After a relatively boring Monaco Grand Prix, the biggest news this week is that the FIA are investigating claims that McLaren ‘fixed’ the race result in Monte Carlo. I normally wouldn’t give such a nonsense story the time of day, but Ron Dennis let one gem slip that I’d never heard reported before.
If you read what Ron said, it seems as though someone hacked into the McLaren radio during the 1998 Australia Grand Prix and falsely instructed Mika Hakkinen to enter the pits when he didn’t need to. To quote Ron:
Team strategy is what you bring to bear to win a Grand Prix. Team orders is what you bring to bear to manipulate a Grand Prix. And we do not, and have not, manipulated Grands Prix, unless there were some exceptional circumstances, which occurred, for example, in Australia (1998), when at that time someone had tapped into our radio and instructed Mika Hakkinen to enter the pits.
At the time I only ever saw it reported that Mika was called into the pits accidentally by the team, not by an outsider ‘tapping’ into their radio! I wonder who was responsible? A competitor? Or maybe a disgruntled fan?