How to Win in Formula 1? Send an email to your competitors.

As we have seen, McLaren-Mercedes have lost their constructors’ championship points for the 2007 season and will pay a record fine of $100 million USD, the FIA World Motor Sport Council decided today.

So, to win the Formula 1 World Championship you don’t need to actually beat anyone on the track. You don’t have to have a double World Champion in your team. You don’t even have to have spent ten years supporting the brightest new star in Formula 1 for decades.

No. All you need do is “find” one of your employees’ email accounts (preferably of someone whose name you wish to tarnish too because they’re leaving your team) was “used” to send an email containing technical information about your car – allegedly not even commercially worthwhile or confidential information – to your main competitor.

Everyone knows that Formula 1 has had spy scandals for years, and three time World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart has said so publicly. What is unusual this time is that Ferrari are usually the ones accused of spying on everyone else, even of listening in to car to pit telemetry broadcasts to gain an advantage (I seem to remember them at one point reportedly employing an ex-Military radio expert as a “security consultant” – but I could be wrong).

As long as I have been following Formula 1 it has been widely known and reported that no top team maintains a technical advantage over another for more than a few races, because their engineers are so clever they can copy anything. There were rumours in the past that Ferrari had the ability to “see” scrutineering reports of competitor cars parked in parc ferme. These days, with Technical Specifications so narrowly defined, it would be hard to identify truly original ideas, but easy to complain someone has copied you just because their car works the same way.

As for the cheating and on-track shenanigans of the team with one M Schumacher in the driving seat, with Rubens Barrichello admitting proudly he was “equal” to MS because he was the No. 1(b) driver at Ferrari. Ferrari were never punished for favouring Schumacher, even though it was well known, contractual, and quite illegal under the “sport’s” rules. Ferrari are also said to have more representatives on the World Council than any other team. That doesn’t seem right, does it? But then, Ferrari are renowned for spending more money than any other team…

But why fine McLaren now, and so much – an unprecedented $100 million? Is it because they had the audacity to be the first team to bring a coloured driver to the sport? Not only that, but to create a world class, winning coloured driver to boot? A driver who has upset the cozy, white establishment represented by the likes of Max Mosley, second son of Sir Oswald Mosley, former leader of the British Union of Fascists. Max Mosley, by the way, is a barrister and is President of the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body who passed down this enormous fine.

I’m not sure I believe any of the above though. It’s more likely to be payback time for McLaren’s support of the breakaway movement that for a few years threatened to set up a rival series to F1 which all the major manufacturers set themselves against the FIA. Except Ferrari.

The FIA are said to be releasing more details on Friday, but you can bet you’ll be scratching your head about it afterwards. From a fan’s point of view, it’s clear that McLaren are being made into scapegoats here. And yet again, Ferrari benefit as with McLaren’s Constructor’s Points disappearing Ferrari will now be the World Champion Constructor – and the season still hasn’t ended! Remember, Macchiavelli was Italian.

So, if you are planning to win in Formula 1, just remember that email address your competitor uses, and spike their mails! Who cares if your car is outclassed? Who cares if your team is disintegrating? Who cares if there is no overtaking? Just send an email to your competitor, accuse them of skullduggery, and sit back and rake in your rewards.

Formula 1 has gone totally, totally mad. Worse, the inmates are in charge of the asylum. Poor Bernie.


2 comments on “How to Win in Formula 1? Send an email to your competitors.

  1. I am saddend by this dicision. I have worked under “top secret” conditions in my worklife (now retired) and the onus of security for documents and information security was on us.
    Any leaks (regardless if accepted or useful by the other party) was treated as a failure of the “internal” system (not “external”) requiring the necessary correction and discipline to prevent recurrence.
    There will always be external parties interested in such secure information, therefore it is encumbent on the owners of such information to KEEP IT SECURE and deal with their people who violated it.
    To suggest that McLAren (or any other manufacturer) should not be interested in such information is being naive.
    It costs a lot of money to produce such technical information in terms of manufacturing and testing. As such, protection of this information and careful (on a need to know basis) distribution (internally) is required, To have all of it assembled in one document and transferrable is a joke.
    Come on FIA, you are lawyers and have dealt with this sort of thing often enough. Is this merely theatrics in front of the audience?

  2. What worries me is McLaren being fined for Ferrari’s security leak: if Ferrari management were really in control of things this wouldn’t have happened. Still, with the money that would have been paid to McLaren now going to Ferrari, Ferrari’s money now going to BMW and so on down the points scorers, the Italian team may be able to afford a new security system. But since they did so well with such a hole this time, they may be encouraged to always have one open!

    I’m still to be convinced of the justice in all this though. From what I know of F1 drivers, they aren’t “employed” so much as self-employed. And therefore less controllable. Alonso being a typical example.

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