By the Rules: Why Lewis Hamilton Should Be F1 Champion
When exactly do the rules apply?
According to the FIA, apparently only when it benefits Ferrari.
Going into Sunday's season-ending Grand Prix of Brazil, the Formula One World Championship was the tightest it's been in over 20 years.
Rookie Lewis Hamilton had 107 points, McLaren-Mercedes teammate (if that means anything at this point) Fernando Alonso had 103, and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen had 100.
After Sunday, two things are apparent:
Kimi Raikkonen did in fact win the race, scoring 10 points in the Driver's Championship for a total of 110. Fernando Alonso finished third, scoring six points for a season total of 109.
The question hanging is this: Where did Lewis Hamilton finish?
If you believe the F1 stewards on hand in Sao Paolo, Hamilton was seventh, giving him two points, and thus a total of 109—second in the championship standings.
Hamilton won the tiebreaker with Alonso—each had five wins, but Hamilton had one more second-place result than the Spaniard.
If you believe that rules are rules, though, and that the FIA should be applying those rules evenly...Hamilton is the World Driving Champion.
Six cars finished ahead of Hamilton Sunday. There's no question about Raikkonen and teammate Felippe Maasa finishing one-two, nor doubt of Alonso's third-place showing.
The question marks are on the cars of Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota), Nick Heidfeld, and Robert Kubica (the latter two both with BMW-Sauber).
There is a rule in F1 that states a team cannot cool the fuel more than 10 degrees Centigrade below ambient temperature. Cooler fuel results in better engine performance.
It was found that the fuel of Rosberg, Heidfeld, and Kubica was 12-14 degrees below ambient, which is out of specification.
So if the rule is the rule, why were there no sanctions against the three?
Because it wouldn't benefit Ferrari, that's why.
In a season that has seen so much off-track nonsense—the "Stepnygate" saga, the rise of a new star, the resurgence of McLaren and fall of Renault—Ferrari sure is getting a lot handed to them.
Exhibit A: In 2006, Alonso drove for Renault. His car featured a "mass dampener" in the nose which helped with stability. It was fully enclosed, but the FIA ruled it is an "aerodynamic aid" and ordered it to be removed from the car.
Result: Alonso started losing races, and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher made a tremendous charge at his eighth championship before falling short due to engine failure in Japan.
Exhibit B: Kimi Raikkonen's car that won the 2007 season-opener in Australia was found to be illegal.
Result: He kept the win, removed the illegal part, and swept it under the rug.
Exhibit C: Ferrari brought charges against McLaren for having knowledge of Ferrari operations from hundreds of pages of documents provided by disgruntled Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepny.
Result: McLaren was excluded from the Constructors' Championship and fined $100 million—and the 2008 car was put under extreme scrutiny that may result in exclusion from next years' championship.
But why wasn't Ferrari held responsible for allowing their technical documentation to fall into the wrong hands?
I also can't find anything in the press about the fact that Kimi Raikkonen came out of the pits ahead of teammate Maasa (who he'd trailed all race) after the final pit stop Sunday.
If Raikkonen finished second to Maasa this would all be moot—Hamilton would have won the championship.
Is it possible that Ferrari's pit crew serviced Kimi more quickly? Where's the investigation?
Does anybody smell a rat here? I'm not about Kimi Raikkonen losing the World Driving Championship (Ferrari was handed the Manufacturer's Title when McLaren was disallowed)—but I'm all about the FIA being consistent with rules and penalties.
In this case they aren't—and they're bringing further scorn on F1 after a circus-like season.
There have been countless instances in which millimeters or grams have resulted in penalties from the FIA—but not for Ferrari on Sunday. That's favoritism.
What's a few degrees Celsius among friends, after all?
Hey, some might say it's just another case of "The Man" trying to keep a young man of color down.
Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, 2007 Formula One World Champion.
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