Wha’ the hell?

Back when the Formula 1/Ferrari/McLaren spying scandal was new and somewhat restrained, McLaren were let off with a little finger wagging, with the excuse that, while there had been spying, they hadn’t provably benefited from it. Which I thought was a bit daft; it’s not the benefiting from spying that’s so wrong, it’s the act of spying in and of itself. At least, in nation-state espionage, it is.

So I thought that, as there had been spying, McLaren should have had a slapped wrist, at the least. Docked a few points, fined a few million, told not to do it again. A big enough punishment that it would deter people in future, but not something so big that it completely changed the nature of the sport.

Seems that the FIA decided otherwise.

McLaren have been stripped of their points in the 2007 Formula One constructors’ championship after the outcome of the ‘spygate’ row.

The team were also fined a record $100m (£49.2m), which includes any prize and television money they would have earned from the constructors’ championship.

Now, either there’s something far more serious that we’re not being told, or that screaming sound is the result of a baby being thrown out with the bathwater. If the governing body go fining a team the GDP of a small country and erasing their points for a season for one incident, then it’s quite probable that the hand of regulation is being used a little too heavily.

Further to that, one of the conditions placed upon McLaren is that they have to prove that there is no “intellectual property” from Ferrari in their car next year. Which presumably means considerably cross checking against Ferrari’s component list, and I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if that list somehow ended up being discussed in a room in Maranello…

Of course, I can’t see the FIA explaining a) the actual details of the offences and b) the reasoning behind their decisions. Because the FIA and ‘openness’ are two things that have never met; the FIA is a very, very secretive organisation. But it would still be nice if they changed their habits, just this once…

Don’t get me wrong; I have no love for the McLaren team – that’s reserved for Ferrari. And I would dearly love to see the Ferrari’s winning the constructor and driver championships. But this isn’t winning, this is being gifted the win. Which pretty much negates it entirely.

5 thoughts on “Wha’ the hell?

  1. … unless not disqualifying the drivers is actually a further punishment. This way, McLaren will be forced to compete fully (at massive expense) with no team rewards for it.

    If both drivers and team were kicked out of the championship, then there would be no point in turning up to the remaining GPs with anything other than a bare-bones team, leaving everyone else free to do development on next year’s car.

    As it is, if one of their drivers gets any real lead over the other in the next race or two, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the remaining driver was relegated to using the last couple of races for development alone. But then I’m cynical like that…

  2. If they didn’t turn up they’d be in breach of contract with the advertisers, without which there is no team.

    Mind you that’d suit the Italians, they like uncontested racing.

  3. Yes, they’d have to turn up. But they wouldn’t have to run competitively, saving them the (substantial) costs of running an engine and the chassis on the edge for a race weekend. There’d be nothing in the rules to say that they couldn’t run on a Spyker budget for a few weeks and putting the savings towards paying the fine.

  4. yeah, turn up with a pit crew and a guy to watch the monitors on the pit wall, 2 cars – run the practice and qualy and then “retire” after a lap or two -should help the engines last til the end of the season!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>