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Spygate - At last it’s over.  Or is it?

by Ray Masters
Thursday, September 13, 2007

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Ron Dennis, McLaren CEO
McLaren

Arguably the ugliest moment in the 57 year history of our beloved sport has ended with a record fine and loss of a certain 2007 championship for McLaren.

I have spent almost 50 years of my life following F1 and over those years have had many reasons to shake my head in disbelief.

But this is without a doubt the biggest debacle ever.

How the FIA have handled this admittedly very serious matter is unbelievable and unforgivable.

Max Mosley and company have done more harm to this sport than any of the participants involved.

I am not condoning McLaren’s behavior for one moment. Cheating is cheating and it is clear that this is what they did by not turning the documents over to the governing body as soon as they came to light.

Then the lying that followed just added fuel to the fire.

But, and it is a big but, the inconsistent and biased reaction to this case is far worse than the crime.

These Spygate cases are not new in the sport of F1.  They have been documented many times in the past and brushed aside with a nod and a wink.  So what makes this instance so different?

Well for one it involves Ferrari.

Secondly it involves one of the biggest thorns in Mosley’s side, Ron Dennis.  It is a matter of record that the Scuderia have been treated differently from all the other teams over the years. I don’t need to recount the instances, we all know when and how. So now McLaren do something against the saints from Maranello and all hell breaks loose.

But setting my biases aside for a moment, how can the FIA condemn McLaren for cheating and strip them of the Constructors points yet still allow the drivers to race for the title?  If the car is illegal then it should not be racing. Period.

So the whole issue of McLaren using secret data from Ferrari is in fact a nonissue if you follow the logic demonstrated by this decision.

We clearly have a situation where two disgruntled employees are the only real bad guys.  And the FIA wants to blame and castrate a whole team of over 1000 people.  Like I said, draconian.

Most importantly, let us not forget how the issue came to light in the first place.  Ferrari’s illegal floor.

The squeaky clean boys in red cheated so blatantly and did everything in their power to hide the cheat.

Then when they got caught and the whole season started to crumble they screamed foul. And foul in such an arrogant and public way. Montezemolo’s recent comments are sickening to any true sportsman who believes in winning the right way. Meanwhile, no fines, no docked points.

Jackie Stewart, I think, sums it up perfectly saying. "This isn’t murder that has been carried out, this is something that has happened before and there wasn’t even a fine or disciplinary action taken by the same governing body."

"There is something very strange going on, there is no doubt about that."

Yes indeed, strange and very, very sad.

I suspect we have not heard the end of this sad tale and McLaren will surely appeal this verdict.  So the continuing saga will likely taint the remainder of the season.

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