Surgical knives and axes

It is all very well for Jean Todt and Gérard Saillant to be getting hot under their collars about some silly remarks made by former F1 driver Philippe Streiff, who suggested that the recent Accident Panel set up after Jules Bianchi’s crash was designed to clear the FIA of the blame. Obviously Streiff does not know all the members of the panel and whether they are independently-minded or not. I can be harsh on Todt and I don’t think this was a stitch-up. I think it was done properly and Todt should be applauded for that.

Mind you, Streiff does not have a monopoly on saying silly things. The FIA President himself has been known to do it. Last year in Bahrain, for example, he told a coterie of selected non-nasty media that he did not have the power to govern the sport. And guess what? People started asking why the governing body cannot govern. Now the European Commission is apparently asking the same question.

And Saillant is not much better. His recent visit to a hospital in Belgium to try to stir up trouble for FIA critic Gary Hartstein was the work of an axeman, not that of a skilled surgeon.

However the pair are skating arm in arm on excessively thin ice by trying to cause trouble for Streiff. All he needs to do is to turn around and say: “Well, look at the Montagny business”.

Franck Montagny, you may recall, a Frenchman and a star of the Formula E, was informed definitively by the FIA weeks ago that he had failed a drugs test in November – at least that is what he said to a French magazine on New Year’s Day. That was three weeks ago and still the FIA has breathed not a word about the story.

The result is that it ends up looking like an attempt to bury the news and one must ask why was Montagny allowed to do this and if he was not, why has the FIA said nothing about catching a leading racer messing about with recreational drugs?

Did Montagny really give an interview without first checking with the federation that it would be a good idea? And if the federation thought this was a good idea why is it helping him?

And if Franck did not get the go-ahead from the FIA why has there been no reaction to avoid the perception that it is helping Franck? Montagny deserves to be punished – he admits as much himself – but what has the FIA said?


Are they ever planning to tell us that Montagny was stupid enough to have been racing with a cocaine-related substance in his veins? I know Formula E cars are slow, but is this not deemed dangerous? Is it not necessary to publicly throw Montagny under the bus “pour encourager les autres”?

There may be a completely reasonable explanation for the federation to say nothing about what is obviously a triumph for its drug-testing programmes, but as more and more time passes, the story is not fading but rather building. The longer this silence goes on, the more it looks like the FIA is protecting Franck. The longer this goes on, the worse it looks. If it is all being held up by bureaucracy then someone needs to take Saillant’s axe to the red tape and get the official story out there.

Perception is everything. In the modern world if people think something is true, then they treat it as being true. Perception is reality.

Streiff is really not worth the effort when you have this mess simmering on the stove.

110 thoughts on “Surgical knives and axes

  1. The Gary Hartstein thing was despicable. For readers who haven’t heard of this, Saillant visited the hospital where Hartstein has been employed for decades and tried to get him fired.

    1. OXO – Yes, and I don’t think this one should be buried either. For me it further re-inforces my view that the FIA are run by people not actually interested in motorsport but by huge bloated egos interested in nothing other than playing power games and quaffing the champers.

    2. I read Gary’s blog on the subject and had/have no idea what it was he might have said that the FIA didn’t like – but if Gary had Joe’s following (I’ve no idea how many he has but I think your readers number in the thousands is that correct Joe?) there might have been a lot more comment on what Gary had to say about Prof Saillants visit

      Prof Saillants alleged behaviour during the visit also seems a bit strange given how involved he was as I understand it in trying to help Michael Schumacher after his skiing accident

      1. Michael C: the smart money has it that the trigger was when Gary had some fairly damning words to say about the FIA’s handling of the race in which Jules Bianchi was injured. I won’t link, as am not sure if Joe would like it and I am sure you can find it for yourself easily enough in Gary’s back-pages. The fact that they let umpteen blog entries about Michael Schumacher’s situation go past without incident, but then acted at that point, says a lot to me.

  2. “Are they ever planning to tell us that Montagny was stupid enough to have been racing with a cocaine-related substance in his veins? I know Formula E cars are slow, but is this not deemed dangerous?”

    Well that is some ignorant, sensationalist tosh right there. It may be a missed political point but from a moral standpoint I do not see the problem. Does anybody seriously think old heroes such as James Hunt had only whiskey running through their veins.

    1. Did your parents not teach you how to behave properly. If you get invited to comment on a blog you do not insult the host. Learn to be more polite or your privilege will disappear. Don’t write things that you would not say to someone’s face. And if you would say this to my face, I might be tempted to kick you up the bum.

  3. The FIA is now as defunct as the old CSI was, when it too descended into chaos and failure. Then, there was a revamp, will that happen now? Somehow I doubt it, as there is no one other than maybe Ari Vatanen, who would have the guts to take on Todt and his cronies. The FIA is just as discredited as FIFA & the Olympics organisers….it is truly awful and saddening for motorsport that the quality of leadership in control of the sport, is so pathetic and self serving….Joe, is there no one that will stand up and declare that those in charge should fall on their swords and go??

  4. Just picking minor nits here, not disagreeing with your main point… but cocaine, while often illegal, is well-known to be a short-term performance enhancer (both mental physical) when used in moderate doses… it’s not the least bit like driving drunk… so, he’s a silly boy for breaking the rules, but it’s not like he was doing anything dangerous, assuming he was dosing appropriately… but perhaps the more likely scenario is that it was left in his system from a recent day’s party and had zilch to do with his performance either way…

      1. Science disagrees with you on this one, Joe. It’s proved to enhance both mental and physical performance in the near term. It does not have long-term performance enhancing effects such as some steroids do.

        Three obstacles to performance use:
        (1) it’s illegal in most places;
        (2) it’s banned in many sports, which can lead to disqualification;
        (3) undisciplined use can (and often does) lead to addiction.

        1. Not what the FIA doctors told me when we discussed it some years ago. I believe that Niki Lauda tried it – read To Hell and Back and concluded it was more disturbing than it was worth.

          1. Well, I’m not saying it was useful for Niki. Not everybody gets along with caffeine either, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a short-term performance enhancer; it is proven to be that. Same thing with nicotine. Plus, we don’t know exactly what it was that Niki put up his nose, and perhaps he doesn’t know either.

            Of all the institutions that we can expect anti-drug bias from, the US Gov’t’s traffic-safety dept must rank near the top. But even they begrudgingly admit the following:

            “Most laboratory-based studies have been limited by the low doses of cocaine that were allowed. At these single low doses, studies have shown performance enhancement in attentional abilities and increased behavioral and cortical arousal, but have no enhancement of effects on learning, memory, and other cognitive processes. Faster reaction times and diminished effects of fatigue have been observed.” (

            As one might expect, they then go on to provide only anecdotal evidence of it’s negative effect on driving, e.g., citing one specific occasion when a 25 yr-old guy had a wreck with it in his blood, and another specific event when a 30-yr-old woman did the same. They report nothing else about it’s performance-enhancing properties, but we know cocaine boosts norepinephrine and dopamine levels, which can help a person be stronger, faster, have better reflexes, have more clarity, etc. These effects are temporary.

            Look, I’m not recommending that anybody use it, I’m just pointing out that it’s not the least bit like driving drunk, that’s all…

              1. If they were tested, they wouldn’t.
                And if they weren’t tested, we likely wouldn’t know (unless they were stupid).

            1. There’s a far higher use of crack and heroin in boardrooms and trading floors than anyone can count accurately. But it’s very significant indeed. Mixing the two, speedballing, ordering “brown and white” is how people combat the nasty comedowns. Absolutely you can use that mixture as a performance enhancer. People report revelatory levels of alertness and perceived ability to work. Bored housewives do Charlie to pass the chores easily. I’ve done that, it was the only certain benefit in ever got: damned clean house! Usage is so rife, you used to get propositions to buy just walking about here, and here is very gentrified… Conveniently we’re next to Canary Wharf and the locals come from a traditional silk route smuggling and producing country. Use within the local Bangladeshi population is a major problem. It’s everywhere. If a big bank says they have a policy, they sure must be effective at hushing up when they catch employees. I’ve had it suggested to me that some support group meetings are worth attending for networking…

              I lost someone important to addictions. Another old pal wrote a brilliant book on the dynamics involved in his lifelong struggle. You won’t catch me advocating drugs, but I would immediately legalise them provided sales were controlled, a purchase scheme so at least some people could be caught in a good way whilst they’re salvageable. I myself could write a true horror story of the emotional wasteland of secondary and tertiary effects on lives. If there had not been such stigma my efforts to help would have been maybe actually effective. All this was available over the counter within my parents lifetime. Heroin led to enormous medical gains. Lately the stigma is so much a friend suffering spinal tuberculosis contracted in service died in unnecessary agony because they’d not give him anything effective for his paintings. On account of Lance, may he RIP, I own a copy of The Dictionary Of Pain.. People deal with dangerous things every day which are lethal. We race them. Provided Obscurantism is thwarted, I know nothing good argument for stigmatising drugs more than ridiculing those who think they’re a bit of a laugh.

          2. Since nobody else fancies owning up to doing a rope of the old Columbine matching powder, I’ll put my hand up.and concur with Niki’s Reaction: yup, the paranoia filled so called high is utterly unpleasant. That’s basic Charlie. I can report that actually crack cocaine is a nicer experience… Until the come down, when that’s a world to itself of self loathing hell. I’m sure some get addicted just because they take more to obliterate the memory of that comedown.. I had to get horribly quickly drunk. Get This: most crack users buy heroine to cope with the downer off crack. Eff that for a lark. But, for a oh so tantalising brief while, you can get a dangerously deceptive high.

            Incidentally I’m in favour of legalising everything. As someone who, rare in these debates, has tried just about everything for myself, I am confidently informed thereby that there wouldn’t be so much a market for any.

            1. Nuts, Columbian not Columbine marching powder.. I hope that’s not been inadvertently upsetting to anyone because of the shooting and all that…

            2. Hey, J(oJ), I will join you in admitting to having used it. First encountered it in 1980. My bride has used it as well. She couldn’t stand it… she says it just made her nervous and jumpy. In contrast, I absolutely loved the stuff. My immediate reaction was “Oh… this is great… I can see how people get in trouble with this… may I have some more please?”

              Fortunately for me, I was also reminded of Robin Williams remark: “Cocaine is God’s way of letting you know you have too much money.” Plus, I already knew what WWI British Army doctors had learned when they tried to solve mystery of why some badly wounded soldiers became addicted to morphine while others did not. They discovered the difference concerned structure. Those who became addicted had access to morphine whenever they felt like it. Those who did not become addicted either did not have such access and instead received doses on a schedule not of their own choosing or, if they did have unfettered access, chose to keep themselves in a reliable schedule of usage apart from any desire for more.

              As a result, I made a point of limiting any acquisitions to limited quantities at only certain times of the year. I also limited my intake on any particular day, mainly to stretch out how long my limited supply would last. I never had anything but a very pleasant experience. I also never any issue that might be described as negative, except for a sense of disappointment when (by my own choosing) I could not apply the “more” operator. One thing cocaine did a very effective job of (for me, at least) is triggering the desire for more. “I don’t want a lot… just a little bit more.” That’s the part that would have gotten me, had I let it.

              I suspect that’s what got some of those who have been gotten by it: the “more” operator. On the other hand, there are tens of millions of Americans who have dabbled with it, with no known negative effects. In that respect, it’s like other drugs, including alcohol and nicotine: we mainly see news about those who have difficulties, not about the overwhelming majority who do not.

              On the plus side, it once very much helped me get unstuck on a project in which I had reached a dead end. Weeks of spinning my wheels was replaced by a 16-hour workathon that resolved the matter, and in a very good way too, not in some cartoonish self-deception about quality that wasn’t there. That was about 2 decades ago. Since I am now very much stuck on another project, and have been for some months, I wish I could acquire a bit just now. Sadly, at some point when I wasn’t looking, I became a semi-old fart and don’t have any means of acquiring any. (Dammit.)

              The above does not comprise any recommendation that anybody try it. To anybody reading this, I don’t know if you’d enjoy it like I did, or hate it like my bride did. I also don’t know anything about your ability to impose a structure on your own behavior. I believe my ability to do that was a crucial factor in my never having had any problems with it, despite having used it occasionally over a period that spanned ~15 years. That span ended without me ever having decided to stop using it. Rather, I just forgot about it, that’s all. It wasn’t a big deal. For some folks it is, for me it wasn’t. Different strokes, etc.

    1. Dear Joe, all
      RShack- ‘it’s not the least bit like driving drunk’- this opinion is based on what evidence….?
      Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant, alcohol is a CNS depressant. However, both have the effect of euphoria, AND, the side effect of impairing judgement. In both cases, disinhibition occurs- the normal constraints on behaviour (impulse control) supplied by the super-ego (or, approximately, the conscience) are either impaired or absent. Thus, in both cases, an increased potential for things like road rage, making a judgement call on whether it is safe to overtake, etc.
      in addition,, in the case of a legal substance, such as alcohol, the concentration of alcohol is consistent – in the case of an illicit, the actual percentage of cocaine in the white powder is variable, and, unknown, at least until the effect comes on.
      It is not unknown for cocaine to trigger a drug induced psychosis, with symptoms including paranoia & visual hallucinosis, inter alia. Not a desirable outcome when combined with operating a mass of just under a tonne at 300kmh.
      Coke also increases pulse and blood pressure- again, not a desirable outcome when the process of driving in a motor race increases both as a matter of course.
      Certainly, cocaine does not increase reaction time as alcohol does- but, no, it is not safe.
      Cheers. MarkR

      1. Well, as I said, I’m not recommending anybody use it.

        As for your various contentions, a great deal depends on the dosage and patterns of recent usage. Evidently, you are aware that extended binge usage at high doses can lead to psychosis. However, for you to assert that typical occasional recreational use at moderate doses causes psychosis is just perpetuating BS. We need less hysteria and misinformation about this kind of thing, not more. Statements such as yours is the kind of the thing that encourages some people to ignore the reasonable fact-base guidance that many responsible parties try to disseminate, as the intended audience begins to assume that all warnings are just fabricated BS.

        Of course, not all warnings are BS, but the unqualified kind you just issued is a classic example of misinformation based on blurring together many factors in the most undisciplined and unreasonable fashion. It is not unlike asserting that nobody should drink a beer or a glass of wine because we know that numerous people become alcoholics and die of cirrhosis of the liver, perhaps having first killed innocent parties while driving drunk.

        As for my sources, the first ones I’m familiar with were funded by the Nixon administration in the very early 1970’s, as part of their effort to show that marijuana, cocaine, and a few other illegal drugs warranted much more draconian criminal penalties than those then on the books. As part of this, they commissioned various studies, at least some of which were performed by researchers at the University of Washington (Washington state, not DC) and were specifically focused on the impact on the drugs’ effects on the ability to drive automobiles. Much to the chagrin of then-Attorney General John Mitchell, the only negative performance effect of marijuana was that those under the influence tended to drive *too slow*. They noted no negative effects from recreational doses of cocaine. Sadly, I do not recall what doses they studied, as the details were not sufficiently important to me to warrant committing the minutiae to memory.

        I don’t have the citations at hand, nor do I know if these studies are available online, as their publication occurred well before there was such a thing as “online”. However, I’m sure that a visit to any serious library would permit you to study the details of what the researchers found and how they went about it.

        I’m confident that additional studies have been performed since, but I don’t know if the legal and political climate in America has permitted those studies to include studying the effects on driving. (The idea that such studies might be prohibited might sound absurd. However, federal law currently prohibits using federal funds to study the public health effects of guns, so while the idea of a research ban is clearly absurd, it’s not as far fetched as one might think.)

  5. Good article but PLEASE ask any expert on drugs of addiction THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RECREATIONAL DRUGS thats a bad choice of words. Its implies a circumstance that is factually incorrect and to a degree imparts a sense of not being a serious drug……

    1. As an occasional nitpicker myself, I must say that’ you’re picking some remarkably tiny nits about phrasing.

      I agree it would be more precise to use “recreational” to describe the use of a drug instead of the drug itself. But the problem is not that phrasing encourages unwise behavior. The problem is the crazy status of drug education, the definition of drug-related crimes, and related stupidities.

      Compared to that, the casual phrasing of a blog reference to a specific not-so-recent event is mighty small potatoes.

      1. Hi Rshack the concern I have and its shared by drug councillors and those tasked with rehabilitation of drug users is that the phrase implies recreational – fun – something to do when not working – not necessarily to be considered illegal. If the use is described purely as illegal drug use the message is then conveyed that its not the right thing to do for a vast number of reasons. So I agree about maybe nit picking about drug use on a F1 blog site is maybe over the top but anything that implies some form of legality is sending totally the wrong message. The guy was caught using an illegal substance that destroys lives. How can that be recreational. However I’ll stick to reading the blogs absorbing the ‘vibe” of F1 and the crazy associated with the sport and refrain in future from nitpicking.

        1. Some laws make sense. Some laws are simply stupid and create more problems than they solve. Expecting people to believe that drugs are bad because they’re illegal has proven to be a failure for nearly 100 years. That approach causes more problems than it solves.

          I expect we can agree that more-than-several very real problems are caused by unwise use of drugs, legal and otherwise. AFAIK, the question of legality is the least trustworthy of guidelines when it comes to people showing good sense about such matters. This is demonstrated by the carnage caused by perfectly legal substances vs. the benign effects of other substances for which people do jail time.

          What we need is less reliance on poorly informed drug laws and more science-based sense applied to what people are taught. An emphasis on what’s legal rather than on truthful information is an approach that’s guaranteed to fail, just as it has already done for decades.

          1. Dear Joe, all
            RShack- concur with you on that- illegality or legality is the least trustworthy of guidelines. After all, nicotine is legal. More so, making a drug illegal usually makes it more harmful- no standards exist to ensure consistency of concentration, safe, hygienic manufacture, etc. In a previous response to another of your entries, I neglected to add that, as regards psychological/ psychiatric side effects of cocaine, a key factor in how the human organism responds to the drug is the level of psychosocial stressors the user is under at the time of ingestion. As a rule of thumb, the higher the level of stress the person is under, the higher the chance of adverse psychological side effects. And, I think it reasonable to say that f1 drivers are under a fair degree of stress. I could bang on about a multiplicity of factors as regards to that, but, it is 17 past midnight in the Antipodes, and, I have to be up at 0530. Cheers. MarkR

    2. There are many more classifications of drug use, in fact. Many enough are self medicating. I knew someone who became addicted to crack cocaine who was self medicating ADHD associative problems. Methadone can be medically used as a antidepressant, just as its illegal proxy, heroine, occasionally opium, is frequently sought by severe depressives. I’ve two school friends notable in related professions, another went into gene research in psychopharmacology. The field’s greatest external enemy is crass simplification connoted frequently with prejudice. We know so very little, still. I would absolutely never classify anyone’s drug use unless I reported it as self reported. In this case I am sure some have assumed Montagny’s repentance as indicating a serious habit. But it might be deliberate humility, and no-one here should infer anything affirmative from current reports. It’s obviously far to easy to succumb to wild variations in interpretation.

      I do wholly agree however that this stinks the more for being swept under the carpet
      Why has it been so muffled?

      I am not aware of the literature myself, but many people self reported to me performance gains from casual cocaine use
      Wasn’t my bag, but the stuff was delivered to the office I celebrated my eighteenth birthday in…

  6. ” I think it was done properly and Todt should be applauded for that.”

    It may be a terrific report, a wonderful report, the best ever, but where is it?

    The four hundred plus pages of it were condensed into two pages of recommendations, the rest is buried, why? Until we read it, we have no idea whether it exonerates or condemns any particular party involved in the rescue/care operation.

    Some idea may apparently be gained by the live tv coverage and a timing device, how long certain things took, what equipment was where and when. How the actuality apparently stacked against the rules. Rules which had apparently been tightened by none other than one of the litigants.

    Will it be perhaps like the Chilcott enquiry, hidden until after the next relevant election.

    So how does the French legal system work? After 4 series of Spiral (Engrenages) I still cannot understand it.
    Is it judges or a jury, is it in public, in camera, or in chambers?

    Can the gutter press be present?

    1. A good point. We did only get the edited highlights. However I have not heard that the authors are unhappy (a la FIFA)

      1. The applause, therefore, is premature.

        I think or i certainly read your words as struggling privately to find a hopeful bit of balance to counter and keep open a very different animus.

          1. > What happens if you ask for a copy?
            >> A copy of what?

            The Jules accident report…

            (Sorry, I keep forgetting you don’t see the context.)

              1. Maybe that is why I sensed out struggling with balance regarding M. Todt’s value in F1. I don’t like to read between the lines of someone i respect to throw straight arrows, but I felt teeth and grit…

                Clearly this ought to be published.

                It’s not a PR nightmare, it’s the dysfunction of a collapsing and frankly hysterical regime.

                Thoughts I dismissed before, come to mind, as to how this came to be.

  7. Yes,despicable.Check out Gary’s blog and the judge13.I can’t believe how the FIA have turned on someone who was one of their own.All because he questioned the Bianchi report.

    1. I work on the basis that those who know what they are talking about in F1 are people that one encounters at events because this is the ONLY way that one can build up contacts. Just think what will happen if you ring an F1 team and say “Hello, I am Can I speak to Ron Dennis please?” What happens is that you are automatically diverted into the PR department. They smile down the phone line and put you into the virtual shredder. The only way to get to these people is via mobiles, texts and e-mails. This happens in all the teams. So if you want to talk to people and gain their trust you must attend races. The first stage is to get known, the second is to become trusted and the third is to get contacts. Thus all the Internet heroes who present themselves as being “in the know” are not in the know. They may know a few employees of teams in they live in the right places but that is about it. There are also F1 people who see these desperate folk as an opportunity to create a propaganda channel because once they do get an in with someone, they are then dependent on that source and dare not criticise for fear of losing their access. So trying to argue that you can be an F1 source without going to races is just tosh. They can come up with every theory as why they are different but they are not.

      1. One day I’ll clue you a bit about cold calling, Joe…. oh, guess see you at a race meet then! 😁

        I was immediately thinking about who I started out with, all of us cold called, and to people running or in charge if far larger things than F1 teams… but, then almost everyone I knew went on to build quite sizable companies themselves. I still get asked first, “How is $JOJ’s_CompanyName”, not “How are you, John”. But, another conversation, in another sphere, in another timeline maybe..

  8. The problem with Streiff is not about Bianchi’s crash, the real problem is that he accused Todt of misappropriating money from FIA and ICM (brain and Spinal cord institute, presided by Gérard Saillant). It is a very serious charge

      1. Same French radio interview.

        I would guess it has to do with the apparent re-organisation of the road safety campaign, which was originally controlled by the FIA trust/institute or similar, but was afterwards to form the basis for attempt (failed) for a UN recognition, whoever could have been involved in that is of course unknown.

      2. Reports Streiff said Dr. Saillant and Jean Todt are taking money from ICM are on F1i ‘s website (that report has since been taken down), and Canal+. The Canal+ report remains on their site, and is dated January 20th.

        The problem is that the video is no longer (not yet?) public, so it’s hard to know what was actually said, nor the context.

        Very interesting article, Joe. Love the illustrative metaphor of axeman versus surgeon… seems very appropro!

  9. Not to mention that an Automobile federation (or its leading figures) going after an ex driver who was bound to a wheelchair because of that Federation not having all their things in order in the past.

    Sure, the guy might have a grudge with the FIA, and he might say things that are very much distorted from his perspective etc. But this only gives more attention to the fact that anything has been said in the first place (honestly, I had to look up who Streiff is, and I am sure many others have now done the same, as well as taking at look at what he is supposed to have said).

    Instead it would have been far better to say something along the lines of “We can understand that this is a precarious subject for Mr. Streiff and that might colour his view (If asked about it at all), nothing more to say about it really.

    Good point about failed the drugs test and the very uncommon treatment of it for what we have seen from other sports organisations who ran into one of a small amount of positives of an increased testing procedure.

  10. Everyone should libel/slander Todt – it seems to be the only thing that provokes him into wakefulness. Well that and his secretary saying the UN is on the line…

  11. Having a cocaine-related substance in your system while racing is not the same as racing under the influence of cocaine. Montagny has not said he was racing under the influence of cocaine, rather that he failed a drug test.

    Be careful about making slanderous statements, Joe.

  12. The FIA seem to be worse than FIFA they are just lucky that F1 doesnt get the same level of coverage that football does. If it did these people would have been out a long time ago.

    1. He was not set up. He just did not listen to warnings that someone was trying to make some money from his entertainment choices

      1. Which was colossally stupid, given how headline-grabbing his rather curious entertainment choices were guaranteed to be…

        A person deserves privacy in personal matters, but this was grounds for indicting the man’s judgment, based solely on the dumb-ass factor…

  13. Well done on actually reporting what it is that Todt et al are objecting to. I notice that a lot of other F1 media report that they’re sueing Streiff for defamation, but don’t actually report what he said that they’re sueing him for. Indeed, a lot of them look suspiciously similar, almost like they’re publishing a press release or something. Are journalists afraid the FIA will come after them if they report on what Streiff said?

    1. If they quote what he actually said that is called perpetuating a libel. They can say that he claimed that the inquiry was unfair but it is not wise to quote the exact words.

  14. Gary Hartstein was a lone voice of explanation during the weeks after Schumacher’s accident. He used his vast medical knowledge to educate fans on what the complicated terms meant, and what they could possibly mean, without ever specifically referring to the patient himself.

    He repeatedly told everyone he had no inside knowledge, no contacts from Michael’s people and coupdnt diagnose.

    His “problem” is that he is very opinionated and American, something that doesn’t sit well in Formula 1, especially with small men.

    Sepp Blatter, Jacques Rogge, Jean Todt…….. Do we see a pattern here?

    1. I found Hartstein’s educated speculation rather disrespectful of the Schumacher family’s request for media restraint. I also could not help but wonder if it was mostly self-serving.

      1. I disagree. There was a need for educated information because the Schumachers chose to impose a complete information blockade. That created problems that resulted in unscrupulous people trying to sneak into the ICU and stealing medical notes. There is an argument that a better flow of information would gave controlled all this and stopped all speculation. In this respect I think Gary helped ease the situation as journalists could quote him as speculating from a position of great experience. However, I have yet to see any evidence that what Gary wrote was wrong and he ALWAYS made it very clear that he was speaking from a position of experience but not specific knowledge of the MS situation.

      2. There were plenty of people who acted in a disrespectful and self-serving manner about Schumacher’s accident, but Hartstein was not one of them. He wasn’t camped out in locations where he might hound the family or their doctors, nor did he stick his nose into places it didn’t belong.

        The only thing he did was speak in an area of his knowledge and experience, and did so to help both the public and those in the media have some expertise-based clue about the kinds of consequences such an accident might have. Whenever he did so, he was quite explicit that he had no inside knowledge of Michael’s circumstances and was speaking generally in a way that was not tied to the unknown-to-him details of Michael’s specific case.

        It’s perfectly fine for Michael’s family to handle the situation in whatever way is least-objectionable to them. But when a very serious matter concerns a person of Michael’s status, it’s silly to think the whole world will just sit by, patiently waiting for announcements from a family who has imposed a news blackout. Far better to have someone who has expertise and experience educating the rest of us than to trust those who truly were disrespectful and self-serving. How anybody can think ill of him for that is beyond me.

  15. Formula E isn’t that slow – it would be easy to hurt oneself if you hit a wall for example on some of the street courses they ran. Yes, slow compared to F1 – fast enough compared to GT speeds. Their 0-60 speeds are incredible with the torque from the electric motors, but over all a silly execution when the fans see that the cars can only go half distance on a charge and that the drivers have to hop out and get into a spare to go the rest of the race distance. Either shorten the races or wait until the technology catches up to the race organizers race distance aspersions. The electric shaver sounds sure don’t appeal to most race fans.

      1. Formula E may be slow compared to F1, but on the circuits they use it’s a challenge to drive the cars well. Races results are not a forgone conclusion. All in all, I find it a good watch, though the commentary on the British feed appears to be a bit weak – Dario Francitti may be a celebrity commentator with racing experience, but compared to, say, Martin Brundle, he’s second rate at best.
        Just like early motor racing, the cars have weaknesses (batteries that can’t go the complete distance being the principle one), but there’s nothing like a racing series in the public eye to push the development of the technology. Next year, the formula allows for development and I think we’ll see movement on the batteries and/or motor performance before too long.

        1. The formula shines a spotlight on the weakness of the industry. Changing cars because batteries cannot last a race. How can that attract support from the industry?

          1. To take a more optimistic view, everyone in the electric car business knows that battery-charge anxiety is already a “thing” when people run an e-vehicle, so they know that solving this problem will be a big marketing opportunity. (the marketing of formula-e is not being run by the FIA or FOM, so there’s a chance they’ll actually know when they’ve got the opportunity to really push it)

            1. Look at the history of battery development. It has remained constant throughout its history and Formula E is unlikely to make a big difference. The formula is about about 20 years too early.

  16. I haven’t seen Streiff’s comments, but 25 years in a wheelchair would give a guy an interesting view of accident investigations and the lessons to be learned. I was living in France at the time of PS’s testing crash, reading the French motorsport press, and there was a lot of noise surrounding his repatriation from Buenos Aires to – I seem to remember – Saillant’s unit in Paris. There may be some history there?

  17. Well, one good thing from all this; we now know how Todt et al spend their time at the FIA Palace since giving up running F1.

    Joe, is it possible for you to give us a good translation of the ‘offending’ remarks? I understand it was during a radio interview and that much has been taken out of context.

  18. It looks like Philippe has backed down from his comments pretty quickly judging by a status he’s posted to Facebook. Translated:

    “I got carried away in front of the camera, the interview lasted (too) long and I am aware of making statements which were rude and slanderous against Jean Todt , Gérard Saillant and the FIA and I sincerely regret this.

    “I retract these statements that are unfounded and call to the media to remove them from their published stories.

    “Finally, i asked Jean Todt and Gérard Saillant – who know well my health problems – for forgiveness. I am sorry to have taken towards them statements that do not correspond to the consideration they deserve.”

  19. The FIA no longer have the right to govern F1 but they can still use the weight of the bureaucracy to sue presenters of adverse opinions. Why not just plant a bomb under the guys wheelchair, seems to work that way for other proponents of terrorism?

    Well Played Jean, keep up the indifferent work!

  20. I don’t think Todt has the kind of political capital to expend on this, that he thinks he has.

    Neither with the public, nor did he attend one of the traditional schools that would have created for him the network to walk corridors or power with ease.

    However, it is prototypically French, to rely upon a very small coterie of friends and colleagues, a clique if you like. But that only works, if you wield real power. And he even abdicated any responsibility for that, within F1. Insanity, if he harbors any ambition at all.

    That last point, I think is a chip on his shoulder, despite his recent accolades, which were high praise indeed. He has ambitions. Clearly, he lacks any of the requisite noblesse oblige.

    Sadly there exists the possibility, that his doctor friend dragged him into this, unsuspecting. Such things happen, to the indelicately ambitious.

    As for the first point: public political capital, I am uncertain he earned any or was bestowed any, to start with.

    I consider his position untenable.

    I cannot see how Jean Toda, or the FIA, can be accorded any respect, whatsoever, henceforth.

    1. Dear Joe, all
      John- ‘respect’ is such an ethereal thing, isn’t it? Especially when compared to what really counts- sufficient votes to keep you in office. It is easy to rationalise away a loss of respect from the huddled (I enfranchised) masses. What does our respect matter, against the pragmatism of crunching enough votes to keep the ‘president’ word attached to your name?
      If the respect of we, the f1 fans, the ones who care for it enough to write to this blog, (and, others, I suppose), F1 would be a vastly different beastie!!

      1. Hi Mark,

        Of course, respect is quite nebulous in this context. But I habitually accord to all who hold out to be upstanding characters a modicum of respect, which includes giving such people good regard as human beings and intellects. It’s that modicum of respect, which I consider M. Todt no longer can command.

        I could have put it more succinctly. I’m on record for at least a handful of years, giving even Bernie’s extensive respect where due, contrary often to broader expressed sentiment. I was brought up in this manner, to accord a positive benefit of doubt. So when someone loses my respect they sink far indeed. Your interpretation, of course, may differ, but that’s my explanation of myself anyhow.

        I quite agree with your points.

        Very best from me, ~j

  21. Streiff has already apologized publicly so well done FIA the next one will think twice about throwing around silly accusations

      1. I expect him to be dealt with in due course just like the UCI and IAA do with their abusers of recreational drugs.
        No need to score cheap points at the expense of a repentant addict.

        1. In due course… Yeah right. When will that be? I believe these organisations do things in a timely manner. As the FIA apologist can you explain how we are heading for February and nothing has been said, except by Montagny himself? You will be telling me next the FIA did not agree to the L’Equipe interview.

        2. “No need to score cheap points at the expense of a repentant addict”

          But there was a need to interfere in the life of the ex-F1 doctor? What do you have to say about that?

          1. Actually Jefe, if I was Franck Montagny I might take exception to your description of him. Do you have any evidence that he is an addict? Or is that you putting your FIA foot into the soup?

            1. A professional athlete willingly and knowingly risking his career by using recreational drugs is either very very stupid or has a dependency/addiction problem in my book. I do know that Franck is NOT stupid. He has been repentant and ashamed of what he has done which is an important first step, now let’s hope he gets the help he needs.

              1. Yes, but dont know hes an addict so ypu have to nice to me and adk me to take down the slanderous remark. Ironic, isn’t it?

          2. It’s quite common that there are a few months between a positive doping test and a decision of the ADC (FIA Anti-doping Disciplinary Committee). The case is officially registered by FIA as pending. I’m not sure when the next ADC hearing will be though.

    1. ‘Streiff has already apologized publicly so well done FIA the next one will think twice about throwing around silly accusations’

      Feels like bullying to me – Todt could simply have answered accusations.

    1. Not relevant.

      He’s under threat of a highly expensive legal defense, that could functionally cripple the bits of life that aren’t physically crippled already.

      It’s like a apology when thugs throw you our of a car on a dark dirty road and kick the living sht out of you, first.

      And that, that, is about how pleasant the whole affair is.

      People like this can’t run anything, let alone a sport.

      1. My point really is how quickly he u-turned. The thug analogy is true and shows how things are dealt with at the fia. Don’t mess with those people or they will ruin your life

        1. Writs tend to have a certain impact, when served. It is still, very much, bullying. I believe our man here did a little martyrdom for us, howsoever briefly it was in full effect.

        2. General p.s. : most men I know, in good standing, would just call out such things as BS and move on. Not move unless something truly stinging was launched against them, that had to be refuted. One might get a long way to in the clear, just by clamming sour grapes, in this fickle mediated world. But, no such rather obvious, and humane, gambit, was given. Instead: both barrels point blank. I just need Tim Curry to play Cardinal Richelieu, and we have it, sans the redeeming camp.

      1. Nah… the FIA would sell the rights to Bernie, and he’d price it so that only 70-yr-old rich guys could afford it, and then they’d be dropping like flies…

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