Monday, October 29, 2007

Strange Similarities

How weird. Earlier, I pointed out that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing in his first year in F1 events similar to what American Supercross Champion James Stewart has weathered in his respective motorsport. The issue at that time was fan "backlash" over the growing media attention being focused on these two young men. That is, brown-skinned young men, excelling in sports that have been, until the 21st Century, the domain of white-skinned young men.

Now, these men (er, the brown ones) share another similar fate: illegal fuel used by a competitor cost them championships... for Stewart, the 2006 American Supercross Championsh, Hamilton the 2007 World Drivers Championship.

In James Stewart's case, he missed winning the title for Kawasaki by only two points, garnering 336 to the great Ricky Carmichael's 338 score. However, earlier in the season, Carmichael's Suzuki was found to be using illegal fuel. The penalty was a loss of 25 first place points. Suzuki and Carmichael both denied any wrongful intent, and Carmichael hinted at quitting the series. The sanctioning body, AMA Pro Racing, in an unprecedented move changed the penalty to a fine and re-instated Carmichael's 25 points. The Team Kawasaki manager reportedly tore up a copy of the rules in front of AMA Pro Racing officials.

Despite the re-instatement of points, however, James Stewart still had enough points to win the World Supercross Championship that year, becoming the first brown-skinned young man to do so.

And most of you already know what's up with Lewis, but here's my short and sweet of it: for lack of only one point, Lewis Hamilton missed becoming the first person in the history of Formula One to win the World Drivers Championship in their very first attempt! What a phenomenal season! Earlier this year, Hamilton literally changed the face of F1 by becoming the first black dude to contest the sport. Then he started the season by getting on the podium nine times in a row. And at the last event of the year, when the championship came down to the wire with three suitors, four cars were suspected to have illegal fuel. The race stewards "deliberated" the issue for hours, before admitting that it was "technically impossible" to enforce the FIA's rules.

Three of the four cars finished ahead of Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix. If they were to be penalized for illegal fuel, their points would be taken away, the other finishers moved up, and Lewis Hamilton would be... well, among other things, the first brown-skinned young man to win the title of World Driving Champion.

The issue is being contested by McLaren. But if the decision by the FIA in November follows the same path of history that saw James Stewart denied a major motorsports title, who would be surprised? Nothing more than a strange similarity?

(Oh yeah. Another strange similarity is that they both suffered horrendous crashes on consecutive Saturdays in July, with both having to be taken to hospitals for checkups.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ron Dennis: "It’s just a costly problem at the worst possible time."

Going for the Oscar for Understatement of the Year, McLaren Chairman and Team Principal Ron Dennis sums it up.

Dennis defends the reliability record in this illuminating interview over at the team site.

What? I've got nothing.

Things I WOULDN'T Say If I Were... you know the rest...

"After Kimi did such a fantastic job, winning the last two races, to have it taken away from you, it's a bit cruel and probably not good for the sport."

Er, the season is over except for the shouting (in court). Now is a good time to take a long vacation, AWAY from press microphones and cameras, dude.

Ask yourself this question: will Ferrari promote the fact that they have the Constructor's Title, even though it was clearly handed to them due to rule-breaking by McLaren? Answer: of course they will. So if YOU (talking to Lewis here) were to get "handed" the Driver's Title due to rule-breaking by other teams, how would that be any different?

Answer: it's obvious.

Hey, it's okay to take the high road and say things like
"For me, I want to do it on the track and in style by winning the race, or after battling it out for the lead - fair and square." But fair and square are what running by the rulebook is all about. And if you win the championship because the other guys cheated (or got lazy), that's fair.

Preserving the integrity of the sport should be at the top of everybody's list. The FIA must enforce its rules consistently and without bias. If there is credible evidence that BMW and Williams were in violation, this should be an open and shut case.

Cruel for Kimi? What about you?

(quotes from

Monday, October 22, 2007

Conspiracy? In F1? Unheard of!

Well, not according to this blog I stumbled upon. They lay out the concept that the races and results are all controlled according to plan. The basic premise is that the F1 governing body never intended to "let" Lewis Hamilton win the title this year. The blogger goes so far to say that McLaren intentionally "caused a reboot of his Engine Managment System in Brazil, ensuring he dropped to the back and had no chance of winning, but would provide a good TV show as he tried to overtake the rest of the field."

Wow. And if you think that's deep, the blogger takes it to another level, stating that "Lewis will win the F1 Championship, but not next year - that script is written as “a tough year fighting in the pack” with his championship coming in 2009. 2008 is “Alonso’s Comeback Year” when he will win, driving a Renault."

And there you have it. Sportsfans, place your bets.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did I Say Surreal? I Meant 'Enter the Lawyers'...

So now I'm reading (from F1 Fanatic again... thanks!) that the stewards of F1 deliberated for SIX HOURS and they "said Williams and BMW teams were not punished because it was technically impossible to prove the temperature of the fuel within the car."

Come again?

Admittedly, I haven't read the current (or any, for that matter) Formula One rulebook, so I can only imagine what type of torture the language most go through in order to make such statements possible. And I am positive that in the coming hours and days, someone will explain it quite perfectly. As for now, unfortunately, I am stumped.

Here's my thinking: why am I even writing about this now, if they had no evidence with which to start all of this madness anyway? SIX HOURS of deliberation; what evidence did they have to discuss, if it was "technically impossible to prove the temperature of the fuel within the car"... ?

Did one of the stewards happen to put his hand on the fuel pod of Nick's BMW and go, "hmmm, that feels too cold!"... !

And are they implying a difference between merely "impossible" and "technically impossible"?

Further, apparently there's a "kerfluffle" about who gets to decide what the ambient temp actually is. Almost Clintonian, that line of defense. Hence the reference to lawyers; McLaren could appeal. Yikes. Maybe they can settle for $100 million?

Instead, I believe this is going to go down like the U.S. Presidential Elections in 2000: someone is gonna roll over and play dead.

Enter the Surreal: The Title May Change Hands

This is crazy. Now comes a report that some cars (at least one Williams and both BMWs) FAILED fuel testing and may be DISQUALIFIED. If this were to be the case, the rest of the driver in the field would move up and take those respective championship points... and Lewis Hamilton would win the World Driving Championship on a technicality. Here's the story from F1 Fanatic.


Hamilton: "It was all against me in the end..."

Now, I often complain when people take things out of context. So the first thing I have to admit is that the above quote by Lewis Hamilton (from this story on, you guessed it, was quite literally removed from its contextual setting, and I did it on purpose because I thought it was/is a very interesting thing for the young man to say.

"All against me" sounds kind of like something Tupac Shakur would say, and this is probably the first time Hamilton has ever been compared to 2pac. In any case, the remainder of the article seems to be made up of Lewis-quotes, made during an interview with BBC Radio, that point to his mature ability to be sanguine about losing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the first driver to win the F1 title in his first year. I haven't seen or read any uncut interviews yet, but I'd really like to know if what has been reported so far really touches on what Hamilton is feeling.

Dude... wait. Whut?

I woke up (late) this morning and logged in, fully expecting to see the reports about Lewis Hamilton winning the World Driver's Championship in Brazil today. So you can probably imagine my reaction when I read this brief report at

Raikkonen is the new Formula One World Champion? And Hamilton finished SEVENTH due to mechanical woes from his McLaren-Mercedes?

NOW they have a mechanical?? Ok, so what really happened? Crash.Net is calling it a "mystery glitch."

I need more details, but wow, that really sucks. I mean, it's cool for Ferrari... they kept the faith and it paid off. And it's great, obviously, for Kimi... he too never stopped believing in himself, drove the best he could and in the end, he was in the right place to take advantage of McLaren's huge faux pas. So congratulations are in order to Raikkonen and the entire Scuderia Ferrari.

Now excuse me while I go cry in my Wheaties for a couple of minutes.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

P1 in China

I'm just saying, well, what can I say? Words fail me. I am astonished. Just read this report on


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

$20 Million Dollar (USD) Man?

And now, with two races remaining in the season, comes the news that Mercedes McLaren is prepared to raise Lewis Hamilton's salary by something like 30-fold...! That's according to a story that appeared in the Daily Mail, and as reported here by Planet

Well now... if I were Lewis Hamilton right about now, I would be smiling a-plenty! Geez, that was corny, but unfortunately, it was heartfelt...