Alec Swann – Winning is everything so I back the German

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Formula One doesn’t really float my boat, in fact motorsport in general isn’t my cup of tea.

I admire the skill of the drivers as it takes plenty of skill and bottle to operate at such extreme speeds, however, the monotony of the majority, and F1 in

particular, results in me reaching for the remote control.

But I couldn’t help taking an interest in the shenanigans at the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend.

The spat between Red Bull colleagues Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel is juvenile in nature and indicative of a sport where politics and petty

territorial squabbles are far too common place.

Every year, without fail, there are stories about one driver not liking another, one team thinking of suing a rival for reasons unknown, a bloke with too much power wanting a bit more money from a country desperate to get in on the action etc, etc.

And then there is the nonsense of team orders.

A team boss instructing one of his drivers to let the other one win or not overtake isn’t an uncommon trend in F1 but that doesn’t make it any more palatable.

It seemingly goes against the very fabric of sport as an entity where attempting to win is the cornerstone of its existence.

By not allowing the race in Malaysia to take its natural course, Red Bull made a mockery of the sport and deserve all the criticism that is thrown their way.

And for that reason, I can fully understand why Vettel did what he did by ignoring the orders of his principal.

Before determining the facts, my first thought was (I’ve just finished reading a book about a prominent Nazi so forgive my cynicism) ‘it’s not like a German to take what shouldn’t be his’ but once it all came to light, my flag was firmly planted in the German’s camp.

Why shouldn’t Vettel try to win? The competitive edge that sporting success requires doesn’t just disappear for the sake of it.

He did apologise in the aftermath but it was both unnecessary and very shallow.

Vettel, whether you think his actions erode his boss’ authority, did nothing wrong and given the chance I bet he would do it again.

After all, he is the defending champion and had just won a race and it was a very smart calling of his employers’ bluff.

What are they going to do? Sack him?