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Could Ferrari protest rob Vettel of F1 championship?

Published November 29, 2012

Two quick notes to set up what follows:

1. I’m just rereading Tom Bower’s incredible book about Bernie Ecclestone. Anybody naïve enough to think F1 is one big happy family should read it. Most of the people at the top levels of the sport would slit the throat of their own mothers if it would give them an advantage. It makes me laugh to think people actually think the IndyCar series is dysfunctional. They ain’t seen nothin’. If it’s not for Ecclestone and his brilliant negotiating skills (no, it’s not his power; it’s his ability to manipulate and to play one off against another), then Formula One would collapse. The teams live to do one thing and one thing only — to drive everybody else into the ground on or off the track. They will stop at nothing.

2. I continue to be astounded that the world’s most expensive sport continues to rely on volunteers to perform duties of utmost importance during the running of Grands Prix. Most are capable; some are not. This anecdote is about a different series but the circumstance are similar. At the second Molson Indy Vancouver in 1991, I was standing near a hairpin turn that was at the end of a long, high-speed, straight. There was a restart, and the CART cars were thundering in a pack toward that corner when a marshal standing on the inside of the circuit inexplicably started to wave a white flag. Another marshal saw this and literally tackled the marshal with the flag. The next morning while checking out of the hotel, I discovered that the marshal who’d waved the white flag was the sister of the desk clerk, did not have very much experience officiating races and was “helping out” because her boyfriend was a marshal and they were short. Keep that in mind when you read the linked story. There were flashing yellow lights at the Grand Prix of Brazil last Sunday but there was also a marshal waving a green flag. Yikes.

Okay, the story.

According to chief F1 writer Andrew Benson, in a story published on the BBC website in England today, Ferrari is studying whether to file an official protest over the results of last weekend’s GP in Brazil because of video evidence they have that appears to show Sebastian Vettel passing Jean-Eric Vergne in a flashing yellow light zone.

If they do, and Vettel is found guilty, he could be penalized 20 seconds and the resulting loss of points would hand the 2012 championship to Fernando Alonso.

Here is the link to the BBC story (click here)

Watch the video and read the story.

As you do, think of (1) above.

And when you get to the part about someone waving a green flag at the same time the yellow lights are flashing, think of (2).

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