Chaos reigns in Formula One again

Chaos reigns in Formula One again

After the Paris agreement on June 24, we thought the problems in Formula One were solved, the teams were happy, the fans were happy, the drivers, the sponsors, everyone was happy and we were all stupid enough to believe we could return to the one...

After the Paris agreement on June 24, we thought the problems in Formula One were solved, the teams were happy, the fans were happy, the drivers, the sponsors, everyone was happy and we were all stupid enough to believe we could return to the one and only thing Formula One is about: racing. But it wasn't to be.

Max Mosley, FIA President.
Photo by xpb.cc.

On June 24 Max Mosley reported the world press that the FIA had reached an agreement with all the Formula One teams. Mosley announced he would step down and would not run for president in October, he announced there would be "no alternative series or championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009".

He also stated: "All teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport's governing body and all teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement". The FIA also published a list of teams who were admitted to the 2010 F1 season, and take note of this, the entry list included the 8 dissident FOTA teams.

After a few very unfortunate remarks of FOTA chairman and Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo in the Italian press, where he proudly announced that the 'dictator' was defeated, Mosley was outraged about this provocation and demanded Montezemolo would apologize, if not he would tear up the agreement and stand for re-election as FIA president, and within 24 hours after the agreement, the future of F1 was in jeopardy again.

Luca di Montezemolo (Ferrari, Fiat; FOTA Chairman), Portrait.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

Not really a smart move of Montezemolo, the only thing he had to do was to keep his mouth shut and quietly celebrate and enjoy his victory. But on the other hand, a week before that during the British GP, Mosley had accused the FOTA of trying to take over the FIA, called the opposing teams 'loonies' and accused Flavio Briatore of wanting to be the next Bernie Ecclestone, which wasn't very smart to say either.

But much to our surprise nothing happened after that, and we all thought the storm was over, but once again we were wrong. Mosley has not been defeated, he just changed his tactics.

Mosley has convinced the FIA members and the WMSC the FOTA has no problem with the man himself, Max Mosley, but are questioning the authority of the FIA and even want to take over the FIA, and therefore Mosley, and no-one else, should be re-elected to successfully fight the evil manufacturers. He and he alone, is the right man for this job.

It is a pity Mosley still doesn't realize that people do have a problem with the arrogant and undemocratic way he has presided the FIA during the last few years. He has frequently broken his promises, he promised the FIA members during a special meeting in 2008, after his disgraceful performance in a home-made video clip, that he would not run for president in 2009, if the FIA members would allow him to finish his term.

He is constantly trying to undermine and frustrate the FIA/FOTA peace process, it seems he wants to delay the process until it is too late for the FOTA to organize a break-away series, but he is totally wrong, F1 doesn't need the FIA at all, we will come to that later.

On Tuesday, he came up with yet another trick. Mosley told the FOTA that the regulations could not be finalized without the blessing of the non-FOTA teams, and started waving again with Article 66 of the International Sporting Code, which states that "no change can be made to the published regulations without the agreement of all confirmed entrants". Apparently that same article didn't apply to the FIA when they made the rules for 2010 without approval of the teams. Mr. Mosley is very good in turning the world upside down, isn't he?

Yesterday Max Mosley and his FIA organization managed to declare yet another war to the FOTA teams. During a meeting at the Nurburgring, the FIA, represented by Mr Charlie Whiting, stated, contrary to the Paris agreement, that "the eight FOTA teams 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 thereof". Bang, another bombshell dropped by the FIA. The FOTA members were stunned and left the meeting without saying a word.

Rain on the FIA logo.
Photo by xpb.cc.

It doesn't make sense does it? The FIA invites the FOTA 8 to discuss the regulations, when they arrive there, they tell them they have no right to vote (so why the heck did they invite them in the first place!), and after that the FIA says they are very disappointed because they 'walked out' of the meeting.

Well, ladies and gentleman, this is Mosley's revenge. He did this to show them who's the boss, he wanted to humiliate them, but this one is going to backfire. It think it's a disgrace and an insult to (all) the teams, this is really totally wrong.

I wonder what the newbie teams, they were invited as well, will think now. They have been used by the FIA, and have now landed in a mine field named F1, and are probably wondering how to get out of it without the loss of life or limbs. The newbies now know what to expect from the FIA. Welcome to F1 guys, you can still jump off the wagon if you don't like the ride. Believe me, the ride is going to be a lot bumpier than it already is. And don't sign anything without consulting a bunch of lawyers, you will regret it later.

Bernie Ecclestone holds the key to the solution

As said before, F1 doesn't need the FIA or Mosley, there is a way to get rid of him, and in case Mr. Mosley hasn't thought of it himself, I will explain it to him now.

The first thing you have to understand is the fact that Formula One is more important than the FIA. If the FIA continues to dictate the rules without involving the teams, continues to accuse FOTA of trying to take over the FIA, or threatens to tear up the agreement of Paris, the FOTA has only one option left: they will no longer acknowledge the FIA as their governing body. And they are not going to start a break-away series, Mr. Mosley, that won't be necessary.

You see, there is something you seem to have forgotten. When push comes to shove, Bernie Ecclestone, FOM and CVC, will not tolerate that you or the FIA will purposely destroy something they have worked on for 35 years. The commercial rights holders will not allow you to do anymore damage than you already have done, the F1 revenues have already decreased by the FIA/FOTA war.

Bernie Ecclestone.
Photo by xpb.cc.

A break-away series would mean that the F1 commercial rights would become almost worthless, and that would be a financial disaster for FOM and CVC. Ecclestone therefore has no other option than to join the FOTA, if he doesn't, it would almost certainly spell the end of his career and the demise of the FOM and capital investor CVC, in a nutshell, the end of F1. And Ecclestone isn't ready to retire yet, and CVC is not prepared to kiss all the F1 revenues goodbye and plunge into the abyss of a multi billion dollar debt, so they will use all of their power to keep F1 going, even if it means they have to spend a lot of money to achieve just that.

And when Mr. Ecclestone decides to support the FOTA, he will kill many flies with one stone. Formula One is a registered trademark and FOM owns it. Therefore there is nothing Mosley can do when Ecclestone will announce that the F1 season 2010 will continue as scheduled and all 13 teams will race on all 17 circuits as planned, will continue to use the Formula One trademark, but will no longer acknowledge the FIA as their governing body.

FOM has contracts with the circuits, contracts with all the TV networks and media which broadcast F1, they have title sponsor contracts, they have contracts with several FOTA teams, and last but not least, they also have about one billion dollars, the revenues of 2009, to sustain their activities in 2010.

The FOM organization includes a very well equipped company named Formula One Productions Ltd, based in Biggin Hill, Kent, UK, and they are responsible for the TV feeds of the race content of all grand prix. They have all the necessary personnel, equipment and know-how to do that. In 2006, FOM acquired Allsport Management SA, a Swiss registered company, which manages the sale of all Formula One trackside advertising (except Monaco) and the Formula One Paddock Club. Try to beat that Mr. Mosley.

And if the FOM joins the FOTA and continue with F1 without the FIA as the governing body, there isn't a damn thing you can do about it Mr. Mosley. If you think you can carry on with the sport by chartering the teams on your disgraceful shortlist of recently rejected F1 applicants, think again, those teams are not going to help you, you cannot operate under the F1 flag, because you don't own the F1 trademark. So you will be the one who has to set up an alternative race series, and not the FOTA. And to make things worse, the FIA will not receive any money from Formula One, and that will definitely hurt your organization, and I don't think the FIA members or the WMSC will be very pleased about that.

And by the way, the FOTA is looking into the rumours that the FIA only accepted new teams who were prepared to sign a 3-year deal with Cosworth, and also promised not to join the FOTA. In the Daily Telegraph a representative of one of the rejected teams said: "We were told that if we wanted to take up the 2010 grid slot we would have to sign a three-year engine contract with Cosworth" And a FIA spokesman said: "...that the availability of an independent engine supply was a 'priority' for the new teams, otherwise the whole grid would be at the mercy of the car industry and no new team would be able to enter without their permission." Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

There are only two problems when Ecclestone defects to the FOTA camp, some teams have a contract with the FIA, and Formula One would need a new governing body.

We can be short about the contracts, if the FIA decides to take legal action, the teams involved will do the same, and the whole thing about the contracts could go on for many years before a judge decides who has to pay and if so, how much. Although these contract involve many millions of dollars, bearing in mind that the alternative, the collapse of F1, will cost them billions of dollars, FOTA, FOM and CVC will be more than happy to pay damages to the FIA.

FOTA, Formula One Team Managers, Group picture.
Photo by xpb.cc.

That leaves us with the problem of governing the sport. That shouldn't be too difficult either. FOM and FOTA could set up a Regulations Commission, a Penalty Commission and a Technical Commission, all commissions will consist of one representative of each competing team, and one representative of FOM, who will preside the commission, but has no vote.

The Regulations Commission will take care of changes in the technical and sporting regulations, the Technical Commission will do the scrutineering of the cars to determine if they comply with the technical regulations. The Penalty Commission will be supplemented by two representatives of the circuit. The track marshals will report directly to the Penalty Commission (also present at the circuit taking over the FIA role), and they will determine whether a driver or a team has broken the rules and gets a penalty or not.

I know this is all easier said than done (perhaps the idea of the commissions even sounds a bit na?ve), and the fact that F1 teams will be responsible for governing their own sport will be quite a challenge, but this is just an idea and an example of how it can be achieved. FOM and FOTA could for instance also make use of third parties for the technical or financial scrutineering. There is a solution for every problem, and if FOM and FOTA are determined to carry on with F1, I'm sure they can get the job done.

So, there we are Mr. Mosley, although this whole story is pure fiction, it seems it is indeed possible that FOM and FOTA could carry on without your precious FIA organization. It is true the outcome is also in the hands of Bernie Ecclestone, but don't you think it would be a better idea to put your pride and vanity aside, cooperate with the teams and stick to the agreement of June 24? Or do you want to be remembered as the disgraced and impeached FIA president who almost destroyed Formula One?

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About this article
Series General , Formula 1
Drivers Luca di Montezemolo , Flavio Briatore , Bernie Ecclestone