When a ship was sinking the radio operators used to send out a very simple message in Morse Code: · · · — — — · · ·. It meant SOS and was the international distress signal. This would bring other ships racing to the scene to rescue whatever could be rescued.
There are times when being an F1 reporter is like being a radio operator, sending out messages about how things are going on a ship that has been out at sea for a long while. Well tonight this radio operator feels the need for a distress signal. The F1 ship is once again in great danger of foundering. God alone knows what is happening up on the bridge, but there is a bloody great hole in the bottom and unless someone starts behaving in a smarter manner than they have of late – and starts doing it very quickly indeed – the whole thing is going to sink without trace.
The man on the street does not understand all of the politicking that has been going on. He does not care. Aside from “the anoraks” who can tell you the chassis numbers of Theodore F1 cars, the people who are counted as F1 fans – because they sit on a couch and gawp at the TV – only really care about the sport if the racing is good. They do not understand, nor care about Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone or any of the others involved in the politics. They do not know, nor care who Alan Donnelly is, and whether his interests are conflicted is really of no importance to the man at the fish and chip shop in Bolton.
The stars of the sport are the men like Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who drive these wonderful machines. The drivers are the knights of the modern era. They are the only people who matter. Them and the men who design their cars. The rest of those around them are the money-changers, the bookies, the stable hands, the ladies of ill-repute, the clowns and the helmet carriers. Some of them are clever, no doubt about it, but they don’t matter… even if they wear a badge saying “Sheriff” or feel important because they represent the interests of a bunch of goat herds in Outer Mongolia.
On June 24 the FIA put out a press statement announcing that a deal had been struck by the interested parties in F1. This had been rubber-stamped by the FIA World Council. The details were sketchy but it was clear who wanted what and what had been agreed. The World Council’s credibility was thus at stake. This was their agreement, hammered out in a back room perhaps, but it had gone back to them and they had voted it through.
What was agreed in Paris? And if nothing was actually agreed why did FOTA agree to it and why did the World Council bother to endorse anything?
Today the FIA claimed that the FOTA walked out of a meeting at the Nurburgring.
Not so, says FOTA. The eight teams were informed by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting that, contrary to previous agreements, they are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the Technical and Sporting Regulations.
So the FIA entry list issued the other day was not true? How does that work? There was enough trouble getting to that point, wasn’t there? I am sure that if I dug around for a Mosley quote about peace and harmony I could find one, but what is the point?
The FOTA teams requested that the meeting be postponed but this was refused on the grounds that no new Concorde Agreement would be permitted before a unanimous approval of the 2010 regulations was achieved. FOTA argues that the basis of the 2010 Technical and Sporting Regulations was already established in Paris, and endorsed by the FIA World Council. The FIA press statement of June 24 said that “the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009”. Now it appears that is not the case.
FOTA says that at no point in the Paris discussions was any requirement for unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed.
“To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula 1 in jeopardy,” FOTA said. “As a result of these statements, the FOTA representatives at the subsequent Technical Working Group were not able to exercise their rights and therefore had no option other than to terminate their participation.”
FOTA says it undertook the Paris agreement and the subsequent discussions “in good faith and with a desire to engage with all new and existing teams on the future of Formula 1”.
I can hear the real fans screaming “Stop!! Who cares about this shit? What about the racing?”
What about the jobs of those involved in all these teams?
What about the credibility of those involved. This has all gone too far.
One day there are going to be some very colourful obituaries written about these people.
History always gets the final word. Hopefully F1 will not be a thing of a past when those obituaries are written.