F1 – Valencia Race Day : FIA in the Limelight Yet Again

Vettel Numero Uno in Valencia!

The most controversial decision by the FIA on safety car kept Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher out of good points position at the recent Valencia GP. It’s so much disappointment for the two as the new blown diffuser at least on the Ferrari was proven to be fast to take the challenge to McLaren.

Lonely race for Vettel at the front. Red Bull have proven critics wrong by having the fastest package in Valencia.

The FIA has problems that extend far beyond the poor performance in extending penalties as history have proven time and time again. In this case, the revised safety car system although better than previous was left with ambiguities at best. The image of Schumacher’s Mercedes stuck in the pit because of the red light is a testament of a poor system in place, the applied law was just not consistent with their own textbook, so we were left with guesses as to which law the FIA used to conduct the course of the race? In Lewis case, it was the manner of late penalty that served no effect on his final position. Ferrari called it a “scandal”.

The spirit of penalty is to restore justice. But when justice is not restored, one could ask what the purpose of that penalty is? Alonso called it a manipulation when asked to comment. For Alonso, suffering a blow by following the rule is illogical.

“It’s a shame, not for us because this is racing, but for all the fans who came here to watch a manipulated race,” Alonso said.

Massa had to queue behind Alonso at the pit during the safety car period. Every driver was rushing in to get the strategic position behind the safety car. Massa’s race was over as he had to give way to Alonso, with the new rule on refueling ban, one pit disaster spells the end of race most of the time. You only have one chance now instead of two or three in past.

Ferrari, world champions in 2007 are among the favorites for the win at Valencia. However, the spectacular upside down crash of Mark Webber which brought out the safety car would rob the Italian outfit of their most potent attacking weapon after a dismal display for most of the season. However, one positive from Valencia would be the return to competitiveness. The package is in the right direction. With reported updates coming in for the next several races, Alonso is still the contender for the championship battle this season.

Hamilton extending a lucky lead at the top of the table with his 2nd place finish will somehow trigger debate on the efficiency of the stewards in making investigation and awarding penalties. Hamilton has hit out at Ferrari and Alonso asking them to obey the rule and not to create scenes, Alonso pointed out in return, I followed the rule and it was Lewis that had broken it.

The silent assassin is 3rd. Consistency is Button’s special trait.

It was the worst defeat for the on-form Mark Webber, never mind the spectacular crash. It was the start that ends his race. From 2nd to 9th after few corners was difficult to explain.

The highly rated German had been blighted by reliability problems and super-fast teammate in the run-up to the event. However he rose to the occasion to take the pole, shrugged off Hamilton aggressively at the start and ran away and win a controlled race. Not a single fault in strategy and implementation.

The AT&T Williams team’s competitive form during this weekend’s European Grand Prix at Valencia concluded with Rubens Barrichello crossing the line in fourth place.

Perhaps the sight of Kobayashi sublime final effort in the dying laps of the race was the highlight of the event as he overtook Jamie and Alonso to cross the finish line in 7th place. His strategy with the hard tyre maybe at odds to normal, however the lap after lap consistency put him in the best place to earn the well deserved championship points.

Lotus had a new front wing solution for Valencia, which put them significantly ahead of the new teams. 1.4 seconds to be exact in Qualifying. However, the success came to a sudden halt on the race day with reliability problem for Trulli’s new chassis and incident involving Heikki and Mark. However, there can be no doubt Lotus was in better shape now than at Montreal.

Race Results

Editorial : Mu’az Zakaria
Image Source : Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Williams, Renault, Sauber

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