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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


Formula One has continued to be rife with controversy in recent years, and following the widely publicised Max Mosley scandal, this year has been no different. The season is starting to reach an epic climax, with the top five drivers separated by less than a single win following the Hungarian Grand Prix. However, the last two races in particular have been marred by intra-team shenanigans.

The illegal utilisation of team tactics has been under the spotlight, with Ferrari having already been convicted and fined $100,000. Felipe Massa was indirectly instructed to let more likely championship contender Fernando Alonso pass him at the German Grand Prix (“Fernando is faster than you”), while leading a Ferrari one-two. Veteran V8 driver Russell Ingall has said that if he was told to let a teammate pass while leading a race, he would have given team management the “one finger salute”. The outspoken Australian asserted that Formula One had no credibility remaining, and that if he wanted to see a manufactured sporting result, he would watch Pro Wrestling.

The incident resonates back to the antics of Michael Schumacher and his team back in his glory days with Ferrari. Ferrari has been widely criticised for constantly forcing long-time teammate Rubens Barrichello to allow Schumacher to pass him. The tables were turned somewhat at the Hungarian Grand Prix, when Barrichello passed Schumacher late in the race to claim the last race point. Schumacher’s infamous questionable sportsmanship came to the forefront again, as he nearly forced Barrichello into the wall by closing the gap dangerously late.

There was also rumour at Hungary that Red Bull’s Sebastien Vettel had been instructed to maximise the distance between himself and leader teammate Mark Webber behind the safety car, in order to give Webber time to pit. Red Bull fervently denied this, and in reality this does seem farfetched, given Vettel’s bemusement at his drive-through penalty (received for slipping further than ten car lengths back)—stating that he did not know what it was for at the time. Additionally, Vettel and Webber’s rocky relationship—which climaxed when the pair collided at the Turkish Grand Prix—would make the use of team tactics seem highly unlikely.

Despite the controversy surrounding Formula One etiquette, this season looks set to go right down to the wire, for both the Drivers’ and Constructers’ Championships, with Red Bull leading McLaren by just eight points and Webber only four ahead of second-placed Lewis Hamilton going into the Belgium Grand Prix. With seven races left, Ferrari cannot be counted out yet either, and it is nigh on impossible to pick a winner from the top five drivers.


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