So unless you have been living under a rock you’ll know that McLaren will be having a meeting with the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on April 29th to discuss the incident with Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix (details at blog post from April 3rd).
I think we’ll all agree it was very foolish and regretable, of both Lewis and Dave Ryan. Lewis found himself disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix which meant he lost points in the Driver’s Championship and McLaren lost points in the Constructor’s Championship. Since then Lewis has been villified by everyone from the newspapers to the BBC, while McLaren have received their share of bad press too.
I am really hoping that at that meeting in Paris with the FIA WMSC, McLaren don’t get banned from any more races, as the papers seem to be suggesting today and as Bernie Ecclesten said could happen in today’s Daily Express:
There are many options open if the charge sticks and it would be a terrible thing if any team were banned from races. But it could happen. It is not so long ago that McLaren were in front of the Council and it is never good for anyone if you are back in court quickly for something similar.
Of course as a McLaren fan isn’t that bound to be my reaction? Maybe, but from a racing point of view I think the McLaren driver’s are an exciting and intriguing part of the 2009 season.
When Lewis started in Formula 1 in 2007 his first race was in a very good McLaren car, which combined with his driving skill led him to 2nd in the Driver’s Championship in his rookie year, something he improved upon last year by becoming World Champion. This season Lewis is driving a MP4-24 which is lacking in performance compared to the likes of Brawn GP, Red Bull, Ferrari, Toyota and Williams.
Now we have an opportunity to see Lewis having to depend more than ever on his driving skills, something that I am very much looking forward to seeing and so far I think, on the track, he’s proving all those wrong who said he was only ever as good as his great car. In both Australia and Malaysia Lewis had to battle through the pack from underibale grid placings and in doing so showed his mettle and proved those naysayers wrong. His duel with Mark Weber at the Malaysian Grand Prix was the racing highlight of the year so far, without a shadow of a doubt, and I look forward to many more exciting exchanges in the future races.
Heikki Kovalainen is the personification of unfulfilled potential and has been unlucky to not complete a whole lap yet this season. Without the huge weight of expectation from driving one of the best cars in Formula 1, 2009 could be his year to break out and show everyone, like Lewis, that he posseses the driving skills to go up against and beat the best in the world. I don’t even know if a ban would affect him or just Lewis, but I only hope Heikki gets his chance to shine this season.
Both Lewis and McLaren have been punished for their actions, maybe some believe it’s not enough and that’s their perogative. I just really hope April 29th will draw a line under this whole matter and that Lewis and Heikki will be allowed to continue racing in what looks like it could be the best season we as Formula 1 fans will have witnessed in years. For the sake of great racing, don’t ban McLaren from any more races.