While we were hoping for a resolution to the Formula One crisis, I doubt many thought it would happen so quickly. At Silverstone last weekend, matters appeared to be escalating to the point of no return with threats of law suites on both sides. Everyone knew that the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting could resolve the matter, no one really expected it! What is even more surprising is that the deal is one-sided with Max Mosley backing down on almost all his demands (refer to the WMSC statement here)
So how did it happen so quickly ?
Mosley’s interview with the BBC calling some members of FOTA ‘loonies’ did not go down well with FOTA and they certainly capitalised on that. Besides, FIA Presidents shouldn’t go to that level particularly one who had his own scandal just a year ago.
The commercial rights owners of Formula One (CVC) were not pleased about the state of affairs and after the FIA announced taking legal action against FOTA and Ferrari, CVC appear to have got seriously involved, so much so that on Sunday Mosley decided to put legal action on hold.
Mosley appeared to be backtracking and FOTA gaining momentum. Add to that, every poll showed that the fans were firmly on FOTA’s side. And comments from Bernie Ecclestone that he ‘feels with the teams’ made the situation much worse for Mosley.
Aware of his eroding support base, Mosley writes to the FIA members asking them for support as a last ditch attempt to save himself. That fails and knowing that he won’t have the numbers this time, he had to accept the inevitable.
So with the threat of a breakaway series now averted and with Max Mosley out of the picture, one would expect the FIA and FOTA to introduce a number of initiatives – both to cut costs and to improve the show.
Some of the questions that will need attention soon are:
Cosworth engine supply ? Is it still necessary ? If the existing 5 teams can supply engines at an affordable price, why have another supplier who can only supply a 4-year engine that won’t be compliant with the current regulations ? Sounds like a waste of time and money. I suspect the three new teams to switch to using engines from a FOTA team
Will Williams and Force India be un-suspended from FOTA ? What about Campos, Manor and USF1 will they join ? FOTA obviously has shown that it is a powerful association and those teams would benefit from being part of FOTA.
Given that the 2010 regs will be the same as the 2009 regs (with some cost cutting measures), will tyre blankets still be banned ? refuelling ?
It will be interesting to see what FOTA and the FIA will do about this. The ban on tyre blankets has been described as unsafe so that could be reversed. Refuelling is a cost cutting measure (both equipment and staff) but tyre changing pit stops will remain. Perhaps it is worth trying as it could spice up things.
Will we see some of the FOTA idea’s for improving the show ? FOTA issued a number of ideas that may now be considered. Ideas such as points for pole and fastest lap are worth considering.
And last but not least, will FOTA’s pledge to provide lower cost tickets and race on popular venues be satisfied ? This is probably the toughest one but if costs can be cut by 50% or even 80% surely tickets can become more affordable! As for venues, well they shouldn’t be chosen purely on how much the venue is willing to pay, it should be based on their established fan base and their facilities.
Here’s to a peaceful and exciting Formula One