No doubt if you are an avid F1 fan, by now you have heard the news, that McLaren were yesterday dealt a pretty severe slap on the back of the hand at the World Motorsports Council Extraordinary Meeting in Paris.
The meeting itself seemed to go on just about forever, having started at 9.30 am local time in Paris, by 5pm in Europe most of the F1 fans were just about ready to pull their hair out in desperation to find out what if anything was going on. Most reliable F1 dedicated websites were up and down like yo-yo’s buckling under the strain of fans trying to find out what the verdict would be and what it would mean for their respective team and the sport in general.
Even the FIA official website struggled to cope with the demand, especially considering the most internet traffic it has been used to coping with on an annual bias has been 5 hits, and all of those by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting checking out what regulation the Ferrari F1 team have supposed to have breached this time according to their bitterest rivals McLaren.
The tifosi were delighted to see old favourite Uncle Ross Banana-Man Brawn in attendance at the hearing on behalf of Ferrari, as being the big chap he is, if he threatened to sit on Bernie Ecclestone to solicit a result it was always going to be a bit more productive than having Jean Todt biting at your ankles like a rabid chihuahua.
McLaren also wheeled out their top players for the occasion, even taking along their rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton for moral support. Fandango Alone-so was not in attendance, a move that raised many eyebrows (apart from Nando’s two facial slugs) and prompted much speculation. Was Nando staying away because he had provided the evidence to sink McLaren’s title hopes or was it that he and Lewis just can’t be trusted in the same room anymore without dummies flying? Whatever the reason Nando was back at Spa keeping schtum on his role if any in the spy scandal.
After what seemed like a century of waiting and the tifosi driving themselves round the bend with nerves, an initial report leaked out that McLaren had been banned from both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. But just as soon as the report popped out, it disappeared again leaving us the waiting public with shredded nerves and more questions than answers.
Eventually (presumably after the WMSC had run out of bananas to keep Ross happy) and after much deliberation and apparently heated exchanges (that’s jumping up and down, banging your fists on tables and screaming like a girl by all accounts) the WMSC delivered their verdict. McLaren have been stripped of all constructors title points for 2007, fined a whopping $100 million and must submit their 2008 car to scrutineering to ensure there are no ‘made in Maranello’ stickers on it.
Ferrari issued a statement suggesting they were satisfied with the result, and that the truth had come out. Obviously us fans are still waiting to know what that truth is, apart from the fact that Ron is a smug slaphead with a penchant for story telling, and the FIA don’t half come out with baffling decisions.
Firstly in this sorry saga, Honest Ron attempted to convinced us that the first his team knew about the Coughlan-Stepney Cock-up collaboration was on the 2nd July when officials raided the suspended McLaren muppet’s home and found the secret Ferrari Dossier. Then the story got changed when it was found that actually McLaren had known about it and half-heartedly attempted months before to stop Stepney leaking like a sieve by installing a firewall at Woking to stop him bombarding Mike with fan-mail. But they hadn’t seen or used the information, honestly.
Then we found out actually McLaren had used information supplied by Stepney to grass up their rivals to the FIA after the Australian Grand Prix for having a flexi-floor, but it wasn’t using the information it was called whistle-blowing and should be admired and encouraged. But honestly only Mike Coughlan had seen the dossier, no honestly he had.
Now according to rumours it turns out that some of the information fell into the hands of the McLaren drivers who happily discussed it all by email, but no-one apart from Mike Coughlan had seen the information, no honestly and even then he had only perused it for ten minutes while having a brew in his potting shed. A bit of a picture is developing here we feel.
It’s little wonder the FIA came to the decision they did, given that Ron and his cronies have changed their stories more times than Michael Schumacher changes his flowery shirts and cowboy hats, and that’s saying something.
In a press conference late last night after the WMSC verdict had been delivered, Honest Ron declaring that the McLaren team have done nothing wrong. They didn’t use the information honest guv’ (for the thousandth time) and they are shocked and appalled that they have been cast as the villains of the piece, and declared they will still fight for both championships (despite the fact they have just been turfed out of one). We can only wish them luck with that, but with zero points now on the constructors table McLaren will presumably be fighting it out with Spyker and Scuderia Torro Rosso for last place. So much for exonoration then Ron.
One thing that has baffled everyone is why the FIA have decided not to punish the McLaren drivers and strip them of their points as well. By declaring McLaren guilty of breaching the sporting code of conduct surely as part of the team the drivers have surely benefited from this ungentlemanlike conduct. However, just days before the WMSC the FIA apparently wrote to the McLaren Drivers offering them an amnesty if they come forward and provide the noose to hang their bosses with or something similar. Although why they had to go all this trouble I can’t quite see, I’d have done it for free if they provided the rope.
Here at FFN we can’t help wondering if their isn’t something a little more political behind the decision to allow the McLaren drivers to continue fighting it out for the championship.
Apart from the obvious fact that Kimi Raikkonen standing like a cardboard cut out and with about as much facial expression as a wet dish cloth on the winners podium, does not make for dramatic and exciting television.
It would seem that the powers that be want the show to go on. For Nando to throw his weekly tantrums, for ITV to keep smarming around Lewis Hamilton like a bad case of nappy rash, and for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa’s car to keep suffering reliability problems, so he can be witnessed flouncing into the garage in a huff.
If F1 is going to be turned into a soap opera rather than a sport, could we at least have Nando in a big flowery dress, humungous sombrero and a few punch ups for good measure please? and bring back that hilarious beard!
We can only hope more information will come out in the coming weeks so we can understand what the deuces is going on, and that Ferrari can give McLaren a good stuffing at Spa because I desperately want to see Honest Ron bawl his eyes out again!