Is Ferrari toning down its Valencia rhetoric or not?


Just when you thought it was safe to pay attention to Formula 1 again, Maranello strikes!

Actually, it struck sometime late yesterday. It posted another Valencia-related update at its website, which is dated June 30, although I’m pretty sure that — local time in Maranello — I must have looked at the site after 9 p.m.

My question is not about the race itself and the safety car issue but about how Ferrari is handling its protests of the steward’s decision.

I think we all can agree that Ferrari came out immediately with both barrels blazing. Fernando Alonso cried foul. Piero Ferrari talked scandal. Luca di Montezemolo said it was an unacceptable result.

Since then, it seems like Ferrari has been moderating its comments. Alonso apologized for his initial reaction. Felipe Massa had a posting that was pretty straight-forward.

But then, after Massa’s “diary” piece hit, Ferrari posted this piece rounding up the latest fan reaction. It is titled, “The fans are still irate”:

Maranello, 30 June – Last Sunday’s controversial European Grand Prix is still a hot topic of debate on the site. Some people, like Franco Sacchi are still very angry: “the race directors acted like dilettantes, the judgments were not up to scratch and rules were unclear. Enough, it is now time for change” while others are less strident but continue to protest. Lorenzo.Cloud wants to see a protest organised against the FIA: “Give me the email of some bigwig at the FIA to whom we can forward our protests, I would be more than happy to do it, just to make it clear to these gentlemen what the current mood is.”

Stefano Lago examines the situation and reveals the problem is not just about overtaking the safety car: “If Hamilton had stayed where he should have been and had crossed the line 6th or 7th, the Valencia race would still have had a false result because of the incompetent way the race director managed the Safety Car. It would be interesting to know what the English bookmakers think of such an artificially manipulated result.”

Others, like Goodwood from England, underline the fact it is not just about a dispute between the English and Italians: “I didn’t see any insults to Brits by Ferrari fans” even if the idea of having stewards of the same nationality as the drivers is considered impractical by the fan, Scuderia Star: “F1 is an international sport. You won’t find a single nationality which is not involved.� Another asks a question that will never be answered: “I would just like to see that such a scenario happens, Hamilton and that he might be injured party, and to see how he would behave and McLaren …” asks Dragan

My reading of this piece is that it starts off “hard” — the dilettantes comment — and then goes a bit more substantive/softer with the focus on the false result (it pulls Lewis Hamilton a bit out of the mix), although that part still talks about manipulation, and then it finishes with the focus squarely back on Hamilton and McLaren.

Now, I know these are fan comments, but Ferrari has chosen to highlight them, so I think it is fair to look at why it chose these comments and in this order.

Thoughts? What’s Ferrrari’s message here? What’s the endgame?

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