In 2007, McLaren were thrown out of the Formula One Constructors Championship, and as per Bernie Ecclestone’s ruling, they should be placed at the bottom end of the pitlane for the following season. The winners of the constructors – in this case, Ferrari – were placed at the opposite end in the first garage for 2008. However, it was announced just prior to the Australian Grand Prix that a deal had been struck and McLaren were in garage five. Until Max Mosley intervened, that is, and McLaren were returned to the end for the Bahrain race. But now it seems, they’re back.
It really does seem as though McLaren are getting a similar treatment to the men under the Duke of York’s command.
The Grand Old Duke Of York
The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up;
And when they were down, they were down.
But when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down!
When Bernie allowed McLaren to be in garage five, next door to Red Bull, Mosley stated he had received a complaint and requested Ecclestone to follow his own rules and move them back down. Bernie duly obliged and McLaren were relegated to the bottom with Super Aguri and Force India. However, in Monaco it would appear that McLaren were back in the middle of the pack. I honestly can’t say that I noticed, but apparently that is where they were, and where they are staying.
McLaren are setting up their garage in number five at Circuit Gilles Vileneuve this weekend, but nobody has given any real solid reason as to why this has happened. Ecclestone laughed off the question by jokingly saying it was ‘a mistake’, and it is perfectly possible that McLaren were allowed to be in number five for Monaco due to space reasons. But to hold the garage for the rest of the season? Perhaps this is a subtle way of Bernie sticking two fingers up at Max in the wake of everything that has happened recently? Maybe some money has passed between accounts? Maybe Bernie is going a bit senile in his old age? Who knows, but I’m sure it’ll all change again for the French Grand Prix.
Poor McLaren – reduced to being the prize in a battle between Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone. That’s my theory, anyway.
Lewis Hamilton was perceived to have gained a tactical advantage from being in the last garage due to his ability to get a straight exit from pit stops. This advantage was predicted by many people before the season began but Max has to be hit between the eyes before anything is obvious to him. For the next race, Monaco, McLaren were moved back to pit 5. Surprisingly it seems that whoever complained before has not complained again.
I agree with you all this is ridiculous now! No team deserves to be moved around the pits and certainly not McLaren as they already paid a very high price to last year’s story…
Now it there a competitive advantage to be here or there? I don’t think so. But if there is one (in that case I just wonder why no team has ever asked for a change in the distribution…) it is a vey minor one unless somebody can proove a certain spot in the pitlane has ever given better results in terms of pit-stop timing.
All this is about ranking and prestige: Lots of show off (like standing to the right of a king) but little influence…. And the number “1” on the champion’s car is no go-facter sticker either!
Even the so much praised pole positon has prooved to be a bad place to start from in some races… I remember long time ago Ayrton asking for the pole-man to be able to choose the side of the track he wanted to start from… That was making a lot of sense but it never happened!
That is strange – I had expected any move back up the pitlane to be accompanied by much whinging.