I will write about the Malaysian Grand Prix soon, but I want to say one last thing for the time being about McLaren. There was an interesting article published on The Red Bulletin website today which I found via F1 Fanatic. It makes an interesting point about this hoo-ha:
Now, call me an old cynic, but if I had a pound for every time a driver or team has told a little fib in the steward’s office I would not need to write this blog but would be watching qualifying with my feet up on a rattan chair in some tropical bolthole. Oh wait… I am in a tropical bolthole. Never mind. Anyway, here’s a couple of possible examples. When Honda were found to have extra fuel tanks stashed all over their car, did they, on being asked, immediately ‘fess up and prostrate themselves in front of a tut-tutting world. Hardly.
When Michael Schumacher decided that the area in front of the Rascasse in Monaco would make a perfect parking spot, did he admit that he fancied wrecking the following Fernando Alonso’s final quick lap? No, probably not.
The fact that he was dumped to the back of the grid by the stewards in that instance suggests that they thought he was telling a small white lie in his assertion that there was a problem.
And did we get public apologies, expulsions and sendings home? Not a bit of it. They just got on with the job in hand. In fact, Schumacher delivered one of the outstanding drives his career to climb from 20th to fourth that day.
But nowadays McLaren’s transgression is treated like a betrayal of trust of Judas-like proportions. The wailing and gnashing of teeth going on at Sepang just goes to show what a small parish F1 is, where the smallest incident is amplified to deafening proportions. It has the smack of chap melodrama.
It’s an interesting point. But there is a key difference in the McLaren case which must not be forgotten. In the case of Honda’s dodgy extra fuel tank, and Michael Schumacher’s Rascassegate, those were instances where they broke the rules and then had the spotlight turned on them.
At this year’s Australian Grand Prix, it was McLaren themselves who went off to the stewards. It wasn’t that McLaren broke the rules and then had to defend themselves, as was the case with Honda and Michael Schumacher.
McLaren tried to make out that Toyota and Jarno Trulli had broken the rules when they hadn’t. That is completely different. Here we have a situation where one team has deliberately set out to deceive the world by accusing a rival team of breaking the rules when they hadn’t. And all for the sake of one measly point, at that.
It’s not just the lying that got McLaren into trouble. It is the dirtiness of the trick. It’s the greed. It’s the hypocrisy.
“Let’s play this by the book” indeed!