SEPTEMBER 1, 2001
Ron's fuss about nothing
SIX hours after the end of qualifying, nobody knew exactly what the grid positions were for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix. The reason? Ron Dennis.
McLaren decided to risk further removing Formula 1 from the understanding of the general public by protesting a total of 16 cars which he believed had contravened Article H, Section 412b of the sporting code - namely that when passing a yellow flag zone the instruction is that the cars should slow down.
The stewards deliberated and cogitated and finally threw out the protest, brought about by Nick Heidfeld's spin at Stavelot in the last minute of the session. This correlated exactly with the moment that the circuit was at its driest, and sure enough everyone on that lap set their best times - booting the McLarens a long way down the order.
As Michael Schumacher said immediately afterwards, it would be difficult to prove whether or not anyone lifted or not while passing the stationary Sauber, and so it came to pass. The order at the end of qualifying remained exactly that.