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Sports and competitive spirit

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How often have you wondered about the professional rivalry between teammates or professional jealously? Its nothing new – apparently Fernando Alonso – ironically a double world champion for 2005 and 2006 for Renault – decided to take the uncompetitive route to outwit his powerful and outqualifying team mate – Lewis Hamilton – in the pitstop at Hungary this weekend.

Update #1: The icing on the cake came in the form of Hamilton sealing the race with a historic win under tremendous pressure.

McLaren has been under immense pressure in the last few weeks with the Ferrari-Mclaren controversy of secrets being leaked from Ferrari to McLaren due to which they had to face a hearing commission etc.

This is really sad for the sport and I believe the decision taken by the sports’ governing body to penalize not just Alonso (he doesn’t even have the chance to appeal the decision to move him from pole position down to 6th place allowing Hamilton to regain pole) but also Vodefone McLaren Mercedes Benz is good for the sport. I believe McLaren does not carry any championship points from this race in the constructors – no matter where they ultimately finish!

We also see Ron Dennis visibly upset after the qualifying session concluded – is it because of Alonso’s behavior or was it all staged. Only time will tell – though I have known Ron Dennis to be a professional race team principal in the last 14 years I have been watching F1.

We saw a lot of team orders come into play when Rubens Barrichello was forced to allow his teammate – Michael Schumacher to take the chequered flag first in the Austrian GP in 2002 – now infamous and there needed to be better competitive spirit to allow the adage – may the best man win!

The video to that infamous episode is below.

So, you need to comment here.

Is this uncompetitive spirit all too common in today’s team sports? What role does the governing body have to play in such incidents (in this case, the FIA)? Should the team not be stripped off the constructors points entirely – not just for that race but for the entire season – to hit them real hard? As they say – any punishment should be high enough to hurt and pinch. If its let go of far too easily, there is no point. This is my opinion.

Schumacher may have been my hero at one point in time but this is stretching too far and I don’t agree to such uncompetitive practices in any sport and I don’t believe the governing bodies of such sports should either.

I remember another infamous episode Schumacher was involved with when he tried to do the same to Alonso during the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying and also do the same to Damon Hill during the title clincher in the 1994 Grand Prix at Adelaide and to Jacques Villeneuve in the 1997 Grand Prix at Jerez, Spain. This is just not on.

Schumacher infamous qualifying lap in 2006 at the Monte Carlo GP.

Other incidents I can recollect are: 

Schumacher pitching Damon Hill out of the race in 1994 at Adelaide to clinch the world championship!

Schumacher pitching in a botched attempt to take Jacques Villeneuve out of the race at Jerez, Spain, 1997.

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Written by Naveen Athresh

August 5, 2007 at 3:10 pm

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