The Vettel-yellow flag story that has been whipped up in the last few days amounts to not even a hill of beans. I don’t know where the idea originated from but the Internet folk churned up a silly storm. In F1 all available weapons are used, and there is no doubt that it was in the interest of some to NOT stamp on the story. It helped to give the impression that Red Bull Racing will do anything to win. Perception is reality in F1, whether there is truth to the story or not, people will believe things if they are written in enough places. The fact that most of the people writing have no clue about the realities (because they are not a part of the circus) is something that readers need to be aware of. When he was celebrating his championship in Brazil Sebastian made the mistake of making reference to dirty tricks, which inevitably got some members of the media excited and digging for scandal. Talk to other teams and some will tell you that Red Bull rides roughshod over the Resources Restriction Agreement, and others complain about such things as Ferrari’s self-imposed penalty in Austin, so as to favour Alonso. My view on all is this is that the rules are the rules, if teams wish to use them to their advantage then that is their decision. The stakes are too high in F1 for anyone to have Sunday School morality. The only way to ensure that people play by the rules is to have proper rules. Gentlemens’ agreements do not work in a world where not everyone is a gentlemen. One or two of the teams continue to block budget caps because money is one of the weapons in F1. Thye more you have, the more you can achieve. One might suggest that these people are not confident enough in their own ability to compete on equal terms, but ultimately such judgements are irrelevant. F1 is war without the bullets and in war nations do what they feel they have to do. As carl Von Clausewitz noted “War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from any others. it would be better , instead of comparing it with any art, to liken it to business competition, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities.”
These words appear in the front of a new book that has just been published by former Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr, called “The Art of War, Five Years in Formula One”. This is a most unusual book in that it comes in comic book form and features a foreword by Max Mosley. This is instructional in itself and makes the point that F1 is “a strange culture indeed in which people take legal action to avoid saving £10 million a year”.
It is a book with little in the way of comment on events, but they are put together in such a way as to give great insight into the world of F1. As such one does not get turned off by any feeling of sour grapes, nor bogged down in details that do not much matter. You can whisk through the story and understand the machinations. The book begins with portraits of the team principals and what Adam learned and admired about them. These are positive and that is the tone of the whole book. There is no blame, no vitriol, just observations. It is the work of a very clever man who wanted to change F1 for the better but perhaps set about doing it in the wrong way.
The drawing style is dark, with occasional red being the only non black and white element. It makes for a most unusual insight into the sport. I recommend it highly. The book is available from www.adamparr.net.