The British Press are famously mean sons of bitches and they are so powerful that they know when somebody trys to snub them they’d rather shame them than let them get away with it. Ron Dennis has been denying the British press some access to Lewis – understandably he’s so young – and the press are presumably under enormous pressure from their Editors to get the story. So it’s easier to invent a story than try and explain the subtle difference between the what is allowed as strategy and what isn’t in Formula 1. I have decided to write that article as it should have appeared in the press rather than the slams against Ron Dennis which have caused the FIA to investigate them. Here goes:
Basically, Ron Dennis who runs McLaren thought there would probably be a safety car so he set up his two cars in two different strategies one for if there was a safety car and one if there wasn’t. He actually gave Lewis the more likely better setup which is why Lewis was so confident going in to the race. Lewis was set up better for the scenario of a safety car period occurring which round Monaco is pretty likely (it’s happened the last four times). So he thought he was sitting pretty despite being on pole. In the end two things happened, there was no safety car and Alonso drove better than Lewis. By the end of the race the McLarens were almost a minute ahead of the Ferrari. They had lapped everybody except for that car. They were mega. So after the race when asked Ron said something along the lines of, “we controlled the race from after the first pit stops, our pace was so strong that we turned down the revs and took it easy”. He was partly laying down a marker “we’re so much better than you that we beat you by that much and we weren’t even trying” and also speaking the truth they would have been mad to have their two drivers properly racing each other when they were so far ahead of the competition. They could crash and loose their advantage. This is part of the team element of Formula 1 and is totally fair.
It sounds similar to the thing that Ferrari got in trouble for a few years ago but there is a significant difference. A few seasons ago Ferrari got penalised for getting a faster Barrichello to move over to let a slower Michael pass him and win the race for points. That’s banned. In this case Alonso was faster than Lewis, drove better than Lewis and the only way that Lewis would have won is if he had been given the better strategy by McLaren. Whoever qualifies better in Q2 at McLaren gets to pick the strategy so Alonso obviously picked the one that didn’t include the safety car. If Lewis had wanted that strategy he should have been faster on Saturday.
He is really good Lewis and I really like him, I don’t think he’ll even have been disgruntled really. All that’s happened is F1 is starting to be interesting to sports Editors in the UK and they want a) Lewis to win and b) It to be somebody else’s fault when he doesn’t. It’s frustrating for us, but they just want to sell newspapers. I just hope the FIA doesn’t do something stupid.