Friday, 26 October 2012

Why Ferrari is not entirely in the wrong

First off, I am a huge fan of Formula One and Ferrari. The first ever sight of F1 I remember watching is that of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari taking out Jaques Villeneuve's Williams at Jerez in 1997. Ferrari was, is and will be the reason I have anything to do with F1. That said, I believe I am objective enough to look at this sensitive issue as a by-stander.

So, the facts.

The Italian Navy men are held in Indian soil right now. They are out on bail. They have been charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen. The matter is sub judice. The Indian authorities want to try them according to Indian law. Italian authorities argue that they should be tried back home as the incident happened over "International waters."

Ferrari has decided, in its usual anti-establishment display of passion (patriotism, in this case), to run its cars in the Indian GP with a flag of the Italian Navy, where it usually sticks a flag of Italy.

Should Ferrari have involved itself in the issue? As a sports team, definitely not. Sports and politics should be kept away like an angry mother-in-law and wife. Sports is called that precisely for a reason, it's entertainment. But that's the thing with Ferrari. As someone who's followed its evolution in the last decade or so both on the F1 circuit and in the automobile industry, I can safely say that Ferrari is more than just a team in Italy.

In the hinterlands of Maranello, Ferrari is a promise. The families of that little town have worked with the company for generations. The mere sight of a Ferrari puts a smile on their faces. There is passion right there. The F1 team of Ferrari is but a fragment of Ferrari's business worldwide. F1 is just a marketing tool for its cars.

That, however, gives them no right to associate themselves with murderers. Make no mistake, the two Navy Men are murderers, in international waters or not.

Ferrari needs to have understood that misplaced passion is as sanctimonious as any action out there. But, as an entity it needed to show its support to its authorities, authorities that want the Navy Men to be extradited to Italy.

No one in their right minds would think that Ferrari, by displaying the Italian Navy's flag, supports the actions of the murderers. There's something fundamentally flawed with that person if they think so. What Ferrari has done is to show support to Italian authorities. It's as simple as that.