Please bear in mind that this is being written in the hours after the Mexican Grand Prix and events may yet overtake the crazy ravings of an armchair blogger.
Oh, they have – Hamilton, Rosberg, Riciardo – I am sure when I went to bed it was H, R and Vettel or was that Verstappen?
Anyway, the torrent of abuse that emanated from the Red star driver yesterday afternoon is what prompted this blog so let’s have a look at my title subject.
If I were a rugby player then I am not even allowed to speak to the ref; only my captain can do that. If I do speak and then argue with him he has the ability to reverse play or move a free kick 10m in the other sides favour. Backchat normally results in an early bath.
In Ice Hockey there is the “sin bin” so a rule infraction results in the team being depleted for a length of time – here is the clue “the team”. It is a team game and the team will suffer for an individual player.
Yet, in football, which is arguably (?) the national sport and therefore influential on the younger society members, seems to tolerate mass haranguing of the ref and, to a point, arguing.
IMO (what? Ed) ((In My Opinion, get with it Ed!) the language that Vettel used to describe Verstappen was unwarranted but not out of order in the extreme pressure cooker of F1 BUT THEN to respond by telling the FIA Race Director that he can copulate elsewhere, well for me and many others, that crossed the line and should result in at least a 1 race ban – there is no point in fining either him or the team. Money is of no significance to either party as the team and individual are awash with the stuff. Hurt them, REALLY hurt them by taking away their licence to play.
“That’s a very harsh line to take” “he obviously does not like Vettel” “Or Ferrari” I hear you cry; actually none of those are true. I would ban him for 3 races if it were my decision and let me tell you why;
1 – Respect – Officials are there for safety and rule governance. If that is not sacrosanct and one party thinks they are above the rules then anarchy is what follows. After all, not a couple of races ago, the same driver led demands for a “clarification” of the rules on braking which led to censure of Verstappen, a new prodigy with precious little respect for the old guard and the rules they played to. Now I am not naive and I realise we are talking about $m in terms of single cars per race cost and removing a leading driver is vastly expensive in terms of exposure and money but in doing so the sanctity of the Officials remains as does the respect from all the other parties in the game.
2 – Safety – it touches on No 1, but do you remember a certain M Schumacher who thought he was the show and so could do as he wished in his earlier days? (And even in his later days – Monaco qualifying??Ed) – I cannot answer this unequivocally but I would go as far as to suggest that not taking draconian measures earlier resulted in things such as swerving Barrichello towards the pit wall and going so close as to kick all the dirt up and ramming Villeneuve off of the track (look it up if you have forgotten). Both incidents could have had the direst of consequences because of one persons’ belief that they were above the law.
3 – The whole Alpha Male thing – here is a driver that can get his own way, therefore he must be special, therefore I must bow to his majesty etc etc. In doing that the person makes a rod for their own backs and creates incidents; every up and coming driver wants to beat this majestic creature resplendent in bright red to show they are a man and worthy of the term “F1 driver”. Do not misunderstand me, Vettel is a multi world champion and multi multi race winner and so probably bathes in raw testosterone; he has a right to hold his head up high and be proud of what he has achieved but not at the expense of potential safety of fellow competitors.
Why am I writing this? Some would say that, because I have never been a winner in a race car, I am by definition a sore loser. Or perhaps that I don’t have what it takes to be that driven; or to be so intense that I can suspend reality and achieve to their levels. Some of that may be true, in fact I think most of that is true, however, winning (whether that is first past the flag or in the boardroom or in the shopping queue for a till) at all costs or ANY cost is not for me. I like fair play and I hanker for a level playing field with no cheating and no gamesmanship where the winner is truly the best on that particular day….Hmm, maybe I am looking to suspend reality then?
PS – I must just add my congratulations to the whole NMA race team; every student in the garage, every guest and every person that cheered them on this season helped to achieve a magnificent result of 2nd in the GTO class of the GT Cup. Against such excellent opposition the team had good days and bad days; good circuits and bad circuits and ended up 2nd – Superb.
Roger Grimshaw - NMA Tutor