Sebastian Vettel being demoted to Toro Rosso? Pull the other one...

You may have noticed that we didn’t publish any news articles yesterday, known worldwide as April Fool’s Day, and with good reason…

April 1 is traditionally a great ‘gotcha’ day to trick less than reputable so-called F1 journalists who regurgitate content from other news sites without even stopping to consider the merits of the article.

And a few stories were certainly being bandied about yesterday, as several mainstream news sources got in on the joke as well.

In all, there were several silly headlines doing the rounds. Our particular favourite was Yalla F1’s story claiming that Sebastian Vettel would be demoted to Scuderia Toro Rosso for the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo was to be promoted in his place, making an all-Australian line-up in the Milton Keynes team.

“We hereby believe our actions will bring to an end this Multi 21 saga that has negatively affected our team. When we managers on the pitwall want to stop drivers from racing in a grand prix they must obey our decisions.  The pit wall is the command centre of a team. If drivers start ignoring pit wall instructions and race when they want, we will have real racing and we don’t want that in our sport,” a statement from the team allegedly reads.

Unfortunately ESPN F1 were the biggest victims of the day, running a story previously written by F1 journalists puppets Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid – the Pitpass.com duo who are notorious for repeating any story without fact-checking – claiming that Ferrari’s vetoing of the sport’s technical and commercial rules was all-powerful. Were the story true, then Ferrari would have shut down a hell of a lot more rules loopholes than it has managed to do so…

F1 blogger Formula Onlive published a complete furphy of a story claiming that McLaren will roll out major upgrades for the Chinese Grand Prix that will deliver it frontrunning pace to the tune of at least 0.3 seconds a lap improvement.

The fact that McLaren is well over a second off the pace renders the math rather poor here, but the lack of attributed quotes – not to mention the fact that the authors can’t even spell ‘Red Bull’ in their headline! – means this should be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Autosport was also in on the act, running a story in its gossip section claiming that an organisation called DuPont F1 was going to unveil plans for a twelfth Formula 1 team – effectively taking over the closed entry of the HRTF1 Team – that would enter the 2014 season.

A quick bit of digging showed that the DuPont F1 website domain was owned by Julia Wurz – wife of former F1 driver Alexander – who was widely known to be on the verge of publishing a semi-fictional account of life in the F1 paddock. And so it proved to be true when the announcement was made at 11:55AM local time – five minutes before all April Fool’s pranks are meant to be played.

Formula 1 wasn’t immune to these pranks, either. The V8 Supercars team Dick Johnson Racing also got in on the act, announcing that it had secured a deal to bring a fifth manufacturer into the championship from next year. That carmaker was later revealed to be none other than De Lorean…

I guess it’s time we head back to the future… or should that be reality???

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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