Over the past couple of days there have been rumours that McLaren’s explanation for the sudden loss of drive in Lewis Hamilton’s car is not true. Seemingly, Lewis Hamilton actually let his finger slip on the steering wheel. Apparently he hit the ‘start’ button, which forced Hamilton into rebooting the system, a process which took around 20 to 30 seconds.

McLaren are denying this, just like they denied the incident where Lewis Hamilton swore at his boss in Hungary. Similarly they fell on their own sword in China when Hamilton retired with shot tyres, even though there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Hamilton himself was pushing the tyres way too hard.

Pitpass appear to be standing by their source with careful wording, adding, “you would not believe who it was that told him about Hamilton’s ‘error’.”

Meanwhile, the peerless F1Fanatic blog has come up with the goods that suggest that Hamilton’s problems were all of his own making.

Firstly, a quote which rather gives the game away. This is from Eurosport.

My finger slipped on the steering wheel and I accidentally pressed the button used for the starting sequence. The car went into neutral and I had to reinitialize the system, that is, reload the gearbox management program.

(Update 25/10/2007: The journalist who originally broke the story says that the quote did not come directly from Lewis Hamilton, but stands by his report.)

Then, F1Fanatic dredged up a video that shows Lewis Hamilton pressing a button just as he slows down. The replay is in slow-motion, so it is a little bit difficult to tell what speed he is going at. But note how going into the corner he keeps up with the cars in front. As he goes through the corner his hand slips over a button second from the left on his steering wheel. Soon afterwards, cars start whizzing past him.


was it an error
Uploaded by mach411

Of course, the British mainstream media will completely ignore all of the evidence, preferring to believe that only bad luck and unreliable machinery robbed “our Lew” of the World Championship.

I can envisage Lewis Hamilton on the stage at Sports Personality of the Year. Sue Barker says, “And of course, if it wasn’t for that gearbox problem in the last race you would have been World Champion this year.” Hamilton smiles guiltily.

62 comments

  1. I suppose I’m a little taken aback with the idea that a button doing that amount of damage is so close to other buttons on the steering wheel, and so easily pressed. A combination of buttons perhaps, a slightly offset position perhaps, but within thumb reach? Seems a bit of an odd engineering design decision to me, especially as they seem to hit those quite often, but the quotes sort of argue the final point of the matter.

    But perhaps that is where experience is a genuine advantage, and where hours of time in a simulator don’t count for quite as much as charging around a hot and sweltering circuit with the world championship on the line and making sure you don’t press *that* button at the wrong time.

  2. If you look here at this replica steering wheel you can see that the button is a pretty bright colour and has N for Neutral written on it – a bit of a hint at what it would do surely?

    http://tinyurl.com/3y9u42

  3. Hmm, seems a bit iffy, as Richard said – why would you have a button like that so prominient that it could be easily knocked? you’d think it would be protected like the ‘self destruct’ buttons you see in cheesy sci-fi films.

  4. I think these sorts of buttons are designed for switching the engine off if your car is beached and things like that. A couple of years back Takuma Sato reportedly hit a button labelled “ENGINE KILL” during the formation lap of the British Grand Prix.

  5. Presumably they won’t really use these buttons much anyway? The radio buttons and pitlane speed limiter buttons seemed to be on the other side of the wheel – the majority of the time they will mainly adjust the dials at the bottom and obviously use the gearchange paddles.

    I wonder if the gearbox had already broken, and he was pressing the neutral button and the paddles to try and correct it? As you say, it’s hard to tell just how fast he is moving when he presses it so there is a chance he was already in trouble.

    We’ve seen before how McLaren will cover up any mistakes he makes so we may never know the truth.

  6. It does seem a bit crazy having that button within such easy reach. Then again, if he’s made the mistake and admitted to it – good on him.

  7. So why would they cover for him?

  8. James, probably because of the beast that is known as The British Mainstream Media.

  9. Turns out that Lewis Hamilton didn’t admit to making the mistake, at least not to any journalists. However, the reporter is standing by his story.

    Autosport: Hamilton wrongly quoted on gearbox failure

  10. Woody

    From Autosport: “Domenjoz yesterday admitted that he did not talk to Hamilton and explained that he relied on information he heard in conversation with other journalists, who in turn were quoting what Hamilton had supposedly said to his engineers.”

    So, this apparent confession came from Lewis, via one of his engineers, then to someone else (unless one of Lewis’ engineers spoke directly to the press) and thence to one of the journalists with whom Domenjoz was chatting……4 links in a game of whispers.

    Doesn’t necessarily mean that it didn’t happen, but why would anyone put any faith in a quote that has, in all likelihood, been modified several times on it’s way to being quoted in the media?

    The video is interesting but, without reference to another driver going through the same corner (and hence assessing if ‘that’ button press is part of the normal procedure there) or without a g-force plot to see if acceleration ceased before or after ‘that’ button press, i think we’re left guessing wildly.

  11. A g-force plot would be no good because g-forces are varying all the way through the corner anyway. It would be better if the replay was played at ×1 speed because then we would be able to tell from the engine noise.

    But it’s pretty clear if you look at it. He keeps up with the cars in front into the corner, then those cars run away when he presses the button. But whether or not the button press was Hamilton trying to fix the problem (with infeasibly quick reactions!) or actually causing the problem, we won’t be able to tell unless we see that replay with sound.

  12. Woody

    I have to disagree with that……lateral and longitudinal g-force can easily be separated out and, indeed, such a thing is regularly done and displayed alongside ITV F1 footage. It’s usually shown as either a cross with colour coded bars extending forward/rearward and side to side or, lately (i think), as a circular plot with a dot representing the nett g vector and magnitude. As the vehicle accelerates the dot moves rearward, under brakes it moves forward of the datum, right for right, etc.

    Using either method, it would be simple to discern whether longitudinal g-force dropped off sharply immediately following or prior to LH pressing that button.

  13. Woody

    And I would say it’s pretty difficult to use relative position (‘keeping up’) of cars around him, particularly through a corner, as an indicator due to the whole ‘concertina effect’…..the distance betwen cars changes hugely as they move through accel/braking zones as the lead driver gets on the brakes/gas earlier.

    Out of the corner, the driver ahead would be on the gas a second or so before (i’ll have to view the footage again to finesse that number) and, given the acceleration of F1 cars, the physical distance between LH and the car in front would naturally increase.

  14. Yeah, but my point was that the g-force is decreasing anyway as Hamilton comes off the brakes and onto the accelerator, so you can’t just say “if the g-force decreases then we will know when the problem hit”. Listening out for the engine noise would enable us to pinpoint more precisely when the problem occurred.

    As for the concertina effect, it’s a pretty extreme “concertina” when you are getting passed by the cars behind! If the problem hit Hamilton’s car before he pressed the button, the first part of the concertina (where Hamilton closes in on the cars in front) wouldn’t have happened.

  15. Woody

    So, all the evidence available does not allow for a solid conclusion to be drawn…..

    So why make an initial blog entry that, with the exception of a big bold statement saying “It’s all Lewis’ fault”, lays the blame squarely at his feet?

    One question that doesn’t appear to have been asked: why would McLaren accept responsibility for something that they know isn’t their fault? Given recent events, i would hardly expect them to take the blame, and shame, of a reliability problem if were really a driver error. Sure, LH is McLaren’s ‘golden boy’, but you don’t benefit the team by pointing the finger other than at the true culprit.

  16. All of the evidence points in the direction of Hamilton being to blame. The journalists who have (independently) reported this are standing by their sources and stories. The video shows Hamilton pressing a button just as his car slows down.

    We have already seen McLaren cover up for Hamilton at least twice this year — after Hungary and after China. The reason is because of the British media. McLaren think they have the next Michael Schumacher, and they probably do. For obvious reasons, they want to deflect the pressure off him when he is still so young and inexperienced. If that means absorbing some of the criticism themselves, so be it.

  17. Woody

    That’s a pretty weak argument.

    You have a journalist who has heard, third or fourth hand, a plausible reason for the problem Lewis had and won’t retract his statement for fear of looking like an idiot.

    You have video footage (which, i might add, McLaren will be fully aware of) that shows Lewis pushing a button sometime around the time of the problem occuring (before or after, we are unable to ascertain).

    And, well, that’s it.

    If Lewis was responsible, and knows it, I think he would be the first to fess up. As for McLaren deflecting pressure….how does that work? The video footage is already out there…..if it does show Lewis chewing the pooch, how does denial reduce that pressure? Whoever the guilty party is, the pressure is there regardless.

    Two scenarios exist:
    1. Lewis hit the wrong button. McLaren denies it to save face. Lewis meekly ducks and takes cover (does that sound like him, given his attitude over the season?).
    2. A fault caused the gearbox selector to go neutral. McLaren fess up. A journalist reports an overheard conversation about a theory that someone had (purportedly an McLaren engineer!) and decides to go for a headline.

    I assume that you are referring to the China tyre issue, in which the team (and i stress, ‘the team’ which includes Lewis in it’s decision making) elected to keep him out for two laps more, as it turned out, than was wise? Yep, LH kept up a pace that put a little too much on the tyres, but that’s experience for you. And, as they say, hindsight is 20-20. But it was a team decision. And i don’t recall them actually saying that it was their fault that they entered the pits a little too fast….just that a team decision contributed to the DNF.

    As for Hungary, what was covered up? McLaren stated that Lewis ignored a request to allow Alonso to pass him during Q3 (if i recall correctly?). Alonso held him up in the pits (by design or by confusion…who knows?) and denied Lewis a final quick lap. Or did I miss something?

  18. Whether or not video footage exists, McLaren doesn’t care. They know that if they just put out a line about how it wasn’t Hamilton’s fault, the British MSM will swallow it hook, line and sinker.

    If Lewis was responsible, and knows it, I think he would be the first to fess up.

    I hardly think so. Remember, this is the same man who thinks it’s okay to rejoin a race by means of a crane, and who also played the media like a fiddle following Hungarian qualifying, even though he was well aware that the whole scenario was instigated by him.

    Lewis meekly ducks and takes cover (does that sound like him, given his attitude over the season?).

    Yes.

    As for Hungary, they denied that Lewis Hamilton said the F-word to his boss, even though — just like the Start button issue — it was reported independently by at least two different journalists.

  19. Woody

    [Whether or not video footage exists, McLaren doesn’t care. They know that if they just put out a line about how it wasn’t Hamilton’s fault, the British MSM will swallow it hook, line and sinker.]

    Really? How so? Everyone involved in motorsport is usally intelligent enough to look at the evidence, as we are, and try to figure out what happened. At present, all the evidence that Lewis was at fault is pretty circumstantial. Until someone makes a better case, with some hard facts, why should we be pointing the finger?

    [I hardly think so. Remember, this is the same man who thinks it’s okay to rejoin a race by means of a crane,]

    that’s hardly a sign of deceitful behaviour. Anyone in his position would have done the same thing. You carry on the race until you crash, finish or are black flagged. He wasn’t disqualified, so he was well within his rights to continue racing.

    [and who also played the media like a fiddle following Hungarian qualifying, even though he was well aware that the whole scenario was instigated by him]

    So Lewis not letting Alonso pass in Q3 fuel burn justified Alonso’s childish behaviour in holding him up in the pits and denying him a final fast lap? OK, perhaps Lewis was unwise in his decision not to let him by, but surely Alonso, as double world champ, is above petty retaliation?

    [Yes.] excellent response….. please feel free to explain.

    [As for Hungary, they denied that Lewis Hamilton said the F-word to his boss, even though — just like the Start button issue — it was reported independently by at least two different journalists.]

    I’m passing judgement on that one. McLaren’s radio transmissions are, so far as i’m aware, freely monitored by the F1 stewards/management (after all, how can you enforce ‘no team orders’ if you cannot monitor the team radios?). I would have thought that someone, somewhere would have a copy of such a transmission for press use……if it happened. Perhaps it an heated exchange happened….or maybe someone invented an exchange to sell to the media?

    And I thought it was one journalist reporting what he had overheard another journalist discussing (in terms of the gearbox issue)? Therefore it’s only one independant, possibly questionable, source of information being quoted by someone who overheard part of a conversation in which he wasn’t even involved. But, of course, the media is unbiased….they’re only trying to sell a newspaper/magazine after all.

  20. I’m happy for you that you think that the motorsport media industry is “intelligent enough to look at the evidence”. Unfortunately, my confidence in the (especially British) media has been shot to pieces this season because of their self-interested fawning over Lewis Hamilton. Remember, they all have a vested interest in downplaying Hamilton’s mistakes, because they are involved in the creation of a British sporting hero. All British motorsport journalists have been given more work this season precisely because of Lewis Hamilton. Criticising Hamilton would be like a turkey voting for Christmas.

    Mark Hughes is the worst of the lot. He produces the most incredibly biased articles. None of these articles mention the fact that he has a book due out called Lewis Hamilton Champion of the World The Story so Far. When you have a book to sell, you are hardly going to spoil the party, are you?

    that’s hardly a sign of deceitful behaviour. Anyone in his position would have done the same thing. You carry on the race until you crash, finish or are black flagged. He wasn’t disqualified, so he was well within his rights to continue racing.

    Using a crane is against the rules. As I constantly say, if Michael Schumacher had done the same thing the British media would have been jumping up and down with rage.

    perhaps Lewis was unwise in his decision not to let him by, but surely Alonso, as double world champ, is above petty retaliation?

    This hardly vindicates Lewis Hamilton. Of course, Hamilton himself was quite keen on “petty retaliation” when he went off crying to the FIA stewards straight after the incident.

    excellent response….. please feel free to explain.

    …I already did. Lewis Hamilton conducts himself in an absolutely disgraceful manner. He is never willing to accept the reality when he is in the wrong.

    McLaren’s radio transmissions are, so far as i’m aware, freely monitored by the F1 stewards/management

    What makes you think the FIA will be open about things? They are allowed access to radio transmissions if they ask for it, but they are not in a position to divulge the contents of them to the general public. McLaren on the other hand could release the transcripts, to dispel the rumours once and for all. But they haven’t. I wonder why!

    Therefore it’s only one independant, possibly questionable, source of information being quoted by someone who overheard part of a conversation in which he wasn’t even involved.

    Actually, at least two separate media outlets independently reported the story. Pitpass is an extremely reliable and reputable website and they are standing by their source.

  21. Woody

    [Actually, at least two separate media outlets independently reported the story. Pitpass is an extremely reliable and reputable website and they are standing by their source.]

    Yes, two separate media outlets independently reported the story……LePresse and Pitlane (and numerous other internet sites who jumped on the bandwagon). But the source of the quote is quite likely the same journalist (or maybe two journalists) who was involved in the conversation in which the revelation was revealed.

    If the conversation contained erroneous information then how does that make the two independent reports any more correct?

    Do you subscribe to the lewishamiltonsucks.com site by any chance?

    As is the case in every country that ‘owns’ an F1 driver, the media will do it’s best to support ‘their’ driver…..it’s called loyalty. Sometimes it goes too far and comparisons are drawn between the new guy and some previous legend, and i’m not a fan of that myself, but that’s the media for you.

    [Lewis Hamilton conducts himself in an absolutely disgraceful manner. He is never willing to accept the reality when he is in the wrong.]

    Yep….we’ve seen him intentionally block his team mate in the pits, park his car on the track to block qualifying, blame his team for not supporting him at every turn, crash into opponents to benefit his own title hopes and withhold data from team-mates to further his advantage.

    Wait, no, that’s Schui and Alonso.

    When i see Lewis behaving like one of these (admittedly amazingly talented) prima-donas, then i will issue a clear apology on this site.

    In the meantime, might I suggest giving the kid a chance. He has proven himself more than capable of mixing it with established drivers. OK, so he has got a seat in one of the best teams. Are you really going to hold that against him?

    Personally, given the stats of the season, the best driver did win. Kimi drives in the latter half were amazing and he rightly deserves the title. That said, i think second and third places in the championship are the right way around. Lewis has outperformed Alonso on the track and conducted himself with considerably better decorum off of it. It only came down to an extra podium place or so, but it’s enough.

  22. Woody

    [Using a crane is against the rules.]

    NO!!! Rejoining a race by virtue of being lifted back onto the circuit by a crane (or any other mode of recovery) MAY be against the rules….but that area is very much a grey one. Een the FIA regs do not set out a clear black/white situation.

    F1Fanatic went through this a while ago…….FIA International Sporting Code Appendix L Chapter IV.3 states:

    Should a driver be compelled to stop his/her car, either involuntarily or for any other reason, the car shall be moved off the track as soon as possible so that its presence does not constitute a danger or prevent the normal running of the race.

    If the driver is not able to move the car out of the potentially dangerous position, it is the duty of the marshals or other officials to help. In that case, if the driver succeeds in re-starting the car without any external help, and rejoins the race without committing any breach of the regulations and without gaining any advantage from the preceding movement of the car to a safer position, he/she will not be excluded from the race.

    —————-

    Now there are various other regs that state that it may be deemed illegal for external aid to allow a driver to rejoin the race……so which is correct?

    Lewis’ car was the only one in that gravel trap with the engine still running. He was lifted back onto the circuit and continued the race, which is fully permitted under the quoted reg. Whether he asked for that by signalling the marshalls, or whether the marshalls put him back onto the circuit because his engine was still running and his car undamaged, doesn’t matter a jot.

    Might i suggest that future statements of illegal behaviour by yourself are supported by a full review of the relevant regulations (and not just the ones that appear to support your position).

    Please don’t allow your politics education to impart a spin, worthy of any political party, to the contents of your blog. I realise that that this is your blog….your opinion, but you do yourself no favours casting aspersions about a drivers character/behaviour without first researching some of the background of the person and the sport in which they participate.

  23. Woody

    Sorry…just to be clear, when i say ‘illegal bahaviour’ i am referring to ‘behaviour in contravention of the sporting regulations’.

  24. Yes, two separate media outlets independently reported the story……LePresse and Pitlane (and numerous other internet sites who jumped on the bandwagon). But the source of the quote is quite likely the same journalist (or maybe two journalists) who was involved in the conversation in which the revelation was revealed.

    Well, that is pure conjecture, but you may be right. But Pitpass (not Pitlane!) is one of only two F1 news websites that can really be trusted (the other being GrandPrix.com). They have no agenda to push. Their writers don’t have books to sell. They don’t have to write articles at the whims of their MSM editors. Their audience is one of people who love the sport, whether they happen to be British or not. When Pitpass says its source is reliable, I am prepared to trust it. I would trust one Pitpass more that 100 tabloid journalists like Mark Hughes or Ed Gorman.

    Do you subscribe to the lewishamiltonsucks.com site by any chance?

    Never heard of it, I’ll take a look later.

    As is the case in every country that ‘owns’ an F1 driver, the media will do it’s best to support ‘their’ driver…..it’s called loyalty. Sometimes it goes too far and comparisons are drawn between the new guy and some previous legend, and i’m not a fan of that myself, but that’s the media for you.

    This is nationalist tosh. I covered it in this post.

    When i see Lewis behaving like one of these (admittedly amazingly talented) prima-donas, then i will issue a clear apology on this site.

    Of course, Lewis Hamilton has already done one of the things in your list. He started moaning about the team in Monaco, long before Alonso started it. To Hamilton’s own list of shame he can add ignoring team orders, shooting to pieces his team’s principle of equality and verbally abusing his boss. He has also driven dangerously behind the safety car.

    Even Michael Schumacher never did things like this. Even Schumacher never drove dangerously behind the Safety Car. Even he knew that the point of the SC was to neutralise the race, and for dangerous games to be stopped. For Hamilton, it was just another opportunity to psyche his opponents out — and we saw the dangerous consequences of that.

    And even Michael Schumacher — for all the team orders that he required — did not hold his team mate in so much contempt as to do anything that was remotely as bad as what Lewis Hamilton did to Alonso in Hungary.

    Of course, the difference between Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton is that Hamilton has only had one year in which to build this list of shame. Schumacher had 17 and Alonso has had six. Hamilton has had only one! So if you can find any instances of Schumacher doing as many dirty tricks in his first season as Hamilton has, I would be willing to correct my view. But for my money, Hamilton has committed enough dirty tricks in one season that would keep Schumacher happy for three seasons.

    In the meantime, might I suggest giving the kid a chance. He has proven himself more than capable of mixing it with established drivers.

    I fully agree with you here. This isn’t mitigation for being an unsporting cheat though! Nor does it have any bearing on whether or not Hamilton accidentally pressed the Start button. If he pressed the Start button, that is that, whether it was in his first season or not.

    As for the crane, it is a grey area as you point out. However, what irks me about it is the sheer hypocrisy of some Hamilton supporters over this issue. Whenever Michael Schumacher got a push out of the gravel trap, steam came out of the British media’s ears. But when Hamilton gets not just a push but a lift on a crane, that is perfectly acceptable? I can’t imagine what sort of vitriol would be pouring out of the newspapers if it was Alonso rather than Hamilton who got a helpful hand from a marshal like this.

    Please don’t allow your politics education to impart a spin, worthy of any political party, to the contents of your blog.

    I don’t understand what you intend to achieve by saying things like this. It is a personal attack. Can you not just stick to discussing Lewis Hamilton on the basis of evidence, rather than your personal prejudices about me?

  25. Woody

    Whether you trust Pitpass, as a group, doesn’t matter…..if their source is unreliable then the report is unreliable. I’m sure many media outlets have, in tha past, said that they trust their source, only to have the rug pulled out from under that very statement. The evidence is lacking to support either claim but, given your bias, you have chosen to ignore the lack of evidence (other than the quote) and choose to believe what you want to believe.

    —————————
    As is the case in every country that ‘owns’ an F1 driver, the media will do it’s best to support ‘their’ driver…..it’s called loyalty. Sometimes it goes too far and comparisons are drawn between the new guy and some previous legend, and i’m not a fan of that myself, but that’s the media for you.
    —————————

    You can link back to whatever you like, i was making an observation…….call it loyalty, or nationalist tosh, it’s still there. Like I said, i don’t always agree with what the media print and i try to filter out the more extreme comments (either way).

    Lewis’ comokaint at Monaco was related to being told not to race (something that is in complete opposition to the normal behaviour of a racing driver). Maybe he needs an extra year to get some F1-maturity under his belt and recognise that he must also fight for the team, but (and it’s a big but) that complaint was in no way akin to Alonso’s issue with not being given No.1 status. That’s proper prima-dona behaviour….

    His ignorance of a team request (remember…team orders are banned) was during qualifying of all things. How heinous!

    As for Schumacher….like I suggested earlier, research before you submit your response. Monaco, and Schumacher runing into the back of Montoya under safety car cover comes to mind. I would suggest that was at least the equal of any erratic behaviour demonstrated by Lewis, and under considerable better weather conditions too (although you could argue that the lighting in the tunnel is not the best….).

    Lewis has, at most, behaved with what can be best described as immaturity. Yep, he may have ignored the request to let Alonso past in Q3, he may have sworn at his boss (unconfirmed), he may have made his feelings clear about the Monaco ‘don’t race’ request, but these are exactly the sort of things any 22 year-old does when forced to suppress his natural talent, drive and enthusiasm. It hardly qualifies him the proma-dona status of Alonso and Schui (who, as it happened, was demonstrating the sort of behaviour we came to know and hate in only his third season when Benetton starting competing at the top). It certainly doesn’t justify Alonso’s response in Hungary, or explain why Alonso went on to demand No.1 status (something that, so far as i know, Lewis has not actively demanded) or Alonso’s alleged bribery of Ron Dennis in a desperate attempt to get No1 status (using the Stepneygate email tactic……although i’m wondering how much of that was invented by the media?).

    Sorry if you feel personally attacked, but the parallels between your blog-stlye and the politcal world are there. Quote from unconfirmed sources, select only those reports that support your position/opinion and then assume that it all adds up to fact.

  26. Well, you are being selective as well because you have not been able to demonstrate that Hamilton did not press the button. I am not biased, as you claim. No more biased than you are, anyway. I do not take a view based on prejudices. I look at the evidence and decide.

    When I see a website as reputable as Pitpass make a claim like that, then I see another journalist seemingly independently report the same, then when I see a video that supports the reports — well, the evidence stacks up, doesn’t it?

    What is the alternative story, cooked up by McLaren? A big lie. I mean, when have you ever seen a gearbox failure that gives the driver a box of neutrals for 30 seconds, then everything is right as rain again for the rest of the race? The amazing self-repairing gearbox. Yeah! Likely story.

    His ignorance of a team request (remember…team orders are banned) was during qualifying of all things. How heinous!

    Not that anyone pays attention to the team orders rule, which was simply added to the rule book by the FIA as a publicity stunt. Besides, the spirit of the rule is to prevent any team from favouring one driver over another. McLaren were enforcing team orders precisely to prevent favouring one driver over another. Lewis Hamilton ignored his team’s request, which was part of an agreement whereby the drivers take it in turns to lead the train in qualifying. Yes, I think it is heinous, because it prevented Alonso his fair shot at pole position (a fair shot which Alonso always gave Hamilton when it was his turn). Then when Hamilton had the audacity to complain about it to the stewards, it cost Alonso several more points. I am sorry if you think it is not heinous, but I think that is about as dirty as it gets.

    As for Schumacher / Montoya at Monaco a few years ago, that was a 50/50 incident in my eyes. Montoya just happened to accelerate too quickly out of the tunnel when he couldn’t see properly, when Schumacher was slowing down. Schumacher never systematically and deliberately drove dangerously behind the safety car like Hamilton did at Fuji. Moreover, Hamilton had already been warned about his dangerous driving behind the SC before the Fuji incident, so it is not as if Hamilton did not know the rules and etiquette of driving behind the SC.

    As far as I know, there have never been any allegations of bribery between Alonso and Ron Dennis. Allegations of blackmail, yes. Is it justified? No. Does it mitigate Hamilton’s actions? Certainly not!

  27. Jose Eme

    May i joing your debate?

    I want to make a point about two separate issues (that is, two points).

    First. [i]Why would Hamilton take McLaren’s cover for a presumably mistake of his own?[/i]. Well you can’t but notice this guy is a great driver. But because of such bright debut (even if he didn’t top it with a WDC) he has become a PR plaything. I don’t think he is master of his own words any longer (at least not prior to revision of his PR manager). It took him two days to say that it wouldn’t feel right to win the World Championship due to McLaren’s appeal. It really smells like “let’s wait to see which ways the wind blows on public opinion before we make a comment on that”.
    For McLaren, claiming it was a technical failure, turns the whole affair into a reliability issue, which joins the statistics of the season. If they were to claim it was the pilot wrongdoing, they would be taking flak for poor managing of the season (backing the rookie, who presumably might fall for rookie mistakes) and also Lewis would be marked by it for life, which would damage his public image so bad. And the public image of Lewis is the public image of McLaren. That boy is going to race for no other team, unless McLaren quits F1.

    Secondly. I just don’t get it. Why Lewis conveniently forgetting a pact between the drivers is sheer immaturity but Alonso’s retaliation in the pits is unsporting behaviour?
    To me, Lewis tried to gain an advantage over his team-mate, and Alonso responded. If any punishment should have been laid, it should have been McLaren’s doing, not FIA.
    As said, all this Hungary mess would be so much easy if Q3 radio transcripts were made public. But then again, its all about PR, and probably not worth for McLaren.

  28. Woody

    [Well, you are being selective as well because you have not been able to demonstrate that Hamilton did not press the button. I am not biased, as you claim. No more biased than you are, anyway. I do not take a view based on prejudices. I look at the evidence and decide.]

    Sorry mate…i thought that the standard approach was ‘innocent until proven guilty’. I’ve seen the same evidence and it is inconclusive. It’s only when combined with an unsubstantiated quote that it becomes compelling and, as yet, no-one has backed up that quote with any facts.

    [When I see a website as reputable as Pitpass make a claim like that, then I see another journalist seemingly independently report the same, then when I see a video that supports the reports — well, the evidence stacks up, doesn’t it?]

    Seemingly being the operative word there. Still no evidence other than a questionable source. The person concerned can make grandiose claims that it may have come from an engineer or some such but, at the end of the day, it’s just a claim.

    [As for Schumacher / Montoya at Monaco a few years ago, that was a 50/50 incident in my eyes. Montoya just happened to accelerate too quickly out of the tunnel when he couldn’t see properly, when Schumacher was slowing down. Schumacher never systematically and deliberately drove dangerously behind the safety car like Hamilton did at Fuji.]

    So Schui slowly down and Montoya hitting him, an incident no doubt contributed to by the lighting conditions, was 50/50 and no-one was driving in a ‘dangerous’ manner. But the incident at Fuli was purely as result of Lewis’ dangerous driving and in no way the responsibility of the two drivers actually involved? Come on! I can appreciate peoples comments about erratic driving but, given the condiitons, what were you expecting him to do? Drive around with little or no concern for tyre/brake condition and then slither off the circuit at the restart? Under all safety car periods, the drivers are seen clearly to accel/decel/weave to maintain tyre and brake temps, but now it’s Lewis’ fault that thos ebehind him didn’t maintain adequate spacing? Yep, i’ll agree that it was a contributing factor but lwhy sensationalise it just to support your case?

    As for Hungary, Alonso got his fair shot a pole. Perhaps LH might have pipped him to the post with his last fast lap but we’ll never know because of that ‘holding’ incident.

    [As far as I know, there have never been any allegations of bribery between Alonso and Ron Dennis. Allegations of blackmail, yes. Is it justified? No. Does it mitigate Hamilton’s actions? Certainly not!]

    Sorry….blackmail would have been a better word to use (but i’m sure that you got the jist of the sentence). Were the allegations justified? Like i said, it’s possible that those allegations were exaggerated/invented by the media to sway opinion, and as only unsubstantiated disparaging press releases about LH are admissable as fact, i’ll give Alonso the benefit of the doubt.

    And, for the record, i did not suggest that the blackmail allegations mitigated or justified Hamilton’s behaviour (and by that i mean your interpretation of Hamilton’s behaviour). Only that such behaviour, if proven to be true (note: benefit of the doubt still in play here), is pretty damned dispicable.

    Jose: i’m with you on the radio transcripts issue.
    However, i was quite clear when i wrote that Hamilton ignored the Q3 ‘let Alonso pass’ instruction…..not that he ‘conveniently forgot’. I’m sure he was fully aware of the instruction and chose to ignore it. I would consider that immature (given his first season experience). Alonso’s retaliation was an eye opener but, once again, there’s always the possibilty that it was a breakdown in communication and not his fault…..maybe. We’ll probably never know.

    And it think that’s the point. From whatever position each of us takes, we can each find ‘evidence’ to support our case. I guess we’ll have to wait until next season to see how they each behave and then we can do the rounds on this particular discussion all over again.

  29. questionable source

    Why do you say it is a questionable source when you don’t even know who it is? Reliable website Pitpass says he is a reliable source. I know who I would sooner believe.

    As for the SC, the difference between Schumacher at Monaco and Hamilton at Fuji was that Schumacher’s was a one-off incident. Hamilton’s driving was systematically erratic and dangerous. All of the other drivers said so (at Hamilton’s own admission) and he had been warned previously about it. That is the big difference.

    Alonso got his fair shot a pole.

    Only after the McLaren team had to quickly change the Q3 pit stop strategy, which ended up compromising both drivers.

    With your last point, I think the thing is that if you say, “Oh, Hamilton is just a racing driver, so I can accept what he did at Hungary because you have to be uncompromising to win,” then you can’t turn round and say what Alonso did was despicable. Hamilton was the first to punch below the belt, and yes, Alonso did too — but who could blame him?

  30. Jose Eme

    ‘conveniently forget’ is an euphemism we use in spanish to refer to ignoring a fact then come up with an excuse for doing so. Sorry for the slightly sarcastic tone there, i’m not prone to it when debating seriously.

    [Alonso’s retaliation was an eye opener but, once again, there’s always the possibilty that it was a breakdown in communication and not his fault…..maybe. We’ll probably never know.]

    I don’t think I understand the meaning of ‘eye opener’, but so that i make clear my point. I don’t care if the decision of delaying Alonso in the pits long enough to prevent Hamilton’s last attempt came from the team or Alonso himself. Given the circumstances (just not at the moment, when we didn’t know of that fuel-thing pre-race arrangements) it seems like a reasonable way to make things even.
    Aye, Fernando got his ‘fair’ shot at pole, just not his ‘best’ shot at pole, since he should have driving a slightly lighter car (and every ‘milesima’ -sorry, don’t know english equivalent for ‘tenth of a tenth of a tenth’ :P- counts). At the end of the Q3 both drivers had completed the same number of laps. Were Hamilton to land a last flying lap, his opening maneouver would have succeed. Which in the end, did.

    But it’s not like Lewis did something against the rules of F1. But then neither did Fernando.

    As for Fuji Safety Car issues. Honestly. I don’t think Lewis Hamilton was at fault for Vettel crashing into Webber. At least not more at fault than rain itself and poor visibility. BUT. It’s a bit but. He put his car parallel (sp?) to the SC. I agree that the crane affair was a grey area, which got solved after Nurburing. That’s why in China Lewis had to leave the car when the crane arrived. Curious how the trick it would have been so much useful then than in Germany. But even if the 5 car length rule was raised to 10 car length when in poor visibility conditions, after Japan, Lewis still put his car too close to the SC.

    All three drivers, Kimi, Fernando and Lewis did a great season. But i am glad that the less controversial of them all, won the WDC. I hope next year we have a much more competed season, yet cleaner. I know. I ask for too much ;)

  31. Woody

    At last…..someone who can read the Fuji incident for what it was and place the blame squarely at the feet of the those involved.

    Hamiltons admission would not have contained the word ‘dangerous’ and any driver that did use that description had a vested interest in getting LH penalised. As yet, trawling through the internet, i cannot find any such quotes….but i’ll keep looking. The FIA cleared LH of any charge of dangerous driving, but i suppose that could be one big conspiracy…..

    DrV: The questionable description applies as there is no confirmation of the journalists comments, the information is third hand at best and there is still no firm evidence to support the rumours. PitPass may well be a reliable website, but i’m sure that you are fully aware of how easy it is for something unreliable to slip through the net. That one occurence doesn’t in anyway detract from PitPass as a website, but it’s all too easy to put ultimate faith in something just because it agrees with your point of view.

    Note: if the video evidence was more conclusive, i would take the media commentary with a little less scepticism. But two inconclusive/questionable bits of information do not make a fact.

    Jose hit the nail on the head….Kimi rightly won the WDC. Let’s see what happens next season and re-visit this whole issue next October.

  32. Woody

    By the way……is PitPass a reliable website, as you have said here, or do they tend to ‘blow the whole thing out of proportion’ as you comment in your thread titled ‘yet-another-sticky-situation-for-mclaren-alonso-and-hamilton’.

    Do reliable websites with reliable sources also exaggerate the consequences of the inevitable season scandals?

  33. Comment is different to news. You must realise the difference between fact and opinion.

    As for the SC incident, the FIA did not clear Hamilton of dangerous driving, as I explained here. The only way you can possibly say the FIA didn’t feel that Hamilton was responsible is if you think some kind of evidence other than the YouTube video was discussed in the stewards’ meeting. Nobody has come up with this magical evidence yet.

    Hamilton’s admission is here, although I can understand why he might be reluctant to accept that he is dangerous himself. It’s just typical of his arrogant attitude to dismiss the verdict of the other drivers.

    As for “questionable bits of information”, I’ve yet to see anyone come up with an explanation as to how a gearbox or an electronic problem can magically fix itself after 30 seconds. Was it the gearbox fairy? Anyone who believes this is just swallowing the McLaren spin. (Oh yeah, spin.)

  34. Woody

    Wow…..another contradiction. The more i read through other threads on this site, the more amazed i am at the inconsistency of your commentary on this season.

    I quote (from your linked thread):

    Despite what I have written about Lewis Hamilton’s actions behind the Safety Car over the past couple of days, I think the FIA’s decision was the correct one (it’s not often I say that!). Hamilton broke the rules, but it was not the sort of thing that merited a serious punishment. A slap on the wrists or a fine perhaps, but not points deductions or anything like that.
    ————————————————————————

    So, perhaps you can clarify why (in your words) Hamilton’s “dangerous driving” did not warrent a serious punishment. Please be sure to clarify by means of fact, rather than by applying the FIA conspiracy theory. IF it was dangerous driving, then surely he should have been punished by the FIA in some way. If his driving was erratic then, i would agree, a slap on the wrist would have been suitable.

    The only way anyone can possibly say the FIA didn’t feel that Hamilton was responsible is by the very fact that no punishment was applied. Unless we’re reverting to a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ justice system?

    Moving onto the the gearbox problems, i recommend a course of engineering study so that you might better appreciate the use of fault diagnostics, electronic control systems and hydraulics managment. In such systems it is quite possible for a fault to be detected in, say, an actuator and for the control systems to automatically reset to a safe mode to prevent further damage. Resolution of such problems may be by reversion to a back-up actuator or by cycling the faulty actuator (whilst in Neutral) to try to jog it back into action. The fact that Hamilton’s pitstop sometime after the event appeared to be well under the pitlane speed limit may indicate that LH was manually controlling speed (rather than using the automatic speed limiter). Such intervention could be due to the absence of a speed limiter whilst in reversionary or alternative gearbox control logic. The switch into an alternative mode of control could be by means of driver selection (a particular button combination) or, following a number of attempts by the ECU (that’s electronic control unit) to resolve the issue, the automatic selection of an alternative logic. Given reports that Hamilton had to intervene under the instruction of his engineers, it’s more likely the former method that was used.

    No magic there……

  35. Woody

    Comment is different to news. You must realise the difference between fact and opinion.

    Yep….i try to take most editorials and filter out the detritus. You have opined that PitPass is a reliable site, with reliable sources, that exaggerates certain elements of their opinion (on more than one occasion). So they are reliably prone to exaggeration?

    So, can you in any understand the issue here……you are relying on a website prone to exaggeration for facts to support your opinion. Given the second/third hand information that they are quoting, and the Chinese whispers nature of all verbal exchanges, can you not see any weakness in your argument? I’ve yet to see anyone other than PitPass and LePresse make these particular claims, suggesting that they are both quoting the same source: the one journalist who took the quote from a conversation he had with other journalists, who are quoting from sources undisclosed. What’s the likelihood that they, like you, viewed the video footage and came up with a theory which they then discussed in the presence of the media source? It would be all too easy for that theory then to be presented as fact and accepted as such by anyone looking for an axe to grind.

  36. No, no, no. I will say it again. News is different to opinion. Yes? I trust the facts that Pitpass gives me, but that doesn’t mean I always have to agree with their opinions. Understand? It is completely different.

    Once again, you do not know who the source is, so in what way are you in a position to say how reliable it is? And how can you possibly say that it is “second / third hand”? Pure conjecture.

    Thirdly, the video came a day after the Start button story came out. (Of course, it was broadcast on the world feed, but if the significance of the footage was known at the time, I am sure Pitpass and indeed La Presse would have added the information gleaned from the video into their stories, but they didn’t.)

    And what axe do Pitpass or La Presse, or, indeed, any of the other outlets who have reported this story have to grind? I don’t know of them. Do please enlighten me.

    Meanwhile, I can certainly think of a fair few vested interests that McLaren and the British MSM who toe the party line have…

    So, perhaps you can clarify why (in your words) Hamilton’s “dangerous driving” did not warrent a serious punishment. Please be sure to clarify by means of fact, rather than by applying the FIA conspiracy theory. IF it was dangerous driving, then surely he should have been punished by the FIA in some way. If his driving was erratic then, i would agree, a slap on the wrist would have been suitable.

    The only way anyone can possibly say the FIA didn’t feel that Hamilton was responsible is by the very fact that no punishment was applied. Unless we’re reverting to a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ justice system?

    I like that. “Rather than by applying…” We can only debate by your rules can we? What is wrong with saying that the FIA didn’t want to punish Hamilton? I even said that Hamilton shouldn’t have been punished. But that does not mean that he wasn’t at fault. Can you explain to me why they would have removed Vettel’s penalty? What other reason would they have to change their mind after the video evidence came up?

    As for gearbox, can you demonstrate to me another instance of this happening during an F1 race? I can certainly think of at least one other instance of a driver hitting the wrong button and destroying his race.

  37. Woody

    [No, no, no. I will say it again. News is different to opinion. Yes? I trust the facts that Pitpass gives me, but that doesn’t mean I always have to agree with their opinions. Understand? It is completely different.]

    Nope, i totally understand the difference. What you do not seem to be able to grasp is that the media can and do exaggerate, can and do misrepresent theories as facts…..something that is totally applicable to this situation and your understanding of it. It is completely possible for that video footage to have been reviewed by other people prior to it’s being discovered by the public at large, for those people to construct a theory and for them to pass on that theory and for others (PiPass and LePresse, say) to then assume that those theories are fact.

    [Once again, you do not know who the source is, so in what way are you in a position to say how reliable it is? And how can you possibly say that it is “second / third hand”? Pure conjecture.]

    Nope…pure fact. In LePresse’s own type…..the journalist who reported that story, and retracted his original statement that it was a Hamilton quote, said that he picked it up in conversation with other journalists. E.g. at least second hand (as someone else must have told the journalists in that conversation about the theory.

    [And what axe do Pitpass or La Presse, or, indeed, any of the other outlets who have reported this story have to grind? I don’t know of them. Do please enlighten me.]

    I was referring to you. You have demonstrated a willingness to accept information and interpret sketchy video evidence and assume conspracy within the ruling bodies of this sport to support your opinion of Hamilton, and those who have ‘aided’ him, to a level which I have seen surpassed only by Lewishamiltonsucks.com. Opinions are fine…every one is entitled to them, but I cannot abide people who present theory and conjecture as fact.

    [Meanwhile, I can certainly think of a fair few vested interests that McLaren and the British MSM who toe the party line have…]

    Wehay….let the conspiracies begin.

    [I like that. “Rather than by applying…” We can only debate by your rules can we?]

    No, just by presenting facts rather than conspiracy theories.

    [What is wrong with saying that the FIA didn’t want to punish Hamilton? I even said that Hamilton shouldn’t have been punished. But that does not mean that he wasn’t at fault. Can you explain to me why they would have removed Vettel’s penalty? What other reason would they have to change their mind after the video evidence came up?]

    That the evidence supported a racing incident with a number of contributing factors, none of which warrented punishment.

    If Hamilton was driving dangerously then why would you then agree that know punishment was warrented? Assuming for a moment that you are correct, and LH was driving dangerously, why wouldn’t the FIA apply a suitable punishement? They punished for less…..

    As for gearbox, can you demonstrate to me another instance of this happening during an F1 race? I can certainly think of at least one other instance of a driver hitting the wrong button and destroying his race.

    Ah yes…that old chestnut. If it hasn’t happened before then surely it couldn’t have happened this time? Alas, engineering is a precise science with the occasional unexpected occurence. You attempt to dial out faults from a system in the development stage and, given an infinite budget, you can do a very good job. But, even then, a fault that no-one considered possible can occur. But you learn from it and try to prevent it at the next redesign……only to get bit in the butt by the next unexpected failure.

  38. Woody

    Apolgies if that “can’t abide” statement came out a bit strong. I’m just amazed by how easily a conspiracy can be weaved together by overlapping a series of sound bites (or video bites, as the case may be).

    There are some interesting theories put forth on your blog but i’m a little disappointed that they are then taken as fact as presented as such just to support the character assasination.

    Sorry for the typos too ;-)

  39. Nope…pure fact. In LePresse’s own type…..the journalist who reported that story, and retracted his original statement that it was a Hamilton quote, said that he picked it up in conversation with other journalists. E.g. at least second hand (as someone else must have told the journalists in that conversation about the theory.

    And Pitpass’s source? Know anything about it? No?

    I cannot abide people who present theory and conjecture as fact.

    You also do this though. We can only go by the evidence that exists. I have no axe to grind. I am only interested in the truth, not the hyped up Hamilton worshipping.

    Wehay….let the conspiracies begin.

    Excuse me, what? I have already explained very clearly what the vested interests of the British MSM and McLaren are. If you don’t believe me, then that is fine. But you also claim all kinds of things about Pitpass’s source with nothing to substantiate your claims. Then you say that anyone who believes one of the most reliable F1 news websites over spurious McLaren spin as having an axe to grind. Give me one reason why I should believe McLaren’s spin over Pitpass’s news, other than just calling me a conspiracy theorist.

    If Hamilton was driving dangerously then why would you then agree that know punishment was warrented?

    Why not? I can say someone drove dangerously without warranting punishment. The bad conditions were a mitigating factor. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Lewis Hamilton was to blame for the incident. Like I said on this blog before, a slap on the wrists rather than any kind of on-track penalty. This happens all of the time in F1. Even in Max Mosley’s world, not everything has to be about draconian punishments.

    If it hasn’t happened before then surely it couldn’t have happened this time?

    Fair enough. But we have two versions of what happened. One is that a car that has had bullet proof reliability all season suffered from a one-off electronic glitch that momentarily stuck Hamilton’s car and then did not reappear for the rest of the race. The other is that Hamilton simply pressed the wrong button. One of the options has evidence to support it and the other has a self-interested McLaren press release to support it.

    Am I saying it is impossible for the McLaren to have suffered from a mechanical failure? No. But I am saying that it is far more likely that Hamilton pressed the wrong button.

  40. Woody

    [And Pitpass’s source? Know anything about it? No?]

    No…you’re absolutely right. It could be the same source as LePresse, it could be another source entirely. But you’re still presenting it as a solid, 100% guaranteed fact, with no knowledge of the source and an acknowledgement that PitPass has exaggerated things in the past (yeah, OK, they went over the top with an opinion or two, rather than a fact…..in that instance. Any chance they might have over-stated the reliability of a source in the past too?).

    I cannot abide people who present theory and conjecture as fact.

    [You also do this though.]

    Erm……when? So far as i recall, where I have stated a theory (Alonsos blackmail of Dennis, for example) i have stated as such.

    [We can only go by the evidence that exists]

    As has been my point from the beginning. I’ve yet to see anything conclusive here. Compelling…maybe, conclusive….no! And, as is the norm with most people, innocent until proven guilty still applies. I have attempted to find other data to support your case, other video footage for example, as you have constructed a theory that does deserve some scrutiny. I’ve yet to find it though.

    [I have no axe to grind. I am only interested in the truth, not the hyped up Hamilton worshipping.]

    OK….you’ve labelled Hamilton arrogant, dangerous, a media-baby (since when was that a crime), intimated the FIA and Dennis/McLaren in (in the first case) a conspiracy to support Hamilton’s quest for the title and (in the second) suppress anything he does wrong, and placed Hamilton above Schumacher on the list of F1 evil-doers based on heresay and conjecture.

    I’m all for the truth, but i think you’ve taken your little crusade a bit further than simple truth seeking.

    [Excuse me, what? I have already explained very clearly what the vested interests of the British MSM and McLaren are. If you don’t believe me, then that is fine. But you also claim all kinds of things about Pitpass’s source with nothing to substantiate your claims. Then you say that anyone who believes one of the most reliable F1 news websites over spurious McLaren spin as having an axe to grind. Give me one reason why I should believe McLaren’s spin over Pitpass’s news, other than just calling me a conspiracy theorist.]

    No, i’ve said that you have an axe to grind….see my response above.

    Aside from one other website with a penchant for Lewis-bashing, and the two media outlets discussed here, i have yet to see anyone else pointing the finger at Lewis for ‘the problem’.

    All media sources; MSM, McLaren (for they too are a media source), PitPass, they all have a point of view. Every journalist has a bias to some extent. Surprise, surprise, McLaren media is supportive of their team but, without hard facts to support it, simply calling them liars because their statements differ from, say, PitPass’ doesn’t prove anything.

    McLaren gets their data direct from the horses mouth, so to speak. If they’re liars then we will probably never know. And therein lies the route to conspiracy…….you can’t prove that they lied but you can just say that they lied to support your case. You think that they are liars based on comparing McLaren’s statements with those from another media outlet; one for which we have no source information. Sure, every media outlet protects its sources, and therein lies its strength and its greatest weakness……you cannot be sure that the info they print is a fact or a theory presented as fact.

    [Why not? I can say someone drove dangerously without warranting punishment. The bad conditions were a mitigating factor. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Lewis Hamilton was to blame for the incident. Like I said on this blog before, a slap on the wrists rather than any kind of on-track penalty. This happens all of the time in F1. Even in Max Mosley’s world, not everything has to be about draconian punishments.]

    So LH is dangerous, but not so dangerous that he merits punishment? OK…..confusing, but one persons dangerous is another persons erratic i suppose.

    [.....we have two versions of what happened. One is that a car that has had bullet proof reliability all season suffered from a one-off electronic glitch that momentarily stuck Hamilton’s car and then did not reappear for the rest of the race. The other is that Hamilton simply pressed the wrong button. One of the options has evidence to support it and the other has a self-interested McLaren press release to support it.]

    No……one option has a McLaren press release, the other has an inconclusive piece of video footage and a statement on two websites (unconfirmed as fact and already subject to controversy of source). PitPass aside for the moment (because we have absolutely no information about their source), we know that LePresse retracted their original comment about the source of it’s information. Given that they had already pointed the finger, what chance is there that they refused to retract the statement itself to save face (either the journalist saving face or the publication itself)? Does face-saving constitute a vested interest?

    [Am I saying it is impossible for the McLaren to have suffered from a mechanical failure? No. But I am saying that it is far more likely that Hamilton pressed the wrong button.]

    In your opinion. Alas, this is where the whole ‘theory as fact’ issue starts……you present a theory (the statement ‘it’s more likely’ makes it a theory, not a fact). Someone, somewhere, reads your thread and goes onto present it as fact and the whole thing snowballs.

  41. I think I see where we differ. For you, nobody can claim anything without saying, “Of course, maybe this is not true, for there are other possibilities.” But everyone knows that there are alternative possible scenarios in these situations. There is little that we know we can say for sure is 100% fact.

    To take an extreme example, am I 100% certain that the theory of gravity is correct? Well, there are mountains of evidence in favour of it. But can we prove it is true? Until we have more evidence, the conversation is futile. But that doesn’t mean that people go round talking about “the theory of gravity that we are quite certain is true, but of course might not be”. We are all adult enough to understand this.

    Sure, I could have said in my original post, “Here is some compelling evidence that Lewis Hamilton may have pressed the wrong button. Of course, there is still a chance that it was a temporary mechanical failure.” But it would have been banal to say that, because we all know it is the case. Just the same as if I were to write a post about gravity. It is just about weighing up the evidence and coming to a conclusion.

  42. Woody

    [I think I see where we differ. For you, nobody can claim anything without saying, “Of course, maybe this is not true, for there are other possibilities.” But everyone knows that there are alternative possible scenarios in these situations. There is little that we know we can say for sure is 100% fact.]

    Some of that probably comes down to my engineering background. If you have a problem, you study the evidence at hand and generate theories that fit the evidence. Then you conduct further research to prove/disprove each theory. Note here that i mention ‘disprove’ as well as ‘prove’. Simply selecting evidence that supports your theory, whilst dismissing anything that is contrary to it, limits the ability to reach a final conclusion (one with, say, 99% probability). Even then, with that 1% margin, there is always the possibility that you have missed something, but you remain open to new evidence.

    Now, not for one moment have you demonstrated with anywhere near 90% (or even 50%) certainty that what you say is true. Of course, the same is the same with my case. All we have to go on is media output (less than totally reliable for both sources). So we’re left in the position of doubt. I, for one (amongst many) favour the old ‘innocent until proven guilty’ adage to the ‘i don’t like him/her so i’ll pick the outcome that best suits my opinion’.

    [To take an extreme example, am I 100% certain that the theory of gravity is correct? Well, there are mountains of evidence in favour of it. But can we prove it is true? Until we have more evidence, the conversation is futile. But that doesn’t mean that people go round talking about “the theory of gravity that we are quite certain is true, but of course might not be”. We are all adult enough to understand this.]

    What’s your point? Gravity, in terms of whatever the force it is that keeps our feet down and our heads up (depending on your frame of reference!) is there. The CAUSE of that attraction is still under scrutiny. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists studying and conducting experiements to determine what causes gravity. I would say that we are better than 99% sure that something is keeping our feet on the ground, just not so sure about what that something is.

    Besides, like you say, there are ‘mountains of evidence in favour of it’ (gravity), but i don’t see ‘mountains of evidence’ in support of your theory.

    Going back to the whole ‘which is more probable’ question (a gearbox failure or human error)…..what’s the probability that the button Hamilton is alledged to have pressed is disabled under certain racing conditions precisely because there is a chance that it can be pressed?

    Only a theory, mind, don’t quote me on it!

    [Sure, I could have said in my original post, “Here is some compelling evidence that Lewis Hamilton may have pressed the wrong button. Of course, there is still a chance that it was a temporary mechanical failure.”]

    No, instead you declared it a statement of fact (as in the thread title – mclaren-unreliability-not-to-blame-for-hamiltons-problem). No question mark, no acknowledgement that there might be even the slightest measure of doubt (other than, and here’s the only credit i’ll give you, the word ‘Seemingly’ appearing in the first paragraph of this thread).

    [But it would have been banal to say that, because we all know it is the case. Just the same as if I were to write a post about gravity. It is just about weighing up the evidence and coming to a conclusion.]

    So is this an admission that this entire thread, and your opinion of the event, is just a theory. Compelling, maybe, but lacking in solid evidence to support it?

    Something else i’m chasing down at the moment, and feel free to provide input into this little investigation, did McLaren strip or inspect Hamilton’s gearbox prior to the race? Only sketchy recollections, rumour, theory, but worth investigating…..

  43. Woody

    Sorry to pick another point with you…..actually, scrub that ‘sorry’, in one of your responses above (33) you linked to Hamilton’s ‘admission’ of dangerous driving.

    I’ve read that story through for the second time and cannot find an admission of dangerous driving. In fact, i cannot even find an accusation of dangerous driving.

    Recalling the article from memory, rather than the old cut and paste, it states that he faced accusations of erratic driving (not dangerous driving) from his peers. Hamilton’s response was to say that ‘he would try to do better next time’.

    Another example of how presenting only part of the story can easily mislead others.

  44. What is with you? Find me somewhere where I claim that I am >90% certain that Hamilton pressed a button? You seriously need to lighten up. We disagree. Okay. I can handle that. Let it go. All I have said is that it is more likely that Hamilton pressed a button than he had a one-off electronic failure. When I wrote the title of this post, I deliberately wrote it that way as a parody of the British media’s approach, with their inability to see both sides. That was the point I was making. “There is another side, but of course the British media won’t report it.” Read my post again. It’s all there. That is the point I was making.

    So is this an admission that this entire thread, and your opinion of the event, is just a theory. Compelling, maybe, but lacking in solid evidence to support it?

    Read the post again. As I said, it is full of qualifications, and a recognition of both sides of the story. You seem to have missed it all. Obviously I am of the opinion that Hamilton pressed the button, but like I keep on saying, this does not mean I am do not acknowledge the existence of other theories.

    The point I am making with gravity (and this is an extreme example) is that I could say something like, “Some people believe it is gravity that keeps our feet on the ground. But some people think that it is all the doing of giant invisible vacuum cleaners.” But that would be ridiculous.

    what’s the probability that the button Hamilton is alledged to have pressed is disabled under certain racing conditions precisely because there is a chance that it can be pressed?

    A possibility, but like I said before, drivers have been known to press similar buttons before with disastrous consequences. The stand-out example is Takuma Sato, although I’ve got a feeling in the back of my mind that Rubens Barrichello did it once as well.

    This is why I believe the “accidental button press” theory more than the “amazing self-repairing gearbox” theory. One of them has happened before, while the other hasn’t (to my knowledge).

    did McLaren strip or inspect Hamilton’s gearbox prior to the race?

    They’re not even allowed to. Parc fermé conditions.

    you linked to Hamilton’s ‘admission’ of dangerous driving.

    You seem to be having serious problems understanding anything that I say. I never said that Hamilton made an “admission” of dangerous driving. In fact, I even say that he wouldn’t admit to dangerous driving!!

    The admission I was referring to in #29 was an admission that the other drivers were complaining about him.

  45. Rob

    Wow….
    DoctorVee, politics ehh with all the u-turning you’ve been doing throughout this blog I’m sure you’ll make PM by the time you’re 25.

    As woody says regarding the gearbox issue study engineering before you comment, after all most modern autogearbox have this ‘limp’ mode which can self correct its self and that’s on a mass produced motor car not a $1,000,000 race car

  46. Nice, a personal attack and unsubstantiated claims that I have made a U-turn! Where are these U-turns? I have not made any.

    Do you want to tell me what you do, Rob, so that I too can take ill-informed personal pot-shots?

    As I said before, I cannot recall a time when an F1 car has practically ground to a halt due to mechanical failure before magically re-starting again, even in a $1,000,000 race car, although I am willing to stand corrected. Accidental button pressing has happened though.

  47. Woody

    [What is with you? Find me somewhere where I claim that I am >90% certain that Hamilton pressed a button? You seriously need to lighten up. We disagree. Okay. I can handle that. Let it go. All I have said is that it is more likely that Hamilton pressed a button than he had a one-off electronic failure. When I wrote the title of this post, I deliberately wrote it that way as a parody of the British media’s approach, with their inability to see both sides. That was the point I was making. “There is another side, but of course the British media won’t report it.” Read my post again. It’s all there. That is the point I was making.]

    Sorry DrV, but i don’t see any qualifications made in your original thread, other than to quote contrary McLaren statements and then ridicule them by reference to other apparent McLaren cock-ups. As for trying to parody the British media, the only comment i see that even remotely approaches that is where you suggest that they will just ‘ignore all the evidence’…..how does that make the rest of the thread a parody?

    So is this an admission that this entire thread, and your opinion of the event, is just a theory. Compelling, maybe, but lacking in solid evidence to support it?

    [Read the post again. As I said, it is full of qualifications, and a recognition of both sides of the story. You seem to have missed it all. Obviously I am of the opinion that Hamilton pressed the button, but like I keep on saying, this does not mean I am do not acknowledge the existence of other theories.]

    Yes, you acknowledge the existence of other theories and dismiss the sources of those theories. And i don’t see anything approaching ‘full of qualifications’……perhaps you could summarise them?

    [A possibility, but like I said before, drivers have been known to press similar buttons before with disastrous consequences. The stand-out example is Takuma Sato, although I’ve got a feeling in the back of my mind that Rubens Barrichello did it once as well.]

    So, if precedence has been set, would it not stand up to reason that McLaren would learn a lesson from other teams errors and find a way to prevent it?

    [This is why I believe the “accidental button press” theory more than the “amazing self-repairing gearbox” theory. One of them has happened before, while the other hasn’t (to my knowledge).]

    And here we see another example of putting your own twist on things…..at no point has anyone mentioned anything about a ‘self-repairing gearbox’, much less an ‘amazing’ one. You’ve dismissed a recognised area of engineering and electronic controls logic with a pointless attempt at ridicule. Like Rob said, rather than ridiculing an area in which you have little knowledge, try studying it first. I wouldn’t dare to comment on the deepest levels of politics (and my ‘spin’ comment is hardly a political analysis) because i know that my knowledge in that area is limited.

    [did McLaren strip or inspect Hamilton’s gearbox prior to the race?
    They’re not even allowed to. Parc fermé conditions.]

    OK, perhaps i should have been clearer. Did McLaren strip/inspect Hamilton’s gearbox at any point during that race weekend?

    [You seem to be having serious problems understanding anything that I say. I never said that Hamilton made an “admission” of dangerous driving. In fact, I even say that he wouldn’t admit to dangerous driving!!

    The admission I was referring to in #29 was an admission that the other drivers were complaining about him.]

    I would counter by suggesting that you manage to write sentences that do not clearly state what you are saying. That said, i’m sure i could have been clearer in some of my questions. I think the confusing thing was that Post 33 contained the line ‘Hamilton’s admission is here,’ followed by nothing that explains what Hamilton was admitting to.

    Now, based on the sources you have linked to, the other drivers said that Hamilton’s driving was ERRRATIC. I didn’t see any mention of the word ‘dangerous’ in the article (assuming, of course, that the source can be trusted not to have toned down the comments so as to make Hamilton appear in a better light?).

    So, for some reason you have added the word ‘dangerous’ to the quote taken from that source. I quote: “Hamilton’s driving was systematically erratic and dangerous. All of the other drivers said so (at Hamilton’s own admission) and he had been warned previously about it.”

    The point i’m trying to make here is that you have systematically added the word ‘dangerous’ at numerous points in this thread based on nothing more than your opinion. Perhaps there are articles out there that do use that particular word, but you have not used them. Instead choosing to add that description to sensationalise.

    [In fact, I even say that he wouldn’t admit to dangerous driving!!]

    Yes, you did say that……followed by suggestion that the only reason he would not admit it is because he is arrogant. Of course, by your own sources, Hamilton was not accused of dangerous driving, which might go some way to explaining why he would not admit to such a charge.

    What he did do, in response to a charge or driving ERRATICALLY, was to indicate that he would try better next time.

  48. Sorry DrV, but i don’t see any qualifications made in your original thread… i don’t see anything approaching ‘full of qualifications’……perhaps you could summarise them?

    “rumours”, “seemingly”, “apparently”, “appear”, “careful wording”, “suggest”, “it is a little bit difficult to tell”.

    Are these not all qualifications?

    how does that make the rest of the thread a parody?

    … You are still having trouble reading. I didn’t say the thread was a parody (how could it be?), nor did I say that the post was a parody. I said the title of the post was a parody.

    Re the safety car, my use of the word ‘dangerous’ is an interpretation of the response of the other drivers. I do not have the time to look for any direct quotes, but there are things called “synonyms” you know. The thoughts of the drivers are clearly implied. Do you think drivers would have metaphorical “rifles” to aim at Hamilton if they were only worried about him straying off line a little bit?

    Then again, I cannot prove with 100% certainty that any of the drivers thought that Hamilton drove dangerously, which must of course make my opinion invalid.

  49. Woody

    And yet, given those four qualifications (‘apparently’ isn’t qualification, check a thesaurus; ‘careful wording’ related to PitPass and the changing source of the original quote, and ‘it’s a little bit difficult to tell’ refers to the speed at which LH was travelling) you still dismiss all claims to the contrary. Your position, given the tone and contents of all posts above, is that LH must have been at fault.

    And why re-interpret what the drivers have said? There are numerous articles out in the web commenting on LH’s erratic driving, yet you insist on adding your own spice to those comments? Other than to provide an additional tilt in the direction of your own bias, why do it?

    Feel free to state your opinion; that YOU think that Hamilton drove dangerously, but don’t wrap your opinion up in the quotes of the drivers. It’s ill-considered, disrespectful to those that you misquote and misleading to those who read this blog.

  50. And yet, given those four qualifications… you still dismiss all claims to the contrary.

    Is that not a bit of an oxymoron? How can I “dismiss all claims to the contrary” with qualifications? That doesn’t make sense. Besides, how many times do I have to say that I do not dismiss all claims to the contrary? I do not dismiss the claims — I just don’t believe them.

    Your arguments are complete red herrings. If you were really concerned about people being one-sided and ignoring all claims to the contrary, why do I not see you jumping up and down in the comments at Ed Gorman’s blog after he talked about “when the gear-box went” with no acknowledgement of the alternative viewpoints?

    Did you start posting in the ITV-F1 forum after James Allen wrote “his real problem today was the gearbox glitch”, with the only hint that there might be another explanation coming in the form of “But it was mighty strange the way it happened”?

    Did you write a letter to the editor of the Telegraph after Mark Hughes wrote, “Lewis Hamilton punished by gearbox gremlin”?

    And why are you not asking me to give equal billing to the theory that the car failure could have been caused by somebody deliberately generating a magnetic field?

    I don’t blame you for that. Consumers of news are always aware that we may never find with 100% certainty that a particular theory is correct. We are always aware of the possibility that there are other explanations. Do we have to tirelessly go through every single possibility? No. Nobody has the time to do this.

    And the readers of this blog will all have been aware about the “mainstream” explanation of Hamilton’s sudden halt. This blog does not exist in a vacuum. There was no point in me going on about the gearbox failure, because doing so would have added nothing to what the legions of mainstream media outlets had already written about it.

    Yet still, I acknowledged the existence of that explanation. I am not required to do anything more than that. The point of the post was to point out the evidence that Hamilton may have been at fault. I did not start writing it intending to carry out a thorough investigation into all the possible reasons why Hamilton’s car might suddenly slow down then start up again! My aim was merely to point out the existence of new information, and my opinion that I found the evidence at least as convincing as the McLaren spin.

    As for semantics and safety cars, it’s pretty clear — in my view, which I am entitled to — that the drivers think that Hamilton’s driving was dangerous. There are at least two who think that his driving was a contributory factor to the crash. And there is hardly a safe way of helping cause a crash!

    As for semantics and qualifications, I am not sure what thesaurus you are using, but Roget’s Thesaurus lists the following synonyms:

    allegedly, as if, as though, intuitively, most likely, ostensibly, outwardly, plausibly, possibly, probably, professedly, reasonably, reputably, speciously, superficially, supposedly, tangibly

    I note that “certainly” isn’t among them!

  51. Woody

    Of course, you neglect to mention the other main entry listed in Roget’s, which i list here for the sake of completeness:

    “clearly, conspicuously, evident, evidently, expressly, indubitably, manifestly, officially, openly, overtly, palpably, patently, perceptibly, plainly, transparently, unmistakably”

    Why would you list only a partial extract from Roget’s? Two main entries and you quote only that which best suits your current position…..

    As for your not dismissing all claims to the contrary; “McLaren are denying this, just like they denied the incident”, etc , etc.
    Is that not dismissive?

    Your latest post is the first time you have acknowledged that McLaren’s explanation is anywhere near as convincing a theory as yours. Up until now you have been adamant of your opinion outweighing that of McLaren and the mainstream media.

    I have, at no point, not acknowledged the existance of alternative theories. I have simply studied the evidence that you have provided and pointed out the weaknesses in your argument.

    You, on the other hand, have published your opinion and then, initially at least, dismissed contrary positions without consideration of what might cause a gearbox to behave as observed. If you had the background knowledge to consider the mechanical/software theories that might explain such failures, you may have presented a more balanced original statement. Even now, without the engineering know-how to support your assessment, you believe the alternative theory to be ‘less likely’ than your pet theory. How can you make that judgement?

    As for your comment “I did not start writing it intending to carry out a thorough investigation into all the possible reasons why Hamilton’s car might suddenly slow down then start up again!”…what point are you trying to make? There’s been no suggestion that we consider any of the more outlandish theories. We have been discussing two possible options (the two options given most attention by the media)……if there are equally plausible theories then i’m more than willing to review the evidence for those too. Perhaps there’s more to those theories than heresay and conjecture?

    Or are you trying to dismiss entering into discourse about any future differences of opinion?

    By the way, perhaps you could explain what my ‘red herrings’ have been? Aside from some random entry about magnetic field ‘attacks’ (sorry, what?), i haven’t seen a red herring here…..

  52. Why would you list only a partial extract from Roget’s? Two main entries and you quote only that which best suits your current position…..

    Um, because of the two meanings, the first was the one I meant.

    As for your not dismissing all claims to the contrary; “McLaren are denying this, just like they denied the incident”, etc , etc.
    Is that not dismissive?

    It’s just a statement of fact.

    Your latest post is the first time you have acknowledged that McLaren’s explanation is anywhere near as convincing a theory as yours. Up until now you have been adamant of your opinion outweighing that of McLaren and the mainstream media.

    I still don’t think McLaren’s explanation is convincing enough. Please, please read what I write.

    …what point are you trying to make? There’s been no suggestion that we consider any of the more outlandish theories

    Are only you allowed to decide which theories are “outlandish” and which are not? That is my point. You are jumping up and down accusing me of all sorts of things simply because I have a different interpretation of the events to you. I wonder how you ever get through a newspaper without completely imploding with rage, asking them to prove that their ideas are 100% true and asking them why they “dismiss” your favoured interpretation.

    You see, I could say the exact same things about the gearbox theory. I could say, “Can you prove for certain that it was a gearbox failure? Show me the telemetry. If you had the background knowledge to consider human nature you would realise that it is possible for Hamilton to have made a mistake and you would have provided a more balanced assessment,” etc, etc.

    This is my point when I say your arguments are red herrings. You are deciding to have a go at me for “dismissing” McLaren’s favoured theory (even when I don’t dismiss it). But you do not complain to any of the mainstream media outlets who dismiss the alternative theory, sometimes without even having the grace to acknowledge its existence.

    Why? It is because, perhaps, you are not so concerned about the truth as you try to make yourself out? Is it perhaps because you can’t handle the notion that Lewis Hamilton might be — horror of horrors — a human being, capable of making mistakes just like anyone else?

  53. jack stephen

    “Perhaps there’s more to those theories than heresay and conjecture?”

    Heresay?
    Ah, yes. It is contrary to the beliefs of my religion that Hamilton may have made a mistake. Could some up Woody’s position.

    OK, so I’m a sarcastic so-and-so. I know he meant hearsay rather than heresy
    .
    But, come on guys. Give it a break.

  54. jack stephen

    And that “some” should have been “sum.”
    I did have that at first but it didn’t look right.
    Typing’s a bugger

  55. Woody

    [Um, because of the two meanings, the first was the one I meant.]

    Tosh! Just another example of how you bias your commentary to suit. You didn’t even acknowledge the existence of a second main entry. If you’re going to use ambiguous language, why act so surprised when someone holds you to account for it?

    [As for your not dismissing all claims to the contrary; “McLaren are denying this, just like they denied the incident”, etc , etc.
    Is that not dismissive?

    It’s just a statement of fact.]

    Given the context and content of the paragraph concerned, you were implying that McLaren’s statement was nonsense. If that’s not dismissive, what is?

    [I still don’t think McLaren’s explanation is convincing enough. Please, please read what I write.]

    And what would be more convincing? You’ve mentioned telemetry but, given your suspicion of McLaren’s integrity, i’m pretty sure that you would respond with some implication that the telemtry was rigged. After all, if you consider a direct quote from McLaren to be less than convincing then why would you put any more faith in telemetry from the same source?

    [Are only you allowed to decide which theories are “outlandish” and which are not?]

    So you would seriously consider giving the aforementioned ‘magnetic field’ theory equal footing to either of the two options so far discussed?
    I mean, think for a minute; given the two quotes you refer to, and the video footage, it does not surprise me that the ‘button error’ has been given weight by some. By i’m sure we’re both mature enough to weed out the less sensible theories that might be generated given any particular issue (e.g. giant invisible vacuum cleaner theories for gravity).

    That is my point. You are jumping up and down accusing me of all sorts of things simply because I have a different interpretation of the events to you. I wonder how you ever get through a newspaper without completely imploding with rage, asking them to prove that their ideas are 100% true and asking them why they “dismiss” your favoured interpretation.

    Far from jumping up and down accusing you of all sort of things (which would cause no end of trouble typing!), my initial point (ahh….so long ago) was that the evidence doesn’t support a conclusion. After that, well, i’ve always been of the opinion that you give the benefit of the doubt. And that’s where we are diametrically opposed. My points have since expanded as you have progressively demonstrated numerous foibles in your attempts to support your case, e.g. a penchant for misquoting others; the confidence to dismiss, nay, ridicule sound engineering logic without the engineering know-how to back it up.

    [You see, I could say the exact same things about the gearbox theory. I could say, “Can you prove for certain that it was a gearbox failure? Show me the telemetry. If you had the background knowledge to consider human nature you would realise that it is possible for Hamilton to have made a mistake and you would have provided a more balanced assessment,” etc, etc.]

    I fully agree, human infallibility is an option. I’ve not declared “Hamilton could never have pressed that button”, i’ve simply stated that the evidence for that theory is inconclusive (back to the whole benefit of the doubt thing). On the other hand, you have made a statement, clear as the bold type in the title. That you’ve since declared that your title is a parody of the mainstream media strikes me as backpedalling. I mean, a parody should be satirical and obvious with it: “McLaren unreliability caused by leprechaun in hydraulic valve”….that’s a parody. There’s nothing remotely satirical about your title.

    [This is my point when I say your arguments are red herrings. You are deciding to have a go at me for “dismissing” McLaren’s favoured theory (even when I don’t dismiss it). But you do not complain to any of the mainstream media outlets who dismiss the alternative theory, sometimes without even having the grace to acknowledge its existence.]

    Alas, i’ve been to busy writing on your blog to scrutinise every media outlet for dismissive comments. Although i have this weeks Autosport and there is mention in there that McLaren are still inspecting the gearbox and hope to be in a position to report their results next week. Hell of a lot of work just to maintain a cover story!

    I’m still trying to figure out what my red herrings are. I’m pretty sure i’ve limited my reponses to facts, rather than trying to distract anyone from the points in hand.

    [Why? It is because, perhaps, you are not so concerned about the truth as you try to make yourself out? Is it perhaps because you can’t handle the notion that Lewis Hamilton might be — horror of horrors — a human being, capable of making mistakes just like anyone else?]

    I’ve already seen Hamilton make mistakes. No problem there. I’m certain he could have looked after his tyres better in China, and perhaps not have attacked so hard on the first lap in Brazil. Like i’ve said numerous times (this will be the third time in this post alone), i’ve looked at the evidence and it’s inconclusive. I’m also sure that all the MSM outlets, other than PitPass/LePresse, have considered the evidence in hand and, with their wealth of engineering knowledge, media savvy and their numerous contacts within the F1 scene, have given the theory exactly the amount of column inches it warrants.

  56. Woody

    Sorry….that last paragraph could, on reflection, be considered dismissive of the ‘button’ theory.

    But it does raise an interesting point. What if the other MSM outlets have better contacts in the F1 industry than, say, PitPass? Could that be one possible explanation of why they have not given much credence to that idea?

  57. Tosh! Just another example of how you bias your commentary to suit. You didn’t even acknowledge the existence of a second main entry. If you’re going to use ambiguous language, why act so surprised when someone holds you to account for it?

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Explain to me how I could have possibly meant both definitions of “apparently”?

    Besides, it really is splitting hairs. The original question was about whether or not my post contained qualifications. Whether it was four or five qualifications is neither here nor there. It contained qualifications.

    And what would be more convincing? You’ve mentioned telemetry but, given your suspicion of McLaren’s integrity, i’m pretty sure that you would respond with some implication that the telemtry was rigged. After all, if you consider a direct quote from McLaren to be less than convincing then why would you put any more faith in telemetry from the same source?

    I have never questioned McLaren’s integrity. I have just pointed out that they have an interest in covering up for Hamilton’s mistakes. I don’t blame them for this. It is understandable.

    I mean, all the teams are at it. None of them would need press officers otherwise. It is pretty much an open secret that when an engine fails teams often say that it was a “gearbox” problem to save the engine manufacturers from embarrassment. The game was given away when teams started to get grid penalties after having a gearbox problem.

    This is all I am saying when I point out that a McLaren press release is not the most reliable source. It is bound to be biased, just like all the other teams.

    ISTR when Takuma Sato pressed the wrong button, BAR didn’t say so either — they cooked up a story about unexpected mechanical failure. The story actually came out a month or so later, and I’m not sure BAR ever actually officially confirmed it. But it’s widely considered to be the truth today.

    Incidentally, I wasn’t the one asking to see the telemetry.

    So you would seriously consider giving the aforementioned ‘magnetic field’ theory equal footing to either of the two options so far discussed?

    Once again, you have completely missed the point. Of course I do not give the magnetic field story any weight. That was my point!!

    You keep on saying that I dismiss one of the other theories (even when I haven’t). But then you say that I should dismiss the other one? This is hypocrisy. This is what I’m getting at. How can you jump up and down and accuse me of ignoring one of the theories but not one of the others?

    That is the point I keep on trying to make. When you are asking me to give equal footing to the McLaren spin, when I don’t believe it, then it is the thin end of the wedge. Next thing I know, I would have to give credence to every single theory out there. But that is just nonsensical. That was what I was trying to illustrate when I said that nobody talks about gravity then mentions the theory that it’s all the doing of invisible vacuum cleaners.

    a penchant for misquoting others; the confidence to dismiss, nay, ridicule sound engineering logic without the engineering know-how to back it up.

    Who have I misquoted? If you are talking about the issue as to whether or not the drivers thought Hamilton drove dangerously behind the SC, we have already covered that. I concluded that there is not a safe (i.e. non-dangerous) way of contributing to a crash. You didn’t respond to that conclusion.

    I never even quoted anyone on that issue anyway.

    There’s nothing remotely satirical about your title.

    Well, that is a subjective opinion. I’m sorry if it wasn’t obvious enough to you, but I usually treat my readers with enough intelligence not to have to put big flashing neon signs every time I am not being totally straight-faced.

    You have to believe me when I say this. I thought about including a question mark in the title. But I thought to myself, “Well, the media will swallow the gearbox line whole, so I’ll make a point about it here.” You will see if you read straight to the bottom of the post that part of my intention was to lambast the media’s bias. It is just a reaction to the media’s one-sidedness.

    I’m still trying to figure out what my red herrings are.

    I’ve already said, twice. The red herring is that you continually accuse me of dismissing this and that and not being able to conclusively prove that Hamilton pressed the button. But that is not the real point of your arguments. Because if it was, you would be equally scornful of the media’s response, one which is genuinely dismissive and wilfully ignorant of the existence of any controversy.

    engineering knowledge, media savvy and their numerous contacts within the F1 scene

    …and books to sell and parochial British tabloid readers to keep happy!

    Update to respond to #56 which was posted while I was writing:

    But it does raise an interesting point. What if the other MSM outlets have better contacts in the F1 industry than, say, PitPass? Could that be one possible explanation of why they have not given much credence to that idea?

    Possible. But as I’ve said, the British mainstream media have a certain vested interest in defending Lewis Hamilton. I would tend to trust the likes of Pitpass more, though. For one, Pitpass is an independent website. It is aimed specifically at motor racing enthusiasts. Unlike the MSM, they are under no pressure to sensationalise stories. Nor do they feel the need to over-hype the British drivers.

    I believe the majority of F1 journalists for newspapers also tend to cover more than just Formula 1, and are only called upon to write about F1 when the editor decides he wants an article about it. Pitpass, on the other hand, is a dedicated motor racing website. As such, I would tend to believe that Pitpass has better contacts than the MSM journalists, but who’s to say?

  58. Woody

    [Are you being deliberately obtuse? Explain to me how I could have possibly meant both definitions of “apparently”?]

    I never suggested that you meant both definitions…i was highlighting that, once again, you are selective in the evidence/quotes you present. You chose the word ‘apparently’, failing to understand it’s possible interpretations and then, when queried about it, ignore possible alternative meanings because it would be an admission that word was open to interpretation.

    And how can you sit there and say that you do not question McLaren’s integrity? By suggesting that they are covering op the story you are accusing them of outright lying. Is that not a break down of integrity on McLaren’s part?

    “This is all I am saying when I point out that a McLaren press release is not the most reliable source.” Is reliability not a measure of integrity?

    “subjective opinion”? Hardly. I think, had you included a question mark in the title, I may have been somewhat less sceptical about your parody suggestion but I think you’ve managed to be so subtle that all indications of satire have been lost.

    [Incidentally, I wasn’t the one who was asking to see the telemetry.]

    No, i was trying to make a point. the only possible evidence for a gearbox failure is the telemetry but, be honest, if they presented the telemetry, and it did reveal a failure, would you believe it?

    Other than that, it is not possible to prove that LH didn’t push the button. Proving a negative in these circumstances is impossible.

    [You keep on saying that I dismiss one of the other theories (even when I haven’t). But then you say that I should dismiss the other one? This is hypocrisy. This is what I’m getting at. How can you jump up and down and accuse me of ignoring one of the theories but not one of the others?]

    I haven’t asked you to dismiss anything…..merely acknowledge the lack of hard evidence. Of course, you won’t do that because you consider McLaren’s statement to be less convincing that an unsubstantiated quote from another source.

    [That is the point I keep on trying to make. When you are asking me to give equal footing to the McLaren spin, when I don’t believe it, then it is the thin end of the wedge.]

    And there’s the dismissal.

    [Next thing I know, I would have to give credence to every single theory out there. But that is just nonsensical. That was what I was trying to illustrate when I said that nobody talks about gravity then mentions the theory that it’s all the doing of invisible vacuum cleaners.]

    Erm…..so let me get this right. You consider McLaren’s statement to be, in your opinion, as implausible as any of the other theories out there and therefore not worthy of further consideration?

    I.e. you have dismissed it?

    Regards media reliability (or dedication), what makes PitPass more credible than, say, Autosport, F1 Racing, etc? Their ‘independance’ stems from what? That they started as a group of individuals coming together from a number of different area of motorsport and the media? So did every other motorsport mag/website out there. Each has it’s own take on the scene(s) and each is financed. How does it make one better than the other?

    I think we can best sum up the situation as follows:

    You believe PitPass over McLaren.
    I don’t.

    I have declared quite clearly, somewhere above, that if someone from McLaren comes forward and confesses to LH pushing the button, i will issue an apology here. I don’t see any similar offering from you and, given your lack of faith in McLaren, i don’t suppose that you feel the need to.

    In the meantime, there is doubt.

  59. Woody

    You believe PitPass over McLaren.
    I don’t.

    Actually, that’s a bit oversimplified. I would say it’s more:

    You believe PitPass over McLaren

    I think there’s doubt over the whole situation (and back to the whole ‘benefit of the doubt’ thing….again!)

  60. Woody

    “I have declared quite clearly, somewhere above, that if someone from McLaren comes forward and confesses to LH pushing the button, i will issue an apology here. I don’t see any similar offering from you and, given your lack of faith in McLaren, i don’t suppose that you feel the need to.”

    Oh, and before you pick holes in the above with comments like “McLaren would never confess even if LH was at fault and all the investigations showed him to be”…..if you can find hard evidence (better video footage for example) I would accept that too.

  61. I never doubted McLaren’s integrity. I just accept the reality of the world that we live in. They have all kinds of considerations — chiefly commercial — that force them into a position where they have to be economical with the truth. As I said, I don’t blame them for this. All of the other F1 teams do it. Indeed, there are surely few organisations out there who don’t have to make such compromises somewhere or another.

    In other words, if McLaren released the telemetry and it demonstrated unambiguously that Lewis Hamilton did not press a button that caused his car to slow down, then I would be prepared to believe it. So yes, I believe Pitpass over McLaren as things stand. But if I see the raw data, and it demonstrates that the McLaren story is true, then there will be no option but to accept that Lewis Hamilton did not press the wrong button. I have always said that I come to my views on the basis of the evidence available. As such, if more evidence emerges then my view changes.

    I sense that there is no point in continuing this debate. The comments thread has now run on for over 60 comments, which is more than enough for me. I think our respective positions on this issue are clear, and I think continuing the discussion would be a waste of resources. So this will be the last comment I post on this thread.

    However, I will keep the comments open, so you of course can have the last word if you want. And anyone else can chip in as well.

    Thanks for the debate though. I hope you stick around and contribute a bit in the future, even if we disagree. ;)

  62. Woody

    I’m with you on this…..let’s leave it ’til more evidence appears.

    One way or another, one of us is right, but we may never know who!

    I hope this is a suitably agreeable last word?