Friday, September 14, 2007

Has McLaren lost the winning Formula (1)?

I have no interest whatsoever in that glorified form of joyriding known as Formula 1 racing. However, before anyone accuses me of “race-ism” here, in my defence I will state that if I want to see madmen in souped-up sports cars racing each other up and down I can look out the window on to my road any Saturday night. To be honest though, I am a bit of sports bigot. There are certain sports I enjoy and follow quite closely - GAA, soccer and cycling in particular (along with a passing interest in rugby during the Six Nations and World Cup), while there are others I simply hate with a passion - especially cricket, golf, darts and American football.

Anyway what prompted this post was the news that the McLaren Formula 1 team have been fined a record £50 million for (allegedly) having leaked technical data from the rival Ferrari team. As noted in the media, this fine is a mere drop in the ocean for McLaren, but what will matter is not the financial penalty, but the damage to the team’s reputation. So one set of jumped-up boy racers nicks the engine design specs (or whatever) off another set of jumped-up boy racers and has to shell out a week’s pocket money for the privilege - so what? Is this really headline-grabbing news? It’s a bit like “cyclist tests positive for doping” or “Pete Doherty arrested” or “Taoiseach faces tribunal over financial dealings” or even “Madonna does something controversial to get more publicity and inflate her already close-to-bursting-point ego” - predictable and boring. But hey, isn’t this sort of thing what makes the world go round, not to mention sells papers?

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