Cooked goose for breakfast

The worst case scenario which I suggested would happen a while ago has come to pass. At least today.

Next week it could all be solved at the FIA World Council. The removal of Max Mosley as FIA President is really what this argument is all about. We have dodged saying that directly because we hoped that the split would be avoided, but now it is announced, it is time to put away the toys, get rid of the masks and say things as they really are. The teams have stuck together. They are going. If I was a gambling man then I would say that the Monaco GP, the only race that matters, will go with Ferrari (ie FOTA). Those who are in racing to follow the money, will follow any Ferrari-Monaco alliance, as these are the only two brands that are important to race fans.

So it is now down to the FIA to decide whether to go with or without Mosley. If it decides to support Max, then we are really into the destruction of F1 because then the twin series concept becomes a reality.

As a reporter, I am obviously placed in a difficult position as everyone wants me to declare myself in support of one series or another. As a fan, I want to say that all these people – clever though they may be – have failed. They have gone down the one road that they should have avoided. This takes them to a point the Americans were at 14 years ago. They have learned nothing from the self-destruction of US open-wheeler racing. They have learned nothing from the mess in which rallying finds itself. They all have plenty of self-justification and some of it even makes sense, but the end result is failure.

Right now, my feeling is that next year they can hold as many races as they like. I will cover all of them, but I will probably stay at home because I am investing my money and my life in this sport and neither side warrants that. Maybe I will go to Monaco to remind myself what the cars look like…

But, hey, we have to be positive… if these brilliant people who run the various bits of the sport are really as clever as they think they are, then they will fix it. And us fans (because that is really all I am) can then get our enthusiasm back.

20 thoughts on “Cooked goose for breakfast

  1. The problem is that I don’t know that Max has grasped that it’s about getting rid of him. In his press release (on the FIA website) he’s still mentioning money when clearly that isn’t the biggest issue.

    The positive thing is that at least FOTA has mentioned the fans, while that could be put down to “hearts and minds”, they have put in the effort to mention us.

    Interesting that you mentioned Rallying too Joe, part of the problem there is the FIA one assumes?

  2. Joe,

    I think that at the end of the day, all that any of us want is to go racing.

    Politics and sport are uncomfortable bedfellows and should be avoided.

    Hopefully the FIA will realise just how much is at stake here.

  3. I really hope the FIA back down on this, I think the teams are totally correct in their stance, and hopefully this breakaway will never happen. I can’t believe anyone will let it happen, otherwise it really is the end.

    I will support FOTA over the FIA F1 championship and really hope Williams + Force India can go to the FOTA side if it ever happened as I just want to see a championship with all the current F1 teams in it + a few extra teams!

  4. I hope the fans at Silverstone will show their discontempt. Ii still can’t believe it. I’m have for FOTA and i know every fan will follow them as I will too, but I don’t know, i just don’t to think this is over yet, It just can’t happen at least CVC should have the power to to lobby against Max, or someone…
    I want my F1 back!!!

  5. @ Joe
    > … the end result is failure.

    My first thought when reading about FOTA’s intentions, on Dutch public broadcasters’ teletext service, of all places, was something along the lines of what George Taylor said at the end of Planet of the Apes:

    “We finally, really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!”

  6. Just listening to the Force India man on the BBC, it’s clear from the interview that both he and the Beeb realise they may have backed the wrong horse.

    BTW at this moment I think the FOTA stance is a gambit, but one they may well follow though if the FIA does not see sense.

  7. I have always maintained that this will be resolved and that normal service will be resumed. I am still of that mind. These things can be fixed. Why did the FIA bring on this change? They have sporting control of F1 they do not have the powers to tell participants what they can or cannot spend. The irony of all this is that the GP this weekend will take place for the last time at Silverstone because they refused to spend money on jewel encrusted rollerdoors to the garages or on gold handles to the paddock loos or whatever nonsense Ecclestone wanted. Now the teams are being told how to spend money while Ecclestone takes away a race from one venue that can do it properly and with responsible economics so that some silly punters further up the road can go and waste some other people’s money to host a GP at a venue that will be the most difficult for the average punter to get to!!! Wake me up from this nightmare, someone please.

  8. F1 bigwigs, you leave me speechless!

    Is GP1 ready to go? N.Technology has withdrawn its application to enter Formula 1 in 2010. Not looking good at the moment for Maximilian. All new teams will have to run Cosworth engines next year, it’ll be a slightly modified version of A1. Unfortunately. Horrible news.

  9. @FOFA:

    I believe Cosworth were only planning/able to supply four teams. Don’t know what the other new entrants will be running!

  10. Generally I have agreed with Joe on many of his analyses. Joe made the following statement which I think needs to be commented on.

    “As a fan, I want to say that all these people – clever though they may be – have failed.”

    Max was simply not giving FOTA any choices – he kept pushing them further into a corner. FOTA had no option but to fight back in the end. This was brought about by one very stupid little man called Max. No matter how intelligent the members of FOTA are they had no voices to express themselves. I think FOTA have been brilliant (I sense Luca’s strategy here) and they have played their ace card. The only cards FIA have to play is Force India, Williams, USF1, Manor and Campos – oh dear. They have even lost Lola and N.Technology from their potential assets. I suspect USF1 will be looking at their legal obligations to the series now.

    FIA will need to suffer or grovel – to get FOTA back will require Max’s immediate resignation. This chess match is over and Max is in check-mate.

  11. I’m all with FOTA! I think. I’m trying to look at it as positive as possible.
    Ferrari, Monaco, all the big names from the current F1. The prospect of cheaper tickets and the fact they will listen to the fans… If they also start racing back on the great circuits (silverstone, Montreal, Indy, San Marino, to name a few), this could only be regarded as a good thing. Just name it Formula1 and nobody will remember these weeks.

    And if the FIA wants a piece of the action, they should get themselves rid of ‘Sex Mosley’.

  12. Thanks Joe for your thoughtful blog.

    I am primarily a fan too, as are the vast majority of the people who work in Formula 1. None of these people want to see formula 1 destroyed, but many have become progressively more frustrated over recent years at the extent to which the sport that they love has become dominated by political manoeuvrings and greed. It really seems that crises are created to provide a theatre for a frustrated politician, that great historical races are lost for financial gain that does not benefit the sport and that even the potential for improved commercial presentation
    and entertainment is strangled.

    A rival series is not what we want, but the actual carrying out of the threat has become the only way to break the status quo. We need to be optimistic and hope that some of these things will change now – that we won’t have two weakened series, but a new stronger F1. That the best races will survive, that the package presented to fans will improve, and that in future we can enjoy the racing without knowing or caring about the personalities involved in its administration.

    Breakaways like this can work – football’s Premier League being a classic example. This showed that the competitors (teams and people) and the venues were more important than the governing body. The fact is, however, that if a breakaway were really to happen, there will be nothing left of the old formula 1. The new teams won’t find £40m – or engines – and the best of them will join the FOTA championship. F1 will not survive with the teams that are left.

    The FIA (as a body, rather than a man) must realise this, and somehow bring it all back together. It’s either that or the sport descends into years of lawsuits which really would be the worst case scenario.

  13. Well written and informative as always Joe, thanks.

    The removal of Max is LONG OVERDUE. This is all his fault. I’m just afraid that it’s too late at this point.

  14. Hi Joe
    I don’t completely agree that an FIA/FOTA split will be as destructive as the CART/IRL divorce was for them.
    In CART, the most important component was 1 race, the Indy 500. The racing teams and the drivers were, and are, of much less importance. Ultimately, whichever series controlled Indianapolis would triumph.
    In F1, the teams and drivers are much more important, and the courses, less so. The only exception might be Monaco. I believe that the vast majority of fans will follow FOTA, and give the new series a chance to prove itself.
    It is interesting that the FOTA press release took a couple of swipes at Bernie, as well as Max. Quite possibly it will take a renegotiated deal with FOM, and a surrender from the FIA, to get them to stay. As the principal actors in the sport, FOTA and the drivers have all the drawing power, Max and Bernie have forgotten that.

  15. I don’t think a breakaway is a good idea but anything, no matter how extreme, that removes Mr Mosley from this sport has my full support (not that us fans matter one iota).

    Optimist that I am, I still think a rabbit will be pulled from the hat before this breakaway can be allowed to proceed.

    I wonder if the rabbit will be called Max and the hat may be his job!

  16. I would argue that “the fans” have failed as well. This has been brewing for many years. The tipping point was 2007. Yet the fans, instead of turning their backs on the gates and the television screens, have continued to obsess about “the racing” (or more properly, about the brand names and the big names) while letting the politics screw the pooch. Money is what drives F1, not racing, not engineering, not politics. Without it, and lots of it, F1 would not exist. And that comes from “the fans” whether at the track or indirectly through the purchase of goods advertised.

    The problem with ignoring or deriding the politics is that the politics are just part of the show, part of the competition amongst extremely competitive men pretending they are not little boys scuffling on a playground. When they get out of hand it is up to the fans, not the little boys themselves, to slap them on the wrist as they reach into our pockets for another roll of bills.

    In this case, perhaps the little boys at FOTA have learned something. Perhaps they have seen enough of how things should not be done to put together something better. I may be overreaching (or in the eyes of some people denigrating F1) when I suggest the parallels here to what happened in the late 18th century on the eastern shore of North America. A group of wealthy “men of property” had seen enough of what their class could do on the other side of the pond to thoughtfully sit down together and put something better in place that has more-or-less worked since then.

    Then again, maybe I should say “Dream on…”

  17. “As a fan, I want to say that all these people – clever though they may be – have failed.”

    I couldn’t agree more… Between the FIA and FOTA this should all have been sorted out long ago, the current situation reflects very badly on all the parties involved. In the midst of their power struggles they have completely lost sight of what Formula One is actually about. As usual, the followers of F1 are treated as little more than pawns, their allegiances to one series or another are taken for granted…

  18. Why all the doom and gloom?I would rather watch a fota team car doing burnouts in a parking lot rather than have anything to do with the fia.Nothing can be as bad as the last 10 years or so of the maxandbernie farce.Nothing.
    I am going to where ever they race in north america.I will support these guys.
    Good luck

  19. Far from over, I think. This is a big step obviously, but there is still time between now and when/if FOTA grids cars for its first race.

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