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That Brit From Over There writes:
"How To Engineer A Race Win"
Posted by Riverside on July 25, 2010
Viewed 383 times


The one thing I like about American racing series is that races are decided by skill and raw talent, unlike F1, where the fastest car usually wins.

Don't get me wrong, F1 is my first sport, every since the days watching Schumacher and Villeneuve fighting it out tooth and nail for the 1997 championship, I have been hooked on the sport, but seeing what I saw today reminded me that the sport has a dark, calculative side which likes to rear it's ugly head every now again.

Ferrari once again fixed a race for their "number 1" driver, this time Massa handing the win to Alonso, reminiscent of the many times Barrichello and Irvine moved over to let the great man win to help the championship.

But since, let's remember, team orders are outlawed, Ferrari sent two coded messages to Massa: one telling him that "Alonso is faster" and one saying "Sorry" once the move was done.

Let's dissect this. Alonso wasn't faster than Massa for the whole race. Massa was the one who made one of the moves of the season by going all the way round the outside of Turn 1 at the Hockenheimring to take the lead from third place on the grid, then started to pull away from Alonso. One could argue that Massa's move alone, the bravery and the speed around the outside could have easily won him the race.

The move itself and how it was orchestrated was too obvious, but then again, without actually racing, how else could you do it? The team effectively told Felipe to move over, it's what he did. Sorry is a meaningless word when you look at the situation. He might as well have said "We are taking the championship away from you", but it's not just Alonso whose going for a championship, however far back you maybe, you're never out until it's mathematical impossible.

The ensuing "celebration" after the race was pointless and the main instigators in this fašade all playing their part:

Stefano Domenicali, team principal of Ferrari, keeping the happiest face possible and trying to play happy families and trying to hide the fact that it was blatant team orders. I don't know why he was trying to hide it. Maybe it's because he knows it was wrong, trying to hide all evidence from FIA, just in case they decide to investigate, which I hope they do.

Rob Smedley, Massa's race engineer, who put on a brilliant act in front of the cameras when he was asked about his actions.

Fernando Alonso, who, as always, talks a brilliant talk, I can't deny him that. But that's his demeanour, that's what he does and what he's been taught to do. The fact that he was handed the race win doesn't faze him.

Felipe Massa. His face said it all. No emotion, no movement, his press conference reassures the fact that he was, in effect, robbed of a victory he deserved.

Though, saying all that, it was the controversial Schumacher who reminded us that team orders are given to try and get the best placed driver to win the championship. Alonso is now only 34 points behind instead of 39, and with Ferrari on a hot streak, Schumacher said that they did what was best for the championship and that if he were leading the team he would've done exactly the same thing.

And who wouldn't? Why take the risk of team-mates racing and nailing each other into a corner like Webber and Vettel when you can hand the victory to your favourite driver?

And then there is the history of sport. And I could spend ages going into that. But I'll let you guys decide what's right. All I know is that Ferrari may have shot themselves in the foot today.

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