September 14, 2007

F1 Practice: SPA!

There's some sign of cosmic justice out there in the universe, as the two McLarens were fastest in P2 today, with Alonso pipping Hamilton. Further, Phil Massa wound up gently pranging himself in P1.

But none of the McLaren bigwigs were there to see it, as they were still back in Paris, waiting for one or another of the WMSC guillotines to get free. The hot rumor (brought to us by Peter "Smarmy" Windsor, who, as much as it pains me to say it, is staggeringly well-connected and probably perfect for the job he does) is that Fernando Alonso attempted to blackmail his own team with the Stepneygate e-mails.

His asking price? The clear deliniation of himself as McLaren's number 1 driver (meaning that Hamilton would NOT challenge for wins, and instead back off when in front, a la the Ferrari/Michael Schumacher era), and/or the immediate demotion of Lewis Hamilton to test driver outright.

IF true, and that's a very big if, then two thoughts immediately leap to mind:
1) Fernando Alonso is frickin' insane; and
B) Ron Dennis has the patience of a saint.
Most every team on the planet would can Alonso's @$$ if that's the way it worked out, and more power to them, here, let me hold that torch for you.

The full FIA judgement can be found HERE. The interesting bits begin in section 3.5, when the contents of the e-mails from Pete Rose and Alonso are revealed. Do read the report; from section 3 on, it's actually quite interesting.

My favorite part is Section 8 (that's appropriate, considering the craziness going on):

8.4 McLaren has made detailed submissions indicating that none of the information received enhanced the McLaren car. McLaren has suggested to the WMSC that unless "actual use" and a demonstrated and itemised performance advantage can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (i.e. to a criminal law standard of proof), the WMSC is not permitted at law to impose a penalty.

8.5 The WMSC rejects this suggestion. The WMSC has full jurisdiction to apply Article 151(c) and stresses that it is not necessary for it to demonstrate that any confidential Ferrari information was directly copied by McLaren or put to direct use in the McLaren car to justify a finding that Article 151(c) was breached and/or that a penalty is merited. Nor does the WMSC need to show that any information improperly held led to any specifically identified sporting advantage, or indeed any advantage at all. Rather, the WMSC is entitled to treat possession of another team's information as an offence meriting a penalty on its own if it so chooses. (emphasis mine)

Note that bold line carefully. The WMSC is saying, in effect, that it didn't and couldn't find anything that McLaren took advantage of in the building or running of the MP4-22, but that they didn't have to because they're the WMSC, and shut up and take it.

The McLaren legal team was screaming to high heaven yesterday, saying that the WMSC went into the meeting with a penalty in mind, "now lets figure out how to hit them with it." The truly disturbing part of it all is the early report leaked to a website (that shall remain unlinked) declaring that McLaren was to be totally excluded from 2007 AND 2008. That report apparantly came from a WMSC member, DURING DELIBERATIONS.

That's the same as a jury member saying "he's guilty, and we're gonna hang him" before all the evidence is revealed... which in an US court of law would at LEAST get the juror kicked off, and more likely would cause a mistrial.

By the way, did you wonder where the $100million is going? Here's a hint: it's probably not going to charity.

More after quals.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:34 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 630 words, total size 4 kb.

1 If that story about Alonso really is true, then he's a top-drawer asshole.

But we really should wait to see something besides gutter rumbles about something like that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 14, 2007 05:45 PM (+rSRq)

2 I agree with both your comments. If it was someone other than Windsor saying them, I'd probably give them no credit whatsoever.

However, Windsor is very good at his job, though I can't stand him. He's been a fixture in the pit lane for decades, was Ferrari's general manager for a while, and was Williams' team manager in 1991. He's won awards for his writing on F1.

He's just too oily for me to like. *shakes head* But if anybody could know exactly what's going on 'backstage', he's the one.

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 14, 2007 06:21 PM (DMnkh)

3 Turns out the rumor also appears in the Guardian and the London Times. It was leaked by "someone in Woking," which is where McLaren is based.

Not that I put stock in anything presented by the Guardian, mind, but...

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 14, 2007 07:59 PM (DMnkh)

4 I know one thing: I want Hamilton to win tomorrow.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 15, 2007 08:07 AM (+rSRq)

5 "Dennis revealed that during the course of the row Alonso said he had information which could be used against McLaren in the investigation into its possession of confidential Ferrari information purtaining to the Italian team's 2007 race car."
-- ITV-F1 with reference to transcripts of the testimony during the hearing.

Basically Alonso just costed McLaren 100 million pounds.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 19, 2007 05:10 AM (9imyF)

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