So often last year, during McLaren’s torrid, controversy-filled 2007 season, I heard people saying, “If only McLaren were more open. If only they provided the radio transcripts. If only they showed us the telemetry. They could have avoided all of these PR problems.”
For instance, there was Hamilton’s alleged radio conversation with Ron Dennis where he told his boss to “go fucking swivel!” A week later McLaren denied it in a press release — but still refused to release even a transcript of the actual conversation, thereby doing absolutely nothing to quash the rumours.
Then there was Hamilton’s rumoured error in Brazil where he was said to have pressed the wrong button. Again, this has been strenuously denied by the McLaren team. But did they provide the data to prove that this was the case? Did they heck! Many still believe that Hamilton did indeed press the wrong button, and you have to say that as long as McLaren refuse to release the data then the more that view is vindicated.
Renault are obviously smart enough to realise this (even if they are not smart enough to build a quick car at the moment). The team is well-known for being among the most open and fan-friendly on the grid. While Ferrari and McLaren kept their radio conversations encrypted, Renault positively exaggerated their messages to entertain the viewers back home. And you can follow the Renaults in a unique way during the race with live telemetry output and more all accessible from the Renault website.
Soon after the race finished, as word spread across the pitlane about ITV’s “brake testing” horseshit, Pat Symonds printed out the relevant telemetry for everyone to look at. Now the facts are not in dispute. Unquestionably, Fernando Alonso did not brake test Hamilton. The data proves it.
Now only the most ignorant of F1 fans will still believe that Alonso deliberately caused a potentially race-ending and dangerous crash. If only McLaren could realise it was this easy to stop the tide of controversy.