Jersey Tom wrote:Favoring a driver? How would you even do such a thing. Whole concept sounds like BS to me. Not like they're going to intentionally build one car poorly. A constructor wants to score the most points they can. If one car's setup sucks consistently week after week... tell the engineer to get their act together, but that's about it.
Enzo Ferrari didn't particularly care for his drivers, except I think it was Guiseppe Farina? the rest were jsut plug and play as far as he was concerned. His interest was the Ferrari name and what it stood and his opinion was that drivers didn't build a reputation for a brand, engineers did. He only favoured the driver who was bringing him wins.
Colin Chapman has a special relationship with Jim Clark, to the detriment of Graham Hill Snr in some cases. Hill would go o Chapman and tell him that he was having a problem. Vhapman would nod and head off to ask Clark about the same. If Clark look confused, Chapman dropped the matter there and then.
JOhn Barnard was not particularly fond of John Watsonin the period of the MP4/1 and MP4/2 (1982 and 1983 seasons). Watson always maintained he got the test car while Lauda got the tried and tested stuff.
F1 History is laced with favouritism. Theres even anecdotes of Prost's mechanics deliberately practising a go slow on his 643 because he was constantly critising the damping and changing handling characteristics from high fuel load to low fuel load. Ferrari fired him because he described the car as similar to driving a bus. Yet when Rory Byrne turned up one of the first thing she didwas haul in the damper suppliers over the lack ofconsisitently in whatthey were providing!!
We forget that F1 is still about people and no matter how professional it looks from the outside, its pretty petty and highly political on the inside.
Even a guy like Ron Dennis never seriously considered Schumacher for a McLaren drive because at some point in Schumachers early career he rubbed Ron up the wrong way. I can't remember if it was something he said about the MP4/10 or if it was something he said in 1993 when McLAren wa fighting with Ford to get the same spec engine. Even Mercedes tried prety hard to convince Ron to get Schumacher into a McLaren in 1996 but Ron was not particularly keen. Schumacher wanted out, mostly to get away from the association with the Benetton team management as he felt they had dragged his reputation into the dirt with their shoddy handling of various challenges during the 1994 season. Mercedes wanted him in a McLaren, Ron didn't. Bernie wanted him in a Ferrari but Schumacher was not particularly keen because their reputation for technical excellence was at an all time low. He was not too keen on Barnard working all the way over in England so he realised that there would be a lot of travel involved and he was not particularly keen. It was only after a meting with Todt where the plan was laid out that he agreed to sign initially only for 2 years. At that time Barnard was still in the picture but Schumacher wanted someone he couldtrust at the factory and Byrne was the man he fingered. Even at this stage Schumacher knew how the politics worked.
The rest is history. So did Byrne, BRawn and Todt favour him at Ferrari? Probably. He stipulated conditions for the initial 2 years.
Did he and Irvine get along? Initially because Schumacher actually liked IRvine and his strong personality (stemming from both having had run ins with Senna and neither backing down). Eventually their relationship declined. Irvine was not keen on testing so Schumacher shouldered the brunt of the work.It had the side benefit that he knew every single mechanic whereas Irvine did not. That Irvine's attitude to driving a Ferrari did not exactly light up the italian contigent at Ferrari is also no secret. The Italians prefer you to be respectful of the heritage of Maranello and what Scuderia Ferrari SpA stands for. Irvine just used it to further his playboy status. Thats not the way to handle a brand that has the pope bless every new race car they produce...
SO Schumacher, with his family values, he dedication to hard work, his living the Ferrari ethos is what endeared him to Ferrari. Even though Rubens was also loved at Ferrari. HIs frst win for them was exceptionally popular. I thinkit was Germany 2000. But Michael was always seen as the older brother at Ferrari so the team gravitated toward him. Rubens being naturally shy did not help his cause.
Move forward to a more modern era and Alonso at Renault. He was a Briattore man in a Briattore team and was willing to do what Briattore asked. He was rewarded with the lion share of testing and new parts. He was the guy who was going to raise Briattore's sports management stock. He was favoured. When he moved to McLaren he thought it would naturally continue but Ron had promised a certain youngster, whom he had been sponsoring since the age of 10, that he could get a fighting chance in a McLaren. ROn is not the sort of fellow to go back on his word unless he's made a mistake and he makes very very few (Hence he takin it very personal when Prost accussed him and McLaren of providing Senna with better equipment when in fact it was Honda). With Alonso arriving with expectations, and Ron havng promised equality, there was no way Alosno was going to get what he wanted and that how the fight started. Even Santander wanted to apply pressure. Ron stood firm. I have a huge amount f respect for Ron Dennis. IMO< the best F1 manager of all. I'd rate Todt 0.1 point behind him only because Tody was not at the game as long as Ron.
Ron's only bow toward favouritism was Hakkinen, for well documented reasons.
Point of all of this is, that favouritism happens, even today, for various reasons. To me the most valid reasons are the personal ones, where genuine relationships built around respect exist.
Where sabotage or other tactics are employed due to discrimination or for someone else financial gain, I think detracts from F1 and the stories that surround it.