Ferrari has launched an astonishing attack on Max Mosley, the FIA under his management and the whole new teams adventure, which has changed F1 pretty substantially in the last 12 months.
Last season we got increasingly used to feisty posts on the Ferrari site, which posted a record 300 million page impressions in 2009. Before Monaco there was a stinging put down of the aspirant new teams, implying that if they came in the series would be no better than GP3. Now they have gone a stage further.
The cars and freight will be sent for the first race in Bahrain next week and yet we do not know how many teams will be in the pit lane. Surveying the messy scene around the new teams as the first race looms on the horizon, with USF1 asking to miss races and Campos in disarray, Ferrari has used the mouthpiece of a column on the site called “Horse Whisperer” to share some opinions.
“This is the legacy of the holy war waged by the former FIA president. The cause in question was to allow smaller teams to get into Formula 1.
“This is the outcome: two teams will limp into the start of the championship, a third is being pushed into the ring by an invisible hand – you can be sure it is not the hand of Adam Smith – and, as for the fourth, well, you would do better to call on Missing Persons to locate it.”
The two “limping” teams are presumably Lotus and Virgin, who tested last week at Jerez with mixed results. Virgin clearly has a serious hydraulic problem, while Lotus managed to do quite a few laps, but both teams are likely to be two or three seconds off the back of the established teams. To call them “limping” seems quite harsh.
“In the meantime, we have lost two constructors along the way, in the shape of BMW and Toyota, while at Renault, there’s not much left other than the name. Was it all worth it?”
It is political and quite provocative in its message and its timing. Speaking to the team this afternoon, it is something they felt needed to be said now.
Judging from the response in the last week to the plight of USF1 ( 82% of JA on F1 readers – in a sample poll of over 5,000 – saying that USF1 should not be allowed to miss the first four races) the fans are not too happy about the way the situation has unfolded. The feeling I get is that the viewing public does not appear to share with Ferrari a great feeling of loss for the manufacturers in question, but it does agree with Ferrari that the lowering of standards is not in the best interests of F1.
“Of the thirteen teams who signed up, or were induced to sign up, for this year’s Championship, to date only eleven of them have heeded the call, turning up on track, some later than others, and while some have managed just a few hundred kilometres, others have done more, but at a much reduced pace, ” the column says. Note the use of the word “induced”, which refers partly to the way that five of the teams, including Ferrari, were signed up to the championship last June despite saying that they did not wish to.
“As for the twelfth team, Campos Meta, its shareholder and management structure has been transformed, according to rumours which have reached the Horse Whisperer through the paddock telegraph, with a sudden cash injection from a munificent white knight, well used to this sort of last minute rescue deal.
“The thirteenth team, US F1, appears to have gone into hiding in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the dismay of those like the Argentinian, Lopez, who thought he had found his way into the Formula 1 paddock, (albeit with help from chairwoman Kirchner, according to the rumours) and now has to start all over again.
“Amazingly, they still have the impudence to claim that everything is hunky-dory under the starry stripy sky.
“Next, we have the Serbian vultures,” it added, referring to the Stefan GP effort. “Firstly, they launched themselves into a quixotic legal battle with the FIA, then they picked the bones of Toyota on its death bed.
“Having got some people on board, around whom there was still a whiff of past scandals, they are now hovering around waiting to replace whoever is first to drop out of the game, possibly with backing from that very same knight in shining armour whom we mentioned earlier.”
Ferrari, like McLaren, cannot bear to see the grinning face of Mike Coughlan on the Stefan GP website. Coughlan was the man at the heart of the Spy Scandal two years ago and for Stefan to hire and parade him is surely unacceptable to both teams.
Today’s message takes team communications to an altogether different level. This is satire, political invective and stirring all rolled into one, it’s Private Eye meets F1 and it’s coming from the best known team in the sport.
I’m due to meet up with Mosley tomorrow in London, along with a small number of colleagues, so it will be very interesting to hear his response.