The world of being an F1 fan can be a strange one. You can be on an extreme high one moment, and then be forced to take sides and opinions the next.
Take the events after the Brazilian Grand Prix the other Sunday. Everyone in the Sett was in a content mood – the season was over, we were slapping each other on the back for a job well done and had already started thinking about what to cover in the off-season.
To us, 2012 was done and dusted.
Then the BBC’s Andrew Benson drops a bombshell…
Ferrari trying to establish whether there is enough evidence to protest Sebastian Vettel for overtaking under yellow flags. Story soon
— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) November 28, 2012
…and everything went nuts.
It’s not like we didn’t know something had happened with Sebastian Vettel and flags during Brazil. It was clear to see he had passed Kamui Kobayashi under some sort of flashing colour, but it was cleared as yellow-and-red “slippery surface” warnings. That came and went without too much incident. What followed that tweet was bordering on hysteria.
Every blog starting reporting Ferrari’s consideration in an appeal, even though that’s what it was at the time – a consideration. No formal request, no paperwork filed, nothing more than a rumour. And it was a rumour based on some grainy YouTube onboard footage that, for anyone that either worked in motorsport, had already dismissed as, in their knowledge, flags overrule the flashing lights system.
But, being in the times we’re in, no-one wanted to listen. Fernando Alonso fans had a sliver of hope that their man could be champion on a technicality, while all the Sebastian Vettel haters, those who didn’t want the German to take yet another title, jumped on the already creaking bandwagon.
We think that’s what stirred up the controversy – the way fans had been polarised by Alonso and Vettel. It all boiled down to those two and everyone really had to pick sides, and in a strange way, the sides were divided into those who wanted the Spaniard to win, and those who wanted the German to fail. That’s what made it so interesting – one group were shouting “Strip Vettel of the title!”, with the other adding to the chorus of “Yeh! And give it to Alonso!”
The knives were out in the name of injustice, and blood was wanted.
Yet less than 12 hours later is was all over, thanks to Ferrari writing to the FIA for clarification, and the FIA’s prompt response that read “nice try, better luck next time”.
The FIA didn’ t react at all during the race – not due to incompetance, apathy or absent mindedness, but because there was no need to act at all. That’s a point that’s been missed the most – the stewards did do their job.
Ultimately, they made the correct decision at the right time, Vettel finished in the position he needed to and eventually scored the most points to be declared World Champion. The fact that it had to be explained to a team that only really noticed it after some fans presented some social media footage did it actually become an issue. That’s the state F1 can get into sometimes.
For us, we’ll remember the season finishing at the chequered flag in Sao Paulo.