When Fernando Alonso darted across the Sepang finish line last weekend, lots of people behind the scenes were busy preparing the podium celebrations. Parc Ferme was ready to accept the 22 cars, and the scales were primed to check each of the top three drivers before they head up to spray the champagne. It is normal – in fact, required – in these cases for the organisers to display the three flags of the nations of the podium drivers, in Sepang’s case; Spain, Britain and Finland. It is also normal to hear the winning drivers national anthem, followed by the constructors national anthem and then some Vivaldi to get the party started. Those of us who watched the podium celebrations after Alonso’s thrashing of Ferrari last Sunday saw the Spanish flag raised behind him. We heard the Spanish anthem, and we heard God Save The Queen for McLaren. So why are Germany kicking up a stink at the moment?
Well, first of all, this news item was published in Germany’s Bild Zeitung. While I’ve never actually read a copy, it seems that whenever there is some piece of fantastical news or rumour, it often stems from this publication. However, Bild are suggesting that the German national anthem should have been broadcast for McLaren. They have stated that McLaren is their car, as the majority shareholder in the Woking based team is Mercedes, currently with 40%.
So despite the team being in their own words “international”, despite the cars being designed and built in Great Britain and despite the team registering themselves in good ol’ Blighty on the FIA World Championship entrance form, Germany wish to hear their anthem on the podium? To be honest, it really doesn’t make too much sense. If constructor was defined as the engine manufacturer, then I’d agree with Bild’s comments, but it isn’t. In fact, the team was founded by a New Zealander – Bruce McLaren – so if anyone should be arguing about this, it’s the Kiwi’s. However, I suspect that like me, they too couldn’t really give a damn, as the German national anthem will not re-write the history books.
I can understand the feeling of the German fans. But we are an international team and the really important thing is that we win, not what is heard on the podium. Norbert Haug.
It seems Germany is missing their anthem being played every other weekend, now Michael Schumacher has retired, and unless Nick Heidfeld or Nico Rosberg pull something out of the bag, it is going to be a while before we next hear Das Lied der Deutschen.
What are your views on this potentially thorny issue? Is the playing of national anthems antiquated? Is it a proud moment for you to hear your own? Are you deeply patriotic, or just biding your time to hear the post-race press conference? Have your say in the comments below…