On British GP, Ferrari again lets others do the talking

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Following its general “why us” reaction to the British Grand Prix, Ferrari late on Monday swiped a play from its European GP strategy: let others do the talking.

This time around, in a website posting called “An eye on the papers and what the fans have to say,” Ferrari appears to be getting its feelings about the Silverstone race out without having to say anything, itself. Strange strategy.

Here are key parts:

The day after the British Grand Prix, many of the most famous national and international papers have focussed on the fact that in the fastest sport in the world, decision are taken slowly. In Italy’s “La Gazzetta dello Sport” the pen of Umberto Zapelloni hones in on the argument, speaking of a “Formula Lullaby”: “One could be led to believe that the sporting authority travels at two speeds, but always penalises in one direction… Certainly the rules are respected, but there remains the suspicion that too often, when it concerns a grey area in the rules, those rules are dealt with according to who is to be penalised.” “Il Giornale” speaks of a race director and stewards who are legitimised to do what they want: “The drive-through connected to Kubica, who had already retired and after Ferrari had repeatedly asked what it should do, is either a joke or a matter of great suspicion.” Among the Spanish press, “Marca” talks of the bits of wing left on the track for two laps before the Safety Car was called out: “People wishing to think the worst could imagine that Fernando’s penalty was delayed until it would do as much damage as possible,” while “AS” underlines the delay in instructing the driver to give back the position to the other driver: “It is clear that the penalty handed out later was disproportionate and unjust.” In the English press, “The Independent” highlights the coincidence of the drive-through being handed out at the same time as the Safety Car period, while “The Guardian” talks of a penalty that was “probably too harsh.”

We have quoted various Italian and international papers, but the general opinion is more or less unanimous. Having said that, for the record, there are some who preferred to concentrate solely on criticism of the Maranello team and its drivers. The same is true for the tifosi and those who are just fans of Formula 1: the overwhelming majority share, in more or less the same tone, the opinions stated above, while a very small minority put forward the opposite view.

I always wait anxiously to see if Ferrari gets a representative from the British media; so far, in these pieces, it has.

Quickly, I’m going to point out a couple of things. One: Ferrari’s website is the most friendly, in terms of going there and getting information. It is very easy to see what’s new, and the team puts these timely — if not newsy — pieces up more regularly than other Formula 1 teams.

Two: Well, what I said above. Ferrari seems to be the most consistent in posting updates along these lines. I’m not sure if there really is more news involving Ferrari (as much as Fernando Alonso’s race was again affected by stewards, the British GP seemed to be more a Red Bull affair), but Ferrari sure gets itself out into the public domain more.

Combine those two things together, and Ferrari is a terrific source of fresh F1 opinion — plus the fact that it is Ferrari, and few F1 fans don’t have some opinion on Maranello.

So that’s a quick moment of background on why Ferrari seems to be one of the teams that can get this sort of drip-drip of coverage all the time (here and elsewhere, I think).

But back to the topic du jour. Ferrari once again is taking this “here’s what others are saying” tactic on its site. It puts Ferrari into an interesting place. This all is, after all, nothing the team or any of its members have said. But ultimately packaged the way it is, it still comes across as Ferrari’s point of view.

I guess it strikes me as passive aggressive. That’s the thing.

And I still can’t quite decide who I think the ultimate audience is. Fans? The FIA? Other teams? All of them? It’s a simple, but subtle, communications trick/strategy.

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