Forumla 1 is breathing its last

Formula one is becoming a farce of bickering teams, and seemingly corrupt direction, and despite the reassurances of the people at the top like Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, it’s doing nothing but getting worse.

The downward trend started with the simplicity of the Ferrari domination and the small team infighting. Mclaren and Ferrari fighting about rule infringements and Ferrari, as usual, coming out on top. I’ve talked about that before, so no need to go back.

It wasn’t helped with the poor TV coverage, continually focusing on the leader for TV revenue and sponsorship, the UK move of F1 to an advertising based channel and advert breaks all over the place, and extremely patient commentators who are continually apologising for everyone missing the action as a result.

Then there was the trouble with financing and the rising costs of testing. The teams funded by huge corporations could afford much more than the poor privateer types like Jordan and Minardi. Yet they struggled on through the discussions with the FIA on revenue distribution.

More rule changes and heavy restrictions came, and Mosley threw his toys out of the pram when the teams didn’t agree to them. These are the teams who are the ones making the sport happen and bringing the fans to the screens, the circuits and buying the goods. Mosley resigned. Then he came back.

Next came the start of the court proceedings between Ecclestone and the Banks who actually retain the majority and controlling interest of F1. More embarrassment for the FIA and F1 and confusion for the fans.

Teams and an engine supplier folding right left and center, luckily Jordan managed a sale after scraping around and struggling to find a new engine supplier. Minardi also found new engines, but are going on without selling. Jaguar, in a continuing stream of stupid moves, quit F1 abandoning their F1 employees at the last race of the season. With luck too, they have found a buyer and move on as Red Bull. It’s hard to believe that anyone wants to invest in this chaos – welcome to the advertising fold Royal Bank of Scotland!

Jenson Button fights to stay with BAR…or does he fight to go to Williams…who the hell knows what’s going on, and at this point I’m struggling to care, other than I just bought a Honda and I’m for them.

Silverstone gets in trouble and looks like it might be dropped from the calendar. They are offered various options and the British Drivers Racing Club think about what to do. Strangely Ecclestone is involved again, and not just from the FIA side. Doesn’t he hold the promotion or organisation contract to Silverstone just now? At the same time a consortium led by Nigel Mansell (Brand Synergy) offers a supposedly excellent deal to operate and promote the circuit. His offer is revised and resubmitted, and still ignored. Finally a deal is cut and the race is on…provisionally.

To try and keep costs down the teams agree to limit testing, and with this they increase the season races from 17 to 19 to allow France an UK to retain their races. This year only though. Except Ferrari won’t agree, they don’t want to limit by miles and refuse to turn up to any of the meetings. Every other team have agreed to limit by days, or perhaps that was vice versa, I can’t remember. It’s already becoming too much of a joke.

Important team discussions, where the FIA (Ecclestone) are trying to discuss the new rule implementations with the teams and obtain their input. Ferrari are the only ones to turn up and the others stay away as protest against Ferrari not turning up for the previous meetings, and the distribution of revenue. So what happens, FIA announces that they have taken the input from the relevant teams and it was a success, and their input will now be reflected in the rule changes. The F in FIA is truly Ferrari.

All the while the talks are continuing for the new World Grand Prix, and as a result of the continuing divide between all the teams, bar Ferrari, and the FIA, the support for it grows. More teams have provisionally agreed to the initial race series set-up. Frankly, who can blame them? The whole thing is a mess.

I don’t think the FIA really see what is going on here, it does appear that they are busy posturing and forcing the teams into agreements they don’t actually agree with. At what point does everyone stop and think, “What’s actually good for the sport? What are the fans saying, and more importantly what do they want?”.

I think that point is when the new World Grand Prix series comes about. From the sounds of things to date they are looking at the sport from that aspect, and of course, how to keep the teams running. This will be the saviour of high-end forumla car racing, not F1 as we know it. I really do think the bell has tolled for the FIA. They still genuinely believe that the teams will come back, or that new teams will be found for F1. That’s all very well, but where will your audience, and indeed, your customers be?

Update:

I saw this story from Reuters and thought it needed to be updated here rather than its own post.

It’s like when you produce a movie. You need stars so that you know you are going to sell the movie all over the world, and then you have stars with different contracts. And Ferrari in its business is a star and wants to be paid like a star and finds the possibility of being paid like that. I say that without arrogance
Jean Todt, Ferrari

This just makes me even more sad for Formula 1, and backs up what I already think about the links between Ferrari and the FIA. They even believe that they deserve more and are better than any of the other teams, and now, they are contributing to the downfall of the sport.

Ferrari are the only team to have committed themselves to the Concorde agreement until 2007. Basically, they are the only team that have agreed to stay with the FIA for F1 and not look at the possibility of the new Manufacturers GP. Jordan and Red Bull have not decided either way.

Now they have negotiated a contract that gives them more money, or let’s say pay, than any of the other teams in F1. Rightly, the other teams are angry.

Simply because they cannot do what Ferrari is able to do. It was probably easier in the past because Ferrari was special but without success in racing.
Jean Todt, Ferrari

So what Ferrari are doing is not agreeing to cut testing to reduce costs for the teams, and is implementing by action a pay structure that will ensure the successful teams get paid more than the unsuccessful teams. That more or less directly correlates with the teams that have lots of money behind them, and those that don’t.

So, Ferrari are increasing the divide between the leading and trailing teams. The rich and successful get more pay, and the poorer and struggling teams get less. They won’t agree to cost cutting measures to help the struggling teams.

Never mind though, they’re nice and red, and as Todt says, they’re the best and uniquely tied to F1. They certainly are, right now they’re the only team racing to 2007.

Until now I wasn’t sure, but I’m thinking it’s now time for a new leader of Motorsport, and with their current attitudes to the sport the FIA and Ferrari don’t have a place there.

1 comment on “Forumla 1 is breathing its last”

  1. Pablo Reply

    I am so competetive it makes my skin crawl and when I hear individuals or teams do whatever they can to win it saddens me. Isn’t that competetion I hear you say? I don’t think so. I would like to beat somebody based on my skill, determination and experience using the exact same(or at least similar) criteria(or funds). Why don’t ferrari just have a two lap head start for every race or better yet race on a different circuit altogether? They have become the Manyoo(sorry louise but they are) of F1. Unfortunately certain things blind them from where they came from and what they are supposed to be competing in.

    Give me suped up lawnmower racing (www.letsmow.com) any day of the week for sheer entertainment.

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