Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sometimes, the rule enforcers suck

It's been a Sunday of ups and downs today.

See, I'm a long-time fan of Formula 1 racing. I blame it on a friend of mine who introduced it to me in 1995. I've been hooked ever since. Getting up terribly early in the morning to watch races live in Europe and around the globe. How early? Normal is 6 am, but sometimes it's all over the map. The races in the far east are the best, as I get to watch those on Saturday nights.

So this morning I get up to watch the running of the Belgium Grand Prix, held at the Spa track. It's one of the best tracks of the season, and both fans and drivers alike love it.

I've been a fan of British Drive Lewis Hamilton ever since he stepped onto the F1 stage last year. As a result I've been cheering for Mclaren. Ever since Jacques Villeneuve was canned from his drive, I haven't had a clear favorite driver. But I can't help but like and admire Lewis' poise and ability.

Yesterday I watched Lewis storm to a pole position time 0.3 seconds ahead of second place. In F1, this is a HUGE gap. It turns out that he was slightly lighter on fuel than second place qualifier Massa.

Today's race was epic. A track that was damp to start caused some consternation for some drivers. The Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen ran up from 4th to 1st, and continued to lead most of the race. However, in the third to last lap it started to rain. Dry tires really don't work in rain. The drivers were skidding all over the place, with Raikkonen spinning off into the wall in the penultimate lap. This put Lewis into first place. A place he held onto while skidding around the track for the last two laps. So we finished with Lewis winning with Massa, of Ferrari, coming in second.

Later in the day, I see the following headline "Massa handed victory as Hamilton is penalized". Of course the team is going to appeal, but this rarely produces anything as the stewards word is generally final.

The big problem I have, is that for years it has appeared from the actions of the stewards and the FIA (governing body of world motorsports, and F1 specifically) have it in for Mclaren whist simultaneously treating Ferrari like they are the favourite child who can do no wrong. How convenient that by imparting a penalty for a race incident that was resolved on THE TRACK, that Mclaren loses points while Ferrari gains points.

They claim that Lewis "gained advantage" from being RUN OFF THE TRACK by Kimi, forcing him to cut across the chicane, putting him in front of Kimi temporarily. Immediately afterward Lewis slowed so that Kimi could take the lead again - as he is required.

I'm just burned that the honest hard is being penalized in so capricious and biased a manner. Was there a penalty for Kimi for dangerous driving? Did he have a penalty for an earlier incident where he drove into the back of Lewis? Oh, right, he drives for Ferrari - we can't see them get a penalty! Especially as Kimi was already fined 4900 euros earlier in the weekend for speeding in the pitlane. Once again showing that Mclaren is being punished while Ferrari can do no wrong.

The only good thing is that the most arrogant and teflon-coated driver in the world - Michael Schumacher, is retired. At least we have a competitive race series again. Even if we still have shams like today's little incident!!!

I saw this news article up this evening. Good to see other people saying the same thing - in print.

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