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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Did He, Didn't He

My first reaction to Michael Schumacher's stall at Rascasse was thinking how convenient it was for the German. With everyone on their second balls out run, here was a situation that would help him enormously. Yellow flags out, the other drivers, like it or not, will inevitably be delayed at the turn. And indeed, more than one had to take a tighter line into the corner. That included Fernando Alonso who was at that time, going a great deal quicker than Michael through the first two sectors. Fernando missed it by only a few hundredths but that delay was enough to ensure that the Ferrari starts at the front.

A few minutes later I got an SMS from a mate of mine who suggested in no uncertain terms that the off was very deliberate. Well, being conspiracy theorists that I am, I agreed. Look carefully at the video replays. Going into the left hander it seemed that he went in there a little too quickly, braked hard, locked up, recovered but conveniently ran out of room at the exit. He stopped and stalled. Hmmm.... stalled or did he hit the kill switch? I mean, I've seen this guy go off in the kitty litter at the Nurburgring but kept the engine on and got a nice little (doubtful) push from the marshals. So it was certainly convenient that his engine decided at this moment to cough and splutter to a stop. Whether or not this is deliberate I certainly have no experience to say.

However, gamesmanship is not beyond both Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. Perhaps the Ferrari pits did not tell him to do so but heh, Michael is not exactly lacking in grey matter is he? The effect of his "enthusiasm" was to delay the other drivers and one could argue that it delayed them in a most unfair manner.

Reports have it that the entire paddock was up in arms with the incident and no doubt the protest was a result of this discontent. But as I said before, it was certainly convenient for Michael. There are of course other places that would have achieved the same delaying effects but Rascasse is probably the best place. Narrow, very tight and in actual fact quite easy to go off there.

Well, in the end the stewards after careful consideration over 8 hours decided to penalize Michael. I don't know what Pitpass is on about though. A Black Day for Formula 1? Not everybody would be displeased by this really. As I said, Ferrari have had their fair share of gamesmanship in the past and its high time someone put paid to their underhanded tactics. If indeed it was proven so.

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