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Teams attack chief F1 steward's impartiality
Teams attack chief F1 steward's impartiality
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jun 2009   |  3:42 pm GMT  |  21 comments

There is a story in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera today about a letter sent by the FOTA teams yesterday (Saturday 13th June) to the FIA complaining about the behaviour of the FIA’s Alan Donnelly at the recent Turkish Grand Prix.

The letter alleges that Donnelly was going around from team to team telling them to abandon the FOTA stance and sign up for 2010. It amounted to behaviour which the teams considered not appropriate for a man whose role at the races is to convene and oversee the stewards and to take a totally impartial view of problems arising on the track.

The teams have requested Mosley’s comment on the matter.

The anti-FIA stuff continues in another story, concerning the way the entry of Italian outfit N Technology was handled by the FIA representatives responsible for assessing the new teams. The N Technology people allege that their submission was not properly processed, documents were mislaid and so on.

Apparently the FIA had no comment on the story.

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Isn't Donnelly both chief steward and also the FIA President's representative at races?

Given that dual role (regardless of its rights and wrongs), surely the only problem would arise if there was a suggestion that the sporting process of judging on-track incidents had been compromised by teams not abandoning the FOTA stance? Has this been alleged?

Otherwise, it's simply a case of somebody holding two roles at the race and acting in those different capacities at different times.

Calling that into question is legitimate as it could be deemed a conflict of interest, but if that's what they're doing, why haven't they done it before?


I never thought F1 could be this tedious!
The politicking and bickering is killing it, and again the whining comes from Italy - so it's whining sanctioned by Ferrari.


Seems a regular occurance that the stewards are being called into question, although I would say this is quite a minor issue and a bit of posturing from the FOTA-partial media. I think (and hope) we see some kind of resolution ASAP. Hamilton is talking about following the Grey Cars out of the sport, we cant allow drivers like him and Alonso to be subtracted from the sport we all love. The circus would lose so much passion and talent. The big question is 'What Can The Fans Do?' Would be interested to hear what you think James. Being a bit of a militant myself it would be nice to think that a petition or two would at least show the teams and the FIA that all we want is out series back!


Are N Technology a front for Ferrari? I read on Joe Sward's blog that this company is the remnants of the Alfa Romeo and Fiat Abarth Competition departments. Essentially this is the same company as Ferrari. If the new world championship proved a success but Ferrari had pulled out this could have been an easy way for them to get back in.


Honestly I LUV this blog, we get things we could only imagine back then, 🙂

We get even closer to F1, imgine had it stated back then 2007, (Hamilton vs Alonso - Turkey GP)


Another good lesson for F1 today from a thrilling Moto-GP race where all the talk and buzz came from an epic on-track and intra-team battle. Good also to see genuine and spontaneous post race celebrations and interaction with the fans seemingly outlawed in F1. Can only hope Max and Bernie were watching...


I've just been reading a book called "Here Comes Everybody" by Clay Shirky. It explained that petitions generally don't work in terms of changing policy. The reason is that they take so little trouble to sign that the powers-that-be (certainly in politics, and increasingly in psuedopolitical contexts) dismiss them as being casual complaints. Even when done en masse.

One interesting example of getting around this (often erroneous) assumption occurred as a result of the TV network CBS attempting to cancel a show called "Jericho". http://www.nutsonline.com/jericho" rel="nofollow">Thousands of people protested by mailing peanuts to the CBS headquarters. While no individual sent many nuts, CBS was still forced to take notice because they eventually had 20 tonnes of nuts land at their offices.

Casual complainants don't send nuts to television stations. Handfuls of serious complainants can't send 20 tonnes of nuts to a television station unless they're extremely rich. The number of deliveries involved indicated the complainants were no richer than anyone else in CBS' target audience.

Once the implications of all this sunk in, the network realised it had lost and reinstated "Jericho". Success!

Perhaps fans of F1 who don't like what the FIA is doing could do something similar. Research who your nearest national delegate to the FIA Council is and where he/she works, send in some nuts and write why you've done so (ideally on the package, but in a separate mail/email if that's not possible). The FIA Council delegates ultimately decide the FIA President's fate and could also send a strong message to Max that a different direction for F1 (and other motor sports) is indicated.


If only the Royal mail had not introduced those metal templates to check your letter is thin enough or it becomes a "Large" letter or a packet.
So what's Max's address then?


I'm sure the teams weren't surprised at this action.

If your PR company's website cited the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and Formula One Management Ltd. as clients with proud testimonials from Max And Bernie (as this one does: http://www.sovereignstrategy.com/clients.asp) then I'm sure you too would have a desire for everyone to arrive at an accord.

In these circumstances I for one would find it extremely challenging to maintain impartiality to those who support or oppose the FOTA objections.


Lets face it James the presence of Allan Donnelly at all in F1 is wholly inappropriate. Not only does he have a business history with one of the teams, (Ferrari) which inherently makes him an unsuitably candidate to have any dealings with the stewards what so ever, he also has no F1 credentials and therefore no reasonable qualification for being in the position he is in. This renders his appointment to be apparently entirely political and nothing to do with F1 as a sport.

I am not surprised to see the teams at last complaining about this 'FIA' man who has no motor sport credentials what so ever.


I do hope you had the chance to see the MOTOGP race in Barcelona yesterday James, it must have been a great big smack in the face for Max to see this series put on such a wonderful show right now, drama and tension to the last lap. Valentino Rossi pulled off one of the most incredible moves of his unique career and invented an impossible new overtaking spot at the last corner !

Contrast this to the sad world of F1, run by an increasingly deluded, nasty Autocrat where the ridiculous politics have ruined the show. All the work of one man, Moseley, who tried at the drop of a hat to force long established teams to shrink 90% overnight and compete with Muppets, just as [yet another....] way of getting back at Ron Dennis and McLaren.... and is that all not really inspired by the failed Aristocrat's jealousy over Dennis' successes as a self made man who has worked his way up from the bottom through sheer hard work ?

What a shame he has been allowed to ruin F1 in the process.


Another case of bias as shown by vee8 (http://vee8.doctorvee.co.uk/2008/10/18/alan-donnelly-inadvertently-reveals-fias-ferrari-bias/);

"Let us not forget that at the end of last season, the well-respected permanent steward Tony Scott Andrews left the role which had been seen as a relative success. In his place, a new consultant to the stewards was appointed. That man was Mosley’s mate Alan Donnelly. Donnelly’s company, Sovereign Strategy, based in an FIA-owned building, used to list Ferrari as one of its clients on its website. The Ferrari name mysteriously disappeared when Donnelly was appointed in his new role."


Personally I think we should be sending something more relevant to the reason for the dispute. Bottle caps?
Nuts had relevance to particular Jericho storyline.
Why send nuts (except for their allusion to the mental health of pervy Mosley)?


The Sidepodcast.com have a great history about the relationship between Donnelly and Ferrari:



I instinctively don't like the fact that one person holds both a judicial and a political role at an event - it's a clear conflict of interest.

The way I see it, he had no right going round the teams to discuss a matter that was at a sensitive stage and the teams are quite within their rights to complain about it.


I whole heartedly agree with you but would like to add that the only one's preventing progress in this saga are the FIA with their pointless budget capping idea. The cars won't be going any faster if they're not allowed to spend money on development.


I like that.

I'm tired of F1 and the uncertainty of a decent championship in the future.

I want to see the big teams from the last decade in the sport, I don't want to see the FIA changing the rules whenever it pleases them.

Can this be sorted out please, last year - like many - when I bought my tickets to this weekends British GP, I was looking forward to a final Silverstone GP. Now, it could be the last British GP that has Ferrari, Williams and McLaren racing together.

Does the FIA care about the fans of F1?


I really like this, do we have a mailing address for the FIA?

I would not suggest sending nuts though, I would suggest instead calling on all F1 fans to send something that equals their disgust at what the FIA are trying to do to our sport.

This would not only demonstrate just how angry and disgusted people are with the never ending political maneuvering of the FIA that has nothing at all to do with the well being of F1, but it would also reveal just how imaginative F1 fans can be!



With the greatest of respect, we now live in the age of the 24 hour news cycle where we lap up snippits of information from blogs such as this.

I only respond on this blog but I do allot of reading and it always amazes me that people seem to want to go back to the days when you watched the race on TV and read the result in the monday paper and that was it.

This is also a massive dfference between what is happening in F1 and what happened in indycar. The CART split happened out of the fans gaze. This possible F1 split is happening in a global court of opinion and we are the judges.

I would love to hear more real information from the teams about the cars but I dont think thats ever going to happen. I would like to hear what they are doing today to make their cars go faster and what the drivers are doing to prepare themselves for the race. I would love to hear about the F1 experience from evryone, I want to hear about what its like to attend a GP when you are a team principle brom boarding your private jet and arriving in your hotel and the decisions you make on the pit lane. but I would also like to hear about it from the chap who makes sure the wheel nuts are done up correctly!

My point is there is time for all of this. But right now this is what is going on in our sport and so this is what we are talking about. This is the constant buzz that is F1 and that, I feel is a very important aspect of this sport. It is definatly not booring.

Peter (the other one)


Petitions do not work with people who are interested in perpetuating their own autocracy. That should be self evident from our own politicians. Maybe Donnelly should give up his technical role now, and just be a political pawn.

Maybe its best that we follow the guys (Lewis, Fernando Sebastian et al) out of F1 as well, essentially to let Bernie and Max know that we do see things and their transgressions are not in private and they will be held to account.

We hear that certain unnamed people of influence read these blogs; let us hope that some of you are of the FIA and that you understand that we WILL desert you if you force FOTA to back out of F1. We do not want the sport diluted to support your egos and we have had enough of your profiteering.

Congrats to Peugeot on winning the LMS 24 Heures du Mans today. Several current and ex F1 drivers involved, as were Ferrari.
Possibly many more to join them in 2010. I suggest driver negotiations with LMS teams should start right away. Lewis, Fernando, get yer skates on and go and see nice Mr Peugeot, Audi or Porsche for a chat, oh and take pen. 🙂


You can't be more wrong.

How the hack can you say that you want your favorite drivers to continue to be part of the Max Mosley private kangaroo series?!

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