Are we being played for suckers, or what?
All hell broke loose at the British Grand Prix when Red Bull’s Sebastien Vettel broke his new front wing and the team replaced it with the one on Mark Webber’s car, leaving Webber with an old wing.
There was a lot of unpleasantness over that.
You’d have thought every Formula One team in the paddock would have learned a lesson.
But no, apparently.
I say “apparently” because I can’t believe the news out of Japan this morning.
It seems that McLaren has a new rear wing for the Japanese Grand Prix. During first practice, Lewis Hamilton crashed and damaged it.
Now, you can be sure that nobody suggested taking the one off Jenson Button’s car and putting it on Hamilton’s.
They wouldn’t have had to anyway because, surely, they would have had either a spare (in other words, a third wing) or the materials to repair the damaged wing with them. Right?
But, again, no.
Some employee from the McLaren factory in England is, at this very moment, reportedly flying 21 hours to Japan in hopes of getting there in time for qualifying on Saturday. He’s carrying – or so the story goes – new endplates to Suzuka in his hand-luggage. "We can repair the wing with the new endplates," team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
You can draw two conclusions from this.
1. The people who run F1 teams aren’t really very smart. Or . . .
2. Somebody is putting us on. F1 has an amazing way of generating news copy 365 days a year and a trumped-up story about a race against time sounds, well, really fishy.
By the way, Vettel and Webber were fastest in practice, with Robert Kubica third, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth, and Button sixth.
It probably won't matter because the weekend forecast is for rain.
And Michael Schumacher, who practiced in eighth place, is a master in the wet . . .
In California, Jimmie Johnson will be looking to extend his lead in NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship. The four-time national champion is on a roll and if he wins at Fontana Sunday, title No. 5 will be a real possibility.
F1 qualifying can be seen Saturday on TSN at 8 a.m. The Grand Prix will be live at 1:55 a.m. Sunday and repeated at 8 a.m., both on TSN.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race from California can be seen on TSN at 2 p.m. Sunday. At 1 p.m., also on TSN, a tape of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race from Kawartha Speedway will be shown. See D.J. Kennington win the national championship. See Kerry Micks spin out J.R. Fitzpatrick on the last corner of the last lap. See Fitzpatrick get angry.