McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart continued their ongoing verbal battle in yesterday's press conference, the war of words getting rather heated. Stoddart recently withdrew his support of the new rules in F1 because the larger...
McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart continued their ongoing verbal battle in yesterday's press conference, the war of words getting rather heated. Stoddart recently withdrew his support of the new rules in F1 because the larger teams have failed to keep the agreement to support smaller teams financially, and some are not complying with the FIA's request to supply cheaper engines.
The sniping between Stoddart and Dennis goes back a long way; the McLaren man once opined that Minardi didn't deserve as much help as Jordan because Stoddart hadn't been around very long and was an 'amateur'. Stoddart retorted by saying some people were trying to force him out of F1.
The bitching continued in the press conference, where a solitary Stoddart had the floor to himself initially before other bosses arrived. He said he felt he had no choice but to withdraw his support of the new rules because others had reneged on a verbal agreement to supply the so called 'Fighting Fund' of cash to help specifically Minardi and Jordan.
"Certain commitments were made on January 15 that were supported in the morning meeting, at least, unanimously, by all the team principals present," said Stoddart. "Over the past few months, it's become clear that there are different objectives between certain team principals that wish to have the so-called fighting fund extrapolated to many other areas of issues within Formula One that each individual person would like to see resolved."
When the other bosses arrived, Frank Williams made it clear he was not prepared to enter the argument in a public forum while Eddie Jordan tried to smooth troubled waters: "I'm somewhat surprised with the format in the way this press conference is happened," he commented. "It's not in its usual nature, is it? It's just about this one subject or are there other subjects to discuss?"
Ron Dennis was not so shy about entering the fray: "Well, to be honest I'm disappointed in Paul's position. I've done probably more than anybody to try and help Paul," he stated. When Stoddart made the point that it was hard to compete with teams with much bigger budgets, the McLaren boss effectively told him to leave if he couldn't compete.
"As Paul points out, it is difficult at the back of the grid," Dennis said. "But no one gave me a handout. I climbed from humble backgrounds into a position of being responsible for a competitive team and, along that way, I can't remember anyone giving me a handout and, more importantly, I never asked for one. This is a tough, competitive sport and if you can't take the heat, get out the bloody kitchen."
Stoddart was convinced that things were going on behind his back: "There was supposed to be a bit more support for this today," he argued. "But it's pretty clear, having not been invited to the team owners' meeting that you're all aware of just took place and having someone else who was to support me not so supportive, that things have gone on whilst I've been in here with you."
If Stoddart continues to withhold his support to the new rules, they cannot be implemented as the unanimous agreement of all teams is needed. What the next move will be in the game of F1 politics is anyone's guess but it was certainly one of the more lively press conferences there's been.