It’s always ‘glass half empty’ for some people, isn’t it? When things aren’t going absolutely 100% or more their way they just glare at you like they’re sucking on a lemon… Apart from when he actually won the Japanese GP, Fernando Alonso (possibly about to take his second WDC title) spent the last couple of weeks wandering around with a face like a slapped arse.

Have you ever seen anybody looking so grim? Look into his eyes and you’d have thought the prize was a wet weekend in Withernsea.
The reason, of course, is that he was equally close to NOT taking that title, and this is a sport where second is nothing more than the first of the losers.

Having said that, even Schumi, after losing his engine at Suzuka (and probably the championship at that very same moment) managed to go back to the pits and smile while shaking hands with all his crew. Okay it was a fake smile and it looked like someone had selotaped his lips back to his ears, but dammit at least he tried; and you know that at that moment he would – for all the gloss he might want to put on it – be heartbroken inside.
Still, at least it’s not all doom and gloom in F1-Land…

One comedy gem (surely accidental as the team has been irony-free since the late eighties) is McLaren’s announcement that they’re branching out into selling a strategy software application for businesses, based on their own software which they use for race strategies.
For anyone who hasn’t noticed; having failed to deliver at least two perfectly achievable titles in the last five years alone, the team is on the verge of its first win-less season since 1996. You just hope they don’t mention that on the packaging…

Someone who certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour is Ferrari’s Technical Director and Head of Bumptiousness Ross Brawn who, clearly seeing some kind of job in stand-up comedy during his forthcoming sabbatical year, demanded that other teams (that’d be Renault) ‘play fair’ as the season draws to a close.
To their eternal credit no teams actually responded to this; doubtless being far too busy wetting themselves, changing their underpants and then wetting themselves again.

If Brawn genuinely wasn’t having funsies in his comments about fair play, then his utter lack of self-awareness clearly extends beyond the many, many antics of years past to such recent events as his star driver ignoring chicanes in Canada and Hungary, and trying to turn the Monaco circuit into the world’s most expensive short-stay car park. Not to mention that ‘blocking’ nonsense at Monza.
Having said that, I must say I hope that Renault do go for team orders, and I hope Ferrari do likewise…
The stand-alone performance of cars hasn’t really brought excitement to the sport this year; it’s been the on and off track dirties and controversies, peculiar regulation changes and novel rule ‘clarifications’ that have driven the championship drama.

So I say go for it: Dastardly & Mutley in the Ferraris, Pinky & The Brain over there in the blue corner – do your worst; block, scheme, weave, whatever… All I’d ask is that we’re open about it.
It’s probably a bit late to expect team orders in Brazil, with Schumi now unlikely to claw the driver’s title back; but with it still theoretically open to him you should never count him out. And if events turn his way, then a little bit of scheming could come in very useful.

I have to say I think it’s the inherent dishonesty of covert orders and tactics that’s the problem, not orders or ‘out in the open’ team strategies in themselves: maybe it’s time the FIA revisited the subject, as it’s a mess of their making – the usual indistinct murk of dos and don’ts that a legal brain like Max Mosley could surely make a better job of.
But then, as we all know, it’s sometimes easier to clarify a poorly-written rule in somebody’s favour rather than have them fall foul of a well-written one in the first place. Playing ‘fair’ – like most things – would be easier if the FIA had the mind to make it so. But they don’t.
And as long as that’s the case, there *will* be scheming and conning, dirties and tricks.
They just seem curiously content to leave it that way…