Have you heard of the Stepney-Coughlan joint car development collaboration? No? Neither had Ferrari, or McLaren for that matter (we hope for their sake) – which might be the reason behind all the chaotic developments that unfurled today. It started off with Ferrari firing Nigel Stepney, shortly folllowed by McLaren suspending a senior engineer suspected to be Mike Coughlan, and both teams releasing a bunch of statements on the supposed one-way flow of dossiers of sensitive information. Now the chaps at Maranello are not a demanding or picky lot, but if there is one thing they object to rather strongly – that would be their design innovations reaching the chief rival before their own factory floor. Of course there are some teams (which I will not name) where it wouldn’t make any difference even if a battalion of Ferrari engineers were to conduct daily tutorials using latest design blueprints, but there are also some other teams where leakage of any such information will result in Ferrari’s performance oscillating like a sine curve in comparison. McLaren would naturally fall into the latter category.
Now the inner workings of this supposed Stepney-Coughlan collaboration remains a mystery, but the rumor is that it isn’t really symbiotic. One possibility could be that while Stepney brings all the information and data to the table drawing from…erm…his organization’s expertise, Coughlan uses the same in a manner he deems fit without causing too many raised eyebrows. Of course all this is just speculation and nothing is confirmed yet, but if true, there is just one question I would like to ask – of all the ruddy teams on the grid that one could pass on information to, why choose McLaren? Mike Coughlan is (was) the chief designer at McLaren to boot.
As if the McLaren team doesn’t have enough problems on the plate already, someone’s set off Fernando Alonso and he has started all over again like a broken gramophone record on how Hamilton is British and McLaren is British too and the next race is the British GP. Odd coincidence, eh? Is that Haug that I see running down the paddock armed with a a stout stick searching for his 2 time world champion driver? Nando claims McLaren will want Hamilton to win in Silverstone, just like they wanted him to win in Barcelona. And just like Nando couldn’t win at Barcelona, we suspect Hamilton won’t have much better luck at Silverstone either given Ferrari’s dominant form. At least it will give Ron Dennis some time off from baby-sitting his drivers, which he can productively utilize for instructing his employees that they should not accept packages labelled “Confidential. Top Secret Ferrari documents” from relative strangers, however kindly they may seem.
Incidentally, the RBR charity program was a grand success, and they now have 30,000 faces (photographs of faces rather) to add to the car livery. After Adrian Newey threatened to cry bloody murder if they came anywhere near the front wing with the decal stickers, the team has reluctantly decided that the front and rear wings, and the leading edges of the car will be face-free. Just for your information. Forza.