Pit-Lane Sideshow Proving More Entertaining Than Race itself

Posted: July 25, 2010 in Formula 1
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For all the pre-season furore about how the FIA were going to make this year’s Formula One Championship more exciting, the drama has occurred not on the track, but in the pit-lanes.

The talk prior to the Australian Grand Prix was about the new points system and how it would make the chase for the title more interesting, but the level of in-fighting and rule-bending from the pit-lane.

Sunday’s German Grand Prix finally saw Red Bull working as a team, with attention flicking to the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Filipe Massa.

Massa was seemingly instructed by the Ferrari garage to allow his team-mate past him to claim victory at Hockenheim, with the Brazilian not cutting a happy figure after the race, which marked exactly a year since his horror crash at Hungary.

A cagey press conference followed, indicating Massa was not pleased with the decision and seeing his Spanish team-mate being given preferential treatment.

Ferrari also saw themselves fined for their actions, as a race result is forbidden to be influenced by instructions from the pit-lane.

They are not the first team to fall foul of issues behind the scenes, as Red Bull have endured a campaign riddled with rumours that drivers Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber do not see eye-to-eye.

Both drivers have wanted to be the number one at Red Bull, yet recent events have seen a split between the two. Webber’s victory at Silverstone saw him proclaim, “not bad for your number two driver” over the radio, following a disagreement over a front wing that was only applied to Vettel’s car.

So the pit-lane action has proved for more inspiration than what has happened on-track, despite the emergence of a five-way tussle for the Championship. Offensive over-taking has remained reasonably minimal, regardless of the incentives introduced to encourage such behaviour.

Even Massa himself described the Turkish Grand Prix earlier in the year as boring. Frankly, if the drivers’ imaginations aren’t sparked by the ongoing events unfolding in an adrenaline-fuelled sport, then it’s hard to muster any enthusiasm from the comfort of our armchairs.

Instead, we salivate in wait for the post-race action, led by the very likeable Jake Humphries and the out-spoken Eddie Jordan.

Interviews with nervous looking engineers and technicians about the follies of their team and the friction between their race drivers are what make Sunday afternoons special.

Watching Christian Horner squirming under the intense questioning of Jordan gave us all a perverse pleasure. The fiery former owner has proven to be a valuable addition to the BBC team, refusing to dilute his opinions and ensuring they get the interviews they desire with his aggressive style.

So whilst the action on the circuit may not have us on the edge of our seats, the controversy off it ensures we tune in every round to see where the next thrills will emerge from.


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