Pole position took a back seat to political machinations and so-called ‘exhaust blowing’ on Saturday at Silverstone.
Some commentators called the situation a farce, with team bosses storming out of meetings wearing a variety of expressions and spectators getting to grips with an apparently confusing mid-season rules change.
“I think the real shame is for the fans, not really knowing what’s going on,” said Sebastian Vettel, whose pole run ended on Saturday as his teammate Mark Webber mastered the changeable conditions.
But the real effect is still unknown, even though it appears McLaren has lost out, it’s business as usual for Red Bull, while Ferrari is smiling.
“Those that end up at the front will probably end up happy and those that are disadvantaged won’t be, and Ferrari seemed to come out of the meeting more smiling than some others,” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC.
Eddie Jordan said the situation is “shambolic”, with a source saying full clarity is not due for “at least 24 hours”.
“It’s been a busy day and I’ve spent most of it with Charlie Whiting,” smiled Christian Horner, whose expression earlier on Saturday was grim, arguing that Red Bull is now running at a “disadvantage” to the other engine makers.
The qualifying 1-2 cheered him up, however, and darkened the mood of the McLaren figures.
“I don’t know where our pace has gone,” said Jenson Button after qualifying behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris on Saturday, “but I can have a guess.”