There was almost no shock whatsoever in Formula 1 this week with news that the FIA is to investigate Renault for spying. According to a man who was speaking next to the FIA building, ‘Following a tip off from an anonymous source in the Modena region of Italy we are looking in to claims that Renault Formula 1 have contravened the rules of the sport and may be docked points both for utilising illegally acquired data and for competing in a car that wasn’t red’. The speakersman refused to give any more details has he had to rush off ‘to give Jean Todt a back massage’.
However, some F1 insiders have already hinted that Renault may not be the last team to become embroiled in an embarrassing and ultimately costly McLaren-style scandal. High ranking sources are suggesting that it is only a matter of days until every other F1 team is called up on spying charges, except Ferrari who have of course never cheated at anything. Already, in the paddock (the special off season one that all teams assemble in when there’s no racing so as to allow sentences like this) rumours are circulating that Williams may have been using data from BMW, that BMW may have been using data from Toyota, that Toyota may have been using data from Torro Rosso, that Torro Rosso may have been using data from Super Aguri, that Super Aguri may have been using data from Spyker, that Spyker may have been using data from Red Bull, that Red Bull may have been using data from Honda and that Honda may have been using data from the 1991 Leyton House team, but upside down so that none of it worked properly.
If these rumours are proved to be true the FIA may be forced to minimise the damage to F1 by bringing this whole affair to a sharp and definite conclusion, a view shared by one senior junior. ‘One way of doing this would be simply to say that all teams are forbidden from scoring points until 2025, except Ferrari’ he admitted. ‘Frankly, it would be a lot more straightforward than the original way they were going to use to get that rule introduced’.