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Wesley Branton | June 11, 2019 @ 11:07 pm
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Now that the Canadian Grand Prix debate has had some time to cool down, the F1 conspiracy theorists have descended upon the situation and completely destroyed the opportunity to create change.
It’s been a few days since the Canadian Grand Prix and it’s been interesting to see how the conversation has changed throughout those few days. As expected, the day of the incident was dominated by passionate people who hated the call by the stewards and thought that it was the wrong one. The day that followed was a day when people who agreed with the penalty finally joined the discussion.
Both those conversations were very productive, with a lot of suggestions arising about how the FIA and stewards could handle situations like this differently in the future and about what changes need to be made in the near future to ensure the long term success of the sport that we all love.
But the controversy also woke a sleeping monster: the F1 conspiracy theorists.
What was once a constructive – and, for the most part, civil – conversation has turned into a torrent of baseless FIA-Mercedes collusion allegations. These stem from the Mercedes haters.
I call them “Mercedes haters” instead of “Ferrari fans” because they aren’t necessarily fans of Ferrari. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of Ferrari fans defending Mercedes from the unjust backlash.
Haters are inevitable in any team sport, especially one that’s become as dominated as Formula One. In the first few seasons, it’s cool to see a team winning, but it quickly becomes monotonous and people start to turn against them. Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren all had haters during their periods of domination.
Unfortunately, the conspiracy theorists have leveraged a genuine grievance with the sport and completely discredited it. Recommendations about how to improve the sport are now being overshadowed by screaming fans and videos of cherry-picked Mercedes incidents.
It’s transformed this controversy into the same old “FIA favours Mercedes”/”FIA favours Ferrari” debate that we see constantly. It’s a debate that has no merit and nothing valuable will come from it.
The Canadian Grand Prix could have been the tipping point that forced the sport’s management, notorious for completely disregarding the things that the fans want, to actually listen to the fans. It could have been the event that ushered in much-needed regulatory changes. That opportunity is gone now.