Formula One has broken out of the minority sporting world and into the public conciousness this week after Hamilton pissed off Alonso so Alonso did it back. Hamilton, as I’m sure regular readers of my notes know by now, is the media darling or British sport at the moment. He can do no wrong, winning against competitors who’ve been involved in the sport for years. He’s been moulded and managed and walked into the car, taken on all-comers, and won. His team-mate is the current double world champion and he’s beating him in the world driver’s championship. At face value, this seems to be fantastic, and to an extent it is. However, things are beginning to turn sour.
It all started in Monaco earlier in the season. Alonso was leading comfortably in a race on a track where it is notoriously difficult and dangerous to overtake. With McLaren having both of their cars in 1st and 2nd places, the sensible decision was to tell Hamilton not to challenge Alonso, leaving both cars free to drive steadily towards a glorious 1-2 finish. This is what happened. However, Hamilton came out after the race and said “It is something I have to live with. I’ve number two on my car and I am the number two driver”. Team orders are banned in F1 after the controversy involving Ferrari a few years back so it caused a bit of a stir. For a driver so media savvy through years of training, he was daft to say something like this. If he made the decision himself, as he should have done for the good of the team, there would have been no problem.
More recently, the tension has been growing as Hamilton has had more luck than Alonso. Things took a turn for the farcical in qualifying for the race last Sunday when Hamilton, instructed by his team to let his team-mate through (bear in mind this is not a race situation, Alonso had less fuel so was able to go quicker) told his team boss to “go f**king swivel”. Now, you DO NOT SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO YOUR BOSS. Even less so when you’re a higly paid sportsman in a job scrutinised heavily by media and the sponsors that pay you. Alonso, in a petty (but I must admit, entertaining and amusing) retaliation, just sat there while Hamilton was waiting for tyres to go out and do one final qualifying lap. This allowed Alonso just enough time to get round and do his lap. Hamilton didn’t make it round in time so couldn’t complete a final planned lap. Alonso then went quickest leaving Hamilton in 2nd position.
The team boss of McLaren, who’d already been sworn at by a driver he’s been nurturing since 1999, was then angry with his other driver who’d deliberately held up his team-‘mate’, apparently due to a disagreement over tyres. To cut a long story short, Hamilton drove a faultless race and won. Alonso was demoted 5 places on the grid for “(an) attitude… prejudicial to the interests of competition and motor racing”. The team were also not allowed to score any points in the constructors championship (currently being appealed by McLaren).
I can only imagine the goings on at the McLaren factory so far this week. Hamilton claims that Alonso’s not talking to him. Would you talk to him if you were Alonso? Someone who disobeys team orders to the detriment of yourself and swears at the CEO of the company you work for? I think you’d want to distance yourself from that person, especially if you’ve got a huge contract that is paid by the company. I know who I’d align myself with in that situation.
Hamilton has to grow up and fast. Alonso’s not without blame either. The McLaren team have an awkward situation that could spiral out of control very quickly if it’s not nipped in the bud. Ron Dennis is a strong character (not that I like him very much) who has the ability to sort this out. However, for us lot it’s far more interesting if nothing gets sorted! Long may it continue 😉
On another F1 subject, Nigel Mansell’s come out and said that 27 year old Jenson Button is more or less finished as a racing driver. He says he’ll never win the drivers championship and he’s with a team going nowhere. Now, lets look at what Nigel was up to when he was 27. Nigel drove 3 grands prix that season in a Lotus. He would not challenge for the world championship seriously for another 6 years at the age of 33. At 39 he won the world drivers championship. I like Nigel Mansell, we was a gutsy pure racing driver. Now he’s old and done it all, he feels he has the right to go about slating current drivers. He had a go at Button’s attitude. Remember, this is a man who in 1995 was offered a contract with McLaren but wouldn’t slim down enough to fit in the car. Jenson Button was a bit of a playboy when he first broke into the sport, not unlike many of his contemporaries. He left that lifestyle behind years ago now. He’s still got time. He’s got an ambitious (though, at the moment, crap) team around him. There is promise there but it will take time. Keep your misguided opinions to yourself, Nige (not that I’m doing the same, all you need to do is read this note to see that!!)
Well, a lot of F1 talk there. Just time to say well done Edwin for the Charity (sorry, community) Shield, 3 out of 3 penalties saved, can’t do better than that. Great goal from Giggs after a team move, good goal from Malouda (despite Rio’s kitten-like weakness!) who looks pretty useful. Only 3 days ’til the proper season starts now. Get in!
The news that my pairs partner had decided to jack in darts didn’t come as a shock to anyone on my team so unfortunately I didn’t get to play in the knockout this year. Ah well!
Right, I’ve written lots here, I’d better get back to work!!