Formula 1 Insight

John Watson and the Espionage Scandal
I see dear old John Watson has had his say on the Ferrari documents scandal. And, just as in his driving days, he gets some of it right and other bits wrong.

John Watson
John Watson in happier days

Who would argue with the fact that the whole business is a lose-lose situation for McLaren? Whatever any court decides, there will always be doubts in some minds as we can never know the whole truth. So a component on the McLaren looks very similar to the equivalent on the Ferrari, for instance? That could be copying or it could be designers coming to the same conclusions independently.

But Wattie goes a bit too far when he maintains that McLaren had details about the car and the way the Ferrari team operates. Not proven yet, John. In fact, that was the whole thrust of the WMSC's verdict - that there was no proof that employees of McLaren other than Coughlan had seen or used the documents. The outcome was the only one possible in the circumstances, given that McLaren must be presumed innocent until proved guilty.

Where the FIA went wrong was in having the hearing at this time, when very little is known for sure and two court cases are pending on the matter. Presumably, it was felt that the FIA should be seen to be doing something but, with so few proven facts to hand, the court was bound to shy away from any decisive imposition of sanctions. Essentially, the outcome has been the result of a lack of proof, a matter of the court refusing to judge until the legal processes in Italy and Britain have established a few more facts.

And that is what everyone seems to be forgetting - that the WMSC has reserved the right to re-open the case if further details come to light. That amounts to a statement of intent to punish any contraventions of the sporting code if and when it becomes clear that they have taken place. It is, in fact, a reprieve for McLaren, not an escape.

So those who want to see McLaren pay for any wrongdoing may yet have their way. But to say that the WMSC should have imposed sanctions at this stage is to suggest that they violate the basic legal principle of innocence until guilt is proved. I, for one, am relieved that the court did not do that.


Totally off topic but thought you may enjoy this.,23599,22163971-2,00.html

Date Added: 31/07/2007

Ah, so Mr Piquet has been up to naughty tricks, hey? But let's face it, if you're an F1 champ and are gonna lose your licence, better make it for speeding... ;)
Date Added: 31/07/2007

I just like the fact that they are making him learn to drive........

Mr Piquet, please put the car in first gear and pull slowly away from the kerb..........
Date Added: 31/07/2007

Well, we old guys tend to forget a lot of things, Keef... :D
Date Added: 31/07/2007

Alianora La Canta
That was weird - I've heard of F1 drivers losing road licenses before, but never for parking violations. That said, I suppose Nelson didn't get much parking practise in his racing career, since parking is somewhat contradictory to the objective of a race! On a more serious note, I prefer the Brazillian system to the British one of banning drivers for a year and hoping they a) learn their lesson and drive better and b) don't ignore the ban like many do...

Returning to the topic of the entry, the appeal was totally unnecessary. Since no new evidence has been revealed since the first case, the WMSC will have to either return the same decision on McLaren (and make themselves look silly) or levy a punishment (and make themselves look silly - and possibly in breach of the law for acts prejudicial to a court case). Ferrari have just been too impatient, and it's going to cause a lot of trouble now...
Date Added: 01/08/2007

Well, Piquet was speeding as well, apparently. Any self respecting world drivers champion ought to do that once or twice in his life. ;)

You said it there, Alianora - I can see a whole bunch of trouble coming out of this one and I don't think we've seen anything yet. Perhaps one day we might be able to get back to racing.

Oh wait, it's the Hungarian GP this weekend, isn't it...?
Date Added: 02/08/2007

I can just imagine the speed cop strolling up to the car's window. ticket book and pen in hand - "Who do you think you are sir? Nelson Piquet? ... Oh"
Date Added: 02/08/2007

Or even:

"Who d'you think you are, Nelson Piquet?"

"Well, yes, actually I am..."

"Oh, a funny guy, hey? Right then, out of the car sir."
Date Added: 02/08/2007

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