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Random Observations

FEATURE BY MIKE LAWRENCE
27/05/2009

It has been some time since I have posted on Pitpass, but I have not been idle. The problem has been that things have been happening so fast in F1 that by the time I have nearly finished refining an article, the position has changed. It has been like trying to complete a moving crossword. Here are some random observations.

It is clear that the WMSC's hearing on Lie-gate was decided in advance and that plea-bargaining took place. Like so much which has been happening, the essential work was done in secret. I have seen no record of arguments presented. You will notice that while the world and his dog have had things to say about budget capping, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have been strangely silent, as anyone would be if on parole.

Max won that part and it is clear that part of the deal was the sacrifice of Ron Dennis, so Max won that skirmish as well.

It is my opinion that Ron is a great man. He must go down as one of the most able team managers in motor racing history. By contrast, Max Mosley's handling of March in 1977 was one of the most inept, ask Alex Ribeiro or Ian Scheckter who had the misfortune to be the drivers. The degree of the calamity was part of the reason why Max left hands-on motor racing at the end of the season.

Lewis Hamilton, who lied to Stewards, was not even charged at the WMSC hearing though Dave Ryan, who did exactly the same, was sacked after 35 years with McLaren. I guess that Lewis draws viewers and Dave did not, it is a case of the immunity of celebrity.

I thought that McLaren-Mercedes got off lightly, a mere tap on the wrist. Honda was suspended for two races for a fuel tank infringement which was marginal. Mercedes-Benz, however, supplies three teams with engines and brings enormous prestige to F1, not only because of the quality of its road cars, but because of its distinguished history in motor racing. I wonder whether McLaren-Hyundai would have got off so lightly.

Before the hearing, Anthony Hamilton gave a non-attributable briefing to journalists representing some of the national newspapers. Politicians do this all the time, but it is unusual for the manager of a driver. He may be Lewis's Dad, but his official status in F1 is as a manager.

I think that Anthony Hamilton has got way too big for his boots. Part of the incompetence of ITV's Lewis lovefest was to seek out Anthony on every possible occasion, it gave Louise Goodman something to do. ITV succeeded in turning some people against Lewis because they got tired of the sycophancy.

Anthony found Ron 'arrogant and prickly' - and his point would be...? Ron did not get where he is by being fluffy and you have no idea of the man's achievement until you visit the McLaren Technical Centre. He founded Rondel Racing in 1972 with fellow Brabham mechanic, Neil Trundle, and Ron Tauranac, then sole owner of Brabham, thought so highly of them that, for the first time ever, he allowed credit. From running cars in Formula Two, mainly for pay drivers, to what McLaren is today is some journey.

Anthony Hamilton even had the brass neck to say he disagreed with Ron's management of Lewis's career. That is not only ingratitude, that is stupidity. Anthony has also claimed that he helped get Ron ousted and if that it true I want a tar and feather party. Ron is a man of enormous achievement but, from what I hear, you cannot claim to have met pushiness until you have encountered Anthony Hamilton, the Alpha Karting Parent, though Scott Speed's mother may disagree.

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