I would just love to know what it says in the fine print of Fernando Alonso’s contract regarding his status within the Ferrari team.
Given the amount of effort that was expended by Maranello in securing the services of the 2005/06 world champion I suspect it just about stops short of undertaking that Ferrari will provide the Spaniard with his own private toll road running parallel to every Grand Prix circuit on the calendar.
To judge by the events of Sunday’s German GP, Ferrari has already arranged Alonso the equivalent of a motorcycle outrider to escort him through the traffic. His name is Felipe Massa.
Just like a bloke called Rubens Barrichello did for Michael Schumacher, so Felipe is very much the number two driver in the Italian squad at the present time.
And he is bright enough to work out that being number two at Ferrari is probably as good, if not better, than being a joint number one with most teams on the grid.
On a less cynical note, Massa has been a longtime stalwart within the Ferrari F1 community and the Italian team stuck loyally by him during his protracted recovery from those head injuries he sustained during qualifying for last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
It would have been all too easy for the Ferrari managment to have dispensed with his services, but they remained steadfast and even rewarded him by renewing his contract for another two seasons beyond the end of 2010.
Therein lies the contradiction of what took place at Hockenheim on Sunday.
F1 is a team sport, but the key component – allowing the teams to decide what order their cars finish in – is specifically prohibited by the rules.
Perhaps the moment has arrived for the FIA to have a change of heart and make intra-team strategic decisions a matter for the competitors alone. And nobody else.