So, the FIA has decided to leave things as they are for qualifying in Bahrain, despite the debacle in Melbourne.
One can only think that this bizarre decision is based on the flawed logic that there was only a minor kerfuffle in the Melbourne paddock after the Q sessions in Australia, rather than the global meltdown of sizeable proportions for the sport on social media. These people are not on the pace. Their argument is that things might be better second time around.
It is not what one would call a scientific approach. If one was looking for the reasoning behind this weird conclusion, one might think things will be different with different tyre compounds. In Australia there were white mediums, yellow softs and red super-softs. So what will the tyre choices be in Bahrain and China?
White mediums, yellow softs and red super-softs.
I wish I was kidding.
OK, you think, the weather might be different. Could this help? Will the team’s knowledge of the rules be better? Will the teams deliberately adopt strategies that are not in their best interest, in order to retain a set of rules they do not want? Why would they do that? Why would any of this make any difference?
So why would the FIA stick to a system that is proven to be flawed? The It’s a knockout formula isn’t a knockout. It will always be patchy and a damp squib at the end.
If you stick your hand in a fire and you burn your fingers, is it smart to try the same thing again, on the basis that it might not happen a second time? Are the people at the FIA cleverer than the team strategists? They may think they are but, assuredly, they are not.
The only possible conclusions are as before: either the people on the strategy group are off the pace or they are doing this because they are all trying to screw one another.
There will come a time, fairly soon I think, when people are going to start asking seriously probing questions about the governance of this sport. The European Commission may or may not come and start poking around. It is now five months since a complaint was made by the small teams and nothing has been done publicly. People are beginning to wonder if the commission will bother.
In the interim, things have got far worse. You cannot expect the commercially-minded to have a different view. A hyena does not change its spots. Where there is money, there is drool. All that one can do is drive them away. The trouble is that to lead the charge you need a white knight, not a grey bureaucrat. I sense that there is increasing frustration with the current leadership at the federation when it comes to sporting matters. The problem is that the average size of political testicles within the FIA membership is on the small side, with no-one willing to stand up and say what needs to be said for fear that they will lose their perks. Lions do not sit on Wine Committees.
Still, one hears, more and more, people suggesting that the Mosley years were better because at least there was a man willing to fight for the sport.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Jean Todt wanting to be a big banana in the world of road safety, it’s commendable if he is up to the job, but that is not his role at the FIA. He wants to wear too many hats and, like a driver on the podium trying to wear two caps at the same time, it doesn’t work. It’s time for Jean to stop bouncing up and down on the FIA springboard and make the dive, with a double back flip with a twist into the road safety world.
If he wants to stay on at the FIA, he needs to appoint someone else to do the sporting job – and let them do it. The problem is that Jean always sees the world being against him (he’s right this time) and does not want to create a platform for someone to use to take the whole job from him in 18 months from now.
The bad news is that if he doesn’t do something now, he may find the whole federation smiling, but with daggers under their togas in a year and a half.