Onslow-Cole was forced to play second-fiddle to Chilton at Silverstone
In the first two races at Silverstone yesterday, Tom Onslow-Cole moved over when leading to allow Aon/Arena Ford teammate Tom Chilton win the races, despite Onslow-Cole being ahead of Chilton in the standings going into the weekend. Despite some poor attempts from T-O-C to cover it up, these were clearly team orders. But why, you might be wondering, would the team favour one Tom over another?

The answer is easy. The operation is bankrolled by Tom Chilton's multi-millionaire father Grahame, who is vice-chairman of Aon Corporation, who lends its name to the team. Putting it simply, it is likely that Grahame (who is a big motorsports fan) has a large influence on what goes on at the team. Although he may not own the team, he probably has a larger say on what goes on than anybody else. He and Aon could be offering financial benefits to Arena for everytime Chilton Jr gets a victory. Alternatively, Grahame could just decide to take Tom and Aon's money elsewhere if he isn't happy with the Arena operation.

Thus, it makes complete sense for Arena to favour Chilton over Onslow-Cole. Onslow-Cole should just put up with it. He had to sit out the beginning of last year because he didn't have enough funding to get a drive, despite strong performances for WSR and Triple 8 in previous seasons. Team Aon picked him up later in the year and retained him for this year. Without Grahame Chilton's money, he wouldn't have a drive, and that's why he just has to accept being the number two driver.

The situation could be compared to the Red Bull Racing team in Formula 1, who were at the centre of a favouritism storm earlier in the year. There, the biggest influence on the way the team is run is owner Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull. He has funded Sebastian Vettel's career from very early on, so he is entitled to favour him over teammate Mark Webber. Any driver from outside of the Red Bull scheme entering the team should be aware of that.

The same can be said of Team Aon, even if Grahame Chilton is not technically a member of the team.

At the end of the day, motor racing is as much a business as it is a sport for many, and such decisions have to me made.

Photo credit: Pete Mainey (www.psmmotorsportimages.co.uk)
Grahame Chilton (right) was at Silverstone to support son Tom (centre)

27/01/2012 2:09pm

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26/03/2012 4:33pm

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