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F1 – What's going on now?
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jul 2009   |  9:08 pm GMT  |  69 comments

It took Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier several high profile bouts to settle their differences and it seems that we are in for a rematch of Max Mosley’s FIA vs Luca di Montezemolo’s FOTA; a heavyweight showdown, just when we all thought things had been sorted out.

There may not be a catchy title to this bout, such as the “Thriller in Manilla”, but you certainly wouldn’t call this weekend’s scrap, set for the Nurburgring, “A mere trifle in the Eiffel”.

This is serious and FOTA have responded to being informed that its eight teams are not entered in next year’s championship with the line that this could put the future of F1 in jeopardy.

It’s been an odd week in F1, with the Bernie Ecclestone/Hitler stuff and now this. Non-F1 people I speak to in the media and public consider the sport as a bit of a pantomime. But I think it’s deadly serious and it has to do with money.

I noted that CVC were ‘shocked’ by Bernie’s comments but supportive of his apology, but I cannot imagine they are very happy about today’s development.

The document offering the debt on F1 to interested parties suggested that the new Concorde Agreement had been agreed and that the teams would all sign up during 2007. Here we are two years later and it has not been signed. That has to be creating some real pressure.

Part of the ‘peace deal’ agreed on June 24th was for the FOTA teams to commit to FOM until 2012. If the FIA considers them not to be entered in the championship, then one wonders where this commitment stands and the absence of eight key teams, including Ferrari, must threaten F1′s business model.

CVC is the venture capital company who hold 75% of the equity in F1′s commercial rights holder, which is subject to a debt of over $2 billion. It is felt that pressure from them led to the ‘peace agreement’ between FOTA and the FIA a few days after the British Grand Prix.

But almost immediately that deal started to unravel. First we had FOTA’s hubris at ‘beating’ Mosley, delight that he was quitting in October, accusations that he was a ‘dictator’, suggestions that the next FIA president should be ‘independent’. Since then there has been a steady drip of insinuation about the FIA’s Alan Donnelly and his role in the approval of new teams. We have also had suggestions that the new teams were obliged to sign up for Cosworth engines, as the Northampton firm had indicated that they needed three teams to make their F1 engine programme viable.

The FIA acted last night with a warning that unanimity would be required when finalising the 2010 rules and that would mean the non-FOTA teams, including the three new teams, seeing eye to eye with the existing teams.

I’m travelling at the moment to Germany, so I’m going to have to do some digging around tomorrow to find out what has motivated this latest move. But it looks set to push the FOTA teams back towards their previously suggested plan of a breakaway. If they are not entered in next year’s F1 championship then presumably they are free agents, unless they are now caught by commercial contracts obliging them to find a solution with the FIA.

FOTA believe that the deal struck in Paris on June 24th meant that they were entered in the championship (an entry list was published with their names on it) and that they had carte blanche to agree the 2010 rules themselves, which would then be rubber stamped by the FIA.

The shock of today’s news is that this appears not to be the case. I can’t wait to find out what this turn-around is based on.

The FOTA teams walked out of technical working group meeting at the Nurburgring today and a statement this afternoon shows their exasperation,

“As endorsed by the WMSC and clearly stated in the FIA press statement of 24 June ‘the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009′. At no point in the Paris discussions was any requirement for unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed. To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula 1 in jeopardy.”

Off to the Eiffel mountains we go then, into another weekend of great uncertainty.

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69 Comments
  1. Finn says:

    Will no one save us from this meddlesome Max?

    PLEASE FOTA – go it alone.

  2. Harveyeight says:

    The thought that crossed my mind on reading the latest was that there can be no way back for FOTA now. How can they enter any agreement with Mosley? There is no point in sitting around a table with him or any of his puppets.

    Oh! Charlie. You were one of my heroes once. Not look what you have become.

    My sport, the one I’ve followed for 42 years, from the age of 20, that’s all my adult life, is now in real danger. I have 37 books in my office that relate in one way or another to F1. It looks like Stewart’s ungraded autobiography is the last I’ll but.

    And not only that, we have Ecclestone saying, according to the Mail:

    “When informed that the World Jewish Congress had called for [Ecclestone's] resignation, he responded, ‘It’s a pity they didn’t sort the banks out.’ When asked to elaborate, he countered, ‘They have a lot of influence everywhere.’ ”

    This is extraordinary. How can any adult, let alone someone who has lived through the second world war, and its aftermath, say such a thing? How can he praise Hitler and then paraphrase him?

    Mosley going back on agreement and Bernie doing his best, it seems, to get the sport banned for Europe: can any sport sustain such continual assaults?

  3. Luciano says:

    I really don’t see what FOTA has done wrong in all this, but your article seems to imply James that they have played a part in causing this new round of problems. True, some people could have behaved with a little more dignity following the ‘defeat’ of Max Mosley, but aside from this it seems (in terms of information in the public domain) that FOTA has done nothing wrong and simply wants to get on with what was agreed in Paris.

    As for the allegations re Cosworth, these seem to have been legitimate and the FIA have not denied that this was a requirement of entry, they have virtually admitted it was the case.

    It will be interesting to hear the FIA’s reasons for saying they are not entered, given they published an entry list with their names on it. Bring on Ari Vatanen.

  4. Steve W says:

    The FIA have really overstepped the mark this time. The press release on their own website following the peace deal clearly states the “acceptance” of 13 teams for the 2010 world championship, including the FOTA teams. Today’s claim from FOTA that they were told by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting that they were not entered for next year is totally in contradiction to this, and gives the impression that the FIA are the ones at fault for this row rumbling on. The FIA surely cannot be trusted anymore, especially on the back of the Martin Donnelly [Alan - mod] revelations earlier this week regarding the selection of the new teams. If FOTA do ultimately walk away from F1 and set up their own series, you certainly couldn’t blame them.

  5. Ged says:

    The FIA’s claim that FOTA “walked out” is (as is often the case with them unfortunately) completely disingenuous. FOTA were told on the day that ‘actually, you have no voting right in today’s voting process’, they asked for a postponement & that was denied, so just what did they have to stay for?
    What started as 2009 rules with some amendments to be agreed by FOTA, has moved from ‘only with the consent of the non-Fota-Five’ & now on to ‘at the mercy of the FIA’. Well seriously, I really couldn’t find a strong argument against someone that said Manor is the official FIA-endorsed entry in all but name.
    FOTA have to breakaway. Or rather they have to be prepared & willing to do so. If I were in FOTA I would push again with plans for a new series and if the WSMC/FIA about-turn (again!) and actually honour what they agreed then all the better.

  6. Tomys says:

    I have enough, really :) I am now summoning Max Mosley in front of World Motor Sport Council due to possible breach of 151c) – putting the sport into disrepute. Many fans are really disgussed. So am I :)

    Is this just another Max’s attempt? If so, then he lost his temper :)

  7. Leo Allen says:

    If only that arrogant fool Montezemolo had kept his big mouth shut when he won the debate with Mosley at Silverstone, but instead, with all the intellectual power of a farmyard cock he strutted around the Italian media crowing about how he’d wiped Mosley off the map.

    Big, Big mistake ! Big expensive mistake.

    You could imagine, for example, Ron Dennis winning such a fight. Apart from the odd monosyllabic remark, he’d never
    say a dickybird about it publicly. That’s the way you keep the Mosley’s of this world under control……

    ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’

    And now…we’re right back in the doo-doo again.

    The only pleasing thing is the way all this eruption must be scaring the hell out the fat cats at CVC. Nice !

  8. Luis says:

    I am getting tired of this. I am with FOTA, but I think they should be a bit more flexible this time as they cannot expect to be the “rule writers” when there are 5 other teams involved (Williams, Force India and the newcomers).

    Luis

  9. Hammad says:

    Like I said before, they shouldn’t have given in…

  10. Andy says:

    I am not sure about what is really going on in the background, I have been an avid supporter of F1 my whole life. To be honest right now. If someone said that is it no more F1, I would just think “Oh Well, best I find something else to fill my time up with” Don’t get me wrong I love the sport. However right now I am bored of all this FIA/FOTA stuff. whatever happened to do you talking on the track!

  11. George says:

    It’s rediculous this has even come up now, FOTA made it quite clear what their terms were before they agreed to rejoin, and it’s quite late to be changing rules now in any case, cars are already on the drawing board. Is there a date at which the rules have to be set in stone?

    I’m just wondering, did this split come from trying to appease the new teams or is Mosely just on another power trip?

  12. James,
    If you see Luca di Montezemolo this weekend
    please tell him to apologize to that miserable [mod]
    Max Mosley so we can watch Formula 1 in peace.

  13. Andy Gibson says:

    Until now I’ve always enjoyed the politics and technology of F1, it adds to the interest of the sport beyond the racing.

    But now I am just sick of it. It has just become utterly pathetic – a bunch of egomaniacs who don’t care one jot about the fans, who just love their names in the press.

    We’re gonna have another weekend dominated by the new “stars” of F1 – Bernie, Max, Luca, etc. Yawn.

  14. MDS says:

    Well lets hope it’s just the “Trifle in Eiffel.”

    I am more interested in seeing if Red Bull really did take a step forward in the last GP or whether it was the conditions? I hope it was the former:-)

  15. John says:

    I have been an avid fan of F1 since I was 8 which is 30 years. All this is turning me off F1 at the moment and I am so dissapointed. I for one am just fed up with high powered professional corporations and governing bodies acting like children in the playground. As teams and leaders of one of the worlds biggest sports they should be acting like role models and showcasing leadership to the business world and the fans. Maybe they all need to put their very large ego’s aside and start sorting this out as its damaging the sport. I hate to think how the sponsors feel at the moment with headlines about Hitler and petty arguments day in day out. If it carries on I can see sponsors pulling out. The trouble is this is giving the motorsports world in general a bad name from grass roots right through to the big players. It seems that all the news now is off track which is very sad.

  16. Fred says:

    Hi James

    Can you answer a question please, do the FOTA teams have a binding contract then with the FIA to participate in the 2010 WC? Are they bound then by the agreement reached in June with WMSC? If the anwser is yes then why dont they have the right to participate in the latest round of Technical Regulation meetings?
    I do agree that all teams must agree to regulation changes after the regulations have already been published but how can the WMSC turn around and say that we will go back to the 2009 rules with modifications agreed to by the teams to sorry the 2010 regulations have been published so now all teams have to agree to your changes.
    Time for FOTA to excerise there democratic right and not race for the FIA championship and one of their own design.
    I wonder how CVC will view these new developments if Ferrari are not entered into the 2010 WC. No contract with the FIA to race next year so lets race else where.

  17. Craig from Canada says:

    Sigh… You know who F1 needs to sort this all out? Someone like Hitler. Hahahaha.

    If FOTA doesn’t break away because of this, then they lose all credibility with sponsors, broadcasters, and fans. When stuff like this is pulled, FOTA has the moral high ground. But by continually threatening to break away and then backing off, everyone sees that it’s just a negotiating ploy, rather than a legitimate alternative to Max and Bernie.

    Yes, sixty years of Formula One is an outstanding history. But the brand is being tarnished by all of this bickering. It’d be better for the teams to move on and start a new tradition with new tracks (or a return to some of the old ones), stable rules and teams, and fair fees to attend (and host) a race.

  18. Travis R says:

    OK, I am getting frustrated. This is all pathetic childishness, and I blame the FOTA as much as I do the FIA.

    It seems to me that after FOTA managed to get the FIA’s attention by threatening to break away, they now think they have a technique that will work. It’s like a child throwing a tantrum, the parents give in, and junior realizes it works. Well, guess what, boys – the breakaway threat didn’t work, and this won’t either. FOTA’s actions are just dragging out the inevitable. FOTA needs to quit talking and actually follow through with their threats – take your ball and go home, kids. Get a game going, and we (the fans) will figure out which game we’ll watch. Right now, you’re just dragging all of us through the dirt.

  19. JohnBt says:

    Oh no not again. The end is near. Quarrels that will never be solved. A new beginning, FOTA must break away as the infection is beyond cure. For sure, more than 90% of fans agree. Let FIA get on with the new teams as TALK IS CHEAP! The two old men will wreck F1 before they leave this world.

  20. Kenny says:

    A report on this development on another website states that FOTA came to the meeting prepared to get some work done, with powerpoint presentations and the whole nine yards. The report also states that 1) Charlie Whiting was clearly embarrassed when he gave FOTA the bad news, 2) Ross Brawn became agitated and wanted to why they just couldn’t “get on with it”, and 3) Whiting then sat down with Williams, Force India and the new teams. The FOTA reps, having been excluding from the discussion, left- hardly the “walk out” described by the FIA.

    If the non FOTA teams had any spine, they would have refused to participate in a discussion without the FOTA teams. Williams and Force India, at least, should have staged a genuine walk out by joining the FOTA reps. Charlie Whiting, if he was so embarrassed, should have told Mosely to chair the meeting himself.

    It is past time to put a stop to this lunacy, and it seems that the only way to do that is to get rid of Mosely now. All interested parties- the teams, the FIA members and staff, Bernie, CVC, the sponsors, perhaps even the German GP organizers- should, together, inform this meglomaniac that he must go, today.

  21. Silas Denyer says:

    What on earth did FOTA think; that they would be allowed to dictate to the new entrants what the rules would be? I also find it interesting that Williams and Force India have apparently not been welcomed back into the FOTA fold yet, which is, err, kind of strange and has led, more-or-less directly, to this situation about which the current FOTA members complain.

    As ever, NONE of the participants in F1 do themselves any favours; FOTA is as much guilty of not pinning everything down as the FIA is of not proactively making a compromise stick.

  22. Henk Ensing says:

    This trench warfare that’s going on in Formula one for a while now is odly reminicent of events happening during and preceding the ‘great war’.

    Then as now, several parties were embroiled in a race for absolute domination, that ended in a stalemate with untold number of casualties. Significantly, it marked an end to an era…

    Taking a look at circuit attendance, one must conclude that Formula One addresses a predominantly European need for a certain kind of motorsport activity. It’s history is rooted firmly on this continent and there are few places otherwise where it has become a success (notably Japan, Brazil and Australia).

    Expanding Formula One beyond those roots seemed quite an innovative idea at the time, attracting a wealth of corporate sponsorship. But resulting in unspectacular venues that are of little or no interest to the traditional fans nor to the local population.

    Formula One has diverged, expanded and diluted under the guidance of a few individuals. As a result we’ve now come at a point were nobody actually ‘owns’ anything anymore except his own position or interests.

    There simply can’t be an agreement for Formula One to continue in any recognisable shape or form in the trenches that have been dug and occupied.

    This bubble will burst in the next few months. And all that’s going to be left of Formula One will be some very rich heirs to Bernie Ecclestone.

  23. Baktru says:

    Huh?

    What?

    This is worse than any soap opera…

    Of course CVC would be pushing for keeping the existing F1, a 2 Billion $ debt is not a trifle… But hey, it’sventure capital, you win some, you lose some…

    I do wonder how long this whole mess will go on though. After the quite surprising deal at the end of June, I really thought the whole war was as good as over. Apparently, no such thing.

  24. jw1980 says:

    Max, Bernie, FIA, whoever, are playing games hoping to leave it impossibly late for a breakaway series to be set up and then have what they want (whether its holidng on to position, controlling contracts, etc.).
    I hoped that agreement could be attained and that the existing world championship would remain with the current teams and new ones.
    Perhaps a breakaway would be better now. May be we need to concentrate on that. With the eight FOTA teams running three cars or having a couple of customer teams and a calendar such as the one suggested after the British GP this would soon kill off any FIA F1 World Championship. I cannot see the new teams committing to it anyway under the above circumstances.
    The only issue is why did FOTA not set up the breakaway championship some weeks ago? It does suggest that there are some very difficult contracts to get out of.

  25. MrExasperated says:

    Does anyone now not seriously believe that if Max Mosley had been out of the picture, this saga of epic proportions would have been resolved a LONG time ago.

    Is there no bounds to the ego of this man?

    A possible title for this bout would be ‘The man who shot F1 by shooting himself in the foot!’ or a more whimsical title would be ‘Here we go round the Mulberry bush…again!’

    I start to seriously believe that the plan all along has been to make the manufacturers walk away from F1 at any cost.

  26. Kevin Brock says:

    I really do, truly, despair. This was sorted on 24th June, publicised as such so why now are we, apparently back at square one, and what does that mean for the future? Personally I can only hope someone (and I don’t know who was at yesterdays meeting) has interpreted something incorrectly, and there will be a quick rebuttal. Somehow I think this is more pathetic FIA/FOM posturing, further harming this sport. I know for one that I’m getting fairly pig sick of it already now.

  27. John says:

    This ‘new’ turnaround is nothing but Max trying to play boss again… Only interesting thing point left is how Fota will now organise a championship on a such a short time frame…

  28. Stephen says:

    I’m going to agree with all the criticisim above about the FIA, afterall this is obviously baiting FOTA

    However, lets put our hindsight glasses on and look at the ‘Mosley’ affect

    - he made the teams think they had forced him from office and that made them agree to continue in F1 till 2012 (despite the fact his entire staff knew he would not be continuing next year)

    I see this as merely Max’s dabbling hands that will push the teams into agreeing a structured cost cutting scheme that the new entry teams can adhere to and one which will allow them some semblence of competitiveness for 2010 – 2011

    Oh Max you crafty devil you! Let just pray you dont destroy the sport we all love

  29. Alex M says:

    Williams and Force India need to join the FOTA immediately or face being thrown out of F1 when it finally gets back on track, minus [mod] Moseley and quite possibly Bernie/CVC if they do not get their acts together pronto….

    Moseley has massively overstepped the mark now with this, he is either utterly utterly barking mad, or just deliberately trying to destroy F1.

    It is almost like he discovered Bernie had somehting to do with “all that upleasant business in the basement with his *friends*” and this is his revenge, destroy F1 to get at Bernie… after all it now hardly looks like it was Ron does it ?

  30. Jamil says:

    Hi James,

    I can’t imagine how this is possible !!? There was an agreement and an entry list officially published by the FIA where all 8 FOTA teams were included. The WMSC agreed on it as well.

    What happens now makes it clear that the teams can’t trust the FIA even after a signed agreement. It seems clear to me that MOSLEY was buying time.
    The idea of MOSLEY was from the beginning to buy time in order to make the alternative FOTA championship almost impossible to organise for next year. The teams would be forced to apply for the FIA championship under budget cap.

    Right now, either teams have still enough time to go for their own championship, or it is too late and that will lead to a couple of questions :

    - how can they achieve that cap next year, I’m thinking particularly of TOYOTA(Germany) and FERRARI(Italy) where laws are much harsher than in ENGLAND. It would cost them so much to dump people it would makes it virtually impossible.
    - how to avoid cheating. Example : I’m FERRARI or MERCEDES. Some of the Formula 1 budget is transferred to other departments and these departments make some R&D stuff relevant to the Formula 1 program without knowing the purpose of their job. Another manner is buy stuff with a cheaper than normal price and to have the difference paid another way or to have that company as a sponsor. That is very difficult to track.
    I just want to point out that governments, military industry, criminal organisations have hidden transactions for decades…. So it is feasible, how easy it is, I don’t know… But the climate of suspicion will be there, firmly there….

    I’m a little surprised by MOSLEY’s behaviour to be honest. He isn’t fighting DENNIS or TODT, he is fighting Di Montezemolo the chairman of FIAT, the former chairman of LA CONFINDUSTRIA. Here we talk of someone with very high profile, great connections,….
    I hope for MOSLEY that he’s whiter than white, otherwise there is another scandal on its way.

  31. john g says:

    max has gone back on his word shock horror!! how can the FIA claim that the FOTA 8 are not part of the teams list, when they drew up this list after FOTA agreed with their requirements to come back in and everyone was happy? ok so di montezemolo pissed spanky off but that surely cannot change the status of the 8 teams and the deal that was signed!

    as for what came out after the deal, i agree 100% with FOTA. max is a dictator (and proving it daily), the FIA president *should* be independant, there was widespread joy throughout the entire F1 community that Max was got rid of, so what’s the issue there? one mans ego, and that’s going to take down F1.

    it is clear now that FOTA need to go through with their breakaway threat and leave nothing to do with the FIA, at least under the maniacal control of max mosely. hopefully whatever happens, ari vatinen replaces max at the end of this year and we can get on with the racing.

  32. SWR says:

    Some of you imply that FOTA wants to dictate the rules. I don’t see it that way. They simply want the same woting rights as the other 5 teams (i.e. the same influence as the other teams). They are pissed that Max is only allowing them observer status and only let the 5 other teams have influence on the rules.

  33. Mike Dawson says:

    Ok Stop all of this now.

    This is getting more than a little silly.

    Thankfully there’s some other great sport happening around the world, of which I am a fan as I am of top level single seater racing. So, diluting that into two series isn’t such a bad thing.

    Take the 2007/8 seasons, if all of this nonsense happened during those seasons F1 would have just moved on, no problem. But this year, this year is a different story. There’s no real fight for the championship, with all due respect to Brawn, it’s not the same as an older established team slogging away for years building up an history in F1 and winning a championship.

    So in this respect, the FIA and FOTA can pull themselves apart, who cares. I can move on next year and remember those classic seasons of the past. Maybe in ten years time we’ll have another great series.

    (Would be great to see ‘european’ cars at Laguna Seca again)

    MD

  34. P Byrne says:

    Let’s go back to the June 24th peace deal…
    First of all criticism of FOTA’s ‘hubris’ at ‘beating’ Mosley is way overstated and practically irrelevant. Max was ALWAYS going to grasp at any excuse possible to swipe the rug from underneath the feet of the FOTA teams. Everything was leading up to yesterday’s U-turn. Max has gampled on stalling the inititive of a breakaway series and is again gambling on the FOTA teams backing down. He is calling their bluff, hoping perhaps that some will walk out on F1 (Toyota? Renault?), that the others will crumble, that he can retain power at all costs.

    I was happy to see a resolution on June 24th. Those baying for a breakaway knew not what they wished for. I notice on other websites that many of those are now turning on FOTA for not going ahead with the breakaway. That was always the nuclear option though and to be avoided at all costs.

    I would also have concerns about how the FOTA teams would manage and govern themselves in their own series. An argument for another day perhaps…

    I see no way that a deal can be struck with the FIA in it’s present format. And I see no way that a root-and-branch cleanout of the organisation can be achieved.

    It seems to me that Max is putting the FIA before F1. If he cannot control it, if he cannot maintain the pre-eminant posion of the FIA and it’s control over the sport it seems he is quite willing to destroy it.

  35. Mon Pen says:

    I have yet to see anyone post, here or elsewhere on various message boards and blogs, anything like the phrase “Hey isn’t all this politics and strutting GREAT for the sport!”.

    Fans are unanimously sick and tired of all this. Somewhere in the dim background a couple of unimportant nobodies called Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are lined up for a ding dong of a season ender that might match Wimbledon’s men’s final on Sunday.

    But hey, nobody’s interested in that. What the fans really want to read about is the FIA and FOTA slugging it out.

    I really can see this killing the sport, people will be turning over to Coronation Street in their hundreds of thousands.

    Thanks Max, Bernie, Luca, Flavio, for tainting the sport, your chest beating antics are pathetic.

  36. Kirk says:

    Sick and tired of all this. Again!!
    If this is what F1 has become then it can’t die soon enough. I ever wanted to watch egotistical, dumb and spoilt men behavind like 5 year olds on a playground I’d be watching PM Question Time on Wednesdays… The “F1″ brand as these people like to refer to it has been turned into a sad joke in 2009.

  37. Paul says:

    James

    Question for a future posting (I hope)…

    What is the penalty if a team decide not to race? (ie, they choose not to take to the track)

    I’m assuming it’s an absolutely enormous penalty against their rights money?

    Thanks
    Paul

  38. David Hodge says:

    A simple question.

    Some weeks ago, the FIA published the entry list which included Ferrari and Red Bull as definite entries, not provisional like their FOTA colleagues. Now the FIA is saying none of the FOTA teams including the two just mentioned are entered. Max, please explain…

    P.S. Vote Ari !!!

  39. Harveyeight says:

    I had a long day yesterday, getting up at 0330 and not returning home until 2130 – lovely meals in Paris. Good old Eurostar. After reading the news online I was aghast. Both Ecclestone and Mosley seemingly intent on destroying F1.

    I got up this morning hoping, as you do, that it wasn’t as bad as I first thought. And I was spot on. It is considerably worse.

    As MrExasperated (is that your real name?) said: it would appear that this is a concerted effort by Mosley to remove the manufacturers’ teams from the sport.

    I can see no other conclusion.

    And for Ecclestone, I can come to no other conclusion than that this is a concentrated effort to remove F1 from Europe.

    The suggestion by Kenny that Whiting was embarrassed just makes things worse. He’ll be rememberd now, at least by me, as the man whose first thought was not for F1 and was party to its betrayal.

    The FiA is the regulator. It has no other function beyond that. It does not ‘own’ F1. Indeed, if Ari V does put himself forward and is supported by the AAA and the German AC, amongst, probably, others, and then some bloke with a lived in fact and a girly name gets in courtesy of Arab countries and some African states, then I can see it being the end of the FiA’s influence on other motoring matters around the world.

    American car manufacturers are suffering at the moment and the FiA is the last bulwark against protectionism. Just the time to risk all, Mosley.

    Someone earlier asked if the Teams expected to dictate the rules. The answer is that they, of course, have much more right to that the FiA, the function of which is just the judge and jury, of a sort anyway. Their input should be minimal.

    It is handy to have a separate organistion to stop the normal bickering, but the final arbiters should be those who pay for the sport. And as for pinning things down, look to the FiA’s own press release, on their official website, re the conclusions – nothing iffy about what was agreed – of the meeting of the 24 June. Just three weeks ago. It was, as is apparent in the press release, a conclusion. A gentlemen’s agreement as, it seems, nothing was signed.

    A freind of mine was a party to a sponsorship deal with his company and McLaren. He said, after years of corporative legalities, that when Dennis agreed something you felt – and quite correctly as it turned out – that it would be honoured. He said it was like a breath of fresh air.

    Bit of a fug at the FiA.

  40. Tomys says:

    James, I’d really appreciat explanation of discrepancies between WMSC decision, Mosley’s letter and FOTA’s accusation of what Charlie Whiting said….

  41. Baart says:

    I can`t believe , this is happening for real…

    I thought about it, and if F1 will fall, then in a long term, maybe in couple of years, some will say , that it happend because of 2008-2009 financial crisis. But people who love this sport will always bear in mind, that was only war of two big EGO`S.
    Well, for me, this is not the argument, for putting 60 years of history to trash can.
    9.7.2009 is a sad day.

  42. Spenny says:

    I said before that Max was offering the teams nothing in his negotiations – he has always held to the position that he cannot change the rules, nor can the teams, so any agreement for a conditional entry was beyond his power to offer. He of course, set that up deliberately by publishing a set of rules that did not have consensus.

    What I don’t understand is why he thinks it was acceptable to drag the whole of the WMSC into the mire, where they have passed a clear resolution that the item was resolved in a particular way. They are either incompetent – passing resolutions that they do not have the power to enforce, or Max was deliberately deceptive in allowing such an agreement to pass.

    My guess is that Max decided to allow himself to be bullied into the June 24th statement with the clear intent of reneging on the deal, and his hissy fit about some name calling was his cover for “changing his mind” – if name calling was really important to him he would remember he has at least two outstanding apologies – “Loony Flavio” and “certified half-wit Jackie Stewart”.

    What interests me is whether the teams now have carte blanche to walk away with no hope of legal redress for FOM. Ferrari were entered against their will, and now have been excluded against their will. How can FOM sue Ferrari for not entering when their entry was denied by the FIA after a clear statement from the WMSC that they were entered? FOM should be suing the FIA.

  43. Stevie P says:

    Anyone else getting deja vu? I don’t like being stuck in Max, Luca and Bernie’s groundhog day…

  44. Jeremiah says:

    “Max, Bernie, FIA, whoever, are playing games hoping to leave it impossibly late for a breakaway series to be set up and then have what they want (whether its holidng on to position, controlling contracts, etc.).”

    Yes, this is what I think they are doing !

  45. Steven says:

    It’s getting ridiculous. FIA are acting like like stupid idiots. FOTA acting like babies in response. I am getting to the point when I don’t even want to watch F1 this year, let alone next year. Might just watch Superleague Formula instead.

  46. Crom says:

    Enough is enough.

    Mosley is making a laughing stock of our sport. The fans are the biggest losers in all of this.

    FOTA should go it alone.

  47. LynnD says:

    I’m worn out with it James. Make MM and BE stop it! Any chance you could ask the drivers on Sunday whose fault they think this mess is?

  48. Paul Mc says:

    Im kinda tired of “the fans are sick of this” line. If fans are REALLY sick and tired of the off track politics then they should all get together and protest by either a) not going to any races or b) have a demonstration in the stands during quali and the race. Get the TV attention etc and put pressure on both the FIA and FOTA to sort it out.

    Remember that all these multi millionaires can argue and spat with each other all they want, but its the people that buy the tickets , go to the races and buy merchandise that really control the sport.

    If i was a newspaper editor my papers headline today would read:

    “F1 to end in a FOTA finish”

  49. Luca says:

    “Don’t you adore how hotly contested the Biggest Fascist in Formula One title is? It’s quite the most exciting bit of the “sport”.” [ Marina Hyde, Guardian, July 9 ]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2009/jul/09/bernie-ecclestone-adolf-hitler-formula-one

  50. MikeW says:

    FIA – Not fit for purpose.

    The whole bust-up is about Max and his ego.

    On the face of it, the June agreement was a big loss for Max, and the consequent crowing (by Luca & many journalists) will not have gone down well.

    However, the agreement reached was one that Max was never capable of honouring. There are 3 teams brought in under the guise of there being a budget-cap; 2 teams forced to play and choosing a budget cap. And there are the FOTA 8 which reached a different agreement, with no budget cap.

    Max *knew* that these agreements were not compatible, and knew he had his opportunity to stoke a new disagreement, setting FOTA against the other 3, with Williams and FI caught in the middle. It is all deliberate, and planned for back in June.

    The FIA, and Max, know they can bend & alter rules when necessary to reach compromises. When you see a situation where they refuse to do so, on some silly point of order, then you know that either Max’s ego is getting in the way again, or that he’s setting things up to make a power play somewhere.

    I reckon FOTA will now not only stand by the principle that they cannot deal with FIA while Moseley is involved at all (as president, *or* on the senate) and, possibly, Donnelly too. I’d also expect them to now come out and say that explicitly and publicly. They will probably put the onus on the WMSC, either asking them to ask for his resignation or to censure him under the codes for disrepute. That is probably the only thing that will stop a breakway in this.

    Bernie and CVC? We’ve already seen their colours – so I expect them to be demanding Max’s head too.

    I honestly don’t expect to see F1 survive with Moseley still in FIA. He’s made it impossible.

  51. Ray.C. says:

    Luca struts…Bernie stumbles…and Max moonwalks…right back to where he was…(the illusion of moving forward while actually going backwards).

    As much as I support FOTA, the thought of losing the F1 moniker, all the history, heritage and romance that goes with it saddened me, or rather it did until this mess blew up again….Walk away FOTA, walk away quickly and we will follow.

    Once upon a time Max and Bernie were good for F1, and so was tobacco.

    One toxic poison down, two to go.

    btw… The smartest thing Hitler did was blow his brains out.

  52. Andrew says:

    Now just imagine if FOTA had gone along with Mosley’s suggestion of ‘join and the we’ll work on the rules’. It’s quite clear now that there would’ve been no discussion. The FIA are an embarassment to the sport. Hopefully the CVC will show some muscle and do something to sort this out. Also, I think Bernie and Max are past their sell by date.

  53. Finn says:

    Too many egos.

    Not a smidgen of common-sense, let alone a microscopic amount of respect for the fans.

    I am totally sick of the way the sport is being played with by rich men as if it were some toy that they can kick around at will.

    Enough is enough.

    Max and Bernie are out of touch with what F1 SHOULD be … it really is time to move on and to bring in a totally new management team.

  54. mm says:

    So we’re back to square one. Max refuses to go because he was called a dictator. FIA again demanding that FOTA signs before negotiations can take place. With nothing guaranteed. Except this time we know how Bernie feels about dictatorships. Both of them part of the problem.

    To quote again from the song, “Give me the good news”: “You can’t use force to sell a promise; Dictatorship was never honest . . .”

  55. Ged says:

    If the FIA insist that Ferrari & Red Bull have contracts to race next year & so were entered for the season unconditionally, how come now, suddenly they aren’t allowed a voting right in rules discussions as they’re not yet entered next season?! It’s ridiculous.
    On the plus side, I’d guess that it’s another argument that Ferrari will use to support their case, should they race elsewhere next season.

  56. Paul Leeson says:

    The sooner the FOTA teams together with any other interested teams get out from under the cloud of the FIA and set up an alternative series the better.

    Its beyond question that a senior FIA official via his own comapny has been involved in procuring sponsorship and or funding for the Manor team.

    The FIA has once again shown itself to be morally bankrupt, FOTA should distance itself from them post haste and recommense their plans for a new series. Max has broken promise after promise and shown that his word is not worth the breath its spoken with.

  57. Rick J says:

    Gotta say I just love all this! So much more entertaining than watching the cars follow each other around the track! Guys, breakaway please, so that Jacques Villeneuve can come back and win another title in the FIA World Championship while we in North America will get our FOTA Grande Epreuves back at Indianapolis and Montreal!

  58. travelrat says:

    Could we ever return to the time when F1 was about cars, drivers, engines and racing?

    Back in the 1960s, I don’t think the most fervent fan could name three team principals, but could rattle off the names of everyone who’d driven in F1 since it started.

    Probably the politics went on, but we rarely heard about it; just enjoyed the racing.

  59. Glen says:

    I do wonder if there was in-season testing the teams and managers would be too busy to get involved in these arguments. Anyhow I’ve lost interest in the 2009 season and no longer get excited at Sunday lunchtime, if I even bother to watch the races. As for the future, from what I understand there were premier motorsport categories before 1950, which then fed into the official championship. So change wouldn’t be a bad thing. But we are going to Monza for the first time in September, which I’m really looking forward to and looking forward to tasting the food of Italy.

  60. this has to end the whole f1 “cvil war” this has shown how max is trying to kill a great that once was and also shows the fota group try to do something right for the fan like me and everyone else but just for sake of the sport the fota should just leave and make there own “f1″ series.

  61. Kenny says:

    FOTA probably though that 1) they had a deal( ie, had everything pinned down), and 2) they would have at least been allowed to participate in the meeting.

  62. Neil says:

    I agree totally!

    Either all the teams participate in setting the rules, or none of them do. How can an invite-only subset of the teams be allowed to set the rules? That seems to totally break the FOTA demands for transparency and fairness.

    As usual, no winners and lots of losers.

    Neil.

  63. NikJ says:

    James – I have to agree with Steve’s comments above that whilst certain people in FOTA should have been more discreet following the Paris meeting, the main cause of this latest dispute is the FIA. When I read your take on it in comparisons to others sites, you seem to lay more emphasis on FOTA causing this latest dispute. Is there more to these walkouts than meets the eye, I thought the FOTA guys were very happy with the settlement post Paris.

    As a footnote, a number of my friends are big F1 fans and this is really taking the gloss of the sport, for the people I know that are just possible supporters they believe this has all become a joke. There could be a huge detriment to the sport here and I believe you have touched on it with how unhappy CVC are as they can see what it will do to the support.

  64. Kenny says:

    As upset as I am with Mosely and the FIA right now, I have to agree with you. Luca should have kept his mouth shut. Publicly humiliating Max is like throwing gas on a fire…everyone, except Luca it seems, knows that.

  65. graham says:

    No need to blame Luca. Mosley never had any intention of keeping his word. He only is using that as a reason to distract us. Any other excuse would have worked as well. He could have said that the clubs wanted him to stay or whatever. He is a power mad lunatic who needs to abuse others. He is a very mentally disturbed man who is also entering his dotage.

  66. Carsten says:

    Bill Murray was more lucky, at least he had Andie McDowell, and we have Max and Bernie, ‘sigh’

  67. Trev Smith says:

    MM is quite simply a lunatic. As Ed Gorman wrote in the times, ‘Mosley is only interested in Mosley. Ambitious, addicted to power and hopelessly vain’

    I am sick of his kind of Machiavellian dictatorship. He is just like his father,[mod] Every day you hear something new and even more mental.

    Unfortunately, the FiA is a spineless [mod] organisation that has not got the bottle to get rid of this nut case. [Read the rules of the blog please -mod]

  68. Leo Allen says:

    What a superb ‘ tour d’orizon’ !

    You have the situation as viewed by the rest of the world in a nutshell.

    F1 has been a brilliant, tremendously exciting spectacle. It has created more racing drama than anything the world has seen since the chariot races in Roman Circus Maximus !

    But the world that F1 has operated in so successfully for more than 50 years has gone ! It’s gone forever ! Swept away by the stupendous changes in electronic communications and this latest catastrophic world recession.

    These two things together have brought forces to bear on the world of Formula 1 that the people people running it and the people involved in it have never experienced in their whole lives. There are no means to measure what is taking place.

    And what will emerge into the daylight at the end of this process will be totally changed. The cars, the teams, the ruling elite, the sponsors, the circuits, all, all may be swept away. And what we shall have in their place it is impossible to discern at this stage.

    What we are watching now is merely the first rumblings of what is to come…. I for one am not troubled by the horse trading of Ecclestone or the chess game that Mosley still plays against the world…

    They will soon be gone, but whatever happens the superb international motor racing formula they created will live on… F! will survive, but it will be changed.

  69. James Allen says:

    Hopefully this season will be all about racing from the end of this month onwards

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