Perhaps it’s inevitable, or maybe not, but Formula 1 is faced with a new championship leader in Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and that isn’t the same as last year’s driver Lewis Hamilton. Lewis has struggled with reliability issues and penalties this season and this has led to conspiracy theories that the team are purposefully thwarting Lewis’s season in favor of Nico.
It’s a load of rubbish and one that doesn’t hold much water with team boss Toto Wolff:
“I want to ignore this bunch of lunatics who think we would want to harm a driver who is our driver and who has been a double world champion for us,” he said.
“He hasn’t let us down and we wouldn’t let him down.
“This is a mechanical sport and these things happen.
“We are pushing the limits on the chassis and on the engine side a lot in order to have a competitive car.
“This is why we are winning races but also if you push the limits at a certain stage you find them.
“I think it’s very difficult to take people seriously out there who are lying in their bed with a laptop on their chest and just sending out abusive messages.”
For the record, I don’t lay in bed with a laptop on my chest (and don’t know anyone that does…it sounds dangerous). Then again, I’m also not spreading rumors of conspiracy because, like Toto, I think they’re nonsense. Even though Lewis isn’t helping matters by saying:
“From my side of the garage the mechanics are having a hard time,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “But I have absolutely every bit of confidence and faith in them.
“The majority were on Nico’s car last year and Nico’s guys were with me for the last three years since i joined. The team all of a sudden swapped for no apparent reason.
“But that’s not the reason we’re having these issues, they’re somewhere else. I don’t know where the issues are coming from but for sure the team and guys in the background, they need to work hard to try and rectify these.
“We were doing 800 kilometers a day in testing and the car was almost seen as bullet-proof. Then, all of sudden we’re having all these problems. But don’t jump the gun, that [prioritising Rosberg] hasn’t happened in the last three years and I don’t believe there’s any reason for that to happen now.”
Lewis said a couple of weeks ago that he owes nothing to Formula 1 due to the fact that he does more than any other driver in history to promote the sport via his social media and outreach. That’s true, he does use the medium extensively and to be fair, other drivers aren’t quite as prolific as Lewis is although you could argue that Fernando Alonso does a heck of lot too.
Perhaps Lewis feels he has a huge following and he can either use that super power for good or evil but I think he does a disservice when he dog-whistles things that he knows #TeamLH will pick up on and fuel the mobocracy on social media.
It’s all part of F1 though and the tongue wagging is just part of its allure if I’m honest. With social media F1, like many other sports, has simply become a solid fuel for the outrage mobocracy wave on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I haven’t seen much discussion of the Russian Grand Prix but everyone is outraged and calling for the sacking, sitting or hanging of Daniil Kvyat and everyone is completely outraged by his actions. Really?
Niki Lauda called such allegations…”Bulls**t”
They are outraged by Kvyat and outraged by Lewis not winning and outraged by the outrage over the HALO and Aeroscreen. Hell I’m getting outraged by the outrage on Twitter over F1.
Lewis isn’t winning because of actions beyond his control and some actions in his control. That happens in F1 and it happened the last two years for Nico Rosberg and it happens to Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber, and even Esteban Gutierrez. Point is, it happens and usually doesn’t take some secret conspiracy that could never be contained with a team of 1,000 people. There is no possible way you could keep a nefarious plan confined to a 1,000 people and it wouldn’t be revealed. Someone is bound to get mad and spill the beans.
A team the size of Mercedes isn’t a likely candidate for this nefarious plan either as a public company that would be lambasted publicly should something like that leak and I doubt Toto or Paddy Lowe would put their careers and integrity on the line like that. We need to get real here folks.
Sebastian Vettel was outraged over the radio about his incident but in the press circle, he managed to get ahold of his emotions and say simply that it sucked and he hated that he wasn’t racing. I think we can all leave some of that emotion at the door…although I’m outraged by the conspiracy to keep McLaren from winning and the plan to thwart Ericsson’s race by giving Nasr a new chassis and the nefarious plan to put a whoopee cushion under Vladimir Putin’s seat at the race. That’s outrageous!