Poor horse play
ONCE again an incident, which in this writer’s opinion can only be described as “race fixing”, reared its ugly head at the German F1 GP in Hockenheim last weekend.
Mark Webber’s prediction the Ferraris would be strong in Germany was vindicated when Felipe Massa and former world champion Fernando Alonso streaked to an early lead after pole sitter Sebastian Vettel ( Red Bull Renault) missed the start, slotting into third with teammate Mark Webber fourth.
Massa, who last year received head and eye injuries after a loose part from another car pierced his helmet, maintained his comfortable lead until lap 47 of the 67-lap race when his engineer told him: “OK, so Fernando (Alonso) is faster than you”.
Two laps later Massa slowed allowing Alonso, who has scored more points, to pass into the lead. His engineer then said: “Good lad, just stick with it now. Sorry”.
A reporter summed up the situation when he said this to Alonso post-race. “The reality is though, that you couldn’t beat him on the track so you had to get the team to do it for you”. This is not the first time the Italian prancing horse team has done this.
In 2002 at the Austrian GP they ordered Rubens Barichello to give the lead to Michael Schumacher, for which the team incurred a US$500,000 fine. This time it was only US$100,000.
A similar incident occurred in the 2008 Singapore GP when Renault team boss Flavio Briatore ordered Nelson Piquet Jr, whose father was a world F1 Champion, to deliberately crash his car into a wall, ironically once again, to favour Fernando Alonso who was then driving for Renault.
Briatore along with engineer Pat Symonds were both banned indefinitely from all F1 and a FIA (Federation de Internationale Automobile) sanctioned events indefinitely.
However, the penalty was overturned by a French Court and they both agreed not to work in F1 or FIA sanctioned events.
Meanwhile Webber, who was struggling with an engine that was burning too much oil, slowed, dropping from fourth to sixth.
Normally this would have disappointed the Aussie, however the excessive loss of oil could have caused engine failure at any moment and he was delighted to get the sixth place points.
Going into tomorrow’s Hungarian GP, McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, 157 points, and Jensen Button (143) are onetwo with Webber and Vettel third and fourth respectively (136). Webber is third as he has three wins to Vettel’s two.
POWER RIVALRY FLAIRS
AFTER leading for 76 of the first 77 laps in round 11 of the Indy Racing League Championship on a disused airport road circuit at Edmonton in Canada last Sunday, Australia’s Will Power was robbed of victory with only three laps to run by his Penske Team mate Helio Castroneves.
Following his final pit stop Power resumed the race behind Castroneves and was attempting an outside pass when Castroneves moved across and blocked Power causing the Queenslander to brake quite heavily.
This allowed Scott Dixon to take the lead with Power finishing second ahead of Dario Franchitti.
Though he crossed the line first after refusing to do a “drive through” penalty Castroneves was stripped of his win and was classed as finishing tenth. He also may be fined. A former three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Castroneves pointed to and then angrily shouted at Indy Car officials before grabbing two of them after his victory was taken away.
With six rounds remaining Power holds a 50-point lead on 420 points, ahead of Franchitti (370), Dixon (349), and fellow Aussie Ryan Briscoe (324).
The incidence of drivers turning right in the face of oncoming traffic at intersections has caused fatalities and horrific injuries in Cairns recently. Regulations, signs and lights don’t stop vehicles, only
drivers can do this. It is recommended drivers put their foot over the brake pedal when approaching intersections and expect to have to stop regardless of who should “give way” and only proceed when safe to do so. There is no such regulation as “right of way” only “give