F1 Winter Break
Bernie explains and gives F1 pause for thought
Bernie explains and gives F1 pause for thought
Posted By:   |  06 Jul 2009   |  3:34 pm GMT  |  40 comments

Bernie Ecclestone’s interview in the Times last weekend has brought a furious response from politicians and virtual silence from the F1 community.

Most people in F1 don’t really want to get drawn into it, as they argue he shouldn’t have allowed himself to be in the first place.

What most people don’t understand is why he did the interview. He didn’t appear to have a key message to sell, such as “I know the breakaway threat looked bad, but F1 is now in the best shape it’s ever been in, ” or something of that kind.

There are suggestions that it may have been to help his old friend and colleague Max Mosley and suggestions to the opposite. It certainly aroused some uncomfortable memories of last year’s News of the World headlines and their Nazi association, which Mosley successfully challenged in court.

But actually I think what has happened here is extremely timely in the current debate about F1 and what direction it should take next in terms of governance.

Ecclestone has spoken to Bild newspaper, the German equivalent of the Sun to say that he has been misunderstood,

“All this is a big misunderstanding,” he said. “In the interview we were talking about structures and that it can sometimes be good to act and make strong decisions without reservation. I wasn’t using Hitler as a positive example, but pointing out that before his dreadful crimes he worked successfully against unemployment and economic problems.

“It was never my intention to hurt the feelings of any community. Many people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish.”

Ecclestone himself is Jewish and on his Saturdays off he can be seen in a very famous London cafe with his largely Jewish friends, drinking coffee and discussing.

Although he has got into trouble for choosing some poor examples to illustrate his point, he seems to have been trying to make the wider point that democracy is on the wrong path, that politicians today are more concerned with their image, distracted by the 24 hour news cycle, than they are with getting things done. He believes that the best system of government is where people put their faith in dictators and trust them to make tough decisions and get things done.

In this his start point is his own experience in motor sport and it has some interesting reflections on the current situation in F1 with an uneasy truce currently in place between the teams and the men who run the sport.

It has been proven over the years in motor sport that the best way to run a racing series is by a ‘benevolent dictatorship’. This is true at all levels. Someone needs to get things done and make decisions and the rest abide by them. Series run by the teams themselves don’t really work, like CART in the USA for example.

F1 is where it is today because it has been run by a dictatorship and for many years the team owners like Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and even Luca di Montezemolo were quite happy to go along with it because their series became the biggest motor sport show on Earth.

But now times have changed and that is what the F1 power struggle is all about.

The key to it is the ‘benevolent’ bit. If a tough, strong, but fair leader is in charge then things get done and it works, as long as everyone is treated equally. The teams feel that this is no longer the case and they are highlighting instances like the selection of new teams, (with today’s allegations in the Telegraph that having a Cosworth engine contract was a requirement for entry) to show that this system of governance has gone down the wrong track.

What the F1 teams want, motivated by the manufacturers, is a more democratic F1. This is why Max Mosley’s message to the FIA members is that their institution is under threat because the Formula One Teams Association thinks it can run the sport itself. History would suggest that it would be a mistake for them to try to do that and I think it is what Bernie was trying to say (obliquely) in the interview with the Times. But the problem is, he chose some bad examples to illustrate his point.

His words have hurt many people it seems, but I think what will hurt him about this episode is the impression that he is out of touch, an accusation levelled at him over his response to the racism incident where Spanish fans mocked Lewis Hamilton.

The interesting thing will be whether anyone in F1 seeks to capitalise on this episode or whether the teams will remain focussed on Mosley and his ‘retirement’ in October.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Mosley is a bigger roadblock than Bernie for FOTA. I am sure they will distance themselves from Bernie but concentrate on Max's retirement party. Theme - TBD.


i think we all knew what his point was, but it dosnt excuse his ignorance. If he knew the first thing about it he would have known hitler did not achieve any great economic success. he was actually totally uninterested in matters economic.
he slashed the labour rate for workers, and funded his war machine through budget deficits to provide full employment. that deficit was not a problem to him becuase he knew that his furture income would come from the waging of war and exploitation of territories. [mod]


...but pointing out that before his dreadful crimes he worked successfully against unemployment and economic problems.

Well, in that case he doesn't know history. He should have a good read of the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Hitler's "economic miracle" was on the back of gang thuggery and the like. Not something to be proud of. Not something to be flippantly and incorrectly used as an example of a strong leader; powerful tyrant more like.

Hitler was committing plenty of crimes during his ascension to power (much of it done behind the scenes and some in public with his gangs of thugs roaming the streets), he didn't get to be Chancellor of Germany and then gain control of the Bundestag by accident. So much of what led up to WWII was put in place, bit by bit from the early 20s.

Thats the problem with history, people only teach the WWII bit, not the precursor and why it happened. Treaty of Versailles and all that... (hint, don't punish the defeated too hard).

Changing subject completely, USF1 is spouting about "American technology" and doing a better job with less money, again. I can't help but think back to when BAR was created and the noise they created, I remember a quote along the lines of "every car our designer has made has won its first race". Hmmm, BAR didn't do that well did they? Well, not until that designer was ejected anyway.

I spent part of Saturday winding my way through some sleepy villages near one of the USAF (sorry, RAF, why don't they name them accurately?) bases in East Anglia. Tiny little roads, plenty of sensible cars and then a few ridiculous Chevrolet things that could barely fit in the space available (you know, twice the size of your garden shed, but with wheels). Why have something sensible when you can have something completely impractical and inconvenience everyone else at the same time? When I see these vehicles I understand why GM, Chrysler and Ford are in such trouble and I wonder why anyone would say "American technology" and be proud of what they are referring to. Its just "put a bigger engine in it Al", that isn't better, its poor engineering. I marvel at their planes and despair at their cars.

I think USF1 may end up with some wonderful funding due to US nationalism with sponsorship, but I wonder at what they'll do with the money.


James; a reasoned portrayal of Bernie's interview, but I fear you may have missed the point.

As you point out, Bernie's defence has been to repeat the oft-cited claim that Hitler was at some point "good"; that is, before 1939, when he went nuts and started murdering people.

But that claim is a complete myth. If unemployment went down in Germany immediately after Hitler came to power, it was because the world economy was in any case coming out of the depression (and the previous German government had already laid the foundations for Germany's economic recovery), and because Hitler's policy of total militarism (to prepare for the war that he always intended to wage) led to a dramatic increase in military manufacturing, and thus jobs.

The point is, that the 'good' bits of Hitler's government were only an accidental by-product of his entirely 'bad' desires.

Bernie's defence of dictatorships is wholly misguided. But then he is probably the last person to realise that. And that is why it is important for people within F1 not to sit cowering in silence, but to join in the approbation Bernie has rightfully received from the wider world. Otherwise F1 will never change.


Which is not to say that they were quoted commenting on your blog, just on Bernie!


Bernie may be out of touch, but do you really think that this episode will really make him consider his position? - doubt it

I must admit i've always admired Ecclestone for what he has done for the sport. Many forget what he has done to Grand Prix racing, but I suppose it is easy to forget when he keeps saying controversial things. But behind his apparent blindness, the man is a genius - ruthless at the best of times - but a genius all the same.

I don't agree with anything he said, whether misquoted or not: the example of Hitler is never good, especially in the run up to the German Grand Prix.

However as Formula One continues to lurch from crisis to crisis, I doubt Ecclestone will flinch. While all around changes his leadership won't.

Remember all geniuses have flaws.

The Flying Finn

Hope that this wont be taken out of context and used against Bernie (although its pretty certain that it will..) Just read eleswhere that talks with a german politician on the future of the GP was cancelled due to the controversy, which proves Bernie's point that democratic politicians are about popularity and staying in office and not doing the right thing and getting things done. Same with companies (eg car makers) on wall st focused on next quarter's numbers to please analysts and shareholders, which is no doubt what this FOTA thing is all about isnt it ?


So, why would Max want to control the source of supply for F1 engines ?

Because he still wants to play power and domination games with F1 for many years to come ?

Was it just a ruse to excuse the 'strange' choice of new entrants ?

What advantages would it have for Max if he got 3 new 'lapdog' teams in, who maybe 'owe' him something, or are run in part by his cronies, FIA or otherwise...not just, say the 3 best possible new entrants regardless of any ties to FOTA Manufacturers via their engine supplies ?

It must be he still wants to play power and domination games with F1 for many years to come, what other explanation is there, the 'man' has no intention of leaving us alone or stopping this grotesque farce.


Sanity in a world of selectively-edited quotations!


Perhaps I'm being a bit of a devil's advocate, but I think what Ecclestone has said was largely taken out of context. Does he have a special talent for putting his foot in his mouth? You bet!

But anyone who has followed F1 for more than a week or two will know that Ecclestone doesn't care much for politics, race, or any other issue unless it directly affects F1.


I’ll leave the argument about whether there has ever been a fair, decent, or benign dictatorship – or even one that got things done – and whether Hitler’s economics were sustainable without a war and concentrate on Mosley and his ‘benign dictatorship’ of F1 being good for it.

He didn’t start out as the whole power of the FiA. Indeed in the early days he had to share power with Balestre, the latter’s demise being long and rather drawn out, a rather sad end for someone who was always an enthusiast.

I was more than satisfied with the change as, unlike his predecessor, Mosley sort of bumbled about in the background not doing much but, at the same time, not doing much wrong. The senate had power and authority and F1 went through a period, all too short, where there was strong management despite being committee led.

In retrospect, the change came when a rather minor proposition of Mosley’s was rejected by the ruling committee. For some reason Mosley threw a bit of a wobbly and resigned on some principle. His resignation then slipped his mind and he turned up for work and, it has been reported, turned a number of the committee, especially those who voted against the proposition, out onto the street.

Even then you had to be considerably more astute than I was to notice much difference at the time although there were mumblings and rumours of dissent.

The change in Mosley’s authority came to my notice with the enquiry into the Benetton fire at the German GP (note, Ecclestone: not the first time a holocaust has marred the German race) when one of the most dangerous acts I can remember either before or since in the sport went unpunished. If there had been a committee running the sport then I wonder if the removal of a safety device in a fuel hose would have been considered forgettable.

Then we had the Indy FiAsco and a whole series of –gates. All this post totalitarian rule, all these under Mosley’s watch. All of them causing untold harm to F1.

But James, one phrase of yours I agree with entirely in its sentiments if not its grammar: F1 is where it is today because it has been run by a dictatorship.

Just ask yourself if F1 has ever been in a more parlous state that it is today. We have been hit by daily scandals and revelations of conduct which is, at best, ill-advised.

I felt sorry for Balestra when he was unceremoniously kicked out. There was never ever any doubt that he loved motor racing. He wasn’t particularly good at the role of president. However, he never really harmed F1. That epitaph is beyond Mosley.

But what is it with the sport? We have Balestra who was, for whatever reason, in the French SS, Mosley who was an activist in the Union Movement, the post war reincarnation of the British Union of Fascists, and Ecclestone now an apologist for Hitler.

Sorry to have a go at your tremendous blog, James, but I felt it needed saying.


This whole thing about new teams being told they have to use Cosworth engines really stinks. Is it true? If so is this legal?


James, it must be pointed out that Bernie Ecclestone is not Jewish. According to the biography written by Terry Lovell Ecclestone’s parents were married in church - which hardly means he is Jewish! Sorry for raising for this, but it is important that this fact is raised.


Good commentary, as ever. Bernie was misquoted in the original article, but thats the gutter press for you...

Shame that none of the main stream dead tree press will run something like the above.

Ah but... when was the last time I bought a paper? Yonks ago. Last time I used autosport/f1live/allenonf1... daily....

Keep up the good work; your blog style gets better and better.



The key to being a benevolent dictator is being able to stay under the radar. BE's problem is that he LOVES the radar. And now the radar is burning him good.


Thanks very much for that perspective James. I still think it was an appallingly stupid thing to say - obviously the man has never heard of Godwin's Law!! However your comments do make sense in terms of putting his comments in the context in which he meant them to be taken.

Doesn't change the fact that if he honestly didn't know he would be slated for this, he's totally out of touch with reality. They need to go, the pair of them. But of course the question is who replaces them, and until they have the cojones to address that question and put people's minds at rest, the uncertainty around F1's future will continue and deepen.


That's the most even-handed perspective I've seen on the subject, great piece.

I'm in two minds about Bernie. I love to hate him and sometimes I hate to love him :-). I do think he and CVC have been allowed take too much of the F1 cake and that is to the detriment of real F1 fans (and real F1 circuits).

However the hysteria of the last few days is typical of the lily-livered PC bull that is rampant in modern society, especially in the UK. First of all, do people not realise that Bernie himself is of Jewish stock? Hell even I knew that... Although it was silly to broach such a touchy subject the fact is he's right - Hitler DID get the economy back on track, increase employment and rapidly modernise the country.

It was a silly example to use, the kind of half-baked argument a guy might use in a pub after 9 pints of Guinness.

Personally I thought maybe his dictator references were an attempt to damn Max by association (?) I just don't think Bernie would bother yapping to the broadsheets without some sort of motive...


Just a question James related to dictatorial rule and power vacuums; if Bernie were drop dead tomorrow (or to get run over by one of those empty buses he recently talked about), what happens to FOM?

Is there a succession via inheritance? Do the FIA (aka Mosely) have a say? And what about CVC?


James - if you're talking about the same London cafe where I've seen Bernie with his mates, he hasn't been there in a while - not since they refurbished anyway.

I'm still not sure what Bernie was going on about, btw. If he was saying that dictators make good leaders because they take decisive action, that kind of goes without saying. The problem is they don't necessarily take the right action. And that's arguably what Max's problem has been.

He's taken Formula 1 to the brink of collapse, fighting too many forces simultaneously. Rather like trying to hold the Western front while pushing through the Russian winter towards Moscow, to continue the somewhat inappropriate analogy.

I agree with 'on F1', as well - Bernie's not Jewish himself - but he does have a lot of Jewish friends. I have this on good authority, because my wife is Jewish and claims to be able to tell at a glance if someone else is Jewish too (not always correctly, I must say). She did hesitate when she saw Bernie, but is confident he's not. Not that his ethnicity or religion is of any importance. The problem for F1 is Bernie's age - he's not far off 80 and is sounding more like Prince Philip with each passing day.


My wife comes from Zimbabwe so I have a vastly different view on dictators. And for Dictators ever being "benevolant", can you name five? I will take one though.
Can you and Bernie answer this question, why would people, business's and manufacturers who put Billions of dollars into a sport not want a say on how it is run? Would you like to run a team and have the ruling body make changes to rules every year or two and make deals with some teams and not others to get what they want? Would you not want a say and know that there is a voice of reason on the other end listening?
I think Bernie likes the idea of dictators because he is at the top doing the dictating, when the shoe is on the other foot like it is with FOTA he does not like it, for he loses power and that is just not on. No dictator likes to lose power.
The FIA has an impotant part to play in F1 but it is as a body that sets the rules in conjunction with the teams and then administer those rules in a fair and just manner.
At the moment there is way too many stories going around about how the selection process for the new teams has been undertaken. Whether true or not mud sticks and so far the FIA is looking like a rather muddy pig at the feeding trough. [mod]


I would like to endorse those last two sentiments Paul.
''Best blog in the West !'' JA.


Amazing how many people can miss the point and only see something to complain about. The PC brigade (now the absolute bain of the UK) who are somewhat more dictatorial in their self righteous assertions will always latch immediately on to the downside and in their passion to be publicly right totally ignore the original point of the message.

In my view Bernie has achieved his objective, handsomely, this was to have a small dig at Max and to get publicity, not once but twice and possibly some more times. What a pity there is no proper chat show on UK tv any more, Ross is ok but dumbed down to the national attention span, so guests only last a few minutes each. Bernie would make an excellent guest choice for Parkinson if he were still going not to mention many others who need to be interviewed properly by hosts asking not just the
pre-approved "happy" questions, but those we want the answers to.

James how about it as a special for ITV or does Bernie parlo d'Italiano?


In a further article, Bernie has admitted that the quotes attributed to him in the article were spot on. Whilst I accept that this is unusual, I think the 'gutter press' accusation is more than harsh. Further, Eccs must have been party to the interview. Three journos turned up so it was hardly doorstepping.

Howard Hughes

This is another pathetic media storm in a teacup. Bernie was right - in a sport like F1 you need a benevolent dictator to get things done and not waste time getting bogged down in trying to govern by committee. And yes, his wistful declaration that he wishes that elements of managing a country / economy through a crisis could be handled the same way was right too. Wouldn't you really prefer a Bernie, or a Warren Buffett, or even a tiny group of genius-level businessmen taking control of the Exchequer for a period of, say, 6 months, instead of Darling?!

And the whole foaming at the mouth response to the Hitler analogy is typical - typically daft and hysterical. Hitler was a bad man. A very very bad man. We get it, and so does Bernie. But it's become a cultural bete noir to render any examination or analysis of anything economically positive he might have ever done as the final taboo. It's become a knee jerk reaction industry to suddenly call for the heads of anyone who might opine that at least the guy played some part in dragging a battered country from its knees in the 20s to global pre-eminence by the 30s. He was sick, evil, twisted, demonic etc etc. Course he bloody was. But he was also one of the greatest orators of all time, and I can't frankly think of anyone else who's had quite the ability to mold and shape an entire nation's will around his own.

It's just such a shame that any reference to his undoubted skills (cos you don't get to stand in front of hundreds of thousands of fanatical supporters unless you're at least slightly good at leadership) draws the inevitable cries of resignation.

And isn't it funny how he could have said pretty much the same about Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Stalin etc and not quite generated the same global oppobrium?

Seriously guys - bashing Bernie for this says more about your own intellects than it does his.


Have just seen Bernie's column in the Times ("Dazed & Diffused: Portait of a dictator as a old man", etc).

F1, it would seem, is determined to morph seamlessly into a reality TV show, with Ecclestone sounding and looking more like his own Spitting Image puppet with every day that passes.

What is Endemol's number? Someone should pitch it now: "Max & Bernie: The Faster Show".

I was going to suggest a Bernie & Max blog, but who needs that when the Times is always there to catch every syllable.

PS: Did anyone notice Ed Gorman's "list of F1's most dictator-like folks" (aka the power list)? As if you needed a list that when past "B" ...


You speak of losing touch…is there any way ………under the past year that we could not claim…. both of these so called intelligent men have lost touch…or is it when in a black strapped Tutu…or Bernie wishing for a more clear view on Hitler’s rein…(then it does become clear how far this has gone)....give me a break …..These two have been a train wreck in their private lives and their business practices.

Double retirement….please


It is being reported that the prime minister of Baden-Württemberg has cancelled a meeting with Bernie to discuss whether to continue alternating the German F1 race between the two German circuits.

The cynic in me says that is the result Bernie was after with his comments.


Whatever makes you think The Bolt is Jewish?


I think Bernie likes the idea of dictators because he is at the top doing the dictating, when the shoe is on the other foot like it is with FOTA he does not like it, for he loses power and that is just not on. No dictator likes to lose power.
The FIA has an impotant part to play in F1 but it is as a body that sets the rules in conjunction with the teams and then administer those rules in a fair and just manner.


James you made a factual error there , Bernie is not Jewish , he has Jewish freinds but he himself is not Jewish .

In an interview with the Jewish Cronicle he said

“Most of my mates are Jewish people, I spoke to two or three very prominent Jewish people today. One of them said to me, ‘Bernie, you’re more Jewish than all of my friends’.


stevie p - bernie is a genius. you can't create such a complicated web of companies and businesses controlling the highest level of international sport that no-one else can touch (let alone understand) with structures and deals that are such that you earn billions of dollars, without a few brain cells.

as for his comments - some are saying that they are a dig at max. i disagree, if bernie wanted max to go, he would not have been allowed to say he was coming back. instead, it looks to me like bernie is trying to take some focus away from the corruption surrounding the FIA-F1 teams.


If his Mother is Jewish then I think you can claim Jewish heritage (what a Jewish friend of mine told me).



I think if you read my comments, they are about American cars (you will see I praise their planes).

I may have expressed my thoughts poorly. When I read "American technology" in relation to USF1 I do not think of the various non-car related technologies that you list. I think of engines, chassis, suspension etc.

I then I think of the US car industry and the cars it produces.

I have no doubt about American technology in non-car related areas.

We once had a car industry that produced rubbish cars and they went out of business (British Leyland and the various makes they swallowed during their awful existence). You will be hard pushed to find anyone in the UK that isn't pleased to see the back of that dreardful company. You only ever hear horror stories from owners of their vehicles - Austin Princess, Austin Allegro, anyone?

The European divisions of Ford and GM produce cars that work, that are fuel efficient, that aren't the size of a shed for no good reason, don't look like the back end of a bus etc, why can't the American divisions of these companies do that?

Thats my gripe, not the non-car related technology areas. Take a look at VASIMR for example, the world's first plasma rocket, American startup, built for them by a company in Oxford. That will move private spaceflight a long way forward. But that isn't what I think of when I think of American cars...

And, whether correct or not, my doubt at the ability to produce decent cars makes me doubt the ability to do the same for racing cars. If USF1 can change that opinion, great, but I won't hold my breath while waiting 🙂


If Parkey was to interview Bernie, he'd just avoid the question anyway... it's what he does. "Who? Me? I know nothing... talk to Max"

He needs no more publicity after all the FOTA \ FIA, we're in, we're out, shake-it-all-about-ness. F1 needed to just relax a little; let the dust settle... but no Mr E has stomped in with Hitler references just before the German GP. Marvellous.

It doesn't matter whether it's the PC brigade or people missing the point... Bernie SHOULD know better... and it's interesting to see just how much he's had to back-track \ qualify his comments.


Well, firstly, I don't take it as a personal attack, it is good to debate on important issues like this.

The problems with Dennis and Ecclestone/Mosley developed over a considerable period of time, Dennis was far too late to ever gain control of F1 in the commercial way that Ecclestone has. The FISA/FOCA war began long before he bought out Mclaren and by then Ecclestone was firmly the ringleader.

I admire Ecclestone because he was the figurehead behind the constructor teams fight against the FISA and Balestre. Although other teams bosses were totally behind him, they never wanted to step away from the comfort zone of their team. They allowed him to take the risks and be the public face of the campaign. Ecclestone himself admitted that this moved him further and further away from his Brabham team. The man took a number of calculated gambles and they paid off. Within a few years he was really in control of the sport.

Today some of his moves are questionable. Yes he has, to many, "sold out" the more traditional countries for more money in other parts of the world and yes there is alot of negatives about that. And yes he did relinquish some of his grip to the CVC, but end of the day most of his decisions (which I won't all go into) have been of benefit to the sport.

Why do all these countries want to stage a Grand Prix? Why is Formula One so attractive to the general public? Why are there so many different sites on the subject (including this fine one)?

It is all down to the commercial expansion of the sport under the leadership of Bernie.

Many couldn't have done he has, nor continue to this day.

Maybe he is a spent force today, maybe his time is up... but on the face of things Bernie Ecclestone is a key piece of the puzzle and he should be given alot more credit in my opinion.



This is not a personal attack... I'm just really interested in how you think Bernie is a genius?

To me, he saw an opportunity to become more powerful within F1 (in the 80's) - after being involved with Brabham - which had the personal benefit of lining his own pockets... and he has done so... hardly a genius.

I'm sure if Bernie hadn't got in there first, someone else with business nous, would have. [Have always had a theory that Ron Dennis was miffed that he had missed that particular opportunity, hence the tension between him, Max and Bernie]

Bernie has (granted) moved F1 into new terrorities, but at the risk of traditional circuits (and the majority of fans)... and all for the reasons of moolah. I know, let's go race in Siberia, no-one will be there at the circuit, but Bernie will have made some more money!

And as for his recent comments... well, I was amazed at Ferrari belittling the possible new-comers to F1, but bringing up the Fuhrer's name and citing it as an example of how the sport should be run... truly amazing and so-so wrong.

A dictator rules through fear; the MD (or head) of an organisation rules through responsibilty (the buck stops with them!).

Remember, everyone has flaws... genius or not.


''OUTSIDER'' I think that last sentence should read.
''Unless it affects Bernies Finances'' as money comes 1st with Bernie EVERY TIME.


Well said sir.


Snail: I agree with your assessment of Bernie. He is wrong not only for the hideous invocation of Hitler, but because a committee of teams isn't the only kind of committee that can screw up a race series. He ignores the point (side stepping his own and CVC's culpability) that, as we've seen for the last several years, so can a committee of bankers.

I disagree on your views of American technology (naturally, as I am an American) and whether or not USF1 can succeed. Formula 1 as we know it could NOT exist without American technology -- for example, carbon fiber/composite structures. Remember, McLaren brought that to F1 via Hercules Aerospace, an American company that in fact built the tub. duPont remains at the leading edge of materials science (much of which is now standard in F1), and the modern anti-friction coatings used in F1 engines originated here.

Bottom line, the presence of USF1 can only be positive. People speak of the CART/IRL war as destroying open-wheel racing here, but F1 has also played more than a walk-on part in that destruction. It's had almost no relevance here in decades, except to a fan base smaller than CART or IRL ever had before, during or after their civil war. That's down to [mod] Bernie Ecclestone, his wingman Max Mosely, and the teams, all of whom simply do not promote the sport here.

Let Bernie play "dictator" then, and "get things done": Make FOTA send Lewis Hamilton or Felipe Massa etc. to take four laps at Indy (on the oval), Daytona, Sebring, Road Atlanta, Road America or Watkins Glen during one of F1's summer breaks. Williams alone, probably under pressure from then-sponsors, tried something like this (Montoya switching cars with Jeff Gordon on the Indy GP course), and only once, about seven years ago. That's the kind of thing a benevolent (enlightened?) dictator demands if he really wants the public here to notice F1.

USF1 IS playing on nationalism and IS going to run uphill doing it. No one should expect immediate or near term success. But if the team (and here, for F1, it will take a team, NOT simply a driver in one of the current teams) raises the profile of F1 here, it's a good thing. No one else in F1 seems willing and able to do so.

Mammalian Verisimilitude

Mostly, one supposes, because Cosworth aren't tied to FOTA as all the other engine manufacturers are. No more, no less.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!