Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just When It Was Getting Exciting

Wednesday 18th March 2009

...the FIA go and spoil the party. If testing times are anything to go by we're on the verge of one of the most unpredictable and competitive seasons in F1. McLaren's lack of early season form - Brawn's phoenix-like rise from near extinction - BMW and Toyota's winter testing form all add to the intense focus and excitement building for Melbourne.

And then the FIA go and ruin it. Yesterday's announcement that the FIA would not accept the points scoring system favoured by a global F1 audience was yet another slap in the face from the patricians in charge. The 'we're on the side of the fan, we know what is best for them' arrogance displayed by Max Mosley and the WMSC is breathtaking.

Though there is a virtue to having a World Champion who's won the most races, what F1 fans don't want to see is teams manipulating results with team orders. Under the FIA's new system, points won't count for so much, winning will be everything for those who want to become World Champion.

In a season where the number of victories is likely to be spread around even more than 2008 it might require only four or five wins to take the title. And so this will favour teams where there is only one star driver such as Renault and some might say McLaren. It won't be good for teams with two equally matched drivers who might dominate a race, but only one of them can win it, such as Massa/Raikkonen, Kubica/Heidfeld, and to a certain extent Trulli/Glock.

The other bombshell from the FIA is about budget caps for 2010. Are they seriously expecting fans to understand a two-tier technical system for the teams? This is yet another volte face from Mosley who once likened F1 to an interesting chess match where overtaking didn't have to happen. Then suddenly when he realized he was being laughed at he decided that overtaking was a good thing and it's what he wanted all along.

The FIA would retain the right to change the technical rules as they see fit as Mosley has admitted. ""We will have a catch-all clause for the cost-capped teams enabling us to stop anything which goes against the spirit of the cost cap and allow us to rule definitively on any unforeseen problem."

That sounds like a moving brief to us and along the same lines as race stewards are governed by Max's F1 advisor Allan Donnelly.

The moves are less about what fans want and all about control. The FIA want to show that they're in charge and that they are driving change in the sport. They don't want to be seen to be reacting to FOTA's proposals.

They have said they want stability in the sort yet in May of 2008 the FIA's special advisor was talking about a 175m euro budget cap for the sport in 2009, 140m in 2010 and 110m in 2011. These were FIA suggestions based on 2008 salary levels.

To suddenly chop the budgets to 33m euro for 2010 is wholly unrealistic. Perhaps the teams should go along with on the basis that the FIA reduce its own operating costs by 75%. They don't need to be based in the centre of Paris in a high rent location. Much better to be out near one of the airports in nice new offices on a business park...?

Andrew T.Davies

Source : Planet F1

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