MAURICE HAMILTON

F1 + Football: A Game of Three Halves


'Sauber F1Team and Chelsea FC enter into partnership'
Sauber press release April 30

A hastily convened FIA World Council meeting has presented a daft Code of Conduct to deal with contingencies that might arise from F1's recent connection with championship football. Using the FIA Sporting and Technical Regulations as a guideline, the following helpful suggestions have been made:

Grands Prix will now be run in two halves with extra time added to each to cover minutes of track action lost on TV due to cameras focussing on Christian Horner's jiggling left foot.

Half time will be signalled by Charlie Whiting standing in the middle of the main straight and blowing a whistle. Any injuries caused to Mr. Whiting (henceforth to be known as the 'Referee') will lead to the offending driver being hauled before the Stewards. The Football Association Code of Conduct (Section 10 : Assaults on Match Officials) will be consulted and, if appropriate, the driver will be shown a Red Card and sent to be interviewed by Eddie Jordan, a process which should take most of the second half.

Drivers found to be spitting at officials and other drivers will be forced to wear a catch-tank device around the neck until this anti-social habit has been eliminated to the satisfaction of the TWG (Talking Without Gobbing) sub-committee. Severe cases will call for a Hans Device to be worn back-to-front at all times when out of the cockpit.

Drivers will be permitted to wear flameproof dark blue woolly mittens and snoods. One arm of driving overalls may be pushed up to the elbow to allow exposure of tattoos. Images of Jean Todt as a frog or Bernie Ecclestone as a snake are expressly forbidden. At the special request of Ron Dennis of McLaren, tattoos are not compulsory.

If one driver passes another, he must refrain from stopping his car, waving down his team-mate and engaging in hugging and lying prostrate, arms outstretched, one driver on top of the other. However, the Team Principal is permitted to dance hysterically on the edge of the track. The vigorous chewing of gum and the wearing of a heavy overcoat are mandatory.

Conversely, the Team Principal of the overtaken driver must not throw his drinks bottle onto the track and remonstrate with the Referee or anyone looking remotely like an official. Any Team Principal found guilty of this offence will be sent to sit in the grandstand (with the exception of Bahrain and Shanghai where it would create the wrong image to have him sitting on his own). However, should the two Team Principals meet in the pit lane, they will be permitted to harangue each other for one minute for the benefit of television cameras.

If the overtaken driver dives into the next available run-off area, video replays will be used to check if the move was deliberate. The 'Mansell Formula' will be applied to determine if the driver remains in the run-off for longer than is necessary.

Similarly, driver behaviour will be closely monitored if, for no obvious reason, he pulls into the pits, evacuates the cockpit and falls over dramatically while taking care to land in such a way as to give full exposure to sponsorship on the front of his overalls.

Close attention will also be paid to any driver who gets to within 20 metres of the car in front and then runs wide or brushes the pit wall in full view of officials. Only if the leading car is driven by Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg will this be seen as anything other than deliberate by the following driver.

In the case of a genuine grievance occurring if two cars collide and come to a halt, head-butting in public will be permitted provided the drivers are wearing their crash helmets. In the case of one driver having removed or lost his helmet, the Safety Car will be deployed to deliver suitable head gear and keep interruption of the entertainment to a minimum.

The first three finishers are encouraged not to strip off in parc ferme and exchange overalls.

It is also requested that the first three discontinue the habit of chatting amicably while towelling down in preparation for the podium. A verbal disagreement or, at best, fisticuffs is preferred. Spitting will be overlooked at this point.

The winning driver is not permitted to run in demented fashion onto the podium with his flameproof vest pulled over his head. This is considered an excessively dangerous manoeuvre since he could risk colliding with waiting dignitaries. Spitting is absolutely forbidden, particularly if he falls off the podium.

In the interview pen, drivers are asked to acquaint themselves with phrases such as: 'We lost because we didn't win'; 'There was no grip out on the park today'; 'It's all down to the great harmonium in the dressing room'; 'If you don't believe you can win, there's no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day'.

Further suggestions on a postcard to the FIA (Football Integration de l'Automobile), Stade de France, Paris.

Maurice Hamilton , a freelance motor sport writer and broadcaster since 1977, is the author of more than twenty books and contributes to websites and magazines worldwide.

His weekly column for Grandprix.com was Highly Commended in the 2011 Newspress New Media Awards.

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