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A question of nationality - How much does patriotism affect F1 actions?

Published by Mr. C

There's been talk today about an article that appeared in Germany's Bild magazine, that suggests some people were unhappy that the British national anthem was played after Alonso's victory in Sepang last weekend. BlogF1 has more background on the story.

Initially my thoughts were "McLaren are based in the UK, and they've always played the British anthem when they've won". But then I got thinking.

Last summer, McLaren were booted out of the 2008 F1 Commission because the FIA decided they only wanted to have one team voting from each country. Williams were given the British nod as they were the most senior team. At the time it was widely speculated that this was all a ruse created by FIA president Max Mosley, to cut McLaren's team boss Ron Dennis out of the loop (they've never exactly seen eye-to-eye).

When questioned about the selection process Max was quoted as saying:

I think we would have to take the most senior team. For example, Honda is probably the senior Japanese team.

- Max Mosley

At the time BMW were the only representative from Germany, so they went unchallenged as most senior.

If Ron wanted to get his voting rights back, what better way to do it, than to suddenly find that the majority stakeholders of his team (Mercedes with 40pc) were German, and that they wished to register the team in Germany? Based on the FIA's choice of Williams over McLaren, no-one can argue that in F1 terms, McLaren are more senior than BMW. Can they?

Interestingly Toyota are the only team to base their entire operation in Germany and they're registered as a Japanese team, but they also lost their vote last summer to Honda. If I were them I think I'd register myself as Team Barbados.

One final point. Given the impression Hamilton has made over the first few races, it's fair to say he'll be a multiple race winner soon. It's pretty clear he's in the Macca camp for the long term, so it wouldn't hurt the team to lose the constructors national anthem, only to gain it right back with the drivers nationality instead.