Fernando Alonso goes into the F1 season finale in Brazil this weekend with a chance of winning the world championship, and he has an act of sabotage to thank for it.
Ferrari’s leading driver had endured a poor qualifying session at the United States Grand Prix, finishing down in ninth place.
A five-place grid penalty for Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was on the face of it a boost, pushing Alonso up to eighth – but in fact it damaged his prospects further. It meant he would have to start at the new Circuit of the Americas on the other side of the track. This side was dirty, hard to get away from, and accordingly slow.
So his team stepped in. Team-mate Felipe Massa had outqualified Alonso in seventh place, and to restore their championship challenger on to the clean side of the track they intentionally broke his £100,000 gearbox, costing him a five-place penalty to replace it but, crucially, moving Alonso across the track and up to seventh.
It was Machiavellian, predatory, and a stroke of genius.
Ferrari, who made no attempt to hide their scheme, are probably the only team in the sport with the resources and the gall to pull it off.
- John Scherrer
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It might well be legal but hardly 'sporting' .. though predictably Christian Horner said they reserve the right to do something like that next week if it came to it ..
Despite that, what a cracking event the US have got together in the relatively short time !
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