Poor horse play

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page - peter roggenkamp

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).

DRIV­ING TIP

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

way”.

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