To Istanbul

It has all been a bit of a rush today, getting from here to there, but we rocketed into Istanbul Park this afternoon to catch up on the latest adventures of the F1 world. There are new F1 teams coming out of the woodwork at one a day at the moment. I tend to think of them as “paper tigers” until we have seen whether there is any substance to them, but I guess that the FIA needs a full field. It is amusing to see that names like Brabham, March and so on are being revived to give the FIA championship some names that people might recognise if the current teams are excluded next year. The FIA currently has Williams signed up and in theory there is a contract with Ferrari as well, but there is no sign that the Italians will stick to that arrangement as Luca di Montezemolo is leading the resistance movement against the federation, or to be brutally honest, against Max Mosley for the federation is not really seen as anything apart from being his own personal fiefdom. If there is anyone in the FIA who does not agree with Mosley they are very well hidden.

But will a few old names give a championship credibility? More importantly, what will FOTA do? Will the nine teams go off and start their own championship or will they resort to the age old routine and start jumping from a ship that will then sink?

At the moment there are some who seem to think that the FIA will back down. They are dreaming. There is no sign of any such compromise and Max Mosley could hardly be described as a quitter. If he was one of those he would have disappeared a year ago when his spanking exploits were made public…

This one I fear is going to the edge of the cliff.

17 thoughts on “To Istanbul

  1. If the standoff truly becomes a shootout, then we will see who packs deadlier ammunition. After decades of involvement, no matter the volume of stories already creating his reputation, I just can’t see Mosley being willing to be remembered at this late stage as “the spanking-prostitute guy that disassembled F1”. With the nine FOTA teams sticking together, they hold the credibility for the championship, even if they couldn’t successfully organize a parallel world-class series. If Mosley is so spiteful he takes the ship down with him, once it is actually underwater it will be wrested from his cold hands and the inner organization of the FIA can reshuffle to find its new king.

    Are you musing it will actually go off the cliff Joe? I suggest that all the momentum taking F1 to the edge will stop with one wheel hanging over. CVC will say, “ok we let you keep complete control, but you’re not devaluing our product”, Bernie and Max can shout it out behind closed doors, and then present whatever image they wish to us. F1 pulling the trigger in the face of the manufacturers would be more financially damaging to F1 than to the FOTA members, so once Max’s stance becomes clear it will rip a hole in the Formula One Group’s pockets, we will see the limit to his power.

  2. Do you not feel that the muscle being shown by the manufacturer teams – especially Ferrari will ultimately be the undoing of the big teams?

    F1 will go on and we will all still be around commenting on it no matter who is racing in it

    For me the more teams the merrier!!!

    I for one would love to see more GP2 on TV as the racing is more of a level playing field with drivers and car setup being the major factors rather than trick diffusers etc

    I cannot say that it will be a disappointment to see the likes of Ferrari BMW and Toyota go – but I also think that the new found fame of Brawn will make them reconsider their stance as they will surely be champions and want to try and defend that title next year.

    As for Red Bull – Force India and Mclaren who all use their cars as mobile billboards for their other business ventures I reckon they will jump ship from FOTA and reapply accepting Max’s rules and regs

  3. Could some of these paper tigers be secretly funded by the existing teams, as a get out clause?

    So for example campos could have been given the start up money by Mercedes, and if mclaren get stuck and need their f1 place, then Mercedes make the call and mclaren are back in?

    Its unlikely, but its no more insane than everthing else that’s been going on

    1. Never thought of Ewan’s suggestion… But who knows? There are a lot of devious people out there.

  4. Joe:

    Looks like Max is going ahead with his own production of Götterdammerung – with Bernie cast in a supporting role this time as Alberich

  5. Maybe I don’t understand how timelines work in the high-speed world of F1, but are more than three or four (at an absolute maximum) of the “new teams” at all credible? What I mean by that is, the 2010 season theoretically starts in less than 10 months. I’m aware that there is a customer Cosworth engine that’s available, and there is theoretically a customer Xtrac/Ricardo (if memory serves) gearbox available for any of these teams, but you still have to design, fabricate and hopefully even test every other part of the car between now and next March. Some of these newly leaked teams don’t appear to have any staff yet, and at least a couple of them don’t have any facilities to speak of. Even the ones who are currently racing in other formula are not the sorts of operations that are set up to make their own cars from scratch. How can these teams be held up by Max Mosley as possible replacements for the “FOTA 9”? My apologies if you’ve dealt with this in previous posts, or in the comments on previous posts, but what am I missing here?

  6. I really could care less about the FIA at this point, though i think its a shame that Mosely is doing this. I was indeed glad to see the FOTA sticking together (except Williams!) and them starting their own championship could be neat. IF they do that, I cannot see F1 continuing to be as big as it is today. I hope Mosely backs down to preserve the sport as is, but if not i wait eagerly to see what the FOTA does.

    If Mosely does back off..even a little, then what happens with the new entrants that signed up based on the cap? I’m assuming that means we dont see them yet…but i would hope at least one or two could manage to stick around.

  7. > I just can’t see Mosley being willing to be
    > remembered at this late stage as “the
    > spanking-prostitute guy that disassembled F1″

    Brilliant point.

    > the inner organization of the FIA can
    > reshuffle to find its new king.

    In the scenario you describe, would the FIA still be working as Bernie’s plaything, as they seem to be now?

    (If I’m wrong about that characterization, someone please speak up!… I still think this is all a plot by Bernie to make Frank Williams shut up about constructor teams once and for all. It would be great to be wrong.)

    I agree with three points in a row from Steve:

    > F1 will go on and we will all still be around
    > commenting on it no matter who is racing in it

    > For me the more teams the merrier!!!

    > I for one would love to see more GP2 on TV

    But I disagree with Steve about this:

    > the new found fame of Brawn will make
    > them reconsider their stance

    This difference is that you could actually buy a Ferrari (or maybe-maybe-maybe a McLaren) if you wanted to, but Brawn’s got no dealerships. Those big, old teams are something special.

    Also, Duncan/Vee8 found something interesting in an Autosport interview with Thiessen: It was Mosley who recommended conditional entries for FOTA teams in 2010, so it would presumably be difficult for him to say they were trying to jerk his chain. All of Max’s bluster that they should go off an start their own series is just theatrics.

    All these guys have contracts with each other. I think a better metaphor is that they’ll hit a wall rather than fall off a cliff: There’s wreckage that will have to be dealt with. And as Mr. Brawn has so handsomely demonstrated for us this year, wonderful things can come out of horrible wreckage.

  8. Are the contracts with Bernie? If so, maybe the FOTA teams (not Williams) will start a new F1 series with Bernie so no contracts are broken. Max likes to piss people off, so bringing in a gaggle of new teams and kicking the rest out would be sweet revenge for him. And he would win his argument. I don’t think Max will back down and we will see two championships next year.

  9. The more I read about the circumstances of the conditional entries and how it was supposedly Max’s idea, the more I begin to believe this was Max’s clever (yet devious) way of ensuring the FOTA 9 are booted from “his” championship.

  10. Nobody seriously can speak of Formula 1 without Ferrari on the gird. So that is the point. You can name it F1 but if there is not a Ferrari it is not F1, it is another good (perhaps) racing formula.

  11. Just say there is two championships next year, I really can’t see Max winning that one. I mean, what would you rather watch, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, BMW and Toyota (assuming they all stay in it) or Lola, Lightspeed and which ever other manage to get in. I really can’t see Max’s Chamionship comparing to anything that the FOTA teams put together, especially after 2-3 years.

    Still, perhaps Max’s championship will be a way for Williams to get their hands on some silverware…

  12. Joe Saward wrote: “It is amusing to see that names like Brabham, March and so on are being revived to give the FIA championship some names that people might recognise if the current teams are excluded next year.”

    Ewan wrote: “Could some of these paper tigers be secretly funded by the existing teams, as a get out clause?”

    I can see Ewan’s point, but put that together with Joe’s sentence above, I can think of a couple of others taking “secret” initiatives. I mean, if old team names are brought to live to sort of replace names like McLaren and Ferrari, it would be a tad more obvious to me, to bring back Tyrrell or Lotus. But Brabham’s old team owner and March’s old team owner has every obvious reason to want old team names back on the grid, so it’s hard to rule out that the return of those specific two teams, might not be a coincidance.

    Even the perfect timing is indicating this. They turned up in the news very late. March on one day, Brabham the next, and then Max tells the FOTA to go play with themselves somewhere else.

  13. What if the emerging teams were being funded by Max and/or other “insiders” who would have a vested interest in keeping the old school open? Many of the inner sanctum of trackside officials have had interests in these teams in the past.

    Perhaps the idea is to show the FOTA teams that a full grid can be rustled up with or without them. Therefore a sword of Damocles is hung over the heads of the FOTA teams.

    Can they afford to stand firm and hope that their bluff is being called? How quickly would the “Paper Tigers” slink back in to the woodwork once the FOTA teams acquiesce?

    Meanwhile in the real world, there are thousands of people who are wondering whether they will still be employed in a year’s time. Sadly for an organisation so hell bent on self-destruction, that sort of bad PR would pale into insignificance by comparison to that which they are currently on track to achieve.

  14. I still reckon we’ll have the same teams in F1 next year. Surely there is just too much at stake for everyone not to reach a compromise.

    I must confess I have lost track of the new teams that are appearing (as if by magic) from the proverbial woodwork. How many are there? Nine or ten? (Does anyone have a definitive list?)

    If a deal is agreed and all the current teams sign up for the future there are only spaces for six cars (or three teams) left. Who would get them? It would be a shame to turn people away if their packages were realistic.

    Perhaps the number of cars allowed should be increased and pre-qualifying re-introduced? Perhaps at certain circuits there could be more cars allowed on the starting grid?

    Wouldn’t it be fun, though probably not for BMW, if we had 35+ cars competing for 26 grid slots.

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