Here’s how Martin put it on the team’s press conference call, via Autosport:
“I have lots of private views on the outcome [of the title battle]. I think if anyone other than a McLaren driver wins the championship it will be very frustrating…” Whitmarsh said.
“I’m not going to cast aspersions on what others have done. We run our team as we wish to, and we understand the rules in one sense. It may well be that other teams have got a different view on that, but at the end of the day, Red Bull have produced a fast car and they’ve been highly competitive all year, and you’ve got to give Ferrari credit.
“Regardless of the team order debate and all those other things, Ferrari were really struggling mid-season, they’ve had a resurgence and they’ve looked very competitive – and Alonso is a formidable competitor.”
I think it might be fair to say you actually could stick Martin in either category — it sounds to me like he personally thinks the Hockenheim incident was sketchy but that it isn’t something worth publicly battling over at this point. And he does give Ferrari and Red Bull credit.
It’s probably worth noting that Red Bull boss Christian Horner isn’t quite so sanguine about things. As the Autosport story notes:
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has remained frustrated over the incident, recently telling BBC Radio Five Live that “it would be frustrating [if Alonso won the title] because we’ve obviously worked under the auspices that team orders are illegal.”
I think there will be lots of buzz if Alonso wins the title by a handful of points or less.
That scenario, of course, is the easiest one to debate. If Alonso wins by less than the points difference of that first and second place in Germany, it’s pretty black and white. I think the more nuanced question will be if he wins by more than that. Then you have to start wondering how his victory in Germany affected his outlook through the rest of the season as well as the outlook of his competitors.
If you’re Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel, or one of McLaren’s drivers, doesn’t your approach differ when dealing with an Alonso who just claimed a victory and one who couldn’t get past his team mate? Did that Alonso win, for instance, put enough pressure on Lewis Hamilton to cause some of his recent on track mishaps?
Post 2010, in other words, I’d love to have the drivers handle this question:
How do you think you would have approached the end of the season differently if Fernando had not won in Germany?