It’s “Scandal Eve” as F1 awaits “Tiregate” verdict

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It’s “scandal eve” in Formula One, as the results of Mercedes’ secret tire test at Barcelona will be revealed at an FIA Tribunal on Thursday.

With “Tiregate” first and foremost on the minds of the F1 paddock, it’s nice that it’s been a few years since such a political scandal has emerged. We take a look back now on two of the more inglorious moments in F1 with the last two major scandals, “Crashgate” and “Spygate.”

CRASHGATE

It was late September 2008, and the first running of the Singapore Grand Prix. Renault rookie Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed, which necessitated the need for a safety car. Teammate Fernando Alonso took the advantage of pitting early and then leapfrogging everyone else to score a surprise win from 15th place on the grid.

There were a few eyebrows raised at the time but nothing substantive, until the following summer. Renault dropped Piquet due to his underwhelming performance, and the Brazilian later alleged the team told him to crash at Singapore on purpose.

This sparked an investigation by the FIA and later, a charge of conspiracy by the team. That meant the end of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds’ involvements with Renault, and bans imposed were later overturned as part of a settlement reached by the governing body.

The unfortunate soul picked to replace Piquet? A one Romain Grosjean…

SPYGATE

McLaren’s current struggles with its car pales in comparison to when it had the microscope of scrutiny purely on its shoulders: “Spygate” in 2007.

It was alleged McLaren had obtained confidential information from Ferrari and evidence presented eventually led to McLaren’s exclusion from the 2007 World Championship, and a $100 million U.S. fine.

Ferrari had presented the case against Nigel Stepney and an engineer from McLaren – later named as Mike Coughlan – in the matter.

The off-track saga complemented the on-track drama for McLaren that year. A tempestuous relationship between Fernando Alonso and then-rookie Lewis Hamilton boiled over, where they both lost the title to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso, of course, left the team to return to Renault for 2008.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)