Justice evades Hamilton

BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula One | Justice evades Hamiltonimage

This came in on my phone while, ironically , I was talking to someone from AMD who wanted to get involved with some stuff we’re doing: as it turned out it was a bad fit anyway. Beforehand I’d mentioned to a couple of Microsoft folks that AMD sponsor Ferrari, and why I won’t buy anything from a Ferrari sponsor; so all other things being equal I’d rather not use equipment provided by one or appear on a stage with the their logo. I think that might have worried them.  I’ve written a few times recently about buying the brand, not just the product. My reason for not buying this or that brand isn’t valid for everybody and any customer should look at the sum of a prospective supplier’s products and business practices  and decide where they should spend their money. And rather than getting hung up on my personal boycotts, ask if there’s any kind of sponsorship that would put you off a company. I mean … you wouldn’t knowingly buy something made for the best price by using child slaves (would you ?) so if bad choice of sports team to back seems trivial (as it might) then where between those points would you draw the line ?

Interestingly Lewis Hamilton features on the FIA home page – at least the version served up to UK visitors right now, although I suspect his feelings towards them could be better communicated with a different hand gesture.

It is interesting to read the Appeal hearing document. The Opening words on the the title page are  INTERNATIONAL COURT OF APPEAL (I.C.A.) of the  FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L'AUTOMOBILE . OK it’s the FIA court…  page 4 tells us.

6.  The FIA, in its submission of 19 September 2008, claims that the Court should:
– declare the appeal inadmissible pursuant to Article 152 of the International  Sporting Code;
– if the appeal is admissible, dismiss the appeal as unfounded and confirm the contested decision in its entirety.
7.  Ferrari, as an intervening party, claims that the Court should:
– declare the appeal inadmissible;
– if the appeal is admissible, confirm the contested decision in its entirety.

So the FIA has asked it’s own court to do EXACTLY what Ferrari have asked it to do . If you’ve got a better definition of corruption, do share it.
The court did as asked, and declared the appeal inadmissible. But read the final page of the appeal hearing document, where court says “the governing body pulled strings”.

The Court, in a judgment of 12 October 2007 rendered in the Toro Rosso case concerning the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix (driver Vitantonio Liuzzi), concluded, in similar circumstances, that the appeal against a decision to impose a 25-second penalty was admissible. However, none of the parties concerned had raised the inadmissibility of the appeal in that case, the FIA for its part leaving the matter to the sovereign appreciation of the Court

When an appeal doesn’t go against the interest of Ferrari, the FIA gives its own court freedom to decide. If Ferrari’s interests are at stake the FIA tells its court to do what Ferrari wants. 
I’ll leave the Final word on “Ferrari International Assistance” to the BBC

There is also the issue of the FIA's perceived bias in favour of Ferrari.

FIA president Max Mosley rejected those claims in meetings with the press at Monza, dismissing them as "nonsensical", and saying the sport could not survive if they were true.

Nevertheless, the number of incidents in which rulings have come down either for Ferrari or against their opponents in recent years - and the climate of fear that pervades F1 when it comes to criticising the FIA - makes it easy to see how such feelings have taken root.

The Spa controversy was just the latest in a large catalogue of those.

And for the sake of its own credibility and that of F1, the FIA needs to find some way of changing those perceptions.

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Comments (4)

  1. James ONeill says:

    Interesting article. McLaren are a case study for SQL server and McLaren electronics make the ECU used by all the teams the back end analysis software which goes with it is on a Microsoft platform.

    I’m actually a Williams fan, rather than a McLaren one. And Williams have been on the wrong end of decisions – which oddly enough favored Ferrari (take this one for example http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=IJJXIgnjug0 )

    Renault – whose cars are also built in Oxfordshire where I live, felt the FIA were working for Schumacher (Ferrari) against Alonso (Renault).

    So before anyone sees a Microsoft/McLaren axis and thinks, ah Microsoft person supporting McLaren. Or Brit supporting British driver, it’s my sense of fair play offended when everything is stacked to favor one team. And it’s been going on since before Hamilton was born and before Ron Dennis was involved with McLaren – take 1976 British GP, the result was manipulated for Lauda (Ferrari) over Hunt (McLaren).

  2. Colin Power says:

    The facts speak for themselves, the sport needs to take a long look at itself if they want it to survive, the racing in Spa was some of the best ever seen Hamilton clearly is a class act and played within the rules, no mention of Kimi’s off roading before he crashed! Mclaren are targeted and treated unfairly, Ferrari get what they want.  I just hope Hamilton goes on and wins the title this season despite the FIA trying to chuck anchors onto his title challenge!

  3. paul says:

    Here’s something I got in an email.

    The Real (FIA)

    Got a Ferrari?

    Not quite good enough at driving?

    Are other boys faster than you in the wet?

    Then you need:

    Ferrari International Assistance (FIA)

    This exclusive Ferrari only membership club has many benefits. Including:

    1) Anti overtaking assurance

    Been overtaken? Feel a bit silly? Don’t worry, we’ll rule out the other party, even if it’s embarrassingly obvious that they’re faster than you

    2) Exclusive access to a secret second lane in the pits

    Just to make things a little bit easier we’ve arranged a private second lane just for you

    3) Guaranteed world championship?

    Had a crash? Need to win the world championship? Don’t worry just limp across the track and take out your nearest championship title contender – we’ll do the rest

    4) A bit strapped? Need extra cash?

    Simply get one of your team to tell someone else how you make your cars.

    5) Bits falling off your car? Looking a bit dangerous?

    At Ferrari International Assistance we operate a ‘blind eye’ policy just for Ferrari drivers

    6) Been a bit silly? Taken out another driver whilst following the safety car?

    It’s ok, as long as you didn’t hurt yourself. I mean, who are Force India anyway? And how dare they be in front of you

    7) A bit bored? Want some extra action?

    With FIA plus you can take part in a number of additional membership activities

    8) Not sure when you might need us next?

    Relax. Check out our track record. We’re confident that we’ll be able to make something up on the spot that will get you out of any pickle that you might find yourself in

    Ferrari International Assistance (FIA) – Making it up as we go along for over 100 years

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