Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has urged his rivals in Formula 1 to stop lodging complaints and moaning about the new regulations for the 2014 season and simply accept the decisions taken by the FIA.
Following the change from V8 to turbocharged V6 engines, as well as a number of other alterations to the technical, there has been an outcry from many of the technical directors and designers in Formula 1. Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has made no secret of his distaste of the new regulations, whilst in Bahrain Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo met to discuss how to fix the “taxi driver” racing that was due for 2014 in the Ferrari president’s eyes.
“An FIA World Council decision is an FIA World Council decision,” he explained. “Everybody has accepted it, the investments have been made, the engines are running. What is there to comment on now?
“Everybody has their own opinions. In this sport unfortunately the teams can’t stick together and have one voice, so it’s something that one has got used to, that everyone has his own opinion.”
Mallya was faced with a similar problem last year when some teams successfully lobbied for a change in the construction of the Pirelli tires. After this change for the German Grand Prix, Force India’s form immediately nosedived whilst Red Bull and Sauber found pace.
“We could have complained last year when after Silverstone Pirelli changed the tyres,” Mallya said. “I could have moaned and groaned every day, and said the team’s performance has been compromised. But where does it get me? Nowhere.”
Mallya’s attitude is certainly a refreshing one, but it must be noted that none of the Mercedes-powered teams (including Force India) have raised too many problems with the regulations. Instead, those who have struggled off of the back of last season – namely Red Bull and Ferrari – have raised concerns.
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.