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Peace in F1: Winners and Losers

By Mav | 24 Jun 2009 | 37 Comments | 6,400 views

24th June 2009 – armistice day. It hasn’t got quite the same ring as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (which was the 10th hour anyway by GMT) but we’ll take it.

The planned budget-cap for 2010 is now scrapped to be replaced by FOTA’s own cost cutting regulations, the aim being to achieve costs comparable to the early 1990s. FOTA in turn will sign a new Concorde Agreement committing them to Formula 1 until 2012. However, tellingly, Max Mosley has agreed to not stand for re-election to the role of President of the FIA later this year.

On the face of it, the terms of the agreement seem like a resounding victory for FOTA and a crippling defeat for Max Mosley. However, hasn’t Mosley only achieved what he set out to obtain in the first place, all be it at the cost of his own position?

“They’ve got the rules they want and the stability; we’ve got the new teams in and the cost reduction. So that’s very helpful.” - Max Mosley

You really have to wonder what all the fuss was about over the past few weeks and why Mosley didn’t back down sooner, and with less loss of face in the process.

Mosley isn’t the only loser though. USF1, Manor GP and Campos Meta on the other hand find themselves in a very different situation to the one they entered in. Gone are their technical advantages and they will now be looking at requiring a higher budget in order to compete with the existing teams. In USF1’s case, they shouldn’t have anything to complain about as they planned to enter under the original criteria anyway but 2010 could be a shock for the other two. To soften the blow, FOTA have agreed to provide technical assistance to the new teams but 2010 looks like being a long struggle for the newcomers. Furthermore, questions will still be asked about what might have been had the better resourced alternatives, overlooked by Mosley, been chosen.

The other losers are of course Williams and Force India who having departed the embrace of FOTA will have no say in the 2010 regulations. Possibly they won’t be missing much, as the regulations are not likely to be much changed from this years.

Nor for that matter is FOTA the only winner as Bernie Ecclestone finally gets his wish of a Concorde Agreement in place. Indeed, add in all the press coverage the argument has generated and it’s probably Ecclestone who will go to sleep tonight with the biggest smile of all.

But what about us? The fans. A single series and the survival of Formula 1 can only be good, on paper. The reality may not be so straightforward and it remains to be seen who Max’s successor will be. Mosley, if nothing else, kept things interesting over the years, now we’ll see what life is like without the old dog…

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37 Comments »

  • saltire

    Excellent review of the situation Mav.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Mosley. He caved in too easily methinks. He never struck me as the altruistic type so maybe the WMSC told him straght if you don’t go voluntarily, this time we will vote you out.

    You make a good point about Williams and Force India but equally the three new teams are also not in the loop (yet). Unless FOTA sort out their differences it could lead to disharmony especially if the new teams are not in the top ten and get no TV rights money at the end of the year. We could end up in the situation that even though teams are committed to 2012, with no income stream other than sponsorship and huge costs they simply can’t afford to compete for more than the first year.

    As for the technical assistance, that would have to be really carefully worded so that the new team was not breaching intellectual property rules .. and who would give the assistance, could the new teams choose a partner team and would there be compunction on a current team to give them what they want? Or will the assistance be something like allowing the use of wind-tunnel or CFD facilities and not assistance in some areas like chasis design or aerodynamics? I feel there is a lot more to this than the press statements lead us to believe.

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  • Boga

    nice one.

    but what people seem to forget, the decisions max made were at times not made by him but by the people who work for him. these people are still there. i once was told that a member of a cabinet only really makes 10% of the decisions. simple, there is too much too make decisions on. so i think very little will change at FIA.

    and we, the fans, have been used by FOTA. and i personally don’t like that one bit.

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  • largeflowered

    Erm, just a point of order… Doesn’t the FIA constitution decree that ex-presidents move up to the senate?

    And Boga, how have we been used by FOTA? Tea and sympathy? Erm, no.

    I should imagine extensive PR research on both sides has possibly informed the “peace in our time” decision.

    Anyone else’s “Spidey-sense” tingling?

    I doubt if he’ll go without further controversy.

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  • Boga

    largeflowered

    yes, max will indeed go to the FIA senate. as is in the rules of FIA.

    FOTA gave us fans the biggest carrot ever: dropping of ticket prices, listening to what we want and what we like to see, going to places where fans would want to see f1 and oh yes, getting rid of max.

    as far as i know, and i still have to see the first concrete evidence of anything else, the FIA and FOTA standpoints were almost on par. ok, the term ‘cap’ was not in the FOTA docs but cutting costs certainly was.

    so what was the point of all of this? we have 3 (FIA, FOTA and FOG) parties, they all more or less agreed on things and still they went on with their little games. FOTA even went as far as to announce a breakaway series and come up with all the goodies for the fans.

    then suddenly, its all solved. now where are all those goodies? did you read what our friends at ferrari came up with after this peace pipe?

    “I wish to thank all our fans, because the general public had had enough of all these changes. We hope that next year, having finally achieved stability in terms of the rules, we will see a winning Ferrari once again.”

    how clearer does ferrari need to be? this was never about what we want or what we would like. it was about putting a ferrari in contention again! we was used mate!

    you can agree or disagree with the rules. but it is darn handy as a team if you are lagging to be allowed to continue developing what you have without having to worry about things like better racing or god forbid, allowing other teams in the mix by making the result of an individual race count more.

    and there is even room for a slightly more exotic explanation: max actually helped FOTA. already 4 weeks ago max went on tv stating ‘fans have no idea what is really going on. and things to them will get a lot worse before things get solved and things will be solved’.

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  • Boga

    ah, one slight mistake. this was not the official ferrari statement, but comes from our dear luca. here is the statement from ferrari:

    “A Championship, which will be held, as suggested by FOTA, in the spirit of sporting and technological competition, with clear and fixed rules and transparent governance, handled by the F1 Commission.

    The objective is to avoid continual changes decided on by one person alone and to gradually reduce costs, to get back to levels of spending similar to those of the early Nineties within the next two years.

    The FOTA teams constantly promoted these objectives in the interests of motorsport and all its protagonists, first and foremost the fans.”

    its NOT in our best interest to maintain the rules. we get no racing, we do not have races at good circuits and we do not have value for money.

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  • Maverick

    I think it’s harsh to say that FOTA used the fans – the fans have long been capable of disliking Max and Bernie without FOTA’s urging. Yes they played a political game with the threat of leaving but that’s no different from Max’s tactics. However, for me, the point that Max was doomed was when he resorted to namecalling – it’s not behaviour becoming of the President of the FIA and he should be asking questions of himself regards bringing the sport into disrepute.

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  • str8guy

    Has the question about whether the medals system is still to be used next been resolved?

    I know FOTA were dead against it … so have they won that battle too?

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  • saltire

    Good question, I thought it had been ditched.
    I could be wrong though .. it’s not the first time :)

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  • saltire

    Mosley is set for another u-turn on retiring at the end of his current term?

    Dear Luca,

    We made a deal yesterday in Paris to end the recent difficulties in Formula One. A fundamental part of this was that we would both present a positive and truthful account to the media. I was therefore astonished to learn that FOTA had been briefing the press that Mr Boeri had taken charge of Formula One, something which you know is completely untrue; that I have been forced out of office, also false; and, apparently, that I would have no role in the FIA after October, something which is plain nonsense, if only because of the FIA statutes.

    Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a “dictator”, an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sports Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula One since the 1980s, not to mention the rpepresentatives of the FIA’s 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything Iand my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years.

    If you wish the agreement we made to have any chance of survival, you and FOTA must immediately rectify your actions. You must correct the false statements which have been made and make no further such statements. You yourself must issue a suitable correction and apology at your press conference this afternoon.

    Formula One is run entirely by our 5-strong team without any help from me or any other outsider. There was no need for me to involve myself further in Formula One once we had a settlement. Equally, I had a long-standing plan not to seek re-election in October. It was therefore possible for me to confirm both points to you yesterday.

    Hwever, given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now onsider my options open. At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that offive. After that it is the FIA members clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA.

    Yours sincerely,

    Max Mosley

    Sources: F1Fanatic http://tinyurl.com/kohs3a
    Autosport: http://tinyurl.com/kjdft6

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  • saltire

    Ding ding, round 36 :LOL:

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  • largeflowered

    Hmmm, if that letter is for real (there are a number of typos in it) it would seem that he intends to go for another “encore”. In that case I now recommend a silver bullet or a strategically inserted wooded stake…

    As you were then, in effect.

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  • largeflowered

    ***Wooden*** Richard Wood subconsciously intervened

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  • saltire

    “In that case I now recommend a silver bullet or a strategically inserted wooded stake… ” salti has a choking fit laughing at that last comment .. omg where is my inhaler :)

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  • Boga

    my feelings towards FOTA have now reached rock bottom. this is getting more and more like one little group of taxi drivers in new york wanting to get rid of the president of the USA. everyone gets offered cheaper rides (which the president already ordered) and tv in the cabs (which the president also already ordered). this is getting obscene and a disgrace.

    plus i was happy to read max indeed seems to be just the front of a group of people inside FIA who deal with F1. so even without max, its business as usual.

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  • Boga

    and the biggest loser is auto motorsport. that sport has been effectively hi jacked by a group of extremely wealthy and flashy people. if i was a national motor sport organization i would feel enormously left out in the cold by FOTA.

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  • saltire

    I’m just so fed up by the whole thing, if I wasn’t such a fan of F1 I think I’d have given up on watching over the winter. The whole sport is just a fiasco now, all legal argument with very little racing done on the track.

    Most races have become processional and the fans (whether through lack of cash or lack of interest) are choosing to stay at home (Silverstone excepted). GP2 at the British GP was for me a real eye-opener of what can be achieved.. it seems that along with being the “pinacle of motorsport” F1 can also be seen as the “pinacle of brinkmanship and litigation” .. I’ve just about had enough.

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  • largeflowered

    >”I’ve just about had enough”

    I totally agree. I’ve got extreme FIA/FOTA F1 fatigue… so much so that I’m off to Le Mans next year.

    (Yes, I know the FIA are involved in this as well!)

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  • Maverick

    that sport has been effectively hi jacked by a group of extremely wealthy and flashy people. if i was a national motor sport organization i would feel enormously left out in the cold by FOTA.

    Hijacked? It was set up by such people!

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  • Boga

    i agree salty and largeflowered. so those two can have fun in their little corner while i ponder on things more interesting. i am told dominoes can be great fun!

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  • saltire

    i am told dominoes can be great fun!

    Can you play that online :)

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  • saltire

    I found an interesting snippet in James Allen’s blog this morning “Incidentally I asked yesterday whether Ferrari still has the right of veto over rule changes and the answer is yes.” http://tinyurl.com/om8whf

    Not really wishing to stir things further, but is it really such a great idea to still have a veto in place, shouldn’t Ferrari have abandoned that and the other FOTA teams insisted on it as part of their entry requirements?

    It seems that nothing has changed after all :( .. grump!

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  • boga

    that what i been trying to say all along salty, nothing changed.

    oh well, me, as a new frequent dominoes player, i am having a wonderful time! next will be polka music :)

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  • largeflowered

    [:|:][:|.][.|.] …

    (I wonder if that works?)

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  • largeflowered

    [ | ] looks.

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  • saltire

    [:|:][:|.][.|.] …

    That’s all new to me :) Still no sign of your gravatar then large .. It only took me a couple of hours when I registered mine, I’d try again if you still want one http://en.gravatar.com/

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  • largeflowered

    salti… been back twice so far… :(

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  • saltire

    hey hey .. it’s working now :)

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  • largeflowered

    Well, waddaya know!!! (only spent 50 mins on gravatar loading and deleting!)

    Good stuff :P

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  • Ollie

    But what about us? The fans.

    This is what makes FOTA appealing to me. They know it is the fans that keep the sport going, as they have said so on a variety of occasions. The FIA have very rarely consulted the fans. And when they have, the FIA have largely ignored us.

    Hijacked? It was set up by such people!

    :)

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  • largeflowered

    This is a bit of a landmark for me, really.

    I have to admit to not believing anything either side says anymore.

    The prospect of Flav (The “new” Bernie) and Bernie #1 steering the FOTA ship into battle with with the FIA fleet, forever, is just bonkers.

    “They know it is the fans that keep the sport going”. This fan feels like a total mug tbh.

    Prediction: Flav will be President of the FIA, oneday. (the future is probably spraytan orange)

    Sorry :(

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  • saltire

    I don’t really follow any other motorsport but I got to wondering if Max and the FIA have this much trouble agreeing to entry conditions with any of the other series that the FIA oversee .. or are the F1 crowd just really a bunch of prima dona’s who are difficult to handle?

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  • Maverick

    ‘…I got to wondering if Max and the FIA have this much trouble agreeing to entry conditions with any of the other series that the FIA oversee’

    “How’s the World Rally Championship doing, Max?” could be an appropriate caption for you caption comp, salti.

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  • largeflowered

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  • largeflowered

    only 3 months ago!

    I am SO ill. ignore. :(

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  • largeflowered

    (Update :Right, that’s the pork flu bit done (slight chest infection. Anti-biotics?) Anyway I survived.)

    Well. Not much to add to this that we didn’t really know/expect is there?

    BE really has more money than sense and MM has some of BE’s money in his piggybank, for some reason. How can any sponsor now continue to support F1 in light of ALL the controversies of “late”.

    Perhaps it’s no longer relevant, but it’d still “beautiful”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDATNzpfIpI

    Bernard’s Naturally Persuasive? Hmmm.

    (Sorry, just a thought about political lobbying :()

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  • saltire

    Ooh, sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling rough, hope you are better now.

    News this morning from the Guardian that the first “contender” to throw his hat into the ring and say he’ll stand against Mosley is Rally Champion and former MEP Ari Vatanen. Sounds to me like this guy could be good, he has the racing background and the political experience as well.

    This could start to get interesting if a few more who appear to have some support, step into the limelight.

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  • largeflowered

    Hello salt, apologies for any typos – typing from the “hip” :) (As it were)

    We all know what a load of bunkum the apparent transparency of the FIA election rules are, by now, don’t we.

    Equality of Minds? Equality of bank balance?

    Equality of political ethos… hmmm?

    All hail the “Futurists”?

    No Bernard.

    Just no. (Go?)

    (Sorry for any obscurities ;P)

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