Thursday, May 29, 2008

Be sure your SMS will find you out

Very good piece in the new issue of Wired describing the "spying" scandal involving Ferrari and McLaren. American magazines are strong on this soup-to-nuts storytelling. You can even overlook the references to "Surrey county" because you get a story that even Formula One unbelievers like me can understand. You also get some idea of how it's next to impossible for misbehaviour to remain undetected nowadays. The story first came to light when the wife of a McLaren employee took a 780 page document into a copy shop and handed it to to a guy who happened to be not just a Formula One follower but also a Ferrari fan. (How one can be a fan of a car company is something I can't come to terms with.) When the scandal came to light the FIA got records of no less than 288 SMS messages and 35 phone calls between the two alleged culprits. In such a world it seems par for the course that Max Mosley's little session with Miss Whiplash would end up in the News of The World. And the fact that Mr Whiplash works for MI5 does not cause us to raise even an eyebrow.


  1. You could have no interest in the frequently processional sport of F1 racing and yet still be gripped by the clandestine off-track politics – a series of overlapping power struggles some of which have been going on for decades.

    The majority of F1 drivers lead very regimented lifestyles. You can’t get away with too many late nights when, once a fortnight, your body is going to be subjected to high speeds and tremendous G-forces. The current World Champion – a laconic Finn named Kimi Räikkönen - apparently drinks like a Viking and has on occasion attempted to go out in public incognito by dressing up in a gorilla costume. He’s an exception in a sport where most of the drivers could pass for mild-mannered accountants.

    The real dirt happens behind the scenes.

    Reading between the lines of the established truths in the F1 spying scandal it’s very apparent that a lot of information never came out and probably never will. The fact that the Mclaren test-driver, Pedro de la Rosa, still has a job at the team and that the pantomime villain of the piece - the arch-bastard, Fernando Alonso - was let go with great diplomacy, in spite of allegedly attempting to blackmail the team principle, Ron Dennis, indicates that both men know where the bodies are buried. Dennis came out of the affair caught between a rock and hard place - He was either incompetent in his leadership of the team, or not quite as honest as likes to portray himself.

    It was an extraordinary story. Unfortunately it left a black mark on the 2007 season. I was glad Lewis Hamilton didn’t clinch the World Championship as it would have been a tainted victory, given the questionable behaviour of his team.

  2. Can’t decide whether to support Slazenger or Wilson at Wimbledon this year. Maybe even Donnay.

  3. In F1 supporting a car manufacturer is no different from supporting a team in football, is it?

  4. The whole fiasco reminded me of a Jilly Cooper-esque blockbuster plot.