Todt Left Looking Foolish Over Bahrain
Yesterday I said it was time for Formula One to stand up and tell the the FIA it is wrong in deciding it was appropriate to hold a Bahrain Grand Prix this year. So did they? Well… not in exactly those words…
The teams have been able to stop the FIA in its tracks due to article 66 of the sporting code, which says that no amendments can be made to the championship without the agreement of all competitors. Technically speaking, the vote remains valid, and in theory the FIA should have another vote to cancel it. The teams can ignore that vote too, perfectly illustrating how farcical the FIA’s edict was. The Formula One Teams Associations says they don’t want to extend the season into December, and that is that.
To perhaps be fair to the teams, Formula One does want to return to Bahrain at some point in the future and it’s probably for the best not to turn up next March having pointed the finger at the Bahraini government. For the rest of the World, logistical reasons may not be the damning indictment some were looking for but they’ll have to do. Of course, privately the teams may be thinking differently, nudged from behind the scenes by sponsors worried about how the controversy could reflect on their brands.
Oddly, Jean Todt insisted it was an unanimous decision by the World Motor Sport Council, a 26 member committee which includes two of the team principals. Stefano Domenicali represents the teams while Vijay Mallya technically represents India – the nation which was having to make way for Bahrain’s re-inclusion. Does that mean that FOTA isn’t unanimous in its objection? Not that there is no need for it to be, or even for there to be a majority – even one team could have blocked the decision.
Then again, in an insight into how voting occurs at the WMSC, Todt said: “Was it 25 hands? 27? I saw all the hands up and said, ‘Ah, unanimous agreement’. I pronounced it. And nobody objected. No one said ‘I abstained’ or ‘I voted no’.” Sounds like the kind of system that Sepp Blatter would be proud of.
Or did the two team principals hang the FIA out to dry? The organisation has certainly been left looking foolish in its oversight of its own sporting code.
The only question remaining now is ‘when is a good time to return to Bahrain?’
Photo: Tilke GmbH