPH perfectly tracing, sometimes they’re also chatting a lot while doing all of this. Have you seen Fernando’s team radio log of the Hungaroring Q3 arguing with their team people? It’s incredible he can speaking all of that and doing good qualification times at the time, myself get disturbed if someone speaks too much in my car while I’m doing normal city driving!

    Unfortunately I didn’t find the log in english, only the one published on spanish media like in this (mostly serious) newspaper:

    http://www.elcorreodigital.com/vizcaya/20070825/deportes/mas-deporte/tortuoso-camino-hacia-titulo-20070825.html

    But I will try to translate. Aparrently this is the same transcript that the FIA investigated when they made Alonso lost 5 places on the grid:

    – Fernando, monitor out! We start!

    AL- Ok, Mark I’m going! But, why doesn he [Hamilton] goes first? Today it’s my turn for the flying lap! What does he pretends to do, get in the way?

    – Don’t worry Fernando, he knows he sould get out and will let you pass at the end of the straight. He has had less traffic on Q2 and his engine didn’t need to cold with the fans so much time as yours, but go fast because if you don’t Kimi will pass you too.

    AL- He’s not allowing me to pass! Mark! What is happening! Didn’t you told me that he knew he should let me pass?

    -…

    AL- Why don’t you answer? What is happening, half a turn and nobody explains anything to me? Kimi is showing me his nose on the mirrors! Let him out of the way now!

    – Fernando, I’m Steve[Steve Hallam], hold on a little more!

    AL- What is happening here? Steve! Mark! What is happening! Three turns and I can pass him!

    – Fernando, I’m Steve, wait, Ron is speaking to him!

    AL – Ron? Ron Dennis has to ask him to get out of the way? This is incredible, this only happened on Monaco when he asked him to keep the distance with me without crashing and on Indy when Ron asked my not to press on him more. Ron! I want to speak with you? What do you pretend? You’re going to give the pole to him? That’s not the deal! And then you’ll ask me to win on Italy!

    [Now Alonso sees his name as first on the screens and speaks to itself]

    -AL, c’mon Nano! c’mon c’mon! Yes, yes, yes! P1 for me? Provisiona pole!

    Ron – Fernando, I’m Ron! Lewis doesn’t want to acknowledge the deal and doesn’t want to allow you to pass.

    AL – I see! And you Ron, don’t you have anything to say him? It’s your boy, let him out of the way! What is this, another of your makings? Did you have it ready?

    Ron – Fernando, get into boxes, refuel and new tyres!

    [On boxes]

    AL- Mark, what are you going to do now? How do you fix this?

    – Fernando, we’re going to change the strategy so you have your chances untouched. Ron is very angry with him and has just decided this. Wait some seconds for the traffic to clear to come back. I’ll make the countdown.

    [The new tyres have been mounted without correctly retiring one of the heathers on error. Now the lolipop gets up]

    AL- But, nobody sees the thing in the front right tyre?! Mark! Some threads from the heathers are fixed to the axis! Get it out of there!!

    – Yes, I see it, it’s done, Fernando, calm down, focus yourself and give to better of you! Go!

    [Starts again, make a good time and go back to the boxes for the infamous moment]

    AL- What tyres are these???!!! Where is my last new tyre set???!!!

    AL Mark!!! What is this all about? Are you kidding me? Why do the lolipop gets up?? I’m not finished here! Ron! Where is my last type set?

    – Fernando, we’ve checked and the pressure is not correct on that set, you can’t go to the track with them, it’s dangerous.

    AL – But c’mon! What happens to you all? Why are you looking yourselves?

    Ron – You go with used hard compound tyres! Move so Lewis can get in and fly or you lose your last chance!

    [Alonso goes, makes a really good time]

    AL- Yes! The pole is mine! 1,19.674? Toma, toma, toma!!! Here you’ve the champion, I did it!

    [Someone tells him by radio that Lewis could not finish because of him taking so much to get out of boxes]

    AL- But what does it matter? That was our deal and the first row is ours. What more do you want?

    Don’t know if this it’s true or not, but has been given as a fact on spanish media. Anyway, now think again of him (and Hamilton) driving like madmans and chitchatting with Steve, Mark and Ron!!!

  34. It does seem an awful lot of talking doesn’t it! Interesting read though…

  35. Gordon

    Excellent comments about the press Duncan, and I have no doubt that the same applies in all areas of press coverage, not just in sport.
    However do I detect similar leanings in your comment ..
    “Part of me really hopes that Lewis Hamilton fails to win the Championship today just to burst the ridiculous bubble that the British media has blown up. The ridiculous “weekend of British supremacy sporting success” was already dealt a blow yesterday with England’s failure in the Rugby World Cup.”
    It is an achievement to be runners up and needs to be recognised as such, and not as failure as so much of the British Press so often do. That applies to whichever teams reach the final.

    Back to F1. I’ve been a fan for almost 40 years, but this is only the second blog I have read. The first was a little earlier today when I looked at the posts on Ed Gorman’s blog. Far too many I found were gloating about FA, LH, and McLaren not winning the Championship. How sad. The posts here are much more reasoned.
    The skills of the drivers never fails to amaze me and it is for that reason I watch F1. I would be lying if I said I did not want LH to win this year, but I hope I would have felt the same whatever nationality he was… a rookie winning!
    Much has been said that FA should have been the No1 driver (although little in the posts here). To me having a No1 driver spoils the racing. If one driver has better equipment or whatever then it is not a level playing field. Motorcycling, where I believe this occurs much less, provides more equal racing.
    And would KR (who I support) have won if it were not for Team Orders, which I think are now illegal.
    So how do we judge who is truly the best driver???

  36. Lestat the Vampire

    For those who keep saying we didn’t have Formula 1 on TV before Alonso, I have to say that I’ve been following it since the 70’s when I was a child and Niki Lauda my hero and I could always watch it on the national television (TVE1 and La2). Either that or I’ve dreamed the thrilling and titanic rivalry between Senna and Prost. Maybe I also dreamed the terrible day Senna died driving a Williams Renault and Schumacher’s reign started. It’s true that before Alonso, and after fights between TV companies led to Formula 1 being shown only in Pay Per View format, some people might think it Formula 1 started in Spanish television with Fernando Alonso, but it’s definitely not true.

    About nationalities I totally agree with you and I have to say that these years I’ve been really disgusted with some fanatic bloggers and with British and Spanish, I read both sides trying to have a more objective and unbiased opinion. I lived many years in Ireland and I have many friends from there and from England, so I find very sad what’s been going on this year. I’m the first one to say that Hamilton is a fantastic driver and he’s had an awesome season. But I also think that Ron Dennis made a terrible mistake not allowing Alonso choose the best strategy for him and, speaking frankly, make him the No1 driver. As Prost wisely said, if they’d done so, now we all would be celebrating the World Championship. This equality policy has proven to be disastrous and should be changed. This year Alonso brought the number one to McLaren’s car and helped a lot improve the car working with the engineers. Ron Dennis should have waited a year to let them both decide who the best driver is. I think it would have been better for Hamilton too. He’s too young and inexperienced and I think all this pressure got the best of him at the end. I my opinion he should have a year learning in a much easy going environment, like everyone else to become an even better driver.

  37. Melanie

    I’am going to try and give an honest, unbiased opinion here. I’am not criticizing anyone.

    Most posters here have a general good view, but may still seem somewhat biased. But I think that will always happen to a certain extend the world is not going to change in one day, and people will always have their reasons for supporting who they choose. We do ourselves have a responsibility to ourselves to gather all the facts and make reasonable decisions. That is everyone’s own responsibility.
    In F1 it is easier for a person like me to make a choice, I’am a South African and thus I’am far removed from national affiliations in general.

    It saddens me somewhat that people seem to be missing the bigger picture here. F1 has new World Champion, and yet everyone are still debating about Lewis and Alonso. Yes, any one of the three contestants could have won it and still deserved it, but if you look closely there is one that does stands out:

    The one that stands out is Kimi Raikkonen, he has done a wonderful job to fit into his new team. Some people forget that he properly had one of the most difficult jobs to, he had to convert a team and fill the shoes of the most successful driver of all time. He conducted himself in a most gentlemanly fashion, never got involved in politics, he kept quietly and worked at doing his talking on the track. He never give up, and give his all until the last second, and has always showed great sportsmanship. This winning attitude give him the results, the most wins (6) the most and fasted laps during the season, it one of the best comebacks in F1. He has also suffered his bad luck this year (and other years) by being the one of the top three with two mechanical retirements which was not his fault, but basically costed his about 14 points. Many people could learn a thing or two from the new World Champion. While everyone was squabbling around, he quietly and very coolly went about the business.

    What saddens me is that everyone are so focused on all the negative aspects, about this championship because of all the silly media attention. People should be glad that a driver who has really deserved a championship finally got his due. There are lost of new exciting prospects in F1, we have had a phenomenal season a great rookie has emerged there now two worthy world champions. All these things shows there will be some great F1 fights in the years to come.

    All the negativity is really exasperating, and the media are not helping. On someplaces on the Internet I have come across “F1 Fans” who are absolutely sure that Lewis is the best driver that has ever driven, not that they know any of the best drivers that has ever driven. Off course Lewis has done a fantastic job but he has just finished his first season. Imagine their surprise when someone else won, Kimi who? In this case the British media has set themselves up for failure, now everyone has come up with conspiracy theories to justify it all. It just shows bad sportsmanship, the title has been won on the track, it just has to be accepted.

    The Spanish fans at least knows knows who Kimi is and they knew he was a competitor because of his 2005 season. They are happy that Kimi has won because it means Lewis, Maclaren and Ron didn’t. Some of their conspiracy theories are also outlandish, but they can at least they can see that there are other contenters in F1. Alas, not everyone is like this there are many more and mostly good fans, but some of the other stuff has just been out of control this season.

    Stop all the negativity there are good future fights to look forward to. Maclaren didn’t appreciate or acknowledge the competition this year, they basically thought they where invincible. While they were busy with the media, Ferrari was busy regrouping and building team spirit. If Maclaren keep on worrying about off track antics, Kimi is going to become a two times world champion, or Alonso a three times world champion next year.

    Lets just stay focus on the track, which is what really counts.

    Sorry if I seemed a little bit aggressive, like I said most fans are actually really sensible. All that I say is give some acknowledgement to the new world champion, and look forward to next year if your guy didn’t win, next year might be his time. I have tried to give an impartial view, please tell me if I didn’t.

  38. Melanie, thanks for commenting. I like your comment, I agree with just about all of it.

  39. […] It makes me sick! […]

  40. […] have written before about the dangerously partisan, disgracefully nationalistic coverage of Formula 1. There is only one logical conclusion to taking a nationalistic angle in coverage of […]