What you’re missing as you follow the Ferrari controversy

You may not realize it, but there was a German Grand Prix on Sunday that included cars other than those driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Here’s just a quick round-up of other post-German GP storylines.

Force India put the pit into pitstop

If Force India had any chance to score points following the team’s horrible qualifying, they messed it up entirely by putting the wrong tires on the cars during their end-of-first-lap pitstops. Wow. Bush league. Not even GP2 level.

It will be worth seeing if this team, which has taken such huge steps this year, can shrug this mistake off or if there is anything there starting to crumble. I also wonder if anyone will get the axe over it.

Here’s the team quotes on it:

Adrian Sutil – car 14

What can we say, it’s been a very disappointing weekend. The first lap I had some contact with Tonio and lost some positions. It was always our strategy that, if after the start I had not made up places, I would pit on the first lap to change to the prime tyres and make up positions when other cars stopped later on. It was a good plan as you have nothing to lose when you are that far down, but there was some confusion in the stop. Tonio had radioed to say he was coming in for a front wing change and as we both arrived at the same time the tyre sets got mixed up and then I had to come in and pit again to get the correct set. Once they were on I got going and I could get quite far up the field but then I had to stop when the set went off. This weekend we’ve just not been quick enough but we feel it’s just a blip and not anything too serious – at some races you just don’t run well, so it’s best to write it off and ook forward to the next races.

Tonio Liuzzi – car 15
It’s been a pretty disappointing race weekend overall. I had one contact on the first lap and we believed we had damaged the front wing, so I came to the pits for a change but there was a mix-up in the stop with the tyres so I had to come back in again. It was a shame as I had had a good first lap until that point and afterwards we had a really strong race pace. It was always going to be tough, but the pace we showed was the same as the top ten runners. We have to look at these positives and look forward to the next race in Budapest.

Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer
Of course we are disappointed with the result today as we believed we could have finished much further up than we ultimately did. It was a case of cause-and-effect – one bad thing led to another. We had some issues in practice, which meant qualifying was not ideal, and in trying to be aggressive at the start we had a coming together, which in turn led to the confusion in the stops. We will draw a line under it and focus on the new developments we have coming and we can take away some positives – we ran at a strong pace on both cars when they were fighting for position and we ran reliably in the race yet again.

McLaren wasn’t very fast, huh?

Did you notice you weren’t noticing McLaren at the front of the grid? Well Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton did.

But while Hamilton and Button continue to give every impression that they are the best of mates, it may not be long before they turn on their engineers and mechanics.

The pace of the McLaren is lagging a long way behind that of Red Bull and Ferrari, and Hamilton knows that his position at the top of the drivers’ championship, which he leads by 14 points, is becoming more vulnerable with every race.

“I’ve been saying since Valencia that we are the third-fastest team,” Hamilton pointed out on Sunday. “Everybody’s been asking, ‘Really? Why do you say that?’ And I say, ‘Because I drive the car and I know what they’ve got and what we don’t have’.”

Red Bull (and Ferrari) give you wings

Somewhat related to the above McLaren story, there is a wing row that might be the big news of this Monday if it weren’t for Ferrari:

McLaren has vowed to get to the bottom of exactly what Ferrari and Red Bull Racing are doing with their front wings, after the FIA gave the designs the all-clear after the German Grand Prix.

The build-up to the race was hit by a fresh flexi-wings row, amid suspicions from a number of outfits that Red Bull Racing and Ferrari were cleverly flexing their wings and endplates lower to the ground to help produce more downforce.

Photographs of the cars that were distributed between teams and the FIA indicated that the front wings on the two cars in question were up to 25 mm lower than other machines.

AUTOSPORT understands that the FIA inspected closely the front wings of the Ferrari and Red Bull Racing cars after the event, as well as hearing explanations from the teams about why the pictures indicated the wings were running lower to the ground, and found nothing wrong.

McLaren, of course, is going to try to figure out if the team can replicate the wings to find those extra hundredths of a second needed.

Lotus in the news! No news is bad news, right? Well…

Well, maybe not in this case.

Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen has been given a reprimand following his clash with Pedro de la Rosa during the German GP.

The Sauber driver made contact with Kovalainen when lapping him near the end of the race, the Finn closing the door on de la Rosa after having let another car by.

De la Rosa had to pit for repairs while the Lotus driver retired.

Kovalainen, who admitted the incident was his fault, was given a reprimand by the race stewards.

Are there other stories floating around we all should be paying some attention to today?

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