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Parc Ferme: Un “F” word-like behaviour in Canadian Grand Prix

Parc Ferme: Un “F” word-like behaviour in Canada?

Parc Ferme: Un “F” word-like behaviour in Canada?

The 2023 Canadian Grand Prix weekend was pretty much a procession, while rule-breaking was the one thing that got everyone’s attention.

First, Nico “the Hulk” Hulkenberg had his anti-pole lap dismissed, then Lando “Is the race finished yet?” Norris was penalized for unsportsmanlike behavior.

How things have changed in Formula 1 these days. In both instances, the Stewards at the Canadian Grand Prix made decisions outside of the regulations.

For Hulkenberg, they did not apply the full nine yards penalty for speeding under a Red flag, as he only did it a little. I mean, really? No harm done; no advantage gained, if you can justify reducing the penalty, then don’t apply it guys.

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What happened here came across as weak and lacking confidence – no room for that in F1 on either side of the fence.

Silence of the lamb…

steiner barceolan Fia f1 stewards

However, what was conspicuous by its presence was the quiet stillness emanating from the Haas pit box. Apparently, Guenther Steiner had been gagged and bound to the tyre warmer by the team lest he respond to the Hulk’s demotion.

Not surprising though, as up until the Spanish Grand Prix you couldn’t get a comment out of Guenther Steiner without him repeating the “F” word when describing Niko Hulkenberg’s penalty at Monaco. No, not the slang for sexual congress, but “F” for FIA Stewards.

Pretty benign until you, as an F1 Team Principal, combine it with another “F” word: “F@ckwits”. Well, he didn’t actually say the latter, but the “powers that be” felt he inferred it. As a consequence, he was publicly invited to have a chat with the beaks to explain his blasphemy.

One more “F” out of you, and you’re “F-ing” barred

What went on behind those closed doors no one knows, but post the said invitation, he and the Team issued a statement. If you cut to the chase, it basically said he didn’t mean it. The Stewards might not always be right, but, they are never wrong, and the sun really did revolve around the earth. I wonder if he had his fingers crossed whilst crafting it!

Not going fast enough…

lando norris mclaren miami stronger

Norris’s situation was different. Apparently, he drove too slow behind the Safety Car to facilitate a smooth McLaren double stack in the pits. Quite what the correct speed is, I have no idea. Clearly, neither did the Stewards, as there was no regulation quoted as being infringed. Instead, they invoked the equally ambiguous “Unsportsmanlike behavior rule”.

I must admit to being ambivalent here. This was a stunt worthy of the great Michael Schumacher himself, whom no doubt would have high-fived Norris if he’d been there.

Injustice is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not factual unless a rule’s been broken and a penalty is not applied, or vice versa. Tricky decision here, but I’m going to give the Stewards a thumbs up for having the minerals on this one. Besides, he was very rude to his teammate at Turn 1 earlier in the race.

Singing in Qualifying

Canadian Grand Prix, Verstappen, Qualifying

In racing parlance, rain is often referred to as “the great leveler”. A situation where the advantage of a superior chassis or power unit (PU) is supposedly neutralized, and pure driving ability becomes the determining factor in driver performance… yeah, right.

Sure, the water reduces the advantage slightly, but a good chassis and PU do stick around regardless of the meteorological conditions.

The wet tells no lies

I think a better name would be “the great revealer”. The rain shows us the drivers who can walk the walk rather than just let your dad buy a team.

Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix revealed the strongest mon amis pairings to be Mercedes and McLaren. The only entrants that had both their drivers in Q3!

I’m not claiming this as definitive. Some had the luck of the Irish on their shoulders, whereas others had the luck of Ferrari. However, it was pretty clear in the run-in who was in the frame for it and who wasn’t. A certain driver’s visit in the week to a sandwich shop frequented in his childhood was not strong enough voodoo to put him on par with his teammate.

The A’s have it

The stars of the show were of course Fernando Alonso and Alex Albon. Alonso drove a faultless race, securing another podium, this time one step closer to the top. At the same time, Albon brought the Williams home in seventh and netted valuable points. Mercedes were also there or thereabouts and seemed to be pretty pleased with their performance at a track that didn’t suit them.

Can Austria bring a shake-up to the Red Bull status quo? In just under two weeks we’ll find out.