Sadly, Ferrari’s invite to the FIA to investigate whether Sebastian Vettel overtook under yellow flags during the Brazilian Grand Prix has tarnished the gracious way Fernando Alonso accepted his loss of the 2012 title.
The controversy began when it was suggested that Vettel had passed John Eric Vergne on lap four under yellow flags. The rules state that waved yellow flags are an indication of a danger on the track therefore the drivers are required to slow down and are not permitted to overtake. It has been confirmed by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, that although the yellow flags were clearly evident, there was also a less visible green flag shown, allowing drivers to resume normal racing. As a result of FIA investigations it has transpired that Vettel saw the green flag, therefore making his move legal.
Had it been a different decision resulting in sanctions for the Red Bull driver, the title could have been handed to Alonso, the knowledge of which fuelled the Maranello team’s desire for the matter to be looked into further. A move which leaves them looking bitter and unable to accept the loss graciously, which is in complete contrast to the way Fernando reacted following the race in Brazil. Having remained positive about their chances all year, this calm mindset continued as he maturely explained that the team just have to make a faster car for the 2013 season.
It is Alonso’s belief that his battle for the title this year has earned him more respect. The Spaniard said, “I feel satisfied with the job, I feel proud of myself, proud of the team. Obviously we lost the championship in terms of three points but I think I gained this year so much in respect from everybody and I gained other things apart from the points.” His ability to conjure up the illusion that the Ferrari was a decent car, when it was far from being the best on the grid is magical and warrants him huge respect. This respect undoubtedly earned, however, has been in danger of being sullied as a result of Ferrari’s bitter reaction. Alonso did back the team’s decision to contest the yellow flag incident, but that is what is required of you when part of the Ferrari family. Would someone as mature, professional and gracious as him really want to win by default?
Ferrari president, Luca Di Montezemolo, also criticised Michael Schumacher’s subordinate effort at keeping sixth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix, which allowed Sebastian Vettel to inherit the position. It was his belief that the seven times World Champion should have shown more loyalty to a team he won five of those championships with. But who is to say that Schumacher would not have done exactly the same for Alonso? The Maranello chief’s comments reek of desperation. A team as rich in history and stature as Ferrari, should be standing tall and proud, not scuttling around in the shadows waiting for crumbs of compensation. The team should follow the lead of Fernando Alonso.