Formula 1 29 Sep 2008 02:48 pm
I’m not normally one to subscribe to conspiracy theories — but I’ll admit that I find it hard to believe that the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) is NOT waging war on the McLaren F1 team (and, at the same time, favouring Ferrari).
In last night’s Singapore Grand Prix, Felipe Massa received a ‘drive through’ penalty for ‘unsafe release’. That is, the stewards of the meeting judged that when Massa was released from his pit after refuelling, that release was unsafe because it was into the path of another car (in this case, Adrian Sutil’s Force India).
At the recent European GP in Valencia, Massa was released from his pit under similar circumstances. Many thought that a drive through penalty would follow — but it didn’t. (The team was subsequently fined for the unsafe release.)
So, why fine Ferrari in Valencia but impose a drive through penalty for substantially the same offence in Singapore? Could the fact that Massa was leading the European Grand Prix (he went on to win it) have had some influence? Last night, Massa drove away from his pit bay with the fuel hose still attached. He lost a lot of time waiting at the pit exit for his team to arrive and detach the hose. By the time he ‘got away’, he was running last — and the drive through penalty he suffered had no material impact. Was this FIA window-dressing? Was the penalty imposed this time (when it would make no difference to Massa’s chances in the race) to dispel the view that Ferrari is ‘favoured’ by the FIA?
As I said, it’s a conspiracy theory…
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