Planet F1 reports today that the Mark Webber Taxi ride nearly escaped sanction. We all know this has happened before with no sanctions. the ride given to Ayrton Senna by Nigel Mansel in the 1991 British Grand Prix at Silverstone lives on in F1 history as one of the finest moments of sportsmanship we have seen. As a matter of fact, in this instance it seems Alonsao was returning the favor to Webber, as Webber was the cabbie for Alonso at the Nurburgring at the end of the German Grand Prix in 2011.
So why is this one different? Why the penalties so severe to Webber? While we know that the FIA is going to overlook those questionable acts by teams and drivers when they gain good press from it…
…we also know that they will feel forced to act if the action in questions produced bad press. For whatever reason, this incident produced more bad press than good, and so action had to be taken.
According to Autosport.com, the resulting 10 grid spot penalty to Webber, and the wrist-slapping to Alonso are not the result of the ride itself, which apparently is not specifically illegal, it was because of a safety violation and nothing more. This inspires me to reply with, “Yea, Right!”.
Apparently there was too much replay of the now famous “taxi ride”, and the extra press is what caused the FIA to act. So much for rational reaction. Auto sport went on to explain in detail:
“Article 43.3 of F1’s sporting regulations states only that: “After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc ferme without any unnecessary delay, without receiving any object whatsoever and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary).”
That was the regulation under which Alonso was summoned to see the stewards after his victory in this year’s Spanish Grand Prix when he received a flag on the slowing-down lap. He escaped with a caution.
High-level sources have confirmed to AUTOSPORT that the FIA would almost certainly not have taken any action had the pick-up been conducted in a safe way.
That means Webber would have had to wait for permission from the marshals to enter the confines of the circuit, and Alonso would have had to pull completely off the track to collect him.”
Phooey. Too much hypocrisy here to even continue writing.