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Belgium 2009

31st August 2009

Genuine pace!

Well, what a weekend at Spa…

Who’d have predicted, in the days leading up to the Belgian Grand Prix, that a team usually over the moon with a mid-table qualifying performance would sit on pole position and come a second or two from winning the race?

I’m guessing no one; but to listen to the hacks and experts paddock-side over the weekend, one would think almost all of them did.

Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing – but do these press room pundits ever step back, take a deep breath, and wonder at the commercial necessities and resultant political manoeuvrings of a sport so dependent on the wellbeing of its teams and sponsors?

As the dust settled after the podium ceremony on Sunday, some of the more sceptical members of F1’s opinion-forming posse asked if Giancarlo Fisichella’s stunning pace could be attributed solely to Force India’s incredibly well-timed honing of their car.

Sure, the VJM02 has a great engine, the featherweight machine working well on its sticky tyres, but is there a bigger picture? And are those who question what they have seen being irresponsible, or simply doing their jobs properly?

All too often both within and without the F1 world, those who question the ‘official line’ are dismissed out of hand as spreading wild conspiracy theories, when in essence all they are doing is thinking outside the box and putting forward an alternative view.

Less than a year ago, Fernando Alonso took the most fortuitous and improbable of wins at Singapore – and those who openly pondered the peculiar circumstances of that victory were condemned and derided as naïve cranks. Now we hear that the FIA is reopening the book on this event.

While no one is saying that, axiomatically, there is more to these events than meets the eye (indeed, there’s often less to something than meets the eye), often they do warrant further investigation by the very people paid so to do. Blindly trotting out lines fed by team press releases really isn’t doing the job, is it?

I wonder what dramatic events await us at Monza next week?

But whatever you do, guys, don’t ask any difficult questions.

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