Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vettel’s Two-headed Coin...

A ‘Churlish Michael Schumacher stands alongside the race’s virtual winner Rubens Barrichello, at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. (Source: The Cahier Archive;
Joe Saward:
Sebastian Vettel has probably not read much of William Shakespeare. Perhaps he should have done. If he had, he might have known about Mark Anthony’s celebrated speech at Julius Caesar’s funeral, which relates that “the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”.

Obviously everyone’s well aware of the Machiavellian doings of Sebastian Vettel at Malaysia last weekend, which all I could say during the winners interview upon the podium when Mark Webber dropped the bombshell that ‘Seb had disobeyed team orders was WOW! As in W-FREAKIN’ O-W! HOLY HEARING AIDS BATMAN! Of which my head immediately screamed Villeneuve-Pironi! As this was simply FUCKING unbelievable!

In case you’re not aware of what I’m referring to, ‘Wayback in 1982 a similar rift developed between Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi at la Scuderia, nee Ferrari, when Gilles thought he’d won the race as the Prancing Horse had allegedly ordered the two team drivers to “Hold Station” to the chequered flag with Villeneuve leading Pironi, aka Webber-Vettel, who’d been issued to bring the cars home in formation after their final pit stop by team principal Christian Horner...

"After the last stop, the team told me the race was over," said Webber. "The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual."

Yet, some 31-years ago, Pironi pulled a Vettel and ignored team orders, passed a surprised Villeneuve, no less than upon the Tiafosi’s home soil and took the improvable win at the San Marino Grand Prix, which legend has it so infuriated the Canadian, that Gilles vowed to never speak to Didier again, as it was this incident which was most likely the catalyst leading to his death at the following round at Zolder, a fortnight later where Villeneuve most likely was trying to throw-down upon Pironi during qualifying and subsequently lost his life during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend...

Now, I’m definitely NOT trying to imply or suggest that anything even remotely similar will happen to Mark Webber, yet surely the world must see that he was the victim in this situation, and his very pointed comment noting “Vettel will have protection as usual” unfortunately rings true, as Vettel has been upper management’s Golden Boy for several years now.

Having watched Formula 1 for over a quarter century, in all that time I’ve only ever had three favourite drivers, with my last two having been chosen prior to their becoming multi-times world champions, the first being “The Professor,” and the latter duo being from Germany, having the last names of Schumacher and Vettel, and NO! I’m NOT talking about the world famous Ralfanso, aka Ralf, but his older brother Michael...

Thus I found myself feeling completely gutted and a ‘Wee bit maudlin over the stunning actions of who I’ve taken to calling Master ‘Zebb for the past few years now, as he definitely showed his true colours Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit, who’s initials just so happen to ironically spell SIC! As in yeah ‘Seb your antics were totally SICK, TWISTED & DERANGED!

Now I’m not going to say that I’m naïve enough to believe that top flight athletes aren’t arrogant, egotistical & ruthless Son of Bitches... As hey, nobody’s just gonna pull over and say you go ahead and win cause you’re a nice guy and I like you! As I’m guessing nearly all of the multiple world champions in the sport had some sort of ice in their veins when it came to their competition, eh?

As four such characters immediately spring to mind when thinking of the derisive ruthlessness Vettel showed in Sepang: can you say Schumacher, Senna, Prost and Alonso? As ‘Skewmaaker as a one David Hobbs likes calling him antics are ‘legendous, having bloodied his nose when purposely trying to ram Jacques Villeneuve off track in order to win another world title for Ferrari...

Not to mention this controversial victory made me flashback to that oh, so awkward moment on the Austrian podium, where Michael Schumacher didn’t know what to do with himself after ‘Rubino (Rubens Barrichello) had been ordered to slow down on the final lap mere feet from the stripe in order to let Herr Schumacher pass by for another victory in order to pad his unassailable points lead en route to his fifth world championship.

This mockery of the sport led to Michael inexplicably returning the favour in that bizaro whitewash team photo-op victory at the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis...

Yet I think I lost the last tenuous shreds of respect for Michael’s character when he purposely parked his Ferrari on the streets of Monaco to block Fernando Alonso from securing pole...

But Alonso’s definatly not immune himself, especially during his contentious 2007 season with that upstart Lewis Hamilton campaign at McLaren, as his behaviour indelibly led to his forever being known as “Ferdi-the-Putz” by none other then Blogmeister Miguel!

Not to mention ‘CrashGate, where Fernando maintains he knew NOTHING ‘bout Nelson Piquet Jr. being order to purposely crash out of the Singapore circuit’s crane’s reach which in turn led to the safety car being deployed and Alonso subsequently winning the race for a flagging Renault F1 team.

And Ayrton Senna AIN’T NO Saint either, having run Elio de Angelis out of Lotus and preventing Derrick Warwick from joining the team, not to mention his more than acrimonious relationship with teammate and arch nemesis Alain Prost, who I have to say was pretty ruthless himself; I mean just ask ‘Ol Bloody ‘Nige what he thinks about Alain, eh? Not to mention Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg walking away from the sport! As I’d surmise that Prost got his just rewards when Senna came to Williams, right?

Thus, as I said before, I felt absolutely sick to my stomach after the conclusion of the Malaysian GP, as I only wish I could have heard & seen what Mark Webber said in the green room moments before going on stage, as surely he was throwing daggers with his eyes?

Yet, lets also remember that Webber himself has disobeyed team orders before, when pulling a similar maneuver upon Vettel during the 2011 British Grand Prix when fighting over second place, albeit in Webber’s defense, he ultimately backed  off and followed Vettel home behind, as can you imagine what the punishment would have been if Webber had actually taken the runner-up spot? Perhaps even being sacked when his contract came up for renegotiation?

And while I applaud ‘Wattie’s latest comment about Vettel needing to be sat down for the next race, Y’all know there’s NO way in HELL that’ll happen!

As the only driver I can recall being sat down for a race was Senna for breaking his contract and signing to jump ship to Lotus from Toleman which isn’t the same circumstance, eh?

Thus, I found NO joy in the fact that Vettel scored his 27th Grand Prix victory this way, tying the once unassailable most wins tally of Sir Jackie Stewart - now sixth overall along with being third overall in poles with 38, as I understand the need to win at any cost, yet that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy his unscroopleness, right?

As I found his petchulant pleading of whining for the team to order Webber to pull over to being somewhat akin to Felipe Massa famously being told that Fernando is FASTER than you, can you confirm please. As my immediate reaction after the shocking podium farce, where Lewis Hamilton got large props from Mwah for his honesty, stating how Nico deserved to be there instead of him - and he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the outcome.

As in all of the examples above, notice that the drivers have indeed followed their team orders, be it directly communicated or coded, nevertheless they’ve all followed their team orders - which in turn left me thinking that perhaps its time to cast about for a new favourite driver? (As I’m definitely impressed by Jules Bianchi so far...)

So, two Grand Prix’s into the season, and one IndyCar race later where I found myself clapping over Dario Franchitti’s mistake, I found myself asking What’s that Smell? As in “Baby Schuey” indeed...