Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Be careful what you wish for // What would happen if McLaren won their appeal?

Published by Mr. C

As we sit around awaiting the outcome of yesterday's appeal hearing, it occurs to me that it might actually be amusing if McLaren win. That the championship be decided by a few men in suits, arguing in a courtroom.

I have never known such unanimous support for an appeal to fail. I don't remember the last time so many within the sport were unified in agreement. All the way down the paddock, to the media, to the fans and even those with little more than a passing interest. Nobody wants to see a season end this way. Except of course for McLaren.

Which is why, if they're successful, all hell will break loose. Caustic hate and vitriol, the likes of which Formula 1 has never experienced before, will be focussed directly at single team. And to be honest, that's nothing less than Vodafone McLaren Mercedes deserve.

I'm not sure if it's because we're paying more attention this year, or because the season transpired to expose many of the Woking team's weaknesses, but I haven't seen very much that they have to be proud of in '07.

The team seems to have conducted itself in the most peculiar of ways, almost as if the people in the press office are paralysed by the frosted glass façade that is their 'modern working environment'. That the management structure within the team encourages the propagation of misinformation and spin.

On occasion it will take the high road, with magnanimous proclamations of sportsmanly conduct, while next time falling on its sword, pleading forgiveness. This week has seen the perfect embodiment of this PR paralysis. Prior to the hearing, CEO Martin Whitmarsh goes on record with:

Like all true devotees of motor sport, we would never like to see a drivers' championship decided in court rather than on track.

But days later, the team's lawyer Ian Mill argues for exactly the opposite thing in the London courtroom:

It cannot make a difference it was the last race of the season, and that it will decide the championship. Invariably, whenever there has been a disqualification, there has been a reclassification.

Finally, as if to prove that they truly are the motorsport equivalent of the pantomime horse, Whitmarsh tries to defend Mill's comments by saying:

The team was seeking to clarify the regulatory uncertainty that has arisen from a decision of the FIA Stewards at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix and not to win the Driver's World Championship.

It really does defy belief. A never-ending stream of contradiction, subterfuge and misinformation. That's all we ever seem to get from McLaren.

Compare, if you will, how BMW and Williams have handled themselves throughout this matter. You could argue that, anything said may be used against them, but the fact is they are the accused, yet even if found guilty, they will come out of this with their reputations intact.

Bring on the verdict.