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Integrity in racing…is it gone?

July 25 was a day motorsport fans will not soon forget. The Indy Racing League (IRL) finished its Canadian swing with the Honda Indy Edmonton, while Formula One’s (F1) drivers ran their annual German Grand Prix.

July 25 was a day motorsport fans will not soon forget.

The Indy Racing League (IRL) finished its Canadian swing with the Honda Indy Edmonton, while Formula One’s (F1) drivers ran their annual German Grand Prix. However, politics seemed to put a damper on the entire weekend.

Racing is a pretty straightforward sport - a group of drivers take to the track to race a predetermined number of laps, with the first to cross the finish line crowned the winner.

This weekend saw two of the worst calls by both racing teams and racing stewards in recent memory.

In the German Grand Prix, with 18 laps remaining in the race, a team radio message was broadcast over the worldwide television feed letting the leader of the race, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, know that his team mate Fernando Alonso was faster than him, implying that he should allow Alonso to pass him. One lap later, Massa slowed in a turn and let his teammate pass. Most people sitting at home, possibly enjoying their first F1 race, would look at this and wonder why two drivers, who both arguably want to win just as much as the other, would pull such a move. But nobody will ever know.

This isn’t the first time that such a thing has happened with Ferrari. In 2002, the team asked one driver to pull over for Michael Schumacher so he could gain enough points towards the championship.

These are called team orders and they make every single fan question the integrity of the sport.

Anyone who was watching the F1 may also have tuned into the IRL race in Edmonton, where another political call ruined what could have been a very exciting race.

On a restart with only three laps to go, race leader, Helio Castroneves, was fending off an attack from his teammate Will Power. Castroneves took the low line into the first turn, giving Power the outside lane.

Power attempted to pass, but there was not enough room in the coming corners to stay side-by-side and Power was pushed back to third, a by-product of great racing.

On the next lap, IRL officials announced that the leader of the race would be penalized for blocking, and was told he had a drive-through penalty, meaning the driver has to drive through the pits, relegating him to the back of the pack.

The win was awarded to second place driver Scott Dixon, while Castroneves crossed the start/finish line in first. Castroneves was livid with the decision, as he was listed as finishing 10th.

What causes such blatant disregard for the principles of racing? Is it the money involved that causes politics in the sport? Who knows, but this weekend’s open-wheel racing was a sham.

I will be thinking twice about taking two hours to watch the professionals race, and maybe take a trip up to the little oval in Edmonton to see local guys like Peter Van Dyck in his ‘Pinkfoot’ big rig, or go to Race City and see motorcycle racer Chad Swain push for a victory.

Until racing gets back to the grassroots, I will be looking for ways to support local racing, and spending a bit less time watching what appears to be fixed or botched auto races.


Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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