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GP Week : Issue 62
HERE we go again! An F1 team in the dock, an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council and the dreaded Article 151c of the International Sporting Code held aloft as the beacon of moral integrity in the sport. When will these people learn? News that Renault will be dragged over the coals of interrogation over the suspicious tactics used in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix is just another twist in what is becoming a truly fascinating and unpredictable season. But it's not the first time that Renault has been in the news and in hot water this year. The loose wheel fiasco at the Hungarian race quite patently did not deserve the race ban the team were handed, and the reversal of the punishment to a more fitting fine came after the team simply confessed to their error. The same leniency will not, I feel, be so forthcoming in this instance. We have two very recent examples of Article 151c and the WMSC, both of which involved McLaren. There was the spying scandal of 2007, of course, and then Lewis Hamilton's lying debacle in Australia this season. In the first case little in the way of real tangible evidence was brought forward and yet McLaren received the still mind-boggling penalty of a $100 million fine. Then, in Australia, McLaren and DORNA chief Carmelo Ezpeleta's brinkmanship has paid o . His threat to introduce a two-tier MotoGP class, with lesser runners using production- based 1000cc engines "guaranteed not to be able to win" has galvanised the Japanese factories into revising their plans. After earlier professing unwillingness or inability to do much about the dire grid numbers, the threat that bike racing's class of kings might be devalued with humble road-bike engines was enough. The factories announced last week at Indy, via their MSMA association, that they would be willing to supply 800cc prototype lease engines from 2011 onwards. Since then, they have gone quiet. Pressed for more details after a further MSMA meeting at Misano, their spokesman played the 'wait and see' card. But he did confirm that at least two manufacturers intended to be in the market. It does not require a great intellectual leap to suggest that this means Honda and Yamaha -- two companies that truly respect GP racing. Something which cannot be said of here-today/gone- tomorrow Kawasaki. As reported last week, one manufacturer would be enough, if it was prepared to supply, say, five riders. Two would be better, or course, and three better still. But Ducati race-team chief Livio Suppo has already voiced his basic objection to the idea ("It will not save costs," he said, "because the engine is anyway by far the most expensive part of the motorcycle."). And Suzuki has steadily resisted pressure to increase its involvement beyond the two factory riders currently on the books. Honda and Yamaha are all that is left. And each has a history that reinforces the Taking a dive To the brink and ba MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion Letters email us at email@example.com To reach the impossible dream Are there any more twists and turns left in this Formula 1 season? I see one of the drivers (was it Alonso) describing this as "the worst season for some time, with all the changes ...". He would say that. wouldn't he, given that his team is one of the strugglers. But how amazing was it to see, at Spa, a team that until quite recently occupied the back of the grid (no. not Toyota!), competing not just r a podium, but for a possible race win. As some observers have said, it took KERS for Ferrari to hold Fisi's Force India at bay. And then, how extraordinary that, if your story is correct, Fisi gets o ered the Ferrari drive for the rest of the year. You might think he'd question whether it was a forward move, but in my view Spa was just 'one of those days' for Force India -- Ferrari will consistently be up front with consistency. A Ferrari at Monza. Fisi must have thought he was in the middle of an unbelievable dream. Good luck to you Fisico.! Matthew Long Bristol (UK) Frank Gardner As a British reader (and also of your Australian V8 Supercar edition) I'd like to add to those expressing their admiration for the late Frank Gardner [ED: the Australian racing legend died a week ago after an extended illness]. I recall seeing him at the wheel of a F5000 Lola in the heyday of that formula (when I was quite young). My father spoke with him and afterwards told me what an approachable, down- to-earth man he was. From what I read, he went on to a distinguished career back home in Australia as a team manager and driver mentor. It seem they don't breed them quite like that any more. Adrian Barraclough Southampton (UK) Coincidence ... Is it just me, or is there something rather timely, or untimely, about the fact that the Renault/ Piquet/Singapore/crash "scandal" erupts shortly after the young man in question is red by his team? And he has no idea where the story came from? Sure. David Anderberg Goteborg (Sweden) opinion WILL BUXTON GPWeek Editor 20