It really is a circus now. Despite a generally good race in France last weekend, with some amazing overtaking, it was marred by one spectacularly stupid incident. With a big lollipop in front of his face, Albers decided it was time to leave the pits anyway and dragged most of his fuel rig with him. He was very lucky he didn’t seriously injure or kill one of his mechanics.
Since then the circus has gone from one ring to three. First Ferrari announced that Nigel Stepney had been suspended and was being investigated by Italian police after apparently being accused of sabotage. Some white powder was found in the fuel tanks of the Ferrari after Monaca and Nigel was either to blame or being scapegoated. I was very dubious of the allegations when they first emerged as Stepney has been around for a long time and has always been highly regarded on the circuit.
With the latest news though I’m not so sure. Maclaren are now implicated and one of their engineers has been suspended after it emerged that he allegedly received technical information about the Ferrari cars from Stepney. Mike Coughlan, the Maclaren engineer, is now part of the criminal investigation, complete with a search warrant for his home. The FIA are doing their own investigation and are threatening to dock points from the Maclaren team (although strangely not from the Ferrari team). If all this is true it will be a sad end to Stepney’s so far impressive career.
Only in the crazy world of Formula One could a sporting championship be decided with cloak and dagger tactics, criminal prosecutions and governing body decisions. Thanfully Bernie has promised that driver standings will not be affected.
Hopefully the teams can put all this behind them and race as normal this coming weekend for the British Grand Prix. I have money on Lewis to win, a bet I placed at the start of the season before he amazed everyone with his performance. I doubt the odds are as good now.
Finally, I leave you with this fascinating video. It’s a CGI recreation of Robert Kubica’s crash in Montreal produced by the FIA and RTL. It shows which parts of the car saved Robert’s life as well as the fact that he actually hit three walls, not just two as I had thought.