From2Brits: Scandal Sweepstakes

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Cheating, lying, spanking, stealing – all in the space of two and a bit years. And that’s just what we, the public, actually know about. If you like scandals, then Formula One is the sport for you.

This is entirely a bit of fun – all utterly made up – but it’s time to speculate!

Every year – as well as a collection of races – Formula One provides us with a “Gate”, or several “Gates”, if we’re (un)lucky. Scandal has become an integral part of the sport.

In 2007, it seemed nothing would ever eclipse the furore around Spygate. In 2008, Max Mosley showed us that record penalties for industrial espionage is but little league stuff, and duly provided us with (huge props must go to Enoch Law and Jamie McGregor from F1Rejects.com for coining the phrase) Allegedly Nazi-Themed Sado-Massochistic Sex With Five Prostitutes Gate (or ANTSMSW5PG). 2009 may not have involved sex or videotape, but we have had lies in Liegate, not to mention Diffusergate, Breakawaygate, and now Crashgate.

So what on earth is in store for the future? The F1B podcast offers you race predictions – and they are often disastrous – so, now it’s time for some scandal predictions. These, in no particular order, are Mark and Frantic’s – currently completely fictitious – top 10 future scandals for F1:

Enginegate.

Whilst everyone spent 2009 after Mercedes engines, it turns out that cosworth – despite all the talk – had received no orders, as the teams had waited on Mercedes deals. Therefore, Cosworth commissioned no money to build any engine at all. Once this is realised in late February all the teams say their orders were lost in a postal strike and the best Cosworth can manage is to dig up the old V8 from the driver’s championship winning Benneton B194 from 1994. All hell breaks loose a little later, when a cosworth team spokesman is asked how long the engines will take to arrive.
“We are not sure. We are waiting for an email from Flavio Briatore on how to delete the traction control programme off it.”
Benetton are then accused once again of cheating. The FIA bans Bennetton from F1 with a 2-year suspended sentence. No one had told the FIA that Benetton left at the end of 2001, They also throw another huge mistake by banning Flavio from any FIA event for 3 years — thus accidentally shortening his current life-long ban.

Probability: With Flavio involved who knows? 50/50.

Presidentgate.

The FIA presidential election hots up but at the last moment Ari Vatanen pulls out the race. Confusion reigns as everyone wonders why. It turns out he quit his post just after sitting in on his first FOTA meeting.
“In 30 minutes of sitting there the team managers finally decided they wanted one sugar in their coffees apart from Luca who wanted more cream in his cappuccino. There is no way I can put up with them for 4 years. Todt’s welcome to them,” Vatanen fumed.
FOTA then issue a statement saying they will pull out of F1 if Todt is made president, to which Todt says, “well, you can have Max back then!”
FOTA quietly backs down.

Probability: It could involve Max so you gotta say at least 75%.

Rocksgate.

Everyone was enjoying F1 rocks. That’s the new concert to promote, ummm, well, I’m not exactly sure – perhaps singers careers, but I’m not sure what that does for F1, anyway, I digress. But it turns out that 5 of the female singers (Diva’s A,B,C,D and E) have been going back to Jean Todt, the newly elected FIA president (see above), and having fetish parties.
“Its really not my normal kind of sex party,” Woman D admits. “Usually I like to get naked and tied up, but Jean insisted on putting more and more red woolly jumpers on him to make him sweat more, whilst we spoke to him with an Italian accent.”
“He kept asking us to say: ‘Rubens, move over and let Michael past,’ ” Woman A noted. “Though it got more odd when he asked us to recite FIA regulations he wrote and gave us the FIA book from 2001.”
Luckily, however, the news doesn’t spread that far as even News of the World wont cover it, stating: “unless their clothes were off, we don’t care.”

Probability: Well, he does like those red sweaters.

Nicolegate

Lewis’s girlfriend Nicole causes a sensation when she leaves Lewis Hamilton for Jenson Button. Then Button for Alonso, then Alonso for Kubica and so on until she has dated at least one driver in every team on the grid.
Suspicions are raised when, with every new driver she gets with, Hamilton and the McLaren are suddenly several tenths a lap faster. Instantly all fingers point to Nicole, accusing her of stealing documents from each team and giving them to McLaren. A whole new spygate saga begins. In the end, the drivers all explain that they only ever went on one date with her, and found her too annoying to put up with, let alone allow in the team headquarters or garage. Thus, she never got close to any documents and each team insantly get rid of her.
When looking at Hamilton’s pace, it transpires that Lewis was only quicker once she had left and soon as she returned the speed soon dropped off.
“I’m not surpised,” remarked one driver. “He was so glad to be free of her, it was a massive physiological boost to Lewis each time she didn’t get back with him. Hell, I was so happy I was rid of her my new look on life made me take corners flat in 7th that I’d never dreamed of before!”

Probability: About the same as the world feed showing her on the camera when some action is happening. So around 90%.

Watergate

To complement street, night, and twilight races (even helping create bonus monsoon races), Formula One introduces a new track.
The Monaco Swimming Pool.
The Aquatic Grand Prix is scheduled for the Sunday of Monaco race weekend, following Saturday’s Tarmac Grand Prix, with the Friday of rest abolished to make room for Qualifying.
FOTA members complain that the BBC Top Gear television team had conducted illegal testing for Toyota F1 under the guise of entertainment – flagrantly defying the testing ban in so doing. Adrian Newey, meanwhile, does a jig of joy and then gets out his pile of boat doodles.
A terrified Vitantonio Liuzzi, glistening with sweat in the pre-race TV interview confides, “Vijay said he’d string me up by the short hairs if I prang his party yacht.”
Boating experts argue that the Valencia harbour might have been a better venue — as it could have replaced the tarmac race there.

Probability: If it keeps Adrian Newey in F1, it might be worth 20%.

Billgates

Microsoft seemingly didn’t get their check for the ECUs, from anybody. A dramatic systems failure ensues 6 laps into the race at Donington on all 26 cars and 13 spares. The world feed is replaced by a blue error message screen. The F1 team bosses are vague in the post race interview, but keep muttering something about cost-cutting, and cheques in the post. On the bright side, Damon Hill discreetly smiles, then agrees to take get his guitar out for the rescheduled F1 Rocks after-party, opening with the classic, “Baby come back”.

Probability: There is a recession on. 75%.

Nosegate

Keke Rosberg apparently goes mad and reveals that Nico’s habit for parting company with his front nose-cone in 2008 was actually an ingenious ploy by Williams designed to assuage front wing sponsor Oris (and AT+T) with bountiful TV time. Keke takes down both Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head in so doing, demanding justice for the things that Nico had done at their command. Williams is subsequently re-named to “Quo Vadis F1 Team”.

Probability: These are the Rosbergs and Williams, though, so it’s only 18%.

Tailgate

Jenson Button’s sudden spawning of a tail makes it impossible for him to sit in a standard Brawn cockpit, meaning the world champion is unable to defend his crown. Rumours abound of IRL teams designing specialist seats to sign him up for a single season. Danica promises not to turn down the “Man Challenge” and agrees to team up with him at Andretti Green.
But she won’t take part in the triathlon.

Probability: It would only take a few million years of devolution, or Jenson accidentally forgetting to shave his beard at all. So, 25%.

Doublegate

Rubens Barrichello is no longer in Formula One. He decided he was too old for the sport some years ago and – thanks to the magic of plastic surgery – installed a body double in his place, under his name. The exact moment of the change remains unclear, because the Rubens’s (or to be more accurate, Rubens and Algenon Duberry) decided it would be “a hoot” to keep that information secret, despite appearing in tandem to reveal their duplicity.
Riccardo Patrese is nevertheless reinstated as the longest serving F1 driver in history. Meanwhile, Algenon Duberry is known only to have driven at Honda, Brawn, and possibly Ferrari, scoring at least 85 World Championship points in his mysterious career. These, however, are all retroactively stripped from him for failure to own a superlicense, whilst various global governments file, and win, several tax evasion lawsuits. Asked if he noticed a “change of spirit or attitude” in Rubens at any point over the years together at Ferrari, Michael Schumacher replied: “yes. Frequently.”

Probability: A retroactive prediction, this one. It is already a reality. ;)

Gategate

The paddock suddenly kicks off into a riot at the final weekend of the 2011 season when it transpires that there has been no “gates” for a whole year.
“This can’t happen,” a team insider screamed. “We have had a great, close title battle, brilliant races, many new winners, one of the best seasons for F1 ever…”
“This can’t happen, we need dirt!”
As motor homes are torn apart Flavio Briatore, Nigel Stepney and 5 prostitutes are parachute-dropped out of a plane into the paddock all carrying technical documents, and land on one of the new teams.
Amid such relief that there is now a chance that the poor teams could be doing something wrong, the teams and FIA hold an extraordinary meeting on the grid just before the race, and throw out the poor new teams and ban all hookers from the F1 paddock. The FIA officals look puzzled when someone points out that hookers were supposed to be illegal in the first place…

Probability: Peace and no scandal in F1? About the same as an exciting race in Valencia with overtaking. Nil.

Just quickly, an apology if you were expecting a more serious list… But let’s not tempt fate!

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