Ferrari team revisits its murky past

Sunday’s German grand prix saw the headlines grabbed by Ferrari for the wrong reasons. Their decision tell Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso past for the victory, over shadowed the major headline of the day. That Ferrari was back to winning ways and had fair and squarely beaten the Red Bull’s in a straight fight. However no one was talking about this as the knives were out for the Italian team for unnecessary team orders.

Ever since 2002 when Ferrari brought the sport in to disrepute after contriving the worse organised finish possible by having Rubens Barrichello pull over on the line to hand Michael Schumacher the victory, ‘team orders’ have been outlawed. The ‘team orders’ rule was brought in due to the huge amount of negative press and damage the incident did to the sports credibility. It was seen more of a moral deterrent to such public displays of race manipulation that would allow the F1 public sleep easy knowing that what they were watching was in essence a honest and fair fight for victory.

I don’t think any experienced F1 follower thinks that this rule is likely to stop F1 teams manipulating situation where they get their number 1 driver to the front, but what it did do was change the obvious way the teams went about it. This year we have seen cases that have stoked the flames of potential claims of team orders with Red Bull in Turkey and Silverstone and with McLaren at Turkey. But in both cases, the teams found creative ways of being subtle. But the clumsy and obvious manner in which Ferrari went about the German Grand Prix ensured the shit hit the fan come the chequered flag.

The emotional and clunky way in which Rob Smedley went about telling Massa that Alonso was faster than him, and implied there was a hidden subtext by implying “do you understand this” followed up by a almost grovelling “sorry” indicates that what we was hearing from Rob was indeed an instruction to let Alonso past. The fact that shortly after Massa let Alonso past in a non overtaking area affirmed that team orders was in play. In fact you didn’t even need to be a F1 regular to understand that Massa gave that race to Alonso on instruction.

So the team from Italy were guilty! Yet they tried to tell us that we were wrong which just pushed the team further away from creating an understanding with the f1 public. The team has been hauled in front of the WMSC in September, where by the letter of the law, the team should be punished in terms of their constructors’ points. It would be hard to be able to take points away from the drivers as they are not the ones responsibly (lets leave Alonso’s influence on the team for another day)

I find it hard to understand those that are saying that the ban on team orders should be scraped as it is not a rule that can be regulated properly. The rule should be simple. Once a race is under way, any instruction by team management to any of its drivers that has an influence on the race result is illegal. If a team wants to have a ‘plan B’ should they find themselves in, then they should think of a way that doesn’t rub the public’s nose in their politics.

Many say that by hiding away their intention make it worse and that the public would be better served if everything was out on the table, but my point here is, sometimes the general public need to safeguarded from some of the intentions of the racing teams, for example they lengths they go to poach information, break the rules and fund money for them to go racing might not sit well in the stomach of job public.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 25: Fernando Alonso (C) of Spain and Ferrari talks to his engineers on the grid before the start of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The rule must stay, and if it stays comes the belief that F1 races carry at least some integrity!

A reason to be truly thankful – Mark Webber survives horrifying accident

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 25: Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing is seen at lunchtime during practice for the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on July 25, 2010, in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

After the completion of today’s race there has not been any lack of negative hyperbol from certain teams and drivers about how their races were wrecked for one reason or another, but as Sunday turns in to Monday I cannot get away from the major incident in the race and Mark Webber’s terrifying accident in which I am so thankful that we are not here talking about the loss of a racing driver.

Webber’s accident, caused when he apparently missed his braking point and rode up the back of Kovalainen’s Lotus and became airborne.  In the split seconds that he became airborne my mind instantly took me to the fatal accident that claimed the life of Indycar driver Jeff Krosnof in very similar circumstances in 1996 racing on the streets of Toronto, Canada. On that day Krosnof’s car took off and turned in the to catch fencing destroying the car instantly.

When any racing car becomes airborne it is in the hands of the gods, and today was no exception. The moment Webber started to take off absolutely anything could have happened and despite flipping over and landing upside down and then rolling round the correct way and hurtling towards the barrier and undiminished speed the whole of the F1 world held it’s breath.

This was, and should act as a timely reminder that our sport is always very dangerous and that those that have input in to the safety rules and regulations should never get complacent.

I am delighted to see Mark walk away from this terrifying incident and  I am sorry for any driver or team that is celebrating or bemoaning their luck in today’s race because more importantly we still have 24 fit and able racing drivers heading to Silverstone in 2 weeks time.

See you at Silverstone Mark!

Webber to drive for Red Bull in 2011

Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia walks at the grid before the start of the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park racetrack in Istanbul May 30, 2010. REUTERS/Murad Sezer(TURKEY - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)

Mark Webber will be relieved that the incident with his team-mate in the Turkish Grand Prix has not damaged his chances of staying at the team for 2011.  Autosport today announced that Webber will remain at Red Bull for another year ensuring the team maintains continuity for another year taking the Vettel-Webber partnership in to its 3rd year.

While this is obviously good news for Mark the fact it is only a 1 year contract must surely disappoint the Australian.  I would have thought that Webber would have pushed for at least 2 years giving him some leeway and confidence in the team. Whether this has changed as a result of the incident in Turkey is not clear.

Webber staying at Red Bull is likely to mean the top teams will be keeping the same drivers for 2011 with the only real  question mark hanging over Massa at Ferrari.  Ferrari have apparently shown interest in Robert Kubica but whether Alonso and Kubica would get along in the same team remains to be seen.

Jenson Button – Lost in translation?

F1 2010 - Rd7 Turkish GP - Hamilton wins in McLaren 1-2

There is much to say about the inter team fractions at in the Red Bull team post the Turkish Grand Prix,  but the other talking point was the on track battle between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button which despite there being no tangible accident poses a similar threat of self-destruction within the team.

Despite Hamilton taking his first win of the season, he looked angry and forlorn as he got out of the car and went through the podium ceremony.  It was clear this was a thoroughly angry and slightly paranoid Hamilton and he was not sure where to point the blame – Button or the team.

The incident involved took place over 4 corners between lap 48 and the first corner of lap 49. Hamilton had been told on previous laps that both cars were being ordered to save fuel.  Most of the F1 world took this as an indirect rule to not overtake each other, but it seems one party didn’t understand what that meant and information appearing today seems to indicate that Hamilton was right to feel aggrieved.

Almost unbelievably after the Red Bull drivers going toe to toe, we saw the Mclaren drivers in the same situation. Button seemed to take advantage of Hamilton slowing up the pace to launch a surprise attack on the his team-mate.

Credit where credit is due, both drivers managed to keep it clean, but it was certainly touch and go at turn 1 on lap 49 where Hamilton threw himself in to the corner 3 quarters of a car length behind Button and risked Button turning him in and taking them both out.

The question begs why was Button attacking Hamilton?

Was he unaware of the order to save fuel and to understand what most saw as a coded message to hold positions, or was he aware of the order and tried to get one over on Lewis by playing on the trust for the team Hamilton has?

Without the information from Button’s radio it’s not clear how the message was given to Jenson before his attack on Hamilton for the lead.  What we do know is that Hamilton clearly asked the team for clarification that Button would hold fire and not attack Lewis for the lead.

We could point the finger at Button’s race engineer for perhaps not making the message clear, but I feel the blame here is at Button’s door.  He would have been told about the need to save fuel, even if or perhaps neither driver needed to save fuel, any F1 observer would have understood the message as the race is over, hold you position and bring the car in.  Button seemed to pump up the confidence to go over and above the communication from this team.

Hamilton, who has been caught out more than once this season by the directorship of this teams information was right to look a bit peeved. He had been told that no attack on him would happen, and against all expectations he had to roll his sleeves up and aggressively force his own team-mate out of the way in order to take the win.

Questions should be asked of the team as to why Button performed his attack on Hamilton.  I have heard Button say that he was told to save fuel, but had no idea as to how much he needed to save.

Martin Whitmarsh needs to explain this to Hamilton and if there is a fault in the lines of communication, he needs to get that sorted.  If the boot had been on the other foot Button would have started to feel the team was lying to him in order to help Hamilton, and I am not saying Hamilton is starting to feel paranoid, but you would understand why he perhaps in a little nervous or unsure of the directorship and control the Mclaren management have and seem to make Hamilton’s races harder than easier.

This could be damaging in the relationship between Hamilton and Button, but if one person is likely to lose respect for what he did, it is most likely to be Jenson Button.

Analysis of the Red Bull accident

Formula One Turkish Grand Prix

The incident involving the Red Bull drivers was clearly the hottest topic from the Turkish Grand Prix. The first rule in F1 is not to take your team-mate out, it is the worst sin in the sport that is seen as a team game despite the individual ego’s of the drivers. By having what is perceived as the fastest car in F1 at the moment, the chances that the two Red Bull drivers fighting it out on the track are greatly increased. We have seen in previous years how destructive it can be when team-mates go head to head on the track. Some of the sports most famous incidents over the past 30 years has come as team-mates take strips off each other.

Senna & Prost in 1989 is perhaps the most famous on track incident between team mates. However I feel the incident at Istanbul Park is slightly different. We are yet half way through the championship, and despite the pressure being on the drivers, now is not a time for at all costs driving.

The scene is set in Turkey as Vettel saw he early season performances overshadowed in recent races by Mark Webber, who was now leading the championship and was coming off the back of two wins and a comprehensive display in Monaco. In summary, the balance of power in the Red Bull team was shifting away from Vettel in the course of the last month. Vettel wanted to put a stop to this in Istanbul and a problem for Vettel in Qualifying meant that the German was further behind his now nemesis (Webber) for the start of the race.

Vettel got the jump on Hamilton away from the starting grid, but was convincingly past by the Briton by turn 3. Vettel however got lucky during the pit-stop window. Having pit earlier than Hamilton he was able to jump up to second and get on the tail of Mark Webber. Vettel however, unlike Hamilton didn’t seem to be able to press Webber so aggressively. Perhaps because the cars were so closely matched Vettel never really looked like making a move stick on Webber. However on lap 38 Vettel was able to take advantage of a ‘fuel saving’ phase that Webber was asked to enter for a couple of laps to ensure that he could make the end of the race. Webber having less horse power was vulnerable down the straight and Vettel decided to put himself on the inside line for the left handed hairpin at turn 12.

The gap left by Webber wasn’t large, it was just enough space to put a car, and initially when Vettel made the move to the left hand side Vettel was almost over the white line and on to the dirt. Mark Webber kept a straight and true line to the hairpin as Vettel pulled along side and marginally in front and if both drivers kept their trajectory to turn 12 then the change in position would have happened and both drivers would still have finished 1-2 for Red Bull, but in a dangerous move Vettel tried to edge Webber out to the right to give Vettel the much easier line for the hairpin and also to robustly elbow Webber out of the way.

The move slightly to the right in to Mark’s path is what in my opinion caused the accident and why I would put most of the blame on Vettel. What was Webber expected to do? He was leading the race, leading the championship and had given just enough space for his team-mate to decide if he wanted to take the risky move. Vettel under the duress his previous form in recent races acted like it was all or nothing, not from a driver that understood that there were still many laps to go and to look at the wider picture of the championship as a whole. Let’s not forget that Vettel had already lost some key points in earlier rounds of the season and could have been on top of the championship. His driving indicated that he did not appreciate his situation and had a very narrow perspective on his racing. It was win at all costs, and the need to stop Webber here in Turkey. Where in reality a more mature outlook would have realised the long game would be better. If he had listened to any words of wisdom from any world championship winner that most would have told him championships are won at the end of the season not at round 7. Sports News - May 30, 2010

I remember Jackie Stewart saying that Nigel Mansell struggled to win Championships in the late 1980’s because he was too aggressive all the time. He drove like he was always out to prove everyone wrong, and this move by Vettel reminded me that perhaps the German could do with a sit down with the 3 times world champion about his approach.

The case against Webber in my opinion is small, but let’s have a look at what he could have done.

Firstly we know he had less power and would have expected a move from Vettel on the back straight. Webber could have closed the door completely through turn 11 making sure that Vettel had to switch over the the right hand side for the left handed turn 12. This would have made Vettel’s task almost impossible.

Webber could have also have just let Vettel through. Applying the logic or commonsense I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, Webber might have been better off just letting his team-mate through, after all he would have only lost a hand full of points. This, however, would have set an astonishing precedent. It would have sent a message out the Red Bull team, Sebastian Vettel and Webber’s rivals that in a straight out dog fight he would just succumb.

David Coulthard I feel had this tag, Riccardo Patrese, Rubens Barrichello and Damon Hill to a certain extent had their careers blighted by seemingly being happy to make things easy for their team-mates. All drivers are very fast, but once you get pigeon holed with that reputation, it becomes a constant up-hill battle to convince the F1 public that you are the real deal. Mark Webber being Australian by nature doesn’t have know what capitulate means. The fighting spirit of the Australian sportsman is famous and I don’t think for one minute it should have been expected for a driver who wants to win the championship to easily give away his position not just in the race, but in the team. Webber isn’t a spring chicken and this could be his one and only chance to win the championship, Vettel underestimated his older team-mate and got his hands burnt in return for his aggressiveness towards Webber.

The Red Bull team were instantly in the public eye and the reaction from some of the senior management was telling. There seemed to be sympathy for Vettel and condemnation of Webber for not giving him room. This is just  Bull-Shit in my opinion.

Christian Horner had proclaimed to want to give each driver the best chance to win the championship, but seemed to be insinuating in his subtext that Mark had to give way to Vettel in a head to head. Helmut Marko another senior member of the Red Bull management also criticised Mark Webber post race. This lead widespread rumours that Vettel was the unofficial number 1 in the team and the team should have criticised Vettel for the incident in the same way most of the F1 paddock saw the incident.

Days after the accident Red Bull seemed to have changed their corporate tone to a more balanced view, but it seems reluctantly and that the dynamics in the senior management still blame Webber and his race engineer for not managing the situation better. Before Turkey, both Red Bull and Webber looked set to resign a new contract, but now that seems to be an impossibility. Ok so they might get a grip on the tension on the track between the two drivers, but Vettel who is clearly the darling of the Red Bull young driver programme and also foreseen as a driver that could win many championships over the next 10 years, is likely to demand that Webber be replaced for next year otherwise he would look to go elsewhere.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel Meet At Team Factory

The one winner though on Sunday – Formula One. The sport is at its best when the ingredients are hot and spicy between two championship contenders in the same team and it will become a unmissable spectacle throughout the summer.

Lewis Hamilton wins thrilling Turkish Grand Prix

Formula One - F1

Wow! Just where do you start with a race that is packed with excitement and controversy from the get go?  Like it or not, the Turkish Grand Prix of 2010 will be remembered for the ticking time bomb of  4 cars racing it out at the front for the win, and ending with that bomb going off in the hands of the Red Bull team, that will certainly damage their points situation as they threw away a win and handed maximum points to the Mclaren team, but it will also have an emotional cost to the team and crank up the pressure in the team .

Round 7 of the F1 championship was held on the Istanbul Park track, which over the last few years has failed to produce anything nearly as exciting as Sundays race.  In it’s sixth year of running and which still fails to captivate the imagination of the Turkish people meaning one of the exciting Grands Prix in years played out  to an empty stage!

Mark Webber went in to the race on the back of two wins on the spin in Spain and Monaco and after a commanding performance in qualifying, looked the clear favourite for the race win on Sunday. Because the only other person people thought that could get near to Webber was Sebastian Vettel and he was down in 3rd place on the grid having been split by Hamilton in the Mclaren.

The Mclaren’s had shown good pace in practice and qualifying, however, the telling signs was that despite the F-Duct giving the Woking teams cars a visible and distinct advantage down the long straight at Istanbul Park in sectors 1 & 3, the Red Bull was putting them and the rest of the field in the shade through the tight and twisty 2nd sector of the track.

Before the race there was some optimism that if Hamilton could jump Webber at the start of the race, he could have a realistic chance of stopping the in form Aussie from romping off in to the distance.  The only potential flaw in this theory was that Hamilton, like his team-mate Button, were on the dirty side of the starting grid, potentially handicapping their get away from the lights and thus giving away their good from qualifying to the Red Bulls.

As the 5 red lights went out, it was the latter that happened and as the field came through turn 1 Vettel had  jumped Hamilton in to second place and Schumacher caught out Button to demote him to 5th.  However the Mclaren’s were able to re address the balance, with Hamilton bravely driving around Vettel by turn 3 and Button passing Schumacher at the hairpin on lap 1.  By the end of lap 1 the order was back to their starting positions.  Webber – Hamilton – Vettel – Button.

This is how the race started to settle in, with Button and Vettel dropping back slightly from Webber and Hamilton. Hamilton looked particularly aggressive in the opening in the laps and was able to really push the Red Bull for the lead.  This was a great sign that despite the Red Bull’s performance in the last 2 races and in their out and out pace in qualifying, the Mclaren on full tanks was going to be a match and make Webber and Red Bull work for their win today.

The differences in the cars was clear to see during this early phase of the race, with Hamilton trying desperately to hold on to the tail of Webber through the twisty sector 2 which incorporated the challenging turn 8 which requires a car with excellent aerodynamic performance, something which the Red Bull has in bundles but the Mclaren is still clearly lacking.  However once through the never-ending turn 8 it was Hamilton and the F-Duct that inexorably pulled in the Red Bull, lap after lap Hamilton tried desperately to get close enough to pull Webber in down the long straight to be able to try and make a pass stick.  A few times Hamilton looked like he would be close enough, but Webber would have just enough lead to cover off the attempt by the time they made the apex of the tight turn 12.

With Pit stops approaching it looked like the first person to pit out of Hamilton and Webber would get the critical advantage that might give them track position to go on and win the race.  Surprisingly then it was Vettel that was the first of the top 4 to come in for tyres.  It was expected to trigger of Button at least to cover off Vettel, but the 2009 Champion decided to stay out, and started to put in some good sector times. It was clear that Button was hoping to have conserved his tyres in the early part of the race to be able to bang in some good times once he was in clear air, but he would have a bit ask to jump Vettel considering he was at least 2 seconds back on the German.

For Mclaren it was clear, pit Hamilton as soon as possible and hope that Webber stays out, but as this was the likely scenario, Redbull covered the Mclaren team and pulled Webber in at the same time.  It was disastrous for Mclaren, being a few meters down the pit lane from the Red bull team, it make the likelihood  of getting Hamilton released before Webber a virtual impossibility.  With such huge pressure on the Mclaren team it is not surprising that a fumble on the right rear wheel held Hamilton up for a crucial second or two and sealed his fate in that he came out behind Vettel and Webber, which would eventually be 3rd once Button had made his pit stop a lap after, rejoined in 4th.

There is no denying that the pit stops changed the complex of the race. Webber now had his worse case scenario playing out – Vettel in the same superbly handling car as Webber behind him and desperate to halt the Australian’s march in recent races. The pace of the top 4 was immense, with fastest laps being traded between the leading drivers lap after lap, but unlike Hamilton, Vettel didn’t seem to be able to amount a tangible attack on Webber.  Did Webber have the race under control or were there team orders dictating that Vettel stay put?  One thing is for sure it was neither!

Despite the frantic pace at the front, the Red Bull’s were still being hampered by Hamilton and Button, however the Mclaren’s were unable to make the F-Duct work as strong in the second half of the race.   Then on lap 38 the worst case scenario happened for the Red bull team.

Unknown to us at the time, both Mclaren’s and Red bull’s were tight on fuel margins, meaning that neither team could allow its drivers to race flat-out to the end of the race without having to lean off the engine and fuel mixture to get them to the end.  Mark Webber was now in this ‘fuel saving’ mode and this gave Vettel a run on him as they came out of turn 10 and out on the flat-out section through turn 11 and down the tight hairpin at turn 12.

Red Bull Formula One driver Webber of Australia leads the race ahead of team mate Vettel of Germany during the Turkish F1 Grand Prix race in Istanbul

Webber spotted Vettel’s charge coming and specifically placed his car in the middle of the road through the flat-out kink that is turn 11 and as they made the run down to the hairpin Vettel pulled alongside to the left of Webber.  Webber had left just enough space for a car to get through as the headed to the left had corner at turn 12.  Vettel looked to have the position in his pocket with the next corner being a left hander he would have the line and Webber would have to capitulate his hard-earned lead.  But in what seemed like seismic seconds, the two cars touched and were unbelievably out of control with debris flying everywhere.  In scenes that were almost beyond belief Vettel had spun off the track in to retirement and Webber was making his way back on to the track in 3rd place after taking avoidance of the out of control Vettel.  Webber needed a new nose to replace damage, and in a second the race was past to the Mclaren team. With the crowd barely recovered from the Red Bull incident, the Mclaren’s were at it as well.

Formula One Turkish Grand Prix

TV viewers were able to hear radio messages to Hamilton that both cars were to enter in to their ‘fuel saving’ mode to ensure that both cars were to get to the end of the race.  This message most people interpreted as the order to hold station and bring it home, but to Lewis Hamilton’s surprise Jenson Button didn’t seem to understand the significance of the message.  Like Webber and Vettel the two Mclaren drivers were side by side in to the turn 12 hairpin, with Jenson Button sensationally trying to go round the outside of Hamilton. The outside became the inside in to turn 13 and Button took the lead with Hamilton shaping up to pounce along the start finish straight and in to turn 1.  It was in to turn 1 that the Mclaren management and mechanics had to close their eyes as Hamilton dived deep in to the apex giving Button the choice to surrender his short reign in the lead or to have a crash with his team-mate.  Luckily Button is a much more mature driver than Vettel and he let Hamilton ease back in to the lead.

F1 2010 - Rd7 Turkish GP - Hamilton wins in McLaren 1-2

It was then an easy run to the flag for the Mclaren drivers after both having to be told again to stop racing due to fuel shortages.  Hamilton’s emotions were telling in the lack of celebration or the restrain he showed through his body language.  He wasn’t happy with Button.  Having been told to back off and preserve fuel Button seemed to chance his luck and try to take Hamilton by surprise.  A word in Hamilton’s ear from Button post race seemed to ease the tension, but like Red Bull, the Mclaren team has some pressure to ease within their camp before the next race in Canada.

What about the others, oh yes, there were others in this race, but they seemed to pale in to insignificance due to the red-hot battle at the front.  Key headlines were Schumacher beating his team-mate Rosberg again, and the lack luster performance all weekend from Ferrari and Fernando Alonso in particular.

Mclaren jump Redbull in the Constructors Championship and both Mclaren drivers are now within touching distance of Webber who managed to bring the car back in 3rd despite the mayhem.

Canada is going to be thrilling, not only because the Mclaren should be good there too with the long back straight, but the lack of high-speed corners should bring the rest of the field back towards the Red Bull’s which is probably the least of your worries if you are a Red Bull fan. Let the inquest begin….

Damon Hill worried about ex drivers role as stewards

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Autosport on Tuesday brought us the story that Damon Hill, the ex F1 driver who was involved in giving Michael Schumacher his controversial penalty in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, has question the amount of input the ex driver should have as part of the team of race stewards.

His comments shed some light on just how involved the ex driver seems to be as part of the decision making unit:

I imagined I would be there as a consultant providing driver insight to the stewards, who would then make the decisions. My expertise is as a driver rather than a lawmaker or interpreter of regulations

To me I think Damon was shocked by just how integral he was to refereeing the race and I believe he almost expected his role to carry no responsibility and instead would just be that of an influencer.  It doesn’t sound like Hill enjoyed having to comprehend a large range of non-racing rules and to be confident off applying them.

Is Damon right in saying the ex driver should purely be consulted on racing matters and leave the rest to the full time stewards?

I think he is wrong. Why cannot we expect ex drivers who are prepared to step up in to the steward role not to at least understand the rules of F1 and how to apply them? Otherwise the role becomes less important and over time the need for such an influential voice will be dropped.

I agree that the F1 rule book is big and often ambiguous, as proved on Sunday with the confusing safety car rule that had a quirk for the last lap of the race, however, the ex driver has 3 full time stewards on hand to help explain the areas that he might not be familiar with, just in the same way, the driver will explain to the other stewards that have not raced at a high level before.

Going forward, I would like to see an end to the need of having a different ex driver on the stewards team at every race and get to a stage where we can count on one or two over the course of the season. I say this because the continuity will breed better decison making on the whole.

I don’t completely discard Damon’s comments, I think he found the whole situation a bit uncomfortable for him, particuarlly with the rivialry he had with Schumacher still in the background of peoples minds, and he was also caught up in an event that exposed the need for a improvement in one of their sets of rules, so no wonder he wasn’t blowing the trumpet of the ex drivers role.

On the whole this year I think adding ex drivers to the stewards has brought a element of common sense to the cases that have been looked over so far this year, and that is why I would like to see the ex driver continue in that pivotal role during the race weekend.  However this will be unlikely until it is made in to a paid role, which at the moment, I believe it isn’t.