Joaquin Verdegay’s unwise words (Updated)

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2007One of the members of the FIA World Motor Sports Council, who will pass judgement in the McLaren/Ferrari espionage case in eight days time, made some interesting remarks to the AS newspaper of his native Spain.

Here’s a translated portion:

It is very hard to prove that McLaren used the information. Normally, and I hope this is what happens, there would not even be a reprimand for Ron Dennis since it is almost impossible to prove anything.

It seems quite strange that a WMSC member should give such a public statement about what he thinks the outcome of the inquiry should be. But this isn’t the first time that Verdegay has made such a curiously revealing remark.

When Michael Schumacher controversially parked his Ferrari during qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, Verdegay was one of the stewards that condemned the Ferrari driver, and he said this:

We don’t know if the entire manoeuvre was deliberate, but in that spot he had certainly not done anything like it throughout the weekend: he braked over 50% more heavily than on the other laps.

Then he performed some absolutely unnecessary and pathetic counter-steering, and that lasted five metres, until there was no more chances of going through the turn normally.

He lost control of the car while travelling at 16km/h! That’s something completely unjustifiable. And the engine shut off because he wanted it to, by losing enough time before hitting the clutch. And the excuse that he did not engage reverse because there was traffic doesn’t make sense.

I’m not saying that Verdegay’s judgement was wrong then, nor that it is now.

But he is a Spanish member of the World Motor Sports Council and he must realise that making such strong statements, both of which strongly support the side of Spain’s leading racing driver Fernando Alonso, is bound to cause raised eyebrows?

Update: Joaquin Verdegay has insisted to Autosport that he did not make the above remarks (see here), leading Autosport to pull their story that quoted the AS source. Pitpass is citing the original quotes here.

All of which is deeply ironic given my previous post.

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5 comments on Joaquin Verdegay’s unwise words (Updated)

  1. Things that make you go hmmm…., eh? Senor Verdegay should have kept his mouth shut until the case was solved, for the same reason as forums should censor libellious comment on Stepney/Ferrari/McLaren/Coughlan matters.

    Commenting on the reasoning for a decision after the fact, as per Monaco 2006, is fine by my book as long as it wasn’t meant to be a secret. In fact it shouldn’t be a secret, because it helps us understand what the judges were thinking when they made their decision. That thinking, however, should be done during the case, not beforehand.

  2. Journeyer said on 19th July 2007, 3:28

    So if Verdegay didn’t say that, what did he say? How could it have been mistranslated into something like that?

    Surely, he DID say something in Spanish about the issue… Unless AS was completely fabricating the story.

  3. Dan M said on 19th July 2007, 16:04

    I agree that he shouldn’t be talking about the forthcoming trial, but what MS did in Monaco was blatantly obvious. I would only hope that the same decision would have been made regardless of the nationality of the driver of official.

    His only fault here is telling the truth. It will be nearly impossible so prove beyond a doubt that the documents were used in the current car. What if it is proven that McLaren benefited from the information and they are somehow punished, wouldn’t there be the same talk of favoritism toward Ferrari?

  4. Irrespective of whether he is telling the truth or talking through his hat, it is totally inappropriate for a ‘jury’ member to arrive at a decision before he’s even seen the evidence…and it’s even worse that he would openly announce it to the media. Provided he did say what he’s supposed to have said of course.

    “Normally, and I hope this is what happens, there would not even be a reprimand for Ron Dennis…”
    You’ve got to be kidding me!! The chap isn’t even objective if he said this…how is one supposed to judge a trial objectively if he is ‘hoping’ the defendant gets away scot-free? Very sad state of affairs.

  5. Maybe something got lost in translation? Autosport is not noted for its spoofs or fabrications…

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