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The Dampers Controversy

It seems I was premature in congratulating the FIA for dealing with Renault’s and Ferrari’s weighted dampers so quickly and efficiently (see my post The FIA Dampens Some Ardor). The Hockenheim stewards have thrown a spanner in the works by accepting them as legal when the Renault team presented their cars for scrutineering with the dampers still fitted.

So we have the interesting situation of stewards appointed by the FIA disagreeing with a ruling by the FIA. We can look forward to a storm of protest, argument and law suits as a result and the possibility of race results being changed once everything is decided finally. Ah, the glories of Formula One.

Scrutineering

A steward at scrutineering

Personally, I wonder what Renault were up to when they left the dubious dampers on their cars. Do they make such a performance difference that they were worth risking the ensuing fuss? And it is a risk; getting them past the stewards is one thing, but a later ruling that they are illegal could result in any points won in Germany by the Renaults being taken away. Surely it makes more sense to accept the FIA’s judgement, knowing that Ferrari will be without the tweak as well and therefore without any advantage it gives. At this stage, Renault would be better employed making sure that Alonso finishes no lower than second in the remaining races.

At least it seems that everyone is happy with the banning of BMW Sauber’s upright wings. The FIA’s reasoning that they interfere with the drivers’ vision seems a bit flimsy, given that all three BMW drivers maintain that they can see fine, thank you. Admittedly, their case is a bit weakened in that they were saying so long before the FIA made their ruling; they must have known that any objections would center on the restriction of the driver’s view of the road.

But we all know the real reason why the wings were outlawed: they are just plain ugly. Is this the first time the FIA have had to step in on a matter of aesthetics?

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