It intrigues me, bothers me, puzzles me no end that not one major auto racing website, or newspaper, has seen fit to question the absurd performance at the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday – and Saturday during qualifying – of driver Giancarlo Fisichella and the Force India Formula One racing team.
|THE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
|Giancarlo Fisichella came in second in the Belgian Grand Prix. Does anyway else find this a little odd?|
Are we now, officially, so gullible that we don’t suspect there’s something seriously wrong with the result of that race and the qualifying session on Saturday?
Here we have a driver who is not world champion material by a long shot at the wheel of a car that has been F1's doormat for years.
That team has been hopeless. (Okay, every now and again when Eddie Jordon owned it, things would come together – but not often.)
It was in the hands of a Canadian for two years – Alex Schnaider – and didn’t score a point. He unloaded it on Spyker cars and they couldn’t do anything with it. They sold it to Vijay Mallya, an Indian billionaire, who renamed it Force India. During the last 28 races, it continued the tradition of not scoring one, single, solitary point (translation: finish eighth or better).
So on Saturday, Fisichella wins the pole at Spa. Yesterday, he finishes second in the race.
Just like that: from nowheresville to King.
Is this a feel good story? Or is something fishy?
It doesn’t pass my personal smell test, but I seem to be very much in the minority on this one.
I read the transcripts of the press conferences and not once did anyone ask a tough question. Example:
"Giancarlo, eight points and Force India’s best-ever result. But do you feel this is a race you could have won?"
"Do you feel this is a race you could have won?"
What kind of question is that? Why not:
"Giancarlo, what do you think was in your fuel this weekend that made you go so fast and how come the tech inspectors didn’t find it?"
Now, that would have been a good question, considering the circumstances.
Or even . . .
"Giancarlo, now that you are officially a Rocket Man, when do you plan to launch your track and field career and challenge Usain Bolt?"
At least that would have added some satire.
Anyway, Felipe Massa is going to be examined by ex-CART doctor Steve Olvey today and if he gets the all-clear, he’ll be back in his seat at Ferrari in time for the Italian Grand Prix.
If Olvey recommends against driving again so soon, you can bet that Fisichella will replace Luca Badoer in the second Ferrari at Monza and everybody will be so, so very happy.
Just think: an Italian in a Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix! Hollywood couldn't have written a better script.
Oh, he's under contract at Force India? A minor detail, easily fixed. Particularly when the real - - - is in.
Sebastien Vettel finished third in the race yesterday. Jensen Button’s world championship lead is now only 16 points after he crashed out on the first lap.
Postscript: Nelson Piquet Jr. has been fuming ever since Renault bossman Flavio Briatore fired him two races ago. Now the FIA is going to investigate something Renault did at a Grand Prix last season that raised eyebrows at the time. This is highly unusual but you can put two and two together and I will leave it at that.
Postscript II: Mallya better not anger Adrian Sutil (the other Force India driver) or the FIA could soon be investigating what went on at Spa this weekend . . .