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'Political' F1 drivers [merged thread]


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#201 Disgrace

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 13:45

I don't want to derail the thread by delving into detail about all incidents, but Spa-gate is both contemporary and interesting. Let's take the two quotes, which you quite rightly say, do refer to the debrief that took place following the collision:

 

Wolff later attempted to clarify what had happened in the meeting, explaining that "Nico felt he needed to hold his line. He needed to make a point."He (Rosberg) didn't give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn't leave him space," added the Austrian."So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst ourselves
Later, Lauda tried to clam the situation and added: “Nico felt he needed to make a point, and for Lewis, it was clearly not him who needed to be aware of Nico. Nico didn’t give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn’t leave him space. So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst ourselves, but it wasn’t deliberately crashing.

 

Bolding mine; this is as close as they get to explaining Nico's viewpoint but in no way are they leading you with their words. It certainly does not draw you to a single conclusion that Rosberg deliberately crashed. Maybe the point was that Rosberg wasn't afraid of Hamilton in combat? Let's compare those on-record comments to those of Hamilton:

 

We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose. He said he did it on purpose. He said he could have avoided it... He basically said ‘I did it to prove a point’.

 

He was just as heated as Rosberg following the debrief, so I doubt he has meticulously planned his words (which is why I think his methods are clumsy), but Hamilton here is totally changing the complexion of the argument. Given how Hamilton's race was ruined by the incident, "on purpose" can easily be construed as "with malicious intent", and I think many take this extremist viewpoint despite the overwhelmingly poor odds of Rosberg pulling off the actual move with the desired consequences. When it's malice, we are not talking about racing anymore but cheating.

 

I think your argument completely breaks down when you say:

 

its when its not based on a fair fight that he tends to be upset

 

How can any utterly self-interested racing driver (in a championship battle or otherwise) stand from an Archimedean point from which to judge with objectivity what is fair or not? The whole logic behind Rosberg causing the crash rests on the idea that he too was "upset" based on the "unfairness" of Hamilton's defensive driving. Or is Rosberg simply a cheat without the basic human qualities Hamilton possesses? I'm not sure I like the conclusion to this particular path.

 

Rosberg was subsequently booed by the fans, potentially lost internal support following the incident and failed to really challenge Hamilton in the races for the rest of the season. This is why the crash is considered a "turning point" in the season, but the crash itself was totally mundane. It was the fallout that really made headlines, and I think it can be argued that Hamilton succeeded where Rosberg failed to gain fan and/or team support. Remember that as a result of the crash, Rosberg benefitted by 20 points. How can a gain of 20 points end up being detrimental?

 

"Political" should not be taken as a slander against any racing driver, particularly when the sport needs productive politics more than ever before to dig itself out of the CVC/Bernie-sized hole it currently finds itself in.



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#202 maverick69

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 14:09

Surely Spa-gate was Lewis telling the truth...... Which in my opinion is diametrically opposed to being "political". Granted, Lewis was certainly working to an agenda - but that agenda was to show the world that he'd been "cheated".

 

I think all he is looking for is a fair fight on the track...... because he knows that's where his major strength is. It's those drivers who chase every other possible avenue that I regard as "political".

 

Of the previous greats - Schumacher and Prost spring to mind. Of the current bunch: definitely Alonso. JB and Rosberg also clearly work hard on negating that little (and I mean little) lack of relative raw talent by constantly "working the room". It's hard to say where Vettel is because he's been shielded by RedBull (a bit like Hamilton at McLaren in 2007-08).

 

I say this because if you do not draw a line - then everyone on the planet is "political".



#203 Disgrace

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 14:35

Politics is not equivalent to lies, although that is what it has most readily become associated with when it becomes an institution, and that institution then demands career politicians.

 

Your logic is utterly self-defeating. There is no way you can concede that a driver has an agenda, and still claim that his version of events are an objective truth. By virtue of your own logic, the truth is locked up within Hamilton's agenda. Why speak the truth, when there's an option to say nothing at all? The truth is a constant political battleground.

 

Claiming drivers use politics to overcome a lack of raw talent is also baloney. Schumacher, Prost and Alonso are amongst the greats and yet you claim they're highly political. How does that correlate with your claim? Vettel demonstrated against Webber that having the talent makes having a poltical agenda much easier. This was manifested most clearly at Malaysia - Vettel could disobey team orders because he has the talent and results to back him up, thus making him relatively indispensable. How much was Red Bull shielding Vettel, and how much was Vettel creating that shield himself by virtue of his results?

 

Why do you think Alonso and McLaren have even dreamed of reunited, despite their dark past? In F1, results are everything, thus widening the tolerance for agenda. If anything, politics is used to solidify an already existing advantage, rather than to overcome a disadvantage. No amount of politics will overcome driving talent in F1. When Vettel cried "tough luck" in China, the world laughed because Ricciardo otherwise overtook with ease.



#204 Newbrray

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 14:40

 

Bolding mine; this is as close as they get to explaining Nico's viewpoint but in no way are they leading you with their words. It certainly does not draw you to a single conclusion that Rosberg deliberately crashed. Maybe the point was that Rosberg wasn't afraid of Hamilton in combat? Let's compare those on-record comments to those of Hamilton:

 

 

He was just as heated as Rosberg following the debrief, so I doubt he has meticulously planned his words (which is why I think his methods are clumsy), but Hamilton here is totally changing the complexion of the argument. Given how Hamilton's race was ruined by the incident, "on purpose" can easily be construed as "with malicious intent", and I think many take this extremist viewpoint despite the overwhelmingly poor odds of Rosberg pulling off the actual move with the desired consequences. When it's malice, we are not talking about racing anymore but cheating.

 

 

How can any utterly self-interested racing driver (in a championship battle or otherwise) stand from an Archimedean point from which to judge with objectivity what is fair or not? The whole logic behind Rosberg causing the crash rests on the idea that he too was "upset" based on the "unfairness" of Hamilton's defensive driving. Or is Rosberg simply a cheat without the basic human qualities Hamilton possesses? I'm not sure I like the conclusion to this particular path.

 

Rosberg was subsequently booed by the fans, potentially lost internal support following the incident and failed to really challenge Hamilton in the races for the rest of the season. This is why the crash is considered a "turning point" in the season, but the crash itself was totally mundane. It was the fallout that really made headlines, and I think it can be argued that Hamilton succeeded where Rosberg failed to gain fan and/or team support.

 

"Political" should not be taken as a slander against any racing driver, particularly when the sport needs productive politics more than ever before to dig itself out of the CVC/Bernie-sized hole it currently finds itself in.

 

 

With regards to Spa, the interpretation I get from it is that Rosberg was deliberate in his act. What is this "act" you may ask, from my point of view he was guilty of forcing the accident simply because the decision that led to incident was his own doing, whilst accidents may happen, he went on to further admit that it his intention not to back down even though the other driver had the higher ground.

 

Lets take for example you are breaking the speed limit  on a major road as you approach a roundabout that you don't have the right of way. There is another car approaching the roundabout who has the right of way but you decide to accelerate more rather than use the brakes because you think you should not back down for this driver and yet still hoping that you might have a slim advantage of making it through before the other driver gets there, (That is a deliberate act)  as it was pre-meditated because of some issue you have with this other driver you intentionally decide to go against "the roundabout rules" just to prove a point. This in turn leads to the 2nd act which is the actual incident. Whilst you cannot really say I will puncture his tyres (as that really requires precision skills not to mention ruining your front wing as well) but for your action of flaunting the roundabout rules there will have been no incident in the first place. One has to think that Rosberg should have thought that if I do this an incident might occur due to me flaunting the roundabout rules. He chose to ignore that thought and this is what I have derived from the Hamilton statement that it was intentional which I agree with  (Am sorry for being OT but no other way to express my viewpoint without writing this)

 

The 2nd part of you post I referenced has to do with you saying Hamilton was not observing debrief rules because Toto and Niki both addressed the press as well on this same debrief

 

The 3rd part was me contesting the issue with liegate and how that could possibly be viewed as a political strategy by Hamilton 

 

The "based on a fair fight" comment was not in reference to Spa but to the Telemetry incident which I agree is wrong for him to have posted but was not politically motivated. I think he was just expressing that he didn't have an identical machinery hence his poor qualification. it had absolutely nothing to do with Spa (please check my post again)



#205 P123

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 14:59

I guess some see politics in everything.



#206 Disgrace

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 15:00

The problem with your anology is that you're taking the car with right of way (Hamilton) for granted. Hamilton saw it like that but Rosberg didn't so there is no sense for either of us to say a priori that is one is already in the right, and one is already in the wrong. If it was so clear cut, how could drivers even be considered political animals? Surely Rosberg would just have backed out, but he didn't, and then he tried to justify it. Hamilton responded in the way he saw fit at the time - to go to the press. To make the distinction you have already made makes Rosberg seem illogical, perhaps stupid or even inhuman. That is simply not the case.

 

I understood your "fair fight" comment as one made about Hamilton in general, thus surely it applies to all incidents, otherwise what you're saying is that Hamilton might have multiple agenda. That is to say, if he wasn't upset following the Spa crash because of unfairness, what was he upset by? If you like, this is the essence of politics for me here, and why again we shouldn't be so ready to associate politics with malicious intentions and bad outcomes.



#207 Newbrray

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 15:35

The problem with your anology is that you're taking the car with right of way (Hamilton) for granted. Hamilton saw it like that but Rosberg didn't so there is no sense for either of us to say a priori that is one is already in the right, and one is already in the wrong. If it was so clear cut, how could drivers even be considered political animals? Surely Rosberg would just have backed out, but he didn't, and then he tried to justify it. Hamilton responded in the way he saw fit at the time - to go to the press. To make the distinction you have already made makes Rosberg seem illogical, perhaps stupid or even inhuman. That is simply not the case.

 

I understood your "fair fight" comment as one made about Hamilton in general, thus surely it applies to all incidents, otherwise what you're saying is that Hamilton might have multiple agenda. That is to say, if he wasn't upset following the Spa crash because of unfairness, what was he upset by? If you like, this is the essence of politics for me here, and why again we shouldn't be so ready to associate politics with malicious intentions and bad outcomes.

 

I never said Rosberg was stupid but his bosses according to what he said in the debrief was that "I did it to prove a point " what exactly did he do ? my view is he simply placed his car where it shouldn't have been and put himself and the other driver in a position that led to an incident. But for his actions and his thoughts that incident would not have happened. whether he is justified in proving his point is another debate but with regards to the Spa incident he certainly tried to prove his point with a silly move. I won't even consider it clumsy as it was premeditated due to him claiming it was to prove a point.

 

 

 

I think its the way we both view the political arena that differs not whether it happens or not.

 

Another driver knocks me off the road whilst I was going at 150mph on a track that has claimed multiple lives leading me to lose possibly 25 points in a close title fight , am sorry but I will certainly feel aggrieved. This has nothing to do with politics. if for example Hamilton now tried to use his his friendly rapport with Jean Todt and Bernie to ensure Rosberg is banned for life from F1 and all other motorsport categories (here the punishment certainly outweighs the crime) then we can say he is being political. 

 

Someone hits you and crash out, won't you feel aggrieved.  


Edited by Newbrray, 21 January 2015 - 15:37.


#208 Disgrace

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 15:58

I never said Rosberg was stupid but his bosses according to what he said in the debrief was that "I did it to prove a point " what exactly did he do ? my view is he simply placed his car where it shouldn't have been and put himself and the other driver in a position that led to an incident. But for his actions and his thoughts that incident would not have happened. whether he is justified in proving his point is another debate but with regards to the Spa incident he certainly tried to prove his point with a silly move. I won't even consider it clumsy as it was premeditated due to him claiming it was to prove a point.

 

 

 

I think its the way we both view the political arena that differs not whether it happens or not.

 

Another driver knocks me off the road whilst I was going at 150mph on a track that has claimed multiple lives leading me to lose possibly 25 points in a close title fight , am sorry but I will certainly feel aggrieved. This has nothing to do with politics. if for example Hamilton now tried to use his his friendly rapport with Jean Todt and Bernie to ensure Rosberg is banned for life from F1 and all other motorsport categories (here the punishment certainly outweighs the crime) then we can say he is being political. 

 

Someone hits you and crash out, won't you feel aggrieved. Using your logic then every single driver clash on track has been politically motivated  :confused:

 

Am sorry but I don't agree with that definition

 

I'm not attempting to put words in your mouth by claiming you said Rosberg was stupid, however, in my opinion it is the logical outcome of the analogy you proposed in which Hamilton "has right of way". If you set up a situation with assumptions that discredit the validity of Rosberg's point of view then you reduce Rosberg's "point" to his failure to recognise that Hamilton has right of way. If Hamilton's right of way is set in stone by law, who is Rosberg to try and change that? Does that make him a cheat outside of the law? I hope you see the premise I'm getting at.

 

Rosberg still acted the way he did and then attempted to justify it. Maybe he thought he had right of way, in which case, your analogy doesn't work at all. However, I happen to roughly agree with your interpretation of Rosberg's role in that incident. He recogised that in order to beat Hamilton, he needed to acquire right of way himself by forcing the issue. And by some miracle it worked - Rosberg gained 20 points. So how come we see this incident as a Hamilton victory that set him up for the title?

 

This is why whether Rosberg is justified in proving his point is the debate. We've covered the actual incident, which as I've said, was pretty boring all things considered. A tyre was punctured and a front wing endplate broken - not the stuff thrillers are made of. The key is in the post-crash fallout, during which I think Rosberg made a political error by trying to claim credit for something considered to be impossible. Hamilton despite breaking confidentiality, capitalised on the sympathy generated by his retirement as well as his perceived superior speed (hence making the accident more of an injustice), and turned a 20 point loss into a political victory. If he didn't have the speed to recover those points, it wouldn't have mattered (see my reply to maverick69).

 

Not all incidents are politically motivated, certainly not racing incidents, but this one was something else altogether. As I said in my original post, I think this kind of controversy is good for F1 in general, so I am hardly equating driver politics entirely with self-interest and negativity if the fans win.



#209 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 19:50

Surely Spa-gate was Lewis telling the truth...... Which in my opinion is diametrically opposed to being "political". Granted, Lewis was certainly working to an agenda - but that agenda was to show the world that he'd been "cheated".

 

I think all he is looking for is a fair fight on the track...... because he knows that's where his major strength is. It's those drivers who chase every other possible avenue that I regard as "political".

 

Of the previous greats - Schumacher and Prost spring to mind. Of the current bunch: definitely Alonso. JB and Rosberg also clearly work hard on negating that little (and I mean little) lack of relative raw talent by constantly "working the room". It's hard to say where Vettel is because he's been shielded by RedBull (a bit like Hamilton at McLaren in 2007-08).

 

I say this because if you do not draw a line - then everyone on the planet is "political".

 

It appears to me that showing the world that he'd been cheated is a political act. What purpose could it have but to put pressure on the team?



#210 Taxi

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 12:04

Think you need to take Mansell and Hamilton and put them in the top box.

 

:cool:

I think you need to watch 1990 season again. 

 

As for hamilton, well sometimes he eficient [2007] sometimes just ridiculous ["jenson stoped folowing me on twiter!"  "look at this telemetry  data guys!"



#211 Newbrray

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 12:28

It appears to me that showing the world that he'd been cheated is a political act. What purpose could it have but to put pressure on the team?

 

 To let everyone have an informed opinion about the facts of the matter and understand what really happened so they can make their own informed decision and not think it was as accidental as many presumed. 

 

 

 

someone pushes me on to a train track and says it was accidental but later admits when questioned by the cops he did it on purpose, and me reiterating what he said to my friends is me being "political"

 

I think it will do well for this thread to have a baseline definition of what being political is, so we all understand we're all on the same page, the definitions I have seen on here seems to cover every single spectrum from someone sticking his tongue out to being an assassin for a terrorist organisation.



#212 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 21:04

 To let everyone have an informed opinion about the facts of the matter and understand what really happened so they can make their own informed decision and not think it was as accidental as many presumed. 

 

someone pushes me on to a train track and says it was accidental but later admits when questioned by the cops he did it on purpose, and me reiterating what he said to my friends is me being "political"

 

I think it will do well for this thread to have a baseline definition of what being political is, so we all understand we're all on the same page, the definitions I have seen on here seems to cover every single spectrum from someone sticking his tongue out to being an assassin for a terrorist organisation.

 

First of all, I agree that without a definition of "political" the thread will not really go anywhere. I also should add that I have no problem with "political" drivers even without having such a definition, so when I say that I think this was a political act or that I think Hamilton is not non-political at all, that's not saying anything against Lewis.

 

Now, I still think that the act was political and your analogy IMHO demonstrates this quite nicely:

 

In your scenario, if you inform the cops, or the judge, or anyone who is a formal party to the formal proceedings which are in place for such an incident, that the guy who pushed you told your friends something different, that's simply you exercising your rights in said formal proceedings. If however you call the local newspaper, who is not a party in the proceedings, and which formally cannot do anything for you, in an attempt to create public opinion then you ARE being political.

 

Edit: I forgot something:

 

As far as I can tell there are 4 possible reasons for Lewis to inform the public:

1. He just wanted to ensure that fans are properly catered for and receive all the information there is. This would not be political but is difficult to believe.

2. It is really important for him psychologically that he feels support by the public, and he wanted to create this feeling in order to add emotional support for himself. This would be borderline political.

3. He didn't think at all and just said whatever came to mind. Not political but I give him the benefit of the doubt and don't take this seriously into consideration.

4. He wanted to create public opinion in order to put pressure on the team from the outside so that if another controversial incident happens in the future they will tend to support him over Rosberg. Political and IMHO by far the most likely reason.


Edited by KnucklesAgain, 22 January 2015 - 21:11.


#213 Newbrray

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 03:24

 

 

In your scenario, if you inform the cops, or the judge, or anyone who is a formal party to the formal proceedings which are in place for such an incident, that the guy who pushed you told your friends something different, that's simply you exercising your rights in said formal proceedings. If however you call the local newspaper, who is not a party in the proceedings, and which formally cannot do anything for you, in an attempt to create public opinion then you ARE being political.

 

Edit: I forgot something:

 

As far as I can tell there are 4 possible reasons for Lewis to inform the public:

1. He just wanted to ensure that fans are properly catered for and receive all the information there is. This would not be political but is difficult to believe.

2. It is really important for him psychologically that he feels support by the public, and he wanted to create this feeling in order to add emotional support for himself. This would be borderline political.

3. He didn't think at all and just said whatever came to mind. Not political but I give him the benefit of the doubt and don't take this seriously into consideration.

4. He wanted to create public opinion in order to put pressure on the team from the outside so that if another controversial incident happens in the future they will tend to support him over Rosberg. Political and IMHO by far the most likely reason.

 

Just a few things I would like to point out

 

first of all Lewis never called a press conference (or local newspaper) he was simply asked during an interview of his opinion. An interview that all drivers are mandated to give and is simply the norm and part of the proceedings of a grand prix weekend and far from the  scenario you paint of him trying to taint "the jury pool"

 

You have also given 4 options on the likelihood of Lewis intention and what might have motivated his response to the media, you however have indicated and presumed to know this said intention (by selecting option 4) although you carefully worded it as "the most likely reason".  

 

By doing this and trying to guide other posters to your reasoning and encouraging them to choose option 4, are you not guilty of being political  yourself by trying to enforce your choice as the most likely intention which is neither backed up by facts or any evidence and further insinuating that his end goal was simply to get one over his team mate in future dealings. 

 

what's really funny about this particular case is that

 

Hamilton got hit due to no fault of his

Hamilton was the biggest loser as he lost a potential 25 points in a close title fight

Rosberg admits he did it to prove a point and felt he was justified

Mercedes bosses admits that Nico was at fault

Most who watched it agreed that Rosberg was at fault

 

Yet after all the above, its Hamilton who has to defend allegations of him being political and that his retort to the incident is him trying to get favourable treatment and support from the team in future dealings over his team mate (it really is interesting) :)

 

I guess it sums up his career so far 



#214 Disgrace

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 04:04

I do realise that I am the one responsible for opening Pandora's box, but this discussion needs to end quickly before it simply becomes a discussion of an individual incident. When we get to the point of discussing each other relative to other posters, it's time to move on.



#215 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:23

Just a few things I would like to point out

 

(...) 

 

I hoped that we would explore the definitions of political more - not the individual incident of the Ham case as such, but taking it as an example for whether, e.g., your scenario and/or my option 4 would qualify as a political act. Also I didn't say Ham called the press. The part of calling the local paper referred to your scenario of being pushed etc.

 

And you are right, I did try to word it carefully (maybe not enough) - I pointed out in a previous post how IMO our perceptions of being political are clouded by our preconceptions. These 4 options are what I could think of, there are probably more.

 

And I don't know why you have to go back to the question of whether I am "guilty" of anything. As I said, I have no problem with drivers being political, and I don't think Ham was "guilty" either, I just think he did it on purpose with an agenda just like maverick69 also does, I just don't believe that his agenda was to let the world know just in the interest of free information flow, but to turn it into an advantage.


Edited by KnucklesAgain, 23 January 2015 - 08:07.


#216 SophieB

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:20

I merged this in with the thread from 2013. The stuff about what people actually mean when they say 'So-and-so is very political' comes up there too.



#217 Newbrray

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:39

I hoped that we would explore the definitions of political more - not the individual incident of the Ham case as such, but taking it as an example for whether, e.g., your scenario and/or my option 4 would qualify as a political act. Also I didn't say Ham called the press. The part of calling the local paper referred to your scenario of being pushed etc.

 

And you are right, I did try to word it carefully (maybe not enough) - I pointed out in a previous post how IMO our perceptions of being political are clouded by our preconceptions. These 4 options are what I could think of, there are probably more.

 

And I don't know why you have to go back to the question of whether I am "guilty" of anything. As I said, I have no problem with drivers being political, and I don't think Ham was "guilty" either, I just think he did it on purpose with an agenda just like maverick69 also does, I just don't believe that his agenda was to let the world know just in the interest of free information flow, but to turn it into an advantage.

 

I didn't mean to single out the Spa incident but it was just used to  buttress my point and to explain how I viewed the wider political terrain ( The matter is dropped now as I agree its taking the thread OT)

 

I however agree that exploring what the term "political" means and its definition in and around Formula 1 is the crux of this thread. Only when we understand the definition properly and how each person applies it can we fully understand the whole picture.

 

I will fire off the opening salvo - I think with regards to drivers it means the use of unrelated driving skills or talent to court favors and decisions that might earn them a competitive advantage. The underlying favors could be based on a rapport built up through socializing and endearing themselves to members of the team, through sycophancy or through cronyism. I believe its a method employed irrespective of the underlying talent to further unlevel the playing field to their own advantage. 

 

I however do agree that in the case of F1 (at least a lot of cases) the drivers who wield this political power actually do have the underlying talent in the first place hence why some team members could gravitate towards them.

 

I also believe its not limited to the intra team battle alone and could involve the wider organisation e.g Balestre supposed favor of Prost over Senna in 1989 because they are both french (allegedly

 

I also think its not in all cases this political power is wielded or intended. I know this is a bad example, but some people e.g the news industry get the headline act due to being pretty/handsome, having a nice smile. They might not necessarily have the best  underlying talent of being the most eloquent or able to read the news as good someone else who for lack of better choice if words is (less camera favorable) but yet because of their looks (which is no fault of theirs) endear themselves more to senior management and get the headline act. Sometimes it just so happens some are more favorable towards you for reasons best known to them without you actually doing anything out of the ordinary. In this instance I can say decisions based on such were political but not necessarily the "person being political" 

 

If however they go out of their way to use their good looks as a way of endearing themselves to senior management and to gain that competitive advantage then that person is being political.

 

I really would like to know how others define the term political and how one can be coined a "being political" maybe that will shed more light on our individual interpretations


Edited by Newbrray, 23 January 2015 - 09:47.


#218 Dunc

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 16:38

Start a thread then get tied up for a few days and come back to find it's pretty lively! 

 

The OED defines political as "done or acting in the interests of status or power within an organization rather than as a matter of principle", which is the sort of thing I was meaning when I started the thread.  In F1 it could mean a driver doing things to enhance a his or her position within a team or in the sport more widely.  The reason I started it is I've quite often read drivers being praised as "non-political" but I think we shouldn't be so harsh on drivers who are "political".  If you are an F1 driver gunning for the WDC, it's only natural you will want every advantage you can get and raw talent can only get you so far.  Similarly, in our own careers, often we may only be able to get so far by our talents to do our jobs and after that we will need to find something more, which will usually mean making the best of the politics of our workplaces.  This doesn't mean you have to become a backstabber or Machiavel but that you just need to make the best of managing the situation you find yourself in.

 

The situation at Mercedes last year - not just at Spa but for the whole season - was a good example of this.  Both Hamilton and Rosberg had the ability to be WDC and may never be in such an advantageous position car-wise again in their careers.  IMHO Hamilton's greatest strengths are his speed and natural talented and Rosberg's are his discipline and mental strength.*  Both therefore had to compensate for their relative weaknesses and, I would argue, both played politics to try and maximize their status at Mercedes with Spa being the most visible example of this.

 

*Not looking to get into a discussion on the relative strengths of Hamilton & Rosberg, just stating my opinion.



#219 KnucklesAgain

KnucklesAgain
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:03

I didn't mean to single out the Spa incident but it was just used to  buttress my point and to explain how I viewed the wider political terrain ( The matter is dropped now as I agree its taking the thread OT)

 

I however agree that exploring what the term "political" means and its definition in and around Formula 1 is the crux of this thread. Only when we understand the definition properly and how each person applies it can we fully understand the whole picture.

 

I will fire off the opening salvo - I think with regards to drivers it means the use of unrelated driving skills or talent to court favors and decisions that might earn them a competitive advantage. The underlying favors could be based on a rapport built up through socializing and endearing themselves to members of the team, through sycophancy or through cronyism. I believe its a method employed irrespective of the underlying talent to further unlevel the playing field to their own advantage. 

 

I however do agree that in the case of F1 (at least a lot of cases) the drivers who wield this political power actually do have the underlying talent in the first place hence why some team members could gravitate towards them.

 

I also believe its not limited to the intra team battle alone and could involve the wider organisation e.g Balestre supposed favor of Prost over Senna in 1989 because they are both french (allegedly

 

I also think its not in all cases this political power is wielded or intended. I know this is a bad example, but some people e.g the news industry get the headline act due to being pretty/handsome, having a nice smile. They might not necessarily have the best  underlying talent of being the most eloquent or able to read the news as good someone else who for lack of better choice if words is (less camera favorable) but yet because of their looks (which is no fault of theirs) endear themselves more to senior management and get the headline act. Sometimes it just so happens some are more favorable towards you for reasons best known to them without you actually doing anything out of the ordinary. In this instance I can say decisions based on such were political but not necessarily the "person being political" 

 

If however they go out of their way to use their good looks as a way of endearing themselves to senior management and to gain that competitive advantage then that person is being political.

 

I really would like to know how others define the term political and how one can be coined a "being political" maybe that will shed more light on our individual interpretations

 

Very good post, thanks. 

 

I think your definition of "political" is workable and fits what I would understand the term to mean, while the way you wrote it nicely underlines its ambiguity: without changing a word it can be read both in a derogatory way or as a description of important, even necessary skills of a competitive racer which augment his or her driving talent.

 

Maybe a decisive factor for judging one way or the other is what a person includes, or wants to see, in the racer's skill set. Certainly everyone will agree that driving talent is required, but is it enough? Probably enough to be a great driver, but maybe not enough to be a successful pro racer on the highest level - or at least it helps to have both. One related thing to keep in mind is that one can be a great sportsperson without necessarily being competitive. Sure there are sports which hardly make sense without competition, other sports less so.

 

I'll also try an analogy from another sport. For example there are fantastic surfers who could/would be competitive world class as far as their wave skills are concerned if they were interested in competition. But some prefer to make just enough money to live near their favorite beach and ride their favorite waves, over the constant travel hassle and competitive pressure on the world pro circuit just to have to ride crappy waves for the only reason that a competition was scheduled. Some have an interest in one particular wave and their life goal is to ride this one perfectly, damn the other great waves in the world. Others judge their rides by how well they tuned into the wave, the closeness to its energy during the ride, and seek their fulfillment there. Etc. I think this mindset would be called unpolitical.

 

But then, there is an argument to be made that the additional demands of competition are also valuable aspects of sport. Maybe not essential for and defining the whole sport of surfing (as you can be a great surfer without caring for them), but valuable aspects none the less: to deliver under pressure when it counts even when not everything is perfect, to be the best on average on many different waves, and so on. There are strong and important mental powers at work here, and testing them in sporting competition is interesting to many, participants and spectators alike. And what about the guy who is wonderful when alone in great surf and having all the time in the world to wait for the perfect wave, but gets beaten in direct competition not because the maximum level of his abilities is lower, but because he does not thrive in the competitive situation like the opponent, because the time limits mean that at some point he has to take a not so perfect wave and make the best of it to maximize points, because he cannot be bothered to continuously work on his quiver of boards which enables him to have good equipment for a wide range of conditions (instead of the one perfect board for his favorite wave), and so on?

Some factions of surf culture already feel that all this shit detracts from what real surfing is about. There's a truth in this, but in the end the sensible position probably is that both approaches are valid, each focuses on different aspects, they complement each other and it's fortunate that they both exist. Even the most hardcore soul surfers would not call the competition aspect to be a "political" approach.

 

One step farther though, once you agree to competition it becomes all-consuming: suddenly the quality of your equipment contracts becomes important. More support means better gear, better quivers, better training, more options generally. And with economics and companies involved there comes different pressure, different skills become important: how well do you sell on photos, how good are you at negotiating your contracts and start fees, and ultimately how well are you judged by the judges - and do they really purely judge the ride, or do other aspects get involved, if unconsciously, which can be manipulated to gain an advantage? In any case, probably a competition surfer may find that another of similar or even worse pure surfing skills beats him because of the support they have around them. What then? Probably the path to success is to maximize not only the riding talent but to improve and excel in any important area. And sure enough there will be some who thrive in this particular situation, who have a huge competitive streak maybe to the point of being unhealthy, who will do anything. And who will truly be political where needed.

 

Does the purity of the ride and the surf life get diminished by this? Probably yes. Does it invalidate the whole endeavor? I don't think so necessarily, it depends on what you define the sport to be.

 

Back to motor racing, there certainly is a mind set that sees the sport as encompassing more than the driving. Motor racing textbooks often have chapters on the commercial aspects just like they have chapters on braking technique. From Ross Bentley's Speed Secrets series, volume 5, The Complete Driver: Define and Refine Your Skills On and Off the Track:

 

To succeed in any form of racing, a driver must be more than fast. In today's ultra-competitive motorsports scene, where there's competition for financial support as well as for checkered flags, a racer must have a full complement of on- and off-track skills. To become a champion, a driver must augment his or her racing, testing, and physical skills with traits and skills such as mental toughness, marketing savvy, and career-building abilities. "Speed Secrets 5: The Complete Driver" is the first handbook for the aspiring professional or ambitious amateur racer. It provides insights that will help aspiring racers reach their full potential in their quest to become well-rounded racers.

 

 

And why not, as without commercial skills you probably will get less far in the development of your driving skills than somebody with more track time, better access to different cars, more help from experienced mentors, etc.

 

In a way this is similar to your news media example. How you judge this depends in part on whether you include good looks in the advantages of a particular person for this particular job. And in some media good looks are important, whether we like it or not - surely not for the quality of the news, but if you are the CEO of a mainstream TV channel the quality of the news simply is not the only thing you are concerned about, and somebody who thinks otherwise probably never reaches this role in the first place. So while I still think your definition of "political" is helpful, and while I appreciate quality news, someone using their looks advantage in such an environment is inevitable and not underhanded.

 

And if I don't like it, I should not watch the program and should be at the beach training for the perfect wave. 


Edited by KnucklesAgain, 24 January 2015 - 21:32.