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F1: is Hamilton feeling the after-effects of Spygate?

Could the reason for McLaren’s relative lack of pace this season be down to the development moratorium imposed on certain aspects of the car following Spygate?

It’s an intriguing theory, and one being put forward by no less a figure than Sir Jackie Stewart in The Telegraph recently.


Of course, according to that newspaper, Hamilton might as well pack up and go home. Because being second in the drivers’ championship and nine points behind Kimi Raikkonen at this stage in the season is a pretty darned hopeless position, as I think we can all agree.

Why, the Flying Finn himself has demonstrated how there’s no comeback from a shaky season start, and certainly hoping to overtake the frontrunner once a lead is established is a futile proposition. So, why even waste time and money racing Ferrari?

Er… yes. Anyhow, here are Sir Jackie’s quotes for your instruction and entertainment:

Jackie Stewart: ‘Spygate’ slowed McLaren

Sir Jackie Stewart is leading the chorus of doom. “Ferrari are in a different league. McLaren were so enormously disrupted by the antics in September, October and November that management and senior personnel were focusing on other things and not what they should have been focusing on,” Stewart said.

“It was not their fault they had to divert their energies. That has been very harmful to them. They have a lot of catching up to do and when you are up against a team like Ferrari, with the resources they have, the infrastructure they’ve got, it’s difficult to penetrate it very far. They dominated the whole weekend. There was nothing that Lewis could do. It’s frustrating for him.”

As well as the drain on management time, there was also the extended scrutiny of the 2008 car by the ruling body, the FIA. The regulators believed that there was sufficient evidence to prove that this year’s McLaren had benefited from Ferrari thinking in a number of areas, particularly the braking mechanism.

McLaren denied that, but nevertheless gave the FIA an undertaking not to develop further the systems in question. Only last Saturday, an hour before Hamilton qualified fifth for the Spanish Grand Prix, team principal Ron Dennis dismissed the brake issue as a red herring and said it had not disadvantaged his team. Read full story here…


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