FIA: Ferrari In Assistance?

Will DavisContributor IOctober 28, 2008

It has been one of the biggest questions in current F1 history: Is the FIA being biased towards Ferrari?

On current events I believe it’s hard to find anyone who could convince me to say that they aren’t.  Recently Felipe Massa kept his controversial win in Valencia, but in Spa, Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his win, pushing him down to third.

Ferrari argued that because Massa had pulled back he didn’t deserve a penalty. So why was Hamilton’s incident with Raikkonen any different? Yes Hamilton cut the corner, but he gave the spot back to Raikkonen, which is what the rules state you must do.

Another interesting fact that was discovered is that when Hamilton cut the corner, he lifted off and lost roughly 6 KPH.  Like many people, I am struggling to find the advantage that Hamilton had allegedly gained. Ron Dennis spoke to the ITV team saying that Charlie Whiting told him that, in his opinion, Lewis’s actions complied with the rules.

This isn’t the first time this year that Ferrari has seemed to “get their own way with the FIA”.  Earlier in France, Raikkonen’s exhaust fell off, luckily not causing any harm, but he was unpunished, leaving some followers of Formula 1 scratching their heads.

Fellow Finn Kovalainen was punished for causing a collision with Webber in Spa, but not long ago Raikkonen “lost control” of his car and ruined Adrian Sutil’s chances of a points paying position.  Sutil had to retire, but Raikkonen replaced his front wing and finished ninth.  Raikkonen left Monaco unpunished.

The evidence seems to add up in favour of this argument, but is it just Ferrari that are “getting their own way” with the FIA?  Remember Brazil 2007?  BMW had cooled their fuel and that was deemed illegal, but nothing was done.

Yes it would have been bad for the sport, handing a World Championship to one person and then another, but rules are rules. I believe that the latest penalty to hit McLaren and Hamilton is sending the wrong message to the teams, their drivers and most importantly, the fans!

So is Ferrari the only team that are invincible in F1?  This can never really be proved right or wrong, until clear evidence is discovered, Ross Brawn disagreed with a question similar to this one at Spa when asked by the ITV F1 crew, but the point is that to the fans it looks like Ferrari are the only team in F1.

McLaren (mostly Lewis Hamilton) always seems to be the only team that is always getting punished by the FIA, but is it the fact that they aren’t as good as Ferrari and other teams at appealing?

Lewis Hamilton is another story with the FIA and the whole world of F1.

He was their saviour; American fans, and the rest of the world, loved his story; from being a “zero to hero” for a lot of young people.  This could have been their ticket to make F1 the biggest sport, not just in the motoring world, but in the sporting world in general.

Sadly, the FIA seem to have seen him as a threat and look at him now, it seems like every race he does well he’s always under some kind of scrutiny. I believe he’s coping with the stress brilliantly, he is like David Beckham, he lets his racing do the talking. Other drivers in the past would have “spat the dummy out” and cried for help and that they were being unfairly punished.

I believe for the FIA to regain the confidence of the fans that an independent governing body needs to come in to review their actions and to introduce a programme of change.  There’s a certain amount of things you can get away with, Hamilton is on target to become the youngest ever world champion, the first black Englishman to be in F1 and is arguably the best driver to enter it in years, possibly since Michael Schumacher and yet, like Schumacher, he does not seem to be getting the respect that he deserves.

What if people think there is racism at the highest levels of Formula 1?  How catastrophic would that be for the sport?