What's going to happen to the F1 grid? Your guess is as good as mine.
Politics have always played an influential role in Formula One. On Sunday we race, and on Monday we read about all the legal disputes taking place on the sidelines. At the moment, the world of F1 seems to be drowning in a sea of speculation and political games.
In this story, I am going to tackle one of the many off-track stories that have taken over the headlines as of late, involving the 'little guys' of F1.
Rich vs. Not-So-Rich
As we watch two teams collapse and hundreds lose their jobs, a civil war of sorts has erupted in the F1 paddock. The rich vs. the not-so-rich if you will. Fore India, Lotus, and Sauber have suddenly gone from mid-fielders to backmarkers as the two bottom organizations fall off the map.
Those teams are desperate to escape the same fate, as one can see by the surprise signings by Sauber, ditching both of their current drivers and infuriating their backers in favor of more money. They now have a legal mess on their hands.
Lopez leading the way as boycott/legal threats continue
Lotus' Gerard Lopez is spearheading an effort to level the field in terms of how much cash goes the way of the powerful and how big of a piece the smaller teams get from the money pie.
There have been threats that the disgruntled teams will boycott or launch a challenge as to the legality under EU competition law of the big team-dominated 'strategy group.' Bernie Ecclestone has attempted to diffuse the situation, but has suddenly been harsher on the these atrophied teams, infuriating Lopez.
He referred to Caterham's crowdfunding effort as a 'begging bowl' and that they need to just go away if they can't afford to compete. A new statement from the F1 supremo is making the rounds this week. We are constructors,' the teams told Ecclestone. In response, "I told them they can't afford to be constructors."
They are not naive, your system is flawed
Now there's a crazy idea to have a separate championship for the teams that can't compete at the level of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, and McLaren. I'd be in support of a monetary reward for the best of the rest, but lots not go overboard here. BTCC had something similar for independent entries up until 2012 and the WEC has their LMP1-H class.
It's one thing if a team is naive and can't survive, it's another when the sport is so ludicrously expensive and flawed to the point where only the rich get richer while the rest tread water until they finally drown.
Three-car teams would be exciting, but isn't a solution
Personally, I love the idea of three-car teams, but I cringe to think of a grid with just four four powerhouses, no underdogs, and a No. 3 driver. We've seen how some like to treat No. 2 drivers. Team orders galore, anyone? Not to mention the thousands of jobs lost...
NASCAR fans, imagine a field with only Hendrick, Gibbs, Penske, Childress, and Roush. V8 Supercar fans, imagine a field with only HRT and FPR. Sports car fans, imagine a Le Mans grid with no GTE-Am and LMP2 cars. If you allow the sport to only be made up of the elite, then you lose a piece of the sport in the process.
F1 is certainly in the midst of a crisis and I don't think anybody knows what the grid will look like in 2015. It's a game of chess and we appear to be at a stalemate with no one able to make a move. Do I have a solution? A panacea to revive the grid and give us a 24-car field of strong, competitive teams? No, I'm not that smart. But what concerns me is the fact that no one in F1 on either side of this debate seems to have a viable solution either...