Thursday 29th November 2012


Sunday restored Dan's passion for F1 - appeals to strip Vettel's title might just kill it again

Maybe it's just that I'm a Yorkshire tightwad unwilling to pay for Sky but, in truth, the partial move to pay-to-view has been just one factor in the sense that F1 was lost to me this year. Despite it turning out to be one of the best seasons in its history.

A fighter to the end but it wasn't to be
A fighter to the end but it wasn't to be
F1 is a strange world. You have to wade through so much crap to cut to the core and enjoy the bits you actually love you question sometimes whether it's worth the effort. Somehow this year it didn't seem like it was. And certainly not paying for.

I realised how wrong I'd been absent mindedly watching the qualifying for Brazil on Saturday. Passion. Reignited. So come Sunday I was glued to the telly, brew ready and settled into the sofa awaiting a year of cynicism to be exorcised. No more 'you can only tell where they're racing by the national costume montage at the start.' No more relentlessly orchestrated corporate onanism. No more need to ponder just how tight the BBC team can wear their trousers (surely the real reason Jake Humphrey is leaving - the poor man wants to start a family! ). Just proper racing

Wasn't a dull moment at Interlagos
Wasn't a dull moment at Interlagos
Sure as hell wasn't disappointed either. Genuinely, I was on the edge of my seat. My tea went cold. I punched the air. I actually whooped. I got - deservedly - tutted at. But, at its best, that's what sport should provide. There was drama - Vettel seemingly losing it on the first lap, Hamilton's heartbreaking end to his McLaren career (for all the daft facial hair and Twitter twittery it'd have been nice to see him end that on a high), grit with Alonso's relentless determination and Webber's ultra cool 180mph four-wheel drifting into the final turn. Even comedy with Raikkonen apparently keen to knock off early and head off into downtown Sao Paulo to be first at the bar.

Honestly I'd have liked to have seen Alonso win it for quitting his moaning and proving his cold, ruthless racer's heart. I liked Emerson Fittipaldi's assessment in an interview during the race build-up; having explained at length what Vettel needed to do he turned to Alonso's chances, and with clenched teeth and a wicked glint in his eye hissed "he just needs to get the knife between his teeth and GO FOR IT!"

So close.

Fair means or foul, he did it
Fair means or foul, he did it
And then, just as my love for F1 is fully back in bloom this. Rumours that Ferrari may appeal on a technicality and attempt to strip Vettel of his championship. Just as it seemed they'd learned how to lose with dignity.

The BBC story on it is here, following on from an impassioned 'Are we watching a championship stolen?' blog by the always opinionated and always excellent AxisOfOversteer. They seemed satisfied having reviewed the evidence, later declaring it 'Case closed' and saying Vettel was living on his wits and thinking like a champion. Will the appeal go through? God knows, but you have to hope it doesn't.

Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic but if Alonso was going to win it I'd have liked it to have happened as Fittipaldi described it - on the track and with the knife in his teeth. Not with the lawyers and an FIA inquiry. By fair means or foul, Vettel won the day by being clever, opportunist and damned, damned lucky.

Please, let's leave it at that eh guys?


Author: Dan Trent
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