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27 Jul 2010

Never mention Team Orders in Formula 1....

Hockenheim, Germany. Ferari have just told driver Felipe Massa, currently in 1st place that "Fernando (his teammate, in second) is faster than you, do you understand the message?"

So what, the casual fan would think.

Not in Formula 1. Teams use coded messages to tell their drivers to switch positions, usually because one driver is already further ahead in the championship and needs the points. Usually, nobody complains because it happens in the last few races of the season.

Not with 7 races to go. And never is it as obvious as this. And it has (rightly) been compared to this, also involving Ferrari, which lead to the whole ban on team orders coming in in the first place.

What we are all angry about is this; We all admit these orders happen all the time all over the pit lane, but never this early or this blatantly. What makes matters worse is that Ferrari and Alonso are doing everything they can to prove this was Massa's decision and Massa's alone, despite Massa's in-car data proving he held off to let Alonso through.

This has caused widespread criticism across the sport for a few reasons:
  • Spectators paid huge sums of money to see a race, not a fixed result
  • The whole idea of a race is that the best driver wins, not the one who needs it more
  • Ferrari's denial of any wrong-doing is what seems to be angering most
However, it can be argued that what they did was logical and the right thing to do for the team:
  • Massa was 31 points behind Alonso before race started, so Alonso should have won the race to help his championship
  • Massa has little chance of winning from where he is, let Alonso claim the points
  • Ferrari do not want to have their cars crash into each other while fighting for the lead.
So really, the argument can be fought for both viewpoints. Ferrari though, have made their bed and have to lie in it. They have to defend the indefensible, a job I will never want to do.


What's your view on the whole "scandal?"

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14 Jul 2010

Half-time Report: Formula One 2010

Sunday 11th July saw the 2010 Formula 1 season reach the halfway point. And if the second half is anything like the first, what a fantastic season we would have.

So far, we've had 5 Winners from 3 teams, F-Ducts, Teams falling to pieces, cars falling to pieces and plenty of accidents.

At the halfway point, a British one-two is how the Driver's Championship looks, Lewis Hamilton (145-pts) with a 12-point lead over McLaren team mate Jenson Button. The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel lie 3rd and 4th, followed by Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

One thing never far away from Formula 1 is controversy. This season is no different.

The latest issue to grip the sport is that of the Red Bull driver's relationships with each other and their team. In Turkey, Mark Webber was comfortably leading Vettel, only for the young German to attempt an overtake that resulted in disaster: Vettel out and Webber losing 2 places to the McLaren drivers. This broke the one rule that drivers have, never take out your team mate. Never. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner initially blamed Webber for the accident, despite all evidence pointing at the German.

With their relationship stretched, the team arrived at Silverstone with 2 new front wings for the cars. During final Free-Practice before qualifying on Saturday, Vettel's new front wing had a failure, damaging it "beyond repair."

Tough luck Seb,

But no, Red Bull decided that they would take the other new wing from Webber's car and give it to Vettel. Something like this normally happens when one driver is the 'Number 1' and the other is seen as not as good as the #1.

Not clever, Red Bull.

That decision set off an explosion within the team. Webber was absolutely furious after qualifying, (Vettel set quickest time, Webber 2nd) and this anger carried over to Sunday's race. The two Red Bulls lined up side-by-side and that meant war.

Vettel and Webber almost collided at turn 1, but avoided with Vettel getting a puncture that ultimately ended his race, which Mark Webber easily won.

Webber's message to the team after he took the win?

"Not bad for a number 2 driver."

This will continue to burn, watch this space.

12 Jul 2010

World Cup 2010 - Was it really that good?

How many matches do you actually remember for having lots of footballing genius?

Portugal's 7-0 destruction of North Korea..... ranked 105 in World football?
Italy's 3-2 defeat at the hands of European new boys Slovakia, with Fabio Quagliarella's incredible goal?

There are just 2 games, possibly 3 that stick in my mind. And each of them involved the young German team given no chance by their own country. After a storming start against lowly Australia, a set back followed with a loss to dark horses Serbia. After clearing Ghana, they came against the English.

Believing they could sweep aside the Germans after an awful start was their undoing. Along with some Sunday-league defending from Terry and Co. This was a display in counter-attacking football at it's best. And rarest.
Another was Germany's 4-0 beating of Argentina. Again, fantastic flowing football from Die Mannschaft, but nothing incredibly spectacular from the South Americans.

And the only other match I can remember, that was probably the best, was the 3rd place playoff on Saturday past. Uruguay and Germany were both determined to get the bronze medal, and played like it was the show-piece final in Jo'burg. Brilliant pass and move football from both sides led to 1-1, and then again to 2-2. Then of course, up popped one rusty German in the right place and that was it all over, 3-2 to the young pretenders.

Apart from that, there were plenty matches completely empty of any sort of creativity, skill or simply good football. Algeria v England? France v Uruguay?

However, the worst in my eyes are the Spanish. World Cup winners too. They won their last 16 game 1-0. Their Quarter final, 1-0, their Semi final vs Germany was 1-0. As was the final. This was the team that promised amazing passing football that would rip defences in two, instead, we got Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso passing the ball to each other for 5 minutes, then Villa would miss. And repeat.

To say they deserved to win is almost wrong, they did play the most consistently. Consistently boring. In all, they scored just 8 goals in 7 games. Compared to Germany's 16 in 8, they were poor shooters.

Just a thought amongst all this Spanish praise.