I didn't see the "tinfoil hat" remark as being snippy or belittling; I took it more as an homage to our well-known (and recently absent) tinfoil-hat hero. As such, I kind of thought it was funny.
And I do disagree about major sports being "rigged". It seems that whenever someone's favorite team doesn't win, it's because of all manner of reasons, but the one reason that's NEVER mentioned is that they lost because they, simply put, didn't play as well - and thus scored fewer points! I've seen some crappy calls, but a really well-sorted, well-honed team will use those disappointments as a rallying call, and find a way to rise above them.
Now I'll launch into my argument about F1 and why it's not rigged. It's long, so get a cup of coffee; you're going to need it.
In the case of Formula One racing, I particularly dislike calls of "rigging" the series. It would be monumentally challenging to even try such a thing, and it would take collusion on the parts of several key players to even attempt to pull it off. And that's if everything went RIGHT. As we've all seen, in racing, everything seldom goes just the way you want it to.
When accusations of rigging a major race series are brought up, one needs to subject it to the logic test, and follow the money. Who benefits? Who pays? How much? If it looks like F1 is rigged, or has been for the last several years, the obvious benefactor (until recently, at least) would have to be Ferrari. That's where the argument hits a brick wall; Ferrari is a "boutique" carmaker, turning out several hundred, or a few thousand, cars per year. If it were possible to simply "buy" the championship by placing large amounts of cash in the right hands, wouldn't Ford (Jaguar in F1 until a couple years ago), Toyota, or Honda be the more likely candidate to have bought it? They have billions to spend, whereas Ferrari has a much smaller discretionary budget for blowing on things like buying championships. Ferrari is rumored (no F1 team will say exactly how much they spend per season) to spend over $400 million per season to mount their F1 effort. Toyota, by way of comparison, is said to expend ONE BILLION DOLLARS to run two cars in F1. Toyota is also known to hold the largest cash reserves of any automaker at the present time ($56 billion in "spare" money lying around, from what I've read). If the F1 Championship were for sale, you can bet that Toyota would be bidding, and bidding high.
What I think happens in Formula One, and indeed in most (if not all) racing series, is that one team just *clicks* with one driver, one manager, one aerodynamicist, one chief engineer, and one crew, and it all comes together to form a perfect union, which may last one race, one season, or (in the rarest cases) nearly a decade. When M. Schumacher signed to the hapless Ferrari F1 team, I thought he was making a huge mistake, and said so to anyone who'd listen. I was sure his talents would be squandered, and he'd be relegated to being remembered as one of the best drivers you never heard from again. Boy, was I ever wrong. Ferrari brought in Schumie, and then they built the entire F1 team around him, reinventing the team from the ground up. They brought in key people he'd worked with before (Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, and others), and they spared no expense in giving him simply the best of everything. For a long while, Michael was flat out the best F1 driver in the world, period. Quite possibly, he was the best in history (the record books would surely say I'm right about that). He was so good, and the team that coalesced around him was so damn good, that they even made Rubens Barrichello, for a time, the second-best driver in F1.
Now Barrichello is with Honda, where he thought he'd have a chance to be their #1 driver, and where it looked like their star might be ascending and they might build a championship-winning team around him, but alas, it looks as though he made the wrong move at the wrong time. Honda has seemed to be coming apart at the seams, self-destructing at an accelerating rate, and Rubens at this point in his career looks more and more like simply a good driver who happened to look great or near-great by dint of the reflected light from the glory that was Michael Schumacher.
It looks to me, at this point in the season (and given last year's results, of course), as though Fernando Alonso is now the "chosen one". By that, I don't mean he's been smiled upon by the powers that be as the one who will be given (or sold) the golden crown of F1 Champion; I mean he's the one who happens to be the right driver, with the right people around him, on the right team at the right time, when it all magically comes together to become something amazing - a full-fledged TEAM! A great driver can sometimes - maybe even *often* - get good results out of a less-than-great car, but a great TEAM can give even a merely good driver a car that is capable of beating all competition. Right now, at this moment, Alonso is on the one team that seems to have everything going its way. And in my opinion, he's going to ruin it by leaving.
Now, back to rigging in F1. How would you do it? How could you pull it off? Is one team benefiting lopsidedly from a particular rule? Is one team benefiting from its particular tire supplier? (Remember that, during a large portion of Ferrari's recent F1 dominance, they were the ONLY team running Bridgestone tires. They didn't get the benefit of feedback from the other 20 cars running similar tires, as Michelin-skinned teams did. They had to figure it out on their own - so they did!) Show me where the sport is being rigged so that only one team or driver can win. In most sports, when one player or team dominates others so completely for so long, they call it a "dynasty". Apparently, in Formula One, we call it "rigged".